WRESTLING GLOBE NEWSLETTER
Barry Windham, a national star in the 1980s and 1990s, is believed to have suffered a heart attack last night and is currently hospitalized in Florida. No further details at press time other than Barry’s father Blackjack Mulligan has asked people to keep Barry in their prayers tonight.
Hall of Famer Gerald Brisco suffered a minor stroke last week in Florida. His son Wes was driving him to the Tampa airport when he took a turn and they detoured to the local emergency room. Brisco, 65, has been working part-time for WWE as a talent scout since suffering a series on mini strokes in 2009 which led to him retiring from his agent position. He was scheduled to be in Mexico this week to scout amateur wrestlers for WWE at the Pan American games. He’s now out of hospital and convalescing at home.
The line-up for the Survivor Series PPV on 11/20 at Madison Square Garden has started to take shape with the announcement that the show will be headlined by The Rock & John Cena vs. Miz and R-Truth. The original plan, which the company announced two week’s ago on its website, was for a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match. Also confirmed for the show was Alberto Del Rio defending the WWE title against CM Punk, and based on television this week one would assume Mark Henry vs. Big Show for the World title and Triple H vs. Kevin Nash in stipulation matches. For what it’s worth, the storyline now is that Hunter is sidelined for 6-weeks with a cracked vertebrae. There has also been talk of Cody Rhodes defending the IC title against Booker T.
Hugo Savinovich, who has spent the better part of two decades on the Spanish announce team, has departed the company. Savinovich said that WWE opted to release him from his contract but he leaves with no hard feelings. He said he plans to write a book about his life in wrestling and also wants to do some ministry work.
Heath Slater (Heath Miller, 28) was suspended for 30 days for his first violation of the company’s Talent Wellness Program, effective 10/17. Not a great year for Slater who’s currently the subject of a police investigation in Atlanta after a female security officer accused him of assault which she alleges took place during Wrestlemania 27 weekend at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. His suspension was announced on the WWE corporate website. Slater later went on Twitter and did himself no favors by describing his suspension as “a simple mistake” and promised to return as an improved person. The more you think about it, in addition to media training, WWE should also consider teaching guys how to Tweet, because there isn’t a week that goes by where someone doesn’t say something detrimental to their career or the company.
CM Punk, who turns 33 today, noted in a recent media interview that his new contract includes first class airfare and his own tour bus. Several top guys such as Triple H and Big Show already use tour buses as a perk–the main perk being that it’s a total tax write off.
The company is developing a Divas reality show for it’s new television channel called Heels on Wheels. The basic jist is that a bunch of Divas will travel together on a cramped tour bus and WWE cameras will be there to catch all the drama that ensues. As I understand most of the girls are pushing to participate due to the exposure and additional television time. The concept is loosely based on an old Australian reality show called Tour Girls that followed strippers on a bus working back end bars in New Zealand.
Some other WWE Network shows in development include Wrestlemania Rewind looking back at previous Wrestlemanias, House of Fame housing several legends in a big brother style environment, plus a show recapping the Monday Night War and a cooking show with Big Show and his wife Bess.
The tentative name for the new Raw pre show is Supercharge.
The company recently filed a trademark for Zack Ryder’s “Broski” catchphrase to sell branded goods. Ryder is currently among the Top 10 best sellers of merchandise in the company. They have also trademarked the name “Ryback” which was the name Ship Sheffield (Ryan Reeves) once used in FCW. Sheffield has been sidelined for several months after breaking his ankle during a live event in Hawaii.
Vince McMahon went nuts a few week’s back when he saw one of Ryder’s t-shirts which read, “Take care, spike your hair.” Apparently he hated the idea of a WWE shirt with the word “spike” on it due to TNA being on Spike TV.
Brandon Barker who wrestled as Rodney Thomas in developmental was released. Barker was a graduate of Lance Storm’s wrestling academy who signed back in January… Jesse White, the son of Vader, in developmental was recently given the new name of Jake Carter.
Among the talent who recently got tryouts in Mexico were the sons of L.A. Park, Damian 666, and Wagner Jr.
Speaking of Storm, just want to send out our condolences to Lance on the loss of his stepfather on Tuesday.
Jack Swagger and wife Catalina Hager had their first child on 10/16, a boy they’ve named Knox Stribling Hager.
WWE issued a press release this week claiming that Wresstlemania 27 generated $62.1 million in economic impact for the Atlanta, GA area. The number was based on a paid study by consulting firm Enigma Research Corporation. The economic impact was equal to the creation of 621 full-time jobs, the study found. They said most of the money came from out of town fans staying at local hotels and eating in restaurants.
Wrestlemania 28 tickets go on sale on November 5 for Sun Life Center in Miami. At least 65,000 tickets ranging from $25 to $1500 are expected to be released, making them the most expensive tickets in WWE history. This time around the company is hoping to draw in a significant portion of fans from Latin America. This is part of the reason why Vince McMahon has decided to induct Mil Mascaras into WWE’s 2012 Hall of Fame class. Mascaras, 69, a legendary figure in Mexico, was the first masked luchador to compete in Madison Square Garden and is real-life uncle of Alberto Del Rio.
An interesting note that came out this week was that in order to secure Wrestlemania 28 in Miami, the Miami-Dade Sports Commission promised to pay WWE a $250,000 subsidy as part of it’s bid to bring the event to the city.
John Saboor, senior vice president of special events for WWE (and former head of the Central Florida sports commission), said this week that site selection for the 2015 and 2016 Wrestlemania events will begin early next year. This would seem to indicate that the company has tentatively decided on sites for 2013 and 2014. Toronto is believed to be among the leading contenders for one of those years.
Former WWE COO Donna Goldsmith, who was pretty much the public face of the company after Linda McMahon resigned to run for senate, was recently named as GM of Operations for the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee.
Undertaker and wife Michelle McCool were backstage visitors at Raw on Monday afternoon in Austin, TX. The couple are local to the area. Both were broached with ideas of returning to television in the near future.
For those paying attention to the never-ending saga that is NXT, last night at the tapings in Houston they shot a wedding angle between Derrick Bateman and Maxine.
THQ announced today that Jim Ross and Michael Cole will both be playable characters in the WWE 12 video game. Future downloadable characters will include The Road Warriors, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage, Mick Foley, Jerry Lawler, Batista, Trish Stratus and Vicki Guerrero.
John “JBL” Layfield noted in a recent interview that he’s got no plans to return to wrestling, but if he did return, he would like to be the Raw General Manager. Layfield has recently launched a new website www.layfieldreport.com which covers news-sports, finance, wrestling, politics, and more.
TNA President Dixie Carter announced that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney will be attending tonight’s television taping in Macon, GA at the Coliseum. Macon is headlined by James Storm vs. Bobby Roode for the TNA title plus Eric Young & Ronnie Magro of Jersey Shore fame vs. Rob Terry & Robbie E. Following the taping there are live events Thursday and Friday in California. More information at www.impactwrestlingtour.com.
Brian Diamond departed Spike TV on 10/5. He was the senior vice president of sports and special programming, and during the last couple of years was a major proponent of TNA Entertainment, especially after they signed Hulk Hogan in 2009. He worked closely with the company so his departure isn’t viewed as a positive. Spike has since announced Jon Slusser to the newly created position of senior vice president, sports and multi-platform programming. Slusser will work out of Los Angeles under Spike President Kevin Kay. His first task was to complete a deal to bring in new MMA programming (Bellator) due to the loss of UFC in 2013.
David Lagana was recently hired as director of creative writing and Jules Wortman was hired as director of public relations. Lagana is a former WWE writer who most recently was working with Ring of Honor handling all it’s social media and directed Internet pay-per-view. Reportedly he will be working on television projects other than Impact, including a new show in development in India. Wortman, who owns her own media and marketing company Wortman Works, joins the company with an impressive resume. She’s a former executive with Warner Bros and MCA Records in Nashville. She was also the press secretary for the Democratic National Committee during Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000.
The company issued a press release on last week’s Impact drawing 2.02 million viewers making it the most-watched Impact show in history in it’s Thursday night timeslot on Spike. The highest rated quarter hour was a 1.42 rating and 2.2 million viewers for the Knockouts tag team match of Brooke Tessmacher & Tara vs. Angelina Love & Winter. The 2010 post-Bound for Glory show did a 1.40 rating and 1.90 million viewers, and a week later ratings were back to average levels.
Kurt Angle was undergoing some treatment earlier this week for his injured hamstring at UPMC in Pittsburgh. Angle is said to be hurting right now but is taking time out of the ring to rest and heal up. I don’t know for sure, but I get the impression his injury is now way worse than it was before Bound for Glory. He spent this past weekend promoting his health products in Arizona including a visit to Arizona State University to talk to the wrestling team about the fundamentals and preparing for the Olympics.
Australia’s Daily Telegraph has a story on Angle and his Olympic aspirations at http://tinyurl.com/67sdd57. When asked about passing drug testing following his past issues, he noted that the US Olympic Committee can test him up to three times between December and the national qualifying championships in April. He says he expects to be tested three times. “But I’m OK with that. When I won the Worlds way back in ’95, I was a virtual unknown so the American officials tested me twice a month right up until the Olympics. They’d come to my house and take me to this laboratory where I’d have to urinate in front of them. Then they’d take me home again.”
Angle was announced among the 2012 inductees into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz pro wrestling Hall of Fame. The Hall honors pro wrestling stars who had legitimate amateur
Announcer Mike Tenay recently inked a new contract, according to Jason Powell at prowrestling.net.
Ric Flair will be drag racing Roy Hill on Saturday night at the Panama Beach Raceway in Fountain, FL. Flair is appearing as the honorary race chairman.
THIS AND THAT:
Killer Karl Kox (Herb Gerwig, 80) survived a massive heart attack on 10/20. He is currently hospitalized listed in critical condition near Dallas, TX. Kox broke into pro wrestling at the age of 25 after serving four years in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He became one of the biggest stars and most hated heels in the WCW promotion in Australia during the 1960s and 1970s, and later was a star for the NWA in several territories, especially Florida and Texas. He retired in 1982. In recent months he’s been battling various health issues including a bout of pneumonia.
Nigel McGuinness is planning to return to the ring for the first time since last summer for Heartland Wrestling Association on 11/12 in Hamilton, OH. McGuiness says he’s still retiring but wants to bow out the right way, and after putting his life on hold for fifteen months feels good to be doing something proactive.
David “Gangrel” Heath was involved in a motorcycle accident on 10/20 suffering a badly fractured elbow in Burbank, CA.
Serena Deeb was forced to pull out of her WSU match with Melina Perez next month due to suffering a concussion. She says her future is uncertain t this point. “I have to undergo some tests this week and I will know more concerning my future then,” she said. “I am out the ring indefinitely as of now. Until I get the green light from the doctor, I am not allowed to wrestle.”
Irv Muchnick has a story on concussion management software developer Mark Lovell at http://tinyurl.com/6z6klw8. It turns out that Lovell has an affiliation with the NFL and WWE, and due to that, apparently a conflict of interest in federal grant applications.
Stacy Keibler’s appearance fees have reportedly more than doubled now that she’s dating George Clooney. A rep confirmed she now commands around $25,000 per event, up from $10,000 just a couple of months ago.
Torrie Wilson made TMZ on Tuesday and was in full work mode claiming she had no idea about the Keibler-Clooney romance. Keibler is one of Torrie’s best friends dating back to their days together in WWE and WCW. Video is at http://tinyurl.com/3qp7gbn.
Former WWE ring announcer Ashley Ann Vickers is among the contestants on the current season of dating show Sweet Home Alabama on CMT. A preview teaser trailer at http://tinyurl.com/5sc4qaq portrays her as the heel who some of the other girls don’t like.
The future of Lucha Libre USA on MTV2 is uncertain after it’s 13 episode season was seemingly reduced to just four episodes. Our impression is that the network didn’t want to air the show in the first place but LLUSA had a written ironclad contract, which forced the network’s hand to air some of the shows. Ratings have dropped off in a big way since the first season but that has more to do with the timeslot (7 AM on the west coast) than anything else.
Bobby Lashley is currently without an opponent for his Shark Fights MMA debut next month after Darrill Schoonover pulled out with a shoulder injury. Veteran fighter Dave Huckaba has been lined up as a potential opponent but as of time of writing no contract has been signed. .
The latest installment of Tommy Dreamer’s Youtube show is at http://tinyurl.com/6z38b5s. Worth a look.
Kayfabe Commentaries has just released a Timeline History of ECW DVD with Shane Douglas providing the narration for the year 1994. You can order and watch the trailer online at http://tinyurl.com/68sgwg5.