~~~~~THE TBL NEWSLETTER~~~~~
Volume 3, Issue 18
Official Newsletter of:
The Balrog’s Lair
“Still an Internet Original!”
“It’s What You’ve Been Waiting For”
Cold Enough For You?
Well, they say it’s pretty cold throughout most of the country (I live in Texas – it’s never that cold), but we have some Hot wrestling news and opinions for you!
Before we begin, I want to put a call out to all of you that have been getting the newsletter for a long time. Joe has asked me to ask all of you – if you have any of our old newsletter saved (like Volume One and Two stuff), to send it over. We have something special planned and we could use some of our old stuff. If you happen to have any of them, make sure to forward it to Joe by clicking here. Thanks a bunch.
Let’s do this…again.
Check Out Roland’s Website: Salty Ham!
Cena Could Go To RAW
WWE is thinking about running an angle following the Royal Rumble where the winner of the Rumble match decides which champion (RAW or SD) at WMXX. This could leave the door open for Goldberg to win the Rumble and then face Smackdown Champion Brock Lesnar, but other things could develop.
One option if WWE does not go ahead with the Goldberg/Brock Lesnar match is to have a Smackdown star, including possibly John Cena, win the Rumble and then go on to feud with the RAW Champion (Triple H) for WrestleMania XX. Management has been considering moving Cena to RAW permanently and making him the brand’s top face following WMXX since RAW is without a major face.
Source: Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter
Vince Upset Over Leaks
Vince McMahon is said to be frustrated about how much information has leaked out with regards to WrestleMania XX. Vince recently blew up backstage at wrestlers and management, telling them to keep quiet about the show.
Source: Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter
WWE Worried About Angel’s Health
Despite the WWE.com article where Kurt Angle talked about how physically strong he feels, there are many who still worry about his health backstage. They feel like he takes too many risks doing overly physical things in the ring whenever he starts to feel better. Management thinks Angle does not use good judgement when it comes to taking care of himself.
WWE is encouraging Angle to listen to the new policy regarding toning down high spots and be an example for the rest of the talent, rather than trying to continue doing tough suplexes and dangerous bumps.
Source: Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter
More On The Possible Benoit To RAW Plan
It looks like the WWE is gearing up to move Chris Benoit to RAW following the Royal Rumble. He is scheduled to work matches with Triple H in house shows following the Rumble and there may be a TV program as well. Benoit is picked backstage as a favorite to win the Royal Rumble and get a big WrestleMania XX push in a program with Triple H.
Kendrick Gives His Notice
In a shocking move, Brian “Spanky” Kendrick gave his notice at the SmackDown tapings last night. Recently teamed Paul London, Kendrick has not made an impact after his initial push failed to bring him regular TV time. He will likely head to Japan after signing release papers.
Source: wrestling 365
WWE Not High On OVW Talent
The WWE no longer seems very enthused about the talent in OVW. The problem may be that the best talent left are cruiserweights and McMahon only likes to push the big guys.
Source: Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter
Edge Could Go To RAW
As many know, Edge is set to make his return around the time of Wrestlemania XX. However, there is some debate about where he will go.
It seems that the Raw creative team has been fighting hard to get Edge on their show, and it is a possibility. Of course, if the WWE does turn Kurt Angle heel over the next few weeks, Edge could stay on SmackDown due to a shortage of babyfaces.
Rock’s Hollywood Status Failing
The Rundown finished the year with a domestic gross of $47.6 and $4 million in foreign gross. The estimated movie costs including production and marketing sits at $110 million, which puts the movie deep in the red. The only thing that can save it is strong DVD sales.
The lack of real success of the movie has caused people in Hollywood to rethink The Rock as a legitimate box office draw and leading man. There is some speculation also about his choosing of roles. The success of Walking Tall will really determine what his status is in Hollywood.
It seems now, many Hollywood insiders believe The Rock needs to put as much time into wrestling as possible so that the fans will buy tickets. That’s ironic because a few months ago, many were telling The Rock to leave wrestling altogether.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Hart and Hogan To Start New Wrestling Promotion?
Jimmy Hart made an appearance on Magic 105 KMJX this week and said that he and Hulk Hogan want to start a new wrestling promotion. The want to base it out of Universal Studios in Florida. Hart said they had already contacted wrestlers, such as Ted Dibiase, Sting, Buff Bagwell, and Bret Hart.
The only mention of TNA was that Hart said he had met up with Lex Luger and Sting there.
You could probably take this as a pipe dream for now.
No Way Out Card?
WWE emailed a preliminary card for February’s Smackdown-only No Way Out PPV to fans in the Northern California area. Here it is:
Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Title
Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero for the WWE Cruiserweight Title
John Cena vs. The Big Show for the U.S. Title
Plus, all the rest of your favorite SmackDown! Superstars!!
(card subject to change)
McMahon Behind Tazz’s Heel Gimmick
Vince McMahon has been telling Tazz to act more as a heel announcer recently. McMahon thinks Tazz and Michael Cole agree too much on things and it takes away the edge from the announcing.
McMahon thought the same thing about Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler and that is why Jonathan Coachman is now in the mix.
Source: Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter
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THE LOGICAL APPROACH
By Rick Elsey
-Giving Back to the Industry
(What you are about to read is a completely fictitious set-up for a possible under-the-table WWE-TNA working agreement.)
NWA-TNA World Champion, Jeff Jarrett walks down the aisle at WrestleMania 20, sans the NWA World Title, to be inducted in the WrestleMania Hall of Fame ceremony as part of the mega-event at Madison Square Garden. Once in the ring, Jarrett accepts his plaque and his name is shown on the big screen for all of 3 seconds, before moving onto the next honorary… so much for a big inter-promotional working arrangement. In the days before WrestleMania 20, WWE released a list of past performers that would be accepting honors as WrestleMania participants. Many current NWA-TNA names were on the list, surprising many insiders and wetting the mouths of many fans. No doubt this turn of events would leave a disappointing flavor to the segment. But then out of nowhere, Jeff Jarrett nails Vince McMahon with his plaque knocking the Chairman of WWE on his rear, as some fans cheer and the camera quickly moves to the commentary team as they struggle to recover and move to a vide package promising to pick up on the ceremony momentarily. And just like that, a spark of fierce competition between rival promotions is struck.
Weeks prior, unbeknownst to fans and internet insiders, Vince McMahon had set down with Jerry and Jeff Jarrett and worked out an arrangement that would see WWE secretly co-fund TNA, aiding in a securing of a TV deal and promising an influx of “released” talent. McMahon’s goal was to create an air of competition that the fans would take seriously and all the while use the growing cult status of TNA to give his stale product a much needed shot in the arm. The plan would begin at WrestleMania 20, and continue online, at WWE.com and NWATNA.com the following afternoon. Both WWE and TNA would make statements, concerning the altercation at Mania, legalities would be discussed and threats would be made. All looking very official and making things extremely uncomfortable, and at the same time sending the warning bells off for “smarks” everywhere, proclaiming everything to be a work; and in true internet fashion begin a word of mouth overflow of coverage.
Now… some may be asking, “Why would Vince go to the trouble of working out an agreement with NWATNA?” I’m so glad you asked.
It is a little known fact in the world of a wrestling mark or casual fan that at some point in late 1990’s Vince McMahon began to secretly help ECW with its finances and talent influx. His motives were clear, help Paul Heyman keep his popular, yet struggling promotion and Heyman would sing the praises of WWE. In a period of WCW talent raids coupled with the escalating TV war between the big two of WCW and WWE, Heyman would encourage his talent to accept WWE deals instead of WCW deals, all the while helping McMahon to fine tune his lamer characters such as Al Snow and PJ Polaco. But McMahon also knew that the old adage, “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer” applied very well to this situation. My point being, that ECW was responsible for starting the revolution that WWE coined “Attitude”. ECW was the first promotion to throw childish gimmicks out the window and take its product to a more adult level. WCW followed suit and that forced Vince McMahon to follow as well. With ECW in his pocket, so to speak, the cult phenom would never really rise to take on the mainstream powerhouse.
As time went by, WCW began to sputter, while ECW gained TV access and was poised to enter the war as a full fledged alternative. However, ECW’s deal with TNN was not a good one for the promotion, as the corporation defaulted on a few promises, namely advertising, leaving the originator of “Attitude” to slowly sink. Vince McMahon then began to swallow up the entire North American mainstream wrestling industry, including ECW and WCW. McMahon didn’t count on losing three-fourths of the wrestling fan base as well, and thus has spent the last 3 years since the purchase of WCW, struggling to keep his promotion from becoming a stagnant, dwindling failure; going so far as two force a split in his own roster to simulate “competition”.
Like ECW at the time, NWA-TNA is slowly becoming a cult movement on the internet and they are drawing a good number of fans to check out the only real televised alternative to WWE. Vince McMahon would be smart to begin to help out TNA a an effort to gain equal footing as a real alternative, as real competition, if for no other reason than to help his own product to regain its former glory, only realized at the height of competition; but mainly to give back to an industry that he helped to skin like a dead carcass after a hunt.
In its current state, NWA-TNA could never even come close to gaining a true level of competition with Vince McMahon. They can’t seem to get TV and they do not have enough big name stars with enough mainstream exposure to even draw the kind of attention necessary to be considered number two. But Vince McMahon, on the other hand, has too many hours of TV to fill, too many contracted stars weighing down his depleted cash fund and a rapidly dwindling fan base that is starved for serious competition. And just to make sure we are clear on this… Smackdown and Raw having separate rosters is not competition, and was never meant to be real competition because if it was, McMahon would be insistent on the two brands not trying to one up the other. The brand extension took place solely so that McMahon could try to milk more money from his fan based by running two shows a night.
So let’s assume that, for sake of argument, McMahon decides that Heat and Velocity are pointless wastes of time, filled with talents that will never receive a serious push. And he also decides that he has about 20-25 contract talents that he could do without… like Rhyno, Tommy Dreamer, Spike Dudley, Sean O’Haire, Ultimo Dragon and others; thus releasing them and helping them to broker a deal and sign with TNA. McMahon might give TNA some advertising time on WWE programming and might allow some slight interaction with the rival promotion just to get his audience watching. Maybe McMahon would only ask that the Jarrett’s try to convince a few of the hotter TNA stars to consider WWE as an alternative? Maybe McMahon would only want a small percentage of TNA’s advertising revenue in exchange? The main point is, what does Vince McMahon have to lose really?
That answer is simple… he has absolutely nothing to lose.
Vince McMahon did nearly irreparable damage to the industry by robbing it of the one thing that makes all industry thrive, and that is competition. Vince now has an opportunity to repair the damage and begin anew. He has the chance to prove that it was indeed his superior grasp of the art of sports entertainment that turned the tide of the Monday Night War and made us all stand up and take notice… or prove that “Attitude” was simply a “right place and the right time” flash in the pan that grew stagnant with no competition to keep it red hot. Will he do it? Will he reach out? Of course he won’t, because for all his bravado, he doesn’t have the grapefruits for it.
Thanks for reading, as always, comments are welcome.
THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW
By: Julian Radbourne
Since Mrs. Foley’s baby boy put pen to paper four years ago and penned the now classic Have A Nice Day, we’ve seen literally dozens and dozens of biographies from wrestlers past and present, with the latest edition being Steve Austin’s The Stone Cold Truth, penned with the help of Jim Ross and Dennis Brent.
When you read this book, it’s hard not to imagine Austin’s voice in your head. Starting off just before his final match at last year’s Wrestlemania, and moving from his early childhood into his adult life, and his decision to enroll in Chris Adams’s wrestling school, the early part of the book makes for compelling reading. Austin goes to great length telling us how important his family are to him, and how his upbringing made him the man he is today.
But about halfway through the book, things begin to tail off a little. Despite being enthralled by what I had read early on, I found myself somewhat disappointed by the lack of details of certain events, and the glaring errors which Austin himself made while telling his story – for instance, naming Barry Windham as a member of the Dangerous Alliance in WCW in 1992, when it was in fact Bobby Eaton who was the fifth male wrestler in Paul E. Dangerously’s group. Windham had in fact sided with Sting’s group.
While it is understandable that Austin doesn’t go into details surrounding his arrest in 2002 after he left the WWE, it is frustrating that he doesn’t go into details with regards to his series of matches with Ricky Steamboat in WCW, his alliance with Triple H in the early part of his heel turn in 2001, his role as the leader of the WCW/ECW Alliance just after, or his views on the arrival of the New World Order in the WWE two years ago, and his apparent refusal to work a match with Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 18. It would have been good to find out just what his views on these events were.
Possibly the best and most thought provoking chapter of the book concerns the late Owen Hart. It was Owen’s botched tombstone pile driver at Summerslam in 1997 that caused the majority of the health problems which ended Austin’s in-ring career nearly six years later. Austin goes into great depth about the extent of his injury and the effect it had on his live, but his view on Owen’s conduct about the injury made for compelling reading.
All in all this is not a bad effort. As someone who loves to listen to old wrestling stories, it’s always interesting to hear the views of someone who has been around a bit, who started at the bottom and worked their asses off to get to the top. This is definitely one of the better wrestling biographies around, even though it does become a little stale in parts.
Don’t forget – polling in The Two Sheds Review Wrestling Awards continues until January 31stl. Log onto www.twoshedsreview.vze.com for more details.
Time To Go
Shorter than normal, I know – but these guys need a break every now and then.
But there are certain people that never take a break – like the staff over at TBL. We are always working – watching – analyzing – and figuring out the perfect solution to any wrestling problem. Why, just look at this last week for example. First up, Big Chris Vining came out and told us Who Will The WWE Fire Next? I wanna know! Then, that idiot Roland G (me), did his weekly RAW Rage and SmackDown Rage and they were met with much rejoicing (yay). Wanna see some pictures of WWE Stars – BEFORE they were stars? TBL has you covered when you click here! Vining came back and talked about playing with the WWE’s Future. And finally, we had a new debut on TBL with the addition of Captain Lou! No, not the one with rubber bands in his beard – this one writes columns like A Wrestling Fan Returns.
Ah, TBL is your wrestling Headquarters (can I get ANY more cheesy?).
Go away or I shall taunt you a second time.
Check Out Roland’s Website: Salty Ham!
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