~~~~~THE TBL NEWSLETTER~~~~~
Volume 3, Issue 20
Official Newsletter of:
The Balrog’s Lair
“Still an Internet Original!”
“It’s What You’ve Been Waiting For”
A Super Sunday
Today is Super Bowl Sunday (as I write this anyway) and I’m sure many of you will be watching the big game. But since you will be getting this newsletter after the big game – that means wrestling can get back on your minds.
Let me also say that it has been a joy to be a part of the TBL & WOW Revolution Newsletter for 20 issues. I hope you all have enjoyed them as much as I enjoy sending them to you. Here’s to many more to come! Feel free to drop me a line any time with thoughts on how we can improve or if you just want to talk a little grapple every now and then!
Check Out Roland’s Website: Salty Ham!
Jack Tunney Passes Away
Jack Tunney, the former figurehead President of the WWE, passed away last Saturday at the age of 68.
There will be a funeral tomorrow at the Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church on 354 St. Clair Avenue West at 10 a.m.
Matt Morgan Injured at House Show
Matt Morgan was taken out on a stretcher at the Smackdown house show in Reading, PA last week. Morgan was in a match, teaming with Big Show & Brock Lesnar against Hardcore Holly & Billy Gunn. He got hurt after a clothesline from Hardcore Holly and was unable to get up afterwards. However, good news came a few days later when it was reported that he only suffered a stinger.
TNA’s Long Term Plans for PPV’s
TNA plans to run a 3 hour Sunday PPV every three months right now. The Sunday shows will be held outside of Nashville and the first will be “Bound for Glory” on April 4th in Fort Campbell, KY.
TNA would like to book a Scott Hall & Kevin Nash vs. Jeff Jarrett & Sting main event for the first PPV. They are also thinking about bringing in Ken Shamrock.
There is some small talk that they might be able to get Hulk Hogan to at least make an appearance at the show in what could possibly be a build to the next big PPV that would be held in Florida.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Japan Wants WWE Stars
K-1, Pride, All Japan, New Japan, and NOAH, among others, have all tried to bring in WWE stars to work major shows in 2004. It seems unlikely though that WWE will agree to any deal with any Japanese promotion. WWE plans to run one RAW and one Smackdown Japan tour per year and does not want to dilute the market by having their guys make other appearances.
The Japanese promotions want to bring in big WWE stars to lose to Japanese stars, which WWE is totally against. NOAH wants WWE stars, preferably Kurt Angle or Brock Lesnar, to work their Tokyo Dome show, but it doesn’t appear as if it will happen. Pride wants WWE stars, again preferably Angle or Lesnar, to come in and work shoot fights. Again, it likely won’t happen.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter via 411 Mania
Malenko Making a Return for Battle Royal at WMXX?
There is a plan in the works for the WWE to have a Cruiserweight Battle Royal at Wrestlemania XX. It would not be an over-the-top Battle Royal, but rather through pin-fall. And there are some rumors that Dean Malenko could make a one-night come back for it. Although, that should be taken as a rumor for now. Other participants could include: Rey Mysterio, Tajiri, Chavo Guerrero, Nunzio, Kidman, Akio, Jamie Noble, and three others.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Foley/Orton WMXX Update
Management feels Mick Foley can pull off the angle without doing damage to his image with the fans. And word is, the angle has been mostly Foley’s idea. The point of the storyline is to turn Orton into a major player, since fans won’t be too interested in seeing Foley and the Rock involved in a match with someone that is considered a mid-carder.
The Rock should be on his way back soon to help with the story.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
HHH and HBK Not Pleased With Rumble Match
Triple H and Shawn Michaels were upset after their match at the Royal Rumble because they didn’t feel it went as well as the match they had on RAW in December. They both felt they didn’t have enough time to develop the match, although it should be noted they had the longest singles match of the night.
Tazz and JR a Success
When the powers that be decided to have Tazz team with JR during the Royal Rumble match, many backstage were surprised. Lawler was said to be a tad nervous after hearing of the news and then went out very energized for his portion of the event. Tazz himself was very nervous because he was worried he wouldn’t work well with Ross or that Ross might make him look bad. But, after the event, Tazz was very happy with the way it turned out.
Source: Pro-Wrestling Torch Newsletter
More Wrestlers Asking For Release?
There’s a rumor going down that as many as four other wrestlers will ask for their release in the same manner that Brian Kendrick did a few weeks ago. It is said that many wrestlers on the RAW roster are looking at other options because they are dissatisfied with the way they have been used.
Gail Kim Injury Update
Gail Kim is still not cleared to get into the ring. Kim has been out since she broke her collarbone a few weeks ago. The projection is that she will come back soon, so keep a look out.
Source: Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter
Future Plans For Kidman and London
The plan right now is to keep Paul London and Billy Kidman together as a tag team and eventually have them split and feud. The break up would be due to the use of the Shooting Star Press.
Heyman Doing Some Creative Work
Word is that Paul Heyman has been putting a lot of imput into the creative process again. He has been behind a lot of the segments that have gotten over well with fans and has been scripting his own segments as well. He is still not officially part of the creative team and is viewed as talent, but has been allowed to give his input.
Source: Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter
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THE LOGICAL APPROACH
By Rick Elsey
-Rick’s WWE Cuts-
With all the recent talks of wrestlers being cut, wrestlers asking for releases…. I thought I’d take the “Logical Approach” and discuss my picks for the annual house cleaning.
-Say what you want about him… for nearly 6 long years he had a ton of untapped potential. However, WWE consistently booked him as a under card joke. And true to form, when they finally wanted to use him as an upper level monster, nobody cared. A-Train could wreck havoc in TNA. Stick him under a mask and bring him in to feud with Abyss.
-Billy Gunn has been with the company since early 1993. He has had numerous pushes in the upper level of the company, with numerous gimmicks. Sometimes, Gunn used the same gimmick on two or three occasions with no real luck. Billy Gunn would have been wildly popular with his build and talent back in the 1980’s Hulkamania-soaked WWE. However, with today’s current crop of amazingly talented, all be it under utilized, young athletes… Billy Gunn just doesn’t compare. He is not over and he is not exciting. Maybe MLW could use him… or perhaps he could go to OVW permanently.
Bradshaw & Faarooq
-The APA had their day and it is over. Ron Simmons can’t work like he use to. Give Simmons a road agent position, hell, give John Layfield one too for all I care. Is it just me or does everyone look at Bradshaw and just not care?
-I shouldn’t have to explain this one.
-I’m so very glad that Goldberg is leaving after WM20. I was against his being brought in last year and I’ve been against his entire push. He is a waste of money and time. I really hope that after the nWo, Scott Steiner and now Goldberg; that Vince McMahon now realizes that he should be throwing that big money behind the RVD’s, Booker T’s, Chris Benoit’s and Eddie Guerrero’s of the world. Good riddance.
-He got his loyalty push for the WWE Title and it sucked. Bob Holly is a bitter old man in a million dollar body. How long are we to be subjected to him? Please for the love of God… cut this man.
-I hear she is being sent to OVW permanently. Good choice of venue. I think Ivory was one of the most under utilized of all the WWE Divas. I think it is a crime that her talent is held back while fluff like Stacy and Miss Jackie get tons of TV time on Raw. Last time I checked it said “wrestling” not “porn” on the marquee.
-If I hear Lawler mark out like 14 year-old boy in a adult bookstore one more time I might kill myself. How long can he stick to the old tired routine? Jerry Lawler is taking up a chair that could have been home to many a color commentator that will actually talk about the action. Somewhere DDP is screaming to the moon.
-If they aren’t going to use him, at least let him to to TNA where he’ll actually be worth something. I was hoping they’d let him use the Mortis gimmick, but apparently they are just going to send him to OVW. Sad.
-A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, once asked me to give him one good reason that Mark Henry shouldn’t be on the WWE payroll. I told him I’d give him ten million… a million for each year he’s under contract. Like Billy Gunn, A-Train and Bob Holly before him… WWE tried and the fans just didn’t care. Stop the bleeding.
-Another tired old act that needs to be sent out to pasture. Maybe Rikishi would be better served as an OVW name, or possibly as a road agent. Either way, it gets him off TV. Enough is enough.
-Rosey has been stuck in a stupid gimmick since his partner was canned last year. He is actually holding Hurricane back. Let Rosey go join Jamal in MLW and save some more money. As is the re-occurring theme with most of these cuts… no one cares about Rosey. He is definently not the S.H.I.T.
Scotty Too Hotty
-If you were not an ECW down, you really don’t understand how complex and interesting of a character Tommy Dreamer can be. He was the glue that held that company together and here he is treated like an illegitimate child. I say let him go, let me go to TNA where he can be a HUGE player.
-Could be a major draw in any company except WWE. How sad is it that WWE signed this guy, with a huge reputation, brought him in with a ton of fan fare, and yet he hasn’t been in a high profile match since he came into the company. Free Ultimo Dragon of the bondage of WWE-slavery!
-See Scotty Too Hotty.
-An amazing young man with a true gift… unfortunately he was in the right place at the wrong time and go over-exposed very quickly. Gowen should go to OVW for a year or so, then maybe come back… other wise send him to TNA and capitalize on his feud with Roddy Piper that never had a real ending.
You may agree with some of my picks, you may not. But I would be more than willing to discuss them with you if you drop me a line.
Thanks for reading, as always, comments are welcome.
THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW
By: Julian Radbourne
The Life & Times Of Steven Richards – Part Two.
With the demise of the Right To Censor faction, Steven Richards was lost in the shuffle. With nothing to help the fans take notice of him, Steven returned to full-time action, but was relegated to the weekend shows. He hardly made an appearance on Raw or Smackdown.
Then something happened that could have helped his career. When the WWE purchased WCW, their original plan was to set up their former rival as a separate entity. When they couldn’t get a television contract for them, WCW stars began to turn up on WWE programming, and the feud that wrestling fans had been craving for years was finally on.
The only problem being that at it’s inception, the plan fell flat on it’s face. Various things meant that the fans just weren’t what McMahon-brand WCW. Hardly anyone took WCW seriously. There were no standout stars. Those invading the WWE were nothing more than WCW mid-carders. How could they be taken seriously against the top-guns of the WWE, men McMahon had made superstars out of?
Vince McMahon soon realised this. With a massive WWE v WCW pay-per-view planned, he needed something big. Many of WCW’s big guns, such as Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, Sting and Scott Steiner were sitting at home collecting their big, fat, Time Warner paycheques. Attempts to sign Bill Goldberg and Eric Bischoff failed miserably. Bischoff knew that at the time McMahon would do nothing but make him a laughing stock. It was a short-term, quick-fix solution, and neither Bischoff or Goldberg wanted anything to do with it.
There was just one thing that McMahon could do. Bring back ECW.
On one magical edition of Raw just a couple of weeks before the Invasion pay-per-view, it happened. During a tag-team match pitting Chris Jericho & Kane against Lance Storm and Mike Awesome, WCW’s mid-carders came down to interfere. They were soon followed by a group of WWE superstars. The crowd went wild as the likes of Tazz, Raven, the Dudleys and Rhyno kicked the asses of their counterparts. Then it happened. Jericho and Kane were then attacked by their comrades. Storm and Awesome soon joined in the assault, and to everyone’s surprise, Tommy Dreamer and Rob Van Dam came sprinting in through the crowd, as a smiling Paul Heyman got up from his commentary position, got into the ring, and announced that the Invasion had just got a little extreme. ECW had returned.
That night Vince and Shane, who was the “owner” of WCW, came up with a plan to get rid of their mutual enemies. As five WWE and five WCW stars prepared for a massive twenty man tag, it soon became apparent that Vince was getting screwed. Heyman led his ECW troops through the crowd, and joined with their WCW counterparts to attack the WWE stars. The Alliance had been formed. With Stephanie McMahon unveiled as the new owner of ECW, ECW’s former top stars gave the ailing Invasion a much needed boost.
Steven Richards was nowhere to be seen. The man who had made his name as a sidekick to many in the heyday of ECW was absent. However, because the fans were enthralled by the new angle the Invasion offered them, hardly anyone noticed that Richards wasn’t around.
Richards eventually joined the Alliance, but his initial momentum didn’t last long, again because of circumstances outside the ring. In the first few months of the Invasion, Kane and the Undertaker had been moved to the tag-team division, where they held both the WWE and WCW tag-team titles. Having seen off the challenge of Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon, the Undertaker persuaded Vince McMahon to hire his old friends, Bryan Adams and Brian Clark, who had achieved a great deal of success as the Kronik tag-team in the last couple of years of WCW. Clark and Adams began their WWE career by attacking the Undertaker and Kane, and it was revealed that Steven Richards had orchestrated the attack, and he began to act as their manager.
But at the big pay-per-view match, everything fell apart. The match between the Brothers of Destruction and Kronik literally fell apart at the seams. It was panned by everyone, especially the powers-that-be. Unhappy with the dead weight he had literally been talked into hiring, McMahon put forward the idea that both Adams and Clark should relocate to Ohio Valley Wrestling, the WWE’s training ground. The big men balked at the idea, because in their minds, they didn’t need any extra training. Adams was in his fourth stint as a McMahon employee. He was a former tag-team champion. Clark had achieved a degree of success as Adam Bomb almost ten years previously. It wasn’t long before Kronik left the company, leaving Richards without a ship to steer.
Richards remained as part of the Alliance, but he had nothing to do. When the Alliance lost the war with the WWE the following November, Richards’ career wasn’t going anywhere.
Then along came Victoria.
Victoria had last been seen working in the WWE as one of the Godfather’s ho’s. Her most prominent role had been during the break-up of Eddie Guerrero and Chyna. Victoria was cited as one of the women Eddie had cheated with in the shower. Realising that she had great promise, the WWE sent her down to Ohio for training under the watchful eye of Jim Cornette and Danny Advise. As the Queen Victoria, she went down a storm before being called up to the big leagues and being called back to the big leagues, and put into a high-profile feud with WWE Women’s Champion Trash Starts.
But the psycho-queen that Victoria had become needed someone to play off. Once again, Richards was called upon to play the sidekick, and putting behind the previous characters he had played, Richards became the perfect foil for Victoria, adopting aspects of her personality as the WWE gave the fans a women’s feud that was well conceived and well written.
While adopting this role, Richards began to wrestle more and more, although he was still mainly competing on the weekend show circuit. Finally putting the knee and neck injuries behind him, injuries that almost finished his career, Richards won rave reviews for his matches.
With the brand extension that split the WWE into two different companies, the Raw brand was given the Sunday Night Heat show. At first the show seemed rudderless, without a captain to give the orders, but after a while, as Raw gained it’s own General Manager, Richards given the role as Heat General Manager, as Sunday Night Heat became Stevie Night Heat.
With Victoria now acting as his sidekick, Richards seemed in his element. The microphone skills he had shown in ECW and as the leader of the RTC were now being shown again. Richards was earning the plaudits from the fans, and finally getting the recognition he deserved, even though he wasn’t a part of the major shows.
But as with many things before, the WWE canned an angle that was proving to be successful. Richards was gaining something of a cult following on Heat, but the angle was soon dropped.
Recently, Richards was put up against Test in a series or matches that played out over Heat and Raw. With Victoria by his side, cheering him on, Richards showed what he was capable of in this entertaining series, which culminated in a win for Richards on Raw. However, with Victoria making another run at the women’s title, it’s unclear exactly what the WWE plans for the future of Steven Richards.
Richards certainly has the skills, both in the ring and on the microphone, to at least get as high as Intercontinental title level. But as with many wrestlers these days, while many fans agree that Richards certainly has what it takes to achieve success in the WWE, it’s not up to the fans, it’s up to the powers-that-be in the WWE. They often see things that we mere mortals sometimes miss.
Don’t forget that we’re in the final few days of voting in The Two Sheds Review wrestling awards. You can vote in various categories by logging onto www.twoshedsreview.vze.com.
“ROUNDING THE SQUARED CIRCLE”
“HEY MISS JACKIE, PLAYBOY CALLED … BUT NOT FOR YOU”
“SCREW PLAYBOY, I’M THE STAR OF NIPPLE TV”
VISIT MY HOME PAGE: http://members.aol.com/samjerry
As my case of Terminal Writers Block (TWB) got to an advanced stage, I was admitted to the world renown Dudley Hospital For Strange Diseases and Stranger People, Division of The Acme Corporation. I was put under the care of Dr. Bubba Bob Ray Joe Dudley, best selling author of “Things Caught In A Trailer Park And How To Avoid Shotgun Pellets.” When I was admitted, I was in such bad shape that he immediately put me on life support. While a cure has still not been found, I am happy to report that I am expect to survive. Dr. Dudley has given me hope, so I am going to give it a try.
Many things have happened in the last week and a half that some think were important:
1. The Royal Rumble, with Canadian Crybaby No. 2 winning in what was a surprise to the six or seven $oldberg fans, along with a couple of wild Moose(es?). Along with this comes a World Title shot against HHH at WM. This is like a shareholder of IBM taking on the Company and expecting to win. He also gets a transfer to NITRO II.
2. $oldberg was “viciously” (credit: The Rotund Okie) attacked by Godzilla during The Royal Rumble, resulting in him spitting, hissing and in barely intelligible language, telling Godzilla, “Your next” This will get him a transfer to SmackDown, and a shot at The WWE Championship.
For those keeping score, it was a straight player swap: CC No. 2 for $oldberg. I did hear that SmackDown will also get the famous “Player To Be Named Later” as part of the deal.
3. HHH retained His Title by virtue of a Tie with The Over-The-Hill Kid. A Tie is generally referred to as “Kissing You Sister,” or in this case “Kissing The Bosses Daughters Husbands Ass.” Guaran’F’N’teed they will pick up where they left off, in the very near future.
4. Grandma Guerrero’s Favorite Taco Chomper showed little cousin Chavito that he would be better off going back to the stable and finding Pepe. He may have learned all he knows about Lying, Cheating and Stealing from Uncle Eddie, but Eddie still has a few Aces (Kings, Queens and Jacks) up his sleeve.
However, all of the above pale in comparison to the most important thing that happened. What was it you ask? Miss Jackie lost her top … again during a match when she was pounding on the apron. The camera was looking right at her when it happened, so the world got another excellent view of her assets, and she certainly has them. Like a good trooper, she smiled and pulled her top up … or almost up. A few minutes later she got up on the apron and pulled her top almost off, giving those on the other side of the ring a great view. Unfortunately this time the camera was directly behind her and those of us watching on TV only saw her bare back. She accomplished her mission distracting Rico’s opponent and helping him secure a victory. I got to thinking back to her infamous Hot Tub incident while she was competing on Tough Enough, and wondering what really happened.
We can see matches anytime, but how often do we get a chance to get up close and personal with one of The WWE Divas? Our Lady Of A Thousand Wrinkles and Blondie will be displaying their wares making an encore performance in an upcoming Playboy. The word is Delicious Trish, Legs and Lita have turned down offers to appear in Playboy. Could it be that Miss Jackie is looking to make an appearance?
I can see the wheels spinning in The Emperor’s head right now: “What kind of match can I come up at Wrestlemania XX for the Ladies?” “How can I get more people to part with $50?” “How far can I push the envelope?” “Could I get away with a Hot Tub Match?” “How about a ‘Playboy Centerfold Match’ go over?” “Maybe I can get MLW / WEW to lend me Francine and/or G.I. Ho; that would open a lot of doors … and eyes” The possibilities boggle the mind.
Speaking of G.I. Ho, she is the top face in Women’s Extreme Wrestling (WEW). WEW is a combination of The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling (GLOW) and an actual wrestling promotion. Last week WEW held a Battle Royal to pick the WEW Champion. When it got down to G.I. Ho and one of the Uglies (no, not Jazz), outside interference by Ice Cold Someone (yup, another Stone Cold Beer Man ripoff) and a Rock impostor cost G.I. Ho the title.
Uh oh, here comes my nurse, Betty Jean Jo Dudley, … and she is holding one F’N mother of a needle. The cure is worse then the disease. Maybe if I beg hard enough, she wont …. OUCH. I am getting slee……
Well, like I said above, the TBL staff never quits – even on Super Bowl Sunday. We work and work and work and work…
This week was no exception as we kicked things off with Jonathan Carbo’s Top Ten After The Royal Rumble. I always like reading those things and I have no idea why. Next, it was RAW Rage and the guy that writes that ABSOLUTELY RULES! After that, we had the debut of Dastardly Dave and he gave us the inaugural Dastardly Doings who wrote The Royal Crumble and it was some good (which is terrible grammar by me). Josh Fox came out and debuted his Inner View with It’s All About Respect. Of course, it wouldn’t be a normal week without SmackDown Rage. It’s a must read, if I do say so myself. Dastardly Dave showed up AGAIN (what work ethic!) with As the WWE Turns. You know you HAVE to read that. Captain Lou showed us what was in his bag with The Road To Wrestlemania. And if all of that wasn’t enough, Chris Vining wasn’t going to be silent and submitted his Nonsensical Notions entitled More Controversy Than a Presidential Scandal. So much to read, you may just have to take the day off from work to get it all in!
Super – TBL is SUPER!
Check Out Roland’s Website: Salty Ham!
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