Wrestling-Online Newsletter #1894
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/ _ \| \| | | |_ _| \| | __| Issue #1894
| (_) | .` | |__ | || .` | _| Thursday November 4th 2004
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>> OPENING WORDS FROM THE EDITORBy Colin Vassallo, [Editor@...]
Did someone p!ss in McMahon's cornflakes this morning or what? The guy
just fired ten of his Superstars in a matter of what, two days. I guess
no one is safe....except for Triple H that is.
Order the limited edition Million Dollar Man Replica Title Belt!
Execution...ended two wrestling careers! Did you know one was a
woman? Did you know 5 different wrestlers have gone by the same
stage name? Who was know as a Professional Dwarf Tosser? Think
ypu have it all on pro wrestling? How about back to 1880? If you
NEED more or want a great gift, check out http://www.bigbelt.net
>> WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT NEWShttp://www.wrestling-online.com/news
> WWE CUTS SEVEN MORE FROM THE ROSTER- Seven more WWE Superstars have been let go earlier today by the
company, shooting up the number to ten wrestlers biting the dust in a
couple of days. The latest to join the unemployed list are Rodney Mack,
Jazz, Johnny Stamboli, Gail Kim, Chuck Palumbo, Nidia and Rico. The
company looks like its cleaning house of the mid-card wrestlers who
haven't been used much lately on TV as cost cutting procedures. Earlier
this week Billy Gunn, Test and A-Train were also given the pink slip due
to financial reasons.
> SMACKDOWN! PREVIEW- These matches have been taped for tonight's Smackdown! on UPN. Booker
T vs Orlando Jordan; Dawn Marie vs Jackie in an arm wrestling match; Rey
Mysterio & RVD vs Mark Jindrak & Luther Reigns; Booker T & Josh Matthews
vs John 'Bradshaw' Layfield & Orlando Jordan. Also Kurt Angle takes on
two Tough Enough competitors.
> WWE VIDEOS ON BILLBOARD- Only two videos made it in the Billboard's Top 10 Recreational Sports
chart for the week ending November 13th. 'Unforgiven 2004' debuts in the
first place and 'SummerSlam 2004' is in eighth place. These videos and
more can be purchased on DVD from WrestlingMegastore.com.
> STOCKS- Stocks closed the day at 13.11, a 1.86% increase over yesterday's
closing. The day's range was 12.81 - 13.11.
>> KNIVES OUTBy Ian Hamilton, [ian.hamilton@...]
Things cannot be alright inside WWE HQ these days. November is only four
days old, and we've seen TEN "WWE Superstars" released from their
When WCW's accounts were full of red ink, we saw the axing of several
unused wrestlers, while younger, inexperienced guys replaced them.
Although WWE has a few million bucks in cash stored away, it looks like
John Laurinaitis is bringing his fire sale mentality into WWE.
With less than a month having passed since WWE learned that their
October pay-per-views, No Mercy and Taboo Tuesday, plumbed the depths in
terms of buy rates (both shows drew well under 200,000), it looks as if
WWE are taking pre-emptive measures, and starting to cut costs before
they need to.
Which brings us to the predicament that we are in today, with no less
than ten (it'll probably rise by the time this is printed) wrestlers
finding themselves on the unemployment queue. Let's take a look back at
those who won't be on our TV screens for a while:
The former Prince Albert had been out of action for the past few months,
after suffering a torn rotator cuff. It was no big loss, as A-Train had
done absolutely nothing since being traded onto Raw, in the hectic days
after the televised "draft lottery" back in March. A-Train was close to
a comeback, but with the creative team unable to think of anything for
him to do, the WWE decided to cut their losses on a character who failed
to get over in any guise. Whether it was the evil piercing guy. the guy
who waxed his legs but ot his torso. or the Hip Hop Hippo (shudder),
nothing seemed to work for this guy. Not even a name change or a spell
with the Intercontinental title.
Oh man, how do I write this up without incurring the wrath of the libel
lawsuits? Here goes. the former "Assman" disappeared from TV in the past
few months, after tagging with Bob Holly for a large part of 2004.
According to reports in Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter,
Gunn was found passed out in an airport lounge several weeks ago, and
was sent into rehab. WWE released Gunn from his contract this past week,
signalling that something had either gone wrong with the rehab, or they
used the old "creative has nothing for you" excuse. The latter is
probably true, given that Gunn had been given nothing to do since his
"gay" tag team with Chuck Palumbo died off about two years ago, when
Gunn picked up an injury.
Oh man. after the aforementioned tag team with Billy Gunn died off,
Palumbo was left floundering on his own before being used as a part of
the FBI stable. The latest version of the FBI never really took off, and
Palumbo was left on Velocity for most weeks. He was inexplicably traded
to Raw in March, where he did. absolutely nothing. Palumbo got some new
ring attire, but was left without a gimmick. On his last TV appearance
for the company, he was given the moniker of "Custom Chuckie P", and the
supposed gimmick of a mechanic. Unsurprisingly, the exhumation of the
Thurmann Sparky Plugg gimmick didn't get him over, and WWE cut their
losses on Palumbo this past week. Just think back to the promise Palumbo
had alongside Sean O'Haire three years ago.
A surprising choice by the WWE. Gail Kim won the Women's title in a
battle royal on her Raw debut on June 30, 2003, after several weeks of
Matrix-style promos building up the Canadian. Unfortunately, the Gail
Kim Experiment didn't quite work out, and four weeks later, Gail lost
the Women's title to Molly Holly in Colorado. Shortly afterwards, Gail
was turned heel, working with Molly (who had supposedly brought her into
the WWE, which made zero sense if you think about it), but injuries
ended any momentum Gail had. A broken collarbone kept her out of action,
and while she was away, she got the customary WWE Boob JobT. The
implants leaked shortly after her return - when she was suddenly being
labelled coming from Korea, and WWE never really had any clue what to do
with her, short of putting her in battle royals and tag team matches
This one wasn't so surprising. Jazz certainly was a "bad-ass" wrestler,
but in an age when WWE markets the women on their roster as Divas, Jazz
was everything they weren't looking for. Jazz made her WWE debut at the
2001 Survivor Series as the "mystery" entrant in a six-way match for the
Women's title. Jazz was pushed into the title picture, and a programme
with Trish Stratus resulted in Jazz becoming Women's champion for just
over three months in February 2002. A knee injury prompted the WWE to
end the angle, and put the belt back on Trish - as Jazz went in for
surgery on a torn ACL. She returned to TV in January 2003, and picked up
her feud with Stratus, but did very little before being "given" Teddy
Long as manager in April of that year. Two weeks on, Jazz became a
two-time Women's champ, before losing the title in a battle royal to
newcomer Gail Kim. Jazz had been out of the title hunt in recent weeks,
but had surprisingly won women's battle royals on house shows during her
last weekend with the WWE. After failing to get over, Jazz was shown the
door earlier today by WWE, along with her husband.
JOHNNY "THE BULL" STAMBOLI
Arriving in WWE way back in March 2001 as a part of the WCW sale, Johnny
"The Bull" Stamboli was originally sent to the HWA. He spent 15 months
there before being called up to the "major" league, when he made his
debut on Sunday Night Heat, beating Tommy Dreamer. Stamboli spent his
time between WWE and HWA as he waited a full-time call up - and during
that time, he became a Hardcore champion for a matter of seconds on two
separate occasions, while regaining the HWA World title. The demise of
the Hardcore division pushed Stamboli back into the developmental
league, before being called up to SmackDown in early 2003, as a part of
the FBI, alongside Nunzio and Chuck Palumbo. Unfortunately, Stamboli did
little apart from play a comedy character in the FBI, and was last seen
doing skits promoting his "slowness" to hype up SummerSlam.
As a winner of the WWE's first Tough Enough series, you would have
expected Nidia to get some form of push as WWE plugged their current run
of Tough Enough on SmackDown. Nobody thought that push would have been
out of the door. After winning Tough Enough in September 2001, Nidia was
sent straight to OVW, to continue her training. She returned to TV in
June 2002, as the "stalker" of the Hurricane, setting up a feud between
Hurricane and Nidia's "girlfriend", Jamie Noble. Nidia spent most of her
time as Noble's valet, resulting in some funny segments during a
storyline where Noble inherited a fortune from his dead aunt. That angle
somehow morphed into Nidia becoming blind after taking a mouthful of
Tajiri's green mist. Nidia tottered around SmackDown with a big pair of
black glasses on (to show she was blind), while Jamie Noble used her as
a human shield as he wrestled. Of course, it was all a set up, and Nidia
wasn't really blinded for life - as she turned on Noble, before
shredding her "fur coat" in front of Noble's eyes. She disappeared from
TV as she waited for a new gimmick, and returned as a wrestler - with
the customary WWE Boob JobT (as if she needed it). Nidia was traded to
Raw during the televised portion of the draft lottery this past March,
but Nidia did nothing as a wrestler, asides from being a lackey to
Victoria in Heat's customary tag team matches. Maybe if she hadn't had
that boob job, she'd have looked more like a wrestler, and not the
Puerto Rican stripper that was perceived to be her gimmick.
A late starter, Rico joined OVW in 1999, with the gimmick of being "The
Role Model". The former LA policeman spent a few years there, before
being called into WWE in 2002 - as a stylist to Billy and Chuck. Months
after arriving, Rico became a tag team champion, when he teamed with
Rikishi (as a mystery partner) to pin Billy and Chuck for the tag
titles. He dumped the titles back, and turned on Billy and Chuck in the
September 2002 "gay wedding" - which saw Rico join the Raw brand, and
align himself with Rosey and Jamal (aka 3 Minute Warning). After
breaking up with 3MW in early 2003, he revived the tired Adrian Street
gay gimmick, alongside Miss Jackie. He did little on Raw, and was traded
to SmackDown in March 2004 in the non-televised portion of the Draft
Lottery (along with Jackie). As a surprise partner for Charlie
Haas, Rico won the tag titles from Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty in April,
defending the belts for several weeks, before losing them to the Dudley
Boyz in June. In that match, Rico picked up a hamstring injury, which
pinned him to the sidelines for several months, before returning last
month to save Miss Jackie from Billy Kidman's Shooting Star Press. Rico
was involved in last month's No Mercy PPV, as a part of a winning side
in the six-man tag match between himself, Haas and Miss Jackie - against
the Dudleyz and Dawn Marie.
After a short stint in OVW, Rodney Mack's WWE career got off to a false
start. He arrived on TV in January 2003, as a part of John Cena's troupe
on SmackDown, alongside the former Bull Buchanan (B2, B-Squared,
whatever he was called that particular week). After the departure of
Buchanan, Mack was dropped from the group, and re-emerged on Raw a month
later. Mack was aligned with Teddy Long, as he beat Al Snow on his Raw
debut (and damn near killed Snow with his finishing move). During his
first year, Mack was involved in a tag team with Chris Nowinski - which
saw the pair beat the Dudley Boyz in the Bad Blood PPV last year.
However, the concussion which sidelined Nowinski broke up the team,
before Mack was ruled out for a lengthy spell with a knee injury. Mack
returned to the WWE a few months ago, but was only wrestling on Heat.
Mack's last major TV appearances included a defeat to Maven in the
pre-Unforgiven Heat, before getting the fewest votes for the
Intercontinental title match at last month's Taboo Tuesday.
Oh man, where do we start? Andrew Martin debuted in late 1998 as "Test"
- the newest member of Vince McMahon's Corporation. He made his PPV
debut in the 1999 Royal Rumble, where he was eliminated by Steve Austin.
Test was kept away from any programmes, and was thrown onto WrestleMania
15 at the last minute, winning a battle royal with D'Lo Brown to get a
tag title shot against Jeff Jarrett and the late Owen Hart. After the
break up of the Corporate Ministry later in 1999, Test joined The Union,
but that group was quickly killed off. We then saw Test in love, as he
went on a date with Stephanie McMahon (cashing in a "favour" given to
the Union by storyline-CEO Stone Cold Steve Austin). While he was in
love, Test had a feud with the Mean Street Posse and Shane McMahon,
culminating in an entertaining "Love Her Or Leave Her" Streetfight at
SummerSlam 1999, which Test won.
As is usually the case with WWE romances, the couple planned their
wedding, which was set for the November 29. Test, who had wrestled
earlier that night, walked down the aisle sweating profusely, and to his
own theme music. We all know what happened next: Triple H gatecrashed
the wedding, revealed he'd married Steph the previous night in a cheesy
drive-through marriage ceremony, and so started the
Test's next career move was as a part of a tag team with Albert - with
the debuting Trish Stratus by their sides. The team, called T&A, did
little, and was broken up by the end of the year when Albert turned on
his partner. The next time Test did anything of note, was in the
Invasion angle, when he aligned himself with WCW, before winning
immunity from the sack in the "Immunity Battle Royal" of enhancement
talent at the 2001 Survivor Series.
2002 was a year to forget for Test, as he was lost in the shuffle. The
arrival of Scott Steiner resulted in a tag team between Test and
Steiner, with (Test's real life partner) Stacy Keibler as their manager.
Predictably, the team split, leading to a long feud between the pair
over who got Stacy's "services". Test won the final match of the series
at Unforgiven last year, before being forgotten again - apart from the
odd job to Shane McMahon, who ended up breaking his foot on a house
show, as McMahon performed the Van Terminator on the hapless Canadian.
A series of injuries pinned Test to the sidelines this year, and on
another attempted comeback earlier this year, Test injured his neck at a
house show in Madison Square Garden. He underwent spinal fusion surgery
in July, which would keep him out of action for 12 months. Rather
callously, WWE released Test this past week, with internet reports
claiming that Test's annual salary would pay for six developmental guys
For a company which had the policy of not sacking guys who were unable
to work, WWE's move seemed heartless. Especially when John Laurinaitis
told Test "we hope you had some money saved". Obviously, Test isn't
going to return to WWE when his neck heals (and some reports claim that
he won't be able to return at all, which could have prompted his
release) - but it'll mean that someone will make a lot of money out of
an Andrew Martin shoot interview at some point down the road.
- So, who's next? As I write this, we've had ten guys (it was nine when
I started) released by WWE in November. There could be more. and my
predictions include: Hardcore Holly, Shannon Moore (what is it with his
Demolition-reject attire anyway?), Funaki, Scotty 2 Hotty and Akio.
Well, WWE's cut a lot of the fat from the Raw B-shows, so I guess
SmackDown will get a similar treatment in the not too distant future.
What is clear is this: the current round of roster cuts will leave WWE
with very little room to work in. The Raw brand especially is now
lacking any strength in depth - and any injuries to big names will leave
the company struggling to fill the voids, especially when it comes to
the flagging house show business.
I can't imagine what morale is like in the WWE locker rooms right now,
with everyone watching over their shoulders to see who's next.
Thirty-four guys (including developmental talent) have been let go this
year, and I can only see that number increasing. One thing I can say -
if I log onto WWE.com soon and see "Molly Holly released", Mr
Laurinaitis will have reason to watch his back as well.
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