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 2008, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from December 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 December 2008.
* Batista was a guest on the WJFK radio morning show this morning and revealed that he dated Kelly Kelly a few months ago. “She’s just a young girl,” he said. “She was a little immature for a 21 year-old.” He said their age difference was the main reason the relationship didn’t last. Batista also said he became star struck when he saw 58-year-old actress Morgan Fairchild at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year. “Hey, I’m old, man,” he said when the hosts laughed at him.
Batista also stated that he was once stuck in a limousine with Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan. Batista said it was an “uncomfortable” situation for him to be in. “They started touching on a few things and I thought, ‘Man, I wish I wasn’t here.’” He added that he accidentally offended Hogan once by doing a bad impersonation of him while being interviewed on ESPN.
* Former WWE Diva Torrie Wilson talked about a number of subjects during her recent shoot interview with RF Video.
Torrie commented on the real-life relationship between the reigning WWE Divas Champion Michelle McCool and Undertaker, who started dating after her divorced from his former wife Sara. Torrie said she used to be scared of Undertaker when she worked in WWE. However, she’s gotten to know him quite well since he started dating Michelle, who she considers a close friend.
* Midway Games’ release of the “TNA iMPACT!” video game sold 450,000 copies total across video game platforms Nintendo Wii, XBox 360, PS3 and PS2 in its first 10 weeks out. These numbers are said to be below expectations for both companies. Despite company problems in Midway, and the lackluster video game sales for “TNA iMPACT!”, it was reported in October that a sequel was in the works with additional aspects such as the TNA Knockouts and the Six Sides of Steel.
* Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, was one of the special guests on this week’s live edition of the “Monday Night Mayhem” Internet radio show, hosted by The Big Mosh & Blade.
TNA’s Main Event Mafia: Recently, Hulk said that he watched TNA iMPACT, seeing the TNA World Heavyweight Champion, Sting, in his business suit & without his makeup, along with the other members of The Main Event Mafia. He has the feeling of this being like the nWO…”not when the nWo was hot, but when the nWo started losing steam, when these guys didn’t wanna wrestle anymore, and all they wanted to do was talk.” He was quite impressed with what he saw out of Samoa Joe & some of the TNA Knockouts, but despite that, he said that he “does not get/understand “the eight-sided ring.” “They don’t do anything different in that ring than you would do in an old ring.” Mosh brought up the never-ending comparisons from fans around the world about The Main Event Mafia being compared to the nWO, and Blade mentioned to Hulk how the current TNA storyline with The MEM vs. The Frontline is more like “The Millionaire’s Club” vs. “The New Blood” in World Championship Wrestling, with the main point being to get the younger guys over.
Vince’s Beef with CCW: Hulk said that over the years, Vince has done whatever he could to protect the family business, and he totally understands that. However, he does not understand why World Wrestling Entertainment is coming down on Brutus Beefcake, as he is simply trying to feed his family & put his kids through school. He credits the real life Ed Leslie for keeping the gimmick alive over the years, traveling from state-to-state & overseas, as Brutus has not really worked for the WWE in close to 15 years. He is also surprised at why the rain is coming down hard on Jimmy Hart, as Jimmy asked for the WWE’s permission/blessing to appear on the show & has nothing but goodwill towards everyone, and despite that, this is the unfortunate end result. Hulk described the situation, in general, as “bottom-feeder stuff” & “weak,” and that “what you throw out there will come back to you.” He also wished to add that there is not as much negative energy coming from the CCW side of things, as there is from the WWE.
* In recent weeks the WWE creative team has had discussions regarding TNA wrestler Kurt Angle‘s possible return to the company. However, the discussions are more like “what if?” scenarios as opposed to any concrete plans should he return to WWE next year. Angle’s three-year contract with TNA expires next September. He did a shoot interview with RF Video back in September and spoke highly of his former company, Vince McMahon, and even Triple H.
Those interested in an Angle return are pushing the idea of having him a work light schedule similar to that of Shawn Michaels, who does television tapings and pay-per-view events, and a few house show events, but not a full schedule. They feel Angle wouldn’t hold up to a full-time schedule due all his injuries, not to mention that he’d almost be 41 years old by the time he could return.
Both Shane McMahon and SmackDown creative team writer Michael Hayes have already pitched ideas for Kurt Angle’s possible return to World Wrestling Entertainment. On the other hand, some people in the company are critically thinking why even discuss the subject of bringing him back after his controversial departure two years ago and the “time bomb” state he was in back in 2005.
* Tommy Dreamer has a blog on the WWE Universe site answering the fans’ top ten most asked questions. Dreamer is asked if he watches TNA. The ECW Superstar is actually a loyal TNA viewer as he watches their show every week. “I do every week,” Dreamer said. “I really am impressed with the way Rhino and Team 3D have (sic) stepped up their already impressive game.” Dreamer then pokes fun at Brother Ray‘s weight. “Brother Ray seems to even have lost some weight,” Dreamer said. “A Christmas miracle. An angel has gotten their wings.”
* In an interview, Hulk Hogan discussed Vince McMahon‘s negative reaction to his Celebrity Championship Wrestling program on CMT.
“All of a sudden, Vince McMahon raised his ugly head and thought we were threatening his company and he’s been doing everything he can to shut us down,” Hogan told the radio station. “We’re just a reality show.”
Hogan said he was worried the celebrities signed on for the show wouldn’t take wrestling seriously because they were paid upfront, but he was positive about the experience.
Hogan claimed the likes of Regis Philbin inquired about being on the series when it was first announced, and now people from “all of the major companies” are calling wanting to be part of Celebrity Championship Wrestling.
Hogan mostly hyped CCW during the interview, but managed to take a shot at Triple H. When asked about the wrestling business’ history of exposing its inner workings, Hogan said McMahon smartened up the public in the 80s when he said pro wrestling isn’t a real sport, and then created the Tough Enough series on MTV. However, Hogan believes the worst offense of exposing the business is Vince McMahon keeping the WWE Title on Triple H for so many years, and that it exposes the wrestling business more than Celebrity Championship Wrestling does. “The biggest expose is putting the World Title on your son-in-law for the last five or six years,” Hogan said. “That’s probably the biggest expose I’ve ever seen keeping Triple H as champion.” Triple H has taken a number of unwarranted shots at Hogan over the years (usually when Hogan’s been out of favor with Vince), even though Hogan was mostly positive when talking about him.”
* TNA Wrestling issued a text message to mobile subscribers on Thursday night to hype a mystery guest who would appear in Kurt Angle‘s corner at last night’s Final Resolution PPV. The mobile alert read, “Angle’s mystery guest is a former world champion who was a former tag team champion with Mick Foley.” The mystery man turned out to be Al Snow, who was a WWE Tag champion with Foley’s Mankind character, but never held a world title. TNA officials recognized their mistake and removed the “world champion” teaser from their website, however there was no correction sent out to the thousands of mobile subscribers who may have ordered the show based on false information.
* Word is coming in about a major backstage altercation that took place while the WWE crew was overseas in Iraq for Tribute to the Troops. Former ECW personality and WWE.com writer Joey Styles punched out former WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield, busting him open under the eye.
JBL is one of the senior members of the WWE lockerroom and has a reputation for being somewhat of a bully. According to several sources, JBL picked out Joey Styles to be the target of his hazing during the Iraq tour. JBL was messing with Styles all week, including calling him condecending names in front of other WWE employees and spilling a drink on him intentionally.
After a few days of abuse, Joey Styles had enough abuse and confronted JBL, who had been drinking at the time. The altercation turned physical and Styles dropped JBL with a punch to the face. Several wrestlers had to step in and break it up.
At last night’s RAW tapings, JBL was unusually quiet while Styles tried to play down the incident and did not want to talk about it. While some companies would fire an employee for an incident like this, there are actually some people within the company that feel Styles standing up for himself might actually score him some points with Vince McMahon.
* As we reported yesterday, there was a major backstage altercation that took place between former ECW announcer Joey Styles and former WWE Champion John Bradshaw Layfield while WWE was overseas in Iraq over the weekend.
JBL ended up with a black eye and a cut under his eye, which were somewhat visible on Monday’s RAW. JBL wore heavy make-up during the broadcast and tilted his cowboy hat down a bit to conceal his face. JBL spent most of Monday night by himself in the locker room, being very quiet and spending most of his time on his Blackberry phone.
Apparently there were a number of different things that JBL did to Styles during the course of the Iraq tour, all of which would have set a normal person off. Some of JBL’s hazing was verbal and some was physical.
In a related note, there is an unwritten rule among WWE superstars that anybody who falls alseep on the airplane en route to an overseas tour is subject to pranks. It was reported last week that WWE ring announcer Lillian Garcia fell asleep on the way to Iraq and JBL dumped a bucket of ice on her.
* Bill Apter asked Matt Hardy if he’s jealous of his brother Jeff because he tends to get more news, better publicity and matches than him. Matt replied, “I’m thrilled for my brother and he is always equally thrilled with any positive movement in my career. Neither of us have a jealous bone in our bodies toward each other. When one seems to be doing better it inspires the other to work even harder!”
* Thursday’s Impact drew a 1.2 cable rating (rounded up from 1.16), which is the same number the show drew the week before, reports prowrestling.NET. The show was watched by 1.6 million viewers, down from the 1.8 million that watched the week before.
The Soujourner Bolt vs. Christy Hemme match in the seventh quarter-hour was the highest rated segment of the show, scoring an impressive 1.28 rating. The rating dropped for the main event segment featuring Brother Ray vs. Kurt Angle, which drew a 1.21.
* Former WWE Superstar Bobby Lashley made his Mixed Martial Arts debut over the weekend with an impressive first round TKO of Joshua Franklin at Mixed Fight Alliance’s “There Will Be Blood” show.
Now, Lashley tells the Miami Herald that he believes a fight between him and UFC Champion Brock Lesnar is inevitable. “I am a wrestler, and Brock is a wrestler. If [Lesnar] wants to match skills, we match skills. There is going to be a meeting between me and Brock. There will be.”
* Rapper 50 Cent was recently interviewed by ESPN.com about his latest video game, Blood On The Sand. The G-Unit head honcho spoke about whether or not there was any truth to rumors that he and professional boxer Floyd Mayweather got into a fight.
“Yeah, we got into a little scrap, a little boxing match,” said 50. “Well, it wasn’t really much of a boxing match because he hit me in the back of my ear. He’s so fast, he’s just so fast. The thing about it is, everyone who is around him works for him. And for a second, he tried to talk to me like I was one of the people working for him. He tried to tell me what to do so I grabbed him. I snatched his little ass up then he hit me and was like ‘What’s wrong with you?’ We were mad for a second, but then everything went back to normal.”
50 continued, explaining the source of the scuffle. “He was going to do the match in WWE at Wrestlemania and he started telling everyone that I was going to be there. So everyone got all excited and started asking me if I was going to come, and I was like, ‘If you’re really getting $20 million for this, then give me some money.’ He was sitting there with a million dollars cash in a bag, and he kept telling me he was going to get me money for appearing, but I was like ‘No, give me some of that money right there.’ He had one million dollars in the bag, it was physically right in front of me, so why should I have to wait to get paid? Just give me that money right there. He wasn’t with it, and that’s how it all started.”
The rapper claims that he and Mayweather were “cool right after it happened.” 50’s history with the boxer is well-documented, as he bet $1 million on Mayweather in his boxing match against Oscar De La Hoya, and has remained friends with him since, even accompanying him to an appearance at Wrestlemania.
* In recent months there has been speculation on who will play the lead role for the upcoming “Thor” movie, which is scheduled to be released in 2010. Speculation has centered on Daniel Craig, who plays James Bond in the latest “Bond” series of movies, and Triple H. This past week, Craig said he’s not interested in taking the role, saying “it doesn’t interest me at all.” The other potential candidate to take the lead role of Thor is Kevin McKidd, who was in the 2005 “Kingdom of Heaven” movie. Director Kenneth Branagh said today, “There’s been lots of talk [about casting] — I sound like a politician — but we are too early at this stage. We’re getting the story and the visual effects together and all of that is very exciting. Someone sensational is going to play the part but it is early days.” It should be interesting to see if Vince McMahon allows Triple H to take time off from the road for several months to work on a non-WWE Studios film.
* The decision to give Jeff Hardy the WWE Championship belt took place during a creative team meeting two weeks before the pay-per-view match at Armageddon. Vince McMahon first brought up the idea, which caught most of the creative team by surprise.
Ever since Rob Van Dam‘s drug possession arrest in July 2006 (who held two major title belts at the time) and all the drug related suspensions of September 2007, McMahon said they could never put a major title on someone who was at a high risk of being suspended because all of the creative team’s major storyline plans would have to be overhauled not to mention that it would set a bad example.
At the creative team meeting two weeks ago, Stephanie McMahon was the only one to challenge Vince’s idea of giving Jeff Hardy the WWE Championship, bringing up his own doctrine of a wrestler at a high risk of getting suspended receiving a major belt setting a bad example to the talent. Vince acknowledged the doctrine, but said in the short-term, his plan could work if Jeff handled the opportunity properly.
* The Sun has an interview with reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion William Regal and he critiques the wrestler who he won the title from, Santino Marella. Regal feels Marella hasn’t grown in the ring as he should have by now. “I think what he does, the entertainment aspect of it, is brilliant,” Regal said. “I try and help him a lot because obviously his wrestling is not where it should be – but he can get there. He’s been thrown in the deep end straight out of wrestling school and he does a great job at what he does. I think he’s got a great future but you can only get by doing so much comedy.” Regal said CM Punk is one of the few quality opponents who can work at his pace in the ring. “The vicious stuff I’m doing now is the way I like to wrestle, unfortunately there are not too many people – and this may sound very arrogant – who can keep up with me. Very few,” Regal said. “I’m looking to people like C.M. Punk and people like that to step up. The only ones who can keep up with me are of that style.”
* New film “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke has been getting rave reviews and winning awards left and right. The recent movie premiere brought out a number of pro wrestling legends, including Ric Flair, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Gret Valentine, Brutus Beefcake and others. With all the attention the film is receiving, WWE chairman Vince McMahon contacted Darren Aronofsky and requested a private screening of “The Wrestler”. So, what did Vince think about it?
Whatever Vince told the director to his face remains a mystery, however a source close to the WWE boss says, “the word negative isn’t strong enough to describe Vince’s reaction. [This is] no surprise because Vince’s vision of the 2008 image of wrestling and even fading stars directly contradicts what The Wrestler accurately portrays.” Others in Vince’s close circle knew going into the screening that this was the kind of movie he was going to despise.
* Gene Snitsky is offering signed toothbrushes at autograph events.
* The latest issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated has an article asking if Ring of Honor wrestler Bryan Danielson deserves all the hype he gets considering that a number of fans call him “The Best In The World.” However, some fans and wrestling insiders believe it’s ridiculous to slap Danielson with “The Best In The World” tag considering that he has little experience in the world’s biggest promotions. The article features an apparent quote from a WWE headliner ripping Danielson, who spoke to PWI on the condition of anonymity. Here is what was written in the article as it pertains to WWE:
“Best in the world? Give me a break. What, really, has he done?” wondered one WWE headliner and powerbroker who spoke under the condition of anonymity. “It takes more than just coming up with a few fancy submission holds to earn that kind of praise. Until he makes it to the big leagues, calling him ‘best in the world’ is an absolute joke.”
As harsh as those words may sound, they reflect a sentiment shared by others in the wrestling world that think Danielson’s hype is nothing more than just that – hype. They say that while Danielson’s unique offense may wow hardcore fans of independent wrestling shows, his lack of knowledge of how to actually “work” holds him back from making steps towards the next phase of his career. And, they say, while his fans may be quick to dismiss some of Danielson’s limitations as superficial — including his size and look — others say criticisms of Danielson’s lack of major league star power are legitimate.
While our WWE main eventer refused to be named in this story, many fans thought WWE champion Triple H had the “Dragon” in mind when he made these comments in an August interview with The Ottawa Sun. “If you go to the Internet, there’s always somebody saying ‘this guy is the best wrestler in the world’ … But it’s not about what they like. It’s what the masses like. These guys they’re talking about are wrestling in front of 50 people, not 20,000. And that’s because the masses don’t want to see them.”
* John Cena‘s merchandise numbers for 2008 were the best of anyone in the history of the company with the exception of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin during his peak years. Cena’s numbers were also ahead of Hulk Hogan‘s marks in the 1980s, although you have to take into account inflation, the numbers of items available at the time compared to now, as well as merchandise not being nearly as readily available as it is today.
* Scott Steiner was recently interviewed by the Miami Herald and had some harsh words about former co-workers Triple H and Ric Flair.
Not only does Scott Steiner strongly dislike Triple H, but apparently Triple H has similar feelings towards Ric Flair these days. Steiner says the relationship between Hunter and Flair has soured with Hunter unable to stand Flair after Flair left the company earlier this year. “When I was up there, it was ridiculous. Flair was kissing Triple H’s (expletive) so bad, carrying his bags to buildings. Now Triple H can’t stand Ric Flair. To each his own.”
Steiner also said why he thinks Flair left WWE. “There’s a reason why Flair’s not there anymore. It’s not because he’s retired. Flair’s a piece of (expletive). I’ve been able to read people real good throughout my life. I knew Flair was a piece of (expletive), and Triple H was a piece of (expletive). It didn’t take long to figure out.”
– Tune back in next time for more Dirt Sheet History as we begin 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.