Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Uso’

Teixiera Update?, WWE Creative, KG/Pierce to Nets?, Taz to WWE?

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

NBA

– The Nets and Celtics are discussing a trade that would send F Kevin Garnett and F Paul Pierce to Brooklyn for F Kris Humphries, F Gerald Wallace, F Tomike Shengelia and three 1st-round pick, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The Nets reportedly inquired about Garnett’s availability earlier this week. KG has a no-trade clause and would have to approve any deal, while Pierce has a $15M team option.

– The Bucks have let teams know that G Brandon Jennings is available for the right price, according to beat writer Gery Woelfel. Jennings, a former 1st-round pick, is scheduled to be an RFA, and has said he wants a max contract in a larger market before becoming a UFA next summer.

– Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers says he has talked to impending free agent G Chris Paul since joining the team. Rivers reportedly accepted the job with the understanding that “he’ll be coaching (Chris) Paul” this season. Paul is expected to sign a long-term, max-money contract with the Clippers.

– F Nerlens Noel (knee) believes he’ll be ready to play by November, according to Yahoo! Sports. Noel previously said that he’d be ready around Christmas.

MLB

– Yankees’ 1B Mark Teixeira (right wrist) will undergo season-ending surgery, and will miss 4-5 months. The partially-torn tendon sheath in his wrist was determined to have not healed enough. Teixiera batted .151 with three homeruns and 12 RBI in 15 games this season.

– According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, there has been a breakdown in the negotiations between the Rockies and Marlins involving RHP Ricky Nolasco. Olney says there is a disagreement over which side would pick up what’s left of Nolasco’s $11.5M salary for 2013. Nolasco has a 3.68 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 77/25 K/BB ratio in 100 1/3 innings this season for Miami. The Giants, Dodgers and Padres remain in the mix.

– Orioles’ RHP Dylan Bundy (elbow) will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery Thursday. Bundy has a partial tear of the UCL in his elbow. He’ll be sidelined until the second half of the 2014 season.

– Mets’ LHP Jon Niese (shoulder) is hoping to be cleared to resume throwing after a follow-up exam next week. Niese is dealing with a partially torn rotator cuff, but will attempt to pitch through it. He remains out indefinitely.

– CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs and 1st-round pick 3B Kris Bryant are “nowhere close to a deal.” Bryant was selected No. 2 overall in this month’s First-Year Player Draft. The 22-year-old reportedly looking for more than the $6.7M slot recommendation, while the Cubs would prefer for a deal in the $6M range. The two sides have until July 15 to reach an agreement.

– Padres’ 1B Yonder Alonso (hand) isn’t expected to be activated from the DL until the second week of July. Alonso hasn’t been cleared for baseball activities yet, and will require a rehab assignment before returning.

– Mets’ SS Ruben Tejada (quad) will begin a rehab assignment later this week for the Gulf Coast League Mets.

NHL

– The Sharks re-signed D Jason Demers and F James Sheppard to 1-year contracts, as well as F Andrew Desjardins to a 2-year contract. Demers, a 25-year-old an impending RFA, had one goal and two assists in 22 games last season. Sheppard had one goal and three assists in 32 regular season games. Desjardins had two goals and one assist and 61 penalty minutes in 42 games last season

–  The Lightning have re-signed D Keith Aulie to a 1-year contract. Aulie, 24, recorded two goals and five assists in 45 games last season, and led the team with 91 hits.

– Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli said the team will not re-sign impending free agent F Jaromir Jagr, D Andrew Ference or F Jay Pandolfo. Jagr told reporters Wednesday, “I don’t think I will. Maybe if I would score 20 goals in the playoffs, it would be a different story. I was 20 short.”

– Blackhawks’ F Marian Hossa (back) may require offseason surgery. A disc in Hossa’s back was pushing up against a nerve, causing one of his legs to go numb, causing him to miss Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

– NHL agent Don Baizley, whose client list included Teemu Selanne and Peter Forsberg, has died at the age of 71. Baizley battled non-smoker’s lung cancer, and his death brought an outpouring of support from the hockey community.

WWE

– TNA announcer Taz recently posted an interested tweet. Taz wrote, “Couple of big wrestling shows in my “hometown” of Brooklyn! #RedHookNearBarclay” It is worth noting that WWE runs the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on July 15th. That is the WWE RAW television show the night after the Money In The Bank pay-per-view. Taz’s TNA contract is set to expire in less than two weeks, and possibly as early as this weekend. His tweet has since been removed.

– TMZ is reporting that WWE Superstar CM Punk has obtained a restraining order against his mother:

“WWE superstar CM Punk has obtained a restraining order against his estranged mother — claiming she constantly hits him up for money and then threatens to kill herself if he doesn’t come through … TMZ has learned.

Punk — real name Phillip Brooks — claims in legal docs filed in Illinois that he’s tried to break off his relationship with his mother for more than a year “due to repeated financial demands and years of abusive, harassing and threatening behavior.”

In the document, Punk says he’s made an effort to help his mom — who he claims suffers from bipolar disorder — giving her more than $100,000. But Punk says her “abusive/threatening behavior” escalated when he cut her off.

That’s when Punk’s mom allegedly unleashed a torrent of nasty emails — telling the wrestler, “You don’t give a s**t about us. You just care about your money and money hungry/fame hungry friends. You would sell us for a nickel.”

Punk also says his mother threatened to release potentially embarrassing information about her son’s past. Punk suggests the information has to do with arrests when he was in high school.

In the docs, Punk says his mother has threatened to commit suicide on at least 4 occasions in 2012.

Punk says, “I wish for the harassment to stop and am requesting the assistance of the court in this regards.”

– The participants for the World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank ladder match was revealed during the WWE SmackDown tapings on Tuesday night. WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes will be the participants in the second of two ladder matches on the pay-per-view. With that now known, the following is an updated look at the official WWE Money In The Bank pay-per-view lineup:

WWE Title: John Cena (c) vs. Mark Henry

World Heavyweight Title: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

WWE Tag-Team Titles: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (c) vs. The Usos

Singles Match: Chris Jericho vs. Ryback

WWE Title MITB Match: Rob Van Dam, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Christian, Sheamus and Kane

World Title MITB Match: Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes

– Former WWE and WCW Superstar Diamond Dallas Page confirmed rumors that Jake “The Snake” Roberts has fallen off the wagon. DDP released the following video and statement:

“The decision to release these videos was made after much consideration. There has been a tremendous flood of positive media coverage surrounding what happens at the Accountability Crib, and while many things that happen may be kept private, we cannot allow a false image to be portrayed.

As much as we hate seeing people fall, we still believe that anyone can make the decision to get back up. We’re not a rehab center and we’re still learning so much about addiction. We only are here to support our friends if they are willing to do the work necessary.

Please be patient as we are trying to condense hours of footage into a shorter format.”

– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE head writer David Kreizman ended up extending his stay with the company until mid-August because his original direction built to SummerSlam and the company wanted him to stick around and see it through. Additionally, WWE wanted Kreizman to be involved with training his successor. There was said to be a general feeling in WWE that the new writer would have problems with the pressure in building towards a big event such as SummerSlam, whereas now he will be able to ease himself into the position and get comfortable from September through December before the next big event, WrestleMania, comes around.

Regarding creative changes, Stephanie McMahon’s role is said to have been minimized, as she’s now only involved when needed.

Brian James has been put into creative because the company wants a “wrestling guy” in on meetings now that Michael Hayes mainly communicates via telephone.

As far as the major television re-writes on Monday’s and Tuesday’s, David Kapoor (Ranjin Singh) was in charge of those, however his position too has changed recently. Kapoor now delegates the workload to the writers after Vince McMahon himself makes his changes. Kapoor also interacts with television people, the WWE App people and the WWE.com people to make sure they are aware of all late-changes.

Ed Koskey is now the lead writer for WWE RAW, while Ryan Ward, who comes in highly respected for his work in NXT, has been promoted to lead writer of SmackDown.

– The following are new details from the Jack Swagger/DUI case from The Sun Herald out of Mississippi:

When Swagger was stopped on 2/19, he told police he had just showered, stopped by a fast-food place and was “pretty banged up” from the SmackDown tapings earlier that evening.

The officer on site noted that Swagger was driving 10 miles per hour faster than the speed limit and that he smelled marijuana in his car. The officer saw marijuana on Swagger’s lap.

Swagger did not testify in court on Tuesday, but a video recording from the patrol car on the scene showed Swagger telling the officer that he had smoked marijuana before leaving the arena that night. Swagger told the officer, “I know I f*cked up. I apologize, man.”

An officer testified that Swagger accidentally handed him his credit card when asked for his license. Swagger’s speech was reportedly slow, his eyes bloodshot and watery, but he was said to be “cooperative, nervous and talkative.” A DUI officer noted, “he was just as docile as a gentleman can possibly be.”

A video from the patrol car showed Swagger taking his field sobriety test. Swagger stumbled a few times when doing some of the walking. The officer claimed Swagger’s field sobriety test was “probably by far one of the worst I’ve ever seen as a DUI officer under the influence of marijuana.”

Swagger was fined $1,000 plus $300 in court costs for the DUI convinction. Additionally, he was fined $198 for speeding and must attend an alcohol-safety class as well as a victim-impact class. Swagger can get his license back in 90 days if he completes the classes.

– According to the Wrestling Observer, good luck–not the WWE writers or even the McMahon’s–should be credited for the recent quality of the current WWE television product. The source claims the Mark Henry “retirement swerve,” as it was scripted, was good but not as great as it turned out. The credit in that situation goes to Mark Henry, who some claim took the entire segment in a direction that wasn’t planned, and that nobody saw coming. The June 24 edition of WWE RAW, for the first time in weeks, had minimal changes from the final draft of the script to the version that ends up used for the show itself. John Cena and CM Punk in particular had already gone through and approved their own segments before the final scripts were even presented that evening.

– Updating a previous item, Natalya and Tyson Kidd would be getting married on Wednesday and that WWE would be filming the wedding for the Total Divas reality show on E! The source to the rumour reports that Natalya and Kidd actually got married several months ago, and that the wedding this week was just for television. Apparently the wedding did in fact occur on Wednesday evening. A photo surfaced on Twitter of Eva Marie, Jo-Jo Offerman, Cameron and Naomi at the wedding. Additionally, Brie Bella tweeted a photo of her and Daniel Bryan, with the tag, “Having a great time at the wedding… Precursor to our own, perhaps?”

– Chris Jericho recently revealed on his official Twitter page that he intends to release his next book in February of 2014. Additionally, Jericho was asked if he has any unfulfilled goals he wants to achieve in WWE. Jericho replied, “No. But I’m having more fun than ever!!”

– WWE.com recently published a new article focusing on Rey Mysterio’s recent tweet that said he would be back in action with WWE by the SummerSlam pay-per-view. The article notes that Mysterio debuted at that event 11 years ago.

– WWE Hall Of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is filming a pilot for a new reality television show this week. Austin wrote on Twitter, “Filming a pilot show for the next 2 days. This will be the toughest damn show on television. Finally…A real tough ass show. #bustass”

– The Rock once again tweeted about the honor of gracing the cover of the new WWE 2K14 video game. Rock wrote, “The jabroni beating, pie eating, trail blazing, eyebrow raising..” Cool honor! Thank U! @WWE 2K14 #PeoplesChamp” Also, The Rock’s film “Pain & Gain” will be released on both DVD and Blu-ray on August 27.

– WWE.com recently posted the following regarding the death of R-Truth’s sister:

“After a seven-year battle with cancer, Francetta Killings, sister of WWE Superstar Ron ‘R-Truth’ Killings, has passed away. WWE extends its deepest condolences to Ron and his family.”

– The following are highlights from Brian Soscia’s recent interview with former WWE Superstar John Morrison:

On WWE Tough Enough: “I tried out for Tough Enough season 2 originally and made it to the final casting episode and got cut by Kevin Dunn, who said all I wanted to do was run and flip and jump. It actually turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me because I reapplied for Tough Enough season 3 and ended up making it on that show and then winning the developmental contract, going to Louisville and getting to meet the whole cast of wrestling characters that have now become my family, so to speak.”

On why WWE changes his name so frequently: “Just classic wrestling stuff. People are wishy washy. Honestly, it was because I wanted to be Johnny Blaze. Johnny Blaze was my character at OVW. I had all these fancy fire catchphrases, call the fire department, get your fire extinguishers out, ladies. By the time you hear the thunder it’s going to be too late because the lighting will have already struck. That was all my thing. And then I debuted as Johnny Blaze and WWE promptly received a cease and desist from Marvel, who had copyrighted the name Johnny Blaze for Ghost Rider.

“It switched then to Johnny Spade, which is basically a rip off of Johnny Ace. A week later it changed to Johnny Nitro, mostly because I really did not like Johnny Spade. Johnny Nitro was an homage to Eric Bischoff, who I was his apprentice at the time. I liked that name. Basically Vince McMahon thought that Nitro reminded him of WCW and when I became the ECW Champion, like, he had a couple times mentioned to me, if you’re going to be a real star you need a real name.

“Just one day he was all, you’ve got to change your name. So I made a list of names that day, mostly movie star names. John Brando Morrison, Dean Brando Morrison, Brando Brando Brando, anyway, a whole bunch of weird things. I had a couple Johnny Hollywood type things in there too. They just eventually settled on John Morrison because they liked my look as compared to Jim Morrison. It’s what they went with and it’s what I’m known as now.”

On who came up with MNM: “MNM, that idea was just me, Joey and Melina putting our heads together. I can’t remember exactly who came up with just dubbing it MNM. That was something that the three of us together really made happen. Melina sketched our first pair of tights on a piece of white paper. Another wrestler named Mike Taylor designed the first pair of tights which then went on to become crazy because I drew Julia, the seamstress at WWE is super talented and she made it her own.

“We started our own promo videos at OVW and I went to school for film, so I was editing all these MNM promo videos together and submitting them to talent relations at the time. At one point they wanted to have me, Melina and another wrestler called Chris Cage come up because they didn’t like Joey. The team just wasn’t the same without Joey Mercury. So they eventually just ended up taking our whole gimmick that we’d been doing at OVW in developmental and putting it on TV. It was really the best thing that could have happened for all of us.”

– According to the Wrestling Observer, there are currently no plans for Alberto Del Rio to return to using cars for his WWE entrances now that he’s back to working as a heel.

– The following is footage of WWE Superstar John Cena speaking at the 2013 Susan G. Komen Leadership Conference:

– The following are some WWE business notes for May of 2013:

The average live event attendance at WWE events was 4,438 paid per show in May of 2013, up 9.9 percent from May of 2012.

WWE shipped 305,000 DVD units in May of 2013, up from 301,000 units in May of 2012.

WWE.com did 13.5 million unique visitors in May of 2013, the same as the website did in May of 2012.

WWE’s Shop website took 613 orders per day in May of 2013, the same as May of 2012.

– The following are some recent WWE attendance figures:

RAW on June 21st in Mobile, AL drew 4,500 fans for $135,000

RAW on June 22nd in Tallahassee, FL drew 3,500 fans for $100,000

SmackDown on June 22nd in Daytona Beach, FL drew 3,500 fans for $125,000

RAW on June 23rd in Savannah, GA drew 5,500 fans for $160,000

SmackDown on June 23rd in Albany, GA drew 3,500 fans for $85,000

– The following is an updated synopsis for WWE’s upcoming Bill Goldberg DVD and Blu-ray set, which is scheduled for an October release:

Goldberg was one of the most dominant and talented individuals ever witnessed in sports entertainment, exploding onto the scene by amassing an epic win streak of 173 matches. Throughout his WCW career he defeated legends such as Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Diamond Dallas Page. As he crossed over to the WWE, this powerhouse continued his dominance taking on such Superstars as The Rock, Triple H, and Brock Lesnar among others. This 3-disc compilation features some of the biggest matches in Goldberg’s impressive career and showcases why his legacy will forever be cemented in sports entertainment.”

– The fan who danced in the ring with “Tons Of Funk” on WWE RAW on Monday was former Tennessee State Representative Scotty Campbell. Campbell won the cameo during RAW by winning an auction designed to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims.

– According to the Wrestling Observer, one reason WWE has brought in several top indy wrestling stars is because current WWE agent Jamie Noble keeps up with that scene in particular, and he’s the one who recommends those types of talent to WWE.

– Former WWE Superstar and TNA wrestler Brandon Sylvestry (Low Ki/Senshi) has been telling promoters and friends that he is officially retired from pro wrestling. According to one source, Sylvestry has moved over to voice-over work.

– The following is the updated synopsis for the upcoming WWE Money In The Bank DVD and Blu-ray set, which will be hosted by The Miz.

“Hosted by The Miz, the compilation features every Money in the Bank Ladder Match in history. The match debuted at WrestleMania 21 in 2005, quickly becoming a WrestleMania tradition and in 2010 proved so popular that it was given its own annual PPV event. Several top Superstars have been Money in the Bank winners including John Cena, Kane, Edge, C.M. Punk (twice!), Rob Van Dam, and many more… Much like the Royal Rumble Match, the Money in the Bank match represents a golden opportunity for a Superstar to achieve immortality, and its entire lineage is presented here.”

– Independent pro wrestler Ricky Marvin is currently in the process of attempting to get a deal with WWE.

– Santino Marella’s “Battle Arts Academy” in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada will open up in two weeks.

– The following is the latest JBL & Cole World Tour video from Chicago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-u9ABv97_vk

ROH

– Ring Of Honor issued the following update on The Briscoes:

Last weekend in Baltimore was a physically brutal one for both World Champion Jay Briscoe and his “Best in the World 2013” challenger Mark Briscoe. The brothers tore into one another in one of the more physical championship battles and it ultimately required Jay to utilize multiple Jay Drillers in order to put his brother down for the three count. Unfortunately, as a result of those maneuvers and the general punishment suffered in the bout, Mark Briscoe was forced out of his spot in the Steel Cage Warfare bout that went down during the following day’s “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV Tapings.

As for Jay, the day of those tapings he defended his title once again, this time against S.C.U.M’s Matt Hardy and although he was victorious in the bout, following the match the champion was viciously assaulted with a steel chair by S.C.U.M and left laying.

Unfortunately, ROHWrestling.com has since learned that, as a result of the injuries sustained during “Best in the World” weekend, both Jay and Mark will be out of action indefinitely. Mark suffered severe head trauma as a result of the bout with his brother while Jay apparently has a fractured shoulder and torn rotator cuff coming from the assault at the hands of S.C.U.M. At this point it is unknown how long Jay and Mark will be out of action but we will stay on top of the story to provide you with details as they are made available to us.

ROHWrestling.com also contacted Match Maker Nigel McGuinness for an update on how this would affect the championship held by Jay Briscoe and he informed us that there will be an announcement made soon regarding the status of the ROH World Title. Nigel did inform us that he intended to announce this week that Michael Elgin would receive his championship opportunity on August 3rd in Toronto but now that is in question. ROHWrestling.com has hear rumors that with Elgin scheduled to be the next man in line for a shot, he may be the World Title due to forfeit.

All of the events that led to this will be seen on “Ring of Honor Wrestling” TV broadcasts over the course of the next several weeks or you will be able to see it all unfold very shortly courtesy of the Early Bird TV options here (http://www.rohwrestling.com/tv/current) on ROHWrestling.com.

Stay tuned for more details on the status of the World Title as they are made available…

TNA

– According to the Wrestling Observer, TNA has reportedly cutting back on flying in talent for television tapings, as the company is worried about money.

– The man behind Suicide will be revealed on tonight’s edition of TNA Impact Wrestling.

Rampage Jackson Signs with Bellator; TNA’s “Big” Signing?

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

UFC

– UFC legend Quinton ”Rampage” Jackson has signed with the Bellator. Jackson, who was a free agent, did not re-sign with UFC following his unanimous decision loss to Glover Teixeira in January. According to reports, Rampage’s deal with Bellator is similar to that of “King” Muhammed Lawal, givings him the opportunity to appear on TNA Impact Wrestling programming on Spike TV. Rampage has openly stated that he’s interested in a pro wrestling career, which would allow him to showcase both his athleticism as well as his charisma and showmanship. Jackson’s Bellator debut has yet to be finalized, but a fall date appears to be a possibility. Jackson, 34, is a 14-year veteran. He finishes his UFC career as a former lightweight champion and a 7-5 record. Overall, he enters Bellator with a 32-11 record.

NFL

– According to ESPN Cleveland, Browns’ RB Trent Richardson (shin) will be out until August, and will miss the start of training camp. Richardson’s injuries continue to add up–he’s had knee surgery, two broken ribs and now a shin injury since being drafted No. 3 overall last season.

– Giants’ RE Jason Pierre-Paul (back) underwent surgery Tuesday. JPP was criticized for being out of shape last season, and posted just 66 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He’ll start training camp on PUP, but is expected to be ready for Week 1.

NBA

– Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri didn’t guarantee the return of head coach Dwane Casey at his introductory press conference Tuesday. It’s believed that Casey will be retained, and Ujiri said he doesn’t see “any reason why Dwane won’t be back,” but added that he needs to have a longer conversation with Casey and understand his philosophies as it relates to the players currently on the roster. Casey has one year left on his deal.

MLB

– Yankees’ RHP Michael Pineda (shoulder) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with High-A Tampa. Pineda was cleared after throwing 65 pitches in an extended spring game Monday without issue.

– The AP reports that former major league OF Milton Bradley was convicted Monday of abusing his estranged wife. A spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said Bradley was convicted on nine misdemeanor counts, including assault with a deadly weapon and spousal battery. Prosectors said Bradley, 35, threatened and attacked his five times between 2011 and 2012. He will be sentenced on July 2 faces up to 7.5 years in prison.

NHL

– According to the Columbus Dispatch, contract talks between the Blue Jackets and RFA G Sergei Bobrovsky are not progressing. Per the report, talks have stalled because Bobrovsky’s agent wants to wait to get into serious talks. From their standpoint, it makes sense, as Bobrovsky’s value would rise should he win the Vezina Trophy. Bobrovsky could also receive an offer sheet from another NHL team or a contract offer from the KHL. The Jackets have publicly said that they’ll match any NHL offer sheet regardless of cost, but they’ll be helpless if Bobrovsky wants to go to the KHL. Stay tuned.

– The Blackhawks have agreed to terms with G Antti Raanta on a 1-year entry level contract. Rannta, 24, posted a 21-10-11 record with five shutouts, a 1.85 GAA and a .943 SV% in 45 games last season with Assat Pori of SM-liiga. He led the league in goals-against average and save percentage, and ranked fifth in shutouts, while leading his team to the 2013 SM-liiga championship.

WWE

– Chris Jericho tweeted the following praise for Daniel Bryan after his strong performances on Monday’s RAW:

– Former WWE Superstar Batista tweeted the following inspirational message about tweeting your dreams:

“So this is my random rant of the day before I hit the sack. Been reflecting alot cuz I’ve spent the last 10 days and nights alone. And it just seems so crazy to me that I’m in London getting ready to co star in a Marvel film! A kid from Washington DC who didn’t always have food to eat and was embarrassed to go to school because my raggedy clothes were from good will and my shoes had holes in them!! I’m not particularly talented,good looking,smart,athletic,etc.etc…But I’ve been able to entertain millions of people around the world. And i want to share some advice with anyone who wants some on how i got to do these things. And if just one person takes my advice then this novel of a tweet will be worth it. Get the fuck out of your comfort zone! Chase that dream of yours that seems unattainable and everyone else says you can’t do! Don’t half ass it! Don’t make a couple calls and wait for something to happen.Go for broke! Try out! Audition! Take classes! Get out and network! Everybody starts somewhere!Yes people will hate on you and make fun of you and take every cheap shot they can. And yes you will be rejected and laughed at! So what!! Fuck people who laugh at you cuz you’ve got the balls to sack up and pursue your dreams! Amateur wrestling,bodybuilding,pro wrestling,mma,movies, all started out for me as a daydream. And I wasn’t always successful but I never let haters or fear get in the way. I’d rather be a failure than a coward who didn’t have the heart to to pursue his dreams. Which seems to be the common factor amongst haters. So listen up people cuz I’m not preachin for my own good! You’ve only got #onelife and we’ve only got #oneworld so be a #dreamchaser and don’t take either for granted cuz tomorrow we may not have them anymore. Class dismissed. Gnite twitches!!!!!”

– On Monday’s RAW, we saw a reboot for The Uso’s tag team, sporting new facepaint, pyro during their entrance and an overall energized attitude. They picked up an impressive win over the Prime Time Players. F4WOnline reports that the team is being slightly repackaged in an effort to build them up as credible challenges to WWE Tag Team Champions, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield.

– WWE.com posted the following storyline-driven injury update for Kofi Kingston:

“Today, WWE.com caught up with Dr. Chris Amann about the condition of Kofi Kingston after the Superstar underwent elbow surgery.”

“Kofi underwent left elbow arthroscopy last week with Dr. Dugas in Birmingham, Alabama,” said Amann. At that time, he was found to have two large bone chips about the size of a marble in his elbow joint. Those were removed. He’s in a sling. He’s starting physical therapy and doing very well.”

– Superstar Billy Graham will be having a kidney stone removed soon, according to PWInsider.

– After her husband Triple H was prohibited from competing on RAW against Curtis Axel, Stephanie McMahon tweeted the following explanation about why he was pulled from the match:

– WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund was spotted backstage at Raw Monday signing autographs.

TNA

– TNA announcer Todd Keneley has been dropped from the promotion’s announce team, according to a report at PWInsider. Beginning this Thursday night, the Impact Wrestling broadcast team will be returning to a 2-man format, with Mike Tenay and Tazz calling the action. Keneley was informed of the decision at Sunday’s Slammiversary PPV. He was brought in to the company back in October by Eric Bischoff and was working for TNA without a contract. The door is reportedly open for Keneley to return one day, if they find a role for him. TNA was not unhappy with his work, however, the decision was made to streamline the announce team and Keneley was the odd man out.

Gronkowski & Howard Updates, Goldberg Returning to WWE?

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

NFL

– The Boston Herald reports that Patriots’ TE Rob Gronkowski (left forearm) will undergo a fourth surgery Monday at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Jesse Jupiter is expected to perform the procedure. The surgeons will take “cultures” from Gronk’s arm–if they are infection-free, a new plate will replace the one already in his arm, and he’ll begin a 10-11 week recovery timetable. If the cultures show that the infection has not healed, however, “it’s back to square one,” and Gronk will probably not be ready for the start of the season. Stay tuned.

NBA

– Lakers’ impending free agent F Dwight Howard intends to “give strong consideration to multiple teams” as a free agent this summer, according to CBS Sports. Howard re-signing with the Lakers is reportedly “far from a done deal.” LA can offer him to a maximum 5-year contract worth more than other team’s 4-year offers. The Rockets are said to “intrigue him the most,” while the Mavericks are also in the mix. Howard’s free agent frenzy will begin–again–on June 30. Stay tuned.

– Check out Jason Collins’ brother, Jarron, giving Jimmy Kimmell an “I’m the Straight One” shirt:

NHL

– According to the Vancouver Sun, the Canucks are expected to buy out D Keith Ballard this summer. If all goes as planned in Vancouver, with Ballard’s buyout and the team trading G Roberto Luongo, the ‘Nucks will have freed up $9.5M in cap space. Stay tuned.

MLB

– The Rangers have placed 2B Ian Kinsler (intercostal strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 18. Kinsler experienced discomfort during batting practice Sunday. He’s batting .302/.369/.500 with seven home runs through 40 games this season.

– Pirates’ RHP James McDonald (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona on May 27. He’ll first throw bullpen sessions on Tuesday and Friday, and if all goes well, he’ll be given the OK. McDonald is slated to go four innings and/or throw 65 pitches for Altoona.

– Marlins’ 1B Logan Morrison (knee) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with High-A Jupiter Monday. Morrison has been playing in extended spring training games.

– Check out this Yankees’ fan eating cotton candy:

OHL

– Check out this singer butchering the anthem during the Memorial Cup:

WWE

– Former WWE & WCW star Bill Goldberg was recently asked by a fan on Twitter, if he could spear anyone in WWE, who would it be? He replied, “Hunter…..hands down…..RT” The same fan asked Goldberg, “any particular reason or just the overall doucheness and politicking he exhibits?” Goldberg told the fan he was “spot on.” Somebody else asked Goldberg when he will return to WWE. He replied, “When they learn how to run a business.” Finally, Goldberg was asked if he did return to WWE, would he want to wrestle Ryback? Goldberg said, “… if they knew how to do business I’d consider it…”

– During an interview to promote his new Fast & Furious 6 movie, The Rock talked about his various injuries, whether WrestleMania 29 was his final match, which current WWE superstars he enjoys watching and more:

– WWE has released the following promo video for next month’s WWE Payback pay-per-view:

– WWE Diva Naomi and Jimmy Uso are currently dating, according to WWE Diva Layla. It’s been rumoured for quite some time that they were in a relationship. Uso was recently seen in photos with Naomi while she was filming the Total Divas reality show.

– Updating a previous item, the May 27 edition of WWE RAW from Calgary, Alberta, Canada will be a “Bret Hart Appreciation Night” and will feature appearances from Hart as well as Shawn Michaels. Bret is not expected to take part in any physical angles, due to the the knee surgery he had earlier this year.

– WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels is now being advertised for several additional upcoming WWE live events. Here’s a look at his upcoming WWE schedule:

5/24 – WWE Live Event from Salt Lake City, Utah (HBK Appreciation Night)
5/25 – WWE Live Event (Red Deer, Alberta)
5/26 – WWE Live Event (Lethbridge, Alberta)
5/27 – WWE RAW from Calgary (Bret Hart Appreciation Night)

– Updating a previous item, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler will be returning to the ring later this month for the first time since suffering a heart attack on WWE RAW last year. Lawler will be wrestling in a 8-person inter-gender tag team match.

– Former WWE executive Linda McMahon was at WWE Headquarters on Friday filming interviews for upcoming WWE DVD releases. She tweeted the following over the weekend:

– WWE has published the following video counting down the most unique weapons used during matches:

– John Cena tweeted the following photo of himself working out prior to Sunday’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view:

– WWE COO Triple H was recently asked on Twitter what he thinks about The Shield member Dean Ambrose. He replied:

– CM Punk was at the Gracie MMA training camp this weekend, along with former WWE Diva Eve Torres. Eve tweeted the following picture of herself, Punk and the rest of the Gracie students. Eve is in the bottom left of the photo, while Punk is in the top right::

Standup Paddle boarding at #GracieImmersionCamp! Who’s the weirdo in the corner? instagram.com/p/Zd0f3VuOkc/

— Eve Torres (@EveMarieTorres) May 18, 2013

– Deadline.com reports that WWE has hired Julie Tustin as a new marketing executive for WWE Studios She previously worked with Paramount and Miramax.

Urlacher/Bears, Texans/Reed, Biogenesis Update, WWE PPVs

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

NFL

– The Bears have announced that they were unsuccessful in reaching an agreement with free agent MLB Brian Urlacher, and that “both sides will move forward.” GM Phil Emery said in a statement, ”He showed great leadership and helped develop a winning culture over his time with the Bears. We appreciate all he has given our team, on and off the field. Brian will always be welcome as a member of the Bears.” Per ESPN Chicago, the Bears aren’t believed to have offered Urlacher more than $2M for 2013–by comparison, Urlacher made $7.5M in 2012. Barring retirement, the 35-year-old will play his first game in another uniform in 2013.

– The Texans have agreed to terms with FS Ed Reed on a 2-year contract. CBS’ Jason La Canfora reports that he “wouldn’t be surprised at all” if Reed gets close to $6M per season. Reed replaces Glover Quin, while the Ravens take another big hit defensively.

– According to the NY Daily News, the parameters of a long-term deal are not the hang-up in talks between the Jets and Bucs about CB Darrelle Revis. The Bucs are reportedly willing to pay Revis $12-13M annually. Reporter Manish Mehta writes that the sides are expected to come to a long-term agreement “without much trouble” if Revis is sent to Tampa, however, the problem remains Tampa’s unwillingness to include their No. 13 pick in the upcoming draft. ESPN NYreported Tuesday the Jets are in “no rush” to make a move, and willing to wait for 2014 compensation.

– Giants’ QB Eli Manning told ESPN NY that he’s consider restructuring his contract in order to help the team re-sign RFA WR Victor Cruz. Manning signed a 7-year/$106.9M contract in 2009, while Cruz is playing under a 1-year/$2.879M tender. While the chance remains that he signs elsewhere, nothing has gone public about a team even preparing an offer for him.

– Free agent DE Osi Umenyiora visited the Falcons on Wednesday. The Dolphins are also known to have interest.

– According to the Baltimore Sun, the Broncos’ “preference” is to re-sign free agent DE Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil was reportedly “underwhelmed” by the Broncos’ most recent offer.

– The NFL has suspended Redskins OLB Rob Jackson 4 games. He’s eligible to participate in the team’s offseason program. Jackson recorded 37 tackles, 4.5 sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles last season. Eligible to return in Week 5.

– According to the AP, the Cardinals are leaning towards QB Drew Stanton as their starter. Head coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that the team is not looking for a quarterback because “we already found one.” Stanton is 2-2 as an NFL starter.

– According to the NY Post, Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin blamed DE Jason Pierre-Paul’s disappointing 2012 season on conditioning issues. Pierre-Paul recorded just 6.5 sacks and 66 tackles last season, and had 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles in 2011. Coughlin says Pierre-Paul was out of shape when he showed up in August, and struggled throughout the year to drop the extra pounds. He’s being asked to arrive at camp at 275 pounds this year.

– Bears’ FB Evan Rodriguez was arrested on charges of resisting an officer without violence and disorderly intoxication in Miami Thursday morning. Rodriguez was booked on South Beach just after 5:30 a.m, and is facing a $1,500 bond. Rodriguez had four catches for 21 yards.

MLB

– Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that Major League Baseball “is honing in on Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun as two main targets” in their probe of the Biogenesis clinic. Passan adds that, “in addition to being the two biggest names in the Biogenesis logbooks, Rodriguez and Braun have in the past provided MLB with information about alleged PED use the league believes to be false.” An unnamed source told Yahoo! Sports that “there’s no question in my mind they want those two guys.” Of note, MLB has already suspended Cesar Carrillo 100 games due to “unsatisfactory” cooperation with the Biogenesis probe. Stay tuned.

– According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, there is a “decent-sized gap” between the Giants and C Buster Posey in regards to a contract extension. Posey is under club control through the 2016 season, so a deal isn’t being rushed. The 25-year-old has expressed interest in being a Giant for life. The two-time World Series champion hit .336/.408/.549 with 24 homers, 39 doubles and 103 RBI in 148 games last season.

– Free agent RHP Kyle Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, told MLB Network’s Peter Gammons Thursday that his client will not wait until after the June draft to sign with a team. Waiting beyond the draft would cancel Lohse’s draft pick compensation that would result from signing him, but Boras feels a deal will be done well before that. Lohse, 34, posted a 2.86 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 33 starts last season for the Cardinals.

– Free agent RHP Roy Oswalt’s agent, Bob Garber, told Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors that his client has been working out on the Mississippi State campus, and is “waiting for the right offer from a contender.” Garber reports that geography will not play a factor in Oswalt’s decision as it did last season, but that his client does want to sign with a contender. Garber added that Oswalt is willing to pitch in late-inning relief, but prefers to start. The 35-year-old posted a 5.80 ERA in 17 appearances last season with the Rangers, but had a 59/11 K/BB ratio over 59 innings.

– Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are “checking out” Tigers’ RHP Rick Porcello. The Padres and Rangers have also checked in. Porcello, 24, posted a 4.59 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 107/44 K/BB ratio in 176 1/3 innings last season for Detroit.

– Dodgers’ RHP Zack Greinke (elbow) told the LA Times that he doesn’t think he’ll miss a start at the beginning of the season. Greinke threw 43 pitches over four scoreless innings in a minor league game Wednesday, and reported feeling “good” and “strong.” He’s scheduled to pitch on March 25 and 30, and he believes that will be enough to build up arm strength and have ideal sharpness.

– The Marlins have released INF Chone Figgins. The 35-year-old had zero extra-base hits in 32 plate appearances this spring in the Grapefruit League.

– Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson said Wednesday that RHP Shaun Marcum’s (right shoulder) cortisone shot Tuesday was “largely precautionary,” and that he doesn’t expect Marcum to require a DL stint.

– White Sox’ LHP John Danks (shoulder) will begin the season on the DL. Danks, coming off offseason shoulder surgery, has a 16.36 spring ERA and a 2.91 spring WHIP with diminished velocity.

– Blue Jays’ RHP Casey Janssen (shoulder) will make his Grapefruit League debut Friday. Janssen threw an inning in a minor league game Wednesday and reported no issues with his surgically-repaired shoulder.

– Former manager Lou Piniella was asked his thoughts on the Marlins/Blue Jays blockbuster over the offseason. He told YES Network:

“I don’t want to use the word ‘raped,’ but they basically took a lot of talent from the Miami Marlins.”

NBA

– Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN LA that F Dwight Howard (back) is finally 100% after offseason surgery. Since the All-Star break, Howard is averaging 16.8 points, 14.7 rebounds, 2.7 blocks.

– Check out this Cavaliers’ fan running onto the court to plead with Heat’ F LeBron James to come back to Cleveland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piiPiyQsu_E

– Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich Wednesday that G Tony Parker (ankle) could return as early as Friday against the Jazz.

– According to the Orlando Sentinel, Magic’ F Al Harrington, who hasn’t played in the last three games, could benched for the remainder of the season. The Magic may try and begin evaluating their young players for next season to assess where they are. Head coach Jacque Vaughn said, “It’s really nothing to do with his knees. It’s a coach’s decision. I’m going to give the opportunity to play some of our young guys and give them some experience.” Orlando is expected to try and trade him or buy him out in the offseason.

NHL

– Sharks’ D Dan Boyle told CSN Bay Area that he wants to remain in San Jose. “This is where I want to be. I don’t want to be anywhere else. You guys have been with me for five years and you know what I bring to the table. I don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s not fun to hear that. The only other time my name was involved was five years ago. Sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire, and I hope in this case, it’s not the case. It’s hard not to pay attention to that stuff.” Boyle has a limited no-trade clause, with one year left on his contract. The Sharks have a 12-10-6 record, but are just 6-10-6 since February 1.

– Panthers’ F Eric Selleck has been suspended 2 games for his altercation with Hurricanes’ F Kevin Westgarth on Tuesday night. Selleck left the bench on a legal line change in order to start a fight. He was given 17 minutes in penalties for it–two for instigating, five for fighting and a game misconduct. Selleck was making his NHL debut on top of everything, and was knocked out by Westgarth in the fight itself. Selleck will forfeit $5,945.94 in salary.

WWE

– According to the Wrestling Observer, the gate for WrestleMania 29 is already $11M, which is the all-time high for any WWE show ever. The standard definition broadcast is now $59.95, while HD is $69.95. By comparison, WrestleMania 28 did 1.25 million buys. If this tops it or comes close as most expect then it will be the biggest selling PPV in company history.

– WWE CFO George Barrios spoke to 4-Traders.com today and revealed some new details on the WWE Network. Notably, the subscription will run $12.99-14.99 per month, the break-even point for WWE is around 1 million subscribers and the company will eventually phase out pay-per-view events entirely. Here’s the full transcript of what Barrios said about:

Where WWE’s Future Growth Will Come From: “Well, over the last few years our core business has been performing well. We generate $75 million to $95 million of EBITDA. Those EBITDA margins have been 16% to 19% so the core business performed well. We have invested a lot in the last couple of years to take advantage some of that growth that we see. And the big strategic thesis for us is the value of content. There is more and more distribution alternatives available. Netflix is one everyone talks about. YouTube not being part of just social video but now real original content. So there’s more and more distribution alternatives and it’s on a global basis. As a content creator and owner, which makes us unique, we own 100% of the rights of our content. We license them out, we’ll license windows but we own it all. And that’s a unique position to be in. We think the rising distribution opportunity is driving up the valley of content. In fact, you look at what HBO does to produce Game of Thrones, right? You’re talking $10 million to $20 million an episode for 13 hours, right. So now you’re in the $150 million to $200 million. That’s incredible value. Raw and SmackDown are two franchised programs, average more viewers than any cable network average of prime time. So USA is a number one cable network in the US. It averages about 3 million viewers a week in prime time. Raw and SmackDown, our two top programs, averages more than that. We create a lot of value with the content. That’s going to be a big driver for growth.”

How WWE Will Monetize The Network & The Break-Even Point: “Sure. So on the first part, continuing on with our core products, we’re going to keep them fully distributed. We think that’s a great platform for a network. And we think there’s a lot of value as those shows come up for renewal. Our four biggest contracts will be renewed over the next three years. We think that’s a great opportunity for us because of the value we deliver. Then to the network, we said we’re going to take our pay-per-views. We’re one of the preeminent pay-per-view providers today and our pay-per-views are priced anywhere between $49.95 and $59.95 today and we’re going to make that the core of a value proposition with a lot of other new content and put it on a premium network so that our fans can subscribe. We said the price will be somewhere between $12.99 or $14.99, to be determined as we go to market but we think that’s a real great opportunity. And to your question about breakeven, about a million subscribers because the pay-per-view buyers will migrate over to the network. That’s our belief. About a million subscribers, we breakeven at 2 million, it’s a really good business; at 3 million to 4 million, for us it’s transformative.”

Will WWE’s Pay-Per-View Business Eventually Go Away? “We believe over time. We believe the value proposition will be much more powerful to subscribe to a network at $12.99 to $14.99, 24/7, you have the pay-per-views, a lot of great content, our library, a lot of retrospective programming that we’re doing that’s testing really, really well, we’re producing it right now so over time, I think the pay-per-view does go away.”

– According to TMZ, former WWE superstar Chris Masters (Chris Mordetzky) saved his mother’s life after he pulled her from a burning building by uprooting a tree with his bare hands and using it as a battering ram to enter her house. Mordetzky reportedly rushed to his mother’s Los Angeles home yesterday, after his uncle called and said a neighbour had gone snapped and barricaded himself inside her house. When Mordetzky showed up, the neighbour was shouting through the front door that he would burn the house down if anyone tried to get in. Chris says he tried talking to the guy, but made no progress, so he called the police. When the cops arrived, however, the neighbour had set the house on fire. Chris then yanked the tree out of the ground and tossed it through a window and pulled his mother from the fire, as the police arrested the neighbour on arson charges. The man is currently still in custody.

– Jonathon “Jimmy Uso” Fatu’s attorney, Keith M. Goan, sent in the following statement regarding Uso’s arrest last week. Goan says the arrest was for driving on a suspended license while on probation – and not for a second a DUI:

“Please accept this correspondence as a notice of correction as it relates to the recent arrest of Jonathon Fatu. As many of you have reported Mr. Fatu was charged with a DUI in 2012. He plead No Contest to said charge and was placed on probation. He completed the terms and conditions of his probation as directed by the Court. While waiting for the termination of said probation to take effect, he was erroneously cited for driving on a suspended license and an affidavit of violation of probation was filed.”

“This most recent ‘arrest’ derived from Mr. Fatu turning himself in to the Hillsborough County Jail allowing for the warrant to be set aside. This arrest was not a second DUI as is being falsely reported. We are extremely confident that once we get on the Court’s docket, Mr. Fatu’s probation will be terminated and the citation for driving on a suspended license will be dismissed.”

– Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis is denying reports that she was inducting Bob Backlund in the WWE Hall of Fame. She tweeted this week:

I love Bob Backlund’s work but I am not inducting him into the Hall of Fame. I’m sure it will be an amazing show but I am not involved.

– The Miz spoke to WWE.com this week about reaching 1 million followers on Twitter:

“When WWE needs someone to do any kind of job whatsoever, they call upon me. Whether it’s doing talk shows, radio shows, being a commentator on WWE Main Event, being a WWE Superstar main-eventer or being a talk show host, they call upon The Miz because they know I’m the most must-see. I will make whatever I do awesome. I just made Twitter absolutely awesome and the 1 million Mizfits proved that!”

The Miz also hosted a Be a STAR rally in Pittsburgh:

– WWE Champion The Rock will be on Jay Leno tonight to promote “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and Wrestlemania 29.

– Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ “farewell tour” begins April 13th at Top Rope Wrestlings Night of Superstars show from Waynesboro High School in Waynesboro, Virginia. Jake will be meeting fans from 6-8pm and it’s advertised that he will “once again step inside the squared circle.”

– Former WWF Tag Team Champions Ax (Bill Eadie) and Smash (Barry Darsow), also known as ‘Demolition’ joined Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday Night. Highlights are as follows:

Did the Two of Them Meet Prior to Being In WWE:

Ax: “Yeah, of course we’d heard of each other and we respected each other’s work, that’s how come we got together. We had the opportunity to form a tag team and I just basically jumped at the chance. I went up to Charlotte, had a nice lunch, went over a couple of things and from then on the rest is history.”

Smash: “Yeah, when I was down with Crockett, I got the phone call from Vince McMahon and he asked me if I wanted to be partners with Bill Eadie and of course I jumped at the chance, because ‘The Masked Superstar’ that was like the biggest thing in professional wrestling at the time and if I could get together with him, that going to help my career and teach me a lot about wrestling and that’s what happened. So, it was a great move for me, to partner up with Ax and become Demolition.”

Why Smash Was Added to Demolition After Randy Colley Left:

Ax: “Well, Randy was a friend of our and still is. Randy was identifiable because he had been there with the Moondogs; one of their Tag Team Champions and I think that;, at least I thought at the time, you have to have a new identity. Of course they didn’t have a reference for me because I had the mask and Barry hadn’t been in (the WWF) at the time; I just didn’t feel it was going to be successful and at that point, I was welcome to go back to Japan and continue wrestling as the Masked Superstar. Vince had approached me and said ‘No, I think this is going to be a good character for you. I think you need to get a new partner.’ And that’s how we got to meeting, Barry and I, and right away I’d heard of his reputation; he’s a hard worker and honest guy, and it just took off. We had good chemistry from day one.”

Smash: “Yeah, what I think worked out good for me was being down in the South; everybody and the fans of the WWF at the time, really didn’t know who I was because Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA, the fans for that organization, watched all the guys in the South, but they didn’t watch the WWF and the WWF fans didn’t watch people from the South. So, they really didn’t know me when I came in, so it worked out pretty good. So we were two new guys in the wrestling business for the fans.”

The Decision to Change Managers from Luscious Johnny V to Mr. Fuji:

Ax: “Yeah, that was our decision. We had nothing against Valiant, but Valiant has a comical side to him and with our characters we didn’t feel we needed any comedy. We just wanted to go out and kick people’s rear end and smash their teeth in, as Smash used to say, and kick their stinking door down and we didn’t need anything to sidetrack that. Fuji was a very vicious, hated professional and he was managing at that time, he was managing some top talent, some vicious talent and it just meshed with our character. Now, if we had been like the Valiants, or like the Bushwhackers, somebody of that type; good talent, but Valiant didn’t match our persona. ”

Smash: “I was kinda hard when we were doing our interviews and you’d be so serious about beating people up and everything and then, all of a sudden, there’d be a joke after it or something, you know? It was just kind of a buzzkill a little bit. But he was a great guy.”

Ax: “Like Smash said, Valiant was coming out of left field with comments about our interview and it would just simply sidetrack the whole interview. Fuji let us set the meter of the matches. He give us advice but wouldn’t interfere. He was there for technical help, he was there for advice, but he didn’t get involved too much in our interviews and neither Barry nor myself, you can tell from this interview, we don’t have any qualms about talking.”

How Long it Took To Be Cohesive As A Tag Team & Today’s Teams:

Smash: “It was pretty much of a natural click, I think, because we’d both been in the business for so long and we just kind of… neither of us wanted to be better than the other one; we just wanted to both be good. So, it just worked out great to where we both got to be really good partners.”

Ax: “I think the success of any team is actually the team. You’ve got situations now, and I constantly get asked by fans, ‘What is the major difference?’ The major difference that I see is you’ve got two people that are thrown together now to form a tag team because there’s nothing else for them to do or they can’t figure out what to do. Years ago, and you can testify because you mentioned all the names, tag teams drove the company; tag teams drove the business. And to be successful, you have to be reliant, dependable, honest with your partner and you have to be a team. You know, Smash and I spent more time together than we did with our families, so you have to like each other; you have to be consistent and honest and giving, congenial and that makes a team. We didn’t have to think about what we were going to do. We’d observe something in the match; I’d pick up a move that he would do or he’d pick up a move I’d do; we knew what we would do right after the other.”

Smash: “And the biggest thing, there was no egos there. Where nowadays, there are two guys in the ring and they’ve both got egos they want to make sure that they’re the best out of the two of them and so they’re fighting with each other; not real partners.”

If They Still Got Nervous Working WrestleMania:

Ax: “I think if you were a real professional, you had butterflies. We discussed it, we have butterflies against some of the smaller crowds, and they’re not because of fear. You know, if you don’t get nervous, and you don’t get a little antsy before your event, then it should be time for you to get out. The nervousness comes because you want to do the best performance and have your best match. And we used to step in the ring, it didn’t matter if there were 100,000 or 5,000 or 2,000; those people still paid their money, but the money was already spent there in the seats and we want to make sure we have our best match that night; the next night we want to have our best match and the next night we want to have out best match. I think Smash will say the same thing, the larger the crowd, the easier the reaction was; you know, the crowd worked for you, versus against you. So, they would be more receptive.”

Smash: “Yeah, exactly. Every time you go to the ring, you’ve got the nerves and everything and it made your perform a lot better. Of course, the fans don’t think you’re nervous, but you’re nervous because you want to perform the best and have the best match you ever can. So, like Bill was saying, you’re nervous the same in front of 500 people as you were 100,000 people.”

– In recent months, WWE rolled out a new feature where fans could purchase and stream pay-per-view events on mobile devices through the WWE App. For WrestleMania 29, fans will also be able to purchase & stream the event on Samsung Internet-enabled TV’s as well as Xbox Live.

– Here’s the latest installment of WWE Inbox:

TNA

– During a recent interview with EveryJoe.com, Christopher Daniels revealed what he loves most about working for TNA:

“I’d have to say the locker room is what I love most about TNA and Impact Wrestling. When you spend so much time with a group of individuals striving towards the common goal of improving our wrestling show, you form a very close bond that’s hard to break. These people are my family and best friends in the world, and I’m proud to work with them every week.”

– TNA Wrestling issued a following press release on Wednesday announcing that Dish Network is moving Spike TV (and Impact Wrestling) to channel 241:

“Currently, Spike TV can be seen on both DISH channels 168 and 241. However, DVR functionality on channel 168 is disabled, so we encourage all IMPACT WRESTLING fans to set their DVRs for channel 241 now. Spike TV will be on channel 241 full-time starting April 3.”

Falcons Sign Steven Jackson, Kobe Bryant Out Indefinitely

Friday, March 15th, 2013

NFL

– The Falcons have agreed to terms with RB Steven Jackson on a 3-year/$12M contract. Jackson has some mileage at 2,802 career touches, but was easily the top running back on the market.

– The Vikings have agreed to terms with QB Matt Cassel on a 1-year/$4M contract. Cassell committed 30 turnovers over his past 18 games.

– The Seahawks have agreed to terms with DE Michael Bennett on a 1-year/$5M contract. Bennett began his career with Seattle in 2009 before being cut the same season. He had nine sacks with the Bucs in 2012.

– The Patriots have signed KR/PR Leon Washington to a 1-year contract. Washington ranked No. 2 in the league in kickoff return average (29.0) among returners with at least 20 attempts last season. He also averaged 8.7 yards per return on punts.

– The Eagles have signed OLB Connor Barwin to a 6-year/$36M contract. Barwin, 26, recorded three sacks over 18 starts in Houston last season.

– 49ers’ WR Mario Manningham has agreed to a 50% pay cut, reducing his base salary from $3.6M to $1.8M. Manningham  also agreed to eliminate a $250K offseason roster bonus in addition to a $100K workout bonus, so his pay cut comes to $2.15M. He’s coming off ACL and PCL reconstruction.

– The Broncos have agreed to terms with CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a 1-year/$5M contract. DRC, 27 in April, finished 2012 with 51 tackles, 17 pass breakups and three interceptions as a 16-game starter with the Eagles.

– The Chiefs have agreed to terms with CB Sean Smith on a 3-year/$18M contract with $11M guaranteed.

– The Colts have signed DT Ricky Jean-Francois to a 4-year/$22M contract. According to The Sideline View’s Adam Caplan, Jean-Francois has never played more than 27% of his team’s defensive snaps in a single season.

– The Colts have signed S LaRon Landry to a 4-year/$24M contract with $14M guaranteed.

– Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole reports the lone hangup left in a potential deal between the Jets and Buccaneers involving CB Darrelle Revis is GM Mark Dominik’s unwillingness to surrender the No. 13 pick in April’s draft. Per Cole, Bucs management is “fully on board” with dealing for Revis, but Dominik is only willing to part with a 2013 2nx-rounder or 2014 1st-rounder. Stay tuned.

– According to the Chicago Tribune, free agent MLB Brian Urlacher has been in touch with the Vikings in recent days. Minnesota was reportedly “monitoring” the situation. Chicago hasn’t countered the 2-year offer Urlacher’s camp brought to the team last week, and GM Phil Emery called it an “ongoing process.” The Cardinals and Cowboys also reached out to Urlacher.

– According to reporter Tom Pelissero, free agent WR Greg Jennings is dining with Vikings’ brass on Thursday. Those in attendance include head coach Leslie Frazier, GM Rick Spielman and DE Jared Allen. Jennings, the top free agent receiver left on the market, is expect to command $7-8M, however, ESPN 1500 Twin Cities reported Thursday that Jennings was asking for $11M annually on Tuesday. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that the Packers are still “strongly in the running” for Jennings. He’s entering his age-30 season.

– CSN New England reports that Patriots’ WR Danny Amendola completed his contract with the Pats on Tuesday, and that his signing wasn’t a reaction to the Broncos signing WR Wes Welker. Beat writer Tom Curran reports the Patriots signed Amendola once Welker decided to test the market. The Pats were reportedly willing to pay both players, but Welker’s 2-year/$10M offer was obviously not enough.

– A source tells NFL.com that the Cardinals will release QB Kevin Kolb soon. Kolb is due a $2M roster bonus on Saturday, and carries a cap number of $13.5M. The deadline to release him is 4 p.m. ET Friday.

– VP of Football Operations John Elway said Thursday that the Broncos will not back down from their pay-cut request of DE Elvis Dumervil. “I hate having to do it, in the position I’m in. But I’ve got to do what’s best for this football team … Especially when you look at the market and what’s out there now. (The $12M salary) is so far out of whack. Hopefully, he realizes that.” Dumervil is due $12M in 2013.

– The Eagles have signed CB Cary Williams to a 3-year/$17M contract. He posted four interceptions and 17 pass deflections last season with the Ravens.

– Lions’ LT Jeff Backus has announced his retirement. The No. 18 pick of the 2001 draft, Backus missed one game in 12 seasons.

– The Chargers have signed CB Derek Cox to a 3-year contract.

MLB

– CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Rangers are expected to trade SS Elvis Andrus next winter if they’re unable to sign him to an extension. Heyman notes Texas is “said not to be overly optimistic” regarding a potential long-term contract. Heyman adds that Texas has offered Andrus two extensions in the past, but the Scott Boras client is more inclined to test the free agent waters. He’s scheduled to hit free agency after the 2014 season. Andrus’ successor, Jurickson Profar, is waiting in the wings.

– Dodgers’ OF Carl Crawford (left forearm/elbow) played catch from 60 feet Thursday for the first time since being shut down 2 weeks ago with tightness in his forearm. The club believes the new issue is related to his Tommy John surgery in August. He’s still expected to miss the first few weeks of the season.

– FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers remain in contact with free agent RHP Kyle Lohse. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com was told by a team source last week that the club wasn’t going to sign Lohse. Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, tells Rosenthal that several teams have been in contact. “He’s doing his workouts, and we’ve continued talking with a number of teams…A lot of teams are evaluating their existing situations, but have called and have interest in Kyle.” Lohse remains tied to draft pick compensation, and he’s still reportedly seeking a3-year contract with a “big” annual salary.

– According to FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi, Dodgers’ RHP Zack Greinke (elbow) won’t throw a bullpen session until next week. Greinke was scheduled to return on Friday, but had his Thursday session cancelled. He was diagnosed with inflammation in the back of his pitching elbow earlier this week. He’s scheduled to make his first start on April 2 against the Giants.

– Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that retired 1B Derrek Lee has turned down an offer from the Yankees, and will remain retired. Lee, 37, has a .281/.365/.495 career batting line, 331 homers and 1,078 RBI over 15 seasons.

– Phillies’ LHP Cole Hamels will start Opening Day this season for the first time in his career. He was 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 216 strikeouts last season.

– Padres’ RHP Casey Kelly (right elbow) has micro-tears in his UCL, and expected to require Tommy John surgery. Kelly will seek a second opinion but admitted that he’s “prepared (himself) for the worst.” Kelly was shut down for three months last season with an elbow issue.

– Orioles’ LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (elbow) threw another bullpen session on Thursday morning. He’s begun mixing in breaking balls as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He’s expected to debut in mid-May.

– Yankees’ RHP Phil Hughes (back) threw 26 pitches of live batting practice on Thursday morning and told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch that he “felt good.” Hughes added that he plans to throw a simulated game on Monday.

– According to NESN, Red Sox’ SS Stephen Drew (head) is still experiencing concussion symptoms. He was hit in the helmet by a pitch one week ago.

– Indians’ RHP Chris Perez (strained right shoulder) could throw off a mound as early as Saturday, according to manager Terry Francona. Perez has been sidelined since early March.

– Angels’ RHP Ryan Madson (elbow) threw around 25 pitches in a bullpen session on Thursday morning.

– CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that “barring something unforeseen,” Padres’ 3B Jedd Gyorko is expected to be the starting second baseman. The team is reportedly “satisfied (Gyorko) can make the switch from third base.” Gyorko has batted .270/.308/.595 with three homers, three doubles and nine RBI this spring. He has a career .319/.385/.529 batting line in the minors.

NHL

– The NHL’s Board of Governors has approved the proposed realignment plan. The new changes will take effect for the 2013-14 season. The new proposal sees the Red Wings and Blue Jackets move to a 16-team Eastern Conference, while the Jets go to the 14-team Western Conference. The Stanley Cup Playoffs will also be tweaked.

– Panthers’ F Kris Versteeg (knee) will undergo season-ending surgery. Versteeg has been limited to just 10 games this season, scoring two goals and two assists.

– The Red Wings and G Jimmy Howard are close to agreeing to a new long-term contract, according to Mlive. Howard’s current $2.25M salary would double to roughly $5M annually, and the deal is reportedly worth at least 6-7 years. Howard has a 10-7-4 record with a .914SV%, 2.46 GAA and two shutouts so far this season. He’s a UFA this summer.

– According to the Arizona Republic, the Coyotes and D Oliver Ekman-Larsson have had some preliminary talks regarding a contract extension. GM Don Maloney said, ”We’ll pay on performance. We have no problem. But we won’t pay on potential. In Oliver’s case, he’s having a terrific season. He’s somebody we expect to sign at some point and hopefully for a long time.” Ekman-Larsson is set to become an RFA this summer. His entry-level contract comes with a $1.75M cap hit. Following his breakout year last season, he has 17 points in 26 contests in 2013.

– Rangers’ F Marian Gaborik’s time in New York may be coming to an end, according to Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record. The Rangers are reportedly gauging interest around the league, although a move may not happen this year. Gaborik has one goal in his last 12 games and eight over 25 on the year.

– Wild’ owner Craig Leipold told The Pioneer Press that he things the Wild are in Stanley Cup mode for the next 5-7 years. “I see a Stanley Cup championship. My hope is that it happens soon. It may not be this year. It may not be next year. But the beautiful thing is we have a window now that’s not going to close in two or three years. We’ve got a window that’s going to be opened up for five, six or seven years.” Minnesota’s young core of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter are signed through the summer of 2018.

– According to the Buffalo News, the Sabres are expected to be sellers at the April 3 trade deadline. Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller are rumoured to be assets on their way out. GM Darcy Regier spoke with WGR Radio Tuesday night. “The reality of those three is if you were to put them on the market, they’re very desirable players. Given Getzlaf’s contract in Anaheim, which is really the first big one in the new CBA, their contracts are going to be very reasonable. But right now they’re here, we expect to keep them here and build with them. Having said that, where we are, we have to be open to a lot of different things.” Miller and Pominville have no-trade clauses, but can give the Sabres a list of eight teams they would be willing to move to.

– Senators’ F Jason Spezza (back) may miss another month, according to RDS’ Renaud Lavoie. Lavoie says that Spezza “won’t be back in 2 weeks” because he’s still dealing with “some stiffness” in his back.

– Maple Leafs’ F Joffrey Lupul (broken forearm) participated in his first practice Wednesday since his injury, according to the Toronto Sun. “It is not my decision. It’s whenever I am cleared to play, I will be playing. For me, I feel good and my conditioning is fine. Ready to go when I get the green light.”

– Hurricanes’ F Tuomo Ruutu (hip) practiced with teammates for the first time Thursday since his injury. “It’s still early. I’ve just got to get some practice and see how I feel. I go day-by-day, week-by-week and see where I’m at. Everything’s has gone pretty well so far, so hopefully it keeps going that way.” He remains out indefinitely.

– Jets’ D Tobias Enstrom (shoulder) skated Thursday at practice in a no-contact jersey, but remains out indefinitely. “We haven’t set a time yet for anything. This is my first practice with the team. It’s fun to be back with the guys again. I’ve been skating by myself for a long time. I’ll probably practice tomorrow and see how that feels. I’m looking to come back as quick as I can, but I’m going to be careful with it, too.” Enstrom hasn’t played since February 15.

– The Lightning have placed F Vincent Lecavalier (lower body) on the IR. Lecavalier suffered the injury when he was knocked down late in Tuesday’s win against Florida. He’s listed as out indefinitely.

NBA

– Lakers’ G Kobe Bryant (sprained ankle) is out indefinitely, and said that his injury is the worst he’s suffered since the 2000 NBA Playoffs, according to Yahoo! Sports. Bryant only missed one game due to the sprain 13 years ago.

– Spurs’ G Tony Parker (ankle) has begun shooting and running on a treadmill. Head coach Gregg Popovich said Thursday that Parker could return prior to his initial 4-week timetable. He’s been out for two weeks, but could return as early as next week.

– Knicks’ F Carmelo Anthony (right knee) got his knee drained Thursday and is out indefinitely. “It started stiffening up. Moving laterally, I didn’t feel like I had any pop, any power.”

– Lakers’ F Pau Gasol (foot) said in an interview with ESPN radio on Wednesday that he hopes to return next week. “Hopefully everything will go well and next week is a possibility.” Gasol also ran full-court drills on Wednesday. He’s be inserted back into the starting lineup upon his return. As the starting power forward, Gasol is averaging 12.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 blocks.

– According to the Detroit Free Press, Pistons’ G Brandon Knight (sprained left ankle) remains out indefinitely.

NHL

– Jets’ F Jim Slater (upper body injury) is listed as ‘week-to-week.’

– Wild’ F Jason Zucker (head) skated for the first time since being elbowed by Ducks’ F Corey Perry, and reported feeling “alright,” according to the Star-Tribune.

– Meetings have wrapped up in Sochi between the NHL, IIHF and Olympic organizers. According to ESPN, further meetings are required before an agreement can be reached. IIHF President René Fasel gave this quote to ESPN regarding the NHL’s involvement in the next Olympics:

“This was a very good couple days of site visits of the Olympic venues and infrastructure, followed by some good discussions with the NHL representatives. I remain optimitic about the NHL’s participation in Sochi and I hope that we can come to an agreement latest beginning of May, which would be good for the teams as to which players to select for the World Championships. It must be said that many challenges remain and that this is more than just an IIHF-NHL issue. We have also the IOC, the NHLPA, the Sochi organizers, the National Olympic Committees and the national ice hockey associations. There lot’s of co-ordinating to be done.”

But NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly added via email:

“We had two productive days of meetings in Sochi. Saw and visited all the hockey venues, the Olympic Village and other key Olympics-related infrastructure. We met with the Sochi Organizing Committee, the IIHF and a number of IOC representatives. There is more work to be done, but it was an important trip for us to make.”

WWE

– WWE WrestleMania 29 is just around the corner, the Wrestling Observer has released these updates on several matches planned for the big event:

After returning to WWE at the Royal Rumble, Chris Jericho is still without an opponent for the show. There has been talk of Jericho wrestling Fandango.

Another rumored match that would allow several WWE stars to get WrestleMania paydays is an 8-person mixed tag team match featuring Brodus Clay, Tensai & The Funkdactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins.

Regarding the Divas Title match (if there is one), it will likely be Kaitlyn vs. Layla, but they might end up doing another multi-person match to get more women on the show.

WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth has been discussed as a match for the pre-show.

Like we saw at the Royal Rumble, the WrestleMania Axxess event will feature matches involving NXT stars.

WrestleMania 29 from the Metlife Stadium is officially sold out, with a gate of approximately $11M. There will be additional tickets made available as it gets closer to the event, once WWE finalizes the production setup.

– Former WWE/WCW champion Bill Goldberg has shot down an unfounded Twitter rumor that he has signed a four-year deal with WWE that begins after WrestleMania 29.

No he hasn’t RT @WWEnews_25_8: @Goldberg has signed a 4 year contract starting from the 8th of April 2013 until Wrestlemania XXXIII

– During this week’s media tour of Sydney, Australia to promote “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” WWE Champion The Rock told Adelaidenow.com.au that he’s got his got his sights set on a role in the new Star Wars movie.

“I played with two lines of action figures when I was a kid: G.I. Joe and Star Wars. By the way, because we didn’t have a lot of money, I used to steal them. I’d just rip open the packages and shove ‘em in my pockets … like a lot of kids. I got caught a couple of times, got my ass kicked by my parents.

“So when I got the call saying, ‘How do you feel about becoming the leader of the G.I. Joes?’, it was like if I got a call from George Lucas saying, ‘I want you to be in Star Wars’.”

George Lucas recently announced that J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Lost) will be directing the next installment of the Star Wars franchise, due out in 2015. Not one to sit around if there’s something out there he wants – The Rock plans to contact the powers that be to land himself a role in the blockbuster film.

“I’m gonna call J.J. and you’re gonna help by printing it and I’m gonna be in Star Wars!”

– WWE legend Goldust commented on his WrestleMania 29 status on Thursday:

“Looks like i will be watching #WM29 this year from the comfort of my home. #newkidsontheblock ! Hope they know the opportunity they have!!!”

Goldust has been pushing for years to get a WrestleMania match against his younger brother, Cody. After his surprise return at the Royal Rumble, it looked like he might have finally gotten his wish, but .. there’s always next year. He mentioned that, he “might have to hit up Booker T for a reunion against Rhodes Scholars.”

– Zeb Colter is taking aim at Chris Jericho, who will challenge Jack Swagger on Friday’s episode of WWE SmackDown. Colter is questioning whether Jericho really was born in the United States, accusing him of being “no different than Del Rio” and being unable to produce a birth certificate. Colter tweeted:

WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ANOTHER OUTSIDER…A CANADIAN, CHRIS JERICHO. HE’S NO DIFFERENT THAN DEL RIO. WATCH SMACKDOWN THIS FRIDAY.

JERICHO “CLAIMS” HE WAS BORN IN THE US. I HAVE REQUESTED A BIRTH CERTIFICATE. HE FAILED TO PRODUCE ONE. HE’S JUST LIKE DEL RIO. #wethepeople

– WWE superstar The Miz appeared on the Busted Open satellite radio show this week. Here are some highlights of what he said about:

The Perception That He’s the ‘Reality TV Guy’: “I think now more than ever, especially with Flair being in my corner and kind of mentoring me, I think now I have the biggest microscope on me because it’s like, wait a second, this guy is still an outsider. I still consider myself an outsider.

“It’s not that I haven’t gotten over it. I feel like the fans haven’t yet, as in, the older fans. The kids, sure. The kids have gotten over it. They don’t even know that I was on the Real World. They know me as Miz from WWE. But I feel like guys your age probably, still, no matter what, will always have that chip on their shoulder about me, no matter what. I mean, when I was main eventing Wrestlemania I guarantee everyone was like, ‘well why is this guy doing it, why is The Miz getting these opportunities’?

“Any time a superstar is main eventing Wrestlemania, if you’re not jealous, mad, angry that you’re not in that spot, then there’s something wrong with you and you shouldn’t be in WWE.

Main-Eventing Wrestlemania 27: “My take on that Wrestlemania was I was getting an opportunity of a lifetime. I was getting my childhood dream. I wanted to be that guy in the main event of Wrestlemania and I was getting that opportunity. Was I nervous? Was I scared that I was going to fail? Absolutely. I think anyone in that position would be. But I was also very confident in myself, knowing me, I will work harder than anybody, I will do whatever it takes to be successful in this industry and make sure that people say, ‘you know what? That was awesome.’ And I don’t remember my Wrestlemania moment because I was concussed. I got tackled off of a table onto the concrete and I don’t remember anything, I do remember being victorious, but the moment that I will always have with me is this moment. And right before I was coming out, they did this amazing video package of just my entire career, of people telling me that I wasn’t going to make it. It was just an incredible video. I do my entrance, I get into the ring, I hold the WWE Championship up, then Cena’s entrance happens. During that entrance, I’m black, nobody’s seeing me, nobody’s looking at me, I see my ten best friends sitting in the front row. The friends that I watched in my living room, Wrestlemania after Wrestlemania, all watching me in the main event with my WWE championship and me looking at them and going, ‘we did it.’ That is my moment. No one will ever be able to take that away from me and that was what it was all about.”

Whether His Main Event Push Came Too Soon: “I don’t think it was too soon at all. I think I was hot right then and there. I was at my pinnacle, if you will, and it all came to point when I won the WWE Championship and retained it at Wrestlemania. But do I ever think I’ll be it again? Absolutely. Every year I’m working hard to basically be in that position and sometimes you get it and other times you don’t. It’s timing, it’s luck, it’s skill. So many things get involved to being in that main event. You have to peak at the perfect time, and sometimes you’re not peaking at the right time. Sometimes you’re peaking when mania isn’t around. But that’s when you want to peak. You’re training for it, you’re dieting, you’re working hard in the ring. Every time we go out there on Monday Night Raw, I’m thinking of new ways that I can possibly get this audience to either love me or hate me. It’s so hard. But the thing is; you love it. Because you want people like you guys, on Busted Open radio, talking about it the next day. Whether it’s good or bad, I don’t care, as long as you’re talking about me, so be it.

Doing Commentary Work: “I always look at myself as I’m a bumbler. My mind works way faster than my mouth does. You might not realize it, a lot of people don’t realize it, but I’ll be like, ‘man, I bumbled that word.’ When you’re on commentary, I didn’t realize how hard it was until I did the 3-hour Raw with Michael Cole and I didn’t realize how valuable a commentator Michael Cole is. Let me tell you something, being there, seeing him go play by play and telling the stories, every story that he has to know in and out, and just going and going, its incredible to watch him and be a partner with him. I didn’t ask for the job on Main Event. Do you know how I got this job? So, I did that 3-hour Raw, and the next week Main Event was starting. They were like, ‘well, the guy that we want to do it won’t be there this week, can you try it out?’ And I was like, ‘sure, no problem.’ So, I did it. The next week comes, ‘he’s still not here, he’ still doing a charity event, can you do it again?’ ‘Sure, no problem.’ Did it. The next week Michael Cole goes to me, ‘congratulations, you got the job.’ And I went, ‘what? I didn’t realize I was auditioning for the job.’”

Being A Babyface But Not Changing His Character: “I have Google Alerts; anytime someone talks about me on the internet I get the feed, so I’m always reading up and people saying things. My favorite is this, and people on the internet have been saying this for about a year now, ‘Miz needs to change to babyface; he needs to be a good guy; he’s the same character as a bad guy; he’s saying the same things.’ So then I change to a good guy and now guess what they’re saying? ‘He needs to go back to being a bad guy.’ The thing about it is, I’ve always looked at myself as a good guy. Even when people proclaim me as a villain I’ve always said, ‘you know what? I’m not a bad guy. The reason why I do the things that I do is because I want to win and I know I’m not bigger, I’m probably not as technical as some people, but I will cheat to win. I will do whatever I possibly can do to win,’ and now I’m still that same exact person and I’m still cocky and arrogant but now I feel like I’m their cocky and arrogant person. And I’m doing it to people that they hate even more than me, which I didn’t even know that could be possible.”

Working with Ric Flair: “Ric Flair has been very, very hands on with me since day one. Ric Flair has always been person that I’ve looked up to, that I’ve respected in this business. He’s done it all. He always takes me aside and says, ‘listen, here’s an easier way to get into the figure 4, here’s a way to make it work better for you,’ and the greatest thing about Ric Flair is he still wants me to be me. He doesn’t want me to say, ‘the Ric Flair Woo, I’m going to Woo. Ric Flair does struts, I’m going to strut.’ He’s like, ‘be your own superstar. This is what worked for me. What is going to work for you as a WWE superstar?’ That’s something that I’ve taken and really put out there. I’m going to be The Miz and I’m going to do things the way Miz would do.”

His Role at Wrestlemania 29: “I am excited to see Wrestlemania 29 April 7 at MetLife Stadium as well and I’m hoping that I am a valuable part. If they do give me the opportunity to have a match or to have a MizTV or to have anything on that show, I want to be the person that’s talked about the next day on Monday Night Raw. Granted, there’s huge, huge talent there. You have The Rock versus John Cena for the WWE Championship. Swagger versus Alberto Del Rio, who are amazing talents, going for the World Heavyweight Championship. As of right now, this card is building to be one of the biggest cards you will ever see and it’s going to be absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to be a part of it and I know I will be a part of it because I’m just too big not be.”

– Here are some recent WWE business figures, courtesy of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter:

Average WWE live event attendance for January 2013 in North America was up 1.9% from 5,307 to 5,409.

RAW’s average rating for the month went from a 3.15 with 4.51 million viewers in 2012 to a 3.26 rating with 4.58 million viewers in 2013.

SmackDown’s average rating went from a 2.09 with 3.05 million viewers in 2012 down to a 2.02 rating 2.94 million viewers in 2013.

WWE shipped 246,000 DVD units in January 2013, up 55.7% from January 2012.

Over the past year, the most-shipped DVD’s have been WrestleMania 28 (237,000 units), CM Punk Best In The World (124,000), WWE Attitude Era (117,000), nWo (114,000) and The Undertaker’s DVD (105,000).

WWE.com website had 14.6 million unique viewers in January 2013, up 21.7% from January 2012.

WWEShop.com averaged 677 shop orders per day in January, up 23.5% from the previous year.

– SmackDown wrestler Jimmy Uso was arrested Wednesday at 12:47 p.m. in Hillsborough County, Florida, and charged with driving under the influence, according to the official website of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. That’s right – an afternoon DUI. He was released from jail at 3:08 p.m. on $500 cash bond. Uso, whose real name is Jonathan Solofa Fatu, was previously arrested on September 29, 2011 in Tampa, Florida on suspicion of driving under the influence. An officer observed Fatu at approximately 3:00 a.m. that day driving the wrong way down a one-way street in a silver Mustang.

– 2013 WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund visited WWE headquarters in Stamford, CT today. Triple H tweeted on Wednesday afternoon:

Never know when a legend will walk into your office……today, Bob Backlund #HOF2013 pic.twitter.com/zq7tFZ0jhs

– Monday’s Raw saw the return of The Bella Twins to WWE, who appeared in a backstage segment with Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and Kaitlyn. According to the Wrestling Observer, the twin duo had been in contract negotiations with officials from WWE for approximately two months, with offers stemming from the lacking depth among the Divas ranks and talent in developmental not being ready to be promoted. Contract offers have also been made to Maryse Ouellet and the former Kelly Kelly (aka Barbie Blank). Both former Divas rejected the offer, but are believed to still be in negotiations. WWE has also contacted Beth Phoenix.

– NXT trainer Bill DeMott noted on Twitter that former WWE Diva Eve Torres was at NXT working with the developmental Divas earlier this week.

– ECW original Lance Storm has published a new blog at StormWrestling.com talking about his recent visit to WWE developmental:

“Many people have asked how the guest training gig came about and there really isn’t that much too it. I keep in touch with many people within WWE, and maintain a good relationship with the company. I was once the head trainer for their developmental program when it was based in OVW, I have a few SWA grads in their developmental program, so it just seemed like a natural fit, so when the opportunity came I jumped at it. It was a chance for me to pass on a bit of my knowledge to the newest batch of developmental talent as well as keep abreast of how WWE is doing things and what they are looking for in future talent. It is a win win situation if there ever was one.”

…The training itself kept me extremely busy; NXT is a big operation with a lot of bodies, so I was doing 8am to 5pm training days. Talent doesn’t train that many hours a day but with rotating classes trainers log a lot of hours. NXT has several trainers but unfortunately not all of them were there for my week. I missed out on catching up with Norman Smiley, Sara Del Rey, and Terry Taylor, but did spend a lot of time with Bill DeMott, Joey Mercury, and Ricky Steamboat. Bill and I have been friends since our WCW days (2000) and the relationship we formed during our time together there will no doubt last forever. Joey and I go back to my time teaching in OVW (2004), where he was but a pupil and seeing him now as the teacher and continuing to pass on the art of our business to the next generation was very rewarding. I didn’t really know Mr. Steamboat that well at the start of the week, having only met him on 2 brief occasions, but working alongside him was certainly a highlight of the trip. I thought we complimented each other well, with his experience and knowledge and my in ring hands on approach, talent no doubt picked up a lot, I know I did. If you spend a week with a HOF’er like Ricky Steamboat and don’t learn something you’re really not paying attention.

– Promoting Friday’s theater release of WWE Studios’ The Call starring Halle Berry, David Otunga spoke to Arda Ocal of The Baltimore Sun. The WWE Superstar, who plays young gun police officer Jake Devans in the flick, discussed Berry’s sense of humor, loving acting, whether he wants to continue acting, initial impressions from the locker room concerning his Harvard Law degree, head honcho Vince McMahon “hating lawyers,” and more. Regarding his experience filming the movie, Otunga states,

“We shot for a little under two months. The days were great, you get there and they just call you in when you have to do a scene so you get a lot of down time. But you’re in a trailer for a long time, your scenes are laid out for you so you know your lines already, which is a new thing going in for me. In WWE we’re sometimes handed something at the last minute, like ‘here you go to pages’ or ‘oh we’re changing our minds,’ so with this we had the scenes for months. I was comfortable so when it was time to do our scenes they would come and take you to set, we’d knock it out and when you were done you got to go home. It’s easy.”

– WWE Superstar David Otunga appeared on the BET show 106 & Park to promote his new WWE Studios film, The Call. Here’s footage of the appearance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tE2Mnj7EbPo

TNA

– Hulk Hogan joined Busted Open with Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman an hour before Lockdown began at the Alamadome. Here are highlights from the interview:

His knee and overall health: “Thursday was a month, so a month and two and a half days for the old knee replacement, so I think I’m doing good. I saw some other wrestlers that had some knee replacements done and around the same time, I feel like Tarzan here all of a sudden, they said they weren’t even going to be able to walk around for eight or nine weeks, so I’m a little bit ahead of schedule.

“The weird thing is, now I got two new knees, two new hips; after eight back surgeries my back’s fixed, I think I should be getting a title shot pretty soon. The oldest Heavyweight Champion of the world.”

His fatherly perspective on Brooke getting more involved in TNA: “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. It’s actually my worst nightmare coming true, but I’m not the one who’s in charge of her happiness and for some reason she seems to light up when she’s around this business. She’s really good on camera, like when we were doing Hogan Knows Best I used to say she’s the only one in the family that’s a real actor. So for her to be around the business and she’s got this built in following and she’s got a good instinct for the wrestling business. I’m to the point where she’s not 18 anymore and she’s in her early 20?s so she’s got to choose her direction. Life is all about choices. The one thing I worry about, I’ll watch Kurt Angle walk around in back, I’ll watch Jeff Hardy walk around in the back, and they’re kind of borderline of maybe going too far and I don’t want them to end up like me, that’s what I’m worried about with Brooke. I don’t want her to get into this business and blow her knees out or hurt her back. We have a masseuse that comes to the house like once a week, maybe once every two weeks, and he goes ‘O my gosh, your daughters got the same injuries you do.’ I’m going, ‘what do you mean?’ He goes, ‘well her backs got that same tweak in it and the knees got the same tweak.’ A lot of it’s genetic, but my biggest fear is her getting in this business, and you don’t have to wrestle 30 years like I did, you could wrestle 2 years or a year and a half or 5 years and get hurt, so that’s my biggest fear.”

Fans buying into Brooke: “It’s just so weird, because, you’ve got all these naysayers. I run social media now because Brooke and my son, Nick, have taught me how to do it, and you get on the social media and you get all these naysayers that say, ‘how come Hogan is still hanging out in wrestling?’ or ‘I want to be a writer for TNA, their creative sucks, give me a job’ and ‘why is he pushing his daughter in this business?’ and all of a sudden, nobody realizes it, all of a sudden there’ll be the Pope or Jesse Sorensen or there’ll be Hulk Hogan, you don’t know what everybody’s contract is, you don’t know if Sting can wrestle 200 days a year or twenty days a year. You don’t know what his contract says and there’s so many givens that these people don’t know, so I kind of have to back away from them because I realize I’m the biggest mark there is. I love this business, I watch all the shows, I watch our show and everybody else’s show just like a fan and I realize that these are all a bunch of marks, just like me, that don’t know the whole story. Then when I see ‘what are you still doing in wrestling?’ or ‘why is your daughter in it?’ Then I think about Lou Thesz who wrestled into his 70?s, I think about Vince McMahon who is a lot older than me, I think about Vince’s daughter Stephanie who’s part of the business, so you just have to take it with a grain of salt. It’s hard to separate the two. There are a lot of family members who are part of the business, second generation wrestlers, and they don’t have to be all men, they can be women, just like Von Erich’s daughter Lacy was in it. Vince’s daughter Stephanie wrestled. It’s just so weird how the social media fans will try to pick individual things apart.”

Fans not knowing what is really going on backstage and Bobby Roode’s contract: “When you’re working for a company, sometimes you don’t focus on what your contract says. I was here last year, I was working at a PPV and my contract had run out. I didn’t know it. Dixie didn’t know it. We weren’t worried about it. We’re here because we love this business and all of a sudden I call my attorney and say, ‘Henry, is my contract up?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, it ran out ten days ago.’ I didn’t even know it. Dixie didn’t know. We weren’t worried about that; we were worried about putting on a good show. It’s just so weird that ‘O my god, Bobby Roode’s contract is over’, I looked at Twitter today, ‘Hogan you’re an idiot, afterthought, dumb@$$.’ All these things that are being said to me, I’ve got nothing to do with that. Here’s the deal; Bobby Roode, great talent. I’m sure he wants to be here or he wants to be anywhere and he can make his own deal, but we sure don’t want him going anywhere. We love him to death. I was hoping that he’d have the belt on the UK tour just so we’d have a TNA champion over there. It’s all weird how everybody tries to tear our business apart. We’re all here for the same reason, we love this business and if he doesn’t have a contract I bet Booby Roode would wrestle tonight without a contract until we get it straightened out. That’s how much he loves it.”

TNA’s new road schedule and leaving the Impact Zone: “The truth is, all that stuff [about the Impact Zone] was incorrect if I said anything negatively because there were a lot of crowds that came in that weren’t wrestling crowds, they were just part of the park. But the weird thing is, all that stuff that was so bad or was a horrible thing, I mean, now that I actually look at it, it was actually a setup to move on to something better or a stepping stone to this company becoming great. That all happened for a reason. We weren’t ready to go out on the road a couple of years ago. So thank god for Universal. Now I look at it completely different than maybe what I said before.”

Changing the format to 4 PPV’s a year: “I think we need to switch gears and yes I do like it. It’s just helter skelter. All of a sudden it’s like every company has a PPV every month and nothing meant nothing and I think we’re just trying to get back to the dance. Not like wrestling used to be, but like how wrestling should be and just make things mean something again. I think for us as a company, for us to keep gaining momentum and not really care about what anybody else does, but like I said, make this from a good little company to a great company. I think we’re regrouping in the right places. The TV is our star, the Spike network. A lot of our payoffs, to me, we were throwing the dart at the wrong target. We were worried about a PPV where we should be worried about the TV that’s supporting us and build up some major angles and then bang, have them on TV instead of the PPV. Now we can get these major angles on TV and have the bigger, bigger ones for these four PPVs, so I think we’re on track with it.”

– TNA star Rob Van Dam says he won’t be at Thursday’s Impact Wrestling from Chicago, the latest sign that he could be on his way out of the company. When asked by a fan on Twitter if he’s looking forward to the show, he responded:

@TherealRVD looking forward to being in Chicago Thursday for Impact?

“@WOZ93: @TherealRVD looking forward to being in Chicago Thursday for Impact?”Ill be in Cali. More on that in a few days.

RVD, who recently dropped the X-Division title to Kenny King, did an interview on the Joe McDonnell Uncensored podcast back in October and revealed that his contract with TNA expires this month. During an interview earlier this month on the Shining Wizards podcast, he was asked if he plans to end his career in TNA. He said, “Not necessarily. I really don’t look that far ahead. I go with the flow. I don’t know, when I will be completely finished and where I will be when I make that decision.

Backstage Heat on Edge, Valentine Fired?, Jeff Hardy to WWE?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

MLB

– According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Red Sox intend to fire manager Bobby Valentine when the season ends. The move will be made on either Thursday or Friday, per Heyman’s source. Valentine is 7-21 so far in September and 69-92 overall in a dismal year with the BoSox. The Red Sox are thought to have their eyes on Blue Jays’ manager John Farrell as a potential replacement.

– D’Backs’ owner Ken Kendrick said during a radio appearance Thursday that it’s highly likely OF Justin Upton will be with the team next season. Kendrick criticized Upton in a radio interview earlier this year, sparking rumours of a potential trade. Upton, 25, will make $9.75M next season and $14.25M in 2014 and 2015.

– Cubs’ OF Alfonso Soriano told Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com that he’s open to a trade. ”It depends on how long and if they want to rebuild for next year then I’ll be here. But if they want to take longer than two years, they have to think about moving (me) out to another team to win quickly. I said two more years on the contract and maybe I will retire after that so I want one more shot to go to the World Series before I retire.” Soriano enjoyed a resurgent season this year, but is still owed $18 million in each of the next two seasons. The Cubs would likely have to absorb some of his remaining salary in order to find a taker.

– Rangers’ RHP Yu Darvish will start the team’s first postseason game. It’s unclear whether that will be in the one-game Wild Card playoff or during the ALDS. Darvish has a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 191 1/3 innings during his first year stateside.

– Braves’ RHP Ben Sheets finished his career with a perfect first inning Wednesday against the Pirates. Sheets, who announced his retirement Tuesday, left after striking out two of the three batters he faced. A four-time All-Star, Sheets ends his career 94-96 with a 3.78 ERA and 1,325 strikeouts in 1596 2/3 innings. He had his best season in 2004, when he finished with a 2.70 ERA and a 264/32 K/BB ratio in 237 innings.

– The Seattle Mariners announced Tuesday that they are moving in portions of the outfield wall at Safeco Field for the 2013 season. The biggest change will come in the left-center field alley, where the distance will decrease from 390 feet to 378 feet. Another noticeable change will be in the left-field corner, where the hand- operated scoreboard will be relocated to a new location above left field as part of seating modifications that will be announced at a later date. GM Jack Zduriencik said, ”Our goal was to create an environment that is fair for both hitters and pitchers. Considering the current field dimensions as well as the climate in and around Safeco Field, we feel this will be accomplished with this new layout.” The changes are the first to the field dimensions since the ballpark opened in 1999.

– Athletics’ pitching coach Curt Young said that LHP Brett Anderson (oblique) felt good during a 28-pitch side session Wednesday. Anderson hasn’t pitched since September 19, but the A’s haven’t ruled him out as an option for the postseason.

– The Indians will interview former Red Sox’ manager Terry Francona on Friday. Francona’s meeting will come one day after interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. has his formal interview with GM Chris Antonetti about becoming the replacement for Manny Acta, who was dismissed last week with six games left in the season. Alomar and Francona are the only confirmed candidates for the team’s managerial opening. The Indians, who collapsed from contention in August, are 2-3 under Alomar. Francona has been working as an analyst for ESPN. He led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. He was a special assistant in Cleveland’s front office in 2001.

NBA

– The Bulls have signed head coach Tom Thibodeau to a 4-year extension. Thibodeau was the NBA’s Coach of the Year for the 2010-11 season and the runner-up last season.

– The Knicks have signed F Rasheed Wallace. ‘Sheed adds some veteran experience to the lineup, but his conditioning remains a question mark.

– Thunder’ G James Harden expressed optimism when discussing a potential long-term contract with OKC. Harden will become an RFA if he doesn’t get a new contract by July 1.

“Everything will figure itself out eventually. Right now, training camp is starting. I think everybody is excited to be here and just to enjoy each other’s company. We really missed each other.”

“I have confidence in my agent and the organization to get it done. They know how important it is, so I’m sure it will be done.”

– The NBA has announced anti-flopping rules that will fine repeat offenders. The penalties won’t be handed out during games, but will instead be reviewed on video by an independent party. The league said Wednesday that flopping will be defined “as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.” Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5,000 the second time, $10,000 for a third time, $15,000 for a fourth time and $30,000 for a fifth time. Commissioner David Stern has sought to end flopping, believing it tricks the referees. Vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson says in a statement that “flops have no place in our game.”

– Bulls’ G Derrick Rose believes he’ll be a better player when he returns from his knee injury.

“I’m going to be a better player, but who knows in what area? My legs have never been this strong before. My upper body has never been this strong before. My core has never been this strong before. I’m just going to see how far this takes me.”

“I can’t wait to get back on the court to see what I’m going to do. I don’t know how I’m going to play. I don’t know what’s going to be new about my game. I know it’s just going to be exciting for everyone to see.”

– The 76ers have picked up the 2013-14 option on coach Doug Collins’ contract. Collins led the Sixers to the playoffs in his first two seasons with the team, including a run to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. Collins says he wants to stay with Sixers in a front office or consulting role when he’s finished coaching.

– The Wizards have signed G Jannero Pargo. Pargo  averaged 5.6 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds with the Hawks last season.

NHL

– Marlies’ head coach Dallas Eakins has responded to Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry regarding the offseason fitness level of prospect F Nazem Kadri. Cherry said,

“Now Marlie coach comes out and rips Kadri in the newspaper saying he doesn’t eat properly. Imagine headlines saying he’s chubby and fatso.

“If anyone wants to get a blue print on how to destroy someone, just follow the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Eakins addressed Cherry’s comments on Wednesday.

“I’m a massive fan of Don Cherry. When we’re playing a night game and Hockey Night in Canada is on, I beg my wife ‘Please tape that game’ and it’s not because I want to watch the game, I want to watch Coach’s Corner and I want to watch The Hot Stove. And I always want to see what Don is going to say just like the rest of the nation. The one thing is for sure is Don is an excellent entertainer. He is. He is great at it.

“His comments yesterday I can shake my head at them. I know what the truth is, I know what I believe in. And listen, he’s a strong-willed guy; I’m sure he believes in everything that he had somebody type for him.”

Entering his third season as the Marlies bench boss, Eakins said that he’s never seen Cherry at either a game or a practice and welcomed him to do so.

“I would love for Don Cherry to come down and I invite Don to come down here and sit in my office and hey let’s talk about where we’re at with our players. I’ve never ever seen him at one of our games and I’ve never ever seen him at a practice and he’s never come in and knocked on my door. I invite Don to come on down, ‘You’re more than welcome at any time. You’ve got a lot of fans here’. We’d be honoured to have him.”

– Devils’ F Ilya Kovalchuk spoke with reporters about the NHL lockout on Wednesday. When asked how long the lockout would last, he said,

“For some reason, they’re still refusing to talk about the serious problems, but instead talk about some borderline issues. The main thing is that all the guys have now shown the team owners that they can go and play somewhere, do their favorite thing and not just stay home. If you stay home then you can start getting depressed and clearly the team owners are hoping for that, but I think that this time things will be a little different.”

Kovalchuk was also asked to comment on Vyacheslav Fetisov’s warning that the NHL risks losing superstar talent to other leagues with every lockout.

“If there is any sort of reduction in players’ pay, then [NHL owners] risk losing them now. I can’t say that we’re all some sort of superstars, I don’t personally call myself that. I’ve talked with a lot of the guys. We will look very seriously at these options.”

– Bruins’ F David Krejci has signed with Pardubice. The deal had been in place for weeks, but insurance costs were the last remaining obstacle. According to TSN’s Aaron Ward, the price tag on Krejci’s insurance is in the neighborhood of $240K. Pardubice’s home arena is within 90 minutes of Krejci’s hometown.

– Canadiens’ D Andrei Markov has signed with Vityaz Chekhov in the KHL during the NHL’s work stoppage. ”I’m very pleased to be in this team and grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the team. I know a lot of the guys and it won’t be hard work for me to move into the group.” Markov also played with Dynamo Moscow during the 2004-05 lockout.

– Flames’ F Jiri Hudler (abdominal) has been released from his KHL contract with Lev Prague because of an injury. He has already sat out two games with the ailment and doctors told Lev that he could be sidelined for a month. Hudler had one assist in four KHL appearances and will try to get healthy before the lockout is over.

NFL

– Titans’ QB Jake Locker (shoulder) has been officially ruled out for Sunday, and coach Mike Munchak is “uncertain” of his status beyond Week 5. QB Matt Hasselbeck will start against the Vikings. Munchak said he doesn’t expect Locker to require surgery.

WWE

– According to the PWInsider, WWE Hall of Famer Edge has a lot of heat on him with WWE management for turning down a Legends contract multiple times. WWE’s most recent attempt to sign Edge came two weeks ago when he appeared on SmackDown. Edge has not satisfied with the amount of money offered to him and does not want to be restricted with what companies he can appear for. Edge will be making an appearance for Tommy Dreamer’s new House of Hardcore promotion on October 6th, 2012 in the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. A Legends deal would likely prohibit him from appearing on shows like this. There is also a belief in WWE that Beth Phoenix’s recent departure is partially so she can help her boyfriend, Edge, recover from the neck surgery he is scheduled to undergo next month. All that said, the relationship is rocky but the door is still open for Edge to appear for WWE again in the future.

– THQ announced Wednesday twenty-one downloadable characters that will be available for purchase for the WWE ’13 video game scheduled for release on Oct. 30.

WWE Superstars
AJ Lee
Antonio Cesaro
Damien Sandow
Drew McIntyre
Layla
Natalya
Ryback
Tensai
The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso)
Yoshi Tatsu

“Attitude Era” Superstars
Brian Pillman
Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk)
Diamond Dallas Page
Gangrel
Goldust
Mike Tyson (pre-order bonus)
Rikishi
Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay)
Val Venis

In addition, more content will be included as DLC such as Ministry Undertaker attire, Brock Lesnar’s Kimura Lock and John Cena’s 2004 United States Spinner Title.

– Former WWE Superstar Kevin Nash spoke with Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday Night. The highlights:

With the New World Order DVD coming soon, does he like that fans of the era can relive it and see new footage of what was done: “I think the body of work still stands out. A lot of it, because we participated in; even though we did it, we’ve never seen it back. There have been so many matches and segments and things that we haven’t seen that sometimes, especially with the production that the WWE has, when they put something together, it’s usually an incredible piece and you sit there and kind of relive it again. You go ‘Oh yeah, forgot about that’. So, I look forward to watching those pieces because it does bring back a lot of memories.

Does he like doing the seminars and working with the up and coming generation: ‘The way I look at it, I was fortunate enough to have guys like (Rick) Rude and (Curt) Hennig and Jake (Roberts) kinda guide me, watch me and critique what I did. So, I mean, if somebody asked me to watch them, I’d definitely do it; I don’t think I’ll be able to give them much of a critique on what they should have done from a trained wrestling standpoint. But as far as telling a story, that’s the number one thing; and that’s what I ask a young guy, ‘What was the story you were trying to tell’ because that is the basis for what we do/ It determines what we’re going to do as far as movement to tell that story. A lot of guys have gotten away from telling stories, they’re more into doing spots and I think that’s kind of hurt the business.”

What he thinks of the lengthy Punk title run: “At the same time, with the progression of the character, and everything they’ve done, I think that he was the Straight Edge and now I mean he is, if you take last night’s show, there’s times when I say ‘That was cheap heat’ and then he finds a way to get out of it with good heat like when he backs off Ryback. I mean, he’s done just such a good job; he’s a good worker he’s great on the mic, and now he’s growing into the part and I don’t see how they could possibly even function and conceivably do three hours of a show without him. And the thing is, the one thing is if you can make the belt mean something then that person can, especially from that heel persona, look over his shoulder and say ‘Oh yeah? Well, if I’m not the best, why do I have this and why have I had it this long?’

What did he learn from Rick Rude and what is lacking from today’s wrestling: Number one, first and foremost, he was an entertainer, but when he did a lot of things to tell a story, I mean he got heat; he was a believable bad ass and he was a dangerous human being. I think that’s one thing missing from a lot of the characters right now; I just don’t believe that those characters right now can physically hurt me. I mean Ryback’s a big dude but Ryback’s not much taller than Phil (CM Punk). I mean Goldberg was 6’4”, 305 lbs.; it was just a different era of guys I think one thing I saw from Ryback last night (vs Tensai at RAW) when did couldn’t do his finisher a couple of times; it’s nothing against him, he was put into that situation and he probably thought he could get him and he didn’t get him, but at the same time, no body is using that spear right now and they’re chanting ‘Goldberg’. To me, go with it. He could use the spear; no one else is using it. He could spear a big guy, it’s like anything else. I mean I used to use the big boot on Yoko(zuna), because there’s no way I could powerbomb him. I always had a secondary finished for a guy you just couldn’t physically put into it. I don’t think it took anything away from him cause the coverage on the announce was Tensai’s experience let him block those two attempts. But if he’d had the spear or a back-up, secondary thing already established, I think it would have helped him out. .”

– Jim Ross and JBL will be joining Michael Cole on commentary for next week’s WWE RAW from Sacramento, California.

– Randy Orton was asked by a fan on Twitter how long he’ll be away from his family while filming, “12 Rounds: Reloaded.” He responded, “Up to 2 months total”.

– Here is the latest episode of WWE Inbox:

TNA

– TNA Star Jeff Hardy spoke with the Phoenix New Times to hype TNA Bound for Glory in Phoenix next Sunday night. Here are some highlights of what he said about:

Overcoming His Personal Demons: “I know how I am and what I’ve done and I wish it was as easy for [him] as it was for me I guess. Matt [Hardy] went through a dark period and I was just getting through my stuff and that was tough on me. I was like, “Oh my god, people are different.” I’ve never suffered physical withdrawals from not doing drugs, but that’s what separates me from everybody else, I guess, because I’m not like everybody else. I wish I could explain why some people don’t succeed but I don’t know. I mean all I know is how and who I am.”

His Brother Matt’s Videos Where He Appeared Intoxicated: “Yeah, I hated it. I hated everything he put up. I was embarrassed for him. But that was just stuff that he was going through. If I’m going to put something on YouTube it’s just going to be fun.”

Returning to WWE in the Future: “Man, I really can’t answer that. I’m happy where I’m at right now with TNA. But you never say never in this business, so it depends on where I’ll be at in a few months.”

OLYMPICS

– Canada forward Christine Sinclair will have her FIFA disciplinary case heard on Friday over critical comments she made about the referee after losing to the United States at the London Olympics. FIFA says its disciplinary committee will examine charges of “unsporting behaviour” against Sinclair. Canada lost a dramatic semifinal 4-3 on August 6, with the eventual Olympic champions scoring the winner late in extra time. Sinclair, whose hat trick gave Canada the lead three times, was quoted saying the team felt “cheated.” Canada’s players were angered that Norwegian referee Christiana Pedersen penalized goalkeeper Erin McLeod for holding the ball too long in the 80th minute. The free kick led to a penalty which U.S. forward Abby Wambach scored to send the match into extra time.

ATP

– Australian Open organizers have increased prize money by 15% to a record 30 million Australian dollars ($31.1M) for 2013 in response to player concerns about compensation at Grand Slam tournaments. Tournament director Craig Tiley said the A$4 million ($4.15M) increase, announced Tuesday, was the largest from one year to the next in the tournament’s history and should attract the strongest available draw of players.

NASCAR

– Stewart-Haas Racing announced some much-needed sponsorship Tuesday when Quicken Loans said it will double its commitment to Ryan Newman. Quicken Loans was new to NASCAR this season with a nine-race sponsorship for Newman’s No. 39 team. The company will be back for 18 races next year as the primary sponsor. The extension comes when team co-owner Tony Stewart is searching for a good chunk of funding for his three-car organization. The U.S. Army has said it won’t be back as primary sponsor for Newman, and Office Depot is leaving as a co-primary for Stewart. The organization is apparently close to announcing a sponsorship agreement with Bass Pro Shops, maybe as soon as this weekend at Talladega.

WrestleMania 29 HOF Class Update, Tons of WWE ’13 Videos

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

WWE

– WrestleMania 29 weekend is now less than 8 months away, and WWE is currently discussing candidates for the 2013 Hall of Fame Class. Previous reports indicated that that top names being considered for next year’s class are Mick Foley, Bob Backlund, Kevin Nash and The Ultimate Warrior. According to F4WOnline, you can now add JBL to that list.

Mick Foley, a New York native on good terms with WWE, is considered a lock for next year; Bob Backlund has turned past offers to be inducted, but considering his recent cameo on WWE television (wrestling Heath Slater on RAW), the chances of him being inducted are better than ever; Kevin Nash, who won the WWE Championship at MSG (from Bob Backlund, in 8 seconds) went on a Twitter rant back in April, saying that the WWE Hall of Fame means nothing to him:

“HOF means nothing to me,If I Die before it I,ve asked my wife to pass.Nothing against it or WWE,but if Pete Rose ain’t in cooperstown. Just don’t need it to validate my life.I wake every morning to the sight of the ocean.

The Ultimate Warrior’s rocky (and litigious) past with WWE has been well-publicized over the years and he’s still considered a long shot. That said, the Royal Rumble takes place from where he lives (Phoenix, Arizona), which would make for an ideal setting to announce Warrior’s induction.

JBL is on great terms with WWE and currently working with the company on his “Seven Summits” mountain climbing adventure. With his storied career and transition to announcer of SmackDown, it’s just a matter of time before he’s a Hall of Famer.

– The official Youtube channel of WWE Games has released the following new videos on Wednesday for the upcoming WWE ’13 video game. The videos include the official “WWE Attitude Era Mode” trailer as well as entrance & finisher videos for Mike Tyson, Mark Henry, Brodus Clay, Dolph Ziggler and Eve Torres.

Official “WWE Attitude Era Mode” Trailer:

Mike Tyson’s entrance video and finisher:

Mark Henry’s entrance video and finisher:

Brodus Clay’s entrance video and finisher:

Dolph Ziggler’s entrance video and finisher:

Eve Torres’ entrance video & finisher:

– Jim Ross recently spoke to WWE.com for the “WWE Classics” column about his experience doing commentary on WWE television with Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler.

JR says Vince McMahon lives and breathes WWE, which added an extra layer of depth to their commentary:

“Much like Bill Watts, the owner of Mid-South Wrestling and UWF who I broadcasted with a generation earlier, Vince knew exactly what he wanted to see and hear on the broadcasts that he created and produced. I cannot think of any occasion where I was ever better prepared for a broadcast than when working with McMahon. Traveling with the head honcho and talking the product 24/7 certainly kept one completely immersed in the moment and informed of WWE’s creative direction. When we went on the air, we were thoroughly prepared, ready to inform and entertain … or adlib on the fly if need be, especially when the chairman would call an audible.”

Two things Vince McMahon is known for are his work ethic and his disdain for sleep. JR says no matter how many hours Vince worked in a day, he was always ready to “turn it on” when the cameras began rolling and immerse everybody (even him and Jerry Lawler) in the world he created:

“One thing that I’ve always admired about Vince is his untiring work ethic and relentless pursuit of the brass ring. McMahon often said “that sleep is our enemy” and no matter how many hours we put in at work prior to going on the air, Vince was always ready to go over the top, become larger than life and fulfill his role as the voice of WWE.”

“Most fans don’t realize how challenging it is to broadcast live TV, especially in a hybrid genre such as WWE. Unlike the on-air talents in the NFL where they have producers figuratively joined at their hip, providing them with info and tidbits of data, we WWE announcers are responsible for getting ourselves ready for every broadcast. Luckily for me, Vince McMahon, who created the product, was my broadcast partner and I fed off of him. I traveled the same road as Vince in the creative sense.”

“Obviously, we had different styles and backgrounds, but, along with Lawler’s brilliance, that’s what helped make our three-man team special. Vince was an outstanding storyteller and he knew the direction that he wanted the product to take. “King” and I simply had to listen and emotionally invest while coming up with our own material to complement what McMahon established.”

– As reported earlier, Randy Orton will wrestle Alberto Del Rio on Friday’s SmackDown in a match to determine the #1 contender to World Heavyweight champion Sheamus. In the event that Del Rio wins that match and goes on to wrestle Sheamus at Night of Champions, there has been talk of Randy Orton being the special guest referee of that match. WWE has used Orton sparingly since he returned from a 60-day suspension, including not booking him at SummerSlam. Despite the fact WWE now has one of their top stars back in the mix, Orton will be leaving television again soon to begin filming the WWE Studios movie, “12 Rounds.”

– According to Figure Four Weekly, the latest on Charlie Sheen’s involvement with WWE is that around the time when he agreed to be the Social Media Ambassador of RAW 1,000, he also agreed to appear at SummerSlam. He backed out of that deal about two weeks later, which was believed to be due to scheduling issues. The original plan was for Sheen to get into a physical confrontation with Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam, which would have gotten WWE a ton of mainstream media coverage. WWE still hoping for Sheen to appear on WWE television in the coming months, which is why Daniel Bryan is undergoing “anger management” (the name of Sheen’s new FX show) classes next week on RAW.

– WWE Diva Beth Phoenix revealed on Twitter why she was absent from Monday’s RAW:

Thank u for all of the support and respect while myself and my family grieves the loss of a loved one.

Both Beth Phoenix and Kelly Kelly were advertised for the Divas Battle Royal to determine a new #1 contender, but neither woman appeared in the match (or was at the arena). As reported Tuesday, WWE.com is no longer advertising Beth for next week’s four-event Raw brand tour of Australia after she was listed as appearing as recently as late last week. Additionally, she been pulled from all television tapings and live events through the month of September. According to WWE.com, her next scheduled appearance takes place on October 1 for a Raw taping at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

– Michael Cole is the latest WWE personality to speak up on Twitter about CM Punk’s attack on Jerry Lawler from RAW: Despite their differences over the years, Cole tweeted the following in defense of his broadcast partner:

I don’t agree with what @JerryLawler says most of the time, but @CMPunk kicking him in the head because he offered an “opinion” was wrong!

The gms must take action! Superstars assaulting us for doing our job is a bad precedent. @wwejoshmathews and @JerryLawler need to complain!

– Mexican wrestler Vampiro appeared on this week’s MLW Podcast with hosts Konnan and Court Bauer, which can be heard at MLW.com. On this week’s show, Vampiro spoke about WWE Champion CM Punk’s straight edge lifestyle and his past experiences with Punk, including “joking around” with Punk by handing him pills and spiking his drinks.

“There was kind of a weird vibe there. Kind of a ‘Hey, hey how’s it going?’ type of thing. That whole Straight Edge thing, I get it. I used to joke about it with him. I’d give him handfuls of pills and put things in his soft drinks to [mess] with him, but in a good way, trying to break the ice.”

“Him right away being a Straight Edge guy, if you’re into punk rock music you know why and where it came from, although it was kind of new then. Unfortunately, that whole Straight Edge scene kind of came and went really quick and it turned into what we know as ‘emo.’ Emo is short for ‘emotional core,’ which basically came from a Straight Edge concert when a dude started to cry at a punk concert.”

– Macleans.ca has an article up about WWE titled, “WWE Keeps On Rolling … In Cash” that looks at WWE’s international expansion to new markets, including China. WWE’s Senior VP of International Operations Ed Wells was interviewed for the piece and said the company’s growth in China has consistently been in “double digits” since 2007. Their popularity in China is so strong that that there’s talk about bringing in a Chinese character to the roster. “We’d love to have a Chinese star,” Wells said. “And we’re certainly open to working with Chinese talent.”

– Episode 30 of the WWE Inbox Youtube show is now online, with WWE Superstars and Divas answering fan questions sent in via social media. This week, the WWE stars talk about what they do to relax and more:

– WWE Superstars The Usos turn 27 years old today.

MLB

– The Brewers have released LHP Randy Wolf. Ironically, the release comes on his 36th birthday. The Brewers were recently considering removing Wolf from the rotation, as RHP Shaun Marcum (elbow) will return from the DL soon. Wolf has brutal 5.69 ERA and 96/45 K/BB ratio over 142 1/3 innings this season. The Brewers will be on the hook for the $1.5M buyout on his $10M club option for next year.

– According to Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News, the Yankees are considering demoting RHP Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain has struggled since returning from Tommy John surgery and a right ankle dislocation, posting a 9.35 ERA and 4/4 K/BB ratio over 6 2/3 innings. The Yankees need to make a move to activate LHP CC Sabathia (elbow) from the DL, so a move could be coming. He would return when rosters expand in September.

NBA

– Cavaliers’ G Kyrie Irving (hand) is progressing as expected and is expected to be ready for training camp. Irving had previously been targeting September 1 for his return to the court.

– Clippers’ G Chauncey Billups (Achilles) still hasn’t started playing 5-on-5, but did say that his rehab is “going well.” ”I think it’s going to be close, but I’m shooting to be ready for the regular season to be honest with you. I’m not in a rush at all. If I’m ready, I’m ready.” Billups is doing a lot of “basketball-related activity,” but the fact that he’s still not playing 5-on-5 indicates that he’s still got some work to do before he gets back onto the court. He’s expected to start at the two for LA. He averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.4 treys on 36.4 percent shooting over 20 games last season.

– Lakers’ G Kobe Bryant participated in a Sprite sponsored charity basketball event in Shanghai China on the weekend, scoring a ridiculous 68 points in just 15 minutes. The event featured celebrities and no other basketball players. Kobe would later say on Facebook that he used the game as, “a training session for my stamina,” and that he, “ran and ran and ran.” Kobe gave a full commentary of the event on Facebook. Check out what he had to say about his performance after the jump.

“The Sprite China 2nd Annual Charity Basketball game was a ton of fun. We played two 15 min halves with a running clock. I watched from the bench for the first half. We were trailing by 9 when I was notified that fans via text can choose a t

eam to add 20 additional points to their tally!!! We were now down 29!! I wanted to play it cool but what the heck, the place was packed with fans who’d sang an early happy birthday to me and really wanted to watch me go to work. My teammates were down. They are all singers/actors and do not play ball much AT ALL, but they are very successful at what they do hence they are VERY competitive. They asked if I could bring them back in the second half..

I didn’t want to disappoint them or the fans that had paid their hard earned money for a show so I took the challenge of really using the second half as a training session for my stamina. I ran and ran and ran. I wound up scoring 68 in the 2nd and we won. Like I said, they are not basketball players by any stretch of the imagination. I was just having fun with all of them and loved hearing the crowd enjoy the show we put on.

They performed some of their number 1 hits. We took pics and signed autographs. I believe we raised 2.6MM RMB for underprivileged youth here in China! That is the MOST important number of the night. Sprite, one of my sponsors, hosted the game. They carry a great message of self-expression: Don’t be afraid to be who you are — by doing, so that you will find your own path and your own greatness as you define it.

Here’s my pic with Jay Chou. For those who might not know he is a HUGE star in China and we have done several China based commercials and events together. He is THE beast of his field.

Tomorrow is my last day in China then it’s back home for some much needed rest

Much love. Mamba.”

– Later this year, Nike will release the new Lebron James “X” sneaker that will cost $315. The shoe features Nike plus motion sensors that track various metrics. Nike is planning to release only 50,000 pairs of the Lebron “X” sneakers.

– Simon Gourdine, who became deputy commissioner of the NBA in 1974 and went on to work for and lead the players’ association in the 1990s, has died. He was 72. The NBA confirmed Gourdine died on Thursday, though the cause of death was not released. He was living in the Bronx. Gourdine, a graduate of City College of New York and Fordham University Law School, became the NBA’s attorney in 1970 and was hired as deputy commissioner by Commissioner Walter Kennedy. At the time, he was the highest-ranking black executive in professional sports. He left the NBA in 1981, but returned to pro basketball in 1990 as general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association. In 1995, he became executive director after Charles Grantham resigned during contentious negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement. He is survived by his wife, Pat, and three children, David, Peter and Laura.

NHL

– Capitals’ G Michael Neuvirth says teammate F Alex Ovechkin “isn’t what he used to be.” The Czech netminder told iSportz.cz,

“He isn’t what he used to be, that’s for sure. And if a team like ours wants to have a chance in Stanley Cup, we need Ovi to be the best.”

Neuvirth also took a shot at F Alex Semin before touching on Adam Oates’ hiring as head coach, saying,

“He didn’t have the best work ethic.”

(It’s good) “because it means Dale Hunter isn’t staying.”

– The Sabres have reportedly offered UFA F Shane Doan a 4-year/$30M contract. According to ESPN’s John Buccigross, the Coyotes are prepared to only go up to a 2-year deal right now. Stay tuned.

– Check out Coyotes’ F Paul Bissonette doing yoga with Playboy model Amy Lynn Grover:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qkeX1S6MZ0&feature=player_embedded

– The Islanders have confirmed that D Lubomir Visnovsky is OK after he was involved in an automobile accident in his native Slovakia. GM Garth Snow said in a statement, ”I have spoken directly with Lubomir, and am pleased to report that he did not suffer any serious injuries.”

– The Canadiens announced Friday that the club has given a contract extension to Trevor Timmins as director of amateur scouting and have hired former Hab Donald Audette as amateur scout in Quebec. Timmins, entering his 12th season with the Canadiens, is responsible for overseeing and directing the Canadiens’ amateur scouting system, including the NHL Draft. Under Timmins’s watch, the Canadiens drafted many notable players such as Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn, Carey Price, Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban. Audette played 15 years in the NHL, including three with the Canadiens from 2001 to 2004. He played 735 career games totaling 509 points. The club also announced the hiring of Mark Mowers as a pro scout. He suited up in 278 career NHL games for Nashville, Detroit, Boston and Anaheim. Mowers retired from hockey after the 2010-11 season, as a member of Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss National League.

– According to The Fourth Period, Canadian billionaire Bill Gallacher is attempting to purchase the Devils. Gallacher, who owns the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks and is Chairman at Avenir Operating Corp., came close to buying the Stars a few years ago, before losing out to fellow-Canadian Tom Gagliardi. The Devils have been in financial turmoil for the last few years, piling debt on top of debt. Majority owner Jeff Vanderbeek missed an $80M loan payment last September, and missed the team’s extension last week, though the NY Post recently reported that he is close to a deal with lenders to retail control of the team. Vanderbeek has been seeking equity partners for months, but appears to have come up short as a result of missing last week’s extension. The Devils made at least $25M during their Stanley Cup run this past season, but that does not seem to have made much of a dent in the franchise’s debt pile. It’s believed Gallacher is looking to purchase a majority stake in the franchise, though one League executive told TFP there was “nothing close” at the present time. According to one source, a deal could be achieved in the coming months, as soon as January 2013. The NHL has been keeping a close watch on the Devils’ situation, as the League threatened to take over control of the franchise if progress wasn’t made in finding new investors.

– Mike Danton’s attempt to continue his hockey career in England is on hold after border officials refused to grant him an entry visa. The former NHLer, who served more than five years in a U.S. prison for a failed murder-for-hire plot, had his visa application rejected last week, the Coventry Blaze announced Monday. The team, which plays in the Elite Ice Hockey League, said Danton plans to submit a secondary application to the UK Border Agency. The Blaze called on officials to view that “sympathetically” because of the positive steps taken by Danton since his release from prison in 2009. Danton and team officials won’t make any further comment until a decision is made on the secondary application, according to the Blaze. The 31-year-old Danton returned to pro hockey last season — splitting his time between teams in Sweden and the Czech Republic — following two years at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, where he helped the Huskies win a national championship in 2010 and was named an academic all-Canadian because of a straight-A average.

– Police are asking for the public’s help in locating the 1907 Stanley Cup Championship Banner. Ontario Provincial Police say the banner was stolen from the Whitecap Pavilion in Kenora, Ont., sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning. The burgundy and white banner is about two metres long and a little under a metre wide. The Kenora Thistles defeated the Montreal Wanderers to win the Stanley Cup in 1907. Police say a Canadian flag and a Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup flag were also stolen. Anyone with information is asked to contact provincial police or Crime Stoppers.

BOXING

– Check out boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather stacking $1M in bills while travelling on his private jet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWhmJ0gWIpM&feature=player_embedded

SERIE A

– Striker Antonio Cassano has completed his switch from AC Milan to Inter Milan in a deal which sends former Sampdoria teammate Giampaolo Pazzini the other way. Both clubs announced the news on their websites Wednesday, with Inter adding that Cassano has signed a two-year contract. Cassano, who will wear his usual No. 99 jersey at Inter, says “finally, after an eternity, I have arrived at the club I support.” The 30-year-old Cassano had filed a transfer request following Milan’s sale of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain. Pazzini scored 19 goals in 1 1/2 seasons with Inter but was not in coach Andrea Stramaccioni’s first-team plans. Milan has also reportedly paid city rival Inter €7 million ($8.7M).

Raw Recap (7/16/12)

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

RAW
Raw #999 comes to you live from Las Vegas, Nevada.

CM Punk vs. Big Show in a non-title match will be the main event tonight.

CM Punk opens the show to a big pop. Punk says a year ago in Vegas, he dropped is famous “pipe bomb” promo. He says he’s the best in the world and has proven that again, beating Daniel Bryan at MITB on Sunday. He’s proud to be amidst an 8-month WWE Championship reign and entering Raw #1,000 next week.

Big Show’s music hits. He says he was inches away from winning MITB, and if he had won it, he’d cash in on Punk right now. “Big Show sucks” chant. Punk says Show almost won, which is what he always does–smashes everything in sight, then loses. Ouch. Punk says he’s half Show’s size yet still has the WWE Championship, while Show has a big fat contract with no respect from anyone. Show says he doesn’t care what the fans think because WWE revolves around one man: ”You’re not special, Punk. You’re just a cog in the machine.” That means John Cena. Punk counters with “I’m the WWE Champion and you’re not.” The two exchange criticisms, then Show reminds Punk that Cena has the MITB briefcase, so once Show KO’s Punk tonight in their match, Cena can cash in and re-gain the WWE Championship. Show drops the microphone and leaves, ending his own “pipe bomb.” Overall, a nice promo to start the show. Also a good plug for the unpredictability of cashing in MITB.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler inform us that Raw #1 is on YouTube. Unlike the other 998 after it that didn’t make it. They also say The Rock will be on Raw next week.

WWE.com poll asking fans which title should be defended on Raw next week: US, IC or Divas. Here’s an idea–why not all of them? Idiots.

WWE Tag Team Championships: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth d. The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil) w/AW (D)
A.W. is mic’d at ringside. The faces are in control early, knocking PTP to the outside. Kofi hits a somersault dive over the top to take both guys out. Nicely done. After the break, Kofi was getting worked on, but eventually made the hot tag to Truth on a awkward sequence. Truth hit a DDT on O’Neil that got broken up. Kofi and Young went to the outside. A.W. got onto the apron as Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise on O’Neil across the ring. R-Truth then hit the Little Jimmy for the pinfall at 8 minutes. Post-match, A.W. is hot and kicks his jacket.

Backstage, AJ is looking at her phone. Daniel Bryan comes in. AJ says she called the match fairly, and Bryan apologizes for all the things he’s said since WrestleMania. Daniel tries to continue, but Eve walks in and complains about how Bryan bailed on her last week. She requested another tag match from the WWE Board of Directors, and she’ll face Bryan and AJ. “You know what they say about payback? It’s…it’s exactly what you are AJ.” OH NO SHE DI-INT! As Eve leaves, AJ asks Daniel to keep talking, but he says it can wait. He kissed her on the cheek to end the segment. Well done.

Tout promo.

Cena’s first Tout message: his favorite Raw moment was when he got drafted to Raw in 2005.

Alberto Del Rio d. Zack Ryder via Submission (D)
No car for ADR? Weak. He dominates early, landing a single arm DDT. On the outside, he kicks Ryder in the head, slams his arm into the steel steps and throws him into the barricade. Back in the ring, ADR throws Ryder shoulder-first into the ringpost, then applies the Cross Armbreaker for the submission at 2 minutes.

Post-match, ADR re-applied the Cross Armbreaker. All of the sudden, Rey Mysterio’s music hits! He’s back! He runs at ADR and scores a headscissors, followed by a 619. Huge pop for Rey, who’s back after a year away from knee surgery/failed drug test.

Heath Slater’s favorite Raw moment is being the One Man Band to Raw, and how everyone loves him. There’s a Raw #1000 locker room sign, where Slater’s opponent is in.

“Did You Know?” Raw has aired over 300 more episodes than CSI, CSI: Miami & CSI: NY combined. Another skewed stat. Are any of these legit accomplishments? I don’t think so.

Rikishi d. Heath Slater
Holy shit, it’s Rikishi! He looks pretty much the exact same. They plug that he’s cousins with Yokozuna and The Rock, while also being the father of The Usos. Rikishi hit a Stink Face in the corner, followed by a Samoan Spike ala the late Umaga, and ended it with a Banzai Drop from the middle rope ala the late Yokozuna for the pinfall at 1 minute. Post-match, Rikishi wants to dance. The lights go out, then back on, revealing the Usos on the ring. They start dancing with Rikishi, similar to the routine of 2Cool. Very nice. Why not get Brodus Clay in on the fun!?

Next week, Degeneration X will start the 1000th Raw.

Daniel Bryan & AJ d. The Miz & Eve (D)
AJ hit a Shining Wizard and tried for the pin, but Miz distracted the ref. AJ dropkicked knocked Miz off the apron and gave him a weird look. Eve rolled up AJ, but the ref was distracted, so Bryan rolled them over to give AJ the leverage and the pinfall at 3 minutes. Post-match, Bryan says he got cut off backstage in trying to tell AJ that he needs her back in his career and life. “AJ, I love you.” He goes ringside and gets a small box. He says he asked her something last week in hopes of becoming WWWE Champion. He drops to one knee, opening the box, containing an engagement ring. “AJ, will you marry me?” She says nothing, but he still puts the ring on her finger. He holds the mic up for her, as she smiles and says “yes.” They kiss and start celebrating, chanting “YES!” The wedding is next week during Raw #1000.

Memorable Raw Moment: April 12, 1999 with The Rock and Austin with the WWF “Smoking Skull” Championship trying to go over the bridge.

Jack Swagger vs. Ryback ends in No Contest
Swagger attacked before the ref could ring the bell, so the match never became official. Swagger with a hard kick, followed by a Swagger Bomb. Swagger went for the Ankle Lock, but Ryback powered out and hit a big shoulderblock, clothesline and spinebuster. Ryback delivers three consecutive powerbombs, then Swagger rolled out to end the segment at 2 minutes. Post-match, “feed me more” chants.

Another Cena Tout message: a big announcement regarding the MITB contract.

Vickie Guerrero introduced to the Winner of the World Heavyweight Championship MITB Match, Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler comes out in a suit, holding a blue briefcase. He says all MITB briefcases have been cashed successfully, and that we’re looking at the next World Heavyweight Champion. He’s going to cash in on Sheamus and become the greatest champ in history. He’s the show off and a future champion and it’s undisputed.

Chris Jericho’s music hits. He gets face to face with Ziggler, but can’t speak as Ziggler cuts him off. He says its his moment because he won MITB and Jericho didn’t. Ziggler says Jericho has never won MITB and hasn’t won anything in a long time. All Jericho talks about is how great he is, how he’s going to save us and how Jericho is the best in the world at what he does. “Apparently what you do is lose.” Nobody’s been given more opportunities and main event matches than Jericho, and that he’s all hype. He asks Jericho when was the last time he won an important match, but Jericho doesn’t respond. Ziggler asks if Jericho was capable of winning big matches anymore. “Vickie, I think he’s losing his touch.” All of the sudden, Jericho nails a Codebreaker and leaves without emotion. Great stuff! Jericho babyface turn? Looks like it.

Brodus Clay made his entrance. We already saw a fat guy dancing on this show.

WWE.com poll results are in. 36% for the IC, 34% for the Divas Title and 30% for the US. Christian will defend next week.

Brodus Clay d. JTG (D-)
Clay hits a headbutt to the chest and a big splash for the pinfall at 3 minutes. His typical match. Post-match, the usual dancing.

CM Punk d. Big Show via DQ (C+)
It’s Show’s power vs. Punk’s athleticism. Punk dodges a KO punch and lands a series of kicks to the head, followed by three Shining Wizards, but misses the bulldog. Show misses a corner splash and falls on his back for the first time in the match. Punk climbs up top and hits a flying elbow for a good nearfall. Punk went for a springboard attack off the ropes, but Show caught him and Chokeslammed him. Punk is done, but gets his foot on the bottom rope at two. Nicely done. Show starts unloading punches to the ribs in the corner. Referee Mike Chioda tries to pull him off, but Show pushes him away for the DQ at 10 minutes.

Post-match, Show hits a body slam. Suddenly, John Cena’s music hits, and he runs out with the MITB briefcase. Instead of cashing in, Cena has a mic in his hands and tries to make his announcement, but Show cuts him off. He says he knows Cena is going to cash in. Show urges him to cash in, but Cena says no.

Analysis: *** That was a very entertaining big man/little man type of match. Show is very capable of having good matches with the right kind of opponent. Punk has shown many times in his career that he can have these kinds of match with bigger opponents like Mark Henry and Kane during this awesome title reign of his. By not winning clean, it protects Big Show. I’m fine with TV main events like this. They don’t always need a finish. I just want a good match in this spot and that’s what we got this week. ”CM Punk, I give you one week to prepare for the biggest match of your life. You have been WWE Champion for 239 days. So at Raw 1,000 with both of us fresh we will find out who the best in the world really is. Punk, at Raw 1,000 I’m telling you now that I am cashing in this Money in the Bank contract against you for a match for the WWE Championship.” Right after that, Cena slams Show in the head with the briefcase. CM Punk held the WWE Championship high as Cena does the same with the MITB briefcase. Any money says Cena ends Raw #1000 with the WWE Championship. Overall though, a great finish.

Three Stars of the Show
* CM Punk
** Big Show
*** Dolph Ziggler

Final Grade: B-

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come starting next week. Mysterio’s return was good and sets up a feud with ADR, while Bryan/AJ advanced as well. Ziggler/Jericho could mean that Jericho turns face, but a feud between two of the best in-ring performers will be nothing short of outstanding. Cena/Punk should also be great next week, with Cena likely ending the show with the title.

Next week’s Raw will start with DX. Brock Lesnar and The Rock will be there, as will a number of WWE HOFers and legends. Daniel Bryan/AJ will have their wedding, we’ll have a new Raw GM and a WWE Championship match between Cena/Punk. Can’t wait!

2012 WWE No Way Out LIVE! Coverage

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

NO WAY OUT
No Way Out comes to you live from East Rutherford, New Jersey–the home of WrestleMania 29. I just smashed this Lick’s Hulk burger. Now my heart hurts. My ass and colon will soon follow. I hope I make it through this show alive.

Brodus Clay d. David Otunga via Countout
Otunga worked over Brodus, then left the ring for the countout.

Video package for the John Cena, Big Show, John Laurinaitis storyline. /Show/Laurinaitis storyline.

Sheamus d. Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship
Ziggler gets a bigger pop from the crowd than Sheamus did. Ziggler asks for a kiss from Vickie. Ziggler took a big bump to the outside early on. Ziggler with a nice counter into a massive DDT. Ziggler has the pin, but he uses the ropes for leverage. As Ziggler argues, Sheamus counters with a schoolboy for a nearfall. With Sheamus in a hold, he starts a comeback and gains momentum, but Ziggler counters with a Sleeper as the crowd backs him up. Ziggler goes for a cross body off the top, but Sheamus botches the catch. Sheamus again for White Noise, but Ziggler escapes and hits a FameAsser for a nearfall. Nice sequence. “Let’s Go Ziggler” chant. Smart people. Sheamus pulls himself from the corner up and over onto the top rope, but Ziggler runs up there and gives him an X-Factor from the top rope for another nearfall! Wow! That was amazing. Sheamus counters another Sleeper with an Irish Curse Backbreaker. Sheamus hits a flurry of forearms to the chest with Ziggler on the apron, but Ziggler eventually gets back in and gets a Sleeper, but Sheamus counters and hits White Noise. Sheamus winds up and hits a massive Brogue Kick for the pinfall at 15 minutes. What a sell on the finisher. Very nicely done.

Backstage, Vince McMahon is approached by John Laurinaits from behind. Ace with a red suit and blue tie. He suggests Vince stays back because of his concussion. Ace says he’s looking out for Vince’s health, and the benefit of their relationship. Vince enters his office, then stops and refuses to let Ace in. Josh Mathews asks Ace about pressure, and Ace snaps back, saying he handles pressure well every day. He takes a few shots at Mathews, then leaves.

Tuxedo match: Santino Marella d. Ricardo Rodriguez
The first one to strip his opponent of his tuxedo wins. Oh joy. Santino is out in a powder blue tux, and Ricardo is out dressed as he usually is. They bicker over who’s dressed nicer, and gauge fan reactions. They push each other around, and both guys start ripping sleeves and backings off each other. They’re coming off rather easily, they may be tissue paper. Santino yells, “this was my family’s tuxedo! Now you make-a me mad!” Gold Jerry, Gold! Santino gets Ricardo’s tux and starts saying “torro, torro!” and Ricardo dives out of the ring. Santino starts removing his shoes and smelling them, then plugging his nose. Does this count as softcore pornography? Yes, yes it does. Crowd is chanting “boring.” I agree. What a waste of time. Give this time to a match that deserves it. Santino pulls out the Cobra, but Ricardo pulls it off and throws it away. Ricardo is the first to get in his opponents’ pants. Damn, that sounds wrong. Santino has a Cobra on his right foot as a sock. He does a kip up and a big boot on Ricardo, then pulls off Ricardo’s pants for the win at 4 minutes. Ricardo is struggling to his feet with underwear bearing Alberto Del Rio’s face on the ass. There are some things you can’t unsee in this world, people. A complete waste of time.

Backstage, CM Punk with Matt Striker. He asks about Punk’s relationship with AJ. He says she’s crazy, but the match is about the WWE Championship. He pumps Bryan and Kane. AJ walks in and gives Punk a kiss on the cheek. She says good luck, but Punk says luck is for losers. Striker is waiting for a comment, but AJ just stares him down.

Intercontinental Championship: (C) Christian d. Cody Rhodes
Christian is in control early, but Rhodes gets the upper hand with Christian going face-first into the apron. A lot of holds and takedowns so far, a rather slow pace. Christian is sitting on the top turnbuckle, and Rhodes shoves him off, sending him crashing to the outside. On the outside, Christian hit an incredibly smooth, crisp DDT. Wow. That was incredible. Christian regains control, hitting a middle rope drop kick. He climbs up top and hits a cross body, but its countered into a nearfall. Rhodes pulls Christian’s legs out from underneath him as the match takes another pause. Rhodes climbs up top and does the peace sign, but Christian meets him and hits a big top rope hurricanrana for two. Another nice spot. Christian went for the Killswitch, but Rhodes grabs his legs from behind and kicks him in the groin, followed by an Alabama Slamma for two. Christian goes for a Spear, but Rhodes bails. Back in the ring, Christian tries for a sunset flip, but Rhodes counters with a nearfall. Christian hits a Killswitch out of nowhere but only gets two! Wow. “YES!” chant. Christian and Cody go up top, and Christian knocks him off. Christian goes for the Frog Splash, but Cody gets his knees up. They have an incredible sequence immediately after; Cody’s Diaster Kick is countered into a Killswitch, which was also reversed. The two separate, and Christian hits a big Spear for the pinfall at 11 minutes. What a finish. Nice and crisp counters and reversals. Excellent work.

Don’t Try This promo.

Fatal 4-Way–#1 Contender for WWE Tag Team Championship: Prime Time Players d. Promo & Epico, Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd and The Usos
Primo and Epico comes out with Rosa Mendes and A.W.. The Usos had the weirdest tribal-style intro, while Prime Time Players are wearing pink tights. The Usos are in control early, dominating everyone. They hit a nice double team Samoan Drop on Justin Gabriel. Impressive. Titus tags himself in and gets a nearfall on Gabriel, who was worked over for the majority of the match. Kidd with some impressive offence on Primo, landing some nice spots. All the teams then perform some impressive moves to the outside, capped by a hurricanrana off the top rope on 6 people on the outside. There are 8 people laid out on the outside. Young runs in after Primo and hits his insane for the pinfall at 9 minutes. It’s a like a Samoan Drop turned into a dropping double knees to the chest. Impressive. A.W. walks into the ring and raises both of their arms in victory. Primo & Epico are yelling at A.W. with Rosa nagging in the background. Primo grabs A.W., then Epico lays him out with a shot. Prime Time Players jump to his aid and take out Primo & Epico, as Prime Time and A.W. stand tall in the ring.

2012 Money in the Bank promo. Ricardo Rodriguez’ face is priceless.

Flashback to Brock Lesnar/Triple H’s attack on Raw.

Triple H comes out to a nice reception. “HHH” chant. I guess his arm is OK. He says he’s spent more than half is life in the ring because it’s the only thing he’s ever wanted to do, or get a real job. Here he is all these years later with a real job. Yeah, not really. He’s had to deal with a lot of crap since Paul Heyman hit him with a pair of lawsuits. He says he’s a fighter and an asskicker, not a corporate guy. But he has an idea. Heyman says Lesnar wants to fight, and Lesnar says he’s not a wrestler but a fighter and an asskicker. But the last time he saw Lesnar, he jumped HHH from behind and broke his arm. He flexes it and says it’s a lot better, and will be 100% in a few weeks. That brings us to “summer sometime.” Drop the lawyers and lawsuits, fat and balding Heyman, leaving just HHH and Lesnar and doing what we do. “We’re fighters…and I. Wanna. Fight. You. I wanna fight you bad.” Lesnar vs. HHH one on one at SummerSlam. “Let’s. Do. This.” “YES!” chant from the fans. Or you can be happy being a quitter. Whatever you choose, I’ll be waiting. Nice promo.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan warming up when AJ walks in. “YES!” chant from the crowd. She tries to talk to him, but DB says it’s not the time. Even after everything they’ve been through, there’s a part of her that hasn’t gotten over him, and she just wanted to left him know and wish him good luck. She kisses DB on the cheek too. He’s got a smile on his face.

Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix vs. (C) Layla
Both girls take turns bantering with the crowd. Layla puts on Beth’s crown and starts taunting and dancing. Layla takes a big spill, going face-first into the apron after Beth kicked her off. Beth misses a rope attack, and Layla tries a schoolboy for a nearfall. Beth hit a big powerslam for two after Layla got a nearfall with a creative Irish-whip small package-type takedown. Beth lifts Layla over her head, but Layla counters with a big DDT for a nearfall. Layla follows with a neckbreaker for the pinfall at 7 minutes. Not unbearable, actually.

Backstage, AJ finds Kane in a dark corner with a spotlight on him. What’s he doing there? I never know what he’s doing! AJ gives him a kiss on the cheek, but Kane pulls her back and plants a long one on her. She should probably brush her teeth and gargle with Scope as soon as humanly possible. She’s definitely involved in the decision.

Sin Cara d. Hunico
I wonder who’s going to win this one. Hunico comes out on a pathetic bicycle like a 4-year-old. Grow the fuck up. Sin Cara’s pyro is far less effective when he’s bouncing off the ropes rather than off a trampoline. Sin Cara tried for a suicide dive, but Hunico hit a nice counter, followed by a senton flip from the apron to the inside. Hunico showing off some impressive offence as Cara gets his shit handed to him early. Impressive slam by Hunico, followed by a powerbomb. Are you sure this guy isn’t in LAX from TNA Wrestling? Listening to Booker T talk is like listening to your grandfather with Alzheimers get mad over something that happened 50 years ago that he forgot about. Cara mounts a comeback as the pace quickens. He hits a big spinning bulldog or something for the pinfall at 6 minutes. Wow, that’s it? That was the finish? He got his ass kicked all match and just won at the end. Weak.

Triple Threat match–WWE Championship: (C) CM Punk d. Daniel Bruan vs. Kane
AJ is pretty crazy. Lord knows I’ve dealt with my share of crazy chicks. I love Kane’s delay between the pyro and audio cue. “CM Punk” chant following his introduction. Typical triple threat format. Punk and DB counter a double Chokeslam opportunity and start countering with shots and kicks to Kane, with the crowd chanting “YES!” for each shot landed. Punk tries for a suicide dive on DB, but Kane clotheslines Punk halfway through the run. After sending both guys out of the ring, Punk hits a springboard crossbody from the to rope to the outside on both of them. Nicely done. Kane with a big uppercut on the outside as DB tries a diving clothesline from the apron. Punk gets worked on around the ringpost, including a half body stretch by Kane. Kane then hits a baseball slide, sending Punk back-first under the turnbuckle into the ringpost. DB runs in from out of nowhere and collides with Punk in the corner, but takes a slam from Kane. DB then with a toehold drop on Kane into the middle turnbuckle, followed by a kick to the middle rope, which bounced and smashed Kane in the face. Nicely done. Kane and Punk keep pulling each other off the rop rope as they try to superplex DB, and Kane actually pulled down Punk’s trunks, exposing his ass. After about 10 tries, DB hits a dropkick on both guys for two. DB hits offsetting kicks to the chest with both Punk and Kane on their knees, with the fans screaming “YES!” He lays out Kane with a kick to the head as he and Punk begin to pick up the pace. With DB trying to superplex Punk, Kane comes in and gets DB on his shoulders. Punk hits a springboard clothesline off the top rope for the Doomsday Device! That was awesome. Punk then hits a running knee and a running bulldog, followed by a Flying Elbow for two. Punk goes for a GTS, but Kane boots him and gets two. Punk tries for an Elbow Drop on Kane but misses. DB climbs up top and hits  aFlying Headbutt on Punk for a nearfall. Kane gets sent out, and Punk and Bryan go back at it again. DB locks in the YES! Lock on Punk, but Punk counters for a nearfall. Punk hits a GTS on Bryan, but Kane pulls him out of the ring. Kane goes for a Chokeslam, but Punk counters into a DDT for two. Punk then gets a Flying Elbow on Kane for two. Kane muscles out of a GTS and hits a big boot on Punk, followed by a Chokeslam for a nearfall. “WHAT DA HAYELL!?” asks Booker. Kane can’t believe it. He goes for a Tombstone Piledriver, but Punk escapes and pushes Kane into the ropes–AJ had just climbed to the apron, so Kane sent her crashing to the mat. Punk hits a GTS on Kane for the pinfall at 18 minutes. Excellent match. Post-match, Kane rushes over to AJ and carries her to the back. She looks over Kane’s shoulder and is smiling, looking at Punk in the ring. This chick is nuts. Punk finds out what happens and sees the replay on the titantron and smiles.

3-hour Raw promo beginning July 23.

Ryback vs. Dan Delany and Rob Grimes
They say they’re going to win and be in the main event of WrestleMania 29. I sincerely doubt that. Out comes Goldber–I mean, Ryback. “Goldberg” chant. He lands an impressive back body drop and clothesline right away, followed by a another inverted slam. “Goldberg” chant again. That back bodydrop made that jobber look like a stuffed animal. He hits a Double MuscleBuster for the pinfall in a squash at 2 minutes.

SummerSlam promo.

The steel cage is lowered for the main event.

Steel cage: John Cena vs. Big Show
If Cena wins, John Laurinaitis is fired. Just like last month. Ace comes out with a cane and a ridiculous red suit and blue tie. Looks like a strip of Trident Layers gum. Or a Republican. Vince McMahon comes out to a nice pop. God damn that’s a sweet walk. I wish I could strut like that. I wonder if he walks like that all the time. VKM and Ace are sitting beside each other at the announce desk. Show dominating early. Show misses a KO punch and hits the cage. Cena tries to escape, but Show pulls him back in. “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks” duelling chants. Show is still in control as Cena quickly gets on top of the cage, but gets pulled back in. Show slips and splits the ropes as Cena hit a shoulder block that hurt him more than Show. Show picks up Cena by the throat as he’s on the top rope, then slams him off. He tried for a massive elbow drop but misses. Jesus, the ring almost caved right in the middle. Show tries to escape out the door, and Show got one hand on the floor, but Cena pulls him back in. Cena tries to escape, but Show pulls him back in. Cena tries for a cover but gets two. Ace runs in and shuts the door, but Vince pushes him away and reopens it. Cena gets halfway out the door, but Ace pushes Vince from behind, which forced the door to slam on Cena’s head. Show hits a Chokeslam, but only for two! Nice sequence. Show goes for a KO punch on Cena, but misses and punches the ref RIGHT IN THE FUCKING FACE. Cena and Show struggle a bit, but Show hits a KO punch and hits Cena RIGHT IN THE FUCKING FACE. Show is looking around the crowd. “Smile for me now!” Everyone is incapacitated except Show. Brodus Clay comes out with a steel chair and invites Show to exit through the door. Show starts climbing, but Clay follows again. Show fakes out the door, but Clay is back in front. There’s no way out for Show! Clay motions for people to come, and Alex Riley and Santino start climbing the cell. Show smashes the cage wall, and both guys fall off like a Donkey Kong smash. Zack Ryder tries the same thing with the same result. Kofi Kingston is out next and meets Show at the top of the cage. Kofi lands some kicks to the head and sends Show back into the ring! “Cena” chant. Cena tries to escape through the door, but Show pulls him back in. Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment on Show, as Ace watches on from the announce table. Cena gets the cover, but the ref is still out cold. Cena starts climbing as Show begins for the door. Cena is over, and Ace is swinging his crutch at Cena. Clay comes after him and restrains him. Meanwhile, Show is etting closer. Cena falls halfway down and beats Show to the floor by less than a second! Laurinaitis can’t believe it!

Post-match, Cena turns to Ace, who’s still restrained. Cena grabs him and tries for the AA. Vince comes in with the microphone. “JOHN LAURINAITIS…YOU’RE…FIRED!” Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on Laurinaitis through the Spanish announce table! Cena re-arranges Laurinaitis’ pose to the People Power pose, as Cena hugs Brodus ringside. Cole has suddenly turned on Ace, saying he’s no longer his boss. Cena celebrates as Laurinaitis remains out cold to end the show.

Three Stars of the Show
* CM Punk
** Daniel Bryan
*** Dolph Ziggler

Lesnar/Triple H Update, John Cena No Longer the Face of WWE?

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

NBA

– Blazers’ F Greg Oden (knees) said he plans to take off the entire 2012-13 season to rehabilitate and strengthen his knees. Oden essentially admits that during his second season with the Blazers he “pretty much became an alcoholic” while trying to cope with his best friends’ death after a car accident during college. He’s also had three microfracture knee surgeries, a nude picture scandal, a reportedly unsupportive franchise and extremely high expectations thrown at him. The article is posted on Grantland. Here are a few excerpts:

Even while adjusting to the change in culture, Greg successfully rehabbed his knee and played in 61 games the following season, averaging nine points and seven rebounds in 21.5 minutes. He wasn’t dominating like he had in high school and college, but he provided enough highlights to make Blazers fans feel optimistic about the team’s future. It seemed to me while watching Greg on TV that he would be able to recover from his surgery and in a few years’ time could be one of the premier big men in the NBA. But after longing for a veteran role model the previous season, Greg got exactly what he wanted in his second year, only the results were disastrous. That’s because it wasn’t an NBA veteran who took Greg under his wing in his second season—it was his veteran cousin from the Air Force who moved into Greg’s house in Portland.

“If you know anything about guys in the Air Force, it’s that they drink a ton. My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I’d drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I’d drink to forget. That second year in Portland I pretty much became an alcoholic.”

After those pictures hit the Internet, Greg says he locked himself in his house for three straight days until Portland personnel knocked on his door and essentially dragged him to the gym for rehab. Going forward, he found it difficult to show his face in public, assuming everyone was thinking about the pictures and laughing to themselves.

“I wish it wouldn’t have happened. But I’m not going to apologize for it. After all, I’m human and there are worse things that 21-year-olds could do. I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I’m not an asshole.”

– Celtics’ G Paul Pierce (sprained knee) “appears to have aggravated” his sprained knee during Game 5 on Tuesday. Pierce will likely play in Game 6, although his effectiveness is expected to be limited.

– Check out Celtics’ G Rajon Rondo getting testy with a cameraman:

MLB

– Red Sox’ manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that OF Carl Crawford (wrist, elbow) is close to swinging. Crawford will meet the team in Boston on Thursday and undergo an evaluation at some point this weekend. If his elbow and wrist both check out fine, he should be cleared for baseball activities. The 30-year-old is hoping to return before the All-Star break.

– Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday that RHP Drew Storen (elbow) could begin throwing this week. Storen has been on the DL since the start of the regular season with an elbow injury that eventually required minor surgery. Johnson suggested Wednesday that the 24-year-old could begin pitching in minor league rehab games by the end of this month, indicating that Storen is on track for an early-June return.

– Yankees’ RHP Mariano Rivera (torn right ACL) explained Wednesday afternoon that the reported “complication” involving his knee was actually a blood clot in his right calf. Rivera has been taking blood thinners and should ultimately be unaffected by the clot. He’s expected to undergo surgery at some point soon to correct his torn right ACL.

– According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, extension talks between the D’Backs and impending free agent C Miguel Montero “may start up again soon.” Montero’s camp is hoping to surpass the 5-year/$75M contract given to Cardinals’ C Yadier Molina this spring. The 28-year-old is batting .278 with a .375 on-base percentage and 16 RBI in 27 games played this season for the Snakes.

– Twins’ LHP Francisco Liriano has been demoted to the bullpen. The 28-year-old posted a brutal 9.45 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and 21/19 K/BB ratio across his first 26 2/3 innings (six starts) this season.

– Blue Jays’ RHP Casey Janssen will serve as the interim closer until RHP Sergio Santos (shoulder) returns from the DL. RHP Francisco Cordero was removed from the role after blowing his third save of the season Tuesday night. Janssen has a bloated 5.23 ERA in his first 10 appearances this season, but sports a strong 11/1 K/BB ratio over 10 1/3 innings and owns a 3.21 ERA since the start of the 2010 season. Santos should be back by the end of the month.

– Padres’ LHP Cory Luebke (strained left elbow) will get a second opinion on his left elbow from Dr. Lewis Yocum on Thursday. Luebke was placed on the DL last week, but an MRI revealed ligament damage. Season-ending Tommy John surgery is on the table, but he’ll get a second opinion before a course of action is decided.

– The Royals have placed LHP Jonathan Sanchez (left biceps tendinitis) on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 8. Sanchez was lit up for six runs over three innings in his most recent start, and has an ugly 6.75 ERA and 18/22 K/BB ratio across his first six outings.

– During an appearance on WEEI in Boston on Wednesday, Red Sox’ manager Bobby Valentine said that 3B Will Middlebrooks will not play the outfield. Valentine told reporters Tuesday that the idea of using Middlebrooks in the outfield has been discussed internally, but general manager Ben Cherington later expressed hesitation about a possible position change. The 23-year-old has never played a game in the outfield in his professional career, and the majors isn’t the place to learn it. Middlebrooks will likely be optioned back down to Triple-A Pawtucket once 3B Kevin Youkilis (back) returns, and if he’s able to play the field, could get called up again later this season.

– Check out this Padres’ fan who gets a foul ball stuck in his beer, then chugs it anyways:

– Pirates’ RHP Joel Hanrahan (personal) will be placed on the bereavement list Friday due to the death of his grandmother. Hanrahan will be excused for a minimum of three days to attend the funeral and spend time with his family. The 30-year-old has a 4.66 ERA in 9 2/3 innings this year and blew his first save on Tuesday night.

– Padres’ RHP Joe Wieland (tightness in right elbow) will be placed on the DL. An MRI showed no structural damage.

NHL

– The Ducks have signed F Saku Koivu to a 1-year/$3M extension. The 37-year-old gets a $500K raise from this previous two seasons. He recorded 45 points in 2010-11 and dropped to 38 points this past campaign after scoring 52 in his first year in Anaheim. He led the team with a 52.4% faceoff percentage on 1233 total draws.

– Flyers’ F James van Riemsdyk’s new deal kicks in next season and will pay him an average salary of $4.25M over the next six years. The 23-year-old forward will be making $500K more than leading teammate Claude Giroux, despite enduring an injury-plagued campaign in 2011-12. JVR played in 43 games due to various injuries and ended up with just 11 goals and 13 assists. There also remains a chance that he’s moved this summer in order to help clear some cap space for the Flyers.

– Blues’ G Jaroslav Halak (high ankle spain) will use the summer to recover from his injury. Halak was hurt when teammate Barret Jackman inadvertently collided with him in Game 2 of the first round against the Sharks, and was forced to miss seven of the team’s nine layoff games. Head coach Ken Hitchcock said, ”Jaro has got long rehab ahead of him. He’s got a lot of work to do before he can get back on the ice and participate.” Both Halak and G Brian Elliott under contract for the next two seasons and will likely tandem again in 2012-13.

– The Stars have hired former GM Bob Gainey as a consultant to GM Joe Nieuwendyk. Gainey worked seven years as GM of the Canadiens before stepping down and assuming an advisory role under general manager Pierre Gauthier in 2010. Both were let go by the Canadiens on March 29 after the club failed to make the postseason. He returns to the team he led to a Stanley Cup as GM in 1999. He first joined the Stars as head coach of the Minnesota North Stars in 1990 and became GM in 1992. Gainey said,

“I do see it in a similar way to what I was doing with the Canadiens over the last two years. My scope will probably be broader with the Stars, but I see it as observing and familiarizing myself with the players and then hopefully offering some guidance that maybe others haven’t seen. I would like to be able to say, ‘I see this in a player,’ or ‘Maybe we could shape this player in this direction.’ Those are areas where I believe I can help.”

– The NHL’s Board of Governors has approved unanimously the sale of the Blues to a group headed by Tom Stillman.

– Predators’ F Alexander Radulov (crack in knee) said on Wednesday that he had been playing hurt and that he’ll require off-season surgery. “I got an offer to go to World Championships, but … I just want to get healthy first because I don’t have a contract. It’s a difficult situation. … I just want to get healthy and go from there … get stronger, work on my game, just be better, you know? It was (all) season. It wasn’t bad pain, but I could feel it. It doesn’t bother my game… It’s all fine.” Radulov is expected to go back to Russia now that his contract with the Predators is up. He spent the last four seasons overseas.

– Penguins’ D Zbynek Michalek (hip) underwent successful surgery on Wednesday and is expected to be ready for the start of the 2012-13 season. Michalek was listed as questionable to play in Game 6 against the Flyers, but still played–he didn’t reveal that he was hurt until after the Pens were eliminated. Michalek recorded 13 points, 144 blocked shots and an even rating in 62 games this season.

NFL

– Browns’ GM Tom Heckert said on PFT Live that he sees No. 3 overall pick RB Trent Richardson as a workhorse back. ”I think it’s pretty safe to say we draft a guy third overall, he’s going to be the guy…We thought he was such a special player, we thought it outweighed any, you know, hesitations about whether the running backs, how long they last, and all that stuff. He scores a lot of touchdowns. We think he’s going to score a lot of touchdowns for us.” Richardson will take early-down carries and should be involved on passing downs.

– Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday that the team has no plans to trade CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder surgery). Jenkins will rehab his shoulder and enter training camp as Dallas’ No. 4 cornerback. “Jenkins is not only this year, but a long-term player here as far as I’m concerned…a vital part of our plan.” Jenkins is entering the final year of his contract.

– Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugerman says RB Adrian Peterson (ACL, MCL, meniscus surgery) won’t be a lock to play in Week 1. ”I love Adrian. But let’s make this clear: I’m still not going to be quoted as saying he’s going to play in the first game. That’s not fair. I don’t know that.” Sugarman added that the goal remains to play Week 1, “but only if he’s functionally able to do it.” Already running fast in a straight line, Peterson is expected to begin cutting on his knee this week.

– After meeting with new OC Todd Haley, Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger believes the team has no intention of reverting to a run-heavy, smashmouth offense. ”In these meetings I’ve had with coach Haley he’s all about the no-huddle, and using our wide receiver weapons, and throwing the ball, and stuff like that. So I’m still confused [about the run-heavy perception].” Given that RB Rashard Mendenhall (ACL surgery) is out, a pass-heavy offence is expected. Haley’s Cardinals finished second in the NFL in pass attempts in his only two years as offensive coordinator.

– The Texans have agreed to terms with QB John Beck. Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme is similar to Redskins’ head coach Mike Shanahans’, so there shouldn’t be much of a learning curve. That siad, the 31-year-old is not the answer to any of their problems. Beck appeared in four games last season (three starts), and completed 60.6% of his passes with a 6.5 YPA, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. He’s expected to be the third stringer in Houston.

WWE

– According to the Wrestling Observer, the original plan was for Brock Lesnar to appear on last week’s RAW and quit himself, but the decision was made to bring Paul Heyman in instead. It was widely reported that Monday’s RAW was rewritten several time throughout the day in the hours leading up to the show, and Heyman’s segment was one of the parts that was constantly being edited. As for how the Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H storyline will play out, a match is currently scheduled to be the main event of SummerSlam. Beyond that, there’s a lot of secrecy surrounding the feud, with only a limited few Vince & Stephanie McMahon, John Laurinaitis, Triple H and Brock Lesnar among those in the know–even the WWE writing team is in the dark about how everything will fall into place.

– According to the Wrestling Observer, with John Cena recently turning 35 years old, there has been talk that Vince McMahon is already on the hunt for his next “John Cena.” Over the past 30 years, Vince has hand-picked Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and now John Cena as the top babyface in the company. At 66 years old, he is still calling the shots in WWE with a hand in virtually every aspect of the company, but will be delegating more responsibilities to Triple H and Stephanie as time goes on. It’s been said that the next top baby face to carry the torch in WWE could be Vince’s final hand-picked face of WWE.

– According to the PWInsider, there was a ton of discussion within WWE about Triple H accompanying Floyd Mayweather to the ring last weekend in Las Vegas.Earlier this year, WWE Champion CM Punk was forbidden from accompanying UFC fighter Chael Sonnen to the ring when he had a fight in Chicago, so it appears a double standard was in play. Part of the reason Punk wasn’t allowed to appear at the UFC show was because WWE management was concerned nobody would acknowledge Punk as a cornerman, which would hurt his perceived star power. Despite WWE perceiving Triple H as a bigger name than CM Punk, Triple H did not get any mainstream media attention and was overshadowed by singer Justin Beiber, who was also part of Mayweather’s crew on Saturday night.

– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE is once again looking to sign Mexican wrestlers. With Sin Cara’s career getting off to a very rocky start, Rey Mysterio’s recent issues and even Alberto Del Rio stating that he does not plan to be wrestling in a few years, the company scouting a young, charismatic, English-speaking high-flying Mexican star.

– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE developmental wrestler Kassius Ohno is currently sidelined due to a cervical sprain. The injury occurred at the April 26 Florida Championship Wrestling television tapings in Tampa, Florida when Antonio Cesaro attempted a twisting dive maneuver onto numerous wrestlers but fell short and on top of Ohno’s head. He finished the match but he was taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

– Sunday on Facebook, “The Pope” D’Angelo Dinero slammed Marty Jannetty online again for carelessly striking Balls Mahoney with a chair during a match for independent wrestling promotion Pro Wrestling Syndicate in March. The TNA Wrestling star wrote,

“Have anyone heard from Marty Chairnetty??? You know, the guy that single handily almost did in one night to Balls Mahoney what sex, drugs, and ECW couldn’t do in 20yrs; End His Freaking Career!?!??

“Well, If ya hear from the coon, let’em know that Pope is out of semi retirement for the moment and is hoping that he grow some balls, head to Orlando, do what Pope won’t do, and that’s kiss Hogan’s @ss, and beg for the opportunity to show up on iMPACT WRESTLING OFN and call Pope out. Hopefully he’s dressed in his 1980?s Rockers attire, otherwise Pope may not recognize him! ~ PHS.”

Jannetty caught wind of Dinero’s comments and posted a rebuttal on Wednesday via Facebook:  The former WWE Superstar wrote:

“Someone get this word over to big mouth Elijah “The Dope” Burke . it’s really quite simple..take a look at the suicide dive over the top rope on Jerry Lynn(photo below)..Jerry Lynn is one hella competitor, so I brought my A+ game to that match..it took a lot out of me and out of Jerry but,the crowd of 1300 were on their feet cheering BOTH of us on as the match progressed..we gave everything we had in the ring, neither of us had much energy left to walk back to the dressing room, where we were met with a standing ovation. and word in the streets is people have been talking about it ever since..Here’s the thing you need to think about Mr Burke.. I like Jerry he’s a friend, I like Mahoney, he’s a friend(he just couldnt keep up the blistering pace) what that means to you Elijah Butts(whatever your name is this week), things in the ring with you will be a whole hella lot different..now, if you got any “Balls” like your boy Mahoney..stop talking shit and get in the ring with me. You wanna call me out on where? South Compton Street Corners? Sheeit I’ll come there to you, I probably got more friends there than you do..you gonna find out the in the worse way, I aint your average white brother..(b4 anyone hits me up with this being racist over these comments, consider I have a black girlfriend and the Compton comment is because I heard that’s where he was hidding out, or was “hangin out” this past week with TNA.. I tell you you what Mr. Butts, rather than you just bumpin your gums and flapping your yap all negative about me and what you can do about it, let me put it out there like this..ANY PROMOTER, ANYWHERE WANTS TO BOOK A “”STREET FIGHT”” BETWEEN ME MR BUTTS (OR WHATEVER HE CALLS HIMSELF , THE POPE) I’M READY TO SIGN FOR THE FIGHT RIGHT NOW..ANYWHERE..BUT HEY HOW BOUT THIS MR BUTTS, RAHWAY,NJ WHERE YOUR BOY THREW UP, I’M SURE WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO COME THERE IN HIS DEFENSE AGANST ME..BUT THIS IS OPEN CHALLENGE TO ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY, HELL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!..POST THIS ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE YOU WANT AND CAN(IN FACT EVERYONE DO THAT, WATCH HOW FAST WE FLUSH THIS RAT OUT).. STEP UP MR BADD AZZ ELIJAH BUTTS..POST THIS ON PLACES YOU RUN YOUR MOUTH.CAUSE WE TALK ABOUT IT, OR WE CAN BE ABOUT IT..I CAN SHOW MUCH BETTER THAN I CAN TELL YOU WHAT’S GONNA HAPPEN TO YO AZZ IF YOU GRAB THE NUTS TO STEP UP IN THE RING IN STREET FIGHT MATCH WITH ME..WAIT,QUIETLY LISTEN FOR A COUPLE SECONDS……..YOU HEAR THAT?…THAT’S THE SOUND OF MR. BUTTS SHITTING IN HIS PANTS RIGHT NOW!”

– Mick Foley stated Wednesday via Twitter that he has been advised to lessen his time in front of a computer due to his history of concussions.

“Strange but true news of the day: two leading concussion experts have advised me to cut back dramatically on my time in front of a computer. So, I’ll have to make some changes, including the amount of time I spend reading and answering my Twitter messages. Hope you understand.”

– With Linda McMahon running for Senate in Connecticut this year, Vince McMahon is once again contemplating a second “Stand Up for WWE” campaign to refute all the negative media coverage he expects his sports entertainment organization to receive. The WWE CEO has told people that the company will be more aggressive toward the persecution from “the liberal media” given what is expected to occur once the Senate race heats up. An individual close to the matter said that if Linda doesn’t perform well in the campaign, the organization will be very outspoken.

– Former WWE diva Chyna was recently interviewed by Brian Socia of The Socia Network (on Philadelphia’s Mix 106.1) and spoke freely about a number of topics, including:

How the porn business and wrestling business relate to each other.

How she got into the wrestling business

If the Triple H break-up shocked her

Did he rise to the to b/c he is with the boss’s daughter

Once Triple H has control of the company, will things change

Her relationship w/ XPac.

Her views on the current business.

Would she ever go back if WWE offered her a contract

Her trouble w/ Vince McMahon.

Her match “Good Housekeeping” match w/ Jeff Jarrett and the controversy surrounding it.

Her thoughts on current Divas Beth Phoenix and Kharma?

– Paul Heyman wrote the following on Twitter about WWE Superstars Jimmy and Jey Uso:

“Amazing seeing @WWEusos … remember, I haven’t been around for half a decade … The last time I saw these two, they were little kids doing splashes off the top rope in the Omni before the show when I managed their Dad. Yes, that makes me old, but I recognize TALENT. @WWEusos are talented. Time for these young Samoans to eat up the competition!”

– According to F4WOnline, WWE is expected to hold a Tag Team Championship Match at Over the Limit where Kofi Kingston and R-Truth defend the titles against either Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger or a multiple tag team match including Epico and Primo and possibly Darren Young and Titus O’Neil.

– According to the PWInsider, Vince McMahon was reportedly encouraged by YouTube viewing numbers for the United States Championship Match between Santino Marella and The Miz before Extreme Rules. He felt with more promotion the numbers could be even higher.

– Former WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield is pleased with Paul Heyman’s return to WWE. He tweeted,

“Big fan, and friend, of Paul, he’s great talent and mind. Great move by WWE!”

– Alicia Fox, Dolph Ziggler, Hornswoggle, Kaitlyn and Johnny Curtis responding to questions on the worst movie of all-time and “most shocking” WWE moment of all-time in the latest edition of WWE Inbox:

– Via Twitter, Paul Heyman was asked to give his opinion on the best female wrestler. He responded,

“Easy answer. @TheBethPhoenix. And she could rock in MMA, too.”

– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross is back with another blog update, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. In this entry, JR posted some random thoughts about a variety of topics. Here are some highlights of what JR wrote about:

“Most underrated wrestling faction? Arguably, [Paul Heyman's] Dangerous Alliance. Loaded w/ talent.”

“Keep an eye on Antonio Cesaro who will compete Friday night on Smackdown. Potential impact player”

“Education, intelligence and natural athleticism are three elements that are closely evaluated when looking at potential WWE performers. I still believe ‘IT’cannot be taught but can be cultivated/enhanced.”

“Excited for what I perceive will be a big week in Florida next week. I’m loving working in WWE Development”

– At Tuesday’s SmackDown taping at the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, Virginia, WWE had arena security confiscate signs referencing The Bella Twins at the door. The twin duo parted ways with the company last week. The former Bella Twins changed their Twitter handle Wednesday to nicoleandbri and are now referring to themselves as Nicole and Brianna.

“#BellaArmy as you can see changes have been made! Spread the word that we are @nicoleandbri now! This officially starts the new #BellaEra,” the former WWE Divas stated.

– Ezekiel Jackson responded to a Twitter user relaying an online rumor that misbehavior backstage resulted in WWE abandoning plans to push the SmackDown Superstar again. He wrote,

“Wow, and u witnessed this? Or rumours?”

– The May 5 episode of A.M. Raw garnered a 0.61 cable rating, with 723,000 viewers.