– According to the LA Times, a deal between the Celtics and Clippers involving F Kevin Garnett and head coach Doc Rivers is reportedly “close to being done very, very soon.” Per the report, the Celtics are no longer insisting that G Eric Bledsoe be included, as long as the Clippers take back the contract of either G Jason Terry or G Courtney Lee. Boston’s return would include F DeAndre Jordan and a 1st-round pick. Meanwhile, Clippers’ G Chris Paul would re-sign with the LA if they can acquire Garnett and Rivers, according to Yahoo! Sports. Paul is an impending free agent, so needless to say, he’ll have some voice in what LA does this summer. Stay tuned.
– Bucks’ G Monta Ellis will opt out of his contract and test free agency, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. As expected, Ellis will turn down his $11M option. He rejected a 2-year/$24.8M contract extension. He’ll seek a multi-year contract elsewhere.
– Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw is reportedly upset that information about his contract extension talks with the team have leaked publicly. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that both sides are progressing towards a contract worth at least 7-year/$180M. “I guess you’ll have to talk to the Dodgers as to why it came out. I don’t love the fact that I have to talk about it. We kind of had an agreement that we weren’t going to talk about it. It didn’t come from our side.” Kershaw, 25, will be a free agent following the 2014 season.
– Yankees’ 3B Alex Rodriguez (hip) is scheduled to face live pitching for the first time this year on Tuesday in Tampa. He ran the bases at 75% effort over the weekend, and is now ready to begin working on his timing at the plate. A-Rod is recovering from January hip surgery, and is targeting a return shortly after the All-Star break.
– The Tigers have placed RHP Anibal Sanchez (strained right shoulder) and C Alex Avila (left arm contusion) on the 15-day DL. Sanchez’ move is retroactive to June 16. After being scratched from a start last week due to shoulder stiffness, Sanchez lasted just 3 2/3 innings on Saturday. Avila suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday.
– Blue Jays’ SS Jose Reyes (sprained left ankle) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday with High-A Dunedin. He’s hoping to return by the end of the month, barring setbacks. Reyes has been sidelined since April 12.
– Troy Renck of the Denver Post believes Rockies’ RHP Roy Oswalt will start Thursday against the Nationals. Oswalt has a 2.16 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings at Double-A Tulsa since signing a minor league contract with the Rockies in early May. He had a 5.80 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 59 innings last season for the Rangers.
– Indians’ RHP Chris Perez (shoulder soreness) is expected to be activated from the DL Friday. Perez allowed two hits and struck out one Sunday in his first rehab appearance with Low-A Lake County. He’ll make another appearance Tuesday. Perez has been out since May 26.
– ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Monday that the Patriots do not know when TE Rob Gronkowski (back surgery) will return. “The fact is the Patriots really don’t know when he’s gonna come back.” Gronk will go under the knife Tuesday, after which a clearer timetable should be provided. Of note, New England is carrying a league-high seven tight ends on its 90-man roster. Gronk will open camp on the PUP list.
– Lions’ WR Ryan Broyles (ACL surgery) tells the Detroit News that he expects to be ready for Week 1. “I’m out there doing full practices right now so in a couple months I feel like I’ll be pretty good.” Broyles added that he’s going “full blast in the weight room.”
– The Vikings are expected to make a “strong run” at free agent ILB Desmond Bishop. The Bears were also rumored to have interest in Bishop, although it’s believed that they’ve moved on.
– The Denver Post writes that 75 catches is the ideal number for WRs Wes Welker and Eric Decker. Meanwhile, WR Demaryius Thomas is projected at 85. QB Peyton Manning has never been a part of an offense where at least three players caught 75 passes, however, Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and Jacob Tamme all cleared 67 in 2010 with the Colts.
– The Flyers have agreed to terms with D Mark Streit on a 4-year contract. Streit, an impending UFA, had his rights acquired from the Islanders last Wednesday for F Shane Harper and a 2014 4th-round pick. Streit, 35, had six goals and 21 assists in 48 games last season.
– According to the Detroit News, the Red Wings are looking into Panthers’ F Stephen Weiss. The Stars and Maple Leafs have also asked about Weiss. The 30-year-old will be UFA on July 5. He recorded just one goal and three assists in 17 games last season.
– WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair spoke to the Charlotte Observer over the weekend about the news that his son’s autopsy report confirmed that he died from a heroin overdose. Flair said:
“I loved him… He should have been on top of the world, but he was fighting a battle he couldn’t win. I hope people remember his laugh, his spirit and his love of life.”
Reid’s mother, Beth, said,
“I knew his fears and I knew how to help him. All he wanted to do was stay busy, train and keep his mind off the old triggers, then go back to Japan. He was doing really well there. He was happy.”
– WWE Superstar Jack Swagger is scheduled to go to trial on June 25 in Mississippi, stemming from his February 19 DUI arrest in Gulfport, MS. Swagger was arrested just 90 minutes after attending a WWE SmackDown taping. Swagger’s charges carry fines of $437 for possession of marijuana, $188 for driving 10 mph over the speed limit and $1,300 for driving impaired on a first DUI offense. City prosecutor Kirk Clark previously told the Associated Press that he is pushing for the maximum sentence against Swagger, which would land him in jail for two days and require him to take several classes.
– Kevin Nash tweeted the following on Sunday next, explaining why he probably won’t be getting back in the ring at any time soon:
Sat down with my financial guy on Friday said I’m good till 2049.I’m quite sure no one will be forced in to seeing me and my 5 moves?
— Kevin Nash (@RealKevinNash) June 16, 2013
– Mark Henry is teasing on Twitter that he may retire soon.
– With the announcement that Rob Van Dam will be returning to WWE at next month’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view, WWE.com caught up with several WWE Superstars / TV personalities to get their thoughts on the situation:
Paul Heyman: “The entire WWE Universe is buzzing about the return of a true one-of-a-kind, Rob Van Dam. And no one, I assure you, no one is more exhilarated about the return of RVD than Paul Heyman himself. Because after all, Rob Van Dam is a “Paul Heyman Guy.””
The Miz: “One of the greatest highfliers, a Legend in my mind. I remember from ECW to WWE, this guy is action-packed, he is a showstopper, he is must-see. He’s not going to take The Miz’s spot. I welcome all comers. I’ve always welcomed anyone that’s come back, because the fact is, if people are going to watch them, they’re going to stay to watch me. Who knows how much he has left in the tank? I’m curious to see how he does. I’m a huge fan and I look forward to getting in the ring with him.”
Vickie Guerrero: “My responsibility is making the best opportunities for Monday Night Raw. To have RVD return back to WWE, I am honored to be part of the board that looked at his profile and welcomed him with open arms. RVD and I go back many years to when he was with Eddie. I cannot wait to see him here.”
Brad Maddox: “Of course I’m not surprised, because I signed him. Or I should say, re-signed the legendary RVD. I specifically told him to wait for Money in the Bank, because I wanted to maximize profitability.”
Titus O’Neil: “Anything that gets the WWE Universe excited in any way, shape or form, I’m excited about. Because that means more fans in the WWE Universe that will be spending more money to buy Prime Time Players T-shirts. So yeah, I’m excited about RVD coming back.”
Damien Sandow: “I am not threatened by any man whose name is three letters.”
WWE has already moved RVD’s WWE.com Superstar profile from the “Alumni” section to the main roster section. Van Dam returns to WWE at next month’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
– New WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel tweeted the following on Sunday, wishing his father Curt Hennig a Happy Fathers Day:
I never had the privilege to stand in the ring with my Dad but now Im honored to stand in the history books with him! Happy Fathers Day Dad!
— Curtis Axel (@RealCurtisAxel) June 17, 2013
– New WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee tweeted the following message after her match at Payback last night:
Tonight was a dream that took 14 years of will power & hard work to realize. I did it my way. This is the proudest moment of my life.
— A.J. (@WWEAJLee) June 17, 2013
– Seth Rollins of The Shield tweeted the following about he and Roman Reigns retaining the WWE Tag Team titles at Payback:
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) June 17, 2013
– WWE Hall of Famer Edge spoke to Paul Mazeby of the When We Were Bouncers Facebook page about his crazy experiences as a bouncer, prior to becoming a pro wrestler.
“I started bouncing at 17 years old at a franchise place called O’Toole’s in my hometown of Orangeville. Of course it was highly illegal for me to be doing that, but even at that age I was about 6’4” and 220, so because they were short on bouncers, I got the job.
The thing with Orangeville was that, even though it was just a small town of about 15000 people, it was surrounded by a bunch of farming communities whose farm boys would come into town with their shit-kickers on when they wanted to drink. And when the drinking started, all the different rivalries from all the different towns would flare up.
The bouncing crew included friends of mine named Doug Childs and Kelly McGoogan, as well as the legendary Burt the Hurt. Burt was a guy I knew from the wrestling business, since we were both training to be wrestlers at Sully’s Gym in Toronto. In his day job he was a schoolteacher, but he was also legally blind so how he got a license, I have no idea. That dude was INSANE — he would only answer if you called him by his full name of “Burt the Hurt”, and he spoke about himself in the third person way before The Rock ever did. I liked to call him “The Innovator of Eccentricity” because he always talked as if he was cutting a wrestling promo, even when there were no cameras around and he didn’t think anybody was listening. Burt was also strong as a bull — squat, deadlift, pick up cars, whatever. Total freak — and batshit crazy.
Our crew was actually well-hired, because with me being from town and every other guy being from one of the neighbouring towns, any time things got out of hand, the odds were good that at least one of us would know at least one of the guys in the fight and have a chance at talking them down.
So one night we were all at work, and it was one of those times where the place was filled with these big, athletic farm guys who play hockey, and the air was thick with testosterone and you could just tell that something was gonna happen. Adding to the potential for disaster was that Jay The Dick [Jay Reso aka “Christian”, Copeland’s tag team partner and best friend] was also in the club, because there was really nowhere else to hang out in Orangeville.
I can’t even remember what started it all. I just remember looking at the back corner and seeing fists start flying back there, and then suddenly it was like a tsunami of fists rolling toward us as more and more people got involved. By the time the wave crashed into us, there were at least thirty people fighting, which meant we could absolutely forget about stopping it. We just had to pick off guys one at a time, try to control it.
The first guy I grabbed started swinging at me, so I rammed him up against a support pillar to get a good hold of him, and then began dragging him out. But a buddy of his came up from behind me and grabbed me in a chokehold! So now I’m not only fending off the choke, but the guy I had against the pillar is now loose and he’s getting ready to dial me in.
We were all standing beside this kind of wooden barrier that ran around the dance floor, maybe four feet high and eighteen inches thick, and just as I’m thinking I’m finished, out of nowhere I see The Dick running along the top of it. So I pushed backward and slammed the guy behind me into a wall, which got me loose just as The Dick launched himself into the air. A moment later — BOOM! — he hit the guy in front of me with a picture-perfect cross body block to the back! I swear, you’ve never seen a better one in any wrestling ring than the one that The Dick pulled off that night — slammed the guy face-first right into the ground!
To the best of my knowledge, that was the first-ever successful cross body block to be pulled off in a street fight — and don’t even talk to me about that weak shit that [Chris] Jericho tried in Calgary, because it totally doesn’t count if you don’t connect!
Thankfully, the fight didn’t last much longer and we all came out of it more or less unscathed. If you don’t count having to listen to The Dick brag about himself for weeks afterward, that is.”
“If I fail to remember O’Toole’s for any other reason, I will always remember it for the night that they featured a male strip show. I was freaking out that I had to work that night, because I’d barely been to a female strip club at that point, so I had no idea what the deal was gonna be.
The strippers arrived shortly after my shift started, and because it was the nineties, they were all mulletted out like crazy — not that I can say anything about it since I was rockin’ the same thing, plus my uniform was cowboy boots, jeans, and a white denim shirt, so I wasn’t setting a very high fashion precedent.
After the show began, I stayed on the front door and tried to look into the club as little as possible. But it was still my job to scan the room from time to time, and every time I did, it was like, “Whoa, shit, there’s a dick”. I hadn’t realized that these guys were actually gonna get their shit right in the girls’ faces and just shake it! I don’t know if that was legal or not, but I can tell you it was sure goin’ on.
Eventually I had to use the staff washroom, which was a tiny, single-user deal at the back. As I made my way back there I tried to keep my eyes to the floor, but it was like walking through dick land-mines the whole way! When I finally got to the back I let out a huge sigh of relief, but that only lasted a couple of seconds before I opened the unlocked bathroom door and found one of the peelers standing there wearing nothing but a cock ring! Porn magazine in one hand, junk in the other, and going to TOWN on himself trying to get his shit hard!
At a young and impressionable 17 years old, I didn’t want to know about cock-rings — what they were, what they were for, the whole process of getting ‘em on, I didn’t wanna know any of that. And I especially didn’t want to be enlightened by a guy who was only too eager to explain it all while whacking his meat!
So yeah… I witnessed that. And even with all the years that passed and all the concussions I’ve suffered since then, I’ve still never found a way to un-know it.”
– Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted the following on Monday about his new movie Hercules:
THANK U to the armies of Greek soldiers & warriors in our massive action scenes. We’re making something epic. Keep bringing it. #HERCULES
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) June 17, 2013
– Here are some highlights from WWE.com’s backstage interviews from Sunday night after WWE Payback:
WWE doctor Michael Sampson commented on Dolph Ziggler’s condition, noting that Ziggler was checked out after his match and will continue to be monitored for post-concussion symptoms. According to WWE storylines, Ziggler’s in-ring status is up int he air until they get more results from Ziggler’s latest round of testing.
Kane commented on his count-out loss to Dean Ambrose, promising that Dean Ambrose won’t escape him again.
Paul Heyman said new Intercontinental champion Curtis Axel had the “perfect” victory at Payback and now has a bunch of “offers” coming in.
The Shield also gave WWE a hand-held video they shot backstage, mocking their opponents and declaring that The Shield dominated yet another pay-per-view event. Ambrose called WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns “the best tag team walking today” and said that The Shield are the leaders of a”new generation” in WWE.
– WWE.com has an article up stating that Ryback refused medical attention after losing the Three Stages of Hell match to John Cena at Payback. Cena won the match by giving Ryback an AA through the roof of the ambulance at ringside. There will be an update on Ryback’s condition tonight on RAW.
– WWE Payback was a legitimate sellout at the Allstate Arena, with 14,623 fans in attendance.
– WWE announcer Michael Cole was recently interviewed by Wrestling101. Here are some highlights of what he said about:
What have been some of your highlights during your time with WWE?
My career was made at the beginning thanks to Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chyna and Rick Rude, if it wasn’t for D-Generation X who knows if I would’ve ever been discovered to become the personality that I am today, with those guys we had so much fun together and I become their foil.
From there I went onto SmackDown and I was there for ten years straight before I moved to Raw and that was obviously a huge experience for me. Then moving to Monday Night Raw was probably the biggest moment of my career. Finally being asked to get in the ring and have Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler’s only WrestleMania match was a complete honour, I was completely humbled by that and I had a lot of fun doing it.
I like being a bad guy but now I’m a good guy again and it’s all just so much fun, you’re able to reinvent your character so much in this business and that’s why I enjoy it so much.
You were doing commentary on Raw when Jerry Lawler had a heart attack, what instincts kicked in when that incident happened?
My news instincts kicked in, it was just one of those things where Jerry had a heart attack next to me and being a news reporter kicked in. I had to report what was going on in the ring, then I had to report what was going on with Jerry, it was all instinct, there was nothing premeditated about it.
Jerry had a match that night but it was business as usual, he came back and went to work nothing changed. Whatever match it was we were calling, I thought he was snoring and I turned around to look at him and he was passed out on the table and we went from there. It was a surreal thing and I’ve never watched that moment back, I don’t want to but I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life. He was passed out under the table and luckily doc Sampson was three feet away and they got to him quickly and got his heart going again but it was a bizarre time, I didn’t know for the last hour of the show if I was going to have to report that Jerry had passed away or if he was surviving and luckily we got the news right as we were going off the air that he was surviving, it was a really tough time.
Obviously it all came out the way we wanted it to, and it is great having Jerry back on the commentary table. It changed me personally but it also changed me professionally because at that point I became a babyface again and I think for the best, I was a bad guy for a while but it was time to change. Obviously Jerry’s heart attack changed history as we look at it.
What is Vince McMahon like as a boss?
He is wonderful, he’s hard but he is a genius with what we do as a company. If you can understand how to learn from him, here is a guy that is a billionaire and he’s built the wrestling business to where it is today but he still goes out and puts himself in situations, embarrassing situations for the good of the company.
That’s why when I did my role as a heel for a few years and all the things I did to Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, I did that with Vince in mind. Vince is the owner of the company but he has had his head shoved up Big Shows rear-end, had his head shaved bald at WrestleMania, all the stuff he did over the years I thought if my boss could do that, I could do that.
He is one of my hero’s in this business and even in life, I’ve grown up in this business, I’ve spent 16-years here, I started as a fairly young kid, I’ve raised my family being a part of the WWE. Vince is like a second father to me and he has helped me throughout my career and I hope to spend the rest of my career with the guy, he’s just been an unbelievable mentor.
Have you ever had an ear bashing from Vince?
(Laughs) Yeah it happens every week, the thing is you can’t take it personally. Vince is very obsessive about his product because he should be, he has built the WWE into a global phenomenon, this is his baby and he acts that way because he wants his product to be the best.
You have to understand it’s not a personal attack, it’s him wanting his product to be the best in the world and once you can understand that you’re going to be better than ever and you’ve got to understand it’s a way to motivate you.
– Here is WWE’s official promo video for the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 14:
– Stephanie McMahon tweeted this picture of the social media command center backstage at WWE Payback:
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) June 17, 2013
– TNA Wrestling has parted ways with Mike Weber, their Vice President of Marketing, last week. He had been with the company since 2008 and previously worked for WWE and WCW.