– FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers are among the 20 teams on Phillies’ LHP Cliff Lee’s no-trade list. Lee reset the list of clubs prior to the season. A trade to those teams could still happen, however, Lee would have to approve it. With the Phillies under .500, essentially all of the team’s core could be had by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Lee is owed 2-years/$25M, including a $27.5M club option or a $12.5M buyout–the option becomes guaranteed if Lee is not on the DL at end of 2015 season with injury to his left elbow or shoulder, and has 200 innings in 2015 or 400 innings combined between 2014-15.
– The MLB has suspended Cardinals’ C Yadier Molina one game for his actions during Sunday’s game against the Giants. Molina was ejected after spiking his helmet following a close play at first base, but made contact with umpire Mike Everitt. Crew chief Tim Welke admitted afterwards that the contact was incidental. Molina has appealed the suspension.
– Cardinals’ RHP Chris Carpenter (shoulder, neck) threw 40-plus pitches of live batting practice on Monday. Carpenter has been throwing bullpen sessions for the past 6 weeks. He told the Belleville News-Democrat, ”It was a good first step. Basically, it was the same exact thing that we’ve done the last two times except we threw some hitters in there.” Carp added that he has a few more live BP sessions before he’ll begin a rehab assignment. 1B Matt Adams, who was one of the hitters standing in on the session, commented on Carpenter’s performance. “He was treating it like he was pitching in a game. Everything had movement. His curveball was sharp, his changeup had good fade to it and his fastball would run — and he cut a couple, too.”
– Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond said Monday that OF Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) is doing baserunning drills at the team’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida. Stanton stopped his rehab program last week due to soreness in his knees. He’s been sidelined since the end of April, and remains out indefinitely.
– The Dodgers have placed OF Carl Crawford (strained left hamstring) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 2.
– ESPN’s Keith Law was told by sources that University of Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray tested positive for the medication Adderall during MLB’s predraft drug testing program. Gray, who is expected to be a top pick in Thursday’s First-Year Player Draft, did not have a prescription for the drug. He will not be suspended for the positive test, but will be subject to followup testing once he begins his Major League career.
– Orioles’ RHP Dylan Bundy (elbow, forearm) will resume a throwing program on June 10. Bundy has been shut down for the last 6 weeks. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection in late April and was cleared to resume throwing after meeting with Dr. James Andrews Monday.
– Lakers’ G Kobe Bryant (Achilles) told ESPN LA that he’s targeting a return for the regular season opener. “I hope so. That’s the challenge. With the tendon, there’s really only but so much you can do.” Bryant also added that he wants impending free agent F Dwight Howard to test the market, but wants the final word with Howard prior to his decision. “For me, you kind of let him do his due diligence and then move in and talk to him and figure out if this is a place he wants to be. We all want him here.”
– According to ESPN NY, Knicks’ G J.R. Smith will decline his $2.9M player option for 2013-14, and will test unrestricted free agency on July 1. Just one day after the team’s season ended, Smith said he wanted to “retire as a Knick.” New York could sign him for 4-years/$19.6M contract worth $4.9M annually using their Early Bird rights. Smith finished with regular season averages of 18.1 points, 1.9 threes, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals, winning Sixth Man of the Year honors. An anonymous source told ESPN that it’s “likely” J.R. will still remain with the Knicks.
– According to the LA Times, the Clippers’ pursuit of Jeff Van Gundy has stalled, according to Yahoo! Sports, but Lionel Hollins contacted the team Monday to express his interest in the job. Hollins said early on Monday he wants to stay in Memphis. Byron Scott, Alvin Gentry and George Karl have been linked as potential replacements.
Sticking with Hollins, the Nets have formally requested permission to interview Hollins for their vacant head coaching job, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. Contract talks between Hollins and the Grizzlies reportedly stalled on Saturday.
– Pacers’ F Danny Granger (knee surgery) told the Indianapolis Star that he’s “confident” he’ll be 100% healthy, and expects to be back in the starting lineup. Granger noted that he has roughly 2 months of rehab left, and that he had a piece of scar tissue removed from his patella tendon.
– Kings’ head coach Mike Malone gave F DeMarcus Cousins’ future a vote of confidence at his introductory press conference. “We all know on any given night he’s the most talented big man in the NBA. You just don’t get rid of those guys.” Malone added that Cousins “should be the cornerstone of this franchise for years to come.”
– The Steelers have signed No. 48 overall pick RB Le’Veon Bell to a 4-year contract. Bell is expected to win the starting halfback job.
– Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Monday that RT Mike Adams (stab wounds) to make a full recovery, and that he will be released from the hospital within 24 hours. “We expect a full recovery. He realizes of course how fortunate he is. We’re just glad he is going to be okay, and we’re just taking it day by day. They’re expecting six weeks or so.” Adams was stabbed once in the stomach and once in the left forearm during a robbery attempt outside his Pittsburgh home on Saturday.
– The player rep for Packers’ RFA CB Sam Shields met with the team Monday to discuss a long-term contract. Shields, 25, still hasn’t signed his 1-year/$2.023M tender, and skipped the Packers’ May OTAs.
– Chiefs’ OC Doug Pederson told Fox Sports KC that RB Jamaal Charles will be an integral part of the passing game. Charles has never caught more than 45 balls in a season over his five years with the team. “You’ve seen him sprint out of the single receiver, and he’ll come out of the backfield. He’s a guy that needs to move around, and (one) you can put in different positions, motion out the back, shift him from the backfield. He catches the ball so well that you have to take advantage of that offensively.”
– SI’s Peter King reports that Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie “will be in trouble” next summer if team’s 2013 season isn’t “significantly brighter” than last season.
– Dolphins’ QB Ryan Tannehill confirmed to the team’s website that RB Lamar Miller is the starting running back. Daniel Thomas and rookie Mike Gillislee will battle for the backup role.
– WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is getting mainstream attention for a recent criticism of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Austin says Romo has all the “physical tools” that he needs, but “sh*ts the bed” when it counts and is not a clutch player:
“My problem with Dallas is I think Tony Romo is a damn good quarterback, but he sh-ts the bed at the most inopportune times.”
“So when I look for leadership, I can’t say that Tony Romo is the clear-cut leader.”
– Check out these recent pictures of Scott Hall with Sean Waltman and Jimmy Hart:
– WWE has published a storyline-driven article looking at Big Show’s absense from television. Here’s an excerpt:
“I have an ironclad contract! I’ll take time off any time I want to, for as long as I want to! I don’t care if Booker doesn’t like it. I’m a giant! I don’t do what other people tell me to do. They do what I tell them to do. ‘Ironclad’ means I answer to no one. That includes Booker, and anyone else in WWE management.”
Big Show is currently out of action with a shoulder injury.
– WWE is currently searching for a new head creative writer. The position entails being responsible for building TV scripts and developing long-term storylines, as well as developing characters for new talents. According to F4WOnline, WWE is looking for someone that has experience in either reality TV, sitcoms or character-based nonfiction.
– A third video has been released on YouTube promoting a raffle for The Undertaker’s West Coast Chopper to benefit SPUR Compassion Ministries & America’s Mighty Warriors. In the newly released video, the WWE Superstar refers to himself by his real name, Mark Calaway. Though his WWE character name is not acknowledged for legal reasons, it does not prevent him from making puns in reference to it. Meanwhile, Michelle McCool, who recently broke her silence on her marriage to The Undertaker in a taped interview that will be hitting YouTube this summer, promoted the auction this afternoon via Twitter.
– Former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger turned 55 on Sunday.
– James Storm appeared to experience abdominal discomfort backstage after capturing the TNA World Tag Team Championship alongside Gunner at Slammiversary. It was his return match after suffering a slight abdominal tear, an abductor strain and groin pull while officiating an Impact Wrestling match on May 9. Following the show, Storm addressed his health via Twitter:
“75% healthy and In a lot of pain, but I did my job and did it well enough to become a 12x world tag team champ. #BeerMe.”
– Celebrity chef Robert Irvine, husband of Gail Kim, was backstage at Sunday’s Slammiversary pay-per-view event in Boston, Massachusetts. SportsCenter anchor Robert Flores also attended the show.
– Two TNA stars celebrated birthdays at Slammiversary as “Cowboy” James Storm turned 36-years-old while Velvet Sky turned 32.
– Yankees’ 1B Mark Teixiera (wrist) said Tuesday that he expects to be back in the lineup by June 1. Teixiera previously set May 1 as his goal, but was obviously unable to make that. It’s unclear when he’ll be ready for a minor league rehab assignment.
– Braves’ RHP Brandon Beachy (elbow) will make his first minor league rehab start Sunday with Triple-A Gwinnett. He threw 29 pitches over two innings Tuesday during a start in extended spring training prior to getting cleareance. Beachy is expected to make around five starts in the minors, and could join the rotation around the anniversary of his Tommy John surgery on June 21, barring setbacks.
– Nationals’ OF Jayson Werth (hamstring) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday with High-A Potomac. It will be his first game action since he aggravated his hamstring on May 2. He’s expected to be activated from the DL on Saturday.
– Angels’ RHP Jered Weaver (elbow) is expected to need 2-3 rehab starts before rejoining the rotation. Weaver threw another successful bullpen session Tuesday, and will throw 80 pitches in his next session before then beginning a rehab assignment. He’s expected back in early June.
– FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Brewers have made a long-term offer to SS Jean Segura. Segura’s agent, Joe Klein, told Rosenthal, ”They contacted me. Right now, I guess it’s in my court. But with a guy this young, it’s hard to figure out what the right numbers would be.” Segura, 23, isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2016.
– Red Sox’ RHP Andrew Bailey (biceps) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday afternoon without issue. He’s scheduled to face live hitters in a simulated appearance Thursday, and could return to the team by next week.
– The Phillies have signed RHP Carlos Zambrano to a minor league contract. Zambrano recently agreed to a deal with the independent Long Island Ducks, but never reported to the team, as his focus was still finding a major league home. The 31-year-old posted a 4.49 ERA and 95/75 K/BB ratio over 132 1/3 innings last season with the Marlins. He’ll report to extended spring training.
– ESPN’s Pedro Gomez reports that free agent LHP Jonathan Sanchez is “zeroing in” on a deal with the Dodgers. Sanchez will likely pitch out of Triple-A. If signed, he’ll need to serve a 6-game suspension for throwing at Cardinals’ 1B Allen Craig last month.
– Blue Jays’ RHP Sergio Santos (right elbow) will undergo surgery to remove bone chips and spurs. Santos had been nearing a minor league rehab assignment.
– Reds’ OF Chris Heisey (hamstring) re-strained his hamstring Monday at Double-A Pensacola, and has been pulled from his rehab assignment. Heisey will return to Cincinnati to be evaluated by team doctors. He’s been on the DL since April 27.
– The Orioles have placed RHP Wei-Yin Chen (strained right oblique) on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 13. Chen left Sunday’s start.
– New 76ers’ GM Sam Hinkie said Wednesday that the F Andrew Bynum (knees) trade was “a failure.” Hinkie previously said yesterday that he viewed Bynum as just another free agent, it’s becoming crystal clear that he won’t be with Philly next season. If true, Bynum’s Sixers’ stint will have lasted just one season, with him playing a grand total of zero games.
– 76ers’ G Nick Young is being sued for sexual assault stemming from a 2011 incident in Los Angeles, according to TMZ. A woman is suing Young for sexual battery, sexual assault and false imprisonment. The woman alleges that she was “roofied” by Young after he bought her and a friend champagne at a night club. Young is a free agent at season’s end.
– Blazers’ G Damien Lillard was the All-Rookie team’s lone unanimous selection. Lillard led all rookies in points (19.0), assists (6.5), 3-pointer made (2.3) and minutes (38.6). Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Dion Waiters and Harrison Barnes round out the rest of the first team, while Andre Drummond, Jonas Valanciunas, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kyle Singler and Tyler Zeller are on the second team.
– Hornets’ G Eric Gordon (left ankle) told the New Orleans Times-Picayune Tuesday that he’d been dealing with painful bone spurs since the All-Star break. Gordon missed the first 29 games of the season with chronic right knee injuries, and missed 11 more due to knee precautions and his ankle injury. Gordon had a scope last week to remove particles of scar tissue from his ankle, but says he’ll be 100% by camp.
– According to the NY Daily News, Giants’ RFA WR Victor Cruz has lowered his contract demands. Cruz was initially asking for $10-11M per season, but is now reportedly seeking “much closer” to the $8M annually the team is offering. Per the Daly News, a deal will “probably” be done in time for Cruz to report to the full-team minicamp that begins on June 11.
– According to Yahoo! Sports, the Panthers and RB DeAngelo Williams have agreed to a contract restructure. Williams, 30, could either accept this restructure or be designated as a cut after June 1. The new agreement saves Carolina $3.2M off this year’s cap without reducing Williams’ total compensation, while also cutting his salary in 2014 and 2015. Williams averaged 10.2 carries per game over the last two years.
– Free agent S Charles Woodson’s player rep says Woodson has generated interest from the Raiders, Broncos and Panthers, and that Oakland has made an offer. Still, Denver appears to be his top choice.
– Chargers’ OLB Melvin Ingram (torn left ACL) is expected to miss the entire 2013 season. The No. 18 pick of last year’s draft suffered the injury in OTAs Tuesday.
– Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano told ESPN Wednesday that RB Vick Ballard is “sitting there as the lead guy” in his backfield. Pagano added that RB Donald Brown “looks fantastic” and is a “home run hitter.” Ballard will likely begin the season as the feature back, with Brown as the change-of-pace option. The new offensive scheme also means they’ll both be included in the passing game as well.
– The Jaguars have claimed DL Brandon Deaderick off waivers from the Patriots. Deaderick was waived Monday. He’s scheduled to make $630K next season. Deaderick has played at least 260 snaps each of the past three seasons.
– Free agent DE Dwight Freeney will visit the Chargers on Wednesday. Freeney has a history with GM and former Colts VP of football operations Tom Telesco. The Bolts, however, run a 3-4 defence, which was what Freeney struggled in last season.
– Islanders’ D Mark Streit told Newsday Wednesday that he wants to return next season. Streit, an impending UFA, scored six goals and 27 points in 48 games this season. The two sides had reportedly started working on an extension for the team captain prior to the end of the regular season.
– Ducks’ GM Bob Murray revealed Tuesday that D Francois Beauchemin (knee) was playing with a torn ACL, and will undergo surgery soon. Beauchemin suffered a lower-body injury April 3, but it’s unclear if that is the injury in question.
Murray also told the Orange County Register that the roster will not be the same when training camp opens in September. F Saku Koivu and F Teemu Selanne are free agents, and were non-committal when asked about their futures Tuesday, and that both will need a few weeks to mull over their decision. Given that the salary cap will drop next season, the big money deals that F Corey Perry and F Ryan Getzlaf signed will likely cause some players to be moved, namely F Bobby Ryan and G Jonas Hiller. Stay tuned.
– Updating a previous item, Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong called his team’s goaltending situation “cloudy.” Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak both have one year remaining on their contracts, while Jake Allen is an RFA. “I think anything could happen. It was a difficult year for both Elliott and Jaro, and I think Jake took great advantage of it. He’s proven to us now that he has to go in the equation. Brian got off to a poor start, resurrected himself, had a great finish. Jaro, unfortunately, had injuries. We were giving him the ball and then … he got injured again, and the season progressed and he didn’t get back in the net. So it’s a cloudy issue right now to be honest with you, our goaltending situation, because of how the season has progressed. It’s a positive cloud in one sense, in that Jake has given us things we have to look at.” One of Halak or Elliott could be traded this summer. Stay tuned.
– Maple Leafs’ assistant GM Claude Loiselle said Tuesday that F Tyler Bozak (upper body) has a bicep injury. Bozak missed Games 6 and 7 due to the ailment. The severity of the injury is unclear, and its not known if the injury is related to his late-season shoulder injury.
– Floyd Mayweather is still No. 1 on Sports Illustrated’s Fortunate 50. In just two fights this year, Mayweather will earn between $90-128M. Mayweather was No. 1 on last year’s list, knocking out Tiger Woods, who had been No. 1 every year since SI started producing the list in 2004. Heat’ F LeBron James (No. 2) passed Lakers’ G Kobe Bryant (No. 4), while Woods (No. 5) is back above Phil Mickelson (No. 6).
– According to F4WOnline, with the late Paul Bearer considered to be a lock for next year’s WWE Hall of Fame class, there is already speculation that The Undertaker will be inducted along with him. Going back several years, the plan has always been for them to be inducted together. Jake “The Snake” Roberts is also a potential inductee for next year.
– According to F4WOnline, the latest on Christian’s return is that he’ll be back soon after Extreme Rules. He’s been medically cleared to wrestle for months now, but his return has been delayed due to the creative team not having anything for him.
– The winner of the Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio #1 Contender’s match at Extreme Rules will be getting his title shot against Dolph Ziggler on an upcoming RAW or SmackDown – not a PPV. WWE already has plans in place for the next few pay-per-views and the company plans to get back on track once Ziggler is healthy to wrestle again.
– According to a new WWE.com article, Paul Heyman is scouting a third client, to add to his current stable of two (Brock Lesnar and CM Punk).
– Monday’s Raw bounced back from year-low viewership the week before as the program averaged 4.05 million viewers. Raw averaged 3.79 million viewers, 4.1 million viewers in the second and 4.25 million viewers in the third. Last week’s show garnered a 2.9 cable rating and averaged 3.917 million viewers. Two weeks ago, the program drew 4.285 million viewers.
– After recently returning to the ring at an NXT live event, WWE officials have decided that Evan Bourne is not yet ready to be wrestling full-time. When he does return, there’s been talk of pairing him with Sin Cara as a new tag team.
– Former WWE Superstar MVP, who has been rumored to be in talks with WWE for several months now, is currently a free agent after parting ways with New Japan Pro Wrestling in February. He was asked about his future in the professional wrestling industry on Twitter Tuesday and said,
“Thinking about it. WWE, TNA, retirement?
“I’ve never worked with Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Mr. Anderson/Kennedy, Bobby Roode and so forth. I’ve often wondered what that would be like.”
“The beautiful thing for me is that my future is wide open wherever I end up. Living life on my terms is an amazing feeling. Live for YOU!”
MVP later clarified his remark regarding the possibility of joining TNA Wrestling:
“To be clear, I didn’t say I WANT TO GO TO TNA. I just said they had some guys that are tremendously talented that are on my wish list.”
MVP also explained the differences between WWE and Japan:
Being a WWE fan doesn’t make u a PRO WRESTLING fan. There r AMAZING wrestlers in Mexico, Japan, Europe you’ve never heard of but would love!
WWE is the biggest promotion in the world. The best production. Some awesome talent. But pro wrestling is bigger than WWE. I had a blast…
…working there. I also had a blast working in Japan. Different psychology, different styles. It all comes down to personal preference.
Khali was World Heavy Weight champion. That’s usually reserved for the best. Is he among the best? Remember it’s ENTERTAINMENT.
– After holding the United States Championship for 240 days through last month when he was upended by Kofi Kingston, Antonio Cesaro’s standing in WWE has been greatly curtailed as the Swiss grappler has lost the majority of his televised matches. According to the Wrestling Observer, his demotion is not a result of “heat” backstage, but that top WWE officials simply feel he lacks personality. Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio Monday night that company brass believe that the former Ring of Honor standout is “boring,” resulting in his slide down the card. Some in WWE, however, are not in favor of the demotion, and believe Cesaro should be a headliner. While Cesaro engaged in a match with Kingston two weeks on WWE Main Event that was well-received by management, it failed to alter his standing in the organization. Meltzer noted, “They don’t see him any higher than they did two weeks ago. There was lip service paid there for a week or two, but it’s over now.”
– Kevin Nash and Scott Hall are currently planning to do an Outsiders speaking tour. Nash tweeted the following this week about the project:
For some reason people think were only going to hit the large markets.@scotthallnwoand I want to see every fan on the planet. NWO 4 Life!
– Top independent wrestler Sami Callihan has been undergoing WWE medical tests and is expected to sign with the company soon. Callihan has been pulled from this month’s Big Japan Pro Wrestling’s Strong Style Tournament, another sign that his days on the indy scene are winding down.
– WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper will appear on ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap on Sunday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. Production elements of the episode are currently being finalized.
– According to F4WOnline, there is talk of Big E Langston wrestling Mark Henry in a “Battle of the Strongmen” at SummerSlam.
– Wednesday’s wrestling birthdays include WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons (55) and Hall of Famer Kevin von Erich (56).
– WWE reportedly had record-setting activity on the WWE mobile app during Monday’s RAW when fans were encouraged to vote on Big E Langston’s opponent.
– WWE NXT star Judas Devlin is apparently the new second member of The Ascension with Conor O’Brian. The two teamed up at a NXT live event last week to defeat Alexander Rusev and Aiden English. O’Brian and Devlin used the same double team finisher that O’Brian and Kenneth Cameron used to use before Cameron was released from WWE. Former Ascension member Kenneth Cameron was released last year after he was arrested late on Thanksgiving Eve on charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and disorderly intoxication. He had been arrested previously for DUI.
– Former NFL player and WWE developmental wrestler Brandon “TAC” Carter recently spoke to LubbockOnline.com about what pushed him out of wrestling:
“I went down there and got a few concussions and ended up getting pneumonia. I ended up in the hospital in December. I woke up and nobody was there. Then I realized I didn’t have any friends or family there, so I came back here to Lubbock to be with family.”
Carter currently works as a personal trainer in Lubbock, Texas.
– Austin Aries will be disciplined for his public form of sexual harassment towards TNA Wrestling ring announcer Christy Hemme on last Thursday’s episode of Impact Wrestling. Mark Madden of WrestleZone.com garnered a statement from David Schwarz, Senior Vice President of Communications for Spike TV, regarding the matter Tuesday.
“We have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. We discussed [the incident] with our partner. [Aries is] being disciplined. I’m trying to get more information on what action is being taken. Dixie Carter took this very personally. He will be disciplined. Again, we have a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment.
“I’m not sure specifically how [the discipline] will be handled. To what extent, I don’t know. This is certainly something we don’t condone and don’t tolerate. Such behavior is not welcome.”
In response to whether Aries’ discipline should be made public since Hemme was harassed on national television, Schwarz responded,
“I think that a statement of some sort will be coming. That’s being worked out. But immediate action will be taken.”
TNA President Dixie Carter also tweeted,
“TNA has ZERO tolerance for inappropriate behavior. The incident with Austin Aries was taken very seriously and handled immediately.”
On the show, Hemme mistakenly introduced Aries and tag team partner Bobby Roode as their opponents for the evening, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. This led Aries to corner the inaugural winner of WWE’s Diva Search in the ring as he intimidated her into correctly introducing him before climbing onto a second-level turnbuckle and shoving his groin near her face. Following the show, Hemme voiced her displeasure with Aries’ actions via Twitter, deeming it “unacceptable.” Late Saturday night, Aries appeared to address the incident though the social networking outlet, writing,
“Pretty nuts, some of the junk people get the balls to say over the net, knowing they couldn’t to your face…Eh, anyway, time to sack out.”
– James Storm (groin) is undergoing an MRI today to determine the extent of his injury.
– Rob Van Dam will return to the ring on June 21st against Tommy Dreamer with Family Wrestling Entertainment’s show in Corona, New York at the ELMCOR Center. RVD is a free agent after leaving TNA earlier this year. The FWE show will also feature John Morrison vs. Carlito, a 30-Man Rumble, Paul London vs. Akio (Jimmy Wang Yang), Petey Williams vs. Brian Kendrick and more.
– The NHL has confirmed that the Blackhawks and Penguins will play in an outdoor game at Soldier Field in Chicago on March 1, 2014. It will be part of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, which will involve several outdoor games during the regular season. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, ”Our fans and our teams love outdoor games and we are thrilled the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series will present a number of these experiences to a large number of our fans in a variety of National Hockey League markets. The Chicago game, at Soldier Field, will be a match-up of two recent Stanley Cup champions at a landmark stadium.”
– Bulls’ G Kirk Hinrich and head coach Tom Thibodeau defended G Derrick Rose (torn ACL) after TNT analyst Steve Kerr said that Rose “maybe owes it to his teammates” to return. “We don’t feel that way. It’s been a very difficult year for Derrick. I’ve never experienced any sort of injury like that. I’m not one to speak on how anybody else’s body feels. We know what kind of guy he is and what kind of teammate he is and we don’t feel that way,” said Hinrich. Rose has been medically cleared by the team’s doctors, but remains out for at least the first round of the playoffs.
– Nets’ G Joe Johnson (leg) said Wednesday that he’s “basically playing on one leg.” Johnson said he’d be sitting out if he felt this way and it was the regular season. JJ has dealt with plantar fasciitis in his foot as well as a heel issue.
– Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday that LHP Francisco Liriano (arm) is on track to make his season debut on May 11 against the Mets. Liriano is recovering from a fractured right arm. He has a 3.24 ERA and 27/3 K/BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings through four rehab outings.
– Reds’ RHP Johnny Cueto (lat) is scheduled to make his first minor league rehab start Friday with Double-A Pensacola. Cueto was cleared for a rehab stint after following a 45-pitch bullpen session Monday. He’s scheduled to throw roughly 60-70 pitches Friday. He’ll likely return in mid-May.
– South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney has taken out a $5M total disability policy on himself. The policy protects Clowney financially if he sustains a career-ending injury this season. Clowney is projected to go in the top-2 of the 2014 draft, along with Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater. He recorded 13.5 sacks and 23.5 tackles for a loss last season.
– The Titans have released WR Lavelle Hawkins. He was set to make $1.9M next season. Hawkins was active just seven times last season.
– The Chiefs have acquired FB Anthony Sherman from the Cardinals. The 2011 5th-round pick graded out 20th among 25 qualifying fullbacks in Pro Football Focus’ rankings last season.
– The Cardinals have acquired CB Javier Arenas from the Chiefs for FB Anthony Sherman. Arenas played a career-high 724 snaps last season, but graded out as the No. 51 corner in Pro Football Focus’ ratings.
– According to the PWInsider, word backstage at Monday’s RAW was that the late Paul Bearer will be the first name locked in for the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame. Almost everyone is suggesting that The Undertaker should induct his former manager into the Hall. The Dead Man, however, never appears at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in order to stay in character. Another name brought up for Bearer’s inductor is Michael Hayes. If Bearer is chosen for the 2014 class, it’s reportedly highly unlikely that they’ll also induct the late Randy Savage.
– The final rating for Monday’s RAW was a 3.1. The show averaged 4,285,000, which was down from the previous week.
– According to F4WOnline, John Cena’s injury not an Achilles heel tear, as WWE first reported, but just a badly bruised heel. Cena is not expected to miss much, if any, ring time.
– WWE is now advertising CM Punk’s WWE television return date for the May 27 episode of WWE RAW from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Earlier this week, the next RAW Punk was advertised for was June 3 from Hartford, CT.
– According to the PWInsider, there is a lot of buzz in WWE lately that Bray Wyatt will be called up to the main roster very soon.
– Scott Hall noted on Twitter that he’s dropped 30 pounds in the past 9 weeks:
Lost 30 in 9 weeks. From 298 lbs to 268 lbs with limited exercise. Can’t wait to train hard with Dally…
Hall, who recently underwent hip surgery and can now start working out properly, also tweeted this recent picture of himself with his son Cody:
– WWE Executive Stephanie McMahon recently took part in a photo shoot for RXMuscle.com:
– WWE’s Rey Mysterio and Sgt. Slaughter were at the Hulu Upfronts event in New York City on Tuesday. Mysterio was telling people that he hopes to return to the ring “this summer” – which is later than what was previously expected (May). He tweeted this photo of himself and Slaughter:
– Sin Cara remains on the sidelines in WWE and has not been on the road for several weeks now. He has been checking in (via social media) from the “Sin Cara Gym” in Mexico, so it appears as though he’s been given time off.
– The Honky Tonk Man noted that his new WWE Legends deal prohibits him from doing media interviews:
HTM being asked to be a guest on web podcast,, no can do,,HTM says WWE calls all HTM media things now.
– WWE recently applied for two new trademarks, which appear to be related: “Crush Couture” and “CC”. Both trademarks are for various types of merchandise. It’s unknown at this point whether Crush Couture will be a product line or a new WWE character.
– Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho hinted Tuesday that he is set to leave Real Madrid in the offseason, and is eyeing a return to England. After being eliminated by Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semifinals, Mourinho was asked if he’ll return to the club next season and simply replied: “Maybe not.” Asked where he would be, Mourinho then said he didn’t know but that “I love to be where people love me to be.” In the following news conference, the former Chelsea manager said that place was England. ”I know in England I am loved. I’m loved by the fans, I’m loved by the media, which treats me in a fair way. … I know I’m loved by some clubs, especially one.” He added that “in Spain the situation is a bit different because some people hate me. And many of you are in this room.” Mourinho could return to Chelsea, where interim manager Rafa Benitez is set to leave after the season. However, Mourinho said no final decision has been made yet and that he remains intent on finishing the season with Madrid and winning the upcoming Copa del Rey final against crosstown rival Atletico Madrid on May 17.
– Mercedes-Benz has upgraded its corporate involvement at the Masters by becoming one of three global sponsors, allowing them to air television ads during the limited commercial space in domestic telecasts. Mercedes-Benz will join AT&T and IBM as the tournament’s three main sponsors. They replace ExxonMobil, which had been a global sponsor since 2005.
– NASCAR has suspended the two Richard Childress Racing crew members arrested for fighting with Nelson Piquet Jr. at Richmond. Thomas Costello and Michael Searce were both suspended for four Nationwide Series races and fined $15K each. They were also placed on probation until the end of the year for the altercation in the motorhome lot after Friday night’s race. Henrico County police charged Searce with two counts of misdemeanour assault, and Costello with one count of misdemeanour assault. NASCAR cited “actions detrimental to stock car racing. Involved in an altercation with another competitor after the race had concluded,” as reason for their punishment. The altercation happened long after Scott and Piquet tangled on the track and then on pit road after the race. Scott approached Piquet, and Piquet shoved him and kicked Scott in the groin.
– MMA fighter Paul Lazenby, a stuntman and friend of WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, recently told Live Audio Wrestling that “The Rattlesnake” is in great shape and would consider wrestling one more match. The LAW tweeted:
According to Paul Lazenby – Steve Austin is in better shape then most might think, last time they spoke he would entertain the “right offer”
He also indicated to media that he will filming for the movie Hercules for over 4 months between May and October. This scheduled could conflict with SummerSlam, as he would have very little time to promote any potential match of his for the PPV.
– WWE.com has officially announced that WWE Champions John Cena will defend against Ryback at the upcoming Extreme Rules PPV. Extreme Rules emanates from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday, May 19, 2013.
– Triple H has accepted Brock Lesnar’s challenge to a steel cage match at next month’s Extreme Rules PPV. Also, AJ Lee won a battle royal on RAW to become the #1 contender to Kaitlyn’s WWE Divas Championship. It has not been confirmed yet, but the match will also likely take place at Extreme Rules.
– WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley answered fan questions on Twitter over the weekend while waiting to board a flight to the UK. Among the questions answered was on a potential last match, and who he would face:
If I could have done ONE last match @jack_fats – it would have been with @cmpunk following those 2012 promos. But…I’m done, brother!
– WWE has confirmed that Rosa Mendes has been sent home from the ongoing international tour. There have been reports that Rosa has been acting erratically over the past few days, with one source stating that alcohol is believed to be a factor. Rosa Mendes tweeted the following on Monday afternoon in response to being sent home:
Just wanted to let all my #Mendesluverz that I’m ok.I had to take care of some personal matters. Thank you for all your support. Love you????
Following up on our earlier report about WWE Diva Rosa Mendes being sent home from the ongoing international tour, WWE issued the following statement on Monday afternoon:
“Milena Roucka (Rosa Mendes) left the international tour for personal reasons.”
– WWE Champion John Cena turns 36 years old today. #HappyBirthdayJohnCena was trending worldwide on Twitter late Monday night.
– Here are the dates and locations of the first 3 WWE pay-per-view events of 2014:
1/26/14: Royal Rumble (Pittsburgh, PA)
2/23/14: Elimination Chamber (Minneapolis, MN)
4/6/14: WrestleMania XXX (New Orleans, LA)
– WWE Diva Naomi may have injured her left knee in a six-Divas tag match in Paris, France last night. She reportedly landed awkwardly after executing a move on one of The Bella Twins.
– NJ.com has an article up about the approximately 450 workers who built the elaborate stadium setup at WrestleMania 29 earned approximately $1.4M in gross salaries and benefits.
– Scott Hall posted an update from the hospital following his recent hip-replacement surgery:
– Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis mocked Ryback’s promo from RAW on Twitter. She wrote the following in response to the short phrases used by Ryback:
“Stop talking Ryback! Stop talking Ryback! Stop talking Ryback!” “So sweaty…. Bring me towel. Bring me towel. Bring me towel.” “I breath heavy! I breath heavy! I breath heavy!” “I read teleprompter! I read teleprompter! I read teleprompter!”
– WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart recently took part in an online Q&A session with fans. Here are some highlights of what he said about:
Will he be making a career out of improv comedy he’s been doing? “I don’t think so, but you never know what can happen. I have a lot of fun doing them. I appreciate people giving me a stage. They present scenarios that are quite easy for anybody to step into and be quite funny. Sometimes I can be spontaneously funny. When you just make it up as you go along it’s hit or miss, but I’ve found I’ve done pretty good.”
His Current Relationship with Vince McMahon: “The last conversations we’ve had have been good. He seems to always be very warm and friendly with me. I would say he’s on the very best of terms with me. I think the last time I really talked to him, my knee was pretty swollen. He wanted me to go out to the ring in Philadelphia — and I did go out — but we were talking about our various injuries, since he had just had hip surgery. We’ve both sort of realized that we’re not getting any younger.”
What’s the Greatest Compliment He Ever Received? “(Long pause) I think it’s that I was often told by the wrestlers I worked with that I was their best match. That was every single one of them, from Mr. Perfect to my brother Owen to the Bulldog to the Undertaker to Steve Austin — almost every single one of them pulled me aside and said the best match they ever had was the one against me. The list goes on — 1-2-3 Kid, Kevin Nash, Roddy Piper, Yokozuna — and I think it’s true. Every match was a different story, and we made magic. The other thing is that I never hurt anybody in all the years I wrestled. I had wrestlers come up to me and thank me for the match every night, thanking me because there was never any extra aches and pains or injuries. No animals were harmed in the making of my movies!”
– UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman was reportedly very upset that CM Punk was shown on camera at the TUF finale show instead of him. Punk also attended this weekend’s UFC on FOX show with his girlfriend Amy “Lita” Dumas and is planning to attend the UFC 159 PPV on April 27 to see his friend Chael Sonnen fight Jon Jones.
– WWE Superstar Zack Ryder posted the following video on YouTube teasing the return of his “Z! True Long Island Story” YouTube series:
– WWE has published a video of the Great Khali singing hit songs:
– Prior to the debut of his Funkasaurus gimmick, WWE superstar Brodus Clay briefly had a stint as Alberto Del Rio’s enforcer. During a recent interview, Clay openly discussed his early days in WWE and how being paired with Del Rio held him back:
“Coming out of NXT I felt that I was robbed and I finished second and I cut a pretty good speech on the crowd. I told them I was going to get some back because I was angry, and being with Alberto Del Rio was basically similar to when I was with Snoop. My role was to get his back and make him look as tough as possible and me smiling and cracking jokes wasn’t going to do that. So I had to put my personality in the back seat to take care of the job, but I knew it was a doorway for me to get my own personality an opportunity.
So the time with Alberto was good in terms of learning and Alberto’s a great competitor and his experience helped me a lot, but as soon as I got a chance to be me, I never was a guy who was angry, that mean tough guy is usually the scariest guy in the room, I always noticed the guy that looked the meanest and act the meanest was terrified, that’s why he looked mean. And the guy who was smiling at you before he fought you was the guy you really worried about because he’s not sweating you.
So that’s kind of like how I was, even body guarding with guys I was more of a talker and ran my mouth and smiled and stuff and it kept people off, especially if a guy’s is fired up and you’re laughing at him or smiling or winking at him it just messes with their mind. That was more who I am. Shaquille O’Neal was the same way. If you looked at him before a basketball game, he was silly, joking around, dancing, but come tip-off he was the business and I’m trying to be more like that.”
– The following is a video of the official NBA Playoffs on TNT opening featuring The Rock:
– Jim Ross has updated his blog at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights:
The Rock’s In-Ring Future: “Has the Rock, @TheRock, wrestled his last match due to injury? Seems as if Rock has left that matter open for speculation depending on the results of the surgery and his non stop schedule, etc. However, knowing Dwayne as I do, I would think that he would want to go out differently and be remembered for one, last major bout. If I had to make a wager, I’d say we haven’t seen the last of @TheRock. The one wild card may be his movie partners who may not want to risk their franchise player stepping back in the ring. That’s all TBD. I would speculate that if Dwayne can’t do WM30 for any reason that he may be closer to done than many want to see.”
Steve Austin Wrestling Again: “Interesting note….recently I read about @steveaustinBSR being in great shape physically and looking excellent ala being in ‘show shape’ but not wrestling shape for a return to a WWE ring. News flash or as the one person in the world that I would really NOT want to take a long, care trip with, Nancy Grace, might say….BOMBSHELL….Steve is ALWAYS in great shape. Old habits die hard and the Texas Rattlesnake (Thanks, JR) is a gym guy in that he hits the gym regularly and with P&V. With all that said, the only way that I see Steve returning to the ring for one, final bout is obviously on the biggest stage (WM30), with the exact, right opponent (Who is that?) , and with a strategic game plan that Steve can emotionally invest . That’s a bunch of if’s so the door isn’t closed but it’s not exactly standing wide open either. Austin fans will continue to hold out hope until it’s either a done deal or not but a Stone Cold return at WM30 would help insure that the biggest event of 2014 would be a can’t miss event. AS I have said in the past, I’d gage an Austin return to WWE for a farewell promotion as 50/50 or less.”
New WWE Divas & New Divas E! Reality Show WWE is bringing some new Diva prospects to NXT to begin training soon plus with the new, WWE Diva reality show that will be airing this Fall, I assume, on the E Network, I’d say that WWE is essentially setting the reset button on the Divas division sooner than later. E cameras were all over the place at WM29 as some new talents are also featured in this new show. Being the reality show junkie that I am, I’m looking forward to seeing this production and from what I could tell all the ladies were just being themselves, for better or for worse, and not doing ‘canned’ reality.
WWE Scouting for Talent: “WWE will continue to look to colleges, the NFL, etc for world class athletes who have TV friendly personalities and the aptitude for sports entertainment. College athletes will come from wrestling, football, basketball, etc…no sport will be not considered if all the previously listed criteria is in place. For example, I’m planning on attending an upcoming major, Strongman competition just to see if there may be one individual who might have the youth, strength, look and personality for WWE to consider as a potential developmental talent. For novice athletes who aspire to join WWE, I suggest that you attend a credible wrestling school and obtain proper training. After one gets proper training, do all you can to work as many indy dates as possible, get your body of work in place and then make inroads to WWE Development with a DVD of some of your bouts and of you doing succinct promos. Would a beginner walk into a NFL training camp and expect a tryout? Obviously, no.”
WWE’s Ongoing European Tour: “The current WWE International tour is doing sellout or near capacity business nightly which is another statement of the global growth and the massive, media footprint that WWE has established over the years and that continues to grow. I’m of the belief that one of the reasons for success is that WWE tours these areas no more than twice annually. Some international markets are better served once a year while others are still developing their TV following and will be added to the schedule in the future.”
Brock Lesnar’s Performance on Raw: “Watched Brock Lesnar’s performance on Raw Monday again on DVR and it always amazes me how naturally animalistic Lesnar is and what an amazing athlete that he is. Lesnar got to the ‘first team’ quicker and the most effectively of any one that I can recall that we signed back in my era in talent relations. No one we ever signed was more athletically gifted than the former NCAA and UFC heavyweight champion. No one. Brock was making amazing money in WWE quicker than any of his predecessors or any one since.”
Ross also tweeted the following about The Undertaker’s WWE legacy after his match on Monday’s RAW:
I mean this respectfully, but #Undertaker IMO has surpassed the immortal Andre the Giant as greatest BIG man in history of the biz. #WWE
– Brock Lesnar said to be opening an “outdoors” business near Milk River in Alberta, Canada which would guide people into the wilderness to hunt, fish and camp.
– Arda Ocal recently interviewed WWE legend Jake “The Snake” Roberts about the incredible transformation he’s undergone over the past several months. Roberts assures people what he’s going through is “for real” and addresses rumours that he might return to the ring. Jake’s oldest daughter Brandy also appears in the interview. Brandy, who appeared in the movie “Beyond The Mat”, has lost over 200 pounds since that movie was released in 1999 and shares her thoughts on her father’s lifestyle changes.
– Stephanie McMahon is not currently with WWE overseas for their tour of Europe. Instead, McMahon is with her mother, Linda, as she is joining her at the Women’s National Republican Club Awards dinner, where the elder lady-McMahon will be honored for her public service. Stephanie tweeted the following on her official Twitter account on Monday evening, “On our way 2 the Women’s National Republican Club Awards Dinner honoring my mom, @Linda_McMahon for Public Service!” The tweet was complete with a photo of the two riding to the event together in the back of a car.
– The Friday, April 19 edition of WWE SmackDown scored a final cable rating of 1.92, with 2.59 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 1.92 mark was nearly indentical to the previous week’s numbers, however the viewership was down by 9 percent. Smackdown had a Trendrr.tv social media score of 70,253, down 12% from the previous week’s post-WrestleMania edition. Smackdown ranked #2 on cable for the night.
– Scott Epstein, the representative to WWE Hall Of Famer Superstar Billy Graham, gave the following update on the current condition of Graham’s health:
“Everyone please pray big time as his lab results from earlier today show he is malnourished thus they are putting in a PIC line in his arm so he can be given IV nutrients 24/7. Doctors are having difficulty stabilizing his blood sugar, he keeps dropping so low according to his wife that he is very very weak.
He does have an obstruction of some sort in his bowel or colon area and they are trying to clear it. If it doesn’t clear soon, this is day 8 in a Wyoming hospital, they are talking about surgery which is a last resort of course. Surgery would mean losing part or most of your colon, side effects from anaesthea especially when your immune system is so weak, and/or bleeding out as his 10 year old transplanted liver is in cirrosis stage, something that is very normal for a liver that old transplanted no matter how well you watch yourself.
The bills are mounting and thanks to a great fan who turned me on to a fundraising site we are trying to raise funds for Billy.
If anyone is interested in donating, you can find full details at this link.”
– WWE.com has an article up questioning whether The Shield has a mystery fourth member. Some of the names discussed include Paul Heyman, Big Show, Ryback and Jack Swagger.
– Here is the latest WWE Backstage Fallout:
– Here is video from Diamond Dallas Page’s 57th birthday:
– The first ever WWE RAW to emanate from the brand new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York will take place on Monday, July 15. The 7/15 date marks the first live WWE RAW television show following the WWE “Money In The Bank” pay-per-view, which is scheduled for Sunday, July 14.
– As announced in the WWE press release for the “Total Divas” series debuting this summer on the E! Network, there will be two new Divas featured on the series; Natalia Eva Marie will be known as “Eva Marie” and was a 2012 Powertec Fashion Model Winner; and Joseann Alexie Offerman will be known as “Jo-Jo Offerman” and is a Dominican singer/dancer. The new Divas were found via the recent Diva casting search WWE conducted several months ago across the United States. Each were in attendance over Wrestlemania week and filmed scenes for the new series. WWE Diva Layla posted the following photo on Instagram of herself with Eva Marie & Jo-Jo Offerman from WrestleMania 29 weekend:
– Rob Van Dam has announced that he signed a contract for his comic book Twisted Perception. RVD, a free agent, first teased that he might have signed with a wrestling promotion before making the announcement.
– Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM’s Inside Pitch that the team will give 3B Brett Lawrie a look at second base, but is not committed to using him there. Lawrie began his pro career at second, and is playing the position during his first rehab game with High-A Dunedin on Sunday. INF Maicer Izturis has moved to shortstop to replace Jose Reyes (ankle). Lawrie is expected to return before the end of the week.
– The Cubs have signed RHP Kevin Gregg to a minor league contract. He’ll report to extended spring training.
– Mets’ RHP Shaun Marcum (neck) could join the rotation on April 21. Marcum threw a two-inning simulated game on Saturday, and is scheduled for a five-inning sim game next. Barring setbacks, he could skip a rehab assignment and jump right back into the rotation. Marcum experienced shoulder and neck issues during spring training.
– Padres’ OF Carlos Quentin has dropped the appeal of his 8-game suspension, and will begin serving it Sunday.
– Indians’ OF Michael Bourn (right hand laceration) could miss 5-7 days. Bourn left Sunday’s game when he was stepped on by White Sox’ LHP Matt Thornton on a head-first slide into first base. Bourn needed five stitches in his right index finger to close the wound.
– According to the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal, Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke said Sunday that 3B Aramis Ramirez (knee) will probably not be activated on April 21 when he’s first eligible. “He played catch yesterday but it’s not coming along as quick as it did in spring training. So, it’s hard to answer when exactly that date is going to be. We’ll just, day to day, see how he progresses, how he feels. But I know, and I talked to him yesterday about it, we can’t rush this thing.”
– OF Conor Jackson has announced his retirement. Jackson, once a top prospect, had his last strong season in 2008. The 30-year-old batted .271/.351/.407 over seven big league seasons.
– The Steelers have matched RFA WR Emmanuel Sanders’ 1-year/$2.5M offer sheet from the Patriots. Sanders, 26, posted a 44/626/14.2/1 line as Pittsburgh’s slot receiver last season.
– The Denver Post reports that Broncos’ franchise LT Ryan Clady won’t report for the start of the team’s offseason program on Monday. Clady hasn’t signed his $9.828M tender. The workouts, however, remain voluntary, so it’s not a holdout yet. The deadline to sign franchise players to long-term contracts is July 15. According to reporter Mike Klis, the sides haven’t had long-term talks since Clady turned down a 5-year/$50M offer last summer.
– SI’s Peter King “hears” the Chiefs are willing to accept a “high 2nd-round pick” for LT Branden Albert.
– According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns have “identified” TE Jordan Cameron as their starter. Cabot expects Cameron to take a “big step this year” and “have plenty of production.”
– NFL.com’s Albert Breer considers the Browns a “wild card” for West Virginia QB Geno Smith. The Browns pick at No. 6, but Breer believes they could target Smith in a trade down.
– Jaguars’ GM Dave Caldwell tells the Florida Times Union that the team has narrowed down the No. 2 overall pick to two prospects. Caldwell, owner Shad Khan, and coach Gus Bradley are expected to be the only ones with knowledge of the selection. The two prospects are believed to be a combination of DE/OLB Dion Jordan, DE Ziggy Ansah and QB Geno Smith.
– The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the Bengals’ contract talks with free agent LB James Harrison will resume on Monday. The Enquirer’s story says that “all indications” are that Harrison will become a Bengal soon. Harrison visited the club facility Thursday and “left a favorable impression on everyone, not only in a workout but his demeanor.” He reportedly wants “revenge” on the Steelers and Ravens that for cutting him in the past, and is determined to stay in the AFC North.
– Adam Scott shot a 3-under-par 36-33=69 in the final round of the Masters and defeated Angel Cabrera on the second playoff hole to claim his first major championship. Scott also becomes the first Australian to win the Masters. He finished the tournament with a 9-under 69-72-69-69=279. With the win, Scott will get a five-year exemption into all of the majors and a lifetime spot in the Masters.
– 76ers’ head coach Doug Collins will resign at the conclusion of the season, according to Yahoo! Sports. Collins and the Sixers are negotiating a buyout for the final year of his contract. Philly has a 33-47 record along with the league’s lowest-scoring offence at 92.9 PPG.
– Cavaliers’ G Dion Waiters (knee) still has a loose fragment of cartilage, and may require offseason arthroscopic surgery, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal. Waiters missed 10 games due to the injury. “It feels good. I’m jumping and dunking. If I can do that, then I’m ready to go.”
– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) skated with conditioning coach Mike Kadar Monday morning. He was in full gear and wore a plastic shield protecting his jaw, but remains out indefinitely. He’s still trying to play a game before the end of the regular season.
– Jets’ D Tobias Enstrom (mid-body injury) is listed as “week-to-week.” He has four goals and 15 points in 22 games this season.
– Blue Jackets’ F Artem Anisimov (head) is out indefinitely, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Anisimov suffered the injury when he was struck on Saturday by Wild’ F Charlie Coyle.
– The Penguins have signed G Eric Hartzell to a 1-year entry-level contract. Hartzell, 23, posted a 1.57 GAA and .933 SV% in 42 NCAA games. He was both a Hobey Baker Award finalist and the ECAC Player of the Year.
– Paul Heyman was recently interviewed by Brian Soscia. Here are some highlights of what he said about:
What He Would Do Differently If He Ran WWE: “I’d fire the McMahons immediately.”
His First Reaction To Seeing CM Punk: “How could you look at CM Punk and not think that he has the it factor? I don’t think I’m any great visionary or genius because I saw something in CM Punk, I think everyone else is a stupid schmuck for not seeing it in CM Punk. They’re blind. I mean truly, in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king and if you can’t spot that CM Punk is magic from the moment he walks in the door then you’re reading a playbook from an antiquated writer.”
What Drew Him Into Wrestling: “The very next week [following the Apollo and Martinez vs. Love Brothers match] they were replaced on television by Vince McMahon’s father’s television show and I saw Superstar Billy Graham do one interview and I was blown away by it. I realized that that man does not work for a living. I said I don’t want to work for a living either. I want to talk s*** on TV like Superstar Billy Graham. That’s what I get to do for a living now.”
His Greatest Creation in ECW: “The ECW audience itself. The audience was the biggest star. We played to them and for a reason. They were the greatest performers we had. I mean, who else would have thought about actually chanting the name of the promotion? We didn’t come up with that. They did. Who else thought of then screaming out the name of the company and literally fighting our battles for us? We didn’t ask them to do it. They volunteered to. We didn’t get on pay per view on our own merits. We got on pay per view because the audience got us on. The greatest creation of ECW was the ECW audience.”
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE is thrilled with the exposure that Fandango and his theme song have been getting over the past week. WWE has been pushing the Fandango Revolution on Twitter, asking fans and popular brands to take the “Fandango challenge” and upload video of them Fandangoing. They are also encouraging fans to download Fandango’s theme song, ChaChaLaLa, from iTunes and make it their ringtones.
– Scott Hall joined Inside The Ropes this past Thursday to talk about getting sober and his career in professional wrestling. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
About being a top guy in the WWE today and his son Cody going there: “I don’t get to watch a lot of WWE, but through this internet thing, Some people comment about a guy becoming the World Champ or the US champ and a couple of weeks later he’s down the card in the opening match. I think that kills the image of being a top guy. But I guess the promoters, the guys in the WWE calling the shots are seeing it like ‘We’re giving you a chance and if you don’t produce, you don’t produce and back down you go’ I’ve talked to Cody about it a lot and he’s in no hurry to go there. He’d rather be seasoned and polished before he makes a move like that.”
On what Scott and Kevin knew the night of the Bash at the Beach 96: “We had no idea who it was going to be. The whole third guy thing came up by accident. I remember Kev and I called Bret and I spoke to him, Kev spoke to him and we told him it was really fun working at WCW. It was really laid back, guaranteed money, it was easy. We were so used to being in a shark tank in New York. Coming to Atlanta was like being in a country club. It was really tame in the locker room in WCW compared to New York. We told Bret he should come down. Bischoff was interested, he was offering him a pretty sweet deal but Bret wasn’t interested. We wanted it to be Hulk, but Hulk had creative control in his contract so he didn’t have to do anything he didn’t want to do. We went to the ring, we hadn’t even met Hulk yet, I met him briefly at WrestleMania 9 but I didn’t know Hulk, we actually went to the ring in Daytona and Hogan wasn’t even there yet. He was on a jet, flying cross country from shooting a movie. Bischoff wanted it to be Hulk but before we went out, Bischoff told us “If Hulk doesn’t show, I’m gonna send out Sting.”
How he became sober, with the assistance of Diamond Dallas Page: “I didn’t have any purpose in my life. My goal had been to be a top star in wrestling and I did that. Then I thought the natural progression would be me working in the office but it didn’t happen. I had a little heart episode about 7 weeks ago, I ended up in the hospital in intensive care for a week. The doctor commented ‘you’re a freak, you’re a genetic freak, your heart is normal again’ While I was there, there was this kid who brought me my food and he was a big wrestling fan, and the kid kept coming back and one time he whipped out his iPhone and he had the before and after pics of Jake The Snake. I’d heard things but never seen the pictures. I’d talked to Jake and I knew good things were happening and Dallas was at the root of it and I thought, Do I go to rehab again? Or do I try something else? Instead of treading water in rehab, I don’t know what triggered it and to be honest i don’t question it. I’m moving in the right direction finally, for the first time in so long. I’m 65 days now without any alcohol or drug. I’ve had longer times, but I’ve always been in a facility. I have no cravings and I feel great.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated his blog, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what JR said about:
Last Week’s Rowdy Crowd At RAW: “Speaking of reactions, the live events, RAWS, Smackdown, and the PPVs are the places fans should express themselves and not, as I wrote about recently, at an event like the WWE Hall of Fame. The boorish behavior of a loud, perhaps inebriated, minority of male fans is inexcusable and, believe me, I’ve heard all the excuses since writing about some of the attendees who acted like morons at the 2013 #WWEHOF Induction Ceremony. I see this behavior as a total lack of respect for all involved in the process not just those being jeered. Finally, the “we pay our money, so we can act any way that we choose” excuse is laughable….and embarrassing.”
Ryback Attacking Cena: “Just because @Ryback22 is hungry for the WWE Title and the money that comes along with it why does that motive make the powerhouse a villain? Since when did ambition make one an antagonist. Antagonist display a variety of common traits, non of which I have seen yet, I stress yet, from Ryback. I do like the apparent pairing of Ryback vs. John Cena and where this matter may be heading. To me, it certainly feels fresh even though some will take exception to the fact that Cena is in the equation. It doesn’t both me and I see this rivalry selling tickets and producing a reaction in the arenas.”
Steve Austin’s Thoughts on Fandango: “@steveaustinBSR predicts that @WWEFandango will be IC Champion within a few months. It might not take that long but I could also see Fandango winning the US Title as well at some point. Stars become stars over the long haul and even though Fandango has had an amazing few weeks and change as it relates to recognition, etc, it’s how he does long term that writes his story. If Fandango can continue to grow, a key role at WM30 could be in his future and that’s generally considered the yard stick.”
– CM Punk and his girlfriend Amy “Lita” Dumas attended Saturday night’s UFC Ultimate Fighter (Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen) finale.
– Top Rope Pro Wrestling responded to the allegations made by Kevin Nash and Sean “X Pac” Waltman on Twitter that they were not paid for their match,
“Mr. Nash was paid $4,000 for his appearance, by check, mailed to him on Monday, April 8, funds cleared by the bank on Friday, April 12. Mr. Waltman was paid $1,200, in cash, the night of the show.”
Both superstars had travel and accommodations paid for by Top Rope who added, “There was no agreement in place with talent to disburse any of those revenues to talent.”
Pac has taken down eight of the nine tweets related to the show, but it seems the damage is already done as the promotion added,
“We are considering all options to correct for the slanderous and defamatory statements made by Mr. Nash and Mr. Waltman and the damage to our reputation that has been done with these materially false messages being sent out to their hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and the additional coverage that has been given to their messages on various wrestling news websites.”
Nash later tweeted the following on Sunday night, explaining that Top Rope was not at fault for the situation:
Top Rope Productions was not at fault .Marvin Ward working for the promotion lied and withheld payment due to me.
Top Rope also issued the following statement in response to Kevin Nash clearing them from being at fault:
“Kevin Nash has corrected the record regarding Top Rope Promotions on Twitter (@realkevinnash) with respect to payment issues at Night of the Superstars. We have been in contact with Kevin by email to thank him for clearing up what we both agreed was a misunderstanding. We look forward to being able to putting our focus on building upon what was a very successful house show at Night of the Superstars last night.”
– Eric Bischoff was interviewed by Brian Thompson of the Neck Breaker Podcast. Here are some highlights:
If People In The Wrestling Industry Read “Dirtsheets”: “Oh, sure. I mean, anyone that says they don’t is probably lying to themselves or intentionally lying to somebody else. I for one read them and I read them for entertainment because it amazes me how small minded or uneducated a lot of these supposed wrestling experts, or people that put themselves out as experts, are and how far off the mark they are about so many of the things that they write and the positions they take. I also read them because a lot of times, things leak from inside of the office and you need to be aware of what’s out there in the universe when there are certain things you don’t want out there. Whether it’s a story line or a talent issue, or a direction that you’re going. So, I monitor it simply to make sure the things I deem [secret] need to stay inside and part of story, part of character and part of talent development do so. And when they don’t we’re pretty hard to find out why not and the reason for that leak. But ya, it happens. I’m sure for some people more than others, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check them on a regular basis.”
Where WCW Would Be If It Were Still Around: “It’s impossible to answer with any credibility because there’s just no way of knowing. Had we had the television, had we had the financial backing, the way we did by the way. It wasn’t a question as to whether or not we were going to get the financial backing. We had it. That wasn’t the reason why we didn’t acquire WCW. The reason we didn’t acquire WCW is an incoming, rotating door, new head of Turner at that time, took prime time television literally out of the deal that we had already negotiated. Once that happened there was no way to make any sense of it. It was really just a video library and some ring mats. There’s no way of knowing. I can tell you what I would have liked to happen, but who knows what would have happened.”
What TNA Does Better Than WWE: “That’s hard. I have a lot of respect for the folks over at WWE and I have a ton of respect for what they’ve accomplished within the industry. So for me to take an adverse position on anything they’re doing, quite frankly I’d be thrilled with just about any of their mistakes at this point. [laughter] When I look at the television product, and again you have to look at what we do and what they do within context, meaning they’re on probably the number two or three network that averages more than likely 3 million viewers all week long in prime time. We’re on a smaller network. They’ve got a budget of probably, and I’m guessing, I don’t know this, but they’ve got a budget of probably 6, 7 maybe even 800,000 an episode to work with. We have a fraction of a fraction of that. They’re a 30 plus year old company that’s been around for a long long time. It’s got a lot of brand affinity and history and relationship with generations of wrestling fans around the country and around the world. TNA has been around they say ten years, but probably really seven or eight as a viable company. So you can’t really compare. It’s not apples to apples.
“That being said, when I look at the way we tell our stories, I, along with my partner Jason Hervey, have a very successful television production company, one of the more successful ones in Hollywood and we have since 2003. We produce shows for every major cable network and a few of the bigger networks like NBC. We have a fairly good knowledge of television and how it works and the audience and what the networks are looking for. One of the advantages I think TNA has with BHE [his company], myself and Jason, is that we’re able to bring things that work in other formats, particularly in reality, and integrate them into a wrestling format. The wrestling format has pretty much been the same for the last 15 years and prior to that it was the same for 30 years. Now we’re changing things. We’re adding more reality. If you look at the Aces and Eights story, that story from conception to what you saw last night is over a year old and while along the way we’ve had to bob an weave a little bit, make some changes due to circumstances, some of them out of our control, whether they be injuries, talent contract issues or whatever, for the most part we’ve been able to keep that story very on the rails, very episodic.
“If you saw the show last night [with Bully Ray's explanation about joining Aces & Eights], for the first time ever, we’re taking the audience back and showing them what they missed. Not that they may not have tuned in, but they may not have realized how that story was unfolding before their eyes. It’s a little bit like putting on a magic show and then taking people backstage and showing them just a little bit of the magic. We didn’t show them all the magic. We didn’t get into all of the nuance and detail because there’s some of it that we’re still going to reveal; we didn’t lay everything out there last night. But that’s never been done before. We’re essentially telling or teaching the viewers how to watch our show because what we’re doing and the way we’re telling our stories is different than what we used to do and it’s certainly different than what WWE does. As in any program, it doesn’t matter what it is, you have to train the viewer or guide the viewer along the way to help them really understand where those changes are and how to watch the show. Hopefully now viewers will start watching for little nuance within a story. They’ll start looking for the bobs and the weaves and looking for the depth of the story that was actually created, as opposed to grading a dropkick or talking about a hurricanrana.
“It’s time that the wrestling product evolves and becomes much more episodic as well as more character driven, but in a real way. Not just pay lip service to it, because everybody pays lip service to it. We’ve done it. We’re building long term arcs and we take those long term arcs and create weekly bibles. And we take those weekly bibles and they’re the basis and the outline of every format. We plan our shows six months in advance. I don’t care what anybody says, that doesn’t happen anywhere else. It’s certainly not happening in the WWE and anybody that says it is is lying through their teeth. We know enough people there on the creative side of things to know how that process works and it’s not what we’re doing. Now, they’re having tremendous success doing not what we’re doing [laughter] so more power to them, but you’re asking me what we’re doing differently and I think the way we tell our stories, the way we’re trying to help our audience along to how to appreciate and watch those stories, as well as providing great wrestling action. I think that’s what we’re doing differently.”
His Goals For TNA: “My goal isn’t as much personal achievement in TNA because quite frankly my role is such that I’m not positioned to achieve much on a personal basis or a professional basis, individually within TNA. I’m a support mechanism. I oversee to a large degree creative, along with Bruce Pritchard. I enjoy the hell out of working with the staff that we have. We’re looking forward to bringing in some more people. I really like teaching them the thing’s I’ve learned, not only from the wrestling business, but the way to present television, the way to present story, the way to present character that’s new and different than the way we’ve always done it in wrestling. I get a big kick out of that. It’s very rewarding for me to work with those guys and watch them grow.”
– Mickie James spoke with Phil Allely of FameMagazine.co.uk about her new country music video. Here is what she said:
The Similarities of Wrestling & Music: “There are ton of parallels as far as your confidence and your ability to be able to tell a story, both within wrestling and within music. With wrestling, you’re running on raw passion and adrenaline. With music, your emotions are more present and your heart goes more into it.
Her New Music Video ‘Somebody’s Gonna Pay’: “This is my first video, so it was wonderful to have so many of my friends join me in front of the camera and the fact that Trish and Nick took time out of their schedules to take part in it made it something very special.”
“I wanted to create a video that would really showcase this song for my fans – and Blake did a brilliant job helping me bring that to life.”
– Yankees’ 1B Mark Teixeira (wrist) is hoping to be cleared to begin swinging a bat on Friday. Barring setbacks, he could progress to live batting practice as early as next weekend. From there, extended spring training games and a minor league rehab assignment would likely be next. He’s still targeting a return around May 1.
– Yankees’ OF Curtis Granderson (forearm) began throwing Thursday. He hopes to begin swinging a fungo bat as early as this weekend. Barring setbacks, he’s expected to debut in mid-May.
– The Mariners have acquired RHP Aaron Harang from the Rockies for RHP Steven Hensley. The Rockies save roughly $2.5M through their trade with the Dodgers and Mariners. Harang, 34, is expected to join the starting rotation. He had a 1.40 WHIP and 131/85 K/BB ratio in 179 2/3 innings last season with the Dodgers.
– Chicago police are investigating the delivery of a severed goat head addressed to Cubs’ chairman Tom Ricketts after they responded to a call around 2:30 p.m. indicating an “intimidating package” had been received. Ricketts is currently in negotiations with city officials and neighbourhood business people about a $300M renovation of Wrigley Field. The goat lore began in 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis was refused entrance to a World Series game because he was told the goat smelled bad. Since then, the Cubs haven’t been back to a World Series.
– The Mariners have placed OF Michael Saunders (sprained right shoulder) on the 15-day DL. Saunders suffered the injury during Wednesday’s game when he crashed into the outfield wall.
– White Sox’ INF Gordon Beckham (left hand) will be placed on the DL with a fractured hamate bone. Beckham left Tuesday’s game with left wrist irritation, but tests revealed the fracture. He’ll undergo surgery and will likely be sidelined 6-8 weeks.
– Check out these Marlins’ fans protesting owner Jeffrey Loria with shirts that read: “Marlins Baseball: helping other teams get better since 1998″:
– Jaguars’ RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Lisfranc) told NFL.com that he’ll be “full speed” by the “end of May, beginning of June.” “I’m feeling good. Just have been rehabbing every day and getting used to the offseason program. I’ll be back at full speed by probably the end of May, beginning of June.” MJD missed the final 10 games of the season with the foot injury, and began “lightly” jogging a few weeks ago.
– Updating a previous item, the Raiders are not signing free agent QB Seneca Wallace, according to beat writer Vic Tafur. Reports had Wallace, 32, beating Tyler Thigpen for the No. 3 job behind Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor. Tafur says the Raiders could sign Wallace “down the road,” but not right now.
– According to TSN, the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation is trying to block the recent multi-year deal between the Bruins and F Carl Soderberg. The Bruins acquired the 27-year-old in 2007 in a trade with the Blues. The deal the Bruins have with Soderberg would pay him $600K this season, including a $500K signing bonus, and $1M per season for the next two years. Soderberg had 31 goals and 60 points in 54 games with Linkoping this season.
– Devils’ F Ilya Kovalchuk (right shoulder) skated with teammates again Thursday, but remains out indefinitely.
– Check out this awkward interview with Lakers’ F Metta World Peace:
– As seen on Monday’s RAW, WWE had Team Hell No save The Undertaker from a possible beatdown at the hands of The Shield. According to F4WOnline, the angle was done to plant the seeds for an upcoming feud for the WWE Tag Team Championships at Extreme Rules. Given their recent push, it’s expected that they will be crowned the new tag team champions.
– Scott Hall tweeted the following this morning after undergoing hip surgery earlier this week:
Good morning Twitter World Order. Back at the Crib. Very grateful for all the support, old friends and new friends. Egg whites of course
– Former WWE superstar Carlito tweeted the following comment about The Rock’s injury at WrestleMania, implying Rock is on steroids:
Rock tore his ab & adductor tendons? Hmm, I guess instead of getting in tremendous shape for mania…he got in TREN-mendous shape!
– Monday’s RAW ended with Ryback confronting (and laying out) new WWE Champion John Cena. Ryback tweeted the following message about the attack:
Doubt my drive n ability. I will run right through you. I am a Highly Evolved Machine. There is no right n wrong no good n bad. #FeedingTime
Based on what transpired on RAW, it’s still unclear whether Ryback has actually turned heel or is just solidifying himself as the #1 contender. Next week’s WWE RAW taping from the Bi Lo Center in Greensville, South Carolina, however, teases that Ryback could in fact be a heel–the advertisement plugs WWE Champion John Cena & Alberto Del Rio vs. Ryback and World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler for the show. It’s likely that the match will take place as the dark match main event after RAW goes off the air. Also advertised for RAW is the return of CM Punk, who will address his loss to The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
– Former WWE employee Andrew Green is suing Big Show and WWE over an alleged backstage incident at the 2013 Royal Rumble PPV, according to Courthouse News Service. Green claims another WWE producer told him to get an interview with Show after his Rumble match to be posted on the company’s website. Green says Show refused to do it until he said it was at the request of Eric Pankowski. Show then began using “profanely indecent language,” saying if he wanted an interview he would give him one. The complaint continued:
“Big Show toward Green enraged, shouting obscenities, and waving his fist in Green’s face. Big Show then grabbed Green by the collar and throat, striking Green in the face and backing him up against a trunk while declaring ‘You son of a bitch … Are you having fun right now … Don’t even come up to me again … I don’t give a shit who you are’.”
Show requested a re-tape of the interview saying he would just walk away. Triple H requested a third take but Show said he didn’t think he would be able to do it because his emotions in the first shoot had been real. A third interview was shot but Pankowski decided to air the first interview. Green claims he was unable to continue working for WWE after following the incident because he was uncomfortable working around Big Show and other wrestlers. He alleges in the complaint that WWE had previously “suspended or terminated Big Show’s employment because of his behavior, including his engagement in violent and/or unlawful and/or improper activities outside of the wrestling venue.”
– According to Livehits.co, Fandango’s WWE theme “ChaChaLaLa” is currently 17 on the UK music downloads charts.
– WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart answered questions from fans on his Facebook page Thursday afternoon, covering WrestleMania 29, his brother Owen and more. Here are some highlights of what he said about:
WrestleMania 29: “I thought Undertaker and Punk stole the show… I thought the two main events (Rock vs. Cena, Triple H vs. Lesnar) were more than predictable. Step by step. Overall I thought the show was good. The highlight of WrestleMania weekend for me was the induction of Bruno. All of the Hall of Famer recipients were great selections.”
John Cena vs. The Rock: “I thought they both worked really hard, and I’m glad that Cena won. But from an imagination stand point I saw the match that they gave about a year ago in my head… and absolutely nothing surprised me.”
Undertaker’s Streak Ending: “Let’s just say at WM 50 – Undertaker loses streak to Joe Henning… and he is pinned with the PerfectPlex at the 59 minute mark.”
Owen: “I honestly think my brother Owen would still be alive today” had the Montreal Screwjob not occurred.
– With WWE calling up several wrestlers from developmental soon, three talents at the top of the list are Bray Wyatt, Kassius Ohno and Adrian Neville.
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated his blog, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what JR wrote about:
WrestleMania 29: My match of the night at WM29 was Taker vs. @CMPunk. Loved @TripleH vs. @BrockLesnar too. Tough act to follow, as I have discussed here for weeks, and going on last is always a daunting experience and it was Sunday for @JohnCena and @TheRock but they came through it well especially considering that Rock had a torn abductor muscle that he suffered early in the bout.
The Crowd At RAW: “Co-sign on the great live audience for RAW Monday night made up of many Northeast American fans and, of course, many from out of the country especially from the UK among other countries.”
Fandango Getting Over: “Not shocked, I wrote about it here multiple times, that Fandango had a solid outing with the great @IAmJericho Chris Jericho at WM29 notwithstanding the point that Jericho’s retaliation on Fandango Monday night on RAW was pure textbook. Young wrestlers need to take note of Jericho’s unbridled passion And realism in getting a piece of Fandango on RAW. The Fandango buzz is intriguing and it will last as long as his in ring performances hold up positively to his controversial TV persona.”
Ryback Attacking John Cena on RAW: “Loved how RAW went off the air Monday night, @Ryback22 standing tall over John Cena. Is Ryback a newly minted villain? Not so fast there knee jerkers. I think that the fans will make that call and perhaps even more people will boo John Cena that have previously as Ryback obviously, as he should, has his sights set on the WWE Title and a top spot within WWE.”
– Dolph Ziggler tweeted the following about his World Heavyweight title win on Monday’s RAW
watched it 10 times & every time i get chills bc of @WWE universe dont analyze or overthink it. just enjoy the moment
– WWE is running a digital pay-per-view special where fans can view the entire 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony on WWE.com, the WWE Mobile App, Xbox Live and Samsung SMART TVs. The show costs $7.99 and will be available starting Friday April 12th at 10 a.m. ET through April 19.
– Here’s the latest edition of WWE Inbox:
– TNA star Kurt Angle was recently interviewed by The Sun and had this to say about his career winding down:
“When I do retire, I won’t be coming back. But I do see myself, after my contract is up, going on a reduced schedule where I will be part-time and only doing particular PPVs and TVs.
“I definitely am going to still be involved in wrestling because even though, thank God, I’m financially set, I love what I do.
“It’s hard to walk away from it when you can still do it. I’m still kicking hard and in my prime, I haven’t lost a step.
“If this happens in TNA, then great. I’ll be there for the big shows and represent them the best way I can. Hopefully they’ll get a lot more success out of it, more PPV buys and more attendance.
Angle also stated that he wants to start working a reduced schedule when his current contract expires, working just TV and PPV events.
– Flyers’ G Ilya Bryzgalov sounded off Tuesday after the team’s 4-1 loss to the Islanders. Bryzgalov, 32, was asked about the recent acquisition of G Steve Mason and the contract extension he received earlier this week, and whether or not he was worried about the possibility of a compliance buyout.
“To be honest, I don’t care. Really, I don’t care. I have no control on this, so why should I care?”
“You know, I have no control in this. I can’t read the people’s mind. I can’t project things what they’re thinking, that’s why I’m not worried about things I can’t control. I maybe want one thing and they want a different thing.”
When asked if he’d enjoy his off day by heading to the Beach on Long Island, the Russian was quick to make light of the situation.
“You can call it whatever you want, but it’s not a beach. A beach is somewhere in the Caribbean, somewhere in Florida where it’s warm and you can swim. Here is dark water.”
Bryz was signed to a 9-year/$51M contract by the Flyers in the summer of 2011, and has 7-years/$34.5M remaining on it. The salary cap is due to drop from $70.2M this season to $64.3M next season. He has a 17-15-3 record this season with an .896 SV% and a 2.88 GAA.
– The Canadiens have agreed to terms with G Peter Budaj on a 2-year/$2.8M contract extension. Budaj, 30, has played in eight games with the Habs this season, posting a 6-1-1 record with a 2.28 GAA, a .917 SV% and one shutout.
– Updating a previous item, Bruins’ F Carl Soderberg could be in Boston by this weekend. The deal the two sides reached is for this season plus two more. He’ll make $600K this season, including a $500K signing bonus, then $1M per season for each of the next two years.
– According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the NHL, NHLPA, IOC and IIHF will meet Friday in New York City as they continue to negotiate regarding the NHL’s involvement in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Per LeBrun, issues still remain, and nothing is expected to be announced or agreed upon Friday.
– Canucks’ F Alex Burrows told the Vancouver Sun Monday that he’d like to try and return one of Milos Raonic’s serves. On Tuesday, Raonic tweeted: “Let’s do it Alex!!!” Burrows added,
“It might happen, you never know. It would be something. I think I could handle one and then, on the next stroke, he’d probably kill me. But I would love to try. He’s such a good server, probably the best in the world. Maybe if he served on skates, I would probably have a better chance.”
Canucks’ F Henrik Sedin, who has seen Burrows play tennis, rated his linemate’s chance of returning a Raonic serve in one word.
“Impossible. I would love to see that because we played against Rebecca Marino and it was almost impossible to return her serve — and I think Raonic has a little faster serve than she does. Burr can play tennis, for sure, but I don’t think he would have a chance if Raonic goes full out.”
– Check out this funny parody video featuring Canucks’ F Ryan Kesler saying Allen Iverson’s famous line:
– The Patriots have agreed to terms with WR Julian Edelman on a 1-year contract. Edelman finished with 21 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns in nine games in 2012, while averaging 15.5 yards per punt return with one punt return touchdown.
– The Patriots have submitted a 1-year offer sheet on Steelers’ RFA WR Emmanuel Sanders. They’ll have five days to match the offer, which may be tricky. If the Steelers don’t match the offer for the 26-year-old, New England will forfeit a 3rd-round pick (No. 91 overall) in this month’s draft and likely try to sign Sanders to a long-term contract.
– Free agent RB Bernard Scott (knee) will meet with the Raiders Wednesday and the Bengals later this week, according to USA Today. Scott, six months removed from an ACL tear, will go through some drills in Oakland to prove his health.
– Senators’ D Erik Karlsson (torn Achilles) remains without a timetable, according to his agent Craig Oster. Oster told the Ottawa Citizen via email, “Erik is continuing to progress. He and the organization are going to ensure that he is fully healthy and at minimal risk of complications before he considers a return to play. The healing process seems to be going well. No definitive timelines.” Karlsson hasn’t played since February 13 when his left Achilles was cut by Penguins’ F Matt Cooke’s slate.
– Devils’ F Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) skated again Wednesday during the team’s optional practice. “We did definitely more shots and a little battle there at the end, so it’s good. It feels good, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction.” Kovalchuk could return as early as Friday.
– According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Penguins’ D Kris Letang (broken toe/groin) could return on Thursday or Saturday. Letang, who’s been out for two weeks, says he hasn’t suffered a setback despite being projected to miss 7-10 days. “I feel fine. It’s good to be back practicing. I want to make sure I’m 100%.”
– Yankees’ SS Derek Jeter (ankle) has resumed on-field hitting, according to the AP. Jeter took 32 swings in batting practice Wednesday at the team’s minor league complex, and also ran for the second consecutive day. The Yankees are reportedly aiming for him to be activated around May 1.
– Red Sox’ DH David Ortiz (heels) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Pawtucket. Ortiz has been playing in extended spring training games this week without issue. Barring setbacks, he’s expected back with the team next week.
– The Rangers have placed LHP Matt Harrison (lower back strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 7.
– The Reds have placed LHP Sean Marshall (left shoulder tendinitis) on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 8. Marshall has been experiencing shoulder fatigue since the end of spring training.
– Following up on the news of The Rock being injured at WrestleMania, he tore his abdominal and abductor muscles, as well as his groin during his match against John Cena. He immediately flew home to be checked out by doctors and is heading overseas very soon to begin filming the movies Hercules. Initially, there was a lot of heat on The Rock, because it was unclear why he left town so abruptly when he was scheduled to appear on RAW. WWE’s creative team was not informed that The Rock would not be on RAW until the afternoon, which required massive rewrites to the RAW script. Shortly before WWE Raw went on the air, ring announcer Justin Roberts addressed the live crowd explaining that The Rock suffered a strained abdominal muscle and he would not appear on tonight’s show as previously advertised. Throughout the night, The Rock was booed by the live crowd whenever he was shown on the big screen.
According to the PWInsider, as of Tuesday night, it’s believed The Rock will not require surgery to repair the injury. Any potential procedure would delay the shooting of his new movie Hercules, so if Rock does eventually need surgery, expect it to be held off until after shooting is complete.
– According to F4WOnline, Brock Lesnar was knocked out at WrestleMania 29 after a knee from Triple H about five minutes into their match. Lesnar was “out on his feet” and there is speculation that Lesnar suffered a concussion.
– According to F4WOnline, CM Punk (leg) underwent X-rays on Sunday night, which he may have injured in the top rope elbow table spot during his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29. Punk reportedly will be undergoing an MRI this week, but will be at RAW next week. Punk was kept off of Monday’s RAW to sell the effects of his match against Undertaker.
– According to F4WOnline, it’s expected that WWE Champion John Cena will defend his title against Ryback at Extreme Rules on May 19. The seed for the feud was planted Monday with Ryback’s apparent heel turn.
– WWE Champion John Cena spoke to HollywoodLife.com on Monday and revealed that he worked WrestleMania 29 with a broken thumb and food poisoning. Cena also appeared on The Crossover yesterday and said his favorite WrestleMania match other that his own was The Undertaker vs. CM Punk. ”I thought it was great. I just didn’t want it to end.” When asked if that could have been The Undertaker’s final match, Cena said, ”I think he is going to show up for WrestleMania next year.”
– Check out the video of Dolph Ziggler cashing in Money in the Bank on RAW:
Several WWE Superstars congratulated Ziggler on the title win. Here are some of their tweets:
John Cena: “No problem Champ! Congrats RT @HEELZiggler: “@JohnCena: Read all about it… The Champ returns to Boston’s @tdgarden tonight for SmackDown!” – @BostonGlobe”
-thanks for the plug, bro”
AJ Lee: “Congratulations to my baby Ziggy @HEELZiggler . No one works harder or deserves it more. No one. I’m so happy right now.”
Big E Langston: “Congratulations to the new World Heavyweight Champion @HEELZiggler. Best tag team partner/double dutcher/lasagna chef I’ve ever known.”
Amy Schumer: “Um, @HEELZiggler i feel like we should get back together”
Edge: “Proud of my boy @HEELZiggler finally where he belongs. So deserving. Hard work pays off”
X-Pac: “@HEELZiggler I couldn’t be happier for you. You deserve last night & much more. I’m not ashamed to say I marked out for that.”
Curt Hawkins: “I hope all the guys on the @WWE roster see @HEELZiggler as a true inspiration. Because I certainly do.”
Beth Phoenix: “Congrats to @HEELZiggler on his well deserved championship win! Looong overdue!”
Michael McGuillicutty “If seeing @HEELZiggler win the World Heavyweight Championship didnt give u goosebumps, something is wrong with u… What its all about! #WWE”
Carlito: “After carrying around the MITB briefcase for 8 years, he finally cashed it in to become WHC! Congrats Dolph Ziggler!”
As expected, the majority of the WWE locker room was very happy for Ziggler after his big World Heavyweight title win on RAW. Ziggler is seen as one of the real workhorses on the roster and has been working very hard to reach the main event level.
– Triple H tweeted this picture following his match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 29, explaining what the white powder on his body was while he made his entrance:
For those wondering… Stuff stuck to me at mania was dry ice. Gave me 2nd degree burns on torso & arms pic.twitter.com/35Q4KUxcXo
– Scott Hall underwent hip surgery this morning. Diamond Dallas Page tweeted the following update
RT @inspiredmovie: @SCOTTHALLNWO just got out of surgery & all went well! Surgeon said hip looked bad & now he should feel much better
Scott then followed up with the following:
Twitter World Order recovering in the hospital. So many prayers answered. Thanks… Egg whites soon…
Any dudes ever had a tube shoved up in your… you know? Not fun… removing it is gonna be worse. A small pain to endure to walk again…
– Monday’s WWE RAW scored a Trendrr.tv social media score of 518,787, up a sharp 70 percent from last week. Raw ranked #1 on cable TV Monday night, but was crushed by the NCAA college basketball championship game on CBS, which had a social media score of over 2 million.
TVByTheNumbers reports that Monday’s post-WrestleMania 29 edition of WWE RAW drew a 3.45 rating with 4.61 million viewers. This was up around 300,000 from last week, but probably not the strong showing WWE was hoping for. Here are the hourly numbers:
– Check out Randy Orton forgetting his lines during a promo with Sheamus on Raw:
– According to F4WOnline, at one point, there was talk of Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger at Extreme Rules in a submission match, however, their feud now appears to be over.
– WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley says the elbow drop he gave to Chris Jericho at the Hall of Fame ceremony was not scripted. Foley told Raj Giri of WrestlingINC:
“It came as a complete surprise to me, as did CM Punk coming out doing the very un-bad-guy thing with doing the three count and hugging me on stage. For that one night, there are no good guys and bad guys.”
– During a recent interview with CBS0-19 in Cleveland, WWE Superstar Alex Riley was asked why he stopped appearing on television:
“I don’t know, it’s a very competitive company. There’s a lot of people here and a lot of talent. So you have to constantly re-invent yourself and constantly be entertaining on a daily basis and find new ways to entertain and I’m trying to do that.”
“I was shoved into a main event spot very early in my career, which I don’t think a lot of people quite get that opportunity, so I was very lucky to get that opportunity. I wanna earn it, a lot of that had to do with Miz, so when I come back this time it’s going to be all me and I want to earn it.”
– According to F4WOnline, John Cena has been inviting many famous Boston natives to tonight’s SmackDown tapings, including players from the Boston Red Socks and actors Mark Wahlberg and Ben Affleck may be there.
– The pre-game and post-game show that we saw at WrestleMania featuring Jim Ross, Dusty Rhodes, Scott Sanford and Kofi Kingston will be a part of all WWE pay-per-views moving forward, according to F4WOnline. No word on whether the hosts will stay the same, but expect to see the “analysts desk” format again.
– Check out John Cena’s promo after Raw went off the air:
The crowd continued on the subway, singing Fandango’s theme song:
According to the PWInsider, Vince McMahon enjoyed the rowdy crowd at RAW, even though they buried several matches and did their own thing for most of the night. It was understood at RAW that the post-WrestleMania show is comprised of die hard fans, many of whom travel from around the world to be in town that weekend. The song has been gaining mainstream attention now, as it’s #14 on the UK Singles Charts under “ChaChaLaLa.” Prior to the weekend, the song was outside the top 1,000.
– Jimmy Hart noted on Twitter that WWE officials are negotiating with Turner on ways they can release WCW theme songs.
– Here’s the latest Backstage Fallout video from Monday’s RAW:
– WWE will hold its annual shareholders meeting at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut on Friday, April 26.
– On Monday’s RAW, Big E Langston accidentally knocked into AJ Lee while stretching before his match against Daniel Bryan. AJ Lee tweeted about the incident:
If I wasn’t forced to wear a padded bra, that E backhand would’ve hurt pretty bad. #WonderBrasSaveLives #MilesBeneathTheSurface
– The Shorty Awards took place on Monday night, which recognize excellence in social media. WWE was nominated in six categories but surprisingly did not win any awards.
– TNA Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky provided an update on Tuesday regarding her recent knee injury. She tweeted:
“Dr.’s diagnosis: my kneecap popped out & popped back in. Significant swelling & fluid in the joint. MRI shows no tears or serious damage.”
“Thanks to all my #PigeonArmy peeps for ur well wishes. I’m a toughie and am healing well. Love u guys.”
Sky noted last week that she does not expect to miss ring time. The injury took place at the March 28 Impact Wrestling taping from Jonesboro, Arkansas, which aired last Thursday night. Sky was teaming with Taryn Terrell against Gail Kim and Tara. Sky grabbed her left knee during the match and was checked out by doctors after the match.
– The Panthers have agreed to terms with WR Domenik Hixon on a 1-year contract. Hixon is the second ex-Giant new Panthers GM Dave Gettleman has signed away from his former team in as many weeks. Battling back from All the way back from the second tear of his right ACL last season, Hixon caught 39 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns. Per CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports that the Browns were also in the mix.
– The NFL has suspended Cardinals’ ILB Daryl Washington 4 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Washington recorded 134 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles over 16 starts last season.
– The Bengals have claimed QB John Skelton off waivers from the Cardinals. Skelton is expected to beat QB Josh Johnson for backup role. The 25-year-old is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Skelton started six games last season, completing 54.2% of his passes for 1,132 yards, two touchdowns and nine interceptions. Over three NFL seasons, he has a 15:25 career TD-to-INT ratio.
– The Redskins have agreed to terms with QB Pat White. White passed a “full battery” of tests, which revealed “no issues” with his past concussion. White hasn’t stepped on an NFL field since 2009.
– According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Eagles’ RB Dion Lewis in on the trade block. He has just 36 career carries.
– The Falcons have released RT Tyson Clabo. Clabo started all 100 games he appeared in, and made one Pro Bowl during his seven-year career with the Falcons. He was owed $4.5M in each of the next three seasons, and the move is likely to clear room for QB Matt Ryan’s extension. Clabo, 32 in October, graded out as ProFootballFocus’ No. 5 right tackle last season. RT Lamar Holmes will take his spot.
– Free agent WR/PR Julian Edelman is visiting the Giants. Edelman is still expected to re-sign with the Patriots.
– Wizards’ G Bradley Beal (right fibula) will miss at least the next 6 weeks, ending his season with a stress injury. Beal was battling an ankle injury, so it’s likely the two are intertwined. He’ll be able to resume basketball activities in 6 weeks.
– Prospective Kings ownership groups from Seattle and Sacramento both made presentations to the NBA’s Board of Governors in New York on Wednesday. Seattle’s group, backed by the Maloof brothers, were represented by ownership partner Chris Hansen and Seattle mayor Mike McGinn. Sacramento was represented by the four “whales” and mayor Kevin Johnson. Both groups pitched their plans for new arenas and the merits of locating the Kings in each respective city. Earlier reports suggested the Kings’ ownership situation would be resolved by the league’s full BOG meetings on April 18-19, but commissioner David Stern cautioned that a decision could be delayed for a few days after those meetings.
– Bruins’ F Patrice Bergeron (concussion) is out indefinitely. Bergeron was in Tuesday’s win over the Senators. GM Peter Chiarelli said, “I don’t know when you’ll see him again … he sounded real good and I told him we’ll work together in getting him back.” This is Bergeron’s fourth concussion.
– Wild’ F Dany Heatley (arm) is out indefinitely. Heatley was slashed by D Marc-Edouard Vlasic during Wednesday’s game.
– CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Orioles recently offered a multi-year extension to C Matt Wieters. Per Heyman, however, a deal doesn’t appear imminent. The offer was believed to be a 5-year deal. Wieters, 26, is under team control though 2015, so the extension would buy out at least his first two years of free agency.
– The Reds have placed OF Ryan Ludwick (torn labrum in right shoulder) on the 15-day DL retroactive to April 2. Ludwick underwent surgery Wednesday and will miss the next three months.
– According to NY Newsday, Mets’ RHP Shaun Marcum (biceps, neck) is scheduled to be examined by a doctor on Thursday in New York. Marcum was scratched from a scheduled simulated game on Tuesday due to pain in his neck and right shoulder. He was placed on the 15-day DL Monday with biceps tendinitis.
– D’Backs’ OF Adam Eaton (elbow) will hit in the batting cage Thursday. He will hit off a tee and have balls flipped to him at extended spring training. It’s his first workout since he was shut down with a sprained left UCL. He remains at least least two weeks away from throwing, and won’t return to the lineup until mid-to-late May.
– Angels’ RHP Ryan Madson (right elbow) threw a light 15-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon. It was his first mound workout since he felt discomfort in his surgically-repaired elbow a week ago. Madson is targeting a May debut.
– Cubs’ RHP Matt Garza (lat) will throw a bullpen session over the weekend. It will be the first time he’s thrown off a mound since he was shut down over a month ago. The Cubs are hoping that Garza will be able to debut in May.
– The Dodgers have released RHP Kevin Gregg. The move was requested by Gregg, as he refused to accept an assignment to Triple-A. He had a 0.82 ERA in 11 spring appearances.
– Check out this Pete Kozma homerun. The ball lands in the centre field stands, where this girl’s boyfriend heroically moves out of the way, allowing the ball to hit her:
– Rutgers has fired head coach Mike Rice. Rice was suspended 3 games without pay and fined $50K for abusive behavior toward his players in December of 2012. Athletic director Tim Pernetti obtained video footage from a practice during either Rice’s first or second season at Rutgers, at which Rice was seen throwing basketballs at players’ heads and cursing at them. On April 2, another video surfaced when ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired several hours of video from Rice’s practices, showing him berating, pushing, kicking, cursing and throwing basketballs at players during practices. Rice’s firing came after school president Robert Barchi saw the video for the first time.
– Here’s an interview with ESPN and Kevin Ware regarding his gruesome leg injury:
– Diamond Dallas Page spoke to ESPN this week regarding Scott Hall’s condition:
“Right now, he can’t do too much physical stuff. He can do some limited stretching and he can start eating right. When you get sober and you start eating really good food, your body starts healing itself, and it hurts a lot in the beginning. As you go through, you get better and your body starts healing. I think Scott is going to be in pretty good shape by the time he does his surgery.”
– CM Punk was interviewed by the Ashbury Park Press this week about the controversy surrounding WWE’s use of Paul Bearer’s death in his WrestleMania feud against The Undertaker:
“My job is to get people to be mad at me and I think I do that very well; I think I blur the lines.”
“Everything is designed to push people’s buttons – so it’s unfortunate that Percy had to die for him to be a part of this story – but trust me, he would have loved it, he really would have loved it.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Edge says he won’t be at WrestleMania 29:
“No I will not be at or see Mania. I’ll be on a plane flying home for a 20hr stay b4 I turn around and fly out again.”
– WWE and Martha Hart have settled a lawsuit over royalties and the use of the late Owen Hart’s image. The settlement was announced Wednesday by Martha Hart, WWE chief executive Vince McMahon, his wife and former CEO Linda McMahon, and the Stamford, Conn., company. Detail on the settlement were not disclosed. Owen Hart died in 1999 while being lowered into the wrestling ring at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. He was 34. Martha Hart sued in June 2010, alleging that WWE did not pay royalty payments owed to Owen Hart’s estate and violated a contract restricting the use of her late husband’s name and likeness.
– After his match against Fandango at Sunday’s WrestleMania 29 PPV, Chris Jericho is scheduled for next week’s WWE RAW and SmackDown tapings before heading over seas to the UK to tour with his metal band Fozzy. Jericho is now advertised for the April 22 WWE live event from the 02 Arena in London, England. That is the last date he’s scheduled for.
– Triple H and Stephanie McMahon tweeted several pictures from WWE AXXESS at the Izod Center in New Jersey. Most years WWE Axxess is held in a convention center. This year, it is held inside of the Izod Arena, the same arena that will host Raw. One of the unique features of this setup, is the full raw set is up, and fans who purchase a VIP ticket will get to go backstage behind the Raw set. Also of note, WWE has announced that The Undertaker will be replacing Ric Flair at Thursday night’s VIP signing. Undertaker’s original VIP signing scheduled for Friday night is still on.
– WWE superstar Sin Cara tweeted the following picture of his hotel room key for WrestleMania weekend. Based on the location of his Foursquare checkin, it appears the WWE crew will be staying at the The Westin Jersey City Newport hotel in Jersey City.
Good night world! Look what I just received, my hotel key for Wrestlemania, very cool no?? Have a good night http://4sq.com/14DH4ep
– Here are the latest tweets from WWE Champion The Rock and John Cena leading up to their WrestleMania 29 match this weekend:
John Cena: Now @iamdiddy will perform at #WrestleMania @TheRock @WWE I will make sure it’s a #suckerfreesunday #RTime=NOW #redemption 4/7/13
The Rock: 15 years ago I started my career in NY. Sunday will TRULY be my honor. #Wrestlemania29 #SweetEmotion #BringIt pic.twitter.com/jdoKhVDfCX
– During Monday’s RAW, a promo video aired for the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony television special, which premieres next Tuesday night. Only Bruno Sammartino, Trish Stratus and Donald Trump’s inductions will be featured on the show. Mick Foley responded “Santa Claus” on Twitter, who said they can’t wait to see him get inducted:
“Um.. guess you didn’t hear the rumor @SantaClausWay..If you want to see my #WWEHOF speech, come see it live @TheGarden – might not be on TV.”
Foley later followed up with:
“Thanks for all the messages of support concerning #WWEHOF. I’ll give the best speech I can, and let the decision makers make the decisions.”
– WWE announcer Michael Cole spoke with Busted Open. The highlights:
On his start and his rise in WWE: “I got off on the wrong foot here in WWE for a bunch of different circumstances. Number one, I came from CBS News, so I came from outside the business. And this is back in 1997 where it’s still the ‘good ol boy’ network, where if you weren’t brought up and didn’t pay your dues in the wrestling industry you had no business being here. Jim Ross is a guy who dedicated 30 years of his life to this business. He started as a referee, building rings and morphed his way into becoming an announcer and he had paid his dues, as most of the guys had. So I came in in 1997 and I was first employee that was ever hired by the company that was an announcer. I came from CBS Radio. I had been a wrestling fan but I had never been involved in it in any aspect. So I come right out of the blue and start doing shows on WWE. So there was immediately a backlash from the true hardcore fan. ‘Who is this guy? How can he be talking about a product that I’ve watched for 25 years; I’ve never heard of him. He’s not from the business. He’s not from the industry.’
“Then I wasn’t even able to get my feet wet and pay my dues here before Jim got sick with his bout of Bells Palsy. So when Jim got sick, all of a sudden, now I had been in the company for a year and they throw me now onto Monday Night Raw and PPVs and I was clueless. I had done sports before, so I knew how to go out and call action, but this business isn’t just about calling action. It’s about telling stories. It’s about understanding the psychology and that was all foreign to me. So for four or five months I’m trying to fill the shoes of this legend who had been sick and I was thrown into that spot so there was a horrible backlash at that point. Rightfully so because I wasn’t ready for that spot. I shouldn’t have been in it. And then third, Vince Russo at the time who was our writer decides that this is great, let’s make JR the bad guy; let’s make him the heel and have him attack Michael Cole’s character.
“It obviously turned out bad because I ended up being the bad guy because the perception was both within the storyline and in real life is that ‘here’s this young, punk kid coming out of the news world to replace the guy that I grew up with.’ It would be like some guy from a local news station stepping in to replace Walter Cronkite on the news. I had all these things against me and when JR came back fans were like, ‘thank god, this Cole guy sucks, he shouldn’t be here,’ and I stuck it out. I had seen so many things in my life covering news from wars and so many horrible things that I couldn’t let this stuff affect me. I had a wife and family and that’s who I loved and who I cared about and this other stuff was like, ‘whatever, I’m not going to let these people affect me,’ and I continued to move on and I went to do Smackdown and I did that show for 10 years, which was, to me, an incredible run, and finally in 2008 got drafted to Raw and the rest is history. I don’t have any regrets at all. I thought and I still think that I earned that role. People still to this day can’t stand me for replacing Jim Ross, and they think that JR and I have a terrible relationship because of the storylines that we’ve done, but we don’t. Jim and I are actually real close and we do have a great relationship and Jim’s been a great mentor to me and here we are today.”
On the pressure during the Monday night wars: “There was a ton of pressure. I was in over my head, and I’ll be the first to admit that. I had been in warzones around the world and never felt the type of pressure that I felt in those few months leading up. Then I had to call Wrestlemania on top of it all, except for the main event, which we brought Jim back for, but it was an extraordinary amount of pressure which I wasn’t ready for. But I always try to look at things from a positive standpoint; that really prepared me for what was coming over the next few years here in WWE and really becoming the voice of Smackdown and becoming the solid guy on that show and moving on to Raw and where I am today.”
On dealing with the multitudes of different fans: “This day and age people don’t understand the amount of pressure that’s on us as commentators to serve so many masters. First off there’s the hardcore fans, like you guys are, who have been watching for 20 or 30 years who want their old school wrestling. They want you to call a wrestling match; they want you to call every single hold, so you’ve got to please that. You’ve got to try to do your best. You also have to please your kids who are 50% of your audience and your women who are a large part of our audience too, so you’re talking about different stories when it comes to those demographics. We’re obviously in a PG era now, so you can’t get away with a lot of things you could get away with 15 years ago. The other thing is we’re inundated with social media and I get tweet constantly during the show; ‘hey Cole, shut the heck up,’ ‘stop with the twitter, stop with this and that.’ Our company wants to be in the fore front of social media. That’s our company’s goal and our objective. I have to do that, I work for WWE; I need to do what they want me to do. Does it get to be too much sometimes? Yeah, of course it does. I think we do a lot of things in excess, but that’s what we want.
“So when I’m talking about what’s trending worldwide or when I’m talking about what somebody said on their Twitter feed earlier today, I know guys like you who want your wrestling are probably saying, ‘geez Cole, shut the hell up, enough already.’ But then there’s kids at home going, ‘oh my god, I’m going to follow Vince McMahon on Twitter, this is an exciting day.’ So you’re trying to please so many masters and you’re never going to please everybody. So all you can do is try to do the best you can, try to be entertaining, try to tell a good story, try to explain to your audience what’s going on and on top of all this, especially this time of year, we have such a new audience especially when you’ve got a guy like Rock, who’s the biggest movie star in the world right now and he’s got the number one movie in GI Joe, you have a lot of new audience members watching this show every week now because of guys like The Rock or because of Undertaker’s back or because Brock Lesnar the MMA crowd may come in, so now you’ve got to try to explain what’s going on in our soap opera every week to fans who aren’t watching on a weekly basis. We have to do it in ways that don’t insult guys like you who watch every week and know the stories and background of these guys. It’s a terribly difficult job, but I love it. The challenge is amazing and the criticism is great because I learn a lot of times from the criticism. I’ll read my Twitter feed and a lot of the fans out there have great suggestions and great ideas that I’ll try to bring into the show the following week.”
On calling the Raw of Jerry Lawler’s heart attack and turning face: “First and foremost, Jerry and I are great friends. We’re real close. Jerry and I have known each other for 16 years now and people may not remember but when Smackdown went on the air Jerry and I were its first team for a couple of years. We worked together every week, plus I worked with Jerry when JR was sick. So I worked with Jerry for years and years, I had his first WrestleMania match, but what people remember about our relationship up to the point of the heart attack was the fact that I was a bad guy and he was a good guy and I disrespected his dead mother in the ring and I dragged up stuff about his family’s past and all part of the angle, which by the way was all Jerry’s idea, he signed off on it, but that’s what they remember. So 90% of our audience thought we hated each other. Which I guess means we’re doing a great job. But Jerry and I were real real close. The night that it happened in Montreal, I’ll take you through the story, Jerry had a match, which is neither here nor there, and he came back to commentary and we were calling, I can’t even remember what the match was at this point because everything is a blur, but I do remember, Jerry and I don’t look at each other when we do the show, I have a monitor to my right which I watch and Jerry has a monitor to the left which he watches, the only time we ever really look at each other is when we have an on-camera or something like that, so in the middle of this match I heard Jerry snoring and I thought he was doing like I used to do when I was a heel, especially back in the NXT days, I thought he was making fun of the match in the ring and I thought he was snoring because the match was boring.
“So I chuckled because I thought that’s what he was doing and then I looked over to Jerry to my left and Jerry was laying down on the table, his head was down, and he was literally snoring. At that point I thought this obviously isn’t good, he looked blue. So I jumped up, first thing I did and I’ll never forget this is I hit my mute switch on my box because I was screaming for the doctor. Luckily we had Doc Sampson at ringside. So I’m screaming for the doctor, ‘Doc, doc, Jerry needs you,’ and I hit the mute switch I think out of instinct but I’ll never forget, I remember doing it because I knew something serious was happening and I knew that his family watches the product and I didn’t want them to know at that point what was going on because I thought that if it was me I wouldn’t want my wife or anybody in my family to learn about what was happening from live television. So I hit the mute switch and Jerry at that point I grabbed him to try to hold him up and then he fell out of his chair and then the doctor luckily was there. At that point I just went into instinct mode and I just started calling the match that was going on in the ring and didn’t reference anything that was going on. Then obviously we went to commercial break and during the break they hauled Jerry off in a stretcher and all that. So I’m down at ringside and I’ve got to do the rest of the show for an hour, I had no idea what’s going on. I’ve got my producers and Triple H and others telling me and giving me updates in my headset which I would come back on the air and say, ‘hey, this is the latest we heard,’ and so on and so forth and then at about 10:30 eastern, about a half hour before we went off the air, I remember somebody came in my headset, I can’t remember who it was, and they said, ‘Michael, you need to prepare for the worst.’ I’m like, ‘ok,’ and they said, ‘you need to be prepared to deliver the news.’ So at that point I knew what they were talking about obviously.
“So now we had stopped doing commentary out of respect to Jerry, so now I’m sitting out there with 18,000 people surrounding us and millions at home, no one knowing what’s going on, and I didn’t either, and now I’m sitting there going, ‘ok, now how am I going to deliver this news to millions of people around the world’ and ‘what am I going to say’ and how am I going to say it and how am I going to keep myself composed, and all that is running through my head and then almost like it was scripted, and I hate saying that because of the business we’re in because it wasn’t obviously, but when we went off the air on Raw we had got an update that Jerry’s heart started beating on its own and I was able to deliver that news going off the air and that was such an emotion moment.
“I remember after we went off the air, I went to the back, Jerry had already gone to the hospital, I went back to the locker room and called my wife and I said, ‘did you what’s going on?’ And she’s like, ‘oh my god, I did,’ and at that point I broke down because I think it all just hit me there. I think it’s the news background. I think its ones of those things, you’re trained. I have seen a lot of atrocities in my life over the years in Africa and Bosnia and places like that and I think you’re just trained, but this obviously different because it’s a real good friend of yours that it happened to on live television and I realized that I had a service and that was to update the fans what was going on with Jerry. Then at that point, we thought he was going to pull through and obviously he did, thank god, and now he’s still a pain my ass like he is every other week, but it was just an awful time.
“I remember on Wednesday, two days after it happened, I was actually in the gym at my home in Texas and I got a phone call from Jerry’s girlfriend, Lauren, and she said, ‘Michael, I’ve got somebody who wants to talk to you,’ and it was King. I was like, ‘Holy cow, King, how the hell are you calling me two days after you basically died on national television?’ I guess he had been reading some of the press and stuff and he said, ‘Michael, I’m so sorry.’ I asked why? He goes, ‘well, I killed your heel heat.’ So I guess he had watched stuff that was said and everything else. So after that I became baby face. I think it was the right time, the heel run had run its course, I think it went on much longer than it should have. So what had happened was the company collectively said, ‘if we’re going to turn you this is the time to do it.’ Since JR had been taken off Raw and I became a heel, the one thing I thought the company was missing was that straight guy who was able to deliver the show the way that it needed to be delivered, like the Jim Ross and the Gordon Solie’s, Gorilla’s, they didn’t have that voice of reason in the booth. This was the perfect opportunity to allow them to do that and as a company we collectively said, let’s run with it, and we did. It’s been fairly successful. I still have a lot of detractors out there, a lot, but it’s getting a little bit better.
“It was weird too because, I hate that it happened under these circumstances, because I really would have liked to have that face turn and done something like save somebody in a match or one of those cool things you always dream of. This is quite the way I wanted the face turn to happen, but I’m also glad it happened this way because I think it added some legitimacy to what I do. But it was cool to actually get tweets and messages of support from fans when for 15 years 90% of what you receive is ‘you suck’, ‘I hate you’, ‘you’re the worst ever’, and you just don’t respond to that stuff, you just become callous to it, it’s just like, ‘ok, they don’t like me’. But I’m still here and I’m still on the air.”
On his favorite announcing combination/preferences: “From an ego standpoint, I take pride in the fact that I’m able to do all of it. We don’t get a chance to toot our own horns a lot but from an ego standpoint, and you have to have an ego to be in this business or any business. You have to have confidence. I take pride that I can do it all. One of the things that I’ve said about my career is that, love me or hate me, the one thing that I’ve been able to do that I don’t think anybody would take umbrage with is the fact that I have been able to work with anybody they’ve given me. When I was on Smackdown, I worked with Jerry Lawler, I worked with Tazz, I worked with Mick Foley, I worked with Jonathan Coachman, I worked with JBL, I worked with Paul Heyman, I’ve worked with JR, I’ve worked with Josh Matthews, I’ve worked with Todd Grisham, Matt Striker, I’ve worked with everybody and I’ve been able to pull it off. So I take pride in that.
“Three man booth over 2 man booth? It depends who I’m working with. I love the three man booth with Jerry and John. JBL and The King. Love it. Then I’m really able to be that straight on host and direct the traffic. John’s your heel, King’s your baby face and I’m able to be that guy that delivers the information which is the role that I cherish because I think I do that well.
2 man booth, I love working with King and I love working with John. So any combination of those right now is preferable to me. I think the 3 man booth works a little bit better on Smackdown than it does on Raw because Smackdown is a show where there’s not as much social media involvement, the matches are much longer. Raw you get three or four minute matches and social media so it’s a little easier to navigate a two man booth on Raw with all the stuff you have to get in as opposed to Smackdown. I think that out of all the partners I’ve worked with I think that Jerry Lawler and JBL, either together or separately, have been my favorites.”
On 3 Hour Raws: “I was actually excited initially and then when I sat through it for about two months I was like, ‘oh my god.’ The worst thing is, and it’s nothing to do with the guys in the ring, because they’re busting their humps every single time, it’s the energy level. It’s really, really difficult. Your mind really starts to wander. You get past 10 o’clock eastern time and your mind really starts to wander. So you’ve really go to focus on the task at hand. PPV’s are weird; to me a three hour PPV goes by like that because its just concentration, you’ve got two other guys working with you to help carry the load, I don’t know. For some reason the three hour Raw seems real long, but then other days, like last night in Washington DC for the go-home for Wrestlemania, that show flew by. I looked at my watch and it was quarter to eleven. I was like, ‘holy cow, where did the show go?’ Then there’s other days where it’s like 10:15 and you’re like, ‘oh my god, how do I stay awake? Get me another Red bull.’ Again, it’s nothing to do with what’s going on in the ring or anything it’s just mentally trying to stay focused and alert for that amount of time on live television. Smackdown is different. You can go out there and screw around and you make a mistake you can fix it if you have to. On Raw, you’ve got to watch everything you say. Its complete concentration.
“A lot of times the audience goes through peaks and valleys too throughout the show for three hours. The live crowd is up and down. So you have to try to get them going and get them up there. That’s your job as a commentator, make every match and every superstar and diva interesting. It’s difficult to do but it can be done. The thing about 3 hours is coming up with creative and different ways to say things, say different stories. How many times can we say The Rock’s going to be here tonight? Ten times you’re promoting it a show; you’ve got to try to come up with a different way to say it each time. There are a lot of things that go on that just a guy watching at home doesn’t realize. Tweaking ways you say things and trying to drive you guys in the right direction on certain characters and giving background on guys and there’s a lot of work that goes into this. Following Twitter, social media, oh my god that stuff is nonstop.”
On Cena’s current heat: “I think there’s a reason for that. Rock’s fresh. He’s not here all the time. Even during this run he’s missed a few Raw’s then comes back then miss a few Raw’s, so Rock’s fresh. He’s different and he’s bringing in a ton of new faces to our product because he’s a movie star. Arguably the hottest movie star in the world right now. So he’s bringing in a ton of new faces. He’s fresh, people watch him, people think it’s cool that a movie star is our champion. John is there every day. He’s been there for a decade. He’s in the trenches every single day. He’s at every live event. He’s on television every single week. He’s at every single PPV. I think that there’s a familiarity there. I think that fans of our product who watch it religiously and don’t miss a show, follow the inside workings of this, I think that characters like John to guys like yourself can get stale. I think that’s what our fans vocalize. I don’t think its dislike for John Cena; I think they appreciate everything John does.
“John is the most wonderful human being on the planet. He’s one of these guys, I’ll preface this by saying he’s one of my closest friends in the business, but John has not changed in ten years here. John is one of these guys who has never changed who he is when he became famous. He’s the same guy that he was when he first walked in that door 10 years ago. He’s the same guy that’ll sit down in a lounge a chair and have a beer with you and put on some country music and shoot pool. He’s that way today just like he was 10 years ago. John does so much and you cannot overstate what John does not only for this company but for the charity organizations out there. When you grant over 300 wishes and being as busy and in demand as John Cena is, that says something about the man’s character. Granting 300 wishes, you’re not doing that for publicity. The Susan G Komen for the Cure, we did the breast cancer awareness for the first time last year, that was all John’s idea. John came to the company and said, ‘hey, listen, let’s do this.’ Next thing you know, we’ve got pink ropes and the pink ribbon all over the place and it was John’s idea. He felt passionately about that. So I don’t think the fans, unless they’re idiots, which I don’t think our fans are, some maybe, but I don’t think it’s a dislike of Cena personally.
“I don’t want to see [a heel turn] happen. I love John how he is from a character standpoint. He loves the adversity. The one thing about John is that John will start out getting booed out of the building, whether he’s in a match or a promo, I guarantee you by the end of the match the fans are going to be applauding him and standing on their feet for what he either said or what he did in the ring. No matter what happens Sunday at Wrestlemania, no matter what happens in that match with Rock, I guarantee you that there will be a show of respect for both Cena and Rock at the end of that match. They may boo Cena out of MetLife Stadium, which they probably will because it’s a New York crowd, but I guarantee you by the time that’s over there will be respect there.”
On his favorite call’s/matches: “There were two that stand out. I’ve been doing this for so long, people always ask me, ‘what was your favorite match?’ ‘What do you think of this rivalry?’ I don’t remember. I don’t remember what happened two weeks ago sometimes on Raw that’s why I keep unbelievable notes in my iPad because I seriously don’t remember. We do so much programming, I call so many shows it’s hard to keep this stuff straight. But the one match that really stands out for me is the night, it was in February a number of years ago, I think it was No Way Out PPV, it was the night that Eddie won the WWE Championship from Brock and that call to me was my favorite, still to this day because I was real close with Eddie and I felt that that night when he won. This was really the crowning achievement for him. I lived through him with that. I called Mick Foley’s first championship match. I was sort of thrown into that because that’s when JR was sick so I really didn’t know what I was doing. I told Mick the other day that I wish that it happened like 5 years later so I could actually know what I was doing when I called it. Mick said, ‘hey, you did fine, it was wonderful.’ But the Eddie-Brock match was one. Undertaker-Shawn Michaels was a very emotional one.
“Shawn and I over the years had become really close. I can tell this story because Shawn and I talk about it all the time, we’ve actually talked about it on a DVD; I couldn’t stand him when I started in this company. I could not stand him for a number of reasons. But when he came back from his injury we got to know each other and got real close. We both live in Texas. We have a lot of the same interests; we hunt, we fish together. Actually, I’m the voice of his outdoor show, Macmillan River Adventures, on the Outdoor Channel. Calling that match to me was very emotional. The third match was last year’s Wrestlemania between Rock and Cena. It was fabulous, tremendous match to call. Probably thinking about it now, probably the best match I’ve ever called was the one a few weeks ago when Cena beat Punk to keep his opportunity to face Rock at Wrestlemania. It was like a three or four segment match on Monday Night Raw. It was incredible match and obviously when the guys have matches like that it makes our job easier. I very rarely at this point in my career go back and listen to a match that I called. I just don’t do it. I’ve got so much stuff going on that I just don’t have time. But I actually went back and listened to that match and I was very, very proud of that work. I had both Punk and Cena come to me and say, ‘listen that was fabulous.’ I think a lot of it has to do again with the fact that, remember how JR was Steve [Austin]‘s guy and JR got really emotional because him and Steve were so close. I think a lot of that happens with John and I because I am close with John. It’s just like anything else, when you’re emotionally attached to something, you’re going to be a little more into than you normally would. Plus that match was fabulous anyway. That was probably the favorite match that I’ve ever called.”
Cole also appeared on the Sam Roberts Sh*t show:
– WWE posted this video of Antonio Cesaro training for WrestleMania 29, even though he’s not booked for a match on the show:
– Here is Episode 1 of AJ Lee’s WrestleMania Diary video series:
– Spurs’ G Manu Ginobili (hamstring strain) will miss 3-4 weeks. Head coach Gregg Popovich suggested that it would be “weeks” rather than “days” for Manu to get back. His regular season is over, and he’s likely to miss the start of the playoffs. The 35-year-old was injured in a victory over the Clippers last week. San Antonio is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Thunder for the top seed in the Western Conference. Ginobili, their third-leading scorer, is averaging 11.9 points and 4.6 assists.
– Yankees’ 3B Alex Rodriguez (left hip surgery) told reporters Monday morning that his recovery is “going very well.” “We’re in the very beginning — I would say Stage 1 — in this recovery. The recovery is going very well. I’ve been devoting 100 percent of my time and my focus into getting back and playing and helping this team win a title.” A-Rod is expected to be ready around the All-Star break.
– According to the LA Times, Angels’ RHP Ryan Madson (right elbow) is hoping to resume his throwing program within the next few days. Madson has been shut down due to discomfort in his surgically-repaired elbow.
– Padres’ 3B Chase Headley (thumb) took soft ground balls Mondaym and has also been lifting weights and taking one-handed swings in a batting cage. Headley has a checkup with doctors next Monday and is hoping to be cleared for higher-intensity workouts. “There are a lot of things I can do. When I’m cleared for baseball activity, I want to hit the ground running.” He’s expected be ready in early May.
– Blue Jays’ 3B Brett Lawrie (ribcage) will resume throwing Monday. Manager John Gibbons said Monday that Lawrie could begin playing in minor league rehab games this weekend. He’s expected to debut in mid-April.
– The 49ers have acquired QB Colt McCoy and a 2013 6th-round pick from the Browns in exchange for 2013 5th and 7th-round draft picks. McCoy, 26, has a career completion rate of 58.3 with a 21:20 TD-to-INT ratio, 6.3 YPA, and a 6-15 record. McCoy will likely compete with QB Scott Tolzien in training camp for the backup role behind QB Colin Kaepernick.
– According to SI’s Peter King, Jets’ owner Woody Johnson is “categorically against” extending CB Darrelle Revis’ contract. King still believes Revis will be traded to the Bucs, and still views the move as “inevitable,” but that it likely won’t happen before the draft. The Bucs remain the only known team in the mix. The 49ers, however, are widely viewed as a darkhorse to enter talks, and could dangle on of their league-most 14 draft picks.
– Free agent LB Daryl Smith is visiting the Rams on Monday. It’s his first visit of free agency. The Florida Times Union reported Sunday that Smith is not expected back with the Jaguars, and his name “isn’t even brought up” in internal discussions. Smith, 31, played in just two games last season due to a groin injury.
– Pro Football Weekly’s Nolan Nawrocki writes that West Virginia’ QB Geno Smith will not live up to the hype and is a product of coach Dana Holgorsen’s offensive system. Nawrocki says Smith is “not a student of the game” and is a quarterback who “does not command respect from teammates and cannot inspire.” Smith is also “not committed or focused” with a “marginal work ethic…A cross between Akili Smith and Aaron Brooks, Smith is a gimmick, overhyped product of the system lacking the football savvy, work habits and focus to cement a starting job and could drain energy from a QB room.”
– The Blackhawks have acquired F Michal Handzus from the Sharks for a 4th-round draft pick. Handzus has one goal and one assist in 28 games this season.
– According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Blue Jackets are willing to trade a 1st-round draft pick for a scoring forward. The Blue Jackets currently have three 2013 1st-rounders, and now appear to be a buyer as they enter Tuesday in playoff contention.
– Scott Hall’s Indiegogo campaign has surpassed $101K, surpassing his initial goal of $80K. Hall is scheduled to undergo hip replacement surgery on April 9, and has pledged that the surplus funds will be donated to charity.
– Sin Cara (concussion) tweeted that he’ll be at tonight’s WWE RAW from Washington, DC. There’s no word on whether he’ll be competing tonight. Sin Cara has been out of action for several weeks after recently suffering a concussion during a match against Jack Swagger.
– Paul Heyman recently spoke with Phil Strum of the Poughkeepsie Journal to hype Sunday’s WWE WrestleMania 29 PPV. Here are some highlights of what Heyman said about:
How He Feels About His Current WWE Run: “It’s been a total career highlight. I never thought I was going to come back and to come back and get to be a part of two of the three main events of WrestleMania, in my hometown, with my two best friends? It’s circumstances I never thought and I couldn’t have imagined.”
Bringing A New Dimension To CM Punk & Brock Lesnar: “It’s really easy with Brock Lesnar. All I have to do is sing the praises of the most gifted athlete that’s ever walked into a WWE ring. He’s a former NCAA heavyweight champion, a former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion and a former undisputed WWE heavyweight champion. He’s legitimate and these are his credentials, so how hard is that? He’s a beast. He’s the most physical. And CM Punk, he’s the best. Heh, I’ve got the beast and I’ve got the best. CM Punk is the most passionate, most driven superstar of this generation. Every time I am in the ring with him, listening to him or stepping back and watching him, I am a huge admirer of his extraordinary talent. It doesn’t take much to be his advocate and his confidant. What you see on TV is the true dynamic between us. Especially, when I’m off in the corner, plotting, conspiring.
The Most Appealing Thing About Today’s WWE Product: “I’d say the global scale of it all. And the push to new screens that are still developing. People will say, ‘oh man, how exciting would have been to be around in the 1950s when television was expanding’ or ‘oh man, it would have been great to be watching in the 1980s when pay-per-view and cable television truly exploded.
Now, we have new platforms. We have new media, social media, the internet and all of these platforms are new screens to play on. We’re in the midst of a revolution and a lot of it could even be different a year from now. No viewing habit will ever be the same. WWE, to their massive credit, has an initiative to beat everybody else onto those screens and be a leader and a flagship in terms of content.
I own a viral marketing agency called Looking 4 Larry and that’s the type of stuff we keep a close eye on. It’s fun to see how WWE is so far ahead of the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NHL and to see how those big sports are playing second fiddle because WWE is so far ahead of them as they push to be on new screens.
Heyman also tweeted the following in advance of tonight’s WWE RAW:
TOMORROW … @CMPunk’s final @WWE #RAW b4 ending The Streak @WrestleMania, where we’ll URN ur PPV dollar! pic.twitter.com/gDFhzMj8qQ
– The latest weather forecast for WrestleMania 29 Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey is Partly Sunny with a high of 53 degrees and cloudy in the evening with a low of 40.
– NorthJersey.com has a up looking at the financial impact WrestleMania 29 will have on the region, with WWE expected to bring $100M to the local economy over the next week.
– Comedian Gabriel Iglesias has been named as the Social Media Ambassador for WWE WrestleMania 29.
– WWE has been nominated for several “Shorty Awards” – which recognize excellence in Social Media. WWE is up for awards in the following categories:
Best Use of Social Media for Television
Best Use of Social Media for Video games
Best Brand Presence on Twitter
Best Use of Hashtags
Best Brand Presence on Facebook
– Monday’s wrestling birthdays include TNA star Jesse Sorensen (24) and Randy Orton (33).
– ESPN’s Ed Werder reports the Seahawks are in trade discussions involving QB Matt Flynn, and that a deal appears “imminent.” The Raiders, although unconfirmed, are believed to be the team in talks–ex-Packers personnel Reggie McKenzie’s has a history with Flynn in Green Bay. If a deal is done, QB Carson Palmer will likely get released in the near future. The Jaguars, Bills, Jets and Bengals could all be in the mix as well.
Speaking of Palmer, Mike Jurecki of XTRA Phoenix reports the Cardinals are “looking into” trading for him. Palmer, 33, has a $13M salary in 2013. Per Jurecki, the Cards would need Palmer to rework his contract, and the only draft picks they’re willing to surrender would be “conditional,” based on playing time and performance.
– The Bengals have re-signed LCB Terence Newman to a 2-year/$5M contract. Newman, entering his age-35 season, finished 2012 with 75 tackles, ten pass breakups, two picks, and a forced fumble across 15 starts. He graded out as a top-20 corner in Pro Football Focus’ ratings last season.
– A league source tells PFT that the Bills are ”at least interested in kicking the tires” on free agent QB Kevin Kolb. Kolb was released by the Cardinals on March 15.
– The San Francisco Chronicle reports 49ers’ RB Kendall Hunter’s (Achilles’ tear) rehab is “ahead of schedule,” and he will be ready when training camp opens. Hunter, 24, has already resumed running this offseason. He tore his left Achilles’ on November 25, and will be eight months removed from the injury when camp begins. Over 184 career carries, Hunter has averaged 4.59 YPC with four touchdowns.
– Patriots’ FS Devin McCourty (shoulder) is recovering from offseason surgery, but is expected to be ready for training camp, according to ESPN Boston. McCourty played through a separated right shoulder in 2011, but started every game last season. McCourty, 25, had 82 tackles, five interceptions, and four fumbles forced in 2012.
– The Islanders have signed D Lubomir Visnovsky to a 2-year/$9.5M contract extension. Visnovsky, 36, has nine points in 22 games this season. The contract includes a no-movement clause.
– According to Damien Cox of The Toronto Star, the Maple Leafs and Canucks have resumed talks involving G Roberto Luongo this week. Cox adds that the Leafs could also target Flames’ G Miikka Kiprusoff, or remain stagnant and not acquire a goalie at all. The trade deadline is Wednesday.
– The Red Wings have signed D Dan DeKeyser. DeKeyser, a 23-year-old Michigan-native, drew league-wide interest but decided to play one more season with Western Michigan University last year. He had two goals and 15 points in 35 NCAA games this season.
– According to the Buffalo News, Sabres’ D Jordan Leopold is expected to be traded by Wednesday’s deadline. Leopold is an impending UFA.
– Kings’ D Willie Mitchell (knee) isn’t likely to return this season, according to LA Kings Insider. GM Dean Lombardi said, ”I’d say it’s a very long shot…There’s always ‘maybe’, but I think we’re convinced now he’s not going to play this year. Now, if he comes back, then it’s clearly a bonus.” Mitchell hasn’t played a single game this season.
– The Oilers have acquired F Kale Kessy from the Coyotes for F Tobias Rieder. Kessy has 21 goals and 22 assists in 60 games this season with the Kamloops Blazers, Medicine Hat Tigers and Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Rieder has 27 goals and 29 assists with 12 penalty minutes in 52 games with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers this season.
– According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Wolves’ F Kevin Love (broken hand) did not get a CT scan this week, and will be re-evaluated next week. By the time Love visits the doctor, it’ll be three weeks since his last doctor’s visit. He recently acknowledged that his season may be over.
– Mike Puma of the NY Post reports that Mets’ LHP Johan Santana (left shoulder) is leaning toward season-ending surgery, but wants to continue his career. Santana was diagnosed with a probable re-tear of the anterior capsule in his shoulder this week. His family has been flown up to New York while he decides the next course of action.
– The Cardinals have placed RHP Jason Motte (strained right elbow) on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 22. Motte was shut down over the weekend due to mild flexor tendon strain in his elbow.
– D’Backs’ manager Kirk Gibson said Friday that OF Cody Ross (calf) will begin the season on the DL.
– Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin said Friday that SS Hiroyuki Nakajima (hamstring) will likely begin the season on the DL. Nakajima tweaked his left hamstring on Tuesday.
– The Rockies have optioned OF Tyler Colvin to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Colvin had a breakout season for the Rockies in 2012, hitting .290/.327/.531 with 18 homers, 72 RBI and seven stolen bases. This spring, though, he hit just .167/.216/.208 with 14 strikeouts in 48 at-bats.
– The Orioles have signed RHP Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract. Garcia was released by the Padres earlier this week after posting an 8.71 ERA in 20 2/3 innings.
– Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke said Friday that LHP Chris Narveson will begin the season in a long-relief role. Narveson, who’s coming off shoulder surgery in the offseason, is expected to eventually be placed back into the rotation.
– The Blue Jays have claimed RHP Alex Burnett and 1B Clint Robinson off waivers. Burnett appeared in 67 games for the Twins last season, posting a 4-4 record with a 3.52 ERA. Robinson spent the majority of 2012 with triple-A Omaha, batting .292 with 37 doubles, 13 home runs and 67 RBIs.
– Jason Dufner started a new trend with “Duferning”:
His fellow golfers were quick to mock:
– Scott Hall has posted his latest rehab update:
– Speaking to XFINITY by Comcast, Dolph Ziggler revealed that he is none too pleased with WWE opting to utilize part-time talent in the premiere matches at WrestleMania instead of regulars—four of the six wrestlers advertised in the top three billed bouts are part-timers. When asked whether he is annoyed or inspired by this fact, he replied “it’s both.”
“It really pisses me off. But, it also is good business. Every year a part timer comes back, but there’s a reason that they’re back. Whether it’s the fans want to see them, if they’re a draw, if they’re a movie star, there’s a reason that they’re back. They’re not back just to do it. There’s business to be had. And it pisses me off and it motivates me a hundred percent. It makes me want to be that guy that they’re begging to come back. I appreciate it, it’s just good business. When people come to Wrestlemania to see the Rock and the Undertaker and they leave that Wrestlemania thinking, “Wow, that Dolph Ziggler stole the show. I can’t wait to tune in to ‘Raw’ to see what he does next.” That’s how I’ve lived my entire career.”
Ziggler also offered his two cents on his affiliation with Big E Langston and AJ Lee, saying it’s “crazy” that he’s now a locker room veteran assisting young talent.
“As the roster is changing and we have less guys from the late 90s, unless they’re on a light schedule, I’m good enough to be giving back to young up and comers. And it’s really cool to have someone like an AJ and a Big E. I really appreciate that they want the best, they want to know what’s going on, they want to know why I did things in a match. It helps that they were childhood fans. AJ’s dream as a child was to be a WWE Superstar. I was five-years-old and I wanted to be a Superstar. We have that bond. It makes it that much more rewarding. And we’re just getting started. Once Wrestlemania comes and goes we’ll have more time to settle in and I think you’ll see a nice trio of great talent that could be the future of the business.”
– Evan Bourne tweeted the following about his in-ring return at Thursday night’s WWE NXT live event:
Friends! Thanks for all the love. I’ve healed a lot, but there is still a long road ahead. Relentlessly pursuing progress…
– WWE superstar Sheamus was recently interviewed by DirecTV to promote WrestleMania 29. Here are some of the highlights of what he said about:
What He’s Looking Forward To At WrestleMania: “Everything about WrestleMania. I mean, I remember as a kid my fondest memories were of watching ‘Mania and dreaming of becoming a WWE superstar. That’s probably cliche because a lot of people say it. But I’ll tell you something fella, I was the kid coming from Ireland that snuck down a 2 a.m. to watch pay-per-views when my dad and ma were asleep.
“I was creeping down these wooden stairs and these wooden floors. It was actually brutal, it was great when they had carpets, no problem at all. But when they got rid of the carpet and varnished the floors, I’d literally be treading down on tippy-toes all the way down so I wouldn’t be heard on the day before school.
“I was in for every pay-per-view but WrestleMania was special. To be involved in WrestleMania 26 when I was there with Triple H — first of all, I can’t believe I’m here and two, I can’t believe I can get paid for this. And of course, last year was special with Daniel Bryan.
“But every year you evolve and every year you strive to push the boundaries. That’s what is going to happen this year I think. It won’t be with The Undertaker, it won’t be for the World Heavyweight championship, but I guarantee you that whatever I’ll be involved in is going to be very special.”
What Is So Special About Performing At WrestleMania: “Every time I go out there, I get those goosebumps and I get that feeling in my stomach of nerves. I think that never goes away because you’re always with a different crowd and it’s special to you and it means so much to you. You always get nervous, I always get nervous.
“But for ‘Mania, it was incredible. I remember being at the stadium and being all hyped up. I’d literally been on Raw for maybe four months, I’d already been WWE champion — I’d done a awful lot very quickly. This was another step being in there with such a superstar like Triple H.
“I just remember walking the ramp and looking around and going, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable, it’s like a huge football stadium.’ Then, I remember going down and…I was blown away. I remember my knees, for just a half a second, just got weak. I actually thought I was going to go down. I composed myself and I went down that ramp. It felt like it took me 5 minutes to get to the ring. That’s how long that entrance way was for that ‘Mania.
“I remember getting in there and seeing Irish flags and trying to pick people out. It was absolutely incredible.”
His Favorite WrestleMania Moments: “I loved the Roddy Piper vs. Adrien Adonis match with Jimmy Hart involved. It wasn’t a long match but it was an exciting and fun match with guys like Jimmy Hart being pulled in by Adrien Adonis, Roddy Piper being on fire and both of them being pulled over the top rope. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake coming down and cutting Adonis’ hair and him freaking out. That, to me, was a great match.
“I also loved Bret and Shawn at WrestleMania XII. I was really torn, I liked both of them but I was more a Bret Hart fan at the time. When he lost, I was gutted. Another great — well, I don’t know if it was great, but a hyped-up match — was Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan. I was never a Hogan fan, I was an Ultimate Warrior fan. I just like Warriors’ energy in the ring. I just remembering hoping Warrior would beat Hogan.
“Those are the type of matches that are great, where you’re torn between the two.”
Bret Hart Motivating Him to Become a WWE Superstar: “He was the first person, it was unbelievable. I always wanted to be a WWE superstar, I just knew it was the route to go. I remember I was working at a club called Lillie’s Bordello where I worked part-time just to get some extra cash.
“He came in to the club in Dublin and I asked him a question about getting a career in WWE. First, he sat down and he was there with his daughter. He sat me down and gave me some really great advice.”
His Dream Opponent: “Undertaker. Absolutely Undertaker. I was absolutely gutted [when I lost the four-way between myself, C.M. Punk, Big Show and Randy Orton]. That was the match I wanted. The ‘Dead Man’, he’s one of the biggest legends and greatest superstars there ever will be in our business. To be able to step into the ring with him at WrestleMania, fella, there would be nothing bigger.
The International Olympic Committee Eliminating Amateur Wrestling: “I think the people on the committee have completely lost their marbles. I think that is the most bizarre, ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life. They’re literally removing one of the core sports of the Olympics that’s been there since the very beginning: Greco-Roman wrestling. And they’re taking it out to put in, what? What’s in there now? Badminton? Table tennis? Fly-fishing? Stamp collecting? Is stamp collecting in the Olympics now?
“I’ll be honest, that’s lost all credibility with me. I think that should be one of the core sports. Taking it out is ridiculous. I think they should be removed from their position in the committee because they have no idea what they’re doing.”
– WWE tag team champion Kane spoke with Gary Spears from New York’s KISS-FM radio station this week to hype WrestleMania 29. Here are some highlights of what Kane said about:
The Possibility of Snow at WrestleMania: “Who knows what’s going to happen, right?This may be the first Wrestlemania that they bring the snowplows out. This is going to be really interesting.”
If He Was Surprised The Undertaker Returned For WrestleMania: “Not really. He’s still got some gas left in the tank. If you’re going to be on the show, this is the show to be on, right? And of course, he’s a guy who really loves the business and loves to be out there. So, that didn’t surprise me at all, no.”
If There Is Jealousy Over Part Time Wrestlers (Rock and Lesnar): “I don’t think so, because what we try to do is parlay that into better business all around. When the Rock comes back, that takes to a completely different level. The interest he generates is mainstream. It’s beneficial, more so than anyone else can do, frankly. Any petty jealousies that there might be need to be set aside, because we all benefit. It’s like when people say I don’t like so and so because they’re in the top spot, and I’m like well I do like them because I get to work with them and make more money. That’s how I look at it, and I think everybody does. We all benefit from those guys, and the excitement and tension they generate.”
If He Is Surprised At Team Hell No’s Popularity: “Yeah, I was, and also the fact that it was such a departure from what I normally do. For me anyway, maybe that’s why it worked so well, because it was such a contrast from what Kane has done in the past. Despite the fact that I’m dealing with Daniel Bryanall the time, which is an enormous pain, I’ve actually had a really good time and a lot of fun doing that angle because it has been something different. It gives me some versatility and being able to show a side of Kane that people haven’t seen before makes the character a lot more well rounded. You’re not just a monster, you’re a monster who can crack jokes.”
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated his blog, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what JR said about:
Which WM29 Match He’s Most Looking Forward To: “What match am I looking forward to the most at WM29? Several have my interest and ALL are important for those involved on a variety of levels. I certainly look forward to the Shield’s 6 man tag in their debut at the ‘Big Event.’ Very curious to see how @TripleH and Brock Lesnar engage. I love these physical, hellbent for leather type of matches. The Streak is a WM highlight and no element in WrestleMania history has been more significant than the Undertaker going 20-0 at the Super Bowl of WWE. As one who had a hand in signing both @JohnCena and @TheRock I am proud that they are going to close the show, again, but also am nervously anxious to see how they follow all that precedes them. Big time players step up and play when the game’s on the line and closing a WrestleMania event is akin to the game being on the line.”
Where he’ll be during WrestleMania week: “Yes I am going to WrestleMania and will be appearing at the WWEShop Super Store Friday afternoon from 1-3 signing and taking photos, as I understand it. The Super Store which is located just inside the MetLife gate at the Stadium is going to be a big hit and they will be stocking all JR’s products Thursday-Saturday and everything but the Beef Jerky on Sunday but I’m hoping that we well out of Jerky by Sunday.
“I have one AXXESS appearance. It is Saturday morning 8-10 at the Legends booth. Autographs and photos as usual there and I hope we have a big crowd. Bring your JR’s products Saturday morning and I will be happy to sign them.”
How He Think Fandango Will Do At WrestleMania: “I honestly feel that he will do well & have a surprisingly good match with the great Chris Jericho, @IAmJericho. I know that Fandango can wrestle because I’ve seen him pre-Fandango in NXT and it is unfortunate that some fans have already indicted this young man before they’ve see the new persona in action. Just because one doesn’t like the gift wrapping doesn’t mean that the package inside, inside the ropes in this case, won’t be a pleasant surprise.”
Has WWE considered releasing a Jim Ross DVD? “WWE has never discussed doing a JR DVD featuring my favorite matches and updated interviews with many of the stars involved but that’s not to say that it won’t or can’t happen some day. Might be a nice idea for WWE.com visitors and fans to vote an select their choices.”
Kurt Angle In The WWE Hall Of Fame: “Do I think that Sting or Kurt Angle will ever be inducted into the WWE HOF? Absolutely, is my best educated guess. When? I have no idea but I hope I’m around to see both inductions.”
– Seven-time WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus spoke with “The Rack” Thursday night. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Her reaction to entering the WWE Hall of Fame: “I’m super excited; oh my gosh. The call was like ‘Oh my God, seriously?!’ That was my first reaction. But I mean I’m actually honored; I know I keep saying this but I felt like ‘it feels like a little bit too soon’ but then I realized I have been retired for seven years. I don’t know, I think I have such an active role in the company at this moment that I don’t feel like I’ve been away from it for that long, you know? But I’m just, I’m thrilled, I’m very honored and when I heard the class this year, it’s just like wow; I’m just blown away. And as the fan, I feel like it’s amazing. I’m really looking forward to that weekend.”
Who is someone she wished she could have faced in the WWE today: “I feel like I’ve been saying it a lot but I mean the two women that really did some awesome stuff after I left was, well, one thing I say is I was so satisfied when I retired because I felt like I worked with just about everyone I wanted to work with, right? And then, all of a sudden, there was this wonderful burst of Nattie and Beth and it was the ‘Divas of Destruction’ and it was just this awesome stuff that they were doing and I’m like ‘I want a piece of that’. That is something I would like to go back to because it was good wrestling again. And Beth, thankfully, I had a chance to go back and wrestle with her, and you know Nattie is just, and we both say it, I would just love the opportunity to work with her, I think. And when I say work with her, I mean partner or even I would, it would be my pleasure to kick her butt. So, you know, we both being a Canadian mix of things and I just see some double Sharpshooter action; I just see some good stuff that would be really good. But you knows? It’s kind of like who is on my wish-list. “
Her thoughts on the current state of the Diva’s Division: “I think what is missing is I think everyone has the right tools. I think we’re seeing; listen, when you look at, and it’s funny, I fell in Kaitlyn because I loved her quirky attitude and she reminds me of me and I like that a lot, and there’s that afraid to not be silly and I just think that the fans don’t know that side of her, or know as much as we do on the inside, right? So, what I think is missing overall, and it’s something I’ve said for years, is the development of the characters.
So, everybody’s got the right tools, everybody has the skills to wrestle and definitely I think we have distinct personalities out there, even someone like Rosa Mendes. To me, the lost art is the valet to full-time wrestler transition and I think the more we see of Rosa in her valet role, it allows us to really get to know her and develop her character, right? And for her, and I hope she realizes, it’s one of the best places to be to really understand and to get wrestling. Like, I know when I was ringside watching the guys wrestle and watching every movement and what evokes and emotion and you kind of watch what works and what didn’t work, it made me when I got in the ring, it made able to draw on that, those experiences, and really bring that into the ring and be a better performer. So, I think everyone’s got the capabilities, certainly everyone’s been wrestling more and I think there’s some great wrestling technique going on now and characters for sure. I think now, we just have to sort of look at the division as a whole and it would be awesome to just think ‘Ok, how do we position each person a little differently and make these storylines?’ because everyone’s kind of wrestling with each other but there’s no storylines. And it’s like, what’s the direction, what’s the storyline, why are they wrestling, why do they hate each other? And I want it to be more than ‘You’re a girl’ and ‘I want the title’ it has to be more than just the title because obviously, that’s what we’re all going for, that’s the purpose of being in wrestling and why you compete in your division but there’s got to be an underlying storyline and that’s usually what stems from your characters. “
On the quality of matches given by Divas today: “That’s the thing, these girl’s matches are great; they’re actually having really good matches, to be honest. Tamina is fantastic in there, I mean and it’s like everyone happens to be under the radar because they’re like ‘Yeah, that was a good match’ but it’s true. It’s like, you need that storyline, there’s no way around it. You see they deliver the good, they just need something to fuel them in there, so when they’re there it’s like I care what that kick means, or why that cheat means so why I hate her for that cheat. So, that’s one thing missing, that’s for sure.”
Who would she like to see next inducted into the Hall of Fame, female wise: “I mean, I think Lita would be a great pick. She and I obviously sort of have this parallel our entire career. She’s a great friend of mine, I respect her and our career was a real special thing that we had; the relationship and our character’s relationship as well; I think she would be deserving. But, at the same time, you know it’s a long list. There’s some great women; I know one thing I kept hearing was Luna Vachon; why is Trish Stratus going in before Luna Vachon and I concur. You know, I think Luna, to me it would be great to see her go in but there’s so many women who’ve contributed to the overall of what women and how women are perceived in wrestling, but these women will all get in at some point. It’s not a matter of will they, it’s a matter of when.”
– G.I. Joe: Retaliation looks to be having a strong opening weekend at the box office. According to Deadline.com, early data shows the movie pulled in $10.5M on Thursday (including $2.5M from some Wednesday midnight screenings) and around $15M on Friday. If they can keep up that pace, it will do around $45-50M for the four-and-a-half day Easter weekend. Audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore, better than the first installment’s (B+). The Rock tweeted the following about movie audiences giving the movie an “A-” score, according to CinemaScore:
America’s CinemaScores for #GIJoeRetaliation: Grade A. Basically means fans are leaving the theater w/ a big ass smile.;) #AllThatMatters
– WWE has announced Gerrit Meier as new Executive Vice President of International, reporting directly to Vince McMahon.
– On this week’s “Backstage Fallout” for SmackDown, John Laurinaitis reacts to his appearance on the show. Plus, Kaitlyn explains why she was happy to be Daniel Bryan’s tag team partner despite their differences.
– Thursday’s 3/28 edition of TNA Impact Wrestling drew 1.31 million viewers, down a bit from the previous week.