• Dirt Sheet History: July 2007 (Benoit Aftermath)

    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 June 2007 featuring the Benoit tragedy, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from July of 2007 and the aftermath as we read Dirt Sheet History.

    Reminder that you can find all past editions of Dirt Sheet History looking at 2004 through 2006 right here. Now enjoy July 2007.

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    7/1/2007

    * There is some talk that one researcher is interested in looking at Chris Benoit‘s brain to see if years of head injuries and trauma may have played a part in this story. However, the problem is that Benoit’s brain may not be in any shape to be examined as he was dead for several hours in 93 degree weather. One source claimed that his brain was “in no condition to be looked at” as it was probably virtually liquefied.

    * This past weekend in Tokyo, Japan, TNA World Champion Kurt Angle defeated Brock Lesnar to capture the IWGP Title at the debut show of Antonio Inoki’s new IGF promotion. Angle defeated Lesnar in 11 minutes with his trademark finisher, the anklelock.

    The new IGF promotion (INOKI GENOME FEDERATION) has an mixed martial arts twist to it – with competitors wearing open-fingered gloves and the matches having no count-outs.

    Angle started strong early on, giving Lesnar several German Suplexes in a row. Lesnar managed to ground Angle and put him a headlock for a few moments, before Angle powered out of it. They both teased doing their finishes in the first part of the match, with each managing to escape from the others’ finish. The end of the match came when Lesnar managed to F5 Angle, then placed Angle in an ankle Kurt managed to roll out of it, reversed the move and placing Lesnar in the ankle lock. Lesnar tapped and Kurt Angle is the new IWGP Champion.

    After the match, Brock Lesnar challenged Angle to a re-match under mixed martial arts rules. With Brock Lesnar now a legit MMA competitor and Kurt Angle stating many times that he is interested in entering the world of MMA, it is very possible we will see the two face off in a worked MMA-style match.

    7/2/2007

    * It appears as if Triple H is having second thoughts on his proposed upcoming return feud with Randy Orton. The original plan was for The Game to return in a main event feud with his former Evolution member and work a match against him at the end of the summer at WWE’s SummerSlam pay-per-view. However, Triple H is now pushing for Orton to get a run with the WWE title.

    Triple H’s reasoning for not wanting to return in a feud with Orton is because he feels that Orton is the top heel character on RAW and it would kill his momentum if he should come back and beat The Legend Killer. Furthermore, Triple H thinks that John Cena would benefit more from losing the title as he has been getting a lot of resentment boos from fans that are tired of him as champion. From a business aspect, a program with John Cena chasing Randy Orton for the title would probably be more profitable.

    The feeling now is that Triple H’s feud with Randy Orton will be delayed for one of the other four major pay-per-views whether it be Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, or WrestleMania.

    * Paul London was nearly fired over his name being listed as the source of the Survivor information getting out. However, Ashley went to management and asked them not fire London, which helped save him. She said that he didn’t know he was talking with anyone with a website, which is true, and that he didn’t intentionally leak the info. London also got in trouble for having that big smile on his face when Vince McMahon walked to his “death.” The talent didn’t know what was going on, but they were told to treat the situation as serious and real, and the feeling is that London did the exact opposite of the instructions.

    7/3/2007

    * While the Vince McMahon “Death” angle has been dropped by WWE, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports in its latest edition that the last plan for the storyline was that Vince would have returned in the summer saying he faked his own death. He would then reveal an accomplice – several names were discussed for the role, with Mr. Kennedy looking like the best fit, as WWE wanted to build a monster heel character off the storyline. As far as the 6/25 RAW show – which ended up being a 3-hour tribute to Chris Benoit – the company had brought in a casket (a little eerie having in mind the Benoit family tragedy the same day), flowers, candles, and pictures of Vince that were going to be a part of a segment-filled show with everyone giving their own eulogy and thoughts of Vince. All talent was told to wear a black suit for the evening. The night was to end on a cliff hanger with the leading detective (“Mr. Beck”) making an arrest of the fake culprit, which would later turn out to be Linda McMahon in a knock on McMahon’s real-life dwellings with investigators.

    * Rey Mysterio may be the latest WWE superstar implicated in the federal government’s investigation into Dr. Astin’s improper steroid and drug prescriptions.

    Chris Benoit was not actually mentioned in Dr. Astin’s indictment. Astin was charged with seven counts of prescribing excessive amounts of anabolic steroids, Percocet, Xanax, Lorcet, and Vicoprofen to two individuals cited as “O.C.” and “M.J.” between April 2004 and September 2005. There is a great deal of speculation that the M.J. is Mark Jindrak and the O.C. is Oscar Guttierez (the real name of Rey Mysterio). Both Mysterio and Jindrak were part of the SmackDown! Brand during the cited time period and both were close with Benoit backstage.

    Prior to the Benoit tragedy, the Wrestling Observer written reported that WWE Creative originally planned for Rey Mysterio Jr. to make his return from injury at this week’s SmackDown! tapings, which took place in his home state in San Jose, California. Those plan were scrapped and Mysterio was not used on the show.

    * Hulk Hogan was interviewed this week by popular entertainment magazine US Weekly. Hogan said he was shocked when he heard about the Benoit family tragedy.

    Hulk Hogan, who last saw Chris Benoit in March, said “He was peaceful and kept to himself”. When asked about what he thinks pushed Benoit over the edge, Hogan said “I think it had to be something personal, a domestic problem between him and his wife.”

    Hogan had some bizarre claims about Chris Benoit’s deceased wife, Nancy. “She was into devil-worship stuff. It was part of her [wrestling] character, but [she was] somebody who gets so close to their character, someone who gets into their character too much. Sometimes these people believe their own publicity.

    7/4/2007

    * WWE 24/7 posted up the latest edition of the “Monday Night Wars” earlier tonight. The program featured the 2/10/97 WCW Monday Nitro and the 2/13/97 Raw (it aired on a Thursday night that year due to the annual dog show on the USA Network). The Raw episode featured the infamous segment in which Shawn Michaels relinquishes his championship belt and talks about “losing his smile.” Regarding the Nitro episode, the main event on the show was a match between Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael vs. Chavo Guerrero & Jeff Jarrett. They skipped that match and went straight to a Roddy Piper/nWo segment that closed out the show. The match was edited off the program that was posted on WWE 24/7 earlier tonight. So well, it looks like all Chris Benoit matches are going to be edited off of all programs posted on WWE 24/7 for the foreseeable future, if not forever.

    7/5/2007

    * It would be an understatement to say that both Ron Killings and Konnan ended their respective relationships with TNA on a very bitter note. After both walked out on the company, TNA management was upset at Killings for the money that he owed them for his knee surgery while they were equally upset with Konnan for walking out after the money they advanced him for his hip replacement.

    In Killings’ case, that was the only complaint. However, Konnan quit before a television taping that had already been written. TNA’s Terry Taylor contacted Konnan about the money and has apparently already threatened legal action against him.

    7/6/2007

    * The current backstage morale in Orlando can best be described as “terrible”. Most of the TNA roster (including top talent) is unhappy with how bad the booking has been for quite some time. There is no faith that the writing will improve any time soon and there is a shared consensus that changes are needed. With recent rumors that Jeff Jarrett is slated for another run with the TNA World title in the coming months, many are losing faith that the company is even on the verge of heading in the right direction.

    7/7/2007

    * Chris Jericho was interviewed by the Baltimore Sun newspaper last week and addressed the rumors about his return to the wrestling business.

    When asked why he retired from wrestling, Jericho corrected the reporter immediately. “When I left, I never said I was retiring. I just said I needed a break and I said when the time was right and I could come back better than ever, I would.”. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family (he and his wife had twins last year) as well as focus on his music and acting careers.

    Jericho explained that he has not yet made any official decisions about when he will return or for which company he will work for. He put over WWE, TNA and ROH – making it known that his future is not set in stone and we could realistically see him turn up anywhere.

    What Jericho did confirm is that if he returns, it will be a a full-time thing and not a 3-month “cameo”. He said, “When I come back, it’s to come back and make a difference and to play the game. I don’t really think guys coming in for special appearances and leaving really helps. If you come in for one show every two or three months, it’s a good nostalgia thing, but you really can’t make any forward progress.”

    7/8/2007

    * John Cena and Chris Jericho were in studio, while Bret Hart joined The Larry King Show via satellite.

    Owen Hart’s death was discussed

    – John Cena, Chris Jericho and Bret Hart talked about how they found out about the Chris Benoit tragedy and their reactions

    – Each of them described how demanding of a lifestyle it is to be a professional wrestler at the highest level.

    – A clip of Hulk Hogan from 2000 aired. Hogan talked about steroids in wrestling and how they became a big issue in the 80s when they were made illegal.

    – John Cena spoke to Larry King at length and came off very well as the top star of WWE.

    – A video package said USA Today determined pro wrestlers are 20 times more likely to die before age 45 than professional football players.

    Ted DiBiase and Steve Blackman joined the show and gave their colorful input on the whole situation.

    Marc Mero was originally scheduled to be on the show but was bumped for some unknown reason. Mero has been very outspoken on Nancy Grace about the need to capitalize on this opportunity to make the industry less destructive.

    – The entire 5 man panel addressed the issue that steroids were to blame for the tragedy. They all strongly defended the point that most of the countless wrestling deaths have been tied much more to pain pills and alcohol than steroids. This was a very heated segment.

    – The Dr. Astin situation was discussed. Everybody agreed that it has the potential to be a huge story.

    – Larry King interviewed the D.A. in charge of the Benoit case, Scott Ballard. Ballard said “only when toxicology reports come back will they be able to know for sure what contributed to the tragedies”

    – WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt joined the program and answered questions from callers.

    Overall it was an excellent program with a lot of key issues being discussed passionately.

    7/9/2007

    * Television and musical recording star Brooke Hogan has been the focus of a lot of tabloid buzz this past week. Several entertainment news shows and magazines have picked up the story that Hulk Hogan‘s daughter Brooke recently underwent breast enhancement surgery.

    7/10/2007

    * WWE has signed controversial indy star Teddy Hart, 27, to a developmental contract. Hart has already reported to Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa, Florida. Hart recently moved down to Tampa in hopes of landing a developmental contract with WWE. Looks like the move paid off.

    In 1998, Hart became the youngest person ever signed to a WWE developmental contract, and was sent to train with Dory Funk, Jr. at the “Funkin’ Dojo”. He was later released by WWE because of “attitude” problems.

    7/11/2007

    * The Chris Benoit situation was a senseless tragedy and has has affected countless people both in and out of the wrestling industry. The story has gained tremendous mainstream attention and its affect on the overall landscape of professional wrestling is not yet fully understood.

    However – it is clear within World Wrestling Entertainment that a “worst case scenario” would be major involvement by the United States government into their subculture. It now appears the worst may become a reality.

    Congressman Cliff Stearns, a republican from Florida, said 89 wrestlers had died before the age of 50 between 1985 and 2006, and he called on Congress to investigate.

    “This abnormally high number of deaths of young, fit athletes should raise congressional alarms,” Stearns said. “Congress needs to investigate the recent events and find out how big of a problem steroid use is in professional wrestling. Steroid use is a major public health problem that deserves Congress’ full attention.”

    Former pro wrestler , better known as Konnan, agrees with Cliff Stearns. “I welcome the congressman’s comments and I am definitely available to testify about the exploitation in wrestling. The wrestling life needs to be investigated. It’s a draconian work schedule. We’re on the road year-round. No other profession is that physical. At least touring rock bands get a few months to recuperate. Baseball players and football players get time off. But in wrestling, you can’t take time off to recuperate because you might wind up losing your job. If Congress thought baseball was bad, just wait until they look into wrestling. I hope they do it soon. People are dying.

    7/12/2007

    * The always outspoken Ken Kennedy has posted the following on his official web site, talking about the Chris Benoit tragedy, the WWE Wellness program, and how the mainstream media has been talking about the industry. Here is his full statement:

    Please GOD, I’m just BEGGING for someone who has actually wrestled in a WWE ring in the past decade besides Jericho, Bret Hart, John Cena, and Ted Dibiase to come forward on one of these shows and tell the world what’s really going on. For these goofs, like Lanny Poffo? Ultimate Warrior? and Marc Mero???!! to repeatedly act as “experts” and “wrestler advocates” on the current situation is like having a frustrated ex-jock who rode the pine bench throughout his high school sports career give advice to Brett Favre on how to improve his game! It’s ridiculous, insane, and it really makes me sick that these so called reporters like Bill O’Reilly, Nancy Grace, and Geraldo Rivera, call upon these silly bastards who are bitter and frustrated that their careers have ended to represent the WWE which of course makes all of us look like a bunch of babbling idiots who are all addicted to steroids, drugs, alcohol, etc. THINGS ARE MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THEY WERE FIVE OR TEN OR TWENTY YEARS AGO! Most of the “expert”, frustrated ex-wrestlers that they’ve had on the show came from an era where everyone wrestled every day and then went out and partied like rock stars until dawn, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, snorting cocaine, taking fistfuls of pills, and injecting massive amounts of steroids. They would take pills to go to sleep, snort coke or take speed to get up and do this day after day after day! This would not be even remotely tolerated in today’s environment. We have a strict drug policy in place. The WWE’s wellness program was designed and instituted by the same doctor who implemented the NFL and the NBA’s substance abuse programs. Contrary to what somebody recently said on one of these “tabloid” shows the WWE’s allowed levels are exactly the same as the NFL. (Someone, I can’t recall exactly who said it, said that the WWE allowed a 10:1 Testosterone to Epitestosterone level, which is false. We have a 4:1 level exactly like the NFL and the NBA.) In fact, I knew of someone who took an over the counter supplement from GNC which he didn’t know was on the banned list, which caused him to have an elevated testosterone level. This individual was suspended and fined because of it. We can’t even take Ephedrine which is another legal supplement that can be bought at any gas station in the country. Since I’ve been with the company, I’ve seen the few people that did have problems with drugs either sent to rehab to try and help them overcome their addictions, (sent to one of the top rehab facilities in the country and paid for in full by the WWE) or be fired for repeat offenses. Look at the list of wrestlers who have prematurely passed away over the years, and most of them made the decision to live their lives this way. That’s right, I said “made the decision” because we have this cool thing in the United States of America called “freedom of choice”. I have the choice to quit my job if I don’t like it, or if I feel that I’m on the road too much. I have the right to choose whether or not I want to break the law and use drugs. I have the right to choose between eating healthy food and exercising regularly and eating fast-food three times a day, not going to the gym, and becoming obese like a good majority of the citizens in this country. When will individuals be held accountable for their own actions? Will it ever happen, or will we always try and point the finger at someone else? Unfortunately as much as I respect the man, Superstar Billy Graham is ultimately responsible for the health problems he suffers from right now because of the choices he made in his career. I find it both sad and humorous that the man who many say is largely responsible for starting the whole “steroid craze” in pro-wrestling is now pointing the finger at the industry rather than blaming himself. I, like everyone else in the company, have the luxury of being able to go home almost every week, play with my dog, hang out with my girlfriend, sleep in my own bed, and eat good home cooked food. This wasn’t the case with these frustrated ex-wrestlers who are trying to grasp on to FIVE more minutes of fame and recognition. I hear some of these guys talking about how the WWE doesn’t have any type of benefits. I heard Johnny Grunge‘s widow on Nancy Grace saying that wrestling leaves you with nothing, and that two weeks after her husband was released from WCW that they lost their cars and their home. It apparently wasn’t obvious to Nancy Grace, who is reportedly an extremely intelligent person, that they were obviously living outside of their means, and they weren’t doing something that my parents taught me to do when I was a little kid…SAVE MONEY. This job pays well, but I know that it won’t last forever. It’s the same problem with pro athletes and actors in Hollywood who spend, spend, spend, like the money grows on trees and like it’s always going to be there, and then falls flat on their faces when their careers are suddenly cut short. Who’s fault? The team? The studio in Hollywood? I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for people who don’t save money and spend everything that they earn so they can impress everyone around them with all the NEAT THINGS that they own. As far as the having no health insurance thing goes, I’ve been seriously injured twice since I’ve been in the WWE. Every red cent has been paid for in full by the company, which is the case for any employee who is injured during a work or work-related event. Yes, I have my own supplemental insurance which is a bit expensive, but if WWE paid for it, I’m sure that, just like every other company in the country that offers health insurance to their employees, I would just be paid less, so it’s a wash! In the end, we are all responsible for our own actions. Saying that Vince McMahon is responsible for the deaths of the Benoit’s is like saying that you and I are responsible for the deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and her son. The millions of people who tuned in every week to be entertained by “how funny” she was when she was all PILLED up and DRUNK, suddenly became the same people who acted SHOCKED and APPALLED when she died of a drug overdose. Somebody, PLEASE, stop the insanity!!!! KK.

    7/13/2007

    * It appears as if former wrestling superstar Diamond Dallas Page is close to settling his trademark infringement lawsuit with hip hop mogul Jay-Z. The two sides reached a settlement in principle on June 15th after a lengthy period of mediation.

    7/14/2007

    * Rey Mysterio was originally scheduled to wrestle Edge at the Great American Bash, but a decision was made on Sunday, July 1 to pull him from the match. They gave the challenger’s role to Kane at the next night’s SmackDown taping instead. Vince made the call to pull him from the match for a number of reasons.

    Mysterio had given them the indication that he wouldn’t ready to return to the ring by the time of the Great American Bash pay-per-view. Rey is trying to push his return to August, as he feels he’ll be ready by then. However, he is getting pressure to return now because WWE officials believe that the SmackDown roster is thin.

    7/15/2007

    * Samoa Joe was recently offered a new contract from TNA, but he turned it down. This may turn into a big story or it may just be a leverage deal.

    According to a source in WWE, there is mild interest in him but it’s nowhere near a lock that he’d be signed. He’s not particularly tall, doesn’t have the WWE build, plus he wouldn’t be able to do most of his high impact stuff.

    One person compared him to Tazz, a guy that people raved about due to his work in ECW, but then when he got called up to WWE and all of his suplexes and such were taken away from him, he was just a short guy that ended up as an announcer within a few years. When Tazz first got called up, in fact, Vince McMahon took one look at him and almost ended his in-ring run before it started. Former WWE writer Chris Kreski, who died of cancer a year or so ago at age 42, pushed really hard for him and ended up getting him on TV at least for a period.

    One person did note that, worst case scenario, he could go to WWE and get a bad gimmick and probably no push, but then when that deal expired if TNA was still around he could go back there and just based on being a former WWE guy (see Tomko) probably get the biggest push of his career.

    The current plan for him in TNA is to continue to build up the Joe vs. Kurt Angle feud to culminate in a match for the title this fall. His current deal expires in a few months, so they may be building up towards a match that might never take place if he leaves before the PPV is booked.

    7/16/2007

    * Although the two sides never came close to reaching a deal, the odds of Bill Goldberg joining TNA dropped greatly this past week as Spike cancelled his show Bullrun. That pretty much ends his affiliation with the network. Whatever talks they had regarding Goldberg coming in always had the idea of Spike footing some of the salary like they did with Sting.

    7/17/2007

    * Although VH1 has not yet made an official announcement on the air date or cast for Season 7 of the popular reality series “The Surreal Life”, professional gambler Phil Hellmuth is confirmed as a contestant and has revealed his fellow cast members.

    Season 7 will feature wrestling legend “Macho Man” Randy Savage, actor Dabney Coleman, actress Nikki McKibbin, world renowned psychic Miss Cleo, commedian Carrot Top, and Phil Hellmuth.

    7/18/2007

    * Former ECW wrestler George “John Kronus” Caiazo was found dead today at his girlfriend’s apartment in New Hampshire. No other details are available at the moment. Kronus underwent a knee operation (possibly a knee replacement, which a few people said a few months that he was going to have) last week.

    7/19/2007

    * This week on ECW on Sci-Fi, ECW World Champion Johnny Nitro came out with a new look and a new ring name. Looking a lot like legendary rocker and deceased Doors frontman Jim Morrison, Nitro took the microphone and declared that from now on, he will be known as John Morrison.

    John Morrison, whose real name is actually John Hannigan, has used the “Johnny Nitro” ring name since debuting on RAW several years ago as then-RAW GM Eric Bischoff‘s nephew. After disappearing for a while, Nitro returned with Joey Mercury and Melina to form the very successful MNM tag team. With MNM dissolved, WWE wanted to truly give Nitro an identity of his own, albeit not a very original one.

    John Morrison will defend his ECW World Championship against CM Punk this Sunday on pay-per-view at the Great American Bash.

    7/20/2007

    * The New York Daily News has an article talking about WWE going into “spin mode” in an effort to deflect any theories that ‘roid rage might have contributed to Chris Benoit‘s gruesome rampage last month. They then talk about how World Wrestling Entertainment issued a hasty, yet inaccurate, statement to downplay the results of Benoit’s toxicology report on Tuesday that revealed that he had high levels of testosterone in his body during his murder-suicide rampage.

    The article also brings up Nancy Benoit‘s funeral last Saturday in Daytona Beach, Florida. According to a source, Nancy’s family is said to be outraged that WWE announcer Jim Ross attended the memorial service for her and son Daniel. According to a source, the family did not consider Ross to be an invited guest. They thought his attendance was a media ploy from WWE. They also weren’t too pleased with his “colorful entrance” to the funeral because he wore his cowboy hat to the place — though he did take his hat off upon entering the church. Here is what the article said regarding their quarrel with Jim Ross:

    The family of Nancy Benoit is infuriated with the WWE for allowing star announcer Jim Ross to attend the memorial service for Nancy and son Daniel in Daytona Beach, Fla. Saturday, according to a source. McMahon did not attend, but Ross did and was the only bold-faced name to stop and talk with reporters outside the Lady of Lourdes Church before the Catholic service. Ross made a point of quashing the steroid rumors.

    “This is not a steroid issue. That horse needs to be put in the barn and unsaddled. This was a domestic issue. There’s a lot of other criteria that has to be involved in it. I still can’t believe it even happened. It’s a domestic issue, but more than anything it’s a tragedy. This is not a steroid issue. It’s a mother and little boy, (they) are dead and that’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned,” Ross said Saturday.

    According to the source, Nancy’s parents Maureen and Paul Toffoloni and Nancy’s younger sister Sandra Toffoloni Sanchez did not consider Ross an invited guest, and were incensed that he made a colorful entrance, including his trademark black cowboy hat.

    “They thought it was a media ploy by the WWE,” the source told the News. “The way he stopped to talk with the media. He also sat in the back of the church and then was the first to leave after the service.” Media members were not allowed into the service.

    Ross responded to the ‘callous media story’ calling him out in a blog he posted on his official website last night. Ross does admit that he was never personally invited by Nancy Benoit’s family to attend the funeral. He then states: “…I never realized one had to be invited to attend any funeral service.” He noted that WWE asked him to represent the company at the services. Here is Ross’ response regarding the entire ordeal:

    Just a quick response to an article I was emailed that essentially hammered yours truly for attending the Benoit services last Saturday in Daytona. I was asked to attend the services of Nancy and Daniel Benoit by the WWE to represent the company and I did so willingly. At no time did I want or attempt to create the alleged “media stunt” that some ill informed journalist in New York City has written about. As reported, I did respectfully sit in the back of the church, but by no means was I the first to leave the church and walked out of the church, after the services had concluded, with Dean Malenko and Fit Finlay along with Vicki Guerrero. I did wear my hat, as I usually do when I leave my home for trips, but obviously not in the church. I spoke perhaps 60 seconds with the media as I was getting out of the car and out of the rain, while putting on my jacket, before entering the church and did not have a “press conference” nor had I planned on even talking to the media. I may have answered 2-3 questions at most. The media wanted to talk to me again after the service and I declined. I did not bring up the “steroid issues” but merely answered the very first question out of the media’s mouth and attempted to dispel that topic quickly as I was not there to discuss anything, much less “steroids”. It has been written that “sources say” I was not an invited guest to attend the service. That is true but I never realized one had to be invited to attend any funeral service. In my last blog, I wrote of my true feelings and emotions of this experience. If I am made a scapegoat or a villain by the media thru “sources say” then so be it. I honestly and sincerely went to Daytona to pay respects to Nancy, a long time friend, who I had known since the 80’s, and to her son Daniel who I had known since his birth 7 years ago. I will have lasting memories of this service forever and I still cannot articulate how badly I feel for Nancy’s family and friends over their loss. If my attending this service was an inadvertent distraction to the family, then I apologize, but I can assure all who matter, that my intentions were honorable and I was not sent to Daytona to do “damage control” as some have speculated. I do know that Nancy would have appreciated my paying respect to her memory. Nonetheless, some have “piled on” yours truly for simply doing what I thought was best. Selected letters and comments by some fans on wrestling websites recently inferring such are hurtful and just plain wrong. I know what is in my heart and I know what my intentions were in attending the service so let others say what they wish, as I know the truth.

    7/21/2007

    * After suffering a freak injury in Puerto Rico last month and almost dying due to his lung filling up with blood, Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner is back in the United States and is on the road to recovery. Many are unaware just how serious Steiner’s injury was – at one point his doctors told him he had 5 hours to live.

    Scott Steiner was interviewed this week on TNA’s internet video show “TNA Today” and discussed the injury and his recovery.

    – On June 3rd, he wrestled a match in Puerto Rico. After the match he was spitting up blood and later found out that his lung filling up with blood. Doctors told him he could be dead within 5 hours.

    – He wanted to fly to the United States to get surgery but was told that a plane ride could collapse his lung and kill him. He had surgery in Puerto Rico to install a tube to drain the blood that was filling up his lung. After surgery doctors put Steiner into a coma for 2 days. He was on a respirator for several more days.

    – He now has a huge scar that runs from his chest to his back. He lifted his shirt during the interview to show the scar, which Jeremy Borash estimated is about 18 inches long.

    – Steiner spent 2 weeks in the Puerto Rican hospital, which he called “brutal”. He said, “it was like the 1950s” and they had to wheel him ouside in the 100+ degree heat to get a CAT scan.

    – Even after the surgery, he was told he could not take a plane back to the United States. He had to take a cruise ship back, which took a week.

    – Steiner was in very good spirits during the interview. Being told he only had 5 hours to live and would never see his kids grow up changed his perspective on life.

    7/22/2007

    * There was minor interest in ROH star Nigel McGuinness, but nothing is happening right now because they soon realized that he was under contract to Ring of Honor.

    7/23/2007

    * Lance Storm has posted up a commentary on his website in which basically rips Marc Mero. What set him off is a comment Mero made on a talk show last Friday in which he said that he “had” to take painkillers and steroids to make it in wrestling. Storm them goes on to blast Mero’s comments, not to mention that he takes shots at his wrestling career. Storm disregards Mero’s in-ring talents and says that he was only in WCW because he took steroids and not because he was a good wrestler.

    * Last Monday’s low Raw rating (which was a 3.4 and tied a nine-and-a-half year low for summer edition of the show) was a bigger cause of stress for Vince McMahon on Tuesday than Benoit’s toxicology report. He’s very much on edge, particularly since sources say USA Network executive Bonnie Hammer is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on him to get the ratings up.

    There is strong talk that USA wants Raw to move to three hours permanently in the fall. WWE is very much against it, citing the burnout factor, but it’s unlikely they’d be able (or willing) to turn it down.

    Vince, despite being the main guy in charge of every storyline, is blaming everyone but himself, and the feeling is that if things don’t turn around soon there will be a major shake-up and the only ones safe will be Stephanie, Kevin Dunn and perhaps John Lauranitis, since he’s a schmoozer and a good talker and is the only one they have faith in to do the Director of Talent Relations job, even though he’s often largely incompetent.

    7/24/2007

    * Another fallout from the Chris Benoit situation is that Vince McMahon has banned any form of choke or strangulation move. If talent wants to use a choke move during one of their matches, they need to go to Vince or the road agents and ask for permission. The reason for the ban is that Vince feared new footage of choke spots would be used against the company in the media.

    7/25/2007

    * This past Monday’s edition of WWE RAW did a 3.4 cable rating. Hour one finished with a 3.2 and the second hour came in slightly higher at a 3.5. This number continues the downward slump that the show has been in for the past two weeks.

    Many within WWE were expecting at least a small bump in the ratings coming off of the Great American Bash pay-per-view, however, that of course did not happen. Usually, RAW scores a higher rating than it would without a pay-per-view event the night before.

    7/26/2007

    * The latest issue of WWE Magazine features Triple H on the cover. Inside the magazine is an interview with him to hype his forthcoming return to the ring. Here is what Triple H had to say regarding young stars in the locker room who are waiting to be made into main event stars like him. At the end of his response, he seems to be talking about Carlito when he talks about wrestlers who don’t capitalize on working with someone like Ric Flair:

    Question: Explain a workplace-related issue that causes you trouble:

    Triple H: I see a million guys who think, “I’m the best of the new guys.” Well, that’s not saying much. Do you want to be the best of the new guys, or do you want to be the best guy here? They sit back and they’re just waiting for somebody to make them a star. Nobody makes you a star, you make yourself a star. When the fans are going crazy for you whether positively or negatively then you have something to promote. No one made Triple H. I did. The problem is lack of patience. Early on in my career, I was very impatient and wanted more to be more than I was ready to be. But as time went on, I was glad I didn’t get it so early, because I wasn’t ready. Now guys come in the door and half of them don’t have a clue. I see guys on TV, against the likes of Ric Flair, and they simply can’t capitalize on that. If you can’t capitalize on working with one of the biggest stars ever in the history of this business, you’re not doing something right. You need to evaluate what you’re doing and stop blaming everyone else.

    * The ratings for this week’s ECW show on Sci-Fi are in and they are not good. The 58th week of ECW TV averaged a 1.31 rating with an average audience of 1.6 million viewers. This was the 2nd smallest audience ever for ECW.

    The average rating for ECW on Sci-Fi since the show launched last year is a 1.73. The show’s ratings have dropped considerably – and across the board, losing big numbers in all of the key demographics (Men 18-49 and Men 18-34).

    These ratings have to be disappointing for WWE. At a time when ECW ratings are falling, TNA iMPACT! has been doing some its best numbers ever and is on the verge of getting expanded to 2 hours. If TNA iMPACT! were to ever surpass ECW in viewership, you can be sure that MAJOR changes would be in store for WWE’s “C” brand.

    7/27/2007

    * WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has been asked by Congress to provide records detailing World Wrestling Entertainment’s drug testing policies in a three page letter dated today.

    According to a published report by ESPN.com, Rep. Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Tom Davis, its ranking minority member, asked McMahon in the letter to “provide a series of documents intended to give the committee and its investigation a detailed look at WWE’s drug-testing policy, including information about the results of performance-enhancing drug tests on pro wrestlers.”

    Below are some excerpts of the letter that was sent to Vince McMahon:

    “The tragic deaths of World Wrestling Entertainment star Chris Benoit and his family have raised questions about reports of widespread use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs by professional wrestlers,”

    “These allegations — which include first-hand reports of steroid use by prominent former wrestlers — have swirled around the WWE for over a decade. Investigations by journalists have described a culture of performance-enhancing drug use in professional wrestling, high fatality rates among young professional wrestlers, and an inability or unwillingness of WWE to address these problems.”

    “WWE has a responsibility to do everything possible to eliminate the use of performance-enhancing drugs — or the perception of such use — by its wrestlers.”

    The requests in the letter are very similar to what Major League Baseball was asked to provide according to ESPN.com. Requests in the letter include:

    – A list of drugs covered by WWE polices
    – The entity that conducts WWE’s drugs tests and how many tests they conduct annually.
    – The protocols followed by WWE following a positive test as well as their procedures on exemptions to a positive test.
    – In addition to the number of tests that WWE does annually, the letter requested information on the number of wrestlers that were tested during that time period

    According to ESPN.com, WWE has also been asked to provide “the results of any investigations prepared [by the company] regarding the deaths, injuries, or illnesses of current or former professional wrestlers that may have been related to the use of steroids.” and “all communications between [the company] and outside entities including communications with health care professionals or law enforcement authorities, regarding allegations of drug use by wrestlers.”

    7/28/2007

    * Teddy Hart is already wearing out his welcome in Ohio Valley Wrestling. While the third generation superstar has only been there for a little over a week, he has rubbed several people the wrong way. The rough start apparently began when Teddy accepted a phone call during a production meeting on his first day in OVW. One of the trainers asked Hart to end the call in which he told them that it was important and continued to talk.

    In addition to that, Hart has skipped out on training practices and refuses to clean up the building and other chores that are expected of the OVW talent. Yesterday Teddy refused to do the work because he said that he had an injured thumb.

    On the flip side, Harry Smith and Nattie Neidhart are being heavily praised for their work in Ohio Valley Wrestling. The backstage perception is that Nattie and Harry “get it” while Teddy doesn’t and probably never will.

    7/29/2007

    * As expected, several media outlets have picked up on TNA Wrestling signing the troubled Tennessee Titans Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. Some people in TNA were said to be furious that the story leaked early, although shortly after it broke online, Nashville’s FOX affiliate picked up on it.

    According to those close to the situation, the idea of signing Pacman was completely the work of Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett has close ties with the Titans organization, seeing as they do business in the same town, and was able to get the approval from the organization. The feeling amongst those in the Titans organization was that this would give Jones something to do and hopefully keep him out of trouble.

    Jones’ attorney has been telling media outlets that he will not be wrestling and will not be portrayed as a villain. That statement should be taken with a grain of salt as there are sources from inside TNA that are saying that there is talk of Jones actually wrestling and it would probably be next to impossible to keep him from being a heel.

    7/30/2007

    * It would be an understatement to say that WWE is concerned about last night’s RAW rating. With the recently slump that the show has been doing for the past three weeks (scoring consecutive 3.4 cable ratings) there has been a significant amount of pressure on both WWE and the USA Network to bring the numbers up. The concern has grown to serious proportions and is a top priority issue starting at the top of WWE.

    To put it in perspective, last week’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown did a 2.6 broadcast rating, with a 5.1 share on the CW Network. That number was good enough to put the show very close to the number of total viewers that last week’s edition of RAW did. That figure alone scares WWE as RAW is considered to be the top brand which of course airs live. AM RAW on July 21st did a 0.5 cable rating, with a 2.3 share.

    7/31/2007

    * Monday’s edition of Raw drew it’s lowest rating in nearly 10 years (not including a New Year’s Eve show from 2001 which was a recap show that drew a 2.4 rating) by drawing a 2.5 cable rating. The show drew a 1.83 in males 18-49, a 1.99 in males 18-34, and 3.4 million viewers overall. This is obviously their lowest rated Raw since returning to the USA Network, and the demo levels were 1/2 point lower than the previous low.

    Not including the previously mentioned recap show from 2001, this was the worst Raw rating since the October 23, 1997 edition that drew a 2.3 rating.

    – Tune back in next time for more Dirt Sheet History as we continue 2007.

    Stories are credited from Rajah, PWTorch, PWInsider and The Wrestling Observer. Month name photo art is by Phillip Martin.

    Past editions of Dirt Sheet History are found here.