Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two Major Stories Come Out of Last Nights RAW

On the heels of last nights RAW in Tuscon, there are some backstage news and notes that are actually worth talking about.

The biggest is the fact that Jeff Hardy, who just the week before seemed to be headed for a big program with Umaga that would end in a SummerSlam match, was not on the show. There are reports on two of the bigger wrestling websites, one which says he was "sent home by the promotion," and another which says he told the WWE he would not be there, but that was it and nothing else was said. The thought though that makes me think there is a lot more to this than meets the eye, is the fact they have already seemed to want to put Umaga as a face, as they did last night against Santino Marella. This started when Umaga beat Santino on PPV two months ago, and now he appears headed for a program that will turn him face. As for Hardy, who knows what is up, but whatever it is, he'd better be back on the road soon or he is totally going to miss out on his biggest program of the year.

The other big piece of news is about Bobby Lashley, who does have a legit torn rotator cuff, and is headed to Alabama to see what he should do about it. The word is the injury for Lashley took place before WrestleMania, and that he messed the shoulder up again over the weekend. Rumor has it if Lashley does have to have surgery on the shoulder, we may not see him again till the Royal Rumble. If not, look for him to take some time off to rest it, and then he will be back. Based on the way it came across on TV last night, I look for him to have the surgery, and then be back for the Royal Rumle in January.

RAW 7/30

RAW Monday night from Tucson, AZ I felt was a solid show that continued the build for SummerSlam, as well as having a very hot crowd helped some of the angles to really get over. The main event was a good match between Carltio and John Cena, with the premise being that Carlito beat Cena a few years back for the US Title, which is true. Carlito won the match with his finishing "backstabber" move when Randy Orton got involved. I liked the match overall, and I just felt that the night from a wrestling standpoint was good with 8 matches and good movement in feuds as we get closer to SS.

After an opening with Cena, Carlito and Mr.Kennedy, the first match we had was Melina, Beth Phoenix and Jillian Hall defeating Maria, Mickie James and Candice Michelle. A decent women's match with a few missed spots, but overall passable. The end saw Maria get pinned, and then after a commercial they had Santino Marella in the ring going back and forth with a ref about how the heel team cheated (duh, that's what they do), and then during that Umaga came out, took on Marella, and for what seems like the 5th week in a row he laid him out. Marella basically was the heel in this whole thing, and as on the PPV Vengeance, Marella and Umaga basically switched roles.

They did an interview with Booker promoting his match later on with Jerry Lawler. Then we saw Cody Rhodes defeating Daivari, and that win will "keep" Rhodes on RAW, per the agreement that Rhodes made with Coach prior to the match. Rhodes was brought in to be the feel good story in a very tough time for the company. I don't know long-term how much people are going to buy into Rhodes, but for now, I have no problem seeing him on RAW every week and I applaud the company for a new push.

Then they did Mr. Kennedy beating Bobby Lashley, with an injury angle thrown in that Lashley has a torn rotator cuff, which is up in the air as far as if it's true or not. I thought this was a good back and forth match with two up and coming guys, and I don't have an issue with Lashley losing a match clean to a guy that is one of the top 2-3 heels on the show. I still think long, and I mean long term we'll see Kennedy as a face, and then in the same token Lashley would make a solid heel. As far as Lashley's injury, I'll give an update on that as soon as I see anything on it.

King Booker vs King Jerry Lawler was up on the show next, and Lawler ended up winning via DQ when King Booker wouldn't brek a 5-count. It was the worst finish of the night, and sets up a match down the road that I think we'll finally see HHH get involved in.

The garbage match of the night then was Cryme Tyme beating John Mason and Brandon Dentson. I like what CT brings to the ring, but then after words they carried on and sold the guy's they beat boots. This thing seemed to go on forever, and they could have done without it. I would like to see CT in a title program with Cade and Murdoch, who have basically vanished from any real TV time with the tag belts. Then it was Randy Orton vs Sgt. Slaughter, in a match we could have done without. It was of course for Orton to hit the RKO, then "knock out" Slaughter with a kick. I understand what they are doing here, and I guess to build for Orton-Cena, I get it.

Then the main event, which again was quick, solid, and did a good build for SS. I can't argue with the direction of SummerSlam, as I didn't really want to see Lashley vs Cena II, and now with Lashley's injury, I assume they are glad they went away from that as well.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Daily Telegraph: Wrestler copycat suicide fear

Sunday article from The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, AU:

AN American wrestler who worshipped Chris Benoit has taken his own life, with worries it may have been a copycat suicide.

James Fawcett, who wrestled under the name Devil Bhudakhan in the Pittsburgh area, hanged himself a fortnight ago, The Sun newspaper has reported. He was 31-years-old.

His death came just three weeks after that of Benoit, who committed suicide by hanging after murdering his wife and seven-year-old son.

The Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer reported the cause of James's passing yesterday, saying: "This was a possibly a copycat ending of Chris Benoit, since he was this man's idol.

"He was one of dozens, if not hundreds, of independent wrestlers who both idolized and patterned their wrestling style after Benoit.

"Although similarly marital issues likely played the major role.

"He was despondent over his wife leaving him five weeks ago."

In more shocking news for the wrestling industry Moondog Nathan - who worked on the independent circuit in America's South - also died this month.

He was killed a by a massive heart attack at the age of 37.

His sister Michelle said: "We lost our father on Jan 5 and we lost our older brother on April 5.

"I think this was just too much for Nathan to deal with. I think being struck with so much grief and stress was just too much and that's what brought on the heart attack.

"But he is now reunited with them both in a much better place!"

Neither star ever worked for a major outfit like WWE, TNA, WCW or ECW.

The total number of wrestlers under 50 passing away in the last decade now stands at 107.

Medical experts say wrestlers are 12 TIMES more likely to have a heart attack than a regular person, with steroid, painkiller and other drug abuse a contributing factor. The heavy usage can also lead to mental decline and suicide.

Jim Ross Shares His Thoughts in His Updated Blog

WWE RAW announcer Jim "J.R." Ross updated his blog recently, and there are some interesting comments from the longtime WWE play-by-play man that may be of interest. Below are some of his comments:

On HHH & The Jackass Crew at SummerSlam:

It is my understanding that HHH will be back in action at SummerSlam, but I have no idea what Raws he will make prior to that, if any. I was never in the loop or informed of the particulars on the Jackass story line and can’t say I will lose any sleep over it, one way or another, as it relates to the Jackass guys being involved in a speciality match at SummerSlam or any where else.

On Jeff Hardy:

Jeff Hardy’s return to the WWE and his subsequent “breakthrough” as a singles star is one of the great stories of the year. Jeff is arguably as popular as anyone on Raw as is proven by the reaction Jeff receives every time he is introduced. I am genuinely happy for the younger of the two Hardy brothers. Matt is doing great on Smackdown as well and who’s to say that both brothers couldn’t be champions at the same time as individual performers?

On the direction of the WWE Divas:

I don’t know the WWE’s long term vision for the Divas nor have I asked. I do know that there are some really talented Divas who represent themselves well in the ring even though it seems that some fans don’t take a Diva wrestling match as seriously as they do the men for whatever reason. I personally have no issues with Diva matches whatsoever but I will never enjoy them the same as The King!

WWE Hall of Fame:

I would suggest to you that Rock, Austin and Foley are all locks for the WWE Hall of Fame at some point.

On the mic Skills of Chris Jerhico vs that of Mr.Kennedy:

Jericho has better mic skills today than Mr. Kennedy in my opinion simply because Jericho has much more experience. Nonetheless, Kennedy is going to be super on the mic long before his career comes to an end. I personally expect great things from Kennedy if he can avoid long term injuries and continue to master his craft.

On Lita:

Lita was hugely talented and should never ever be forgotten as she was one of the best performers ever in the WWE, male or female. As it relates to how Lita and Trish were utilized, Trish was rarely anyone’s “sidekick” for any long lengths of time, while Lita often times found herself aligned with other talents. To say who was better, Trish or Lita, would be tricky as I hired them both and am proud to have been a small part of each’s success. I miss them both a great deal, I can assure you of that, and I am sure many fans would concur.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

An Easy and Quick Solution to the SmackDown Title Chaos

WWE has a quick couple of things to clear up as it gets set for another week of TV starting on Monday. First off, we all know now that SummerSlam's SmackDown main event will feature Khali defending the World Heavyweight Title vs Batista. I am on board with the thought of Khali having to drop this belt as soon as possible. Only problem is, I don't think that the company is. The thought now is that Khali is going to keep this thing for awhile, possibly for at least another few months until about December. If that is the case, this guy had better start working SUPER hard to get better in the ring, as right not its just awful trying to buy watching any sort of wrestling match with him.

As for Batista, the company is just not on board with getting the belt back to him. I thought that the last part of his run that ended with losing to Taker at Mania was strong enough to warrant him another run with the belt. That type of thinking can be magnified even more with the dire situation the company is in right now with a guy carrying the belt who should not be. I say they should let Batista win the belt at SS from Khali, then let them go back and forth in basiclly a rematch type of feud until the Undertaker comes back. The best matches Batista has ever had is with Taker, so why not do that feud again?

AP: Wrestler's Death Draws Lawmakers' Query

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The murder-suicide deaths of wrestler Chris Benoit and his family led a House committee Friday to ask World Wrestling Entertainment to turn over any information it has on steroid and drug abuse in pro wrestling.

The deaths "have raised questions about reports of widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by professional wrestlers," a letter released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said.

The committee's leaders, chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and ranking Republican Tom Davis of Virginia, want a response by Aug. 24.

"The media has provided us with a copy of a letter from the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform," WWE officials said Friday. "We are reviewing this letter and will respond accordingly."

Benoit killed his wife, Nancy, and 7-year-old son, Daniel, placed Bibles next to their bodies and then hanged himself on the cable of a weight machine, authorities said. The three were found dead in their Atlanta-area home June 25.

After the slayings, prescription anabolic steroids were found in the family's home, raising questions about whether the drugs played a role in the killings.

Congress has been investigating steroid use in sports for years.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Quick Friday Update: Congress vs WWE, Dupree Gone

It's been a rather quiet week in the WWE as the big news of the demise of the Jackass angle set for SummerSlam was likley the biggest story of the week. Things have quieted down about the whole Chris Benoit saga, and while the company wishes that negative pub would just go away, they are still in so many ways trying to just move on as if nothing has ever happened, and that Benoit was just a bad dream, a wrestler that didn't exist.

*There is a bit of news which came out, and that is the company, after trying about five different ways to push him, have released Renee Dupree. The wrestler was given about 2-3 different looks as they kept trying to take him to the next level, but each time he flamed out. The last push was that he was in ECW to try and show them how truley extreme he could be. Yeah right. Needless to say Dupree will go down as a guy with a great look, decent in-ring stuff, but with no idea how to eventually get over with the fans as a heel or in the locker room with other wrestlers.

*A big story today is that Congress wrote a letter to Vince McMahon, requesting information and documents on World Wrestling Entertainment's drug related policies and testing. At the same time, Congress is also seeking copies of every drug testing program that has been in place since the company started testing for performance-enhancing drugs. The WWE returned with a statement: The media has provided us with a copy of a letter from the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. We are reviewing this letter and will respond accordingly.

That's really it for the news, not much else is going on. SmackDown tonight airing as we speak is going to end with Khali's set up against Batista for the Heavyweight Title match at SummerSlam. Other than that, it's a mostly non-event show.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday Notes: SummerSlam, Card for that show, ECW, Edge's Injury

Well, the WWE has gone into shift mode following the news that the Jackass crew is out for SummerSlam, and in the long run, not having to push a couple of non-wrestlers and then having them go over on one of the better heels in the company in Umaga may not be such a bad thing. SummerSlam the last two years was a big event because they pushed Hulk Hogan at us. The first year he was in the main event against Shawn Michaels, and then last year in a lackluster match against Randy Orton in a match that likley now the company wishes they would have never let happen. Just imagine if Orton would have went over on Hogan, then the "Legend Killer" character would be stronger now than ever. Not that a loss to Hogan was the worst thing in the world, but some sort of win would have pushed Orton to the to peven faster.

Now though, we know that instead of a sideshow, which is what we would have gotten with the JA guys, we are going to get a solid card with what should be a very hot, sold out crowd in New Jersey. The card went on sale in late December, and sold out pretty much right away, meaning that the NJ crowd should really be in the PPV as a whole. Plus there will be the comeback of HHH that they can hang their hats on, and I am sure that Rey Mystero will have his first big PPV match after coming back from injury on the card as well.

So here is where we stand right now for the card:

Randy Orton vs John Cena for the WWE Title
Khali vs Batista for the Heavyweight Title (rumored)
Triple H vs King Booker
Bobby Lashley vs Carlito
John Morrison vs ??? for the ECW Title
Also expect to see Rey Mystero in a match as well

That's six matches, and I would think that the fact they did a decent 9 matches on the Great American Bash Sunday without much of a problem, that they would have at least eight matches. I would think a womens title match would be in there somewhere, and a tag match of some sort. Speaking of which, does the WWE have tag titles anymore? It's as if they have been totally forgotten about. I know we saw Cade and Murdoch in the match with Umaga vs Cena and Candice on Monday night, but it sort of felt like - "hey, where have the tag champs been?"

ECW on Tuesday night was okay, as they did Morrison vs some guy named Joe Roni, Stevie Richards vs. Kevin Thorn which was pretty cool that they finally saw that Richards can wrestle and they gave him a win. Miz vs. Nunzio, which was stupid as they had to have the slut patrol involved, Big Daddy V in an impressive 2 on 1 beatdown, and the main event of Morrison and Elijah Burke vs Tommy Dreamer and C.M. Punk. In a very strong main event, Punk got the pin on Burke, meaning that I think with the lack of true challengers in the brand, we'll see Punk vs Morrison (again) at SummerSlam, or some sort of 3 or 4 way for the belt.

On a final note for the day, Edge's injuries were worse than feared. He has a full tear of the tendon attaching the pectoral muscle to the bone. He had surgery in Birmingham under Dr. James Andrews over the weekend. While at first they said it was a partial tear, instead it looks like he'll be out about 5 months. A tough break for a guy that was having a solid run as the Heavyweight Champion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Post Bash RAW Highlights Lots of Changes in Storylines

One day after the Great American Bash, a lot of things have taken place and changed in the world of the WWE. Nothing like what took place after the last PPV, thankfully, but more to do with the booking and what we are looking at for the next PPV - SummerSlam. Of course in watching RAW, you can figure out some of the angles they are working for, including one that unless you had the inside scoop, you didn't see coming. That angle is the one that now takes the Jackass crew OUT of the picture for their match that was set up against Umaga at the SS event. PWI Insider is reporting that the deal fell apart last week when Johnny Knoxville pulled out of the angle. PWI is stating that Knoxville and his people were no longer interested in doing the angle after the Chris Benoit tragedy and what negative press could have come of it.

The setup for the SS Jackass match was supposed to start on Sunday at the Great American Bash, as the word was the JA guys were in some way supposed to cost Umaga the IC belt. Then Umaga would get his revenge, thus setting up the match for SummerSlam. The decision to scrap that came last week after Knoxville pulled out, as Knoxville was the main guy they wanted in the angle as he was the biggest star with crossover appeal. Basically once he pulled out, the angle was over. The amazing part of the whole thing as well is that Umaga was set to lose to the Jackass crew. Leave it to the WWE to pull an angle, then come up with a better match, as now we will see Jeff Hardy vs Umaga in a rematch of Sunday's solid match at the Bash.

The other big angle on RAW was the WWE Title match with John Cena taking on Randy Orton. We talked about this happening for awhile, and now the match is going to take place which I have a feeling is going to be the first of many. I cannot see the point in hotshotting the title to Orton right away, then rushing him into what many think will be the WrestleMania angle with HHH. Instead what they should do is really draw out Orton vs Cena for at least 2-3 months, then at the end of the program give Orton the belt, then he can have a challenger or two before he moves on to HHH for the big match at WrestleMania 24 in Orlando.

Angle number two that was shot was the angle that will see King Booker take on HHH at SummerSlam. Booker and Jerry Lawlwer are set to have their match next week, and then HHH is set for his TV return on 8/13 at the RAW at Madison Square Garden. From there, he and Booker, will go back and forth before then they have their match at SummerSlam. Booker is a good wrestler, and so is HHH, and the match should be good for what it is. I wonder if they will make mention of when then Booker T challenged and took on HHH at WrestleMania 19 in Seattle? I kinda doubt it.

And while all that is going on, Bobby Lashley is going to be entering his post-Cena program with Carlito, a guy that should also be able to give him a solid match at the PPV. All in all, it was a big night of transition for the company, with a few expected twists, but again, the main story line that of being that the Jackass crew is now on the shelf for SummerSlam, and Umaga will now take on Jeff Hardy in what should be a very good match.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Great American Bash Grades Out as a "B"

WWE's Great American Bash held Sunday night in San Jose, CA is going to go down as one of those "tweener" cards - meaning it was not too good, but of course - not too bad. With nine matches on the show, there was a lot of star power, and the main event of two faces that really was strong will likely be what saves the card in the end. The other two heavyweight title matches lacked, and the legend match with Dusty Rhodes vs Randy Orton can only be described as "weak."

The one glaring thing that we can start with is that the SmackDown brand sorely needs to figure something out for the heavyweight title. I realize that they were in a rock and a hard spot last week when it came down that Edge was going to have to be gone for about 4 months, but as stated before, putting the title on a guy who despite his size has possibly the worst in-ring skills in the company is just totally out of wack. That guy, Khali, was awful last night, and the only thing that saved the match was the in-ring back and forth with Batista and Kane. With no direction for the brand, they let Khali win, but longterm, they have to move the belt to Batista, Kane, or someone that they bring in that can win the belt and get some momentum going. If they try and wait for Taker in or around November to come in and win it from Khali, that will be too long to wait for him to return.

The John Morrison and C.M. Punk match was okay, but the ending was a little strange, with John kicking out Punk's leg as he leaped in the ring off the ropes, and then he pinned him clean. This belt is now in no-man's land, as there is not much out there as far as contenders are concerned for that belt. Punk is the hottest guy that has been pushed, yet when it comes to big matches, he always loses. I almost think with a lack of decent challengers in ECW, we'll see more and more Morrison-Punk matches down the road.

Most of the filler matches were okay, with the women's title match being solid as Candice beating Melina, Umaga in a strong match beating Jeff Hardy to keep the IC belt, and MVP winning in a decent opener vs Matt Hardy to keep the US Title. The comedy spot of the night, which basically flushes the cruiserweight title down the toilet is Hornswoggle winning the belt when he jumped in the invational in the end got the pin. With Chavo Guerrero being one of the better wrestlers in the company, taking the belt off him and putting it on a mascot was a joke.

Carlito beat Sandman in a "cane on a pole" match, which was okay for what it was. As far as the Rhodes-Orton match went, I thought it was rather lackluster, as Rhodes had the advantage early on, then Orton got him with the cowbell on the knee, a little back and forth, and then Orton hit him in the head with the belt for the pin. I realize that Dusty is a legend, and we were not going to see much, but this was more of a Monday night squash then a PPV match.

On to the main event, the Cena-Lashley match was about the strongest PPV main for sometime, as the two really did well together in the match, and you could sense early on they were on the same page. Another strong factor was the fact that the crowd was very much into it, making the near falls and the near submission towards the end really solid. I have no problem with Cena winning, and this looks as if we'll be setting up a SummerSlam main of Cena vs Orton, with the possible title change we've all talked about finally coming down.

Overall, Both John and I on the podcast post match show gave his card a "B". I thought for the most part this card dwarfed the last three Great American Bash cards, and despite the vibe of a curse over the SmackDown belt and a lack of challengers for the ECW belt, this card sat well with me as the build for SummerSlam in NJ next month.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Let's Wrestle Great American Bash Post Match Podcast

Matt Loede and John Sefcik break down the WWE's Great American Bash PPV

Sunday Last Minute Great American Bash News and Notes

Great American Bash is just a few hours away, here are some last minute News and Notes before the show kicks off in San Jose, CA.

* The Show is sold out, and has been for sometime. This of course means that the crowd should be hot from the get-go, making this show come across better from a TV standpoint.

* Two matches have been added since our preview on Friday - Carlito vs. Sandman in a cane on a pole match & Chavo Guerrero vs. Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Funaki vs. Jamie Noble vs. Shannon Moore for the cruiserweight title. Both are basic filler matches, and without much detail, we'll go with Chavo and Carlito to win the two matches. The two extra matches brings the total to 9, making this decent sized card. Expect short matches from Carlito & Sandman, as well as the women's title match.

* There has been a tone that Bobby Lashley will win the WWE Title tonight from John Cena. The whole time it's been about timing, and that it's time for Cena to take a break from having the title. There has even been talk about Lashley winning, then there being a rematch next month at SummerSlam. Following the RAW house show in Visalia, CA on Friday, there is even more of an interesting ending being talked about. That ending could be Lashley going heel and turning on Cena. The two had a run though, and Randy Orton and Umaga came out, ending the match with no ending. Then after a square off between Lashley and Cena, Lashley laid out Cena. This could be an interesting end to the PPV that many don't see coming. Of course many are still calling for Randy Orton to beat Cena at SummerSlam for the belt (like he beat Chris Benoit a few years back) and then defending the belt against Triple H at WrestleMania.

* Our first podcast on Let's Wrestle - the "Let's Wrestle Great American Bash Post Game Podcast" will be up later tonight after the show with myself and John Sefcik. Be sure to check it out as we break down the show as well as what will happen in the aftermath.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Great American Bash Preview

Sunday night in San Jose the WWE will present The Great American Bash, a PPV that was defined by the days of the old NWA and WCW. The event over the past three years since it has become a WWE event has been downright awful. The 2004 event saw the JBL era start with a win of the WWE Championship and one of the worst gimmick matches ever as Undertaker beat the Dudley's in a handicapped match, then more or less "killed" his manager Paul Bearer as he poured cement on him in a crypt.

2005 in Buffalo saw Batista lose to JBL in the main event via DQ as he kept the title. Those two went round and round that summer in a rather slow feud that eventually saw Batista win and keep the title. Last year, again a SmackDown PPV, the start of King Booker's title reign took place as he beat Rey Mystero to win the belt when Chavo Guerrero turned on Rey, starting their never ending feud.

Which brings us to 2006, and a PPV that has all three brands on it once again, which was the switch at the start of the year. This of course is the first official PPV since the Chris Benoit tragedy, and the WWE is still playing silent, not stating Benoit's name or anything about the case on TV. Meaning that if you didn't know better, you still would think Chris Benoit never existed. Here is our official Great American Bash Preview:

MVP vs Matt Hardy for the US Championship - Hardy has been on a roll as of late, as week after week he has been gaining wins on SmackDown when it appears he was on the verge of losing. The longterm plan is for him to keep winning, but I think they throw a hiccup in here and let MVP get one over, building towards a series of matches and then a rematch at SummerSlam. These two had a solid match recently on SmackDown, so this should be okay if allowed to go 10-12 minutes.

Dusty Rhodes vs Randy Orton in a Texas Bullrope Match - The push for Orton is full steam ahead, as here he will take out yet another legend in Rhodes. Dusty cut a great promo two weeks ago on RAW, and is still one of the best in that department in the sport today. As for this actual match, I think you'll see Cody Rhodes get involved, have a few gimmicks, and in the end, Orton will find a way to win. Could we see an appearance from Cowboy Bob Orton here to even the odds when Cody comes out?

Candice vs Melina for the WWE Women's Title - These two have had a pretty decent women's feud, and I think we'll have a successful defense for Candice here. There really isn't any other solid female wrestlers on the roster but these two and Mickie, so I see Candice keeping the belt here and the two going back and forth a few more months.

Umaga vs Jeff Hardy for the IC Title - No build here, and it feels rushed, so I can see Umaga in a short match keeping the strap in getting set for the "Jackass" angle at SummerSlam. It's hard for me to buy this as well since Jeff has been beaten by Umaga more than once in the past, and he not only loses, he loses bad. Umaga basically squashed Jeff for the belt the last time, so I think he goes over here.

John Morrison vs C.M. Punk for the ECW Title - Wow, never in all my years of wrestling do I think I have ever seen a guy, midstream with a "heavyweight" title, change character. I don't really know what was wrong with Johnny Nitro, or who came up with this poor man's Edge character that is now John Morrison. To change a successful character like this with a belt in a feud seems really odd. Anyway, despite the fact Punk is the hottest star in ECW, Morrison wins here.

The Great Khali vs Kane vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship - Another rushed put together match, as they got the belt off an injured Edge this week and put it on..ugh...Khali. Then they rushed a match between Kane and Batista to see who would face Khali, and of course they landed at this conclusion. Khali as a World Heavyweight Champion is wrong on so many angles, I don't even know where to start. Oh well, for now, it's about one of the only choices they could make. I don't foresee a title switch here, so it'll be Khali in what will be a rather painful match to watch. Let's hope it's about 6-7 minutes.

John Cena vs Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship - At least they threw us a better curve ball here than what I thought we would be seeing - which would have been King Booker vs Cena. They have been selling the Cena vs Lashley as a huge impact match, which I think it could be a good match, but overall I fail to see how people would really get excited about this one. Lashley's push has been so force fed over the last year, people are just not into him. As for Cena, the internet world seems to be talking more and more that it's time for someone else to get the strap for awhile. That's all fine and good, but who exactly would that be? Orton? Booker? Kennedy? All in all, Cena will have to carry most of this match, which he will, and in the end I think come out a pinfall winner to build for a SummerSlam showdown with Orton.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wednesday Update: Great American Bash, Smackdown Title, Cena vs Lashley, HHH

Seven matches are currently on the docket for Great American Bash on Sunday in San Jose, with more than likely one more match to be added, and that match may be King Booker vs Jerry "The King" Lawler, which can be easily added after Monday's little tiff on RAW. The show is also set to be highlighted by the return of Rey Mystero, who will be on the show, but as of right now it does NOT look like he will be wrestling. Mystero is set to make his return in ring on 7/24, which is the Smackdown/ECW taping after the Great American Bash.

The World Heavyweight Championship will be a three-way, which we spoke of yesterday, as they are going to move forward with the new champ - Khali, vs Batista and Kane. The company is now basically mocking the fact that each and every world heavyweight champion gets hurt, and they even have an article on the webiste about it. I can't imagine that long term Khali is going to hold on to the strap, but for right now, it looks as if they don't have many options unless they just want to put the belt back on Batista. I would think based on the show right now, we'll see a singles match for the title between Khali and Batista at SummerSlam with a possible stip involved.

RAW was based a lot around the WWE Title match with John Cena vs Bobby Lashley, with a bunch of other WWE stars giving their picks for the match to make it look more legit. The funny thing about the match for Sunday is that there is little chance at this point they are going to put the belt on Lashley, as Cena is still the plan long term, and a match with Orton is sure to be next at SummerSlam.

Another feud upcoming on the RAW side is HHH vs King Booker, which will be the comeback feud for HHH. They teased this on RAW Monday, as they played HHH's music, but then it was Booker that came out to mock Hunter, and then he made the challenge basically to Lawler. This is a decent comeback feud for Triple H, and as stated here earlier, the only two guys that they should put HHH up against in a legit feud was Kennedy or Booker. They went with Booker, in a feud that should see Triple H come out on top to start his rise once again.

Former ECW Tag Champ John Kronus Passes Away

Another wrestling star has passed away, as sources say former ECW tag team champion George "John Kronus" Caiazo was found dead this afternoon at his home in New Hampshire. PWI reports that Kronus recently underwent a knee operation, which may have been a knee replacement. There is no word as of yet as to what may have caused the former tag champs death.

Kronus' biggest fame came with Perry Saturn, who he won the tag team titles with. The team was known as The Eliminators, and did a great job as a team both brawling and doing some great double team moves that made them one of the better tag teams out there at the time. The team won the ECW tag titles on three different occasions, and had a great feud back in the day vs the Pitbulls.

The last time anyone saw Kronus in a ring was with an indy promotion back in 2005 when he lost to Balls Mahoney in the final Hardcore Homecoming event, November Reign, which was in November of 05. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kronus' family in this time of loss.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The New WWE Heavyweight Champ is....

Not one to say "I told you so," you could see this one coming a mile away, as on Tuesday night in Laredo, Texas, the Great Khali was crowned as the WWE Heavyweight Champion. We reported earlier today that Edge would be dropping the title due to a pec injury, and that the company would be having a battle royale that would decide the new champ. Well, that champ has arrived, and in one of the oddest moments that the industry has ever seen - he is the Great Khali. I am also already ready to go on record and say that Khali will be putting the belt up Sunday in a triple-threat at the Great American Bash, as he will take on both Batista and Kane. The orignal plan was for Edge to take on Kane for the strap, and Batista and Khali to go one-on-one. Edge becomes the third champion in just over a year and a half to have to give up the belt due to injury. Batista gave up the belt with an injury in December of 2005, and that was won by Kurt Angle. Undertaker got pinned by Edge, but of course he really had to drop the belt due to an injury after holding it for just over two months.

WWE Responds to Benoit's Toxicology Report

July 17, 2007

STAMFORD, Conn., July 17, 2007 – WWE understands that the toxicology reports for Chris Benoit indicate that he tested positive for testosterone and negative for anabolic steroids. On Mr. Benoit's last drug test in April 2007 administered by Aegis Labs, he tested negative for anabolic steroids and for testosterone. Given the toxicology report of GBI released today, it would appear that Mr. Benoit took testosterone sometime after his April 2007 test and the time he died. WWE understands that his dealings with Dr. Astin are currently being investigated, and WWE has no knowledge of whether Dr. Astin prescribed testosterone for Mr. Benoit at some point after the April 2007 tests.

For over 20 years, the WWE has been demonstrating our concern for the well being of our contracted athletes, instituting drug testing in 1987 leading up to our current Wellness Program which began on February 27, 2006, administered by Dr. David L. Black of Aegis Sciences Corporation – one of the world’s foremost drug testing authorities.

We believe our Wellness Program is at the very least comparable to those of professional sports and is a program that will benefit WWE Superstars for generations to come.

Edge Out; WWE Heavyweight title Up in the Air - Again

Once again, the WWE Heavyweight title is going to be up in the air, as reports say that Edge is going to miss an undetermined amount of time with a torn pec muscle. This is going to be the second straight champion, and third out of four if you count Batista, that is being forced by injury to submit the title.

Edge was expected to have a long title reign, so being forced to give up the belt for an injury is a very tough thing that he is going to have to live with. What the WWE does from here is anyones guess. They liked Edge as title holder, so at first guess they would put a heel champ in place, and that champ would fight Kane Sunday at the Great American Bash. The problem is the SmackDown brand is weak in heels, so who they would go with is beyond guess.

The only true heel heavyweights on the roster are: Mark Henry, MVP (who is already US Champ and will fight Matt Hardy Sunday), Finlay, and The Great Khali. Knowing how the WWE works, I would guess one of two things - they bring in someone from RAW or ECW, or they give it to Khali. Henry is in the mix as well, but they have pushed Khali, and if they do a battle royale, which for now is the plan to crown a champ, Khali is the type of guy that could win that, and then fight Kane at the GAB.

Of course I could see the card then Sunday being switched around from Khali and Batista to a three-way with Kane, Khali and Batista, or Henry being put in the place of Khali to take on Batista.

GBI: Benoit had steroids in system

AP Latest on Benoit


The Associated Press
Published on: 07/17/07

Pro wrestler Chris Benoit had an elevated level of steroids in his system when he killed his wife and son and then took his own life, Georgia's top medical examiner said Tuesday, calling it "an indication that he had been injecting testosterone."

Dr. Kris Sperry also said the son, Daniel Benoit, was sedated when he was killed, and that the mother also had prescription drugs in her system.

Referring to the steroids in Chris Benoit, Sperry said, "This level of testosterone indicates that he had been using testosterone at least within some reasonably short period of time prior to the time that he died, depending on how it was injected, the form that it was used."

He added, "The level was elevated."

But Sperry said the results do not show whether steroids were linked to the killings last month at the Benoits' suburban Atlanta home.

Also found in Chris Benoit were the drugs Xanax and hydrocodone, according to a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GBI said Benoit was negative for blood alcohol.

The statement said Nancy Benoit had Xanax, hydrocodone and hydromporphone in her body.

The son, Daniel Benoit had Xanax in his system, the statement said. The GBI said it could not perform tests for steroids or human growth hormones on the son because of lack of adequate amount of urine.

Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug. Hydrocodone is a painkiller.

The statement was released just before an afternoon news conference.

The test results were expected to shed more light on Benoit's last moments. Authorities said Benoit killed his wife and 7-year-old son in their metro Atlanta home last month, placed Bibles next to their bodies and then hanged himself on the cable of a weight machine.

Anabolic steroids were found in the Benoits' gated home, leading officials to wonder if the drugs played a role in the killings. Some experts believe steroids can cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage."

Toxicology tests were conducted on Benoit's body to determine if steroids or other drugs were present. Blood-alcohol tests also were conducted on his body, and chemical tests were conducted on the bodies of the wife and son.

Federal authorities have charged Benoit's personal physician, Dr. Phil Astin, with improperly prescribing painkillers and other drugs to two patients other than Benoit. He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators office has also been raided Astin's office several times since the deaths, seizing prescription records and other medical documents.

Before he was charged, Astin told the AP he prescribed testosterone for Benoit, a longtime friend, in the past. He would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office June 22, the day authorities believe Benoit killed his wife.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Sun Article - 104 wrestlers die in a decade


Full-time wrestlers

Adrian Adonis (Keith Franke) 34 1988 Accident (car)
Andre The Giant (Andre Rousimoff) 46 1993 Disease (heart attack caused by acromegaly)
Art Barr 28 1994 Overdose
Bam Bam Bigelow (Scott Bigelow) 45 2007 Overdose
Biff Wellington (Shayne Bower) 42 2007 Heart attack
Big Bossman (Ray Traylor) 42 2004 Heart attack
Big Dick Dudley (Alex Rizzo) 34 2002 Disease (Kidney failure)
Billy Joe Travis (William Joseph) 40 2002 Heart attack
Bobby Duncum Junior 34 2000 Overdose
Brady Boone (Dean Peters) 40 1998 Accident (car)
Brian Pillman 35 1997 Heart attack (genetic though likely worsened by drug abuse)
Bruiser Brody (Frank Goodish) 42 1988 Murdered (by fellow wrestler)
Buzz Sawyer (Bruce Woyan) 32 1992 Overdose
Chris Adams 40 2001 Murdered
Chris Benoit 40 2007 Suicide
Chris Candido 34 2003 Accident (blood clot during surgery after ring accident)
Crash Holly (Michael Lockwood) 33 2003 Overdose (possible suicide)
Curt Hennig 44 2003 Overdose
Danny Johnson 49 2003 Unknown
Davey Boy Smith 39 2002 Heart attack (drug related)
Dick Murdoch 49 1995 Heart attack
Dino Bravo (Adolfo Bresciano) 44 1993 Murdered
DJ Peterson (Dave Peterson) 33 1993 Accident (motorcycle)
Earthquake (John Tenta) 42 2006 Disease (cancer)
Ed Gantner 31 1990 Suicide
Eddie Gilbert 33 1995 Heart attack
Eddie Guerrero 38 2005 Heart attack (drug related)
Emory Hale 38 2006 Heart attack
Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) 44 2003 Heart attack (likely drug related)
Hercules (Ray Fernandez) 44 2003 Heart attack
Jeep Swenson (Robert Swenson) 40 1997 Heart attack
Jerry Blackwell 45 1995 Disease (pneumonia)
Joey Maggs (Jospeh Magliano) 37 2006 Unknown
John Studd (John Minton) 46 1995 Disease (Hodgkins)
Johnny Grunge (Mike Durham) 39 2006 Disease (sleep apnea, possibly worsened by drug use)
Junk Yard Dog (Sylvester Ritter) 45 1998 Accident (car)
Kerry Von Erich (Kerry Adkisson) 33 1993 Suicide
Larry Cameron 41 1993 Heart attack
Leroy Brown (Roland Daniels) 37 1994 Heart attack
Louie Spicolli (Louis Mucciolo) 27 1998 Overdose
Mike Awesome (Mike Alphonso) 42 2007 Suicide
Mike Davis 45 2001 Heart attack
Mike Lozanski 35 2003 Heart attack
Mitch Snow ? 2000 Suicide
Owen Hart 34 1999 Accident (ring entrance)
Pitbull 2 (Anthony Durante) 36 2003 Overdose
Ray Candy 37 1994 Heart attack
Renegade (Richard Wilson) 33 1999 Suicide
Ravishing Rick Rude 40 1999 Heart attack (drug related)
Rhonda Singh (Peggy Simpson) 40 2001 Overdose
Rocco Rock (Ted Petty) 49 2002 Heart attack
Scott Irwin 35 1987 Disease (Brain tumour)
Sherri Martel 49 2007 Unknown
Terry Gordy 40 2001 Heart attack
The Wall (Jerry Tuite) 35 2003 Heart attack
Troy Graham 47 2002 Heart attack
Vivian Vachon 40 1991 Accident (car)
Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) 34 2000 Heart attack (genetic)
Independent/part-time wrestlers
Adam Marks 21 2006 Unknown
Alan Carnill 42 2004 Accident (car)
Axis (Steven Ranton) 22 2007 Suicide
Bad Boy Brazil 26 2002 Drug related?
Bad Business Brown 31 2001 Disease (aneurysm)
Big City Mike 38 1997 Unknown
Big E Sleaze (Jeremy Sumpter) 22 1998 Suicide
Billy Redwood (William Crumpton) 29 2004 Accident (car)
Billy The Kid (William Reid) 48 1998 Unknown
Black Venus (Jean Kirkland) 46 1995 Unknown
Blue Thunder Tornado (David Wayne Daniels) 18 1988 Accident (fork lift)
Brandon Starr 19 2004 Accident (stroke from ring injury)
Brian Cox 33 2003 Unknown
Bubba Kneukols 34 2002 Heart attack
Chazz Roco (Chad Floyd) 37 2005 Heart attack
Chief Dave Foxx (David Farrar) 44 2001 Heart attack
Chief Thundermountain (David Moisier) 33 1991 Heart attack
Chri$ Ca$h (Christopher Bauman) 23 2005 Accident (motorcycle)
Chris Duffy 35 2000 Disease (seizure)
Chris Von Erich (Chris Adkisson) 21 1991 Suicide
Core (Lee Estabrook) 29 2003 Suicide
Dan Curtis 37 1998 Suicide
Dane Gerous (Jared Hogan) 19 2005 Accident (car)
Danny Fargo (Audie Hager) 44 2003 Disease (cancer)
Danny Hawke (Dan Hawkins) 33 2004 Drug related
Dave Casanova (David DiMeglio) 35 2002 Drug related?
Dave Vicious 31 2001 Heart attack
Doug Chevalier 38 2000 Heart attack
Dr Destruction (John Coggleshall) 34 2004 Heart attack (in ring)
Dynamite D (Darren McMillan) 37 2007 Disease (Cancer)
Floyd Creatchman 46 2003 Disease (Chron’s)
Guido Falcone (Richard Martell) 32 2002 Disease (Leukemia)
Harlem Warlord (Jamie Cardiche) 32 2000 Disease (complications in surgery)
Ivan Zaiken 39 1995 Unknown
J Prodigy (Jeremy Davis) 29 2004 Unknown
Jeff Peterson 22 2002 Disease (cancer)
Jeff Raitz ? 2002 Heart attack
Jenni Lee (Jennifer Bednar) 34 2006 Unknown
Jerry Oski (Jerry Arotski) 32 1995 Unknown
Jimmy Beal ? 1993 Unknown
Jimmy Hustler (Jimmy Alicea) 33 2006 Heart attack
Joe Powers 41 2003 Disease (Liver failure)
Kevin Mailhot 24 2005 Accident (car)
Lance Idol (Steve Schumann) 32 1991 Heart attack (drug related)
Larry Doyle 37 1998 Disease (diabetes)
Little Coco 40 1993 Unknown
Liz Chase 46 1999 Disease (dies during surgery)
Mark Mendian 20 2000 Accident (ring injury)
Mass Transit (Eric Kulas) 22 2002 Disease (obesity)
Matt Storm 39 2007 Unknown
Mike Marcello ? 2000 Suicide
Mr Ebony 46 1999 Heart attack
Neil Superior (Neil Caricofe) 33 1996 Heart attack (during arrest, attack likely drug related)
Pat Kelly 42 1988 Accident (Car)
Randy Mansfield (Randy Toslinksi) 23 1998 Unknown
Rick Bolton 49 2000 Unknown
Rick Martello 38 1997 Unknown
Robbie D (Robert Dicks) 32 2002 Suicide
Rockin’ Robin (Kim Robinson) 35 2001 Accident (motorcycle) (note – not the WWF wrestler)
Rocky Hata (Mitsuo Hata) 43 1991 Unknown
Russ Haas 27 2001 Heart attack (genetic)
Scott Peterson 31 1994 Accident (Motorcycle)
Shane Shamrock (Brian Hauser) 23 1998 Murdered (actually shot legally by police during raid)
Spider (Daniel Quirk) 22 2005 Accident (in ring)
Stephan DeLeon 34 2004 Accident (motorcycle)
Steve King 49 1998 Unknown
Texas Outlaw #1 39 2004 Accident (car)
The Diva (Kelly Tabor) 28 2002 Unknown
The Stud 25 2006 Overdose
Tiger Khan (Marlon Kalkai) 33 2006 Heart attack
Tiny Anderson 42 1995 Unknown
Tony Nash 30 2000 Accident (ring injury)
Tony Rumble (Antony Magliaro) 43 1999 Heart attack
Trae Kellar 36 2005 Unknown
Xtreme 20 2004 Unknown
Yuel Lovett (Alex Lovett) 28 1999 Heart attack
Yukon Braxton (Jeffrey Dingess) 24 2002 Unknown
International wrestlers we know
Angel Azteca 43 2007 Heart attack (suspected)
Baby X (Jose Barreto Martínez) 21 2004 Murdered
Brazo Cibernetico (Aaron Alvardo Nieves) 33 1999 Disease (pancreatitis)
El Sanguinario (Luis Delgadillo) 33 2002 Unknown
El Texano (Juan Aguilar) 47 2006 Disease (respiratory failure)
Emiko Kado 23 1999 Accident (ring injury)
Gary Albright 36 1999 Heart attack (died during a match)
Giant Ochiai (Takayuki Okada) 30 2003 Disease (brain haemorrhage)
Haru Sonada 31 1987 Unknown
Jackie Sato 41 1999 Disease (cancer)
Jimmy Beale 25 1993 Unknown
Jumbo Tsuruta (Tomomi Tsuruta) 49 2000 Disease (Hepatitis)
Kodo Fuyuki 42 2003 Disease (cancer)
Kronnus (Sergio Armando Villa) 27 1999 Murdered
Kung Fu (Raymundo Cuesta Veloz) 49 2000 Heart attack
Little Frankie (Masanobu Okamoto) 44 2002 Disease (unknown)
Loco Zandokan (Arturo Carrillo Arteaga) 39 1995 Unknown
Masakazu Fukuda 27 2000 Accident (ring injury)
Mephisto Lephanto 31 2007 Heart attack (in ring)
Multifacieto (Albert Morales) 20 2000 Suicide
Oro (Javier Hernandez) 21 1993 Disease (Brain aneurysm, died in ring)
Plum Mariko (Mariko Ueda) 29 1997 Accident (series of ring injuries)
Relampago Negro ? 2002 Murdered
Satoshi Hasegawa 22 1999 Accident (fell from balcony)
Shinya Hashimoto 40 2005 Disease (aneurysm)
Sombre Negra (Edwin Ortiz Torres) 36 2001 Heart attack
Vangelis (Alejandro Granados) 29 2002 Unknown
Victor The Bodyguard (Victor Rodriguez) 38 2004 Heart attack

MORE than 100 wrestlers have died before reaching the age of 50 in the last 10 years, The Sun can reveal after the most comprehensive study of its kind.

Of the 104 grapplers who passed away between 1997 and 2007, 40 were full-time professionals who worked regularly for a large promotion or territory in the United States and Canada.

The other 64 wrestled part-time for many of North America's smaller independent groups, in the hope of one day finding their fame and fortune in the industry.

When you go back another 10 years between 1987-2007 (which we have also done in the list) the number of wrestlers dying too soon stands at 135.

It also reveals another astonishing statistic. The last 10 years has seen full-time fatalities more than double from the decade before - rising from 18 to 40.

These figures show the problem stretches out much further than just the WWE - and is a major issue for the entire wrestling industry.

Around a quarter of those passing away once worked for Vince McMahon's group, but that leaves 75 per cent who never set foot inside a WWE ring.

If you add in wrestlers competing in other countries who are no longer with us - which is a lot harder to measure because of different record keeping - the total number of deaths becomes at least 129 in the last 10 years and 164 in the last 20.

It was compiled for The Sun by respected wrestling historian John Lister.

John - whose books include Turning The Tables: The Story Of ECW - said: "Premature deaths in wrestling are a complex subject because there is rarely a single cause.

"Many leading wrestlers are affected by a deadly cocktail of problems, addictions and stresses.

"The most publicised recently has been the heavy use of steroids and other growth hormones and the requirement to maintain a physique all year round, thus making it impossible to reduce the dangers by taking regular breaks from use.

"Wrestlers have an acceptance of constant pain as part of the job, perform a physically stressful activity that strains the heart and take repeated blows to the head.

"This leads to heavy use of painkillers, alcohol and, in some cases, recreational drugs like cocaine.

"It is worse for full-timers, who have a gruelling travel schedule working unsociable hours - although that has improved in recent years.

"Finally there is a very competitive political atmosphere behind the scenes to get the full-time jobs and main event spots, as well as a tendency for wrestlers to blur the lines of reality and fantasy.

"There are no simple answers but unless promoters make major changes to the schedule, ring style and physical requirements for wrestlers - as well as introducing much stricter drug testing - the death toll will continue to rise.

The Sun's grappling columnist Simon added: "Analysing this list was both saddening and shocking.

"I was sad because it reminded me that some of my favourite childhood heroes had died, as well as guys I came to know and like covering the sport as an adult.

"I was shocked by discovering just how many wrestlers passed away under the radar - not so much a dirty secret as something so commonplace it barely merits attention.

"And, as it is only actual wrestlers, it doesn't even include valets, managers and referees like Miss Elizabeth and Chris Benoit's murdered wife Nancy.

"Of course, wrestling cannot be directly blamed for these deaths. The WWE or any other wrestling organisation didn't physically kill anyone.

"Nobody forced these guys to take copious amounts of steroids and painkillers to boost their careers, or told them that the best way to relax and make friends on the road is to get loaded on booze and cocaine.

"WWE boss Vince McMahon accurately stated recently that if Chris Benoit was a postman, nobody would be blaming the post office for his actions.

"But when you turn that comment on its head, a disturbing truth emerges.

"You have to ask yourself if the men and women on our list decided to deliver post instead of wrestle for a living, would they still be alive today to see their families grow up?

"The answer, in many of these cases, has to be a resounding yes."

The Sun Article - WWE boss: Get off the drugs


July 16, 2007

Despite some WWE stars going public in the last week to deny there is a problem in the wrestling business, privately Vince is said to be determined not to be blamed for another Eddie Guerrero or Chris Benoit style tragedy.

Reports coming out of the States say that Vince and Johnny Ace - the head of talent relations - called their roster together before last Monday's Raw TV show.

After giving a stern speech on drug use, they also offered counselling for those affected by addictions, the Benoit killings or anything else.

However critics note that Vince gave a similar talk after Guerrero died of heart failure in November 2005 and re-introduced drug testing, both of which don't appear to have worked.

They also point to the likes of Ken Kennedy and Fit Finlay appearing on American telly and making misleading statements about the number of recent wrestling deaths and the causes behind them, as well as the McMahon family's recent "disappearing act in public".

The funerals for Nancy, 43, and seven-year-old Daniel Benoit - who were murdered by Chris, 40, before he committed suicide - were held this weekend.

McMahon did not attend, but Fit Finlay, Jim Ross, Dean Malenko and Eddie's widow Vickie Guerrero from the WWE all did.

In front of about 75 family and friends, Nancy's younger sister Sandra cried while telling moving stories of the sister she so admired and the nephew who "completed my life".

Chris Benoit's name was not mentioned once during the touching ceremony.

Afterwards Ross, the commentator on the WWE's Raw TV show, wrote: "The service was reserved and classy. I loved the music.

"The structure of the service allowed for ample opportunities for one to reflect on the lives of Nancy and Daniel.

"Of course, Chris, too, crossed my mind during the service. How could he not?

"Daniel's full name is Daniel Christopher Benoit and I read the little guy's name over and over during the service.

"I thought of so many memories of the Benoit family especially at WrestleManias which has a "family reunion" feel for many of us who don't see the talents' spouses and their kids but a handful of times per year.

"I have literally seen Daniel grow up at WrestleMania as Nancy would have the apple of her eye dressed to the "nines" in either a little tuxedo or a handsome suit.

"Indeed, Mom Nancy made her little boy a sharp dressed man. I loved it when they danced together! I can still close my eyes and hear the music and see their smiles.

"Today, I needed to see those smiles. Today I needed to feel those good memories."

Addressing the massive amount of steroids Benoit was being prescribed at the time of the killings, Jim said he was upset that a debate on 'Roid Rage' overshadowed the day.

He added: "This entire tragedy is about much more than alleged steroid abuse, especially on this day that I will carry with me for the rest of my days.

"Today was a time of remembrance for the loved ones that have been lost and for paying our respect to a devastated family.

"The wrestling business, like our lives, is far from perfect and many areas of it need to be addressed and improved upon.

"Perhaps this mission should be approached as if tomorrow was our first day on the job and we have the chance to start fresh and make things better for everyone who wants to play by the rules and to do the right things so the business will continue to thrive long after guys like me are nothing more than a fleeting memory of bygone days.

"But Saturday, July 14 wasn't about the business. It was about paying respect to a grieving family who need all the courage they can muster and all the prayers they can receive.

"Today. Please remember these folks in your prayers."

Will You Buy the Great American Bash Sunday?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

AP Story - Memorial for Pro Wrestler's Wife, Son

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Chris Benoit's professional wrestling colleagues were among the mourners Saturday at a memorial service for his wife and their 7-year-old son.

Benoit killed his wife, Nancy, and son, Daniel, in their home in the Atlanta area three weeks ago, placed Bibles next to their bodies and then hanged himself on the cable of a weight machine, authorities said.

Before the service began at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Jim Ross, the World Wrestling Entertainment announcer known as J.R., called the deaths "a real tragedy."

Nancy Benoit's parents, Paul and Maureen Toffoloni, live in Daytona Beach.

At the family's last-minute request, the service was not open to the media. Some wrestling fans were allowed in.

Anabolic steroids were found in the Benoits' home, leading officials to wonder if the drugs played a role in the killings. Results of toxicology tests on the three have not been released.

Ross said Saturday that drugs shouldn't be the focus.

"It's not a steroid issue," Ross said. "It's a domestic issue. There's a lot of other criteria that has to be involved in it. I still can't believe it even happened."

Benoit, born in Montreal, was a World Wrestling Entertainment star with a wholesome family man image. Nancy Benoit, however, filed for a divorce in 2003 alleging "cruel treatment." She dropped the complaint, as well as a request for a restraining order in which she alleged Benoit threatened her and broke furniture.

Nancy Benoit was a wrestling stage manager who worked under the name "Woman." The two met in the 1990s when she was married to rival wrestler Kevin Sullivan. She left Sullivan and married Benoit in 2000.

"I've known Nancy for 20 years. She was always exuberant and fun to be around," Ross said. "Always laughing, had a great sense of humor. You know, was one of the guys. Had great timing in the ring, was a beautiful lady."

Chris Benoit's father has said private services for him were to be held in Canada. It was unknown Saturday whether those services have taken place.

SummerSlam Poster Out - Jackass crew vs Umaga

As we've stated here for weeks, the biggest event of the summer - SummerSlam, will take place in New Jersey, and the Jackass angle that has been spoken of for sometime is still a go. The official poster for the event has been released by the company, and as you can see, the event is going to have the Jackass crew doing interaction with Umaga and a couple other WWE stars. Umaga is set to be the top heel of the angle, but there will be others involved. Snitsky is another I can see being a part of this angle, but we shall see.

The official event description reads as follows:

WWE heads to New York City for the Biggest Party of the Summer. Watch what happens when Jackass invades SummerSlam to challenge the Samoan Bulldozer, Umaga. Don’t miss John Cena, Batista, Lashley, Edge, Rey Mysterio and the return of Triple H as WWE presents SummerSlam on Sunday, August 26th, live at 8PM ET/5PM PT, only on Pay-Per-View.

Friday, July 13, 2007

WWE Hoping Return of Two Big Stars Draws Interest

While nothing is going to take the focus off of the tragic end of three lives that took place a short time ago, in the ring, the WWE is banking on the return of two superstars to draw some interest late in the summer and into the fall. Those two stars - Rey Mystero Jr. and HHH are both just a short time away from officially making it back into the ring after suffering injuries that kept them on the shelf for sometime.

HHH suffered a severe quad injury back in January at New Year's Revolution in a tag match as he and Shawn Michaels took on Randy Orton and Edge. A lot has changed in the company since the injury for HHH, as at first the plan was a comeback program between he and Edge. Then of course with the major injury to the Undertaker, the company moved Edge to SmackDown to win the World Heavyweight title. Then Shawn Michaels finally had to take time off for his knee injury, so the comeback of DX is back on hold as well. For now, the natural program for HHH is Randy Orton, but sources say that is not going to happen right away either.

Orton's stock has been rising since the hotel trashing in London awhile ago, and if he is on best behavior, he is truly the top heel the company has on RAW. So putting him in a losing angle with HHH would take away the heat he has been building up for sometime. Orton will go over Dusty Rhodes at the Great American Bash, creating even more heat. From there, the likely push will finally be a title program with John Cena, and again the early word is that Orton could win the title, then move onto a late fall/early winter program with HHH. Some say that the HHH-Orton feud could end up being the main event at WrestleMania 24 in Orlando, with HHH winning the strap from Orton. Funny when you look back at the fact that Orton-HHH was for a long time the scheduled main event for WrestleMania 21, that is until Orton's stock plunged and Dave Batista took the top spot and the main event.

Two guys that I could see getting a program right off the bat with HHH would be either King Booker or Mr.Kennedy. You have to put HHH in there with someone that has some heat, and while both these guys have it, they are not in the top heel status like Orton. Booker is the obvious choice of even these two, as they continue to want to keep Kennedy somewhat strong for a future face push that will someday result in him being the WWE Champion. HHH's first match back should be a decent draw as one of the many big matches built for August's SummerSlam in New Jersey.

As for Mystero, we have been getting advance material from the WWE that has him listed on the show for Great American Bash. If that is in a wrestling role is not 100 percent certain, but I would assume they could use the interest to get him in a match that he could shine in and win. He too is coming back from a leg injury - a knee injury, that has kept him out for the past few months. The early word had him right away in a program with Edge for the World Heavyweight Title, but for now that has been put on the back burner as it would have put the company in a position where either Mystero was losing right away, or Edge would be looking weak with DQ losses.

The Edge-Mystero program is likely to be a showcase match for SummerSlam, but for now, just like with HHH, Mystero will get into a lesser program, building him up for the bigger program with Edge down the road. Mystero is not in a position to get the belt back, as his time as the World Heavyweight Champion has passed, despite the fact that ratings were higher with the belt around him. WWE has been happy with the job Edge has done, and the plan there is for him to keep the belt as he battles the likes of Kane, Mystero, and eventually upon his return - the Undertaker.

U.S. widens investigation of Benoit's doctor

By Harry R. Weber
Associated Press
Published July 13, 2007

ATLANTA -- Federal agents have expanded their investigation of pro wrestler Chris Benoit's personal doctor to include former patients and other patients of his who have died, The Associated Press has learned.

An affidavit by a federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent that was part of a warrant to search Dr. Phil Astin's office for a third time said investigators on Tuesday seized 68 boxes of documents, including patient records and billing statements.

The affidavit said agents were in part looking for medical records of inactive or deceased patients, including medical tests, test results and physician notes.

The search followed a statement agents received last week from an unidentified source who was associated with Astin's practice and has known him personally for about 10 years. The source said files for former patients or patients who have died may have been stored in a copy room at Astin's office, the affidavit said.

A sheriff's official previously said that Astin also is being investigated in the February 2006 death of another wrestler, Michael Durham. State officials have not returned repeated calls in recent days seeking details on that case.

Last week, Astin pleaded not guilty to federal charges of improperly prescribing painkillers and other drugs to two patients other than Benoit in 2004 and 2005. He was released on $125,000 bond, but is generally restricted to his home.

Astin's lawyer, Manny Arora, said Thursday that he wasn't aware of the new search of Astin's office, but he wasn't surprised by it either.

"It's their job to look through everything," Arora said.

Police have said Benoit strangled his wife and son and then hanged himself in his suburban Atlanta home the weekend of June 22.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mr.Kennedy Speaks Out on Recent Media Coverage of WWE


Please GOD, I'm just BEGGING for someone who has actually wrestled in a WWE ring in the past decade besides Jericho, Bret Hart, John Cena, and Ted Dibiase to come forward on one of these shows and tell the world what's really going on. For these goofs, like Lanny Poffo? Ultimate Warrior? and Marc Mero???!! to repeatedly act as "experts" and "wrestler advocates" on the current situation is like having a frustrated ex-jock who rode the pine bench throughout his high school sports career give advice to Brett Favre on how to improve his game! It's ridiculous, insane, and it really makes me sick that these so called reporters like Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace, and Geraldo Rivera, call upon these silly bastards who are bitter and frustrated that their careers have ended to represent the WWE which of course makes all of us look like a bunch of babbling idiots who are all addicted to steroids, drugs, alcohol, etc.

THINGS ARE MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THEY WERE FIVE OR TEN OR TWENTY YEARS AGO! Most of the "expert", frustrated ex-wrestlers that they've had on the show came from an era where everyone wrestled every day and then went out and partied like rock stars until dawn, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, snorting cocaine, taking fistfuls of pills, and injecting massive amounts of steroids. They would take pills to go to sleep, snort coke or take speed to get up and do this day after day after day! This would not be even remotely tolerated in today's environment. We have a strict drug policy in place. The WWE's wellness program was designed and instituted by the same doctor who implemented the NFL and the NBA's substance abuse programs. Contrary to what somebody recently said on one of these "tabloid" shows the WWE's allowed levels are exactly the same as the NFL. (Someone, I can't recall exactly who said it, said that the WWE allowed a 10:1 Testosterone to Epitestosterone level, which is false. We have a 4:1 level exactly like the NFL and the NBA.) In fact, I knew of someone who took an over the counter supplement from GNC which he didn't know was on the banned list, which caused him to have an elevated testosterone level. This individual was suspended and fined because of it. We can't even take Ephedrine which is another legal supplement that can be bought at any gas station in the country. Since I've been with the company, I've seen the few people that did have problems with drugs either sent to rehab to try and help them overcome their addictions, (sent to one of the top rehab facilities in the country and paid for in full by the WWE) or be fired for repeat offenses. Look at the list of wrestlers who have prematurely passed away over the years, and most of them made the decision to live their lives this way. That's right, I said "made the decision" because we have this cool thing in the United States of America called "freedom of choice". I have the choice to quit my job if I don't like it, or if I feel that I'm on the road too much. I have the right to choose whether or not I want to break the law and use drugs. I have the right to choose between eating healthy food and exercising regularly and eating fast-food three times a day, not going to the gym, and becoming obese like a good majority of the citizens in this country. When will individuals be held accountable for their own actions? Will it ever happen, or will we always try and point the finger at someone else? Unfortunately as much as I respect the man, Superstar Billy Graham is ultimately responsible for the health problems he suffers from right now because of the choices he made in his career. I find it both sad and humorous that the man who many say is largely responsible for starting the whole "steroid craze" in pro-wrestling is now pointing the finger at the industry rather than blaming himself.

I, like everyone else in the company, have the luxury of being able to go home almost every week, play with my dog, hang out with my girlfriend, sleep in my own bed, and eat good home cooked food. This wasn't the case with these frustrated ex-wrestlers who are trying to grasp on to FIVE more minutes of fame and recognition.

I hear some of these guys talking about how the WWE doesn't have any type of benefits. I heard Johnny Grunge's widow on Nancy Grace saying that wrestling leaves you with nothing, and that two weeks after her husband was released from WCW that they lost their cars and their home. It apparently wasn't obvious to Nancy Grace, who is reportedly an extremely intelligent person, that they were obviously living outside of their means, and they weren't doing something that my parents taught me to do when I was a little kid……SAVE MONEY. This job pays well, but I know that it won't last forever. It's the same problem with pro athletes and actors in Hollywood who spend, spend, spend, like the money grows on trees and like it's always going to be there, and then falls flat on their faces when their careers are suddenly cut short. Who's fault? The team? The studio in Hollywood? I'm sorry, but I have no sympathy for people who don't save money and spend everything that they earn so they can impress everyone around them with all the NEAT THINGS that they own. As far as the having no health insurance thing goes, I've been seriously injured twice since I've been in the WWE. Every red cent has been paid for in full by the company, which is the case for any employee who is injured during a work or work-related event. Yes, I have my own supplemental insurance which is a bit expensive, but if WWE paid for it, I'm sure that, just like every other company in the country that offers health insurance to their employees, I would just be paid less, so it's a wash!

In the end, we are all responsible for our own actions. Saying that Vince McMahon is responsible for the deaths of the Benoit's is like saying that you and I are responsible for the deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and her son. The millions of people who tuned in every week to be entertained by "how funny" she was when she was all PILLED up and DRUNK, suddenly became the same people who acted SHOCKED and APALLED when she died of a drug overdose. Somebody, PLEASE, stop the insanity!!!!


Police - Benoit Used Finishing Move to Kill Son

In a sick twist to the Chris Benoit Murders-suicide case, police and Wrestling Obsver writer Dave Meltzer have released the news that Benoit used his finishing move - the Cripple Crossface, to murder his son. Below is the press release on PR Inside about subject:

Late wrestling star CHRIS BENOIT murdered his seven-year-old son with his trademark ring move, the Crippler Crossface, according to police.
The WWE fighter, 40, asphyxiated his wife Nancy and son Daniel last month (22-23Jun07), before hanging himself a day later (24Jun07).
Police investigating the case believe he may have employed a version of his famed `finishing move' to kill his young son - because marks on the boy's body match those on victims of Benoit in the ring.
District Attorney Scott Ballard says, "A choke hold was used, rather than hands. There's no bruising consistent with strangulation by hands." American wrestling writer Dave Meltzer adds, "There was bruising consistent with the Crippler Crossface on one arm and Daniel's face. There were no bruises on his neck.
"But police don't believe, because of the size difference, that the hold was applied exactly as in a wrestling match." In the ring, the Crippler Crossface involved placing an arm of a floored opponent between Benoit's legs, locking his hands around their face and pulling back to stretch their neck."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Grand Jury to Hear Case Vs Benoit Doctor


Federal prosecutors plan to seek a superseding indictment against the personal doctor to pro wrestler Chris Benoit, according to a court filing late Tuesday.

The filing in U.S. District Court in Atlanta says that prosecutors have advised an attorney for Dr. Phil Astin that they will present the case to a grand jury for a second time "after a more thorough review" of documents seized from Astin's office in west Georgia during two raids by federal drug agents.

"During the searches, agents seized thousands of pages of patient files and office records, as well as several computers that were used in defendant's medical practice," the court filing says. "Presently, the government is reviewing these records to make a preliminary determination of which files contain no evidentiary value and can be returned to defendant."

The filing does not say what charges will be sought in the superseding indictment or when the indictment will be sought. Astin was charged last week with improperly prescribing medication to two patients, but not to Benoit. Prosecutors said at the time more charges were possible.

The comments about a planned superseding indictment were contained in a filing in which Astin's attorney and the government were seeking more time to file pretrial motions and to turn over materials to each other.

Meanwhile, some of the chemical tests on the bodies of Benoit, his wife and son have been completed, but officials were mum Tuesday on what the results show.

A spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, John Bankhead, told The Associated Press that his agency was waiting for all the tests to be complete before sharing the results with investigators in Fayette County.

"We're going to discuss what we find with local investigators and they can determine what they want to release," Bankhead said.

District Attorney Scott Ballard did not immediately return a page to his cell phone seeking comment.

Police have said Benoit strangled his wife and son, placing Bibles next to the bodies, and then hung himself on a piece of exercise equipment in his suburban Atlanta home the weekend of June 22.

Authorities found anabolic steroids in Benoit's home, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the killings. Some experts believe steroids can cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage."

Since the deaths, toxicology tests have been conducted on Benoit's body to determine if steroids or other drugs were present. Blood-alcohol tests also were conducted on his body, and chemical tests were conducted on the bodies of the wife and son, Bankhead said. The wife's body was decomposed, preventing some tests on her body from being done, though Bankhead declined to be specific.

The GBI has been handling the testing for general drugs and alcohol, while an outside lab was hired to do the testing for steroids, Bankhead said. He declined to name the lab or say which of the tests have been completed.

"There is going to be some interpretation of what was found," Bankhead said, without elaborating.

A federal agent's affidavit said Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids to Benoit every three to four weeks between May 2006 and May 2007. It says that during a probe called "RX Weight Loss," Benoit was identified as an excessive purchaser of injectable steroids.

The affidavit also says that "Astin has been the subject of concern for excessive and/or suspicious prescribing activity by the Carrollton, Ga. Police Department and local area pharmacies."

Authorities have not said what "RX Weight Loss" refers to.

Astin has told the AP he prescribed testosterone for Benoit, a longtime friend, in the past but has not said what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office June 22, the day authorities believe Benoit killed his wife.

Astin pleaded not guilty at his first court appearance. His lawyer, Manny Arora, told AP on Monday that Astin has no plans at this time to change his plea to guilty, but he didn't rule out the idea down the road. A pretrial hearing in Astin's case is set for July 19, though that could be postponed now

Arora said Tuesday he expects the superseding indictment to contain new charges against Astin of improperly prescribing medication to more patients, though he did not know whether that would include Benoit.

Latest RAW and ECW Thoughts

WWE TV over the past two days has been pretty strong, as the company continues to fight the backlash of the Chris Benoit tragedy all over the place, they are doing what they can to put a good product on television. RAW on Monday night from the CajunDome was a solid show, with basic matches, but good build towards the PPV in two weeks in San Jose. They didn't have John Cena to rely on, so they had to do the show with Bobby Lashley as the main face, and overall I thought it was passable. I am torn on what will happen at the Bash, as I can see a WWE Title change coming for some reason. Almost as if it's time again to get the belt off of Cena, and make him the hunter instead of the hunted. Last year at this time he had already dropped the belt to RVD, who then lost it to Edge, who then dropped it again to Cena.

This type of situation with a Lashley clean win at the Bash could set up an obvious rematch for SummerSlam with the two, or they could just use Lashley as a stepping stone to something bigger (Ugh - Snitsky?) for SummeSlam. The way that Lashley has been used though over the course of the last year, with the ECW title win, then the semi-main event at WrestleMania, then on-going McMahon feud, makes me think they are going to protect him as much as possible here. The other thought is that Kennedy gets involved, and he and Cena then move on to a program that takes them to a title match at SummerSlam.

Back to RAW though, it consisted of 8 overall matches, which included Lashley over King Booker via DQ, Umaga in a squash over Santino Marella, Cade and Murdoch over the Highlanders, Paul London over Shelton Benjamin, Candice Michelle and Mickie James beat Jillian Hall and Beth Phoenix, William Regal over Sandman via DQ, and the main of Lashley and Jeff Hardy over Kennedy and King Booker. The show also had a face to face with Dusty Rhodes and Randy Orton, and they made a Texas Bullrope match between the two at GAB.

The show seemed pretty fast paced, and despite the crowd being sort of dead most of the night, I thought they did a good job of what they had. I hate to say that there still is a black cloud over what happened two weeks ago in Atlatna, but for some reason there is just a lot of what seems to be a lull right now. They are pushing HHH hard on his comeback, and show 1-2 commericals per show for it. Same goes for Rey Mysterio on the SmackDown side. I wouldn't be shocked to see some commericals come Spetember-October for Shawn Michaels and Undertaker as well.

Last night I thought that ECW was one of the stronger shows we've seen in quite awhile. They again focused on the two main guys, C.M. Punk and Johnny Nitro, as both wrestled, and won. Punk in a very good match beat Stevie Richards, and Nitro won an extreme rules match vs Tommy Dreamer. Both Tazz and Joey Styles made a big deal of Nitro beating Dreamer in an extreme match, as if it proved he could hang with an ECW guy who wins 1 of every 15 matches. As for Punk and Richards, that match should show the ECW powers that be that Stevie can hang with the best of them.

Elijah Burke beat Balls Mahoney in an okay match with his two high knees, The Miz in his debut beat Nunzio, the sluts danced, and and Matt Striker had a "classroom" session with the Boogeyman, and in his ECW debut, with some of the biggst man boobs I have ever seen, Viscera, now being called Big Daddy "V" (a rip on Kevin Nash?) came out and laid out Boogeyman. Effective use of Vis, who has the size to contiue to be a mid-level moster who they will push as they did Snitsky for awhile.

So two more hours of WWE TV left for the week. There are plenty of TV shows still focused on Benoit, as tomorrow Linda McMahon will be on Bill O'Riley's show, which could be very interesting. As for in the ring, they have done a solid job over the last three hours of TV making me interested in the upcoming PPV.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Quick Monday Update on RAW; Great American Bash

Tonight WWE RAW comes live from Lafayette, LA, with an announced main event of King Booker vs Bobby Lashley. This of course will also see some action from John Cena, as they continue to promote their Great American Bash matchup coming up on July 22nd. Cena will be a busy man tonight, as during RAW he will be in another room of the building in LA doing a live shot on Larry King Live as they once again talk about the Chris Benoit murder-suicide.

There is a lot of mainstream attention still over the Benoit thing, but right now and over the weekend, nothing new really broke. It looks as if unless we see something outragous happen over the next week or so, all that is left in the matter is to get back the reports of what was in Chris' system when the murders and suicide took place. Of course the WWE will be in the middle of a firestorm when that breaks and they find tons of stuff in his system.

The company is keeping with the status quo right now, trying to stay with the program as they get set for the next PPV in now less than two weeks. The GAB is going to be highlighted by the Cena-Lashley main event, and the 2nd main, which is Edge vs Kane for the World Heavyweight title. The Cena-Lashley match should be interesting, while the Kane vs Edge match is nothing more than a put together match since Batista is taking on Khali.

Friday, July 06, 2007

WWE Needs to Look at Itself Before More Lose Lives

As the furor over what took place over a week and a half ago in Atlanta with Chris Benoit and his family continues, the WWE continues to try and conduct business as usual, taking the stance they had no idea Chris was capable of doing what he did. That's fine. The company has taken the road of simply saying that they are going to wait for the reports to come out of what was in Chris' system at the time of his death, and if it turns out that he didn't have steroids, or even if he had a small amount, the WWE is going to feel it's off the hook. Only if there is a massive amount of steroids in Chris' system is the company really going to have to answer to authorities as well as the media that pounds them with questions.

There is another underlying question though when it comes to the WWE, and that is - what as a employer could they have done to avoid the Benoit tragedy. I truly find it hard to believe that a locker room like that of the WWE had no idea whatsoever that Benoit was not going through some serious depression, as well as had no clue that he and Nancy were having problems. Everyone continues to state how private a person Chris was, but even the most private people show emotion at one point or another. And if you go back and watch the RAW with tributes from the other wrestlers, it sounds like Chris did have those that he liked to hang around with as well as talk to.

Maybe now it is time for the WWE to look long and hard at itself in the mirror and take larger steps to stop its performers from getting to the point where Chris got. Let's face it, the wrestling business is non-stop. There is no offseason, it's a "go, go, go" business where one to three times a week a persons body is put through a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. And let's not forget the pressure that goes along with being a headliner on a major show or TV each and every week. Sometimes you almost have to sit back and wonder how the best of them really do it without cracking under the stress of it all.

So now with the ever growing backlash that the company is taking, the company should look to take some serious steps that would take some of the intense pressure off of its talent. They also must do whatever it takes to take the drug issue more seriously. How many have to die before the company starts to treat steroids as well as other drugs for what they are - illegal substances? Allowing an employee to take something either to gain a certain look, or to keep him or herself going simply goes against what the sport should be about. It is unfortunate that right now that is the focus of where everything is, but that is the sad truth of what wresting has turned into.

There is no real clear cut solution as to what should be done to make sure events like the one that took place last week does not happen again, but there are some things that the WWE should consider doing so that they can at least appear to make a better effort in trying to protect its image and more importantly, protect its talent from a tragic event. The first suggestion is some sort of mandatory offseason. I realize you can't just not have wrestling for a month or two out of the year, but what you can do is force talent, no matter what status they hold, to take a break. And by break I mean out of the year, a wrestler should be forced to take at least 4-6 weeks off. Maybe three sets of two weeks, which now a days is not all that much when your on the road for 250 days a year.

No one is going to lose their fever for a popular wrestler if they don't see them on TV for a few weeks a year. You have the popular injury angles that you can run, or maybe the fictional suspension, or whatever you come up with, it can work. Getting a guy away from the sport for a few weeks a year is not going to hurt the sport, but it can do a lot to help the wrestler. Another suggestion, and this one is a bit more extreme, is to totally rotate rosters every week. This would mean that in week one you have a set of wrestlers on RAW, ECW and SmackDown, and then the following week you have a totally different set of guys. I think that in a way was what the draft a few years ago was supposed to be, but that vision has been so blurred that you can see a wrestler on RAW Monday, ECW Tuesday, and then on SmackDown Friday. Now I realize that ECW and SmackDown are taped on Tuesday, but still, it sometimes seems like the rosters are thin, even with three brands and three shows.

Another thing the company has to do, is no matter what the results, they have to take the drug issue more seriously. If that means suspensions, firings, or rehab for guys - so be it. The list of young wrestlers that have died over the years continues to grow, and at some point, if not already, the WWE is going to be held responsible for the overlooking of those deaths. In the past two years, two major superstars - Eddie Guerrero and now Chris Benoit have been taken away from us by the problems that the sport continues to overlook.

This is not an issue that can be fixed overnight, nor is it something that will be able to be handled by simply doing one or two things. There must be major overhauls in the systems that are in place by the way the company handles its talent. Until that is done, more wrestlers lives are going to be put at risk by the lives they lead, and the lifestyle that the WWE continues to ignore.

About me

  • I'm Matt Loede
  • From Cleveland OH
  • Matt has been involved in sports media for over ten years, with experience covering the NFL, NBA, and MLB for the past 13+ years.
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