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 November 2006, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from December of 2006 as we close out 2006!
Reminder that you can find all past editions of Dirt Sheet History looking at 2004 through 2006 right here. Now enjoy December 2006.
* As reported earlier, there is a behind-the-scenes battle in regards to Rob Van Dam going on the annual trip to Iraq. The company wants him to go, but due to safety issues, they can’t force him to go as part of the job. It is understood that the voluntary nature of the trip is due to legal reasons, but when asked to go, you should probably go. Apparently, Van Dam used that loop hole to not go two years ago, and when asked to go on this year’s trip, he said he was not interested in going. Right now, nobody knows as to how this thing will play out.
The show is being taped sometime next week. As reported earlier, there is a behind-the-scenes battle in regards to Rob Van Dam going on the annual trip to Iraq. The company wants him to go, but due to safety issues, they can’t force him to go as part of the job. It is understood that the voluntary nature of the trip is due to legal reasons, but when asked to go, you should probably go. Apparently, Van Dam used that loop hole to not go two years ago, and when asked to go on this year’s trip, he said he was not interested in going. Right now, nobody knows as to how this thing will play out. The show is being taped sometime next week.
* 1Wrestling.com is reporting that Rob Van Dam‘s WWE contract is set to expire in the next six months or so – and he is counting down the days until it is up. Several backstage sources are saying that he is frustrated with how things have gone in ECW as of late, not to mention that he said to be miserable.
Some people backstage are wondering if Sabu is trying to get released due to his recent behavior. Sabu has gotten a lot of heat as of late for falling asleep backstage at a show, as well as for other unprofessional behavior. One source said, “It’s almost as if he’s trying to get fired.”
* In a follow-up to the earlier report on ECW.com of Paul Heyman being sent home by Vince McMahon, apparently, this really isn’t some sort of storyline. PWInsider.com is reporting that that word going around backstage is that Paul Heyman has really been let go by the company. A meeting is currently ongoing with ECW talents regarding Heyman’s departure.
Internally, it is being said that Vince McMahon was absolutely irate in regards to how awful last night’s ECW PPV was. Furthermore, McMahon was looking to put the blame on someone for it, and that person is Paul Heyman. The theory for the blame on Heyman is, “he is caught in the past and doesn’t understand the new vision of ECW.”
Problems started yesterday when most everyone realized that the ECW PPV was quite awful to say the least. Heyman was unhappy with how the show was booked and he voiced his concerns before and after the show. There were issues between Heyman and McMahon because of how the show played out on TV, with most everyone knowing that it was a disaster. Furthermore, the problems carried over from last night, and it led to something occuring backstage at today’s RAW/ECW taping.
At 2:00 P.M., Heyman had a meeting with Vince and Stephanie McMahon. Heyman came out of the meeting looking as if nothing happened. Nobody had any idea that there was anything wrong between the two parties. Shortly thereafter, Heyman gathered his belongings and left the building to go home.
Anyways, the word going around backstage is that Heyman is legitimately done with the company and this really isn’t some sort of storyline.
* There is now “tremendous heat” on Rob Van Dam for refusing to go on the annual Tribute to the Troops trip for the second time. Technically, because the WWE can’t guarantee the safety of the performers in a war zone, and considering that they are independent contractors, they can’t be forced to go. However, there is an unwritten rule in WWE that if you’re ask to go, you go. His refusal to go on the trip explains RVD’s lessened push in recent weeks. Before he refused to go on the trip, the plan was to do a slow build for a Lashley vs. RVD for the ECW title program in 2007. Plans may or may not have changed, but it wouldn’t be surprising if they did.
* NMB sent in the following report in regards to meeting Tommy Dreamer after Sunday’s ECW PPV … I talked with Dreamer briefly after December To Disappoint tonight. He hung around after the show and there was a small crowd of people coming up to him pissed off. I asked Dreamer if Sabu not being there tonight had anything to do with him leaving ECW. He said “I don’t know for sure, but it’s probably the case.” I then asked if the rumors about RVD leaving are true and he didn’t say yes or no, just “Him and Sabu might not be the only ones, man.” Then I asked if December To Disappoint was the final bullet in the head for ECW and he told me “ECW’s been dead, I’m now realizing it. The only part of it still alive are you guys.” Then we shook hands, hugged and he said “I’m sorry.”
* Homicide was really upset with Kurt Angle popping his ear in the TV match that aired last week. He was so angry that he wanted to fight him right there, but he managed to keep himself under control.
* Batista and John Cena vs. King Booker and Finlay is officially the main event for Armageddon. However, at the 11/28 SmackDown tapings, Vince McMahon changed his mind on the Armageddon main event on four different occasions.
There were three different matches considered for the main event, which included Batista vs. King Booker for the title (the original plan), Batista vs. Booker vs. Finlay in a three-way match (which he ended up putting on television), and of course, Batista & Cena vs. King Booker & Finlay, which is the official main event.
Furthermore, Batista vs. Booker wasn’t nixed because of their Summerslam & Survivor Series matches not going over too well with the fans. It is believed that McMahon made the call to not go with the Batista/Booker match because he thought that Cena in a tag match would pull in a better buyrate than that particular title match would.
* With the untimely departure of Paul Heyman, David Lagana will be taking over the reigns as the head of ECW creative team. Lagana was on the SmackDown creative team before moving to the resurrected ECW brand earlier this year.
It seems as though he was initially moved to the brand as a fall back option from Paul Heyman, so this is not a shocking move.
* Regarding a possible Hulk Hogan vs. Big Show match at WrestleMania, the decision is expected to be made in February. It all depends on how Big Show heals up and how the negotiations with Hogan go.
* If the upcoming “Rocky” movie does well in the box office, it’s pretty much a guarantee that both Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair will be pitching for one last WWE title run.
* WWE muted the crowd audio at times during last week’s ECW PPV. Apparently, the audience was chanting a bunch of things that one would expect from an ECW crowd, including several TNA chants. The decision to move the PPV to Georgia from either NYC or Chicago was made because management was looking to avoid that type of audience. Melina in particular was rather upset due to the crowd chanting “she’s got herpes” and other various vulgar chants towards her. Melina is used to the much more timid WWE audiences and thus the raucous ECW crowd probably came as a shock to her.
* WWE has come to terms on the release of Danny Doring. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
* Rob Van Dam is getting backstage heat for not making this year’s trip to Iraq. Vince McMahon makes it clear to the talent that going to Iraq is “optional” but if you are unable to go, it is expected that you thank Vince for the opportunity and have a legitimate reason for not going.
Apparently RVD was very blunt about his decision of not wanting to go and may have rubbed some people, especially Stephanie and Vince the wrong way. RVD has a history of not giving in to the “sucking up” that goes on in WWE and may suffer repercussions for his most recent decision.
* As we’ve been reporting here at Rajah.com, Joey Mercury suffered a broken nose and severe lacerations around his eye during his match at last night’s Armageddon pay-per-view. Mercury was bleeding so badly and in so much pain, he was rushed to the hospital right after the injury occurred as he was unable to finish the match.
Gregory Helms busted open his mouth hard way during his match against Jimmy Wang Yang at last night’s Armageddon pay-per-view.
Last night’s ladder match at Armageddon was spectacular and if you missed last night’s PPV, you should go out of your way to see the match.
* For those who haven’t heard, an independent wrestling promotion that operates under the name AWA ran by Dale Ganger has been advertising Paul Heyman for their upcoming shows. We have been reporting here at Rajah.com that is nothing more than blatant false advertising as Heyman is still legally bound to World Wrestling Entertainment.
WWE legal has fired back at the promotion, sending them a legal notice, which insures them that the former head of ECW is still under contract with the company. The notices requests that they remove images promoting him on their website AWAstars.com.
AWA has acknowledged the legal notice on their website and says they will meet WWE’s demands in the near future. Paul Heyman maintains that he hasn’t even had informal contact with the promotion.
* In the latest edition of “Shootin’ with Tazz“, Tazz gets really fired up and blasts the internet. Tazz found out about the internet report that said that his contract was going to expire soon and that he wanted a raise. Tazz laughs at the report because he claimed that he hasn’t asked for anything because WWE hasn’t even approached him about an extension yet. He also compares himself to JBL because a similar thing happened to him a few months ago when his contract was expiring. Just like JBL, he blasts the internet, not to mention the person(s) who leaked information regarding his contract.
* Stephanie McMahon sees Daniel Rodimer as “the new Diesel” and she wants to group him with Edge and Randy Orton. There are already RAW brand house shows being advertised with DX vs. Edge, Randy Orton and Rodimer in 2-on-3 matches. Rodimer has only been wrestling since August.
* Hulk Hogan is looking to pitch a Hogan & Vince McMahon vs. Big Show & Eric Bischoff match for Wrestlemania 23. If this goes down, the angle would be, “Will Vince turn on Hogan?”
* Writer Dave Lagana wants Gene Snitsky to be moved over from RAW to ECW. In recent producer meetings, Arn Anderson and Finlay have been pushing for Snitsky to get a bigger role in the company. However, the problem is that it would make ECW look more and more like a place for RAW and SmackDown rejects. Snitsky has appeared sparingly on RAW since Goldust‘s release back in June.
* At a production meeting, Vince McMahon said that the reason ECW was failing was because there was no humor on the show. Bruce “Brother Love” Prichard then started talking about how funny Brad Armstrong is. From all accounts, Brad is indeed funny behind-the-scenes, but unlike his brother (BG James), he’s never really been able to translate that in front of the camera. Prichard said that Armstrong would shine in the spot because no one else on the show is funny. Tazz saw this as a powerplay and what you saw in him trying to cut him off was the end result.
* The creators of the animated series “Assy McGee” have a filed a lawsuit against WWE over the “Mr. McMahon‘s Kiss My Ass” cartoon, which debuted recently on WWE.com. “Assy McGee” is an animated sitcom featuring Assy McGee, a vigilante police officer who is literally a walking pair of buttocks. The series premiered on November 26, 2006 for the Cartoon Network’s late-night “Adult Swim” block.
Michael Cole, who oversees WWE.com, asked one of his staffers to come up with a creative idea that Vince McMahon would like. Whoever came up with the idea decided to rip off the Adult Swim show. Furthermore, a few of the storylines used for the McMahon cartoon were blatantly stolen from “Assy McGee.” To make matters worse for McMahon, the Cartoon Network is owned by Turner Broadcasting, his old rival. Also, they can’t even really take this to court since they’ve got no defense whatsoever.
Regarding Vince McMahon’s original thoughts on the cartoon, McMahon thought it was the best thing ever because it was a cartoon about his own buttocks. However, when he found out about the lawsuit, he became infuriated to say the least. Michael Cole, who had hired a separate Flash animator to produce the cartoon full-time, and was also working on t-shirts, claimed he’d never even heard of “Assy McGee.” This didn’t fly too well because it appears that WWE will have to pay for the mistake in the form of cash to Turner.
Due to this incident, Michael Cole is said to be in serious trouble and there is a chance he’ll be fired as head of WWE.com. However, his Smackdown announcing job is not in jeopardy.
* WWE is trying to get Batista to try and talk more jive during his interview segments.
– Tune back in next time for more Dirt Sheet History as we start 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.