– Chris Jericho was interviewed by The Austin Chronicle this week to promote this week’s SmackDown tapings and Fozzy’s new album. Here are some highlights of what Jericho said about:
Managing His Time Between WWE & Fozzy: “It’s really a decision that’s made for me. Back in the 2000s for the first three Fozzy records, I did the WWE and Fozzy at the same time, which was fine. But when we were doing Chasing the Grail, our last record, in 2009, myself and Rich Ward, my partner in crime, were thinking, ‘We’ve really got to take this to the next level, because this record is great.’ I left WWE when Grail came out, went touring for 16 months, did 15 countries and amassed an even bigger fanbase than we had. It was a real credibility gain for us. Then when we started doing Skin and Bones, as the singer I write the lyrics and I record the vocals, which takes about 15 days. Other than that I had about nine months of doing nothing, so that’s when I decided to come back to the WWE, knowing that when this record came out that I’d be finished for whatever indeterminate amount of time.
Feeling Pressure Headed Into His Match With Dolph Ziggler: “These guys needs guys to work with. Once again, that’s sounding egotistical, but after 22 years of being in this business, but there’s nobody in this company who’s been in the business longer – except for Undertaker. I’ve been wrestling longer than Kane, I’ve been wrestling longer than Triple H. I didn’t request to work with Ziggler. At first, I thought it was Sheamus, than I was supposed to work with Daniel Bryan, and then they just told me, OK, you’re working with Ziggler. I said, ‘Great.’ I will work with anybody, and I will do the absolute best I can to help that. I’ve been through this before. This will be the third time that I’ve left, and this may make people mad, but I’ve never been just a wrestler. I’m an entertainer. I do a lot of different things in that realm. I don’t put myself in a box when it comes. So when I get a chance to work with a guy like Ziggler, I know what I can do with him. I know how good he is. He just needs somebody to help him. And when I’m putting together matches or doing promos with these guys, things that I just see as basics, they still haven’t figured out yet. That’s not a bad thing. That’s just the experience difference, and that’s why I can help, and I think that’s why I can come and go from the WWE for years to come. I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel great. I’m enjoying this run, and if I didn’t have a tour and a record coming out, I would stay. It’s not like I can’t wait to leave – in fact, it’s the complete opposite. I’m a little sad to leave, in one way, but super-excited by the reason why I’m leaving.”
“I like the idea of passing the torch along and passing the experience along. That’s the way I was trained. I grew up in Japan, and that’s how they do it. Old guys teach the young guys, and that’s the way it is. The business is more important than any single individual, and I’ve always felt that way. Haven’t always been treated that way, but I’ve always felt that way.”
His Favorite Wrestler & His Favorite Metal Band: “Avenged Sevenfold is only starting to realize how good they are. I think they’ll be the next Metallica, and I think they’re well on their way. They’re at were Metallica was at Master of Puppets. They’re going to hook up with some producer who is going to make them even bigger. I think Bullet for My Valentine is another band that’s growing. Their singer and guitarist Matt Tuck is another guy that gets it, that understands that it’s not always about how fast and heavy you can be, but about how you groove, and catchy beats and catchy choruses.”
“As for future guys here, Ziggler’s one of them for sure. The Miz is another. I think Damien Sandow, against anything that I expected, has been doing great, and I think he’s got a great upside. I think there’s quite a few guys where things are looking up, because the WWE is a talent-driven business. Guys are going to come and go, but the ones who are going to stick are the ones who are going to be carrying this company on their backs in the future. There are some good prospects here, and that’s why I’m excited about the prospect of coming back.”
– Former WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield recently teased on his Twitter that he would be replacing Booker T on commentary on SmackDown. Layfield later admitted that he was kidding, but expressed interest in a return to commentary if the job were available. During a recent interview with Raj Giri of WrestlingINC.com, JBL discussed how interested he was in a return to the announce booth.
“I am interested. The job has not been offered to me and I was just having fun with Michael Cole on Twitter. I think I said I was coming back. You know, I was having fun with Michael. I don’t mean to mislead anyone, I’m not working, so to speak, on Twitter. [Laughs.] I was simply having fun. The job does appeal to me, yeah.
“I never thought the job would come open. There’s only two jobs for color commentary in WWE and Jerry Lawler may be there for another 30 years and I hope he is. He’s a great commentator. Booker moving to the general manager role opens up that job. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not filled and I don’t know it. It could be filled and they may already have plans for it — I don’t know that. I haven’t been offered the job. They haven’t told me, ‘Hey we want you to come work,’ or anything. So, yeah, it does interest me and if they called, it certainly would be very tempting to do.”
– Speaking to Steven Muehlhausen of The Fight Club Chicago at last week’s Chicago Comic Con, Kevin Nash addressed his controversial Grantland.com remarks stating that the professional wrestling industry died at WrestleMania XX when the pay-per-view event concluded with “Vanilla Midgets” Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero—small-statured, gifted technical wrestlers that lacked big in-ring personalities but were beloved by fans—reigning atop as world champions.
“(People getting mad) at something I said ten years ago, yeah okay. It’s great that it’s still relevant ten years later. I guess I’m not allowed to have an opinion.”
He stated in the Grantland.com interview that he has the same problem with today’s “Internet heroes,” CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. “They are not bigger than life. I bet they could both walk through airports and not be noticed unless they have a gimmick shirt on and the belt.”
Nash is now suggesting that his remarks concerning Punk and Bryan are “a work.” He tells Muehlhausen,
“Because they are on TV and if I would want to have an angle with somebody, I think I would want to work with the top guys.”
Nash says Punk would fit in well with his proposed nWo relaunch.
“He has that nWo grit to him, he kinda runs by his own accord. He’s very anti-establishment, and I personally like him. I like hanging out with him. So if I’m going to work with somebody, I’m going to work with someone that I enjoy hanging out with.”
– At Tuesday’s WWE SmackDown tapings from Austin, Texas, it was announced that Alberto Del Rio will indeed wrestle Sheamus this Sunday at SummerSlam for the World Heavyweight championship. The match had been previously announced and then cancelled. Now, it’s back on. With that match set, here’s the updated card for this Sunday:
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (c) Big Show vs. John Cena
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sheamus (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs. Rey Mysterio
Tag Team Championships Match: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth (c) vs. Titus O’Neil & Darren Young
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
Online Pre-Show Match For The United States Title: Santino Marella (c) vs. Antonio Cesaro
Also rumored for the card is Damien Sandow vs. Brodus Clay
In a potential spoiler, at Tuesday’s WWE SmackDown tapings from Austin, Texas, WWE taped a match for the premiere episode of the new Saturday Morning Slam television show, which will air on August 25 (after SummerSlam). During the match (Kofi Kingston vs. Heath Slater), Santino Marella came out to do commentary, and he had the United States Championship with him. While it’s possible that WWE could edit out Santino’s title belt in the event that he loses the gold to Cesaro, the fact that Santino brought his belt with him is a good indication that he’ll retain this Sunday night.
– Shawn Michaels tweeted on Tuesday that he his “highly unlikely” to appear at SummerSlam this Sunday, but the WWE website has followed up with a report that he won’t be there. Michaels suffered a [storyline] broken arm at the hands of Brock Lesnar on RAW and was scheduled to be in Triple H’s corner for his match against Lesnar.
– Yahoo.com published a brief article noting that former WWE chief executive Linda McMahon won her GOP Senate primary on Tuesday night after spending almost 10-times as much as her opponent and $61M over the course of two campaigns to try to win the seat for U.S. Senator from Connecticut. When McMahon campaigned in 2010, she broke Connecticut state records for out-of-pocket spending by splurging $50M of her own money—and still lost. This time around, McMahon spent over $11M to defeat former Representative Christopher Shays by a three to one margin, who had spent approximately $1.2M. According to MyFoxNY.com, McMahon actually spent $15.7M of her personal money on the campaign, which would bring the total thus far to approximately $66M. After the race was called Tuesday night, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee immediately attacked McMahon over her WWE past. Executive Director Guy Cecil said,
“Linda McMahon is a greedy CEO who made millions marketing sex and violence to little kids, all at the expense of the health and safety of her own employees. Everything about McMahon’s record, principles and agenda prove that she is wrong for Connecticut. There isn’t enough money in the world to convince Connecticut voters otherwise.”
– The updated roster for the new WWE ’13 game includes CM Punk, Mike Tyson, Steve Austin, John Cena, The Undertaker, Big Show, Chris Jericho, Sheamus, Mark Henry (current and Nation of Domination versions), The Miz and Mankind. Other playable characters not yet confirmed by THQ include Ken Shamrock, X-Pac and Steve Blackman. Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole will do commentary for most of the game modes, while Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler will call the action in the Attitude Era mode. The entire roster will be announced by THQ and WWE this weekend at WWE’s SummerSlam’s AXXESS event in Los Angeles.
– Deadline.com has announced a partnership between Warner Bros. Home Video and WWE Studios to co-produce a Scooby-Doo animated feature that will find Scooby and the gang solving a mystery at WrestleMania. WWE Superstars Triple H, John Cena, Kane, The Miz, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, AJ Lee and chief Vince McMahon are slated to appear in animated format and provide voiceovers for the film. WWE.com summarizes the film’s plot: “When Shaggy and Scooby win tickets to WrestleMania, the entire gang travels in the Mystery Machine to WWE City to attend the epic event. However, when a mysterious ghostly bear appears and threatens to ruin the show, Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred work with WWE Superstars to solve the case.” Warner Bros Home Entertainment will distribute the film via Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital download while WWE will use its considerable resources to promote the title, said WWE Studios President Michael Luisi.
– Yoshi Tatsu wrote on Twitter that he was not injured during WWE’s live event in Shanghai, China last week, despite online reports.
– WWE has announced that Khloe Kardashian will be the Social Media Ambassador for next week’s RAW from Fresno, California.
– This week on WWE Inbox, Natalya, The Miz and more WWE Superstars talk about their favorite SummerSlam moments, while Heath Slater gives his best impressions of his fellow Superstars.
– MLB has suspended Giants’ OF Melky Cabrera 50 games without pay for testing positive for Testosterone. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the positive test came around the All-Star break, but has been stuck in the appeals process since. The suspension will keep Cabrera out for the remainder of the regular season. It’s a massive blow to the Giants’ postseason hopes, as well as Cabrera’s chances of scoring big through free agency at season’s end. The 28-year-old was batting .346/.390/.516 with with 11 home runs, 60 RBI and a .906 OPS in 113 games played this season.
– Phillies’ 3B Placido Polanco (back) will begin his minor league rehab assignment with High-A Clearwater on Thursday.
– UFC fighter Chael Sonnen has changed his tune regarding a possible career in WWE once his days inside the UFC Octagon are over. After stating in previous interviews that he was interested in crossing over to the world of Sports Entertainment, Sonnen told the New York Post this week:
“I only watch WWE if Stone Cold Steve Austin is on or if CM Punk is wrestling. Other than that, I have no interest.”
– The Beaver County Times reports that Steelers’ OLB James Harrison (knee) may require arthroscopic surgery. Harrison, who is on the camp/PUP list, has yet to practice. According to his agent, he’s dealing with “this irritation behind his knee cap,” but maintains that the injury is minor. “With the exception of this little knee thing, James is probably healthier now that he’s been in three years. … So we might even look at doing a scope of that to get it cleaned up. We’ll just have to wait see how it plays out.” Harrison going under the knife in any capacity would make his Week 1 status uncertain.
– According to PFT, Cowboys’ TE Jason Witten (spleen) will miss at least the rest of the preseason. Witten took a hit from Raiders MLB Rolando McClain during Monday’s pre-season opener, and sustained a serious spleen injury that resulted in internal bleeding. Surgery is not expected to be required, but hasn’t been ruled out. Witten hasn’t missed a game since 2003, and is uncertain for Week 1 this year.
– The Nashville Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt believes that the Titans’ starting quarterback job is now Jake Locker’s to lose. Before training camp, Wyatt suggested that QB Matt Hasselbeck would open the season as the starter. Neither player has done much to prove they deserve it so far. Locker will start Friday against the Bucs and is expected to see roughly 25 snaps.
– ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Lions’ RB Jahvid Best (concussions) is expected to open the season on the PUP list, meaning he’ll miss at least the first six games of the season. Best has yet to be cleared to return to practice, and is working his way back from multiple concussions.
– Seahawks’ WR Sidney Rice (shoulder surgeries) is no longer wearing his non-contact jersey this week. Rice won’t play in Saturday’s game at Denver, but has likely joined team drills. Head coach Pete Carroll said, “This is his first week back, getting banged around so we’ll give him some time. See how that goes.” Rice should be ready for Week 1.
– PFT reports that Seahawks’ QB Tarvaris Jackson was never true contender for the starting job. Logically, there was little chance he’d start anyways after Seattle got QB Matt Flynn. The source confirms the team has already begun shopping for a trade. Jackson is due $4M this year.
– NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says a “wide gap” remains between the NHL and its players’ association in collective bargaining talks. This comes one day after the union submitted a proposal to the league. Bettman said after Wednesday’s session,
“There’s still a wide gap between us with not much time to go. This is a process that we’re going to continue to work hard on. I think there’s still a number of issues where we’re looking at the world differently.”
Bettman says that the “alternate view” the NHLPA tabled is not a full proposal, and he is “disappointed” that he’s still waiting for one at this late stage. The NHLPA’s offer includes a smaller percentage of revenues for players over the next three seasons in exchange for an expanded revenue sharing program to help struggling teams. The union says the deal could see players give up as much as $465M if the league continues to grow at an average rate. Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr won’t sit down at the bargaining table together until next Wednesday. The NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement expires September 15, and the NHL has said there will be a lockout if a new agreement isn’t in place by then.
– Former baseball players’ union chief Marvin Miller has strongly criticized his former baseball protege and understudy Donald Fehr because of what the latter has proposed to the NHL in his current role as union chief of the NHL Players’ Association. Responding to reports that Fehr and the NHLPA presented itself as a partner Tuesday seeking to help fix the NHL’s problems in collective-bargaining negotiations, Miller said, “This is a joke.” In an interview with Marty York on The York Report on NSSradiotv.com, Miller added, ”I can’t understand this. It’s a joke. . .No legitimate union would ever allow salary caps. . .I cannot believe this. I don’t understand what Donald Fehr is doing. What sports union starts off by offering to give money to a league?. . .This is like what (former and disgraced NHLPA chief Alan) Eagleson used to do with the NHL years ago. It’s mind-boggling.” Fehr said Tuesday the union’s offer includes a smaller percentage of revenues for players and an expanded revenue-sharing program to help struggling teams. Fehr said the proposal could see players give up as much as $465M in revenue if the league continues to grow at an average rate for the next three seasons.
– Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin said contract discussions with RFA D P.K. Subban is “an ongoing process.” The length of the deal is reportedly an issue of contention, as the Habs want to sign Subban to a shorter-term contract like they did in the past with F Max Pacioretty and G Carey Price prior to committing to them for the long-term. Bergevin doesn’t sound like he is exactly sold on Subban’s place as part of the team’s core of young players just yet, but he did give the impression that the team still has high hopes for him. “He’s a good young player. There’s a lot of things that come into play, (but) there’s potential there for sure.”
– According to agent Paul Corbeil, contract extension talks between the Canucks and F Alex Burrows have begun. Burrows has 1-year/$2M remaining on his contract. Playing alongside the Sedin twins, Burrows has recorded 117 goals over the past four seasons and will likely see a sizeable raise.
– The Devils have signed 1st-round draft pick Stefan Matteau to an entry-level contract. Matteau, the son of former Rangers forward Stephane Matteau, was the 29th overall pick in June. The 18-year-old spent the past two seasons with the United States Development Program. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound forward skated in 46 games for the Under-18 squad in 2011-12, recording 15 goals and 32 points. He played for Team USA’s Under-17 team in 2010-11, posting seven goals and 11 assists.
– NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon said that Nuggets’ F JaVale McGee should “dominate” the NBA after working with him this summer. ”No question, I see him as another star. That guy should dominate the league. He has tremendous talent. I give him all these moves and he can finish and he’s already skilled.” McGee averaged 10.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks on 61.2% after joining Denver, and could be a serious force if he gets his head together.
– TNA star Kurt Angle has apologized for threatening WWE Champion CM Punk after Punk called TNA an “indy” promotion during a weekend interview. Angle tweeted on Tuesday night:
I apologize to Tna and Wwe fans for My Comment. I don’t expect Punk to apologize to Tna. But I’m sorry.respect4thebiz
I didn’t apologize to Punk. Only the Wwe Tna fans. Punk Disrespected Tna. He Has Alot to learn about fame and responsibility
In response to Punk calling TNA an indy promotion, Angle originally said,
“Punk wants to say TNA is an indy league? I was on top in WWE when you were trying to get a job anywhere. It was my choice to go to TNA. If I ever see you, Punk, hide, bitch.”
Since the apology, however, Angle has posted a few more tweets talking trash about Punk and also John Cena. Angle tweeted on Tuesday night that he could “take out” John Cena in 45 seconds and that a match with CM Punk would only last 30 seconds. He later deleted those tweets.
“Who Wants to See Angle vs. Punk? It would Last 30 Secs. Lol. Just Kidding. I’m not Mad anymore. Punk, Ur Safe Now… Put It to Rest. Angle vs. Punk will Happen. Tna or Wwe. I Hope Tna. We’ll See. U tough Punk?
Angle then took one more parting shot at Punk, claiming he makes more money:
“If Tna is an Indy Company, then Why Do I Make More $ than Punk Does in Wwe? I’m just Saying.”
– TNA star Rob Van Dam was recently interview by Brian Fritz of Between The Ropes. Here are some highlights of what RVD said about:
Whether or not he has thought about slowing down or changing his style in the ring: No bro! I’m a showoff. That’s my whole job is to show what I have and my problem is the opposite. My problem is I’m always only allowed to show 10% of what I got. You know what I mean? People ask ‘I want to see more Van Daminators’. Well, that’s cool but it’s illegal to bring a chair in. I happen to be in a company that has a certain style where, if I brought the chair in and did it every single night, it might not mean as much. But back in the ECW days, that was the standard. So every night, I knew I was going to be able to give the fans their money’s worth whether it was a house show, TV or even on pay-per-view. I like to show that I can take more punishment than the other guys. I like to show that I’ve got flashy moves. I like to show that I have creativity by bringing in other factors and elements besides a regular, boring, one fall match inside the squared circle.
Whether or not he would still be in wrestling if TNA had not been around when he signed with the company in 2010 or even right now: Who knows? I didn’t think so at one point after I had left WWE. You know, a lot of fans seem to think that the weed bust got me kicked out of WWE or something. People that really follow it saw that I stayed there for a while but I see that a lot on the Internet. And you know it’s always true if it’s on the Internet! I did the time there and when my contract ran up and left in favor of not living on the road in a different town every single day, flying and driving, then trying to cut through the tension of the dressing room to get to my bag.
I left there and I was so burned out because, while I was burned out, things were getting worse the last several months. I had it in my contract that I’d have a weekend off once a month which they never gave me. And then towards the end, after I was bitching about that, they started booking me twice a day to do two shows. I said you guys are crazy! And when I left, there was a while where I thought man, I don’t care if I ever step on an airplane again, I’ve had so much of it. I don’t care if I step in the ring again, I’ve had so much of it. And, you know, my priorities were different at that moment, what I needed in my life. I thought I might not wrestle again. I didn’t even know. I was open to seeing what life might bring me. It did end up bringing me back. It wasn’t in a hurry, that’s for sure.
Whether not he came close to returning to WWE before signing with TNA: I actually contacted WWE when it looked like things might work out with TNA’s contract. I emailed Johnny (Laurinaitis) and I actually said are you sure there isn’t a part-time schedule there. I even had some ideas where they would come out financially ahead of me, paying me a limited amount of dates but it never, the conversation never got as far as me explaining what my idea was. I did explain it to Dixie (Carter), the same scenario. Johnny has responded with they’d love to have me there, please reconsider and do full-time because they need me there the whole time. I was not even thinking about doing that. Even now, I can’t imagine going back to that crazy ass schedule that I worked with them. I’m grateful that I had that time with them. Right now, at this stage in my career, it’s even less appealing than it was prior to coming to TNA.
– Bolton’ MF Fabrice Muamba retired from football Wednesday after suffering an on-field cardiac arrest in March during an FA Cup quarterfinal against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Muamba travelled to Belgium last week to seek further medical advice from a cardiologist after consultations in Britain and Europe, and has been advised to retire from playing at the professional level. Muamba collapsed to the pitch in north London on March 17 and his heart stopped beating on its own for 78 minutes. The game was later abandoned.
“While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for. I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me.”
“Football has been my life since I was a teenage boy and it has given me so many opportunities,” Muamba said. “Above all else, I love the game and count myself very lucky to have been able to play at the highest level.
“I would also like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout my career, and the Bolton fans who have been incredible.”
Muamba, 24, played 211 games in all competitions during his professional career, scoring six goals.