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 breaking down the best inside scoops from the Summer of 2005, we’re ending the year checking out the final three months of news.
* The rating is in for Saturday night’s TNA iMPACT debut on SpikeTV – the show did a 0.8.
While not the home run rating SpikeTV was hoping for, this is a strong number and something both Spike and TNA can be proud of. The real test will be seeing how the show does over the next 2 months. If they can maintain that viewership base and grow to a 1.0, it will be a good sign of long term potential.
* Vince McMahon will return to RAW this Monday to ‘fire’ Jim Ross on-screen so that it would make sense for him moving to WWE.com Unlimited. It is said that Ultimate Fighting Championship announcer Mike Goldberg has accepted the multi-year contract WWE has offered him, and could be on RAW this Monday.
It is unknown if their will be a storyline for Goldberg coming in, or he will be presented as the new announcer immediately with no explanation.
* Spike TV asked TNA to remove a segment at the end of Impact where Team 3-D looked into the camera with the middle finger raised and asked those in Stamford, CT to “trademark this”. TNA had no problems removing the gesture.
* In his highly publicized first match back since Wrestlemania XX, former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar defeated IWGP Champion Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono in a three-way dance to capture the IWGP Title. Because of the rules of three-way matches, Lesnar did not have to pin the champion to win the title. He pinned Chono, perhaps setting up a rematch against Kazuyuki Fjita.
With this victory, Brock Lesnar becomes the first man in history to win both the WWE and IWGP. As if Brock Lesnar breaking his WWE no-compete clause wasn’t enough of a story, going to Japan and winning one of their most prestigious championships only adds to the allure and marketability of the young star.
* For all intents and purposes, Jim Ross was actually fired from his job in reality last night on RAW. Last night was Jim Ross’s last broadcast for an WWE event, including the PPVs. Vince McMahon wants to replace Ross with a much younger and more photogenic announcer.
* Talk has been heating up with the possibility of a mega match set for WrestleMania 22, Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan. Hogan and Vince McMahon both would love for the match to take place but the final decision is in the hands of Steve Austin. Austin was notified about plans for Hulk Hogan to issue a challenge to him during WWE RAW Homecoming and had no problems with it.
If the two do agree to have the match, the next major step is whose going to put aside their ego. It is anticipated for their to be a potentially explosive political situation over who will win the match. Hogan’s enthusiasm implies that he will win, and Austin’s friends say losing will not become an option for him.
Austin’s contract does not require in-ring wrestling, so for the match to happen it would have to make his participation worthwhile.
* The skit with Vince McMahon in the operating room working on Jim Ross‘s lower posterior is up on WWE.com. The skit itself has gotten a pretty bad vibe today around the internet and it seems most people didn’t find it very tasteful. There is still no word on what WWE plans to do with the future of Jim Ross and if he will indeed return to the RAW announce team in the future.
* There has been a big rumor spreading around the internet that Sting posted on his so called “official” site that he would be appearing this Monday on RAW in a match against Shelton Benjamin. Since that time, the site has been taken down. It is very unlikely that this is the case as Sting has stated previously that at this point in his life he would ever join WWE, despite conversations in the past with the company.
* It was reported today that Christian has quit WWE. The initial story was posted on WWE.com. At first many thought this may just be some sort of a work. However, this is not a work as Christian worked his final match with WWE last night in Los Angeles.
Apparently WWE and Christian had been in discussions about a new contract and in the end Christian didn’t like the terms that were being offered in a new WWE deal. Reports are that Christian has not been happy with WWE for the past few months after being pushed very hard towards a main event status and then being sent back into the pack after moving to Smackdown! Christian had hoped to meet with Vince McMahon and hash out the situation with his status in WWE and possibly work out a new deal, but it is unknown whether or not that meeting ever took place and if it did what came out of it.
It is unknown what the future holds for Christian as he will always have the option of moving to TNA. There should be more on this story as it progresses.
* As reported earlier there was some developing friction between Steve Austin and WWE management after the decision was made to have Jonathan Coachman and Mark Henry go over him at tomorrow night’s WWE Taboo Tuesday. There have been rumors that because of this Austin may not even show up for the event.
Tonight on RAW, Vince McMahon greeted Coach in the ring and then Batista appeared. Eventually, it was announced that Batista would face Coach tomorrow night. It was funny, because there was no mention of Jim Ross and how this would effect his return? I guess WWE is planning on just sweeping that one under the rug. McMahon made the excuse that Austin was in an accident this weekend and that is why he would not be appearing on RAW or Taboo Tuesday.
* As reported earlier, Joey Styles is at Taboo Tuesday meeting with WWE officials. The latest update is that Styles flew out to San Diego this morning. He will be meeting with Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon about possibly replacing Jim Ross on RAW. Apparently this is a big twist as it was felt a few days ago that WWE wanted nothing to do with Joey Styles.
The latest is that WWE will drop the Jim Ross storyline because they have nowhere to go with it after Austin pulled out. Jim Ross’s job will not be on the line tonight when Batista and Coach meet.
The feeling is that Coach will not be able to fill the shoes of Ross and that the only possible replacement WWE has is Joey Styles. Again, it doesn’t appear that a deal has been reached but it would not be out of the question for Styles to debut with WWE tonight as the “new” lead announcer. There should be more updates on this later today.
* SpikeTV is said to be very happy with TNA Wrestling’s performance in its first month of programming. The ratings have been so good that Spike has given TNA its first 2-hour primetime special this Thursday night.
Spike has been very supportive of the TNA product thus far, but has suggested that TNA sign more recognizable names to appear on television. Specifically, SpikeTV has told TNA they would like to see the company bring in several wrestlers from the late WCW era who didn’t jump to WWE when WCW was bought out.
Many within TNA feel that bringing in wrestlers from the past purely for their name value is a major mistake. They feel that to be a true alternative product to WWE’s “sports entertainment”, TNA needs to concentrate on presenting innovative, competitive matches and developing compelling personalities.
* There is also talk of Chris Benoit and his future with WWE. His contract reportedly will expire sometime this month and he has reportedly been given a new deal by WWE which he has refused because he felt he was being low-balled. It’s now being speculated that much like Christian, Benoit could be the next WWE talent to walk away. If this were to happen, you can expect that TNA would jump all over Benoit because he fits the type of superstar that they are craving. There should be more on this situation as it develops.
* TNA Wrestling issued a press release this afternoon regarding the “major acquisition” of a superstar who has jumped ship from WWE. TNA President Dixie Carter was quoted, “This is the single biggest jump in TNA history .. The contract is signed, the travel is set and in my opinion, ‘Genesis’ just got a whole lot more intriguing.”
Several reliable sources have confirmed that this “major acquisition” is none other than former WWE Intercontinental and Tag Champion, Jay “Christian” Reso.
* Vince McMahon is said to furious with the recent on-air mistakes made by Jerry “The King” Lawler and Jonathan Coachman. The mistakes have been both factual errors as well as saying things that go against storylines and the concepts WWE writers are trying to get across.
This past week on RAW, Jonathan Coachman pointed out that the crowd was chanting for Kurt Angle instead of John Cena. After being corrected by Vince in his headset, Jerry Lawler had to correct The Coach by saying people were chanting for Cena too.
Also this week, Jerry Lawler stated that this year’s Survivor Series would be the 27th anniversary of the event. The Coach corrected Lawler, making fun of him for not knowing when one of WWE’s biggest annual events began and assured fans that it was the 21st anniversary. The Coach later corrected himself again and gave the real information – that this year’s show is the 19th anniversary (1987 was the first show).
Additionally, when Jerry Lawler said that Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart went 60 minutes at WrestleMania 12, Vince reminded the King that the Ironman Match from WM12 went into overtime and beyond 60 minutes.
The RAW announce team has been shaky since Jim Ross was removed earlier this month. This week we saw Joey Styles join the team, but it became pretty clear by the end of the show that 3 is a crowd. While Jerry Lawler’s position is the safest of them all, it should be interesting to see who gets removed first – Joey Styles or The Coach.
* Very saddened to announce that Eddie Guerrero has passed away. The former WWE Champion was only 38 years old.
Eddie was scheduled to wrestle the injured World Heavyweight Champion Batista and Randy Orton in a triple threat match for the title at SmackDown! tapings. The match was put together as a way to take the title off Batista, who will be having surgery very soon. Guerrero was heavily favored to win the title this evening.
We offer our condolences to the Guerrero family and anybody who knew the brilliant young performer.
* When Christian decided to end negotiations with WWE, it was being reported that it was due to his push and salary, however, that is not the case. The negotiations with WWE broke down over plane tickets.
Vince McMahon refused to give Christian an upgrade on his plane tickets. McMahon told him that giving an upgrade to a midcarder would set a bad precedent.
* Dusty Rhodes was the one behind the angle on RAW where Vader and Goldust came out, with the Coach dressed up as Steve Austin. Vince McMahon, who has never like Vader, is upset with Rhodes for how the angle turned out. Those backstage are afraid to affiliate themselves with Rhodes, as Vince will associate the two. When Vader’s name was brought up in a booking meeting last year for a discussion of which big names should be brought back, the writer was almost laughed out of the room.
* CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Pro wrestler Ric Flair faces assault charges after a road rage incident on Interstate 485 in Charlotte. Another driver said Flair attacked him and his car.
The driver said he was on I-485 on Wednesday, trying to get out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday and traffic was slow. The driver said he noticed someone behind him flashing their headlights, so he hit his brakes. The driver said the car then pulled along side him, police said. The victim said he immediately recognized the driver as Ric Flair. The driver told police that Flair got out of his car, walked over to the vehicle, grabbed him by the neck and damaged his car.
Police said there are two warrants out for Flair — simple assault and damage to personal property. Flair’s attorney, Richard Finnell, said Flair is unaware of the warrants. He said Flair is in Michigan this week for a pay-per-view wrestling event. Finnell said Flair would be back in Charlotte on Tuesday.
* Former WCW star Diamond Dallas Page has filed a federal lawsuit against rap superstar and Def Jam President Jay-Z for trademark infringement. Page claims that Jay-Z has taken his “Diamond Cutter” hand symbol and used it in his products. Jay-Z uses the symbol to represent the record label he created, Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996.
Page begin using the diamond shaped hand signal in 1996 while he was in WCW and continues to use it till this day. The sign appears on the cover of his latest book, “Yoga for Regular Guys.”
* There were rumors that Sting may join WWE for a match at WrestleMania 22 but those may be put to rest this Sunday as it is exptected that TNA will announce the signing and return of Sting who has not wrestled on a frequent basis since WCW was purchased by WWE.
* Jeff Hardy was a no show at tonight’s TNA Turning Point PPV.
* Seven News in Australia has an article up with quotes from SmackDown’s Batista. “I almost feel like when I was drafted over to Smackdown,” he says. “They were basically giving me the show.
* AJ Styles was pulled out of his scheduled Ring of Honor bookings last weekend after receiving stitches to a busted lip suffered at the hands of Samoa Joe at Turning Point. Styles did end up making a booking for Vince Russo’s religious event the night before Ring Of Honor, which upset some internet fans we hear. Styles said Russo’s event was in Georgia and only five minutes away from his home and he already missed the previous booking with Russo, so he decided to show up. Unfortunately, at the event, he busted his lip open again.
* Many of the people at Armageddon last night, not just wrestlers, were extremely disappointed with the whole Tim White suicide angle. A lot of them refused to even address the angle.
* Samoa Joe recently asked for a raise in TNA. As it was recently revealed, despite winning the X Division Championship and being one of the top names in TNA, Joe is still being paid the same amount of money when he started out – somewhere between $500 and $700. Upon signing with TNA, Joe had agreed to that sum, however, only under the condition that it be raised if he proves himself to the company. It’s obvious for everybody who’s been following Joe in TNA that he has turned into one of their biggest names. Being a huge part of their last few PPVs, and winning the X Division Championship was enough in Joe’s mind to show improvement, and he asked for a raise, hoping for a $1250 deal. He was denied.
Joe has his own ways of showing TNA how he feels about his treatment. It was recently revealed in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Joe himself invited Brian Gerwitz to the ROH show, where the WWE upper management member was spotted. This was Joe’s way of showing that he’s pretty serious about his demands as a superstar, having in mind how much time, effort, and money both TNA and Joe have spent on his push. To compare the current state of the company, Jeff Hardy who has no-showed several events now, gets paid more than Joe, which is unacceptable to the Samoan.
To add to the fuel, Johnny Ace has always been high on Joe and has had an interest in bringing him into WWE for quite a while now. Ace has been quoted before saying that Joe is the “top level heel Rikishi could never pull off.”
Stories are credited from Rajah, PWTorch, PWInsider and The Wrestling Observer. Month name photo art is by Phillip Martin.