I have PLENTY to say about the ECW One Night Stand 2 pay per view and the subsequent Tuesday debut of the ECW show in the Sci Fi channel and will get to that in my next column. Let me bring you up to speed on the latest news now though and then I will rip into the ECW show debut and beg Vince McMahon to make some changes FAST to save the brand. For now, here is all you need to know about the wrestling world.
GOLDUST RELEASED FROM WWE
Dustin Runnels aka Goldust was released from WWE on Wednesday afternoon. The explanation for his release was that creative had no ideas for his character. He had been teaming as a freaky partner to Gene Snitsky's equally freaky persona. Dusty Rhodes, his father, is a full time backstage employee of WWE, but the promotion cut him anyway. He had been rehired shortly after Rhodes was hired.
JUNE 25 WWE VENGEANCE PAY PER VIEW MATCHES TO DATE
The WWE Raw (with some ECW talent wrestling) Vengeance pay per view is shaping up like so:
*The Spirit Squad vs. the reunited DX of Triple H and Shawn Michaels
*Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair in a Best of Three Falls match
*WWE Intercontinental champion Shelton Benjamin vs. Johnny Nitro vs. Carlito
*Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle
More matches will be added next week.
WHO WERE THE ZOMBIE AND VAMPIRE ON THE ECW SHOW?
According to www.pwinsider.com the Zombie that Sandman destroyed in the ring during ECW's debut TV show was northeastern independent wrestler Tim Arson, who was trained by WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz. The Vampire that made a cameo outside of the arena was the former Mordecai, Kevin Fertig. Ugh, anyone remember THAT failed persona? I sure hope this one works out better. Fertig was fired from WWE but brought back to be one the contingency of vampires that ECW is developing ... for some reason.
www.pwinsider.com also reported that the next "supernatural" style character you can expect to see in ECW will be a tarot card reading witch portrayed by Shelly Martinez. WWE filmed vignettes with her on Tuesday in Trenton, New Jersey.
I am so NOT happy with any of this and hope it is more of a rib on the network than WWE believing throwing a few zombies, vampires, and other sci fi characters will capture the regular viewers of the Sci Fi channel. Trust me, it won't. If I couldn't stand the show, why would a non- wrestling fan sit through it just because some guy is dressed like a zombie or a vampire in a wrestling ring?
BROCK LESNAR'S LAWSUIT AGAINST WWE OFFICIALLY DROPPED
The judge overseeing Brock Lesnar's lawsuit against WWE officially dismissed the suit on Monday afternoon. The two sides have agreed to terms out of court already and this was merely a formality. Both sides will need to pay their own legal fees and whatever the agreement between the parties was is being kept secret, at least for now. It is quite possible that one of the provisions of the agreement was that neither side can speak about the suit publicly. Brock was claiming that WWE had stopped him from earning a living while WWE was countering that he willingly and knowingly signed a no complete clause when he left the promotion to pursue NFL success which never came to pass.
TNA STARS RIP UP WWE CONTRACTS AT HOUSE SHOW
TNA ran a house show at the former ECW Arena, now called the Alhambra Arena, in Philadelphia on June 9. During the show, which was dubbed "Hardcore War", several ECW references were made by the TNA stars. Matt Hyson (formerly Spike Dudley) announced that WWE had sent him a contract to appear n their ECW pay per view but he declined. He then ripped up the contract to the delight of the fans. The original plan was to have Big Show face (and destroy as usual) Matt Hyson on the pay per view.
Then Rhino addressed the ECW situation and said, while he appreciated Vince McMahon helping him through a long neck injury and had nothing but love for Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer, he had decided to stay with TNA rather than return to WWE to work with the ECW brand. Again, the crowd was very appreciative of his loyalty to TNA. Rhino was the last ECW Heavyweight champion and still owns that belt.
The Dudleys, now Team 3D, also got in some words against the new ECW and put over the new breed of wrestling that is TNA.
In an amazing must see, there was an actual "chair war" in the arena where fans tossed hundreds of chairs for the grapplers to use. You can see that footage, which really is crazy, at this link: TNA Hardcore Chair War. This is MUCH more like ECW than anything WWE has had happen thus far with the resurrection of the brand. Yikes!
ECW SHOW PULLS IN A HIGH RATING
Although just about everyone I have spoken to or read comments from was disappointed in the ECW Debut show on the Sci Fi channel Tuesday night, they pulled in a very good rating for a first show. They had a 2.7 cable rating meaning 2.357 million households tuned in, according to the Neilson ratings. That is an excellent number for a cable station, especially one so specialized as the Sci Fi channel. I will be interested in seeing if the ECW show can hold onto the audience in the next few weeks after what many consider a disastrous first showing.
CONGRATULATIONS TO RIC FLAIR
Those wondering where Ric Flair had been until this past Raw will be happy to know he was not injured. He was off getting married to his young fiancée! Flair and his longtime wife Beth were embroiled in a bitter divorce not too long ago where she accused him of spending huge sums of money on his much younger girlfriend. She was in attendance with him at the 2006 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony and is now his wife. Congratulations to Ric and I hope he can keep up with a wife at least 20 or more years younger than him!
GREAT AMERICAN BASH MATCH REVEALED ON WWE.COM
WWE.com has a promotional video up declaring that Batista will take on Mark Henry at July's Great American Bash pay per view, playing off the storyline that Henry injured Batista, leading to his time off. You can see that video at this link: Great American Bash Promo. I am not thrilled with the idea of that match as I am not a Mark Henry fan but apparently WWE is.
NEW ANNOUNCER FOR SMACKDOWN REVEALED
On the ECW One Night Stand pay per view Sunday, JBL showed up to trash talk ECW as well as to inform us that he will be replacing Tazz as commentator for Smackdown with Michael Cole. JBL has severe back problems and had been contemplating retirement. I am not sure if this is a permanent gig for him but it will last a while, at least until he feels ready to wrestle again. WWE gave a number of people tryouts but apparently decided that a heel JBL would be a perfect fit. We'll see how he does on Friday when he starts his new job. I am assuming he will be the play-by-play man as he is a wrestler and knows all the moves but his strong suit is color where he can just ramble on. We'll know soon enough which side he takes but, if he replaces Tazz's announcing spot, he will be play-by-play which entails explaining the moves and holds and announcing the match while Michael Cole provides the color with facts, promos, and filler.
JOHN TENTA MEMORIAL FUND ESTABLISHED
As I reported in my last column, John "Earthquake" Tenta passed away from a long battle with bladder cancer on June 7. He was just 42. He had been very open about his illness, posting his progress and setbacks on the www.wrestlecrap.com message boards. Now, a memorial fund has been set up to benefit his family. WtestleCrap.com set up a Paypal account for those wishing to donate to Tenta's family. The Paypal address for donations is firstname.lastname@example.org. Tenta left behind a wife and three children.
It's that time again, the time where I bid you farewell.
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I'll be back with ECW pay per and show thoughts as well as much more very soon!
All this ECW and TNA talk looks like a war is about to happen. That's a good thing. Check out these ECW and TNA DVDs to see which promotion you prefer.