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.
Since our first edition of Dirt Sheet History was so well received, we decided to bring it back and make it a regular feature! The first edition was about Wrestlemania XX in 2004. It’s unsure whether this will be done in a timeline sense going forward like this one will be or if we’ll stick to themes like the past one breaking down the month of Wrestlemania XX but either way, it will be fun.
Since we scouted parts of 2004, we followed through with the rest of the big scoops from that year. These are the funniest, most interesting and most relevant stories reported on the dirt sheets in 2004.
* As we have reported earlier, Maven had knee surgery on January 27th and is expected to be back in time for WrestleMania 20. WWE is ready to give Maven a push leading into WrestleMania. Before his injury, he appeared to be turning heel and is expected to become the newest member of Evolution when he returns.
* Ed “Brutus the Barber Beefcake” Leslie caused an anthrax scare last night in Boston. Leslie had been working as a fare collector at a subway and left a bag of cocaine unattended. The first assumption by those who found it was that the powder was anthrax. Leslie later admitted that the powder was cocaine and that it was his.
(As mentioned before, the best March stories are already covered here.)
* NWA-TNA has finalized a deal with Fox Sports Net or they are very close to striking one. The first show is expected to air in June. TNA Management are confident of the deal by already saying, “Once we get on Fox Sports Net” when talking about plans.
Once the deal has been finalized, the plan is to drop the weekly PPVs. The company would run a show on Thursday’s and a PPV once a month on Sunday.
* Jim Ross (J.R.) has moved to the new role of Executive Vice President, Business Strategies. In this role, Jim will work closely with Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman, as an adviser on WWE’s core business, as well as new business endeavors. He will continue as the famous “black hat” announcer on WWE Monday Night RAW.
John Laurinaitis has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Relations and will assume all the responsibilities of the Talent Relations Department.
* Slam! Wrestling reports that the Eugene character is based on a real “mentally challenged” boy who attends WWE events in the Northeast. The boy was apparently ridiculed by WWE employees behind his back.
* Chris Jericho has been very vocal in the pre-RAW meetings lately and has said the wrestlers deserve credit for the business and strong ratings the RAW brand has received lately. He was later scolded for this as one wrestler stated, “Triple H doesn’t want anyone getting public credit for anything other than himself.” Obviously, the political atmosphere in the RAW locker room remains strong as does HHH’s influence.
* New Japan owner and wrestling legend Antonio Inoki challenged WWE to take them on at the Strong Energy 2004 show on Saturday. Inoki said that he wants to challenge WWE and that American wrestling promotions are in a state of depression. Inoki went on to say that WWE should not be the leading force in the industry and New Japan will soon take that spot away. He has mandated his staff to contact all former WWE talent, including Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar to achieve the goal of being the new wrestling leader of the world.
* With Triple H and Shawn Michaels battling in a Hell In A Cell match at the upcoming Bad Blood PPV, this has sparked controversy as many feel that Triple H used his political prowess to set this match up so he could be in the main event slot even though he doesn’t hold the World Heavyweight Title.
* Bruce Prichard pitched the idea of Mordecai to Vince McMahon and the Undertaker, and when both liked the idea, it stuck. The long term plan is to feud Mordecai with the Undertaker.
* While most in the WWE locker rooms have only good things to say about Shawn Michaels, there are those select few who are skeptical of HBK’s new found religious beliefs. Those people have inferred that Michaels uses his religious beliefs to manipulate people into giving him what he wants. One such skeptic was quoted saying “If he really believes in Jesus so much, shouldn’t he be donating all of the money he makes from those t-shirts with the religious symbols on them to a church or a religious youth group or something?”
* FX Network executives were very impressed with the debut of TNA Impact! last week and are interested in giving the show a prime time slot on their network. FX and FOX Sports Network are owned by the same company so if the move did happen it would be done quickly.
* Chris Benoit and Edge are scheduled to headline Vengeance and SummerSlam. This plan could change if Triple H decides that he would like to headline either show against Chris Benoit. (Editor’s note: Vengeance 2004 was main evented by Chris Benoit vs. Triple H. Summerslam 2004 was main evented by Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton.)
* WWE is reportedly cracking down on e-fed websites for copyright infringement. There are talks that the WWE is now considering launching their own form of “fantasy wrestling.”
* Despite being a veteran and having the WWE Title, Bradshaw is not seen as a locker room leader to most Smackdown wrestlers. “Not that he’s not a likeable guy, though. He’s just not particularly respected as a guy to head the charge, so to speak,” said one wrestler. Most preferred the leadership of Kurt Angle, since he not only spoke to the talent about in-ring wrestling, but also would give advice on how to deal with management.
* Edge getting booed at last night’s PPV in his match against Randy Orton has not been an isolate incident for WWE recently. There continues to be serious talk in turning Edge heel in the near future in matching him up against Benoit. There is also serious talk that they may repackage Edge with a new look, new haircut, and new attitude.
* Jim Ross recently went on record and used the word “challenging” to describe several aspects of the Great American Bash PPV which fell far below anyone’s expectations. He stated that Kenzo Suzuki, Luther Reigns, and Mordecai weren’t established yet and not ready for PPVs. He gave the overall PPV a slight thumbs down.
* Last weekend, Jonathan Coachman spent most of his time complaining about his ingrown toenail to anyone who would listen.
* Many people backstage believe that Randy Orton‘s quick face turn was a result of Triple H pushing for it to happen. The feeling is that Triple H feels that Orton may not be able to handle being a face on his own and WWE officials would then be forced to take the title off him and put it back on Triple H.
* Triple H was responsible for putting Sean “X-Pac” Waltman into rehab and in a strange twist, on the way there, the duo ran into Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, who proceeded to verbally abuse Triple H.
* At a talent meeting last week, Chris Jericho, Edge, and Molly Holly all spoke out against the new WWE dress code that requires wrestlers to wear slacks and a shirt to the arenas, on flights, etc.
Jericho said that the dress code is inconvenient, and it takes away from the wrestler’s individuality. He added that WWE markets their wrestlers as unique individuals, but then wants them to all dress alike and have fans view them as conformists.
Edge said that it looks just as bad to fans to see wrestlers sitting in a coach as it does to see them in casual clothes. Molly added that it looks bad when four or five wrestlers are sitting in a rental car.
Jericho asked if Steve Austin would have ever expected to follow the dress code since he came to the arenas in jeans with one of his “Stone Cold” t-shirts on.
Triple H is one wrestler who has no problem with the dress code since he always dresses up as a way of living his character, something Ric Flair has been doing for decades.
* Many backstage are concerned about Eddie Guerrero. The feeling backstage is that Guerrero is showing signs of stress and is close to breaking down because of matters in WWE and outside the company.
Some believe Guerrero is being very hard on himself because of financial mistakes he has made in the past, and he also feel his reign as WWE Champion ended because of low ratings and poor attendance.
* The original plan for the Randy Orton vs. Triple H match at Unforgiven was for Orton to walk away as the champion, and become a long-term champion. The reason behind the change is that WWE feels Orton can be more effective as a contender, rather then holding the title. Management feels that Orton is not over enough as a face to hold the World Title. The plan is to have him chase after the title and begin to build up fan support.
* Shane McMahon was not backstage at Unforgiven, which was surprising to many, because Shane attends all PPV’s and RAW events that follow them the next night. Many backstage like to keep a close eye on Shane, because it was believed for a long long time that Shane would be running the company by the ago of 40. However, more and more it looks as though his sister Stephanie and Triple H are looking like they will be running the company in the future. As of now, Stephanie has much more power than Shane as far as things go with the WWE at this point.
* Most are now saying that the scuffle between Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle can be mostly attributed to Guerrero’s stress levels being so high lately. Guerrero is said to be running on fumes as of late, both due to exhaustion and stress. The fight between the two is said to be described as a fight between “brothers” because normally both men get along so well backstage.
Angle was openly apologetic after the incident occured. Another factor leading into the incident is that both men are so intense and it takes them several minutes to cool down after their segments on television once they get backstage. Angle is unapproachable for up to 45 minutes before his segments as he gets into the mindset for his character. All is said to be good and well between the two men this week however.
* The Christy Hemme lesbian kiss on RAW with Lilian Garcia last week was perceived as some as a form of punishment for her actions on the European Trip. Lillian partied too hard and missed her bus to the airport the next morning.
* Paul Heyman would like to trade Kurt Angle to the RAW brand for Chris Benoit. The reason behind this is that Heyman would like to separate Angle and Undertaker, who have been playing politics in the Smackdown locker room.
One pro in Kurt Angle moving to RAW would be the potential of a dream match with Shawn Michaels.
* Bill Goldberg was reportedly kicked out of the Playboy Mansion last week after making his way into an off limits area of the mansion. He was told by security to leave at which point he apparently got upset and confrontational.
* Triple H has been talking with WWE management about making the Survivor Series RAW Brand elimination match a war games match. This match has never been done in WWE. Triple H was a big fan of NWA while growing up and always wanted to take part in a war games match.
* Vince McMahon has never been a fan of wrestling websites or dirtsheets and his official policy with his TV writers is that he “doesn’t let them read the internet or newsletters”. Of course most if not all do, however nobody is allowed to discuss what they read publicly. McMahon’s reasoning is that these outlets have to sell subscriptions or get visitors so they must make everything negative to do so.
* Hulk Hogan was recently backstage at the TNA PPV and his presence caused a bit of scene with Randy Savage, who apparently legitimately does not like Hogan. According to people backstage, Hogan approached Savage and tried to smooth things over – even offering the “I love you, brother” line. Savage for his part would have none of it and blew Hogan off, refusing to even shake his hand.
* A report from backstage at Monday’s RAW indicates that Mick Foley and Ric Flair were involved in a scuffle at the event.
Shortly before RAW went live, Ric Flair approached Mick Foley and offered a handshake; Foley declined. The latter then, in a remark that did not meet Flair’s approval, made a comment to Flair about an autographed copy of his autobiography. Flair responded by throwing a punch at Foley, and according to reports, the punch did land. The fight was broken up before it could escalate any further.
* It is said that Stephanie McMahon was the main catalyst in having Paul Heyman removed from the Smackdown! writing team with encouragement from Brian Gerwitz. Vince McMahon originally put Heyman on the writing team, despite the wishes of Stephanie. It is not known exactly what “caused” Heyman to be pulled off the team, but it could have been something as small as Heyman saying he was disappointed that Taz lost to HHH on Raw (on the ECW DVD) since it is widely known that both HHH & Stephanie’s ego’s are very fragile.
* As of right now, Triple H is still scheduled to face Randy Orton at WrestleMania 21 and John Cena is the likely candidate to face JBL.
It could still mean however, that neither Cena or Orton win the Royal Rumble. The WWE could change their minds before then, they could also have a controversial finish where there is no clear winner, or they may even have someone else win and later loose their rights to a match at WrestleMania at a later date.
Stories are credited from Rajah, PWTorch and The Wrestling Observer.