– Randy Orton’s 60-day suspension for his second violation of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program has ended. The suspension was effective beginning May 30. Orton is expected to return to the ring immediately, as he’s scheduled for Monday’s Raw in Cincinnati, Ohio and Tuesday’s SmackDown taping in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to F4WOnline, his suspension stemmed from a positive drug test for elevated levels of testosterone. He reportedly told people that he took a tainted supplement containing the testosterone, causing him to fail, and acknowledged that he should have been more careful. Vince McMahon was reportedly livid with Orton over the issue, particularly since he was so “outspokenly indifferent.” Orton’s suspension caused a ripple effect on SmackDown as John Cena, Triple H, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were shifted to several shows this summer to alleviate the brand’s lack of star power. Punk and Bryan will resume their feud at Raw live events beginning this weekend, while Cena will cease making special appearances following SmackDown broadcasts in three weeks. Triple H will continue to make special appearances on SmackDown until further notice.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, beginning Monday night, WWE’s weekly Monday night program will be officially referred to as Raw rather than Raw SuperShow. It was apparently a sudden change, as all future Mondays events were labeled Raw SuperShow as recently as last week. WWE.com changed their live events listings to reflect the change. WWE instituted the Raw SuperShow tag on August 29, 2011 due to the addition of the SmackDown brand roster to the weekly program. SmackDown talent will continue to appear on Raw.
– Kelly Kelly is featured in a new WWE.com Divas photo shoot that was shot backstage at Raw 1,000, thus confirming she was at the show. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer was unsure last week as to whether she was actually at the event since he received no accounts of her being there. Kelly’s status with the organization remains in limbo. As of last weekend, she had not informed management of her future plans.
– The Great Khali (aka Dalip Singh) underwent surgery Wednesday to remove a pituitary gland tumor that has been the cause of his tremendous size. The tumor was discovered through WWE’s Talent Wellness Program, according to a report by ABC News. A WWE official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press about Singh that WWE identified his acromegaly condition prior to surgery this week. Despite the surgery, he is at greater risk of facing health problems if the tumor came into contact with the nearby optic nerves. Singh could be healthy enough to return to the ring within months, but if he does, it might be at the risk of internal bleeding at the surgical site caused by physical contact.
In a statement, WWE spokesman Adam Hopkins said that “[a]s part of WWE’s ongoing wellness evaluation, we are happy that The Great Khali had successful pituitary surgery, and we look forward to him returning to the ring in the near future.”
Gabriel Feldman, who directs the sports law program at Tulane Law School, believes WWE could be held liable for failing to address Singh’s acromegaly condition. However, he adds that WWE attorneys “are known for the scrupulousness with which they guard the publicly traded but privately controlled company from liability” and “WWE contracts tend to tilt most of the leverage toward the company.” “This may be more of a moral problem than a legal problem,” Feldman said.
– WWE Hall of Famer The Iron Sheik recently spoke to NBC’s Matthew Kitchen. Here are some highlights
A signature move and name Jordan Burroughs could use: “‘The Jordan.’ Not like the Michael Jordan but he still the Real American. He can break the pinkie finger like Sheikie. He break people back with his pinkie. Because he a big strong [expletive] for America. I be happy. His name could be “the Real” and his finisher be “the Humble.” Give me a hell yeah!”
Ellis Coleman’s nickname “Flying Squirrel”: “Flying squirrel remind me of Ultimate Warrior because he a little rat when he jump in ring like that idiot Jose Canseco or Mel Gibson. I would never respect the squirrel because the squirrel have no [expletive].”
If he could beat any of the current Team USA members: ”In my day I beat living [expletive] out of all Olympian who challenge the legend. I put them in a camel clutch, break they back [two or three expletives], and make them humble. But now I am not in same shape as before so I don’t [expletive] with them.”
How would the Olympics would benefit from adding ropes around the mat: ”The rope protect you and you cannot run away like little [expletive] in ring like Jose Canseco.”
If he’s ready for a comeback: “I know if I training I can beat the [expletive] out of anybody who [expletive] with me. I am the real legend not like the jabroni the Tom Cruise.”
The the current American wrestling team:“They all workers but need to pay their due to be legend like Iron Sheik. Buy my [expletive] shirt!! USA #1!”
– George “The Animal” Steele recently spoke on the Inside The Ropes Podcast about his character, the Montreal Screwjob and more. The Highlights Appear Below Listen to the podcast here
On his promos: “I did my own interviews and I was very articulate in the WWF when I got there but once they called me The Animal, and I was doing an interview with Vince and he said I was making too much sense for an animal so i turned into the ooh ooh aah guy and became the comedy character and it was a great run.”
WrestleMania 2: “I had a great time. It was not as stressful as when I wrestled Bruno because Bruno and I were hardcore. I was a cartoon character with Randy so it was easier. Randy was in all honesty, a very jealous guy about Elizabeth and what you saw was sort of real. So then the further I went on TV to make him jealous and the further I got, the angrier he was.”
WrestleMania 3: “It was about 12 miles from home. The Savage/Steamboat thing was Not my kinda match. i heard them talk that match for three weeks, i was sick of hearing about it. They called the spots, it was a great match but there was no psychology. Andre was a very good friend, Vince and Hogan did not know what Andre would do when he got to the ring if he’d lay down. He sort of kayfabed them. I’m sitting watching, laughing my tail off because I knew what Andre would do. When Hogan slammed Andre, that made him.”
His departure of WWE: “I was deathly ill with Crohn’s Disease. I was in hospital for a month, and I knew it was all over, I couldn’t keep wrestling. I didn’t know I’d have to retire, but once I got to hospital, I knew it was over.”
His Hall of Fame Induction: “It was fine. they brought my family in. After my induction they didn’t do any inductions for years. I got to talking to this guy Tony Mollano who’s responsible for the boxing hall of fame and I told him there wasn’t a physical building, and so we set up the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Amsterdam, New York. It’s a good thing. We’re not in competition with Vince. But we have a building people can come along and take a look at history.”
On the Montreal Screwjob: “To me that’s one of the biggest jokes in wrestling of all time. Lets be honest, who did Bret Hart beat to win the belt? They give him the belt and then he can’t drop the belt in his own country? Give me a frickin break. By Vince doing the double cross Vince became the hottest thing in the business when all he did was take his belt back. He outdid everyone who walked away like Hulk and Bret.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross updated the blog section ofJRsbarbq.com. The following items are among the highlights. To order J.R.’s BBQ products, visit WWEShop.com.
WWE Raw 1000: ”Too many Twitter followers @JRsBBQ had issues with my succinct assignment on Monday night but I had none. Some apparently don’t know what it means to be a team guy and do what is asked. In football vernacular, I got a uniform and ran the plays that were called and was pleased to do so… The reality of the matter is this…it is highly unlikely, thanks Gorilla, that exact collection of performers will EVER be under the same roof again. I look back upon my attendance at RAW1000 as a privilege and am grateful to have had the opportunity to see so many old friends that have meant a great deal to me over my long career. ”
New NXT Divas: ”I’ve been impressed with the young ladies in ring skills on NXT including Paige, who’s from England, Puerto Rico’s Sophia, Texas Audrey Marie and Raquel Diaz, the daughter of the late Eddy Guerrero and Vickie Guerrero. Racquel has a big personality and her verbal skills are marketable. Paige and Sophia are particularly physical in the ring. NXT has a really nice group of Divas.”
Would he Induct Mick Foley into the WWE HOF:“@RealMickFoley when asked who would induct him if/when Mick goes into the WWE HOF mentioned Terry Funk and yours truly. While I would love to honor Mick on that special occasion, there is no way that I would ever put myself in the same category with Terry Funk. Terry mentored Mick and treated Mick like a son. While I’d love to induct Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy into the WWE HOF, I think that Terry Funk is the best choice. However, I stand ready if called upon.”
– John Cena recommended Zach Ryder’s Latest Episode Z! True Long Island Story – Episode #77
Best one in a long time! Must see! RT @ZackRyder: Z! True Long Island Story – Episode #77 po.st/uqrNMB via @YouTube WATCH & RT
– Road Dogg and Josh Mathews introduce a new batch of clips “that will make you laugh, cry, or both” on this week’s episode of “Are You Serious?,” including highlights ridiculing John Laurinaitis’ past as a member of the Dynamic Dudes. Also featured are clips of “Mean” Gene Okerlund hosting “The Mating Game,” Kwee Wee and the World Bodybuilding Federation.
– Kevin Nash appears in the trailer for The Newest Pledge, a Lionsgate production slated for release on August 28, 2012. In the film, “a hard partying fraternity decides to pledge a baby that they find on their doorstep the morning after their most decadent party of the semester.” Jason Mewes, Mindy Sterling and Andy Milonakis also star.
The film has a second wrestling connection as famous bodybuilder Mike O’Hearn, who has rejected multiple contract offers from top wrestling organizations, appears as a cop. He signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation in 1994, but was forced to renege due to his contract with American Gladiators. He appeared on WCW Monday Nitro in 2000 as part of a brief cross-promotional feud between WCW and Battle Dome. WCW officials wanted to sign him then, but he was unable to due to his commitments with Battle Dome. John Laurinaitis then had a WWE contract for him on the table in 2003 and 2004. He strongly considered the offer, but ultimately rejected it. Additionally, his ex-wife is former WCW valet Midajah and he appeared on the Hulk Hogan-hosted American Gladiators reboot on NBC. Steve Austin also noted last week via Twitter that he was “on the comeback trail” training alongside O’Hearn.
– The D’Backs have acquired 3B Chris Johnson from the Astros for OFs Bobby Borchering and Marc Krauss. Johnson has a .279/.329/.428 batting line with eight homers over 341 at-bats. It’s a good add by ‘Zona.
– Red Sox’ OF Carl Crawford (elbow) will decide in the next 7-10 days whether or not he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery. The Sox are putting Crawford on a “four-day program” in order to limit the likelihood of re-injury. He’ll also likely see time as DH.
– Pirates’ RHP Kevin Correia requested a trade from the team on Sunday. ”I want to start. For that to happen, I’ll have to go someplace else.” Correia has a 8-6 record, 4.24 ERA and 50/30 K/BB ratio over 108 1/3 innings, but was demoted to the bullpen following the acquisition of LHP Wandy Rodriguez. The 31-year-old has won five straight starts and should draw interest.
– Orioles’ 2B Brian Roberts (right labral hip tear) will undergo season-ending surgery and will miss 4-6 months. Roberts played in a rehab game Saturday, but decided to have the surgery now so that he can be ready for the start of spring training, barring setbacks.
– Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Mariners want to add a hitter, and are “focused” on Twins’ OF OF Josh Willingham and Cardinals’ OF Allen Craig. The M’s are also ”trying hard” to trade for Giants’ 1B Brandon Belt, according to Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.com. Willingham is under contract through 2014, and Craig is under team control through 2016. Neither play is likely to be moved. Meanwhile, the Giants reportedly have interest in RHP Brandon League, who is very likely to be moved. The Angels are also in on League. Stay tuned.
– Texans’ WR Andre Johnson (groin) said Sunday that he expects to miss a week of training camp with his “mild” strain. ”I’m fine. Not limping or anything. It’s just a strain.” Head coach Gary Kubiak said that the injury could worsen if aggravated, and that the team will be “very careful” before letting Johnson retake the practice field.
– The Carroll County Times reports that Ravens’ LT Bryant McKinnie will report to training camp Monday. McKinnie was a no-show when on Wednesday, and is being fined $30K per missed practice. His status with the team is unclear. According to beat writer Aaron Wilson, McKinnie is facing a lawsuit for a loan he took out during the NFL lockout last year, and hasn’t been removed from the reserve/did not report list.
– According to the AP, Seahawks’ WR Sidney Rice (shoulder surgeries) is practicing, but hasn’t been cleared for contact. The team intends to take it “very slowly” with him. Head coach Pete Carroll said, “We’re just going to go through this conservatively, and lengthen the time of his recovery through this camp.” Rice isn’t sure yet whether he will play in preseason games, but told SI’s Peter King that he’s aiming for Week 1.
– Check out this hilarious video with RVD training Kurt Angle for the 2012 Summer Olympics:
– Rob Van Dam, was in Phoenix last week promoting TNA’s Bound For Glory PPV going on-sale. He was interviewed by The Phoenix New Times, and spoke about being pro-marajuna, differences between wrestling for TNA and WWE and talked about which WWE superstar asked him for permission to use his airbrush artist. View the full article here
Ryback asking him for permission to use his airbrush artist: “Ryback reached out to me and asked for permission to use the same airbrush artist that I use, Joe Holland in Savannah, Georgia,” he said. “The guy’s been making me the same outfits since like 1995 and he doesn’t do a lot work for wrestlers. And I’m all for anyone that can make more business off of things they do for me. Ryback has my blessing [and] I’m flattered that he’s a fan of mine. He’s been very respectful in reaching out to me. I haven’t met the guy but have nothing but respect for him.”
Being a fan of marijuana and a big supporter of medicalization. If he smokes out regularly: Um, that’s more of a personal question than a direct question that my character talks about. It’s not so much part of the show as just [something] connecting me to that culture. A lot of my fans are in that culture and when I’m not wrestling I’m a strong advocate for ending the marijuana prohibition. Not to mention I also help educate people about medicinal marijuana programs. Since you brought it up, I’d love to tell everybody that it’s impossible to overdose from marijuana. Everyone’s brainwashed into thinking it’s a harmful drug but its not. It’s the most resourceful plant that we have on the entire planet. Medicinally, recreationally, materially…it could basically replace so many huge conglomerate and big corporate businesses, which is the reason why its outlawed.
The differences between wrestling for TNA and WWE: “In Total Nonstop Action, individual wrestlers have a lot more freedom to artistically express themselves versus WWE,” Van Dam explained. “When we have our matches, they are known to be more athletic, more competitive in nature, and that’s what wrestling fans really appreciate. And the fact there’s more of a focus on wrestling in Total Nonstop Action over the other major company on TV. Whereas WWE has been known to feature more of the 400-pound giants that aren’t necessarily going to [perform] quite as impressively. TNA focuses more on the wrestler’s abilities and skills and gives them a chance to shine out there in front of the fans.
“It’s also more of an up-close-and-personal experience where wrestlers are more accessible and there’s a lot of times spent on meeting the fans. And Bound For Glory will be no different and we’ll be there on October 14 with a big meet-and-greet. The day before that is also something called ‘TNAFan InterAction,’ which all the top stars will be there as well. People can meet and talk to their wrestlers and get their photos taken with ‘em.”
– Chavo Guerrero, who made his TNA Impact Wrestling debut last Thursday, has been added to the roster page on ImpactWrestling.com. The website refers to WWE by name in his bio, “Chavo’s amazing career has included WCW, WWE and now TNA!” Meanwhile, Ric Flair, Velvet Sky and Matt Morgan remain listed on the roster page even though they are no longer affiliated with the organization. TNA stated in a court filing against WWE that Flair’s contract was terminated in May. Sky stated last week on Twitter that she was granted her release. Morgan fulfilled his contractual obligations and tweeted last week that he would never return to TNA.
– Former WCW World Heavyweight Champion “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner turned 50 years old today.
– Greg Jamison, the prospective new owner of the Coyotes, is roughly $20M short of the NHL’s $170M asking price, according to the Toronto Sun. The former CEO of the Sharks is courting investors to make up the shortfall. Jamison is leading the latest group to bid for the Coyotes, who have been owned by the NHL since it went into bankruptcy in 2009. The city of Glendale, which owns Jobing.com Arena, recently rejected petitions that would have put Jamison’s lease agreement to a public vote and delay the sale. The city faces a hearing on that rejection Monday. The NHL’s pursuit of a new owner also has been blocked often by a public-policy advocacy group, the Goldwater Institute. Jamison is scheduled to speak with UFA F Shane Doan, the team’s longtime captain, about a contract this week.