My apologies for the space between updates. As you are aware, I had a death in the family and it has hit me hard. I am trying to catch up now and get back into the swing of things and, having said that, let's look at what's going on wrestling!
ROB VAN DAM SUSPENDED, SABU ONLY FINED IN DRUG ARRESTS
In my last update, I reported that both Rob Van Dam and Sabu, who were pulled over for speeding then subsequently arrested for possession of illegal drugs, were suspended for 30 days by WWE. It turns out that only Van Dam was suspended (without pay). Sabu was fined $1000.00 and continues to appear on WWE's version of ECW television.
I have tried to find out why one participant was suspended (The titleholder and bigger star of the two) while one was merely fined, but have no solid answer. One report says that Sabu was very apologetic about the arrest and thus was only fined but, if that report is true, WWE needs to get their act together. You can't apologize away an arrest for illegal drugs and a $1000.00 fine is simply a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, Rob Van Dam, the ECW brand star and former titleholder (forced to drop the belt due to the arrest), is sitting home for a month without pay.
WWE did reschedule an ECW house show slated to take place during Van Dam's suspension in his hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. I assume they realized that the fans want to see their hometown hero as he never wrestled in front of his hometown fans before. They wisely moved the date back so that Van Dam will be able to make the show. This tells me that both Sabu and Van Dam are safe from any sort of official release from WWE for their arrests and their punishments are the suspension and fine.
MARK HENRY INJURED, NO OPPONENT FOR BATISTA FOR THE GREAT AMERICAN BASH
Mark Henry seriously injured his knee during the Saturday Night's Main Event taping that took place this past Saturday (July 15). He will be seeing famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Alabama next week for an official diagnosis but WWE.com is reporting that Henry has a fractured patella and a possible rupture of the tendon.
WWE has already announced that Henry will be unable to wrestle on the next pay per view, The Great American Bash, where he was scheduled to take on the returning Batista. This leaves a huge gap in the GAB card and there are very few opponents for Batista that don't already have matches slated.
Batista will issue an "open challenge" on Smackdown this week and, by then, another opponent will have been chosen for him. There was a press conference to promote The Great American Bash pay per view on Monday (July 17) where it was revealed that Henry was off the show and Batista was on the hunt for a new opponent. You can read the article about the press conference and Batista's quotes here: The Animal still to be unleashed at the Bash.
I don't have a clue who will step up and answer the challenge but the match can't be much worse than the scheduled Henry vs. Batista match. Henry is a big guy and can't move real well in the ring and his matches often trudge along. Nonetheless, I wish him the best of luck and a speedy recovery.
CURRENT WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH LINE UP
With Mark Henry sidelined, Batista is without an opponent but someone will fill that spot on Sunday. The GAB line up as of tonight looks like this:
* Batista vs. To Be Announced
* World Champion Rey Mysterio vs. King Booker
* WWE Tag Team Champions Brian Kendrick & Paul London vs. Jamie Noble & Kid Kash.
* U.S. Champion Fit Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley vs. William Regal in a Triple Threat match.
* Undertaker vs. The Great Khali in a "Punjabi Prison Match".
BOB ORTON SR. PASSES AWAY
Bob Orton Sr., father of Cowboy Bob Orton and grandfather of WWE star Randy Orton, passed away this past weekend just days short of his 77th birthday. He died following two heart attacks and surgery which was attempted to save his life.
Orton, Sr. was the first of the three generations of wrestling Ortons. He wrestled under several names, notably Bob Orton, Rocky Fitzpatrick, The Zodiak, and El Lobo.
His son, Cowboy Bob Orton, was a famous heel wrestler and his other son Randall wrestled a bit under the name of Barry O. Randy Orton is currently a WWE Smackdown star and is the youngest (former) WWE World Champion on record.
My condolences go out to the Orton family. Today, 77 is not old and Orton, Sr. had been in relatively good health so I am sure his death comes as a terrible shock to his family.
You can read WWE.com's story on Bob Orton, Sr., with quotes from Randy Orton, at this link: Bob Orton, Sr. passes away .
WWE CANCELS MID EAST TOUR DUE TO WAR
WWE recently announced that, due to the current conflict in the Middle East, they have canceled their Smackdown tour of Israel. The tour was scheduled to take place from July 27 to 29. There has been no date announced for the promotion to tour the area at the present time. I am glad to hear this. These guys are in enough danger right here at home in the ring let alone in a war torn country.
TNA TO GET AN EXPANDED TIMESLOT?
TNA got some good news after The Ultimate Fighter 3 reality show on Spike TV ended. TUF 3 was the lead in show for TNA's Impact on Thursday nights and, when the show ended recently, it was thought that Impact's ratings would drop. That didn't happen. TNA was able to hold onto their audience without a good lead in and Spike TV is said to have much more confidence in the promotion since it doing well on its own. There is a possibility that Spike will allow TNA to expand to 90 minutes this fall. I think that would be great. TNA needs more time to build storylines and have good wrestling matches. One hour a week just isn't enough to present a good, solid show that builds to a monthly pay per view. If the ratings hold steady for the next several weeks, we may see TNA get an expanded timeslot which will benefit everyone.
Well, I had better wrap this up. I will back in a few days with more. I will be catching you up on pay per views that have passed and the Great American Bash that airs this Sunday. And, as soon as I find out Batista's new opponent, I will let you know right here!
Until next time,