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UFC Must Make Ronda Rousey vs. Cyborg

March 03, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It took a combined 60 seconds for Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg Justino to dominate their opponents this past weekend. The time for joking is over, it’s time for Rousey to either fight or face the consequences that come with avoiding her most devastating opponent.

UFC president Dana White gets credit for a lot of things but his biggest failure as promoter has been his inability to deliver big super fights. Promises are often made, yet fights are never delivered. White can turn this all around by pulling off the biggest fight in WMMA history. How he continues to let this one slip past his fingers is just simply mind boggling.

The UFC is faced with an unenviable dilemma. Does the organization sacrifice an entire division for one super fight? Those are the stakes of booking Ronda Rousey vs. Cris “Cyborg” Justino. The fight is arguably the biggest fight the promotion could pull off at this time yet the ramifications of a Rousey massacre could be devastating. Without Rousey there is no WMMA. While that may be a harsh statement to make it is a fact. Nobody else, including Cyborg is pulling the kind of mainstream attention that Rousey is. Knowing that the odds of Rousey winning a fight against Cyborg as the same as Rousey losing, this has become one tough fight for the UFC to make.

Many will give the UFC credit. Many will say that the UFC has been attempting to make this fight since Rousey debuted in 2013. That may be true but there is a catch. The UFC has been attempting to make this fight at 135. See, Cyborg fights at 145 and walks around much heavier. Rousey moved down in weight in 2011 to 135. White and Rousey have said repeatedly that they’d take the fight at 135, giving Rousey a distinct advantage. Yet Rousey has been adamant that she will not fight a pound heavier, when challenged to a catch weight fight of 140 pounds and yet she continues to use this 135 shield to avoid criticism from her promoter and MMA journalists.

Justino is not well liked and this has worked against her when it comes to critics. Many speculated that Justino was on performance enhancing drugs for years as an MMA fighter. Nobody ever gave Justino the full respect she probably deserved over this speculation. Justino has tested once for PEDs, back in 2011. Yes she has tested once in her 10-year WMMA career for PEDs and yet she has had to bare this cross before and after then. Rousey would have pressure to fight anyone else in this situation but Justino will never get that kind of support. Justino has fought three times since and has passed all PED tests.

After demolishing Cat Zingano in 14 seconds, Rousey is now being compared to Mike Tyson. I couldn’t think of a better analogy. I watched Tyson fight seemingly every three months as a kid. He was an animal! Yet even I remember back then many of Tyson’s critics pointing out that he was avoiding top-caliber opponents. Once Tyson got in the ring with guys like Holyfield and Lewis, his aura disappeared. Rousey, like Tyson is avoiding her toughest potential challenge. Her legacy will not be cemented until she climbs that mountain.

“She’s not in the UFC. If she wants to come to the UFC and fight at 135, then yes, I would,” Rousey told Ariel Helwani after winning at UFC 184. “(She won) against some chick that I beat on like my second pro-fight ever, in what, 40 seconds? Not really (impressed).”

Rousey’s not impressed? This comes from the same Rousey who stood inside the octagon on Saturday night issuing challenges to Bethe Correia and Holly Holm. With all due respect to both women, each are big mismatches next to Rousey. Yet Rousey shows no interest in fighting her rival who just obliterated her opponent in under a minute on Friday night. How anyone can take this seriously is beyond me?

Dana White has pressed many former champions to take super fights in the past. White however has no problem with Rousey’s 135 pound demand. It was okay to pressure GSP, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and others to take super fights with catchweights for years. I can’t understand how he can defend this with a straight face.

Rousey likes to carry the banner for WMMA. The biggest thing she could do for WMMA is fight Cyborg. That fight would be the biggest WMMA fight in history and could potentially break one million buys. The media attention for a fight of that magnitude would be enormous for WMMA. Yet she is perfectly content letting Justino fight in Invicta while she challenges subpar competition and WMMA continues to struggle. That’s just the facts whether you like Rousey, hate Justino, or just don’t care.

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Ex-WWE NXT Star Claims Bill DeMott Bullied Developmental Talent

March 02, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bill DeMott was trending on Twitter Monday night and it was for all of the wrong reasons. A former NXT wrestler has accused the WWE trainer of bullying talent via physical and mental abuse while critics are demanding answers.

This isn’t the first time this story has been told and if DeMott remains employed I am sure it won’t be the last. Judas Devlin is the latest former WWE wrestler to break his silence on DeMott. Devlin revealed a pattern of abuse which includes both physical and mental bullying in a recent interview on Vendetta Pro Radio 2K15. As part of the promotion for the interview, Devlin released a 2013 letter he wrote to WWE talent relations about DeMott which has now been posted on Reddit.com.

“I am composing this memo today because I have had a number of serious concerns about the actions and words of head coach Bill Demott during my employment as talent for WWE developmental. Many of these actions I have tried to ignore or hope that they would cease but because they have now put me in a dangerous situation not only for my career but for my personal health and safety I feel the need to speak out to someone of a higher authority. In this memo I will provide details on a series of incidents which underlie my concerns.

I would like to request that this remain in strict confidence as I am afraid that if Coach Demott were to know I spoke out he would find ways to punish me for it. In fact the entire process of writing a letter to human resources has been called a “faggots” way of dealing with problems by Coach Demott.

Physical Injury Due to Imprudent Coaching: The action that has led me to finally speak out happened Thursday February, 28th following our house show. I had taken an awkward hit to my knee in a match and was being examined by Brian Duncan. This hit aggravated a previous injury, one that should never have happened, that I had sustained during a practice drill orchestrated by Coach Demott after practice had already been completed. An MRI revealed a partial tear of my PCL and a strain on a ligament in the back of my knee. I have been told that I can work through it but it may aggravate here and there. This injury can be enduring as many of the superstars on the main roster wrestle their whole careers with it.

I should never have had any issues with this knee but on that particular practice day, after a 3 hour morning session had ‘ended’ at 11 AM, Demott put 280lbs Gary Jackson back in the ring at 11:30 and forced 8 of us to give him 10 takedowns each. After Gary had bumped 60 times in a matter of minutes, I entered the ring and was asked to give him 10 fireman takedowns. On the first one he collapsed from exhaustion while on my back, driving my knees into the mat where I sustained this injury.

The hit I took aggravated it and Coach Demott pulled trainer Brian Duncan and I into the training room and said without any knowledge of my actual injury, “This injury can’t keep flaring up. It doesn’t look good perception wise to us (the office) or for your career going forward.” This injury was treated after the match and I was cleared by Duncan at the time.

Based on Coach Demott’s statement I feel that I am in a position where I have to cover up any injuries I may have otherwise I will be punished or fired. The following week I was in severe discomfort but fearing repercussions I attempted to work through it. Coach Demott has not only instilled this fear in me but I have spoken to several other members of the roster who have been made to feel by Coach Demott that their current injuries are signs of weakness as men, and could potentially lead Coach Demott to advocate for their firing.

On two separate occasions Coach Demott forced me to perform dangerous moves without properly warming up. One incident followed my first evaluation where Canyon Ceman asked me to start working on my parkour and gymnastics moves. It was 7:30 am before practice and he saw me standing in the ring with Enzo Amore and said, “Do a takedown let go of him and do a back flip then go back to him.” The idea made no sense, I was not properly warmed up, and I nearly landed on my head on one attempt. Thesecond incident was before a live event he wanted Oliver Gray to test out his finisher on someone so he grabbed me and forced me to take a high bump on my neck without warming up. I had missed a week of practice because of a neck strain prior to this and Coach Demott was well aware of that.

I have also watched and participated in drills that were hazardous to our safety. He has made us do squats on the top rope including some students who had never been up that high in their careers. He made the beginners group perform monkey flips without a crash pad and the first six who participated landed on their heads and necks and were lucky not to have been seriously injured. The aforementioned drill in which Gary Jackson injured my knee also saw Memo Montenegro injury his neck and shoulder. He was on his 40th bump in 5 minutes and got dizzy before his 7th consecutive hip toss and landed on his head.

Unprofessional Work Environment: The issue of physical well-being is not my only concern. I am an educated individual who worked at Cal State Northridge with Professors and students. I know how one is suppose to conduct one’s self in a professional sense. I also understand that this is a unique business and the lines on proper behavior may be a bit blurred. Yet there is no question that Coach Demott, on a daily basis,not only makes unprofessional choices in words and actions, choices that go against many policies of this company, but choices that have created a culture of fear and negativity in this system. Showing up each day for training is mentally agonizing because of the comments we are all forced to hear. He routinely makes fun of anyone sitting out because of injury and also makes rude comments about people’s names and personal lives and has established a hostile work environment through verbal assaults. To wit:

• Demott constantly refers to Oliver Gray as Joel Pedophile which personally enrages me because I used to help a Psychology Professor in Los Angeles do lectures for sexually abused children. • When Dante Dash referred to his finishing move as the Davey boy, as it was utilized by the late Davey Smith who died tragically, Coach Demott makes the following comment, “The Davey Boy? What turning blue and dropping dead on the lawn?” • Coach Demott told student Enzo Amore that he hopes he dies. • Demott also told our entire morning class and Ricky Steamboat’s class to kill themselves just days after we tolled the ring bell 10 times for the late Mike Graham a former star FCW wrestler, who committed suicide. • Coach Demott routinely bullies Enzo verbally as well as physically. I have seen Enzo on several occasions be slapped in the face by Bill. During one practice he decided to show Enzo how doing a slam wrong could hurt someone, so he picked Enzo up and dropped him without warning directly on his head and neck. He then decided that each time a student slammed his 100lbs heavy bag with bad form that student had to slam one of his peers the same way. Demott found this drill amusing yet each student was put at serious injury risk. • Demott has grabbed an injured David Harwood by his neck pulled him to the office door and verbally chastised him for standing by the ring during practice when he wasn’t cleared, even though he was simply listening to a lecture by Ricky Steamboat. • Demott has kicked Memo Montenegro in the groin and laughed as he crumbled into a heap. Memo being a Mexican immigrant to the United States has a heavy accent, which Coach Demott constantly criticizes and makes fun of. • He routinely will attempt to bust students lip on the bottom rope when they stand to close to the ring. On several occasions he has punished students for mistakes in practice by making them bend forward putting their face near the ropes so that Coach Demott can bounce the rope off the bridge of their nose. • He routinely calls Gary Jackson a fat tub of goo, tells Osmund Cherry who is of African descent, to go back to Africa and most recently has made derogatory remarks about sexual preferences to Brandon Traven. • Coach Demott insinuated that Traven is gay and used the derogatory term “half a sissy” to make fun of him simply because he sat out practice and has had several injuries in the last couple months. This is not the first time he targeted Brandon either. In December I witnessed Coach Demott question Traven about a head injury in the trainer’s room. After Traven explained that a blow to the head in practice had made him dizzy Demott slapped him in the head and left the room. • I witnessed a similar incident a few months ago when Alexander Russev was recovering from neck surgery. Coach Demott saw Russev wearing a NY Jets shirt at practice and not liking that sports team proceeded to physically grab Russev by the collar and rip the shirt off him. Russev was not cleared for any contact at that point and clearly showed physical pain after the incident. Following this incident a group of students were discussing how this sort of thing happened before with an injured Briley Pierce. Briley had a broken leg and Coach Demott kicked him in his medical boot. This happened before I was under contract but it nonetheless seems to fit a pattern of negligent and abusive behavior that I have observed with Coach Demott and is worth investigating further. • According to Oliver Gray, he was once told that if he sat out practice to rest a very bad low back injury that CoachDemott would pull him from the NXT tapings and from attending the Royal Rumble, even though the trainer had requested that Oliver sit out just one practice.

I have been in this system under Coach Demott for 8 months now and was recently told that I am not improving at a rate that is acceptable. I have made concerted efforts in the past to practice more often and work on the parkour moves requested by Canyon Ceman. However Bill has routinely kicked me out of the building after practice including a day when WWE superstar Alex Riley asked me to work on some parkour moves with him. This along with his constant interrupting of practices just to put people down and make negative comments has all but killed any motivation I have to spend extra time around him.

It should be stated that I am not a vindictive person. I am open-minded and do not have a problem with off-color jokes or difficult practice drills. I was signed to this company after Steve Regal told me he saw tremendous improvement in my ring work between tryouts. I told Mr. Regal that I could only imagine how good I could become working 24/7 for this company. I have always been intrinsically motivated and will practice something until I perfect it. Yet I personally feel that coach Demott creates an environment that hinders my opportunities to improve. Coach Demott restricts our practices, instead opting for dangerous and unproductive drills, while constantly verbally assaulting our appearances, personalities, sexual preferences, injuries, and character it seems impossible for me to maximize my time in the ring. In fact even as recently as training on March 4th, guest trainer Lance Storm went out of his way to demonstrate moves to me that Coach Demott had kicked me out of the building for not doing correctly. When I asked him how to do them Coach Demott said, “That was shit Judas, get out of the building.”

Is this the type of work environment that the WWE desires? When can we set up a time to discuss this matter?

In closing I would be remiss if I did not clarify to you that this is solely a problem with Bill Demott and not a problem with the fine coaching staff that has been assembled around him. For example, Ricky Steamboat has been a terrific help to me and always provides me with positive reinforcement and quality examples to learn from. Terry Taylor has gone out of his way to pull me aside and give me helpful advice. Billy Gunn has been an amazingly refreshing force bringing knowledge and enthusiasm that has been extremely beneficial to the system. The changes that have recently occurred in the WWE have been excellent and I am excited for the future plans of WWE Developmental. It is because of these positive attributes that I am expressing my concerns to you. I want to be a part of a solution to the problems that I have listed, one that will lead to future success for the developmental system.”

Now to be fair this is only one side of the story. That said, this is just another in a long line of accusations that have been made towards DeMott by former talent. Kevin Matthews, Derek Foore, and Ryan Nemeth have all made similar accusations. Nemeth, who just happens to be the brother of Dolph Ziggler confirmed Devlin’s memo through a brief tweet.

Please share if you don’t want your heroes abused & mistreated.” – @HotYoungBriley

The irony here is that people are acting as if this is news to the WWE. DeMott has been a trainer with the WWE since 2012. One has to presume that Triple H knows full well of DeMott’s tendencies and abuse. I think it is also only fair to presume that Hunter endorses DeMott, otherwise he would have been gone a while ago. Hunter makes the calls in NXT and the fact that DeMott is still running the show speaks volumes about his support.

It will be interesting to see if the WWE finally caves to the pressure with the latest news. The WWE seem to be more sensitive to social media backlash in recent months than they have ever been. Plus, this does not look good for someone newly appointed to the Board of Directors. I would have to think that action must be taken, especially with all of the work that WWE does with anti-bullying and anti-homophobia groups.

Enough is enough. You want to be treated like a professional company and you want to have a developmental system on par with major sports leagues, than you need to get rid of this guy. DeMott and his bullying are a bad story waiting to happen. Imagine if someone sneaks a camera into one of these sessions and catches DeMott using slurs and bullying talent. That video would become a nightmare for the WWE and it would be best to mitigate that risk now before it winds up blowing up in their faces.

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Brock Lesnar At UFC, More Details Of WWE Walkout Emerge

March 02, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Brock Lesnar is making the rounds. The WWE champion was show sitting ringside at UFC 184 on Saturday night. The appearance comes just days after Lesnar walked out of RAW leaving many wondering if the WrestleMania 31 main-event is in jeopardy.

This situation is getting crazier by the week. Two weeks ago it was reported that Lesnar was leaning towards staying with the WWE and re-signing as opposed to returning to MMA. A week ago Lesnar and Vince McMahon hit a contract impasse that resulted in Lesnar walking out. Several days later Lesnar is at UFC 184 and we are less than one month away from WrestleMania 31.

Dave Meltzer had some news and speculation on his post-UFC 184 F4Wonline.com podcast. Meltzer reported that Lesnar and McMahon had a loud shouting match last Monday at RAW. Meltzer said it got to the point that some were fearing for McMahon. According to Meltzer, Lesnar was upset about something regarding a new contract. Meltzer said Lesnar left the building and isn’t scheduled for television until next week at RAW.

This all begs the logical question as to whether Lesnar’s status at Mania is in jeopardy. According to Meltzer, the writers asked Vince if they needed to come up with a backup plan. Vince reportedly told them not to worry about it as he is confident that Brock is locked up for Mania. Vince reportedly feels as if he would have grounds for a big lawsuit against Lesnar if Brock didn’t show up, thus he isn’t worried.

I’d worry!

As it stands today Brock is scheduled to wrestle his last match on his current deal at Mania. Yes, Brock is legally obligated to appear on the show. However, Brock has not honored contracts in the past including a previous one with the WWE. Brock has gone to court over these days, including his deal from 2002 with the WWE. I would not be as confident as Vince is that a contract will keep Lesnar from skipping Mania 31.

So what do you do if you are the WWE? By the time Brock gets to RAW next week the word will be out about his contractual disagreements with the company. It looks terrible to have your WWE champion perceived as a lame duck champion heading into Mania. The crowd in California could get real ugly, ruining the main-event if they crap all over it due to Lesnar’s lame duck status. This is not a scenario anyone wants on March 29.

What is plan B? Let’s just say that we are two weeks from Mania and it looks like Brock may skip the show. What does Vince McMahon do? How do you fix this? Is there anything or anyone he can plug into that match to satisfy a WrestleMania main-event? Daniel Bryan is the easy answer. However, I think Vince blew those chances by booking Reigns to beat Bryan clean at Fastlane. John Cena and Rusev are already wrapped up in their own deal. I suppose you could move Seth Rollins and Randy Orton into the mix and make it a Triple Threat Match? Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot bullets laying around these days to put into that barrel.

Brock returning to the UFC sounds fun on paper but I don’t see it ever happening. Brock wouldn’t stand a chance against most of the top five heavyweights and he knows it. It’s a different sport than it was when Brock reigned as UFC champion. He’d cash in big in Bellator but Brock never appeared to like the easy way out of competition. I think at the end of the day he has no intentions of returning to the UFC. Pro wrestling is his best bet at this stage of his career.

Whether Brock shows up or not, this is getting very tense right now for all parties. I’d say at the end of the day that Brock does not want to burn this bridge down to the ground and he shows up for Mania. But who knows? Maybe he’s had enough and he certainly has the financial means to live comfortably for the rest of his life. All I know is that this is the best WrestleMania drama being written right now and it is all being scripted organically.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

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Samoa Joe To WWE Rumors Swirling

March 02, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

A new report indicates that former TNA world champion Samoa Joe will not be accepting any independent wrestling bookings after a specific time. With reports of WWE negotiations underway, this would be a high indicator that a deal has been reached.

Let the speculation begin! Keep in mind that this is all speculation and nothing has been announced officially regarding Samoa Joe’s status. Dave Meltzer on his recent F4WOnline.com podcast reported that indy promoters have been told that Joe will not accept bookings past a certain date. Joe has been in talks with both New Japan Pro Wrestling and the WWE. Meltzer assumes that a deal has been reached with one, and a deal with NJPW wouldn’t take him out of the indy game.

This is huge news and again this is all speculation. I have to admit that Joe going to the WWE is a huge shocker to me. I never expected that to happen, especially at this stage in the game. The WWE has invested millions into its performance center in an effort to produce young stars. Joe at 35 hardly fits that bill and yet it would appear that the WWE have signed up the big man.

I wrote a blog recently about why I didn’t think either were a fit for each other. My line of thinking was that Joe would have to go through NXT and at this point in his career, he is better off cashing in somewhere else where he could make an immediate impact (no pun intended). I also felt that Joe couldn’t have the kind of matches he’d want to have in the WWE which sours the deal on both sides.

Fortunately one thing Joe does have going for him is that Triple H is reportedly a fan. Hunter is a huge ally to have on your side and if that is true, Joe may be coming in under unique circumstances. It is easy to say “shoot Joe to the main roster immediately.” However, how do you keep guys like Kenta and Prince Devitt down there while Joe gets immediately promoted? Even Sami Zayn and Charlotte have put their time in down there and deserve spots on the main roster. Keep this in mind. Joe coming in is nice but he is taking someone’s spot. That spot could be Zayn’s, Devitt’s, Steen’s, or Kenta’s.

I think there is a realization that the WWE needs some new work horses on the main roster. That isn’t a slight on the current roster because Ambrose, Rollins, Bryan, and Ziggler are all fantastic,. But the reality is that over the last year or more the company has lost CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, and most likely Brock Lesnar. Those are some great workers right there. Whether Joe comes in as a utility guy or a headliner, the shows could use a motivated Joe to help tear the house down.

The next question is an obvious one. How confident are we that the WWE will use Joe correctly? It isn’t very hard to book Samoa Joe. However, you could also say the same thing about Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns and look how well that is working out. There were rumors that Vince McMahon once wanted to sign Joe in an Umaga-type role. Hunter may be a fan but even Hunter has said that at the end of the day Vince has the final say. Joe is not necessarily a Vince guy. That could hurt him, especially if Vince has a self-fulfilling prophecy when it comes to Joe failing.

Regardless, this news should get a lot of fans excited. The CM Punk and Daniel Bryan fans are becoming disinterested in the WWE and need a hero to rally behind. Joe is that guy and the timing couldn’t be better for the former ROH and TNA champion to break the mold and set the WWE on fire.

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Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night Ceremony At Madison Square Garden – Video

February 28, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE and Madison Square Garden paid tribute on Friday night to the legendary Hulk Hogan. Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Jimmy Hart, and Triple H rolled out the red carpet for Hulk and while WWE cameras were not in attendance, plenty of smartphones were.

Thanks to all of the great fans who attended the big event on Friday night, there are plenty of videos floating around YouTube of the ceremony. The ceremony is awesome and the only disappointment in the video is that it didn’t capture what was reported to be a fantastic video tribute of Hogan that played during the ceremony.

It amazes me that the WWE didn’t capture any of this footage for the WWE Network. One of the ideas I proposed a year ago was the Network showing WWE house shows. I think in this case the WWE missed a golden opportunity to either simulcast the event or air it post-produced later on the Network. I think original, special content like that would really help in marketing the network.

Regardless, check out the entire ceremony here below. It’s long overdue and a real classy tribute to a man that sold out many Garden shows in his prime.

WWE Diva Slams Stephanie McMahon On Twitter

February 27, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Twitter beef between Stephanie McMahon and AJ Lee has taken on a life of its own. Just days after the company slammed Lee’s husband CM Punk, Lee took the offense and humiliated McMahon on Twitter leading to all kinds of speculation from fans and media.

The tweet exchange came shortly Stephanie McMahon sent out a tweet in support of Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech on women’s equality. Stephanie tweeted…

“Thank You Patty Arquette for having the courage to fight for women’s rights on such a grand platform,” in response to Arquette’s Oscar acceptance speech for winning Best Supporting Actress in the movie “Boyhood.”

Shortly thereafter, the WWE Diva responded with…

“Your female wrestlers have record selling merchandise and have starred in the highest rated segments of the show times. And yet they receive a fraction of the wages and screen time of the majority of the male roster.”

Ouch! Stephanie later tweeted that she thanked AJ for her opinion. According to a story in the new Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Stephanie was downright furious over the tweets. Stephanie felt humiliated and embarrassed. The newsletter also reports that Vince made her respond to the tweet. Finally the report indicates that AJ posted these tweets on her own and not as part of any kind of angle.

I have always had my doubts about Lee coming back to the company. Ever since Punk walked out, Lee has been in and out of the ring sporadically. However, once her employer’s doctor filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against her husband in addition to her employer publicly calling him a liar, I thought it was safe to conclude that there was no way she was returning. How could she come to work for a company who is aligned with a doctor trying to take over a million dollars away from her family?

Anyone convinced that this is some kind of angle is working themselves into false hope. I don’t believe for a second that this is any kind of angle. I think what you had here was someone torn between her family and her dream job, on the brink of frustration and lashing out. Professional or unprofessional, I don’t think anyone could blame her in this situation.

That said, I would love to understand where she is getting her metrics. I can’t ever recall, at least during Lee’s era, a segment on RAW where the Divas drew the highest rating of the entire show. I have not read any reports of record-selling Divas merchandise as well. As for the wages, I don’t know what she makes but I always groan at entertainers or athletes who complain publicly about their salary. Nobody forced her to become a pro wrestler or work for the WWE. If her salary was that bad, she should go do something else.

On the flip side, Stephanie really opened a huge Pandora’s box with her tweet. Let’s call a spade a spade. Women have not exactly been portrayed in the best light in the WWE. Women are regularly mocked with dumb jokes and tasteless segments. They are booked as filler matches, rarely getting any kind of spotlight or promotion. It is what it is and unless Stephanie hasn’t watched her own show in the last five years, women’s equality is not a cause I’d jump on if I were her.

Regardless, this is just more fallout from the ugly divorce between CM Punk and the WWE. Unfortunately it looks like it is going to end with two of the most talented performers on the roster never to be seen again.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

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Rey Mysterio Done With The WWE

February 27, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Rey Mysterio is free! The former WWE superstar and champion has reportedly reached a settlement which allows Rey to become a free agent. Rey becomes the second biggest Latino star to leave the company in recent months, leaving a huge void in that market place.

The Rey Mysterio-WWE contract saga has dragged on for almost a year. Mysterio has been trying to get out of his contract for several months. While Rey’s contract technically expired some time ago, the company believed that Rey’s time off due to injury extended the contract. Mysterio’s contract has officially expired, ending what some called the “Free Rey” campaign.

Mysterio may be one of the biggest overachievers in WWE history. At 5′ 6″, Rey is probably the shortest, most successful wrestler in WWE history. Rey peaked as a WWE world champion in 2008 and has been a big merchandise seller with kids throughout his tenure with the company. I think it is fair to say that Rey has probably been the most consistent performer in terms of match quality. Rarely would you ever see anything less than a pretty good Rey Mysterio match.

Mysterio has been hampered with injuries in recent years, expected due to his acrobatic style over the last 25 years. Since 2012, Rey has been on disabled list with injuries ranging from knee to wrist to concussions. Rey’s last WWE match was a match on RAW the night after WrestleMania 30 in which we was defeated by a returning Bad News Barrett.

Most recently Rey will probably be remembered as the sacrificial lamb in the 2014 Royal Rumble. Rey entered the match as number 30 and was booed out of the building. The rowdy crowd in Pittsburgh took out their frustrations over Daniel Bryan not being booked in the match on poor Rey. Steve Austin even joked on his podcast that he would have taken that spot in favor of sacrificing “Rey Rey.”

Mysterio is expected to return to the ring in Triple A and Lucha Underground. A free agent for the first time in 13 years, Rey could easily clean up on the independent circuit here in the United States if he wanted to. I am just uncertain on how much Rey wants to wrestle at this point. After years of nagging injuries, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Rey take a greatly reduced schedule, picking his U.S. spots randomly throughout the year.

Rey’s void will not only hurt match quality but it will greatly impact the Latino market. In recent months the WWE has now lost both Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio, their two biggest Latino and Hispanic draws. I’ll tell you what, if you are a Latino wrestler who can work with a great look you can probably get yourself a hell of a deal these days from the WWE. I can’t recall a time in recent memory where the WWE didn’t have at least one Latino star to cater to that market. It’s a huge hole and I am not sure how they fill it.

Rey will be missed and the real shame here is that he never got a good run with the title. Sure he got the title, but Vince McMahon never believed in him, and he was booked as a fluke champion. Rey was red hot when he won the title and could have become an even bigger star if the company went with him. They didn’t and it showed in his booking as champion.

Thanks for a great 13 years of WWE action Rey Mysterio. Your presence will greatly be missed.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

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Austin Idol Talks The 40th Anniversary Of His Plane Crash

February 27, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Legendary pro wrestling journalist Bill Apter talked with former wrestling great (and one of my personal favorites) Austin Idol. Idol and Apter talk about the 40-year anniversary of one of the worst plane crashes in wrestling history in a fascinating interview.

It is amazing if you think about it that I can only name two well-known plane crashes involving pro wrestlers over the last forty years. One is the plane crash that almost ended the career of Ric Flair and the other is the plane crash that killed Bobby Shane. Austin Idol was on that plane and recounted all of the events surrounding that horrific crash with Bill Apter.

I can’t encourage you enough to go check out this interview. It is incredible from beginning to end and the details Idol provides are just downright scary.

WWE Stars Talk About Meeting Vince McMahon For the First Time

February 26, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The dynamic between Vince McMahon and his wrestlers is always a fascinating topic. WWE.com offered up some new insight with a great piece featuring several WWE superstars who recounted their first meeting with Vince McMahon.

Even guys who worked for Vinnie Mac like Chris Jericho and Steve Austin are always talking to their podcast guests about Vince and his dynamics. Just recently Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels spent quite a bit of time discussing it. WWE.com nailed down several superstars who recounted some fascinating stories about meeting Vince. John Cena’s may be the best of them all.

“I didn’t have time to be nervous. It was in Chicago, Ill., on the day I had my debut match against Kurt Angle. I wasn’t supposed to have a match that night, but in the final moments, it was decided that I would debut on television against an Olympic Gold Medalist. Higher-ups said, ‘If we’re going to put the kid on TV, he’s gotta meet Vince!’

“They literally dragged me by the arm to Vince’s office, threw me in and asked him, ‘What do you think?’ I had ridiculously ugly, long, super-dyed blond hair that was shaved bald on the sides. He turned around and with a disgusted look on his face, he said, ‘Cut his hair,’ and I was whisked away from Vince like an assembly line.

“That was the first time I met Vince McMahon and he was disgusted to look at me. They shipped me out and I immediately got a haircut, which was not dyed blond, but equally as horrible.”

That is a great story. Think about that one for a second. The man who would later become his flagship initially disgusted Vince McMahon when they first met. It is funny how things wind up playing out sometimes isn’t it?

JBL had another great story. JBL would of course ascend through the ranks and eventually become a WWE world champion. According to JBL if Vince had it his way, JBL would have been performing Swan Lake on Monday Night RAW.

“I had to go up to Stamford to meet Vince for the first time. I walked in the room and it was JJ Dillon, [Human Resources executive] Lisa Wolfe and Vince. He sat me down, and with a complete straight face he said, ‘We’re going to make you a bad guy ballerina.’ I’d always been a cowboy and I’d already told WCW I wasn’t coming. I looked at him and thought, ‘Oh god, I’ve made the worst decision of my life.’ I said to him, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’ll be great. You’re going to be a ballerina that’s a real bad guy.’ Then he started laughing and said, ‘No, I like the cowboy. We’ll do that. That sounds good.’

“He threw this contract out there for virtually no guaranteed money and said to me, ‘That contract’s not worth the paper it’s written on. All I can guarantee you is the handshake behind it.’ And that’s all I needed. I could live with that.

“He’s charismatic. No doubt about it. I don’t think anybody’s that ever met him will say any different.”

Wow! Could you imagine? Daniel Bryan describes his meeting and sums it up quite eloquently.

“It was very awkward and very uncomfortable. Vince takes these very long pauses after he asks you a question and you answer him. He’ll just look at you. Some will start talking, which I think he likes because it shows they’re uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable, but I just looked at him. I was waiting for him to talk and he was waiting for me to talk. It was surreal. I was very nervous and even in in my $500 suit — which I thought was the most expensive suit in the world — I knew I was inadequately dressed. This guy has the power to control your destiny.”

Check out the entire article on WWE.com with more comments from WWE superstars and their first meeting with Vince McMahon.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Brody – The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel Book Review

February 26, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

“Wrestling can drive you nuts from all the lies!” Those were the words from one of the most celebrated legends of pro wrestling, Bruiser Brody. The book Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel is a great read that pays tribute to one of wrestling’s greatest outlaws, Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish.

Bruiser Brody is legendary for a lot of reasons in pro wrestling. Brody’s in-ring ability, his influence, his wrestling psychology, his business sense, his thirst for blood and violence, his true rebellious ways, and his devotion to his family are many of the reasons that Frank Goodish is just as much a part of pro wrestling today as he was during his glory years.

Larry Matysik is the protege of the famous NWA kingpin, Sam Muchnick, as well as an iatrical part of the St. Louis wrestling territory in and out of the ring. Matysik along with Brody’s widow, Barbara chronicle the life and times of Bruiser Brody in a new book – Brody – The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel.

Bruiser Brody went from the NFL to headlining Madison Square Garden against Bruno Sammartino, selling out the Tokyo Dome against Antonio Inoki, drawing big box-offices challenging the NWA World Champions Harley Race and Ric Flair, and terrorizing the country with his bloody battles against Abdullah the Butcher. While nobody could stop him inside of the ring, Brody faced a challenge before a show one night that would take the big man down for the count.

The first chapter of the book is entitled, “Murder.” The chapter is written from the point of view of Brody’s friend Larry Matysik, and includes comments from several of Brody’s peers. It is without a doubt one of the most riveting single chapters I have ever read in a book period. The second chapter entitled “The Nightmare” is written by Barbara as she reflects her final days with Frank, how she found out about the incident, and how her and her son dealt with the loss of their husband and father.

The death of Bruiser Brody is still one of the most talked about and controversial stories in pro wrestling nineteen years later. I recently had a chance myself to discuss this night with Dan Spivey who was Brody’s scheduled opponent. This continues to be one of those stories that have about twenty different interpretations from the people that were there which includes witnesses to the actual murder.

Brody was scheduled to wrestle Dan Spivey in Puerto Rico. Brody wound up in a secluded room with the booker and fellow wrestler, Jose’ Gonzales. Exactly what happened next has been told in so many different forms and versions that the real story may never truly be told. The bottom line is that Brody entered that dressing room a healthy man. Brody left that room stabbed, bloody, hanging on to dear life, and shortly after dead.

The book proceeds to chronicle the rise of Bruiser Brody from the gridiron to the wrestling ring. Brody had one of the most storied careers in such a short time. The book fairly points out some of the controversies that Brody had throughout his career.

Brody had a reputation for not always doing what was right for business. Several of Brody’s peers I have talked to over the years including Bobby Heenan and Nick Bockwinkel don’t remember Brody fondly at all. Both describe him as bad for business and not worth the trouble he brought with him to a territory.

Matysik is fair to discuss this issue and even one of Brody’s closest friends Gary Hart talks about the troubles he even had controlling the big man. Brody was so intelligent when it came to pro wrestling that he was usually two steps ahead of the game if he felt he was being used or misused. Another story talks about the infamous night Brody and his partner Jimmy Snuka walked out in the middle of a sold-out Japanese tour.

My memories of seeing Bruiser Brody live go back to about 1987 in Wildwood, NJ. I took a fan-trip to see Brody live since it was the closest that he had ever come to wrestling in the area since I had been a fan. Brody was headlining the show against his most notorious rival Abdullah the Butcher.

There were only a couple of hundred fans in attendance if that. Most of the matches were terrible. For fans that complain about independent wrestling today, try going to a show 20 years ago and tell me how much fun they are? Anyhow, Brody and Abdullah came out and immediately brawled all over Convention Hall. The two went into the concession area, the stands, the chairs, the bathrooms, no place was safe. I remember a moment where the two went into a room and Brody returned with a broomstick and began clubbing Abdullah with it. 1 fans, 200 fans, 20000 fans, the two gave everyone a hell of a show. I had never seen anything like it live and I wouldn’t again until 8 years later and ECW.

One fantastic story that describes Brody’s smarts was a match he had in St. Louis challenging Harley Race for the NWA World Heavyweight title. Brody promoted the match with crazy interviews leading up to the event. As crazy as Brody got about the match, he never once promised that he would beat Harley Race for the title. He only promised to beat up Harley Race. Brody understood that babyfaces should never make promises they won’t be keeping to the fans. How many times in today’s wrestling do you see babyfaces predicting victory against the heels only to come out with a loss? Wrestling 101 my friends.

In reading about some of the stories I felt as if I was riding in the car just listening to these people crack open a cold one and start storytelling. It is amazing to me that almost twenty-years later and nobody has been charged with Brody’s murder. The man be gone but his legend will always live on. Bruiser Brody is the kind of guy I could see myself easily becoming friends with on the independents.

The man was smart, loyal, and dedicated to his family and his craft. It is a shame that the new generation of fans will never have the experience of seeing Brody live. The story of Bruiser Brody is one that should have been told a long time ago. Frank Goodish was very lucky to have Larry Matysik and Barbara Goodish in his life. The two tell a great story and one that should be read by all aspiring wrestlers and fans. It is the kind of book old-school wrestling fans only wish that some of our legends would write about.

A classic Bruiser Brody promo

Click here to order the book Brody – The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel.

See Bruiser Brody wrestle Ric Flair to a classic one-hour draw on the Classic St. Louis Wrestling Vol. 12 DVD by clicking here.

See Bruiser Brody take on Abdullah the Butcher in a Steel Cage on the The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling DVD by clicking here.

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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