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 September 2008, we get a glimpse into the top scoops from October 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 October 2008.
* Undertaker was noticeably limping in the ring during certain spots in his matches on the overseas tour last week as one of his knees is bothering him. Taker had arthroscopic surgery during his time off and his knee was in worse shape than first thought. Additionally, he’s in the beginning stages of arthritis.
Following surgery, the expectation was that he’d be ready to return for good at his Hell in a Cell match with Edge at SummerSlam, but he took a few more weeks off from doing anything physical. Despite the lingering injury, he’s still being booked on house shows in tag matches and his TV taping dark matches are usually kept short. It’s been noted that he’s often in tremendous pain backstage, but never complains about it and usually doesn’t show it in the ring.
* WWE found out that a woman who works for their company was dating Ric Flair from a video that recently surfaced on TMZ.com. The woman had lots of heat on her within the company for dating a wrestler that is no long affiliated WWE, or rather, one that left on bad terms.
Some people in WWE were upset that Flair decided to bolt after being pushed as the focal point of WrestleMania and building so much nostalgia marketing around him (Ric Flair month on WWE 24/7, the Ric Flair DVD, the Starrcade DVD, WWE 24/7 Online). In some people’s eyes in WWE, you’re either with them or against them and anything less than 100% loyalty is disloyalty.
* A fan in attendance at last Monday’s WWE Raw taping in Minneapolis was ejected for holding up a sign that read “Butt Clown.” This was the same person we reported about last week who brought signs such as “Urine Sample Please” (during Batista‘s match), “Make It Look Real,” and “Kick his ass, Sea Bass.” Security warned the fan that be kicked out if he kept holding up controversial signs. He also held up “Cup Check That Chick” during a Beth Phoenix segment, but the “Butt Clown” sign was the straw that broke the camel’s back in getting ejected by security.
* An autograph signing with the Rock ‘n Rave Infection (Christy Hemme, Lance Hoyt and Jimmy Rave) at a Ford dealership in Derry, NH this past Friday drew a pretty bad turnout, perhaps due to lack of promotion. At the start of the signing there were only 7 people there. At one point during the signing, there was no one there. Nonetheless, they were all nice to meet according to the fan in attendance.
* John Morrison and The Miz took part in the No Mercy Live Blog on the WWE Universe site last night during the pay-per-view. During the chat session, Morrison made a remark saying that Candice Michelle looks like she’s had too much plastic surgery. Morrison said: “she looks like she’s had way too much, plastic surgery, … and actually when Jenny McCarthy came to WWE to support autism she thought Candace was special because of how spastically she moves.” He also said she can’t jump while watching her match with Beth Phoenix last night. “I think Candace is vertically challenged… I mean seriously, she can’t jump!”
* The buyrate for this year’s SummerSlam has come on in and WWE officials probably aren’t going to be too pleased. This year’s show did 465,000 buys, with approximately 270,000 of them from North America, way down from last year’s figure. In comparison, last year’s event drew 537,000 buys and the 2006 event drew 529,000 buys. This year’s show featured perhaps WWE’s biggest match-up in John Cena vs. Batista, which had never been done before in the company, as well as the return of Undertaker in a Hell in the Cell match with Edge.
* A Vladimir Kozlov WWE Title run is said to not be out of the realm of possibility.
* October 10, 2008 – In accordance with its Wellness Program, WWE has suspended Nick Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler) for 30 days for his first violation of the company’s policy.
* Mike Johnson is reporting that there was an incident at the hotel where TNA talent is staying this weekend for the Bound For Glory pay-per-view last night in the hotel’s bar. According to Johnson, a visibly drunk man got into it with Hack Myers (a former ECW wrestler who helps backstage in TNA). The two apparently had words which resulted in the drunken man’s wife getting involved.
Johnson reports that several TNA talents including Homicide and Brother Devon as well as members of Atlas Security got involved, trying to put an end to the situation. This led to the drunken man spouting off racially charged comments which made the situation worse.
Atlas Security was able to separate wrestlers from the couple before police arrived on the scene and arrested both the drunken man and his wife who had also gotten out of control. A glass table was broken and a chair was thrown during the melee. No other arrests were reported.
* TNA’s Fan Fest yesterday afternoon in Chicago is believed to be most successful one in company history. Also, there is talk that the company will set an all-time paid attendance record with tonight’s show, beating the record set at the Lockdown show in Lowell, MA last April. The Sears Center is a mid-sized arena and will likely be 70-80% full.
* Here’s some irony for you. Last Thursday night, Chris Jericho appeared at the television tapings for WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. Jericho came out and said that he sees a whole group of people in the FCW locker room that are just like Shawn Michaels and only one person who looks like he wants to follow the Chris Jericho path. A man with integrity. That man is Nick Nemeth.
Nemeth came to the ring, thanked Jericho for the introduction and said there is no one in the locker room who understands what he goes through every day. Jericho added that he and Nemeth are the only ones who can look in the mirror and have a clear conscience. The next morning, WWE announced Nemeth, known as Dolph Ziggler in WWE, had been suspended for 30 days for violating the company’s Wellness Policy.
* Regarding Karen Angle‘s departure from TNA, tension between her & Kurt Angle had grown since she filed for divorce a few weeks ago. Initially, they were said to be on amicable terms, but that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. It is believed that the company cut her loose, feeling she didn’t mean as much to the company as Karen thought she did. According to one source, Kurt Angle wasn’t consulted beforehand about the move.
* Justin Credible is promoting an “Extreme Reunion” show to be held on November 22nd at the Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Connecticut. The main event for the show is Credible vs. Sabu. Also announced for the show are ECW originals Balls Mahoney and the Sandman. In case you’re wondering, yes, this is the same Sandman who announced his retirement from pro wrestling last week.
* Paul Heyman has posted a new column at the UK Sun website, which can be read here in its entirety. Some highlights:
Regarding Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff‘s new project, Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Wrestling, Heyman says, “No matter what, the Hulkster will emerge as a big time winner on television. This guy could fall into an ocean of manure and find the one diamond at the bottom of the heap. With all the controversy surrounding Hogan’s personal life – from his son Nick’s incarceration and imminent release from jail … to daughter Brooke’s barely clothed body popping up and out on every Hollywood blog … to The Hulkster’s divorce from wife Linda and her public antics with a teenage paramour – Hogan has been in the headlines in ways he could have never imagined two years ago.”
On whether “Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Wrestling” is the next big concept in sports entertainment, Heyman says, “I doubt it. But it’s different. It’s new. It’s an alternative that’s not trying to be WWE, or WWE-Lite, or the next ECW, or some storyline-driven version of UFC.”
Heyman also thinks WWE and TNA need to revamp their television formats. “Well, let me rephrase that. WWE needs to revamp its television format, and the copycat WWE-Lite mentality that prevails in TNA will simply follow suit. The formula still being used has worked wonders for the billion dollar warchest owned by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, but Vince needs to change his product with the times. The audience is screaming not only for new characters and new storylines, but simply a new way of presenting the product.”
* Former WWE diva Trish Stratus is part of a new ad campaign for Burger King that’s running in Canada. She wrote a haiku poem about their new “Steakhouse Burger” over at MeatHaiku.com. Trish’s Haiku reads:
Do yoga, eat meat
Do the body good
* Officials have talked to Manu about keeping his weight under control. With his family’s genetics, it’s a fight to keep it at around 260. He has lost some weight in recent weeks.
* Jesse Ventura compared America to Nazi Germany and stated he’s planning to run for president in an interview.
* Kevin Nash was interviewed by Dr. Keith Lopinski this week and said he was 99.9 percent sure he would return to WWE to finish up his career. However, his wife talked him into staying in TNA because of his age, physical condition, and the travel schedule.
Nash told Lipinski, “My wife looked at me and said, ‘Why would you want to go back on the road when we live in Florida, you are ninety minutes away from work five days a month?”
Nash’s wife, who sat in on the interview, added: “If you do go on the road it’s only a couple days a month. You’re home, you saved your money, you’re beat up, I just can’t see you going on the road being on the road and doing 12-14 days a month with say Batista or someone like that working every night. I don’t see how you are going to last.”
Nash says his wife pointed out that TNA wrestlers know his current limitations and they would take care of him in the ring, but it wouldn’t be like that in WWE. Nash argued that he would have some big WrestleMania paydays in his future if he went back to WWE, but his wife replied that she was with him through five Manias and he was miserable throughout.
Nash had even spoken Shawn Michaels about a potential storyline they would work in WWE, but his wife intervened at that point. “I talked with Shawn and we were trying to work out some storyline things of what we wanted to do,” he said. However, WWE wanted Nash to dye his hair and his wife said he would be the biggest sell-out of all-time if he did that. “I’m sure if I died my hair, I’d look younger, but at the same time if God intended me to have pigment in my hair, I’d have pigment in my hair. This is how I’m supposed to look. It’s going to be gun metal gray in high definition.”
* The buzz backstage is that Vince McMahon is still extremely tough on Michael Cole on Monday nights during Raw through the headset.
* Following last night’s Ring of Honor event in Edison, New Jersey, owner Cary Silkin removed Gabe Sapolsky from his head booker’s position in the company. There was no major blow up as the company is simply going in a different direction.
Sapolsky had been with Ring of Honor since its inception in 2002. He is completely gone from the company.
ROH issued the following statement on the company website today:
Ring of Honor is announcing that Gabe Sapolsky will be leaving the company effective immediately. Everybody at ROH would like to thank him for his contributions and wish him well in all future endeavors.
Going forward Ring of Honor will be focusing on the stories and the talent in the ring. The company will have no further comments on this issue or a replacement for Mr. Sapolsky. We would like to thank all of the fans and media who have supported us over the years and look forward to bringing you more great wrestling excitement in the future.
* Candice Michelle is well aware of her negative Internet critics since her return and has decided to use it as a way to motivate herself into getting better. She was really upset with all the negative criticism online regarding her return and ring performance. She is said to be an extremely hard worker with a great worth ethic.
* TNA star Sheik Abdul Bashir wound up in “wrestler court” after playing a rib on Kip James during a recent flight. Bashir told a flight attendant to announce over the loud speaker that James was celebrating his 65th birthday, which did not go over as well as Bashir hoped. The elders of TNA’s roster felt Bashir has not been around long enough to get away with a prank like that against a veteran.
Team 3D’s Brother Ray served as the judge, B.G. James represented Kip, Brother Devon represented Bashir and Simon Diamond served as the bailiff. Bashir was found guilty and order to supply the locker room beer and booze, which he did on Tuesday night.
Wrestler court has been taken serious in the past but this was more of a laid back mock trial. One wrestler said, “It was a very good move for morale, which hasn’t been the best lately.”
* It was reported that Fighting Spirit, a magazine based out of the U.K. that covers professional wrestling as well as MMA, had revealed portions of the private memo World Wrestling Entertainment/THQ sent out to members of the video gaming press covering the upcoming SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 video game. WWE wants to control how SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is portrayed in previews when displaying screenshots of the game.
What with WWE’s new toned-down, PG-rated product, the video gaming press is forbidden from showing screenshots of any of the Superstars bleeding or using weapons. However, the really interesting part coming out of the memo is that WWE/THQ said the video gaming press is forbidden from showing screenshots of digital Triple H “in a defenseless or vulnerable position.”
There was said to be some major heat between WWE and Fighting Spirit as information from the memo wasn’t supposed to be publicly revealed.
– 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.