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 2009, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from April of 2009 as we read Dirt Sheet History.
Reminder that you can find all past editions of Dirt Sheet History looking at 2004 through 2008 right here. Now enjoy April 2009!
* SmackDown announcer Tazz is gone from World Wrestling Entertainment. His WWE contract expired today and he will not be at WrestleMania on Sunday.
The buzz in the WWE locker room last night was that Tazz gave WWE officials notice a few weeks ago that he would not be renewing his deal. He is leaving on good terms.
Tazz reportedly had been telling friends that he is burnt out and needs some time to recharge his batteries. That said, the door is still open for him to explore other options, including TNA Wrestling, Ring of Honor or even UFC.
* Bret Hart was asked about his voice-over cameo on an episode of The Simpsons.
“One of my funny little stories about The Simpsons is that they didn’t want me to do my voice. That wasn’t supposed to be Bret Hart. They just wanted me to do the voice of a wrestler,” Hart said.
“Well, what happened was that I was supposed to be The Mad Viking or something like that. And I said “Can’t I be Bret Hart?” I kept trying to get them to let me be Bret Hart, and they finally said “Take it or leave it. Do the voice or we’ll get somebody else.” So, I said I’d do it. I flew all the way in from Europe to do it. It was just a payday for me. I didn’t care. I just had a couple of lines, and they just wanted me to keep doing them madder and madder. I did it every possible way I could think of. Then we were done, I was waiting for my limo to come get me, and I was doing a little mini autograph session outside Fox Studios. I signed autographs for about two hundred people who were just on their lunch break and wanted stuff signed like magazines, action figures and all kinds of stuff. And that’s when the director came up and said “I had no idea you were this big of a name in wrestling. If we haven’t done the artwork, we’re going to draw you in as you.”
* Regarding plans for the ECW Championship at WrestleMania XXV, well, there aren’t any.
Unless plans change just before the show (or they do a dark match), ECW Champion Jack Swagger will not be defending his belt at the big show.
Vince McMahon lost faith in Swagger after his lackluster outing with Finlay at No Way Out. While McMahon still wants to push him, they don’t feel he’s ready for live television quite yet.
* World Wrestling Entertainment(R) set a new record tonight at Reliant Stadium in Houston for the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania, grossing $6.9 million in revenue. This is the highest grossing live event in WWE history. With 72,744 in attendance, the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania surpassed SuperBowl XLIII in Tampa (70,774 attendance). WWE(R) fans from all 50 states, 24 countries and 7 Canadian Provinces attended the pop culture extravaganza.
* Most everyone backstage felt the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels last night at WrestleMania tore the house down. There was also a lot of talk backstage on how great Ricky Steamboat looked for his age in his match with Chris Jericho.
The other big topic backstage was on how poorly the Randy Orton vs. Triple H main event match came off, both in the ring and with how it was booked. Although, many feel the creative team has something planned to get the title onto Orton tonight.
* Hulk Hogan says he was recently approached by VH1 to star in a reality TV dating show similar to Bret Michaels’ “Rock of Love” and Flavor Flav’s “Flavor of Love.” Although both shows have drawn big ratings for the cable channel, Hogan, who split with wife Linda back in 2007, said, “I passed on it. That’s not my deal brother. It’d have to be ‘Hulk Hogan: 55 and Still Alive on Viagra’ or something.”
* In case you missed it, while Rey Mysterio was making his ring entrance for his match against John Bradshaw Layfield at WrestleMania, Jim Ross apparently took a dig at deceased actor Heath Ledger.
During Mysterio’s entrance, Jerry Lawler asked if he was paying tribute to Heath Ledger’s Joker — due to the design of his mask. Ross replied, “At least Rey’s career is alive and well.”
* According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Ring of Honor’s Bryan Danielson is looking to pursue a career in Mixed Martial Arts when his ROH contract expires in May. The American Dragon has been training five hours a day at the Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, and plans to continue his training in Thailand this summer.
* While Kevin Nash always keeps his cool and acts like things rolls off his back, he was visibly furious at last week’s set of Impact tapings over what Eric Bischoff recently said about him. His former boss WCW called “Big Lazy” in a recent interview.
* As reported earlier today, Hulk Hogan made a controversial statement in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying his messy split with wife Linda has him feeling like O.J. Simpson.
“I could have turned everything into a crime scene, like O.J., cutting everybody’s throat,” Hogan said. “You live half a mile from the 20,000-square-foot home you can’t go to anymore, you’re driving through downtown Clearwater and see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, and you know that a 19-year-old boy is sleeping in your bed, with your wife…
“I totally understand O.J. I get it.”
Hogan has since backtracked on the statement as his P.R. rep, Elizabeth Rosenthal, told E! News that he “in no way condones the O.J. situation.”
* Jim Ross has posted his latest random thoughts blog and commented on the following:
— On Todd Grisham comparing Tommy Dreamer to the Brooklyn Brawler during Raw: Todd Grisham and your truly, to a lesser degree, have been taken to task by some fans of Tommy Dreamer for remarks made Monday night on Raw. I had mentioned that Dreamer was a legend and particularly an ECW Legend when Todd with tongue in cheek said if Tommy was a legend then so was the Brooklyn Brawler of which I agreed. Brawler has worked for WWE 26 years without being fired once which is in wrestling is astonishing. Bottom line is that I have great respect for Dreamer and for Brawler. It isn’t just guys who have headlined major PPV’s or have toured the world as NWA Champion back in the day that deserve to be called a legend or who have earned respect from their peers. Both Dreamer and Brawler have made significant contributions in their own way to wrestling and my hat is off to both of them. Many times on TV things are said for entertainment purposes only and are merely attempts at humor and, honestly, some times our best efforts fall short. Please take attempts at wrestling humor and tongue in cheek remarks with a grain of salt or, better said, “Lighten Up Francis.”
* Ted DiBiase revealed at a speaking engagement at the Boys and Girls Club in Tomah, Wisconsin on Friday that his son, Ted DiBiase, Jr., will be turning babyface this fall or before Christmas to promote The Marine 2 film. The direct-to-video action film is currently in post-production and slated to be released late last year or early next year.
During the speaking engagement, DiBiase recalled a conversation he had with Randy Orton a few years ago in which the leader of Legacy told him he was a better wrestler than John Cena and asked him why he didn’t have the title. DiBiase said Orton had been dealing with personal problems in the past, but he now has a wife, a child, and has started to ask him about Jesus Christ.
* Jeff Hardy, one of the top babyface acts in World Wrestling Entertainment, might be on his way out of the company in the coming months.
Hardy’s contract expires this summer and WWE has been pushing hard to sign him to a new deal. So far, Jeff Hardy has turned down several lucrative offers from the company – including a new long-term deal and a 1-year contract extension.
Much of the Matt vs. Jeff storyline has been dictated by Jeff’s current contract negotiations. With Jeff likely on his way out of the company, WWE is booking Matt to come out of the feud looking strong.
Jeff Hardy is said to be interested in getting away from the hectic lifestyle of a pro wrestler and wants to spend some time living on his own terms.
* TNA has been actively papering tonight’s Lockdown pay-per-view in Philadelphia, including giving away free tickets (“no strings attached”) to readers of Outsports.com.
* Bobby Lashley arrived backstage at TNA Lockdown on Sunday night at about 10:00 PM Eastern, just moments before his debut with the company. The former ECW World Champion’s debut was kept secret by everyone in TNA. Lashley appeared at the top of the entrance ramp at the conclusion of the Lethal Lockdown match while everyone in the ring looked on with shock, except Kurt Angle, who was smiling.
* There were various reports this week that former WWE tag team champion Paul London was scheduled to wrestle at this week’s TNA iMPACT! tapings in Orlando. London was set to team with former TNA X-Division champion Amazing Red as part of a new tag team. When London did not show up for the show, it fueled speculation that his TNA run was “over before it began.” We’ve received word that London has pulled canceled several upcoming independent bookings for this weekend, citing a back injury. Amazing Red was backstage and ready to work before TNA received word Paul London wouldn’t be there.
* HDNet, home of Ring of Honor’s weekly television show, has released a commercial featuring Ric Flair telling fans that ROH is second to none and to tune in for his ROH TV debut on May 2nd.
* There was some backstage heat on WWE Women’s Champion Melina for openly complaining about being drafted to SmackDown last week. Her complaints about being moved to the blue brand have generally drawn eye-rolling and laughter from the wrestlers, who feel she had to know it was a possibility to be drafted just like everyone else.
The three-time WWE Women’s Champion has worked hard to improve her reputation in the locker room in the last year or so, but she is once again upsetting people with her behavior.
* Torrie Wilson will be a part of the upcoming NBC reality show I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!.
* WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart was interviewed by Sky Sports in Great Britain while on his overseas book tour. Here’s what the Hitman said about:
Writing His Book: “In a lot of ways the writing was really cathartic for me. I tried to let it take its own course. I never rushed anything. I found myself putting a full day just into writing a whole page.”
The Montreal Screwjob: “For me I don’t really have much issue with it anymore. If you asked me that up until probably about a year ago I’d have probably said something different. But I’ve cooled off a bit now. I don’t want to carry it around anymore. If [Shawn Michaels] wanted to apologize I would accept it. I’d move on but I wouldn’t forget it.”
Inducting Shawn Michaels into the WWE Hall of Fame: “Maybe if he wants to make himself feel better about it he should have the guts to pick up the phone and apologize. Then we’ll see after that.
Did He Take the Business Too Seriously?: “Maybe I did take it all a bit too serious. But that’s what made me special and hopefully makes people remember me as someone who was passionate about what I did and what I thought wrestling was really all about.”
* TNA Knockouts Rhaka Khan and Roxxi are currently serving unofficial 60-day suspensions as punishment for their involvement in a backstage altercation at an Impact taping last month, reports The Sun.
Roxxi reportedly felt Khan had worked too stiff with her during their match earlier that day, resulting in her getting a black eye.
* Former WCW star Buff Bagwell is working on an autobiography entitled Gladiators Don’t Cry.
* As reported over the weekend, there are four WWE developmental wrestlers in Florida Championship Wrestling that have a very good chance of being called up to the main roster in the near future. They are DH Smith, Eric Escobar (a.k.a. Eric Perez), Sheamus O’Shaunessy, and Drew McIntyre.
– Tune back in next time for more Dirt Sheet History as we continue looking at 2009.
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.