~~~~~THE TBL NEWSLETTER~~~~~
Volume 2, Issue #10
Brought to you by:
The Balrog’s Lair –
Note from the Editor:
Hello again everyone! This edition of the newsletter features the return of my column, Balrog Babblings as I take a look at the new WWE program, Confidential. Also in this newsletter we continue to introduce news from outside our own TBL Newswire, but I’ve decided to bring in only news from pages that I’m either affiliated with through my website or pages that I work for as a reporter. I’ve also decided to remove the ^^^ from the headlines of the news bits as well as make some other layout changes. I don’t know whether or not to leave the “Contents” section out, so let me know what you think. Oh, I am looking for Guest Editorials on my site – if you are interested, let me know. And another update to the newsletter; I’ve decided to go with a different font…just to change things up. So with that in mind, sit back, relax, and let’s get ready to go!
Joe Balrog, Editor-in-Chief
News & Rumors:
News and rumors taken from The TBL Newswire as well as some other noted sources.
Chyna Bashed By Japan?
Further details have arisen on Joanie Laurer’s boxing outing. Apparently she was paid $30,000 to appear on “Celebrity Boxing” which may seem high, but bear in mind her services have not been required often after leaving WWE. Japan Media were not kind to Laurer in their coverage and ‘buried her’ during the whole bout. – William Gardner
Goldberg Wants Short Deal
The former WCW champion–and the most feared man in wrestling–has been contacted by promoters around the world, including Pride Wrestling, New Japan, The XWF and, of course, the WWE. The word is Goldberg is interested in making a lot of money in a short period of time and would not be interested in signing a multiyear contract with any organization. – Brian Davidson
Scott Steiner was spotted looking for a four-star hotel in Santa Monica this week. Those who saw the wrestler said that he looked to be in great shape, with the exception of a noticeable limp. – Ben Johnson
WWE Injury Update
Chris Benoit is expected to be back in WWE in June. Kane is scheduled to go see Dr. James Andrews June 3rd about his injury. He is expected to be back around Summer Slam. Rhyno will be gone from the WWE for over a year due to his injury. Chris Kanyon is scheduled to return to WWE within a week or so. After the Rock’s MRI. It was discovered that he has a torn PCL in his knee. But he will still continue doing movie shoots. – Joseph Pansano of ViciousWrestling.com
RAW And Raven News
The reason behind Raven quitting announcing for HEAT and doing the little skit with Jerry Lawler last night on RAW was because he legitimately doesn’t want to be an announcer. He wants the booking team to push him more as a wrestler as he feels he still has lots of ring time left. There’s a general feeling within all the wrestlers in the WWE that SmackDown! is the preferable group to be in right now, mostly due to them having a greater percentage of younger, harder workers than the RAW brand and that their TV show seems like more fun to do. – Marco Paglioni of WrestlePress.org
By: Joe Balrog
WWE Confidential Thoughts
Can you believe it? I actually wrote a column again! Man alive, I wrote my last column in August 2001! Well, this isn’t as point-oriented as was my last column entitled “The Low Road,” which offered a look at how it was despicable how Jim Ross and the WWE faked a Jeff Hardy injury to try to desensitize their viewers to high risk maneuvers. This column, on the other hand, deals with one of the new WWE programs; it deals with WWE Confidential.
Understand me now – this is NOT a recap of the show! You want a recap of the show, either watch it yourself or find me a reporter who will do television reports on my site! But seriously, this is my take on what we have as fans with the new “Mean” Gene Okerlund hosted Saturday night show.
First and foremost, I will begin my diatribe by stating that I loved the show – everything about it. From the Shawn Michaels clips to Gerald Brisco talking about Montreal to “Mean” Gene’s dirty old man routine to watching Vince stumble out of Bret’s locker room, I loved every last bit of it. But there was a lot more to this show than what the hype brought it. Granted, many of the viewers were drawn in because of the sheer intrigue of what happened in Montreal, circa November 1997. Regarding that situation, perhaps the biggest bombshell dropped during the program was the fact that Shawn Michaels finally admitted to knowing about the screwjob that took place at Survivor Series. Is anyone else waiting to hear Bret’s retort in the Calgary Sun? I know I am!
However, putting all of the hype to the side, there was something else that I liked about the show. I liked the feel of the show. Finally, the WWE has removed their weekly recap programs! Superstars, Live Wire, Action Zone, Excess, and all of the programming before Confidential became the tried and true run of the mill recap programs. Inexpensive to produce, cheap to send out, and virtually no pain in the ass making an episode – how can anyone fault the WWE for producing these garbage review shows?
Confidential showed me something else. After watching the show, I saw something that the WWE is in dire need of right now – a new feel for the programming. In the past, I’d say that perhaps the most cutting edge show that the WWE produced was the original Live Wire on Saturday mornings where they had e-mails sent in and read on the air, phone calls during the show, and other such interactive features (that would eventually carry to Excess before they were shut down). You see, there is an inherent desire in the WWE fan base to know it all – to have it all brought to their plate. That was the danger with taking phone calls on the air because you never knew if you had a 30 year old who spends 90% of his day on wrestling websites and is trying to “expose” something or a young child who just didn’t know what he or she wanted to ask their favorite superstar.
To put this part of the discussion to an end, a minority of WWE fans wanted to know everything and look like heroes on the air while they ultimately brought down the feel that the WWE was looking for – namely a new type of show. Then we have the return of “Mean” Gene and his Confidential. Why did I like this show so much? Well, it had a grown-up feel. Perhaps the time slot of 11PM on Saturday nights is what gives them the ability to run a show where breast implants and graphic surgery are parts of the program or perhaps it is the fact that the weekly review show has run its course in wrestling, but whatever it was about Confidential that gave it that new appeal, it certainly worked.
Now, living in the internet age of wrestling I fully expect the internet community to find a way to bash this show (either in the minority or majority – someone is going to trash it). And why shouldn’t they? For the better part of the past year, everyone on the internet seems to believe that they are a better booker than people who do this and have done this for a living for over twice as long as most of the complainers have been alive! I digress from my Confidential applause, though, but I will make statements about the internet wrestling scene in a future issue of this column.
So in anticipation of the young or complaint-happy ripping apart WWE Confidential, I’ve decided to put together a little bit of what I think will make this new program one to watch:
* The WWE must keep “Mean” Gene Okerlund at this position. Gene brings an older feel to the show that wouldn’t be as intriguing if someone like Michael Cole or The Coach hosted it. There’s something about Okerlund that brings back memories of how it was and something about Cole and Coach that bring ideas of what it has become…that’s my take at least.
* There must be a continuation of this “Superstars at Home” series. Did you SEE Trish’s house? Wow! She must be making some pretty money to live in such a nice place. This is another thing that overzealous fans want to know – how their superstars act off the bright lights of RAW and Smackdown. Excellent segment.
* Continue speaking of controversy. This is what killed most of the “cutting edge” shows through out the years. Hosts like Sunny and The Coach don’t know how to react to something that is controversial, while Okerlund loves it! Other topics that ought to be considered for an in depth analysis in the future include things such as Hulk Hogan leaving the WWE for the first time and his historic signing with WCW (as well as the talent that followed him there), The Rock’s meteoric rise to superstardom that has essentially brought him out of the WWE to Hollywood, and the WWE’s battles in their fight against the government and public opinion in the early 90’s steroid scandal.
* Specialize some shows. While the format for the show as it is looks like it will bring me in again next week, I also wouldn’t mind specialized shows throughout the year or shows that correspond to certain historic events in that week of wrestling. For instance, when Labor Day comes around, perhaps they can do a part of the show looking at the insurgence of NITRO into the market place (since it debuted around Labor Day, 1995). During Christmas time, they could do a part of the program showing all of the Christmas clips from the WWE’s past (including things like the terrible angle with Xanta Klaws or the funny moment when Vader Claus beat the hell out of Goldust and Luna as they were reading Christmas stories to the crowd). A whole show need not be devoted to these clips, but if you have an hour to fill, why not give 10 minutes to something that is topical?
* Ivory needs to stay! I’ve always felt that the spunk that Ivory has for wrestling and the wrestling product is exactly the type of zest that all superstars should have for this genre of entertainment. She bubbles over with life and the segment that she was given at the end of Confidential was interesting (although a bit shallow integrally). I’d like to see Ivory be given a chance to give her thoughts on other issues. Now I know this is a wrestling show so I don’t expect a talk about the Middle East, but maybe she can give her opinion on this high risk maneuvers or maybe how she feels about the problems of alcohol after the shows are over. If you are going to give her time to talk about something – give her something to talk about!
I’m going to end this article now. My main goal was to show that I was impressed with the new program and that I hope that it continues to stay innovative and original. Thanks for staying with me (if you read down this far)!
Rounding the Squared Circle
By: Sam Jerry
Darkness had descended upon the Evil Empire Of The North. Unhappy at how The Emperor was ruling the land, the peasants had begun a silent revolt. No longer were The Emperor’s coffers being filed with gold and other riches. No longer were The Emperor’s TV broadcasts being viewed by the masses in great numbers. Try though be might, The Emperor couldn’t restore order to The Empire. He had divided his mighty warriors into two separate Legions, giving control of the one he named “RAW” to his long time enemy in The Senate, Sir Slick. He had retained control of the second Legion; the one he named “SmackDown.” Though be called them Legions of equals, he in fact had the stronger of the two.
In an effort to bring peace and prosperity once again to The Empire, one of the things he tried was to tell the peasants that The Champion of his warriors, a grizzled old veteran, Old Baldy of Shady Acres, was going to retire. The word spread soon after Old Baldy was defeated by another old warrior, The Evil Lord Taker of Harley-Davidson. The Emperor’s dispatched his trusted aide, Lord JR of BBQ Sauce, to spread the word during last weeks RAW broadcast. Lord JR along with his aide, Jerry, King of Nashville, did as their Master bade them. They spread the gospel far and wide, that Old Baldy would give his Farewell Address on SmackDown. The land awaited his words.
In the days between RAW and SmackDown, many peasants did contact this scribe, seeking to confirm Lord JR’s words. Knowing Lord JR to be a man of the highest integrity, and not one prone to speak falsehoods, so did I assure those who asked it of me, that indeed Old Baldy was hanging up his tights, cup and jock strap. So revered was he, that I also told them that his face was being added to Mt. Rushmore, and more than ten airports were being renamed after him. These were but of few of the honors he mush deserved. There were even rumors that he was being considered for Sainthood.
And so it came to pass that on SmackDown Old Baldly gave his Farewell To The Troops. With tears in his eyes, and heavy heart, he said he had reached the end of the road. He thanked each and every Chumpamaniac, and reminded them all to say their prayers and eat their vitamins. He said his time had come and he was going to walk alone down that long and dusty road to The Shady Acres Rest Home For Very Old Wrestlers. There he would wile away his time reminiscing about his days of glory and reading mail from the peasants. To my complete and utter surprise, The Emperor appeared and said this wasn’t going to happen. He threatened to have Old Baldy Drawn and Quartered if he violated his sacred oath, inscribed in blood, in The Book of Contracts. When the insults became too much to bear, Old Baldy committed a crime punishable by death (or by a match against The Emperor which could be worst); he punch the Royal one!
Who could have seen this coming? Who would have believed that Old Baldy’s retirement was subject to change? Who would have thought that Lord JR might be wrong? A pox on those who would dare suggest that it was but a sham. I for one was willing to bet all the land I planned to build on in my new development, Everglades Shallows, that it was true. In fact, should there be any doubters among you, I might agree to sell you some of it, at a very reasonable price, just to prove how strongly I believed all I was told.
As a citizen of Evil Empire Of The North, I have breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Old Baldy will still be around and competing. That I will still be able to see the Big Boot and Mighty Leg Drop of Death. I can’t tell you how excited and exilirated I am by this; how the gloom of his retirement has been replaced by a rainbow. I must end now as I don’t want to puke on my computer, and I see lightning headed my way.
By: Linda Robin
Ok, OK, the fun is over. Come on Vince let’s start getting serious. It’s been over two months and what looked like a good idea, has to me turned out to be the most depressing and the most miserable decision I’ve witnessed from the WWE in a while. It’s time to end the split dump the excess baggage and get things back to normal. Now that doesn’t mean to have the same guys constantly feuding. No it means have your roster on both shows move up some of the mid-carders, have the house shows filled with your top talent and most of all let’s pretend the split NEVER EVER took place.
Ok I looked at both Raw/Smackdown rosters and here are the guys I would release. Now I know many of you will not agree with me and I wouldn’t expect you too, but this is just a rough draft of 12 names I wouldn’t miss if they were released. Some on this list are not there for lack of talent it’s just lack of finding them a decent part on the shows. That I blame on Vince. But why keep them when you know some these guys will never get past where they are now. Hey there’s more I could mention but here’s what I came up with.
Scotty Too Hottie
I’m sure I could come up with more like Regal, Goldust, Hogan, yeah Hogan, but I know Regal and Hogan aren’t going anywhere, Goldust on the other hand, I say is hanging by a thread. The whole point of this list and subject today is the fact that I’m sick of what I’m seeing. I’m seeing Smackdown built around an almost 50 year old man who’s in ring performance is anything but great. Ratings have plummeted since he was given the Undisputed Title and given such focus that I guess I’m not the only one that wants to stop watching. Yes Smackdown has been the better of the two shows, but that ending with Hogan’s so called retirement speech and Vince coming out stopping him took away from Smackdown. Also hearing on one of the new shows last night, what does Vince have in store for Hogan on next week’s Smackdown makes me realize the push is far from over and that irritates me very much.
Raw has such a lackluster roster that after the first hour I’m done and ready to call it quits. What starts out promising simply dies as time goes on. I want the big bad no respect Austin back I guess I should say the Texas Rattlesnake. I don’t want him cuddling up to that no talent wife of his and singing non stop at bars. That’s no way to build his character up. I’m happy Kevin Nash exploded last week but still having Big Show and Booker in there with X-Pac doesn’t thrill me. I truly don’t expect much from this group. I’m sorry to sound like a bitch, but this split has taken so much enthusiasm not only out of me but it seems the majority of fans which is obvious from the ratings.
House show attendance is extremely low that’s because some aren’t even sure what roster they will get Raw or Smackdown. Then many feel that you are only getting part of the main stars why bother to put that money out. For the Hogan fans he’s not in one house show this weekend? Now does that make sense? He’s on the Smackdown Roster but not on the card? Why put that money out when you wonder if your favorite is even going to be there. I have a Smackdown show coming June 25th, tickets go on sale next Saturday. Of course I plan to purchase them, but I wonder is the roster going to hold? Will things be changed? See you never know what to expect.
Well tomorrow’s Raw I’m looking for more with RVD/Taker. And I’m sure Guerrero/Austin will get things going, and I hope that means in the ring not a bar. I did like Bubba Ray and Brock Lesnar colliding, and Heyman playing the dirt bag with Trish was cool, but other than that I can’t say there’s much to look forward too. I read on one site expect ratings to plummet at least until January then things will pick up. I sure hope we all don’t have to wait that long for a big improvement because I need to start enjoying the shows again. Let’s see if Kevin Nash can put some life into tomorrow’s Raw, you think it’s possible.
Just a quick couple of things. I loved hearing Shawn Michaels on Confidential. I thought it was a pretty cool interview, hearing him admit to knowing about the Montreal Screw Job. WOW let’s see if Bret Hart reacts to that one. Also Michaels talking about how his attitude wasn’t exactly good or popular with the company. I can’t wait to see part two next week. I won’t be doing a Raw review on Tuesday. I’m taking a day off; hey I figure the shows haven’t been too good so maybe without a review RAW will be spectacular or at least good. I will be back on Friday with my Smackdown review.
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