~~~~~THE TBL NEWSLETTER~~~~~
Volume 3, Issue 24
Official Newsletter of:
The Balrog’s Lair
“Still an Internet Original!”
“It’s What You’ve Been Waiting For”
Wrestlemania XX Week!
There’s a lot of wrestling news and rumors this week to get to because this is the biggest week in wrestling – Wrestlemania week! In this (late) newsletter, you will get a lot of news items and a rare Newsletter appearance of “Roland’s Chamber”! Our other columnists were apparently off this week, but the news doesn’t stop and neither do we (unless I’m just REAL late). Plus, in our closing – an announcement about the change in direction of The Balrog’s Lair!
Check Out Roland’s Website: Salty Ham!
Triple H Liked in Hollywood, More Wreslters May Be Used
Triple H’s work on “Blade: Trinity” is said to have gone very well. Everyone that worked with him was very impressed with his professionalism and ended up getting written into more of the film. It is expected that he will be offered more roles in the future based upon his good reputation.
Interestingly enough, Triple H’s good work has renewed interest in using WWE wrestlers in movies. There has been talk of using Chris Jericho in the “Freddy vs. Jason” sequel. Also, Eddie Guerrero is being looked at as well for film roles. Many are watching his drawing power at champion to see if it would be viable to use him.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
RVD Still Without New Contract
RVD has still not signed a new deal with the WWE. His current contract ends in July. While most believe he will resign – it is also likely that he will move to SmackDown if Edge is moved to RAW.
Source: PW Torch Newsletter
WWE Expecting Huge Buiy For WMXX
Some people in the WWE are expecting that Wrestlemania XX will get 1 Million buys. That is very unlikely and most insiders think it’s a pipe dream. The last PPV, No Way Out, only drew 250,000 buys.
Source: PW Torch
Ring of Honor and RF Video Owner Steps Down Due To Investigation
Robert Feinstein, owner of Ring of Honor and RF Video, has been the subject of a sting operation regarding an underage sexual incident by perverted-justice.com. Below is their official statement on what happened:
Philadelphia news affliate NBC10 and ourselves at Perverted-Justice.com recently came together to set up a “Group Media Bust” in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania. A “Group Media Bust” is an agreement where a media outlet rents a house or apartment, gives our site the information, and we work chatrooms as underage individuals, sending overage individuals to the house to meet the cameras and be exposed for their acts.
At roughly ten PM on February 29th, Perverted-Justice.com contributor “Jay Alternative” messaged the owner of Perverted-Justice.com inquiring for information on wrestling due to an individual messaging him online who represented himself as a wrestler. What followed is a story that is amazing, even to ourselves at Perverted-Justice.com.
Ring of Honor owner Rob Feinstein had messaged “Jay Alternative” in an Philadelphia AOL homosexual chatroom and responded favorably to the idea of meeting a 14 year old boy for immoral purposes. Rather than go into description, we will provide the following link of the chatroom transcript:
The conversations span two days, and two phone calls. Both individuals who had contact with Rob Feinstein while under the auspices of being a 14 year old boy named Brandon are not wrestling fans. They know very little about wrestling. And they had no clue who Rob Feinstein was until he came across our volunteers. Rob Feinstein was not targeted by our organization. Instead, he ended up targeting one of our contributors and is now paying for that decision.
Rob Feinstein showed up at our Group Media Bust door to meet NBC Philadelphia reporter Harry Harriston the day after he initiated the conversation with “Brandon”. This occurred on March 1st. Feinstein ran to his silver Lexus, and peeled off from the scene of the meeting. This was all captured on camera.
Confirmation that the individual is indeed Rob Feinstein was performed by the investigative team at NBC10, who used video analysis and a license plate lookup to make sure that they had the right man. Every safeguard was taken in the two days since Rob Feinstein made his Philadelphia media appearance to know without a doubt that the person involved was Rob Feinstein before this happening was made public by our website.
Perverted-Justice.com is ashamed at Mr. Feinstein’s terrible act, and his reckless disregard for his Ring of Honor/RFVideo employees.
However, to make sure the record is clear, Perverted-Justice.com is not anti-wrestling in any form. This situation is not a “black eye” on wrestling, or indicative of the average wrestler or wrestling promoter. Speaking personally as the owner of Perverted-Justice.com and as the individual drafting this release, I am a wrestling fan myself. This incident is not a reflection on wrestling. This is a solitary incident of an individual who clearly needs some form of counseling, no different than any other of the 600+ individuals we have exposed in nearly two years of work.
We call on Rob Feinstein to seek counseling immediately, to apologize to those around him whom he has harmed via his irresponsible actions, and to apologize to his hard-working employees who deserve absolutely none of the negative taint that Rob Feinstein has brought down upon them with his actions this week.
Following this, Feindstein has stepped down as head of Ring of Honor and RF Video. Here is their official statement: “It is with deep regret that I step down as partner of Ring Of Honor Inc. and President of RF Video Inc.
Due to recent allegations that have been lodged against me it is in the best interest of both companies that until these allegations are resolved that I step down to avoid tarnishing the excellent reputation that has been built over the years of both companies.”
RF Video and Ring Of Honor will continue normal operations without interruptions.
Following this – there was another announcement from ROH.
Douglas I. Gentry
New President and CEO
RF Video, Inc. and Ring of Honor, Inc.
As a result of a personal incident in which Mr. Feinstein was involved, both RF Video and Ring of Honor have made some necessary changes in both management and ownership of our companies. This was a personal incident and RF Video and Ring of Honor as corporations were not involved.
RF Video and Ring of Honor are family-friendly organizations. We value all of our customers, vendors and business partners. As a result, the board of directors of both corporations voted officially this afternoon to release Robert Feinstein as president and CEO of both RF Video and Ring of Honor. As of today, Mr. Feinstein is no longer officially associated with either company or any upcoming events and I was named as the new President and CEO of both corporations. He has been dissolved of all responsibility and ownership in both companies. Our corporate attorney is currently working on all the necessary paperwork. We are also exploring a new name change for RF Video, Inc. and we will have more details soon.
We want to thank you all for the many positive messages we have received from hundreds of you, including fans, talent and business partners. We are very excited about the many upcoming wrestling events in 2004!
Source: perverted-justice.com and RF Video.com
Guerrero Feeling the Pressure
Many are saying that Eddie Guerrero is starting to feel the pressure of being a Champion. He does not want to do anything to let his supporters down and is starting to show signs of stress. The WWE hopes that he does make it through the pressure as they are counting on him becoming a big time main event guy that either holds the title for some time or is contending.
Source: PW Torch
WWE Still Considering ECW Brand
Vince McMahon is still considering whether or not to include an ECW-like show (possibly with the acutal brand name) after Wrestlemania. The idea would be to have Paul Heyman be fired as GM of SmackDown and then revive the brand as a rebel type of show. Many of the ex-ECW wrestlers could then work with that brand. The WWE would promote it as a rogue group rather than part of their promotions. It is possible that Shane McMahon could get invovled – possible to be the one to help Heyman get the backing to start the group. The show would get an hour on television (probably Saturday Nights) and then also get it’s own PPV every quarter. Costs would be kept low for such a group.
Source: PW Torch
Big Show Stands Up To Johnny Ace
The Big Show gained a lot of respect at the talent meeting prior to Smackdown this past Tuesday. Both Vince McMahon and Jim Ross did not attend the meeting, which left Johnny Ace in charge. Ace began by blasting the talent for their behavior on WWE’s flight from Kansas City to Atlanta, right before their trip to South Africa.
As Ace was speaking, the Big Show stood up and asked how Ace could blast the talent after such a long, tough trip. Talent was upset about the incident as it is since the bad behavior was just Bradshaw having too many drinks and being a little loud. Show and other talent thought that if one guy behaves badly, management should get on him about it and not everyone.
The fact that Show stood up to Ace has gotten him a lot of respect backstage.
Credit: PWInsider.com via 411mania
Hercules Hernandez Passes Away
Ray “Hercules Hernandez” Fernandez was found dead in his home in Florida on Saturday. He was 45.
While the cause of death will not be known ntil the autopsy, it is believed he died of a heart attack.
Lesnar Upset with WWE, May Take Time Off
Brock Lesnar is said to be upset with the WWE and may take some time off after WMXX. Lesnar has been vocal in the past that he does not like the heavy travel schedule and has told friends that he would quit if he had the means to supplement the income.
Lesnar is said to be upset over the WWE’s recent trip to South Africa and having to travel such a long way only to wrestle Hardcore Holly. Lesnar felt he should have been included in a higher profile match for the tour.
He also feels the WWE is not protecting him enough for the long term. The plan is to have him feud with the Undertaker after Wrestlemania and this upset Lesnar due to the Undertaker always coming out on top of his programs. It is said that many in the lockerroom are wary of Undertaker coming back in his old gimmick, since the very nature of the character means he doesn’t have to sell an opponent’s offense. Some have even called the character SmackDown’s version of Triple H.
Lesnar still has several years left on his contract and met with Vince McMahon last week to discuss his displeasure with the current plan. The meeting, however, is said to have not resolved much. As a result, Brock is telling his close friends that he will take some time off after WMXX to “cool down.” Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
Cena Breaks Bones In His Hands
In a radio interview recently, John Cena noted that he had broken some bones in his hand during his match with A-Train last week on SmackDown. While he may be held out of the SmackDown tapings this week, he will work Wrestlemania.
Flair Injury Update
Ric Flair is saying that he doesn’t have much pain right now – only that three of his fingers are numb. His back is feeling fine, but there is some neck problems. He will have a procedure done where he has dye shot into his spine following Wresltemania to diagnose the problem. It is possible that he will need minor surgery and if so, will only be out a few months at the most. If he goes, the WWE may make a storyline out of it.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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Since we were low on columns this week, I figured I would include a Roland’s Chamber that I wrote a few weeks ago – but the point is still valid. Remember, you can still read Roland’s Chamber on my website, Salty Ham
The Slowing of Evolution
When you think of dominant stables in wrestling, the mind immediately thinks of The Four Horsemen. Although they were not the first stable to grace the industry, certainly they were the ones to show everyone how it should be done. There was power there – not only a staying power, but a power within the industry to make stars and reinvent others. They had the pulse of the audience, possessing the ability to be the most hated men when they acted as heels, or the most beloved when they acted as babyfaces.
But I think the most important accomplishment the Horsemen were able to achieve in all their many years and incarnations was the ability to elevate and make names of new or stale talent. Either by becoming a member of the group or by feuding with it, a star could be born by placing him in the radar of The Four Horsemen. Certainly Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard would not be remembered as they are now without membership. A star was born in Lex Luger when he joined the fray. Sting was made more popular when he was kicked out of the group and started a rivalry with Flair. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was made into a legend due to his run-ins with the stable. Names like Windham, Ole, Dillon, Sid, Pillman, Benoit, and Malenko all benefited from an association with a group of wrestlers that withstood the test of time and set the standard for the modern day stables. And without the long standing popularity of the Horseman, who knows if there would have ever been such groups as the n.W.o, Degeneration X, and even Evolution.
The latest stable brought together by Triple H, called Evolution, is now well over a year old. And while they are popular heels with the fans and do an satisfactory job of bringing compelling storylines to RAW – the group has never reached their ultimate potential. There are any number of reasons for that, but there is one thing in particular that I noticed on this last week’s episode of RAW that highlighted the glaring drawback of the group.
It hasn’t been too long ago that Ric Flair and Batista won the World Tag Titles in heelish fashion from the Dudley Boys. On RAW this past week, they were to defend those titles against the makeshift team of Booker T and Rob Van Dam. Evolution headed to the ring, accompanied by Evolution member, Randy Orton, for what would probably be an easy win for the champs. After all, they work well as a unit, while Booker and RVD are more independent wrestlers. In the course of the action, Mick Foley runs down to confront Orton in a further continuation of their feud. As Orton is taken down, Batista rushes to his aid, leaving Flair to be isolated and pinned for the surprise, upset win.
Later in the show, Orton goes to the ring and cuts a promo on Foley, calling him out to a trap. Foley takes the bait, as he has found his Hardcore roots again, ready for a one-on-one fight with Orton. It doesn’t take long, however, for Flair and Batista to come out and start a very violent beating of Foley that ends in Mick being taken out on a stretcher, something even the Undertaker was unable to do in the legendary Hell In The Cell match all those years ago.
My issue here isn’t with the advancement of the story involving Evolution. Truth be told, I applaud the writers and bookers for creating a very compelling storyline with Foley while freeing Batista to be able to work the rumored tag match for Wrestlemania XX. My issue is with what was not on my television screen. And the question that burned in my head was: Where was Triple H?
Before you dismiss this as another “Bash Triple H” column, hear me out. I’m not particularly concerned about his backstage antics – this has to do with storyline and the strength of a stable with gigantic potential.
The real strength of The Four Horsemen lay with their leader, Ric Flair. He was the star – the man the people loved or loved to hate- and without him, the Horsemen would have never reached the heights that they did. Without Flair, the names I mentioned before would have not benefited from the rub that the Horsemen gave them. I believe that it is fair to say that Ric Flair was the Four Horsemen.
But it wasn’t only who Flair was that made the stable great, it was what he did that made it great. Flair gave us the impression that he loved his Horsemen. He cared about what they did. If one of them got into trouble, Flair was there to help them get out of it. If one of the wasn’t pulling weight – it was Flair who decided if they would stay. When you watched Ric Flair – the biggest star in the NWA/WCW – you knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he had picked these men to associate with him because they helped him obtain his goals and because he trusted them. There was a brotherhood when it came to the Horsemen; a kind of fraternity of violence that sealed the four of them together like blood brothers (be it their own or someone else’s).
Now, I understand that Evolution is not The Four Horsemen. But I think we all can agree that Evolution is fashioned to be like them. There is, of course, Flair – who will always be associated with the greatest stable in wrestling history. There are the roles of each member: The Leader (Triple H), The Elder (Ric Flair), The Young Gun (Randy Orton), and The Enforcer (Batista). And there are the references, such as the one Mick Foley gave a few months back when he referred to them as a second-rate Four Horsemen. So, not only do we, the fans, see the similarity – the WWE does as well.
So, it would be beneficial for those who create the storylines to follow the same guidelines that made the Horsemen so popular. But they don’t seem to be doing that because Triple H, the stable’s leader, does not have the love and leadership of his stable.
Where was Triple H during the Tag Title match? I understand that he doesn’t need to come down with them, but when Foley made his appearance – Triple H should have been there to back-up his team. Where was he afterwards, to consol or scold his friends when they lost? When Evolution ambushed Foley later on in the night, where was Triple H in that beating? Shouldn’t he have wanted to personally see to it that Randy Orton’s nemesis was put down? In fact, except in issues that involve the World Title, where is Triple H at all when it comes to Evolution matters?
Nowhere. And that is really what is holding Evolution back from becoming a great stable. While the other three members seem tight and all like each other, the “leader” of the group is aloof and distant. It has the feel that Orton, Batista, and Flair are Triple H’s lackeys – only there to serve him, rather than dominate the RAW roster and become the next “evolution” in sports entertainment.
While none of this will damage Flair in the slightest, it will hurt Orton and Batista in the long run. Because when the rumored split does take place, it won’t be dramatic enough to hold the public’s interest (which will be blamed only on Orton and Batista’s inability to draw – not on Triple H) and the new stable will not be seen as any kind of real threat to the champion (which will be Triple H when the time comes).
Triple H needs to be the real leader of Evolution, physically and emotionally. I have no idea where the blame lies – with the writers or the wrestler – but it needs to be fixed. The stable that has so much promise will live and die with it’s leader. And that leader needs to be involved.
This past week, our fearless leader, Joe Balrog, announced some changes to TBL and I wanted to include what he said here for you, our great readers, so you can know the latest when it comes to your favorite website. Take it away Joe:
While sitting in my room looking over other web pages trying to decipher what exactly it is that I want to do with the new TBL, I thought that now would be as good a time as ever to ask for the advice of the people that keep us going – you!
Let me layout some of my thinking. I’m pretty much resolved to keep us with the mix of yellows, blues, and black as far as the color scheme goes. The wonderful syndicated and exclusive columnists that I have at this site can certainly tell you that even our posting area has these colors! Why these colors? I don’t know. I’ve always had a thing for blue and gold (my old high school colors) and I think that they compliment well off of each other and off of the black.
I decided to change up the sidebars because I wanted to promote the forums a bit more as well as add the new “Interactive” area. I’ll be creating a post about that new area after I am done with this one.
You’ll also notice that the graphical section headings on the sidebars are gone – that was mainly a bandwidth conservation inspired change, but I’m actually rather pleased with the outcome there. Good deal.
I’m also thinking of changing Balrog Babblings (again) and making it a regularly updated area of TBL covering any and all aspects of life that I feel like writing about (that’s part of the fun of being the Owner)! However, I want your input on what other aspects of life you’d like to see here at TBL as well as whether or not you’d be willing to help out with a new area (I’m talking movies, music, sports, school – you name it).
The main point that I want to get across to you great folks is that TBL is going to be a very different looking site in the coming weeks and months. We’re going to keep the basic wrestling coverage that we already have, but we’re not going to be expanding that particular area any more than it already is (which is fine, in my mind, because I think that we have the best site out there as it is).
However, I will say this about the wrestling part of TBL – don’t expect to come here and get a lot of smoke and mirrors as far as “news and rumors” go. I shifting the focus of our wrestling “news” coverage to confirmed reports and press releases. What is a confirmed report? A good example would be the ratings report that I grab off of Nielsen Media’s website – the actual company that compiles the ratings. There’s no chance for any bullshit there. And as far as the press releases go, I think that you all know what they are! 😉
Just remember – every new change and difference that you see today might be completely different tomorrow. Every set-up and structure that you’ve known for the past few years might be gone in the drop of a hat (and hey, it might come back on the site just as quickly). I will have an official announcement when I’m done with the major construction of TBL – but I don’t expect that that announcement will be made any time soon.
Please let me know what you think by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the Feedback Form. Thanks!
Many of these changes have already taken place, so why not go to The Balrog’s Lair and see what all the fuss is about. Hopefully we will have another newsletter for you this coming weekend!
Check Out Roland’s Website: Salty Ham!
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