Take a trip back to a memorable timeline in sports entertainment with the most important stories reported as fact in the journalistic world of pro wrestling dirt sheets.
Following the timeline of the last Dirt Sheet History looking back at March 2008, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from April of 2008 as we read Dirt Sheet History.
Reminder that you can find all past editions of Dirt Sheet History looking at 2004 through 2007 right here. Now enjoy April 2008.
* With today being April Fool’s Day, TNAWrestling.com has posted numerous bogus stories. One of the stories includes a Photoshopped image of the Rock ‘N Rave Infection on the cover of the popular video game Rock Band while another story states that Angelina Love and Velvet Sky have announced the first charity event for ugly people.
* A camera crew followed Kurt Angle into the TGI Friday’s restaurant in Orlando where wrestlers from WWE and TNA were hanging out the Friday night before WrestleMania 24. According to several sources, the WWE superstars were freaking out that Angle was filming and were very careful about not appearing on camera. After what happened with Robbie McAllister, nobody wanted to show up on a another show affiliated with TNA.
* MTV.com has a new article online on the upcoming Get Smart film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Steve Carell, and Anne Hathaway. The Great Khali also has a role in the film. Steve Carell commented in the article on meeting Khali by saying, “Literally, you shake his hand and you are shaking the inner part of his palm. He could put his hand over your entire head and crush you. He’s a very sweet guy, but he did not speak English really well. I don’t even know if he was completely aware that he was doing a movie.”
* Speaking of The Rock‘s speech, some people were ticked off that it lasted so long, but apparently nobody from the production team told him to “wrap it up” as they did with Flair. The Rock spoke for approximately 90 minutes. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand the whole time, but it did result in some resentment from several WWE superstars.
* In the new issue of Life & Style it talks about that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are renting a house from the owner non then WWE wrestler The Undertaker in Cedar Creek, Texas. The issue also shows a picture of the house and talks about one of the rooms being made bigger because Undertaker wanted to put in a bigger bed and also talks about having a separate gym area with a wrestling rings in the gym.
* In his latest blog at the UK Sun website (link), Paul Heyman had some harsh things to say about how WWE handled Ric Flair‘s final weekend in WWE.
Heyman said, “It was a treat for everyone to see Ric reunited with Tully and Arn and Windham and JJ. Anyone who knows the story of how JJ left WWE, and the enormous heat between JJ and Vince will tell you, this was Vince McMahon doing what he felt was right for business. Hey, there’s Ricky Steamboat. That’s a nice tribute. Their worst matches against each should be considered all time classics. Those two were magic together. Michaels‘ appearance and hug makes it complete. That’s some great emotion. But watching Flair cry because Chris Jericho says thank you? Hey, here’s John Cena. And he’s saluting Flair. Whooop de freakin’ do. Yeah yeah, this is basic Thugonomics. What the hell does it have to do with anyone’s favorite Flair memories? Cena? Jericho? Where’s Fifi the French Maid?”
Heyman also criticized the song WWE used for Flair’s farewell (“Leave the Memories Alone” by Fuel): “And please, I’m begging someone to tell Vince and Kevin Dunn that f’n song about leaving the memories alone is not something that tugs at the heart, nor does it add to the emotion of a Ric Flair testimonial. Play Strauss’ Sprach Zarathustra – which was the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey – all night long. That other song is just Vince and Kevin saying: “Here’s the WWE touch to it all that makes it so great. Get over yourselves.”
* Over the weekend, vandals spray painted “DX” on two churches in Anderson, Indiana.
* Not much of note from the WrestleMania after-party, although Michael Hayes belted out a few songs.
* Trish Stratus appeared on Live Audio Wrestling on Sunday night. When asked about TNA, she said she’s watched their show and thinks its “amazing.” Trish said that she loves the fact that every girl in TNA works. On whether she watches WWE, she said she doesn’t really watch the show anymore, but keeps up with things online and by listening to Live Audio Wrestling every Sunday. Trish also reiterates her thoughts on the “BunnyMania” match at WrestleMania, saying that there is a place for that kind of stuff, but that WWE should have had a women’s storyline involving Beth Phoenix & her title for the show as well. Trish goes on to say that she didn’t like the situation one bit.
* With the 2008 WWE Draft Lottery approaching, head SmackDown! writer Michael Hayes is looking to move Triple H over to the SmackDown! brand. Hayes wants Triple H to work as a heel in a main event program against The Undertaker.
There are not many within WWE that expect Triple H to make the jump. There is still a stigma that SmackDown! is the “B” brand and Triple H has been against moving to Smackdown! in the past.
The Observer also notes that Triple H does want to turn heel, but he’s looking for a WWE title run on RAW.
* Jesse Ventura was interviewed this week by James Guttman. Ventura is known for “telling it like it is” and this interview was no exception. Ventura spoke about his new book “Don’t Start The Revolution Without Me”, today’s political scene, why he’s not running for president and more. Some highlights:
— Hogan’s Family on Television: “I would never exploit my family to that level.”
— ‘Uncomfortable’ Pictures of Hulk Hogan and Brooke: “He reminds me of a pimp”
— Hillary Clinton as President: “I think she’s qualified to be president, but here’s my rub on it. Are we a dual monarchy?”
— Vince McMahon‘s Lack of Courage: “I pitched an entire angle to McMahon for this year’s WrestleMania….I’ll tell the truth to you. After I flew out there and met with him and went back, he never even returned a phone call to say no. I didn’t feel good. I feel like he dissed me and should have at least given me a phone call to say no…I never thought I’d say that Vince McMahon lacks courage. but here, I’ll say it. Vince McMahon lacks courage.
* In his latest column on ECW.com, Matt Striker reviews the Flair vs. HBK and Taker vs. Edge matches at WrestleMania, which in his opinion, are two of the greatest matches of all-time.
* There has been talk of turning CM Punk heel, but since his merchandise is selling far better than someone in his position should be selling, some believe that he should be built up higher as a babyface. There has also been talk of Punk switching brands.
* It was announced just a short while ago at today’s SmackDown/ECW taping in London that Mike Adamle is the new play-by-play announcer for ECW. He will be calling tonight’s entire ECW broadcast with Tazz.
With Adamle in as the new play-by-play annnouncer for ECW, Joey Styles is obviously out. However, Styles’ services will be retained by the company. WWE plans on moving him to an undetermined area within the organization.
* On WWE’s auction site, Raw Diva Ashley Massaro‘s signed worn underwear & wrestling outfit from WrestleMania 23 garnered a total of 58 bids and fetched nearly $1,000 — $952.50 to be exact — which is the highest figure for an item on the site in a while.
* Samoa Joe‘s TNA contract status has been the subject of discussion for several months. Last week, Joe took part in a media conference call and said that his TNA contract was expiring soon. We can confirm that Joe’s comments were intended to play into the TNA storyline that Joe was unhappy with his TNA deal. In reality, Joe is signed to a longterm deal and will be with TNA for at least the next year.
However, PWInsider.com reports that an issue did arise recently surrounding the ownership and usage rights of the Samoa Joe name and character. Joe owns the name and character, however TNA wanted to have exclusive rights to license the name in the future. This would prevent Joe from going to another company in the future as “Samoa Joe”. This issue has come up with the company before – with Low Ki (changed to “Senshi” in TNA) and Amazing Kong (now “Awesome Kong” in TNA).
The dispute went on for several weeks but has now been resolved – with Joe retaining the licensing rights to his name and character.
* TNA wrestler Kevin Nash was asked to compare the differences in working for TNA and WWE. “It’s a miserable existence,” Nash said of life in World Wrestling Entertainment. Nash then gives props to TNA president Dixie Carter. “Dixie Carter and the people that run the company have a different philosophy. It’s also just the working environment — there’s a lot less pressure. Our boss cares about the guys. She wants us to be healthy. And she feels if it evens the playing field, than nobody has an advantage and guys will live longer.”
* There is a video on Justin.tv in which a guy has his webcam turned on and is shown talking to Raw wrestlers Val Venis and Hardcore Holly on the phone. The host asks Venis which wrestling women he has had sexual relations with; Venis names Sable, Ryan Shamrock and a pre-Austin Debra McMichael. When talking about Sable, Holly is heard yelling in the background calling Venis a liar. Venis notes that Steve Austin hates him because he got Debra before he did. Venis also notes “Kat” as the one Diva currently on the WWE roster in which he would like to get with, calling her “a tough egg to crack.”
Venis then passes the phone over to Holly, but not before he says the name of the show in his trademark Val Venis voice. The phone call occurred right before the start of WWE’s international tour last week, as Holly said he was going on a tour of Europe for two weeks “tomorrow.” During the phone chat, the host asks him if he’s going to hook up with any European women during the tour, and Holly retorts with insults, calling them nasty, saying they don’t bath, generally smell bad, and don’t use deodorant.
* Paul Heyman is back with another column at The Sun. This week, he blasts WWE for their decision to replace Joey Styles with Mike Adamle as the play-by-play man for ECW television. You can read the entire column at this link.
Here are some quotes from Heyman:
— “Adamle’s performance was so terrible, it drew an intense reaction from even casual fans who couldn’t possibly care less, and who were ready to take a baseball bat and smash their television sets after listening to his butchering of the program.”
— “Adamle is horrible. No one likes him. People at home actually loathe his presence on the show. AND THAT’S EXACTLY THE SORT OF PASSIONATE RESPONSE VINCE McMAHON IS LOOKING FOR!!! Do you really think Vince doesn’t realize how incompetent this tra-la-la-goon-de-yay of an announcer is?
* Rhaka Khan has a lot of heat on her over a debacle involving TNA trading cards.
In an unrelated issue, officials let the WWE Hall of Fame deal slide because she’s relatively new to the business and probably didn’t know better. Officials told TNA employess to not attend the event, but she did anyway.
TNA recently signed a trading cards deal, and everyone on the roster had to autograph 1,000 trading cards bearing their likeness. Everyone on the roster did it at a recent taping, with the exception of Khan, and one or two other bigger stars, who promised to Fed-Ex them because they didn’t want to sign all of the cards right then and there. Khan did indeed Fed-Ex the cards a few days later.
The head of the trading card company contacted TNA and was said to be furious. The head was upset because some of the signatures didn’t match and believed that someone else forged Khan’s signatures. What happened is, ‘Rhaka’ was misspelled on some of the cards, as was ‘Khan’ on others.
When confronted about it, Khan explained that she got tired of signing all those cards and changed her signature midway. Jeff Jarrett made the call to eliminate Rhaka Khan from the upcoming trading card set.
* Jim Ross in his latest blog:
Howard Stern saying he would not vote for a President that watches wrestling: “Seems like a strange thing for Stern to say. Apparently, Stern has a very low opinion of the wrestling business. Now that’s irony coming from Stern, who is one of the last guys I thought would have an antiquated, wrestling bias.”
* TNA Knockout Velvet Sky, or rather her butt, will be featured in a scene for an upcoming movie called Walkaways. One of the male characters will be walking down the sidewalk checking out girls’ butts and Sky’s butt will be one of the derrieres checked out. The film starts shooting in June.
* PWTorch.com reports that a book scheduled to be released on July 15 by Phoenix Books titled “Ring of Hell” includes a section that talks about Michael Hayes‘ history of using racist language in the workplace. According to the book, Hayes’ racism wasn’t aimed at just at blacks, but also WWE writer Ranjan Chhibber. Hayes reportedly called Chhibber, who is Indian, a “sand n—–.” An anonymous source is quoted as saying: “Bruce Prichard [Brother Love] and Michael Hayes would also routinely make racist jokes. I heard them use the “n” word a few times.”
Hayes was suspended recently for racist comments.
* Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that while overseas on WWE’s most recent European tour, former WWE Champion Randy Orton threw some food on some workers that woke him up at a hotel in Coruna.
* In his latest column for the UK Sun, Paul Heyman goes on a rant about how poorly TNA has marketed Samoa Joe since he won the TNA Title earlier this month. He does a pretty good job explaining the various problems with the way TNA promotes their product and how the company does absolutely nothing to emphasize their unique strengths.
Heyman says, “The live crowd, for the most part, loved [Joe & Kurt Angle‘s MMA-style match]. Customer satisfaction with the TNA product probably reached an all time high with this match. And yet, NOTHING CHANGED!”
He continues, “Why? Because TNA had no marketing campaign behind their new champion. ‘Crossing the Line’ was done by ECW in 1994. David Sahadi is a genius whose videos deserve massive praise, but the theme is the same as what he did for WWE a half decade ago. What public relations firm was hired to make Samoa Joe ‘the IT guy’ in today’s pop culture? What marketing firm was retained to get the TNA name out there? … Where’s the expansion? Where’s the reach-out for the new audience? Where’s the strategy to blast past the 1.0 ratings and target a 1.5, dare I say a “2.0” rating?
* Michael Hayes is still being kept in the loop of creative issues in the company via e-mail during his 60-day suspension for using a racial slur towards Mark Henry during WrestleMania weekend.
* As noted earlier, a person by the name of Matthew Randazzo plans on writing a book on WWE called “Ring of Hell.” It will be released in July by Phoenix Books. The book will chronicle the use of racial slurs on the part of WWE executives in the workplace. One WWE writer told Randazzo: “Brother Love and Michael Hayes would also routinely make racist jokes. I heard them use the ‘n’ word a few times.”
Randazzo also claimed that a WWE production member asked him to release the following statement anonymously:
Michael Hayes 60-day suspension for allegedly making racist comments comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever worked with him. Since Stephanie McMahon took over the reigns of Creative, bringing him on-board after Russo and Ferrera left for WCW, Hayes has been a racist boor making n-jokes at every writers’ meeting — until one day that he was shocked and offended that Stephanie hired an African-American Writer’s Assistant in 2003.
Stephanie called this talented young man in for an interview while Hayes was on holiday since she knew that Hayes being on the interview panel would have led to Hayes saying something racist and causing a lawsuit even before the African American candidate for the job was hired (every potential writer is interviewed by every sitting member of the writing teams of all shows in a panel format, prior to meeting with Stephanie). He was eventually hired.
When Hayes found out that an African-American was hired for the job, he thought that he was being ribbed. He said to someone who used to work at the WWE at the time who wishes to remain anonymous: ‘Hired WHAT as a writer? I didn’t know those boys can even write their name. Let’s take bets on how long he will last here.’ Needless to say, the African-American writer lasted less than 4 months at WWE Creative, with Hayes constantly burying him to Stephanie; and he actually made racist jokes in front of the said writer. The writer never made a formal complaint, which boggles the mind, and it allowed Hayes to continue on in his position.
Since the African-American writer, at least two other visible minorities have been hired by Stephanie, and always when Hayes is on vacation. Only one has survived more than 6 months, and that is current writer Dave Kapoor, who is of East-Indian descent. For the record, Hayes has made fun of him constantly whenever Kapoor isn’t around, calling him and The Great Khali ‘Our two resident sand-[n-words].’
Several other people within WWE backed up this and other stories regarding Hayes this past week.
– Tune back in next time for more Dirt Sheet History as we continue 2008.
Stories are credited from Rajah, PWTorch, PWInsider and The Wrestling Observer. Month name photo art is by Phillip Martin.
All past editions of Dirt Sheet History are found here.