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 2008, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from July 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 July 2008.
* The quarter hour ratings were released for this week’s WWE Raw and there’s some good news for CM Punk. The highest rated segment of the show by far was a 4.12 for the overrun featuring new World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk’s first title defense against JBL. WWE shook things up with the draft and followed up with a strong show with new faces on top. Some ratings momentum could secure somebody like Punk in a top position.
* It has been said that most of the WWE agents/producers hold Brian Kendrick in higher regard than former tag partner Paul London. Kendrick is said to have better approach and attitude on things than London, who behind the scenes is considered to be an inconsistent performer as well a “heat magnet.”
Last year, London drew the ire of Vince McMahon for smiling during the McMahon limo bombing angle. McMahon was legitimately upset with London over the segment, as he felt it pointed to London as a suspect for the limo bombing, when there were no plans to have him as part of the program.
* There is said to be some legit heat between SmackDown Divas Michelle McCool and Natalya Neidhart. It’s all due to a recent incident involving the two. McCool reportedly tried to re-teach Natalya, an 8-year wrestling veteran, on how to lock up correctly. She also wanted to show her how to work “WWE style.”
* Michael Hayes‘ first show backstage with the SmackDown/ECW roster was at the June 24 taping in Houston. The first thing he did was apologize to Mark Henry. He then apologized to all the African-American wrestlers. Hayes blamed the incident with Henry on his drinking problem. He told the wrestlers that he was now taking antabuse, a drug that makes one vomit should he/she drink alcohol.
* Management is said to be very high on Deuce, who was drafted to Raw in the Supplemental Draft. He’s scheduled to be repackaged in a new gimmick and should at least get a chance to show what he can do on Raw. However, some of the road agents are skeptical on plans to push him because the feeling is that he isn’t very good in singles matches. They feel he has some charisma, but his wrestling ability and timing in the ring is well below average.
* Outwardly, everyone is behind Samoa Joe‘s position as TNA World Heavyweight Champion, but there is some second-guessing going on behind the scenes due to his physical appearance. Many are questioning his drawing ability due to his look, which is obviously not the traditional headlining physique. If he doesn’t draw, some think that’s the reason why.
* There is some political behind-the-scenes infighting between members of TNA management regarding the weekly TV ratings for Impact as they still “live and die” by them. On a week-to-week basis, the ratings are still the company’s best indicator on how things are going as it usually takes months for them to get the final pay-per-view buy numbers.
Anyway, with the ratings largely struggling as of late, people in management have started airing out their frustration by pointing the finger of blame at some of the wrestlers and using them as scapegoats. Naturally, some people are second-guessing Samoa Joe as the company champion (reportedly due to his physical appearance), but others are being used as scapegoats as well.
* There appears to be at least one disgruntled wrestler within TNA. A TNA wrestler currently in the midst of a push made the following remark to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter: “Impact sucks so much I don’t even watch myself on television anymore.”
* Super Luchas magazine out of Mexico is reporting that Johnny Ace offered masked lucha libre star Dos Caras Jr. a WWE developmental contract, but when he told him they were sending him to Florida Championship Wrestling to learn the American wrestling style, he turned the offer down. Caras Jr. was brought to Tulsa, Oklahoma for last week’s SmackDown taping.
WWE contacted him because the company is trying to fill the hole of the Hispanic SmackDown star due to Rey Mysterio‘s move to Raw. He was also told that they need a Hispanic wrestler back-up because they are concerned about Mysterio’s frequent injuries. WWE picked him because he’s rather tall and has a good physique.
* Mr. Kennedy isn’t expected to get much of a push despite his move back to SmackDown, reports the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. The feeling is that he’ll continue to tread water and pretty much stay in the same position he’s been treading on Raw during the past year.
* To update you on Brian Kendrick‘s new gimmick that he worked under at last night’s SmackDown taping, Kendrick worked as a heel with a large African American bodyguard. Kendrick’s bodyguard is Rycklon Stephens, a WWE developmental talent billed at 306 lbs. According to our correspondents in the arena, Kendrick was wearing what looked to be an old white Shawn Michaels leather biker-like jacket.
Apparently the gimmick change was to give him a distinct identity now that he is working as a singles wrestler as opposed to a tag team wrestler with Paul London. Regarding his push, I have been told for months that WWE management has had bigger plans for him.
* Bret Hart on Hulk Hogan‘s Classless Comments about John Graziano: “I think he showed his true colours. He’s washed up. He exposed himself. It’s pretty callous. I think he dug himself an even bigger hole on Larry King. He was always selfish. Everything Hogan ever did was for Hogan. That could have happened to anybody. We all have kids that age. I know I wouldn’t have handled things the same way. I would have been very remorseful.”
* CM Punk‘s match with Kane on Monday’s Raw gained 679,000 viewers, which has to be considered a huge success. It was the highest-rated quarter hour of the entire broadcast (3.59), excluding the overrun (3.81).
The quarter hours before and after the Punk vs. Kane match scored 3.13 each, despite appearances from John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix. Also, the Jericho vs. London match and the Noble/Layla/Snitsky segment following it lost all the viewers the match had gained as 688,000 viewers changed the channel.
* Ultimate Warrior did an autograph appearance in full Warrior attire yesterday at the Marriott Hotel in Uniondale, Long Island yesterday, which was right next to the Nassau Coliseum, the site of The Great American Bash pay-per-view. However, the appearance drew the ire of the WWE legal team, who tried to prevent it from happening.
WWE sent Warrior legal letters trying to get him to stop the signing. Basically, WWE felt that Warrior was trying to affiliate himself with them for publicity for the signing by holding it next door.
* Two WWE fans who attended last night’s PPV in Uniondale, Long Island were arrested after the event. Newsday.com reports that that friends Keith Powell and Timothy Vandewater snuck backstage after the show and attempted to steal several of the commemorative folding chairs given to fans who sit at ringside for the event.
A WWE employee who attempted to stop the theft was hit over the head with a bottle and bit on the back. Both men were charged with burglary while Vandewater was also charged with assault.
* WWE.com has put up a list of the top 25 finishing moves of all-time. They apparently took a swipe at “Macho Man” Randy Savage in their description of his “Macho Man Elbow Drop” move. They wrote: “Before the “Macho Madness” and his horrible rap album – yes, we said rap album – Randy Savage delighted crowds as one of WWE’s brightest stars of the 80s. His finisher, the Elbow Drop, was poetry in motion from the time he hit the turnbuckle, bringing “Macho Man” two WWE title reigns. Alas, nothing could save Savage from his biggest rival – himself. Dig it?”
* In the SmackDown Divas locker room, there is a bit of resentment from some of the ladies towards reigning WWE Divas Champion Michelle McCool. Whether it’s true or not, the feeling is that McCool has some power as the star of the women’s division on SmackDown and that she comes across like the veteran leader even though she doesn’t really have that much experience in the wrestling business. This was actually the case before McCool won the WWE Divas Championship at The Great American Bash last Sunday as the belt doesn’t have anything to do with the resentment.
A few weeks ago, Natalya Neidhart was reportedly upset with McCool due to a behind the scenes incident involving the two in which McCool tried to show her how to lock up correctly and how to work “WWE style,” which is more about telling a story in the ring than doing a bunch of random moves. On the other hand, McCool doesn’t really appear to be in the wrong, and all of this probably has more to do with the typical wrestler mentality of someone becoming a star when others think they’re not as good as they themselves are, and then they come up with reasons why.
Also, since McCool in involved in a real-life relationship with Undertaker, it would appear that some of the resentment and jealousy towards her is due to that. In other words, when a Diva is dating a Superstar wrestler and then gets a push, that’s obviously going to get people talking.
* Apparently, some people in WWE may be playing an inside joke on ECW wrestler Ricky Ortiz, who recently started on television. On last week’s edition of ECW, Ortiz appeared in a backstage segment with Theodore Long and his assistant Tiffany. Ortiz told Long he had ideas for catchphases & nicknames, saying he wanted to be called “The Latin Assassin.” Long reminded Ortiz that he has only had one match. Ortiz then told Long he’s undefeated. Long informed Ortiz that he will have a chance to make it 2-0 on this week’s edition of ECW. His match on Tuesday will be one to watch as it should be a good indication of where he’s headed in WWE.
Anyway, Ricky’s gimmick is said to be based on a developmental wrestler in Ohio Valley Wrestling from a few years ago who was constantly thinking of catchphrases, ideas for T-shirts as well as gimmick ideas when he hadn’t really learned to wrestle yet. Ortiz is relatively new to the wrestling business as he trained for a few months in late 2006, debuted in January 2007, wrestled the entire year, and went down with a knee injury at the start of 2008. The injury put him of action for a while, and he only wrestled a few matches in Florida Championship Wrestling upon his return to the ring a few months later. And unlike a number of other recent call-ups, he was brought up to the main roster without having to go through the dark match/house show match trial that sometimes make or break developmental wrestlers.
* Jesse Ventura was a guest on Howard Stern this morning. Jesse was on the show for over an hour and discussed a number of topics, including a wrestlers union, Hulk Hogan pimping his children on TV, politics, 9-11 conspiracies and more. One of the more interesting parts of the appearance was Jesse discussing an angle he proposed to Vince McMahon for this year’s WrestleMania in Orlando.
Jesse toyed with the idea of running for President and wanted to kick off his campaign at WrestleMania. The angle Jesse pitched was that Vince would announce that WWE would be getting into politics because he did not like the current candidates and would ask the fans to get the WWE Party on every state ballot by organizing a campaign. Once WWE was a legit political party, Vince would announce the Presidential candidate—himself. Jesse then said he would come out and confront Vince and say no way would he allow that and he would work an angle with Vince at WM where he would have won and gone on to be the WWE candidate and actually run a real campaign. Seriously.
Jesse said Vince never got back to him about it, but that Vince would be sorry – because Navy Seals don’t get mad, they get even.
* As reported earlier, actor and life-long WWE fan Freddie Prinze, Jr. of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scooby-Doo and She’s All That fame is now a member of the WWE creative team. Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon are hoping that the addition of Prinze, Jr. to the company will open up more doors to Hollywood.
Also, they’re interested in using wife Sarah Michelle Geller for an angle at some point. Prinze, Jr. was introduced to everyone backstage at last night’s show in Washington D.C. He impressed people with how excited he was and willingness to contribute to WWE. Some entertainment news outlets are working on brief pieces about the story.
* Kevin Nash left last night’s Impact taping early (scheduled to air on 8/7) after being frustrated with the planned finish in his match on the show. Nash balked at the planned finish in his match and left the building a short while later.
* Ultimate Warrior talked about wanting to wrestle Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 25.
* Hulk Hogan and Kimbo Slice will be co-starring in the 3D movie “Kung Fu U.”
– 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.