wrestling / Columns

The Custom Made News Report 10.28.07

October 28, 2007 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome, one and all, to the Custom Made News Report. I don’t know why, but over the course of the last seven days, the wrestling world has gone insane. Not only are there major shows happening all over the place, but there have been some absolutely wild stories coming out, particularly from promotions outside of WWE and TNA. We’ll have all of that later on, but let’s kick things off with a little Cyber Sunday action.

All the Stuff from Stamford

PPV Preview: WWE Cyber Sunday

WWE Cyber Sunday

– This is the third Cyber Sunday event.
– For the first two years of its existence, Cyber Sunday was referred to as “Taboo Tuesday.”
– The pay per view is known for its interactivity, as fans vote online for match stipulations or participants.
– Though many fans assume that WWE ignores the fans’ voting and uses the stipulations that they want, Dave Meltzer and other journalists have reported that the fans voting is honored.
– Meltzer points to two situations in which the fans’ voting did not align with WWE’s wishes with WWE ultimately choosing to go with the fans’ choice.
– The first occurred at Taboo Tuesday in 2005, when WWE wanted John “Bradsaw” Leyfield to participate in a tag team match, but fans chose Matt Hardy instead.
– The second occurred at Cyber Sunday in 2006, when WWE wanted Dusty Rhodes to team with Ric Flair, but fans chose Roddy Piper instead.
– Cyber Sunday has played host to five title changes.
– The Raw Tag Team Titles are the belts that have changed hands most frequently at Cyber Sunday.

Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Matt Hardy in either a wrestling match, boxing match, or mixed martial arts match

– This is the first time that fans have been asked to select a sport for wrestlers to compete in.
– Matt Hardy’s record on Cyber Sunday events is 1-0.
– This is Montel Porter’s first appearance on Cyber Sunday.

Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Fit Finlay in either a stretcher match, a no disqualification match, or a shillelagh on a pole match

– This is the first time that all three stipulations are options on a Cyber Sunday ballot.
– Rey Misterio’s record on Cyber Sunday events is 1-0.
– This is Fit Finlay’s first appearance on Cyber Sunday.

CM Punk (c) vs. Either Viscera, Johnny Nitro, or Mike Mizanin for the ECW Championship

– This is the first time that the ECW Title has been defended on Cyber Sunday.
– This is CM Punk’s first appearance on Cyber Sunday.
– This is the second time that Johnny Nitro has been an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot.
– In Nitro’s first appearance, he came in last with 13% of the vote compared to Carlito (62%) and Shelton Benjamin (25%).
– Viscera’s record on Cyber Sunday events is 0-1. In this appearance, Viscera was not voted on to the card but rather participated in a match in which fans selected a stipulation.
– This is Mike Mizanin’s first time being an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot.
– If Mizanin is selected to wrestle, it will be his first appearance on Cyber Sunday.

Triple H vs. Umaga in either a street fight, first blood match, or steel cage match

– This is the first time that a first blood match has been an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot.
– This is the second time that street fight has been an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot. In its first appearance, it was selected with 91% of the vote over a verbal debate (6%) and an arm wrestling match (3%).
– This is the third time that a steel cage match has been an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot.
– The first time that a steel cage match was a ballot option, it won with 68% of the vote over a falls count anywhere match (20%) and a submission match (12%).
– The second time that a steel cage match was a ballot option, it won with 83% of the vote over a submission match (13%) and a “one fall to a finish” match (4%).
– Umaga’s record on Cyber Sunday events is 1-0.
– Triple H’s record on Cyber Sunday events is 1-2. He is 0-1 in matches in which fans must select the stipulation.

Dave Batista (c) vs. The Undertaker for the Smackdown Championship with either John “Bradshaw” Leyfield, Mick Foley, or Steve Austin as guest referee

– This is the second time that fans have been asked to select a special referee at Cyber Sunday.
– This is the first time that Steve Austin has been an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot.
– This is the fourth time that Mick Foley has been an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot. However, his previous three appearances on the ballot came in a match in which fans voted to determine which Mick Foley persona would compete.
– This is the second time that John Leyfield has been an option on a Cyber Sunday ballot. In his first appearance, he came in third with 17% of the vote behind Matt Hardy (31%) and Rey Misterio (29%). Leyfield did beat Christian (13%) and Bob Holly (10%).
– This is the third time that the Smackdown Championship will be defended at Cyber Sunday.
– The first two times that the Smackdown Championship was defended on Cyber Sunday, it was retained.
– Dave Batista’s record on Cyber Sunday events is 1-0. He was also a ballot option in 2004 but was not selected.
– The Undertaker is making his first appearance at Cyber Sunday.

Randy Orton (c) vs. Either Shawn Michaels, Ken Kennedy, or Jeff Hardy for the Raw Championship

– This is the first time that Jeff Hardy and Ken Kennedy have been ballot options for Cyber Sunday.
– This is the second time that Shawn Michaels has been a ballot option for Cyber Sunday. In his first appearance, he won with 46% of the vote, beating Kane (38%) and the Big Show (16%).
– This is the second time that the Raw Championship will be defended on Cyber Sunday.
– In its one prior defense at Cyber Sunday, the Raw Championship was retained.
– Ken Kennedy is making his first appearance at Cyber Sunday.
– Jeff Hardy’s record on Cyber Sunday events is 1-0.
– Shawn Michaels’ record on Cyber Sunday events is 0-2.

Candice’s Crash & Burn

The talk of the internet lately has been Candice Michelle’s broken collarbone, which she suffered on Monday Night Raw after failing to rotate fully on a bump she was taking from the top rope. I’d like to begin this by saying that, after watching the fall, I’m happy that Candice broke her collarbone. That’s worlds better than what easily could have resulted here, namely severe head and/or neck injuries. Though I’m sure she’s in a lot of pain, I’m just as sure that this woman is grateful that things were not much worse.

I’m doubly grateful that things weren’t much worse, because what happened on Monday night revealed that WWE is woefully unprepared to deal with such a situation.

Speaking as a fan with no real insight in to what goes on behind the scenes in the company, I can’t lay blame on a specific individual or individuals. However, simply from watching the television and having a basic understanding of how to treat a person who has undergone head or neck trauma, I could see several problems with WWE’s treatment of Candice. First of all, I do not profess to be a medical expert. However, I think it’s relatively common knowledge that when an athlete may have suffered a neck injury you do not move that person under any circumstances until paramedics arrive. Instead, Candice was immediately grabbed and dragged across the ring so that the match could come to its conclusion. Many individuals claimed that they could hear the referee in the ring instructing Candice’s opponent, Beth Phoenix, to move her. Therefore, going immediately to the finish could have been the referee’s decision. However, it also could have been the decision of any number of individuals in the locker room, as all WWE refs wear earpieces through which officials backstage can relay messages to them. Regardless of whose decision it was, it was a poor one. Equally as poor was decision by the referees and trainers who came to the ring after the bell, as they not only allowed Candice to sit up but also offered her water. The first action is another example of moving an individual who may have a severe neck injury, and the second is a definite no-no when a person may have suffered a concussion. Worse still is the fact that, as depicted in videos that were briefly on WWE.com this week, Candice was offered water a second time backstage, by none other than Stephanie McMahon.

Fortunately, none of these mistakes resulted in an injury being aggravated. However, they certainly could have, and I hope that WWE takes this opportunity to reevaluate whatever policy they have in place as it relates to training their talent on how to respond to such situations. At the very least the referees, if not the entire roster, need to be educated to the fact that, in situations like this, an individual’s health is much more important than how well the show looks. Matches in which this sort of unfortunate occurrence takes places should be ended immediately, regardless of whether the planned finish has occurred. Any other policy seriously jeopardizes the future health of performers, and that is unacceptable.

Boogey Battles Bad Wheel

It seems like just last week I was asking myself, “Hey, where did the Boogeyman go?” The WWE wrestler, who hasn’t really been seen since a big match against Viscera, is currently sitting on the sidelines with an injured calf muscle according to PW Insider. There was no prognosis given for when exactly Boogey will be able to make his return to the ring, though on an ECW roster that could certainly use a few extra names, he’d be a welcome addition. Granted, the guy was rushed on to television years before he would have been ready, but he’s gotten good enough at playing around with his character that he can have an acceptable brief match which can round out the middle or bottom of a card. Get well, Boogey, get well.

The Word from Dixieland

Update on Cornette’s Role

Many people who have been frustrated with TNA’s current creative direction (including yours truly) have asked why Jim Cornette has not been made a part of the company’s creative team, despite the fact that he is under contract to the promotion. Word came down this week from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Cornette, who has booked critically acclaimed angles in Ohio Valley Wrestling, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and even the World Wrestling Federation, has not been added to the TNA writing staff in large part because he does not want the position. Cornette knows that such a position would bring a good deal of stress with it, and it is apparently it is stress that he does not want at this particular point in his life. However, the former manager of the Midnight Express is not completely without a voice in TNA, as according to the WON he does attempt to make sure that any segment in which he is involved makes sense.

As a long-time fan of Cornette’s work (both on camera and behind the scenes), I do have to say that I am a bit disappointed by this news. Though he has been criticized in the past for being “behind the times,” Cornette does bring to the table several years of experience and typically goes out of his way to make sure that any storyline presented on television is logical and easy to grasp, qualities that TNA is sorely lacking. Though I’m generally not a fan of booking “committees” as opposed to allowing one individual to have complete creative control, I think that the best case scenario for TNA’s direction would be Cornette paired with a younger individual who is more in touch with the popular culture in which males ages eighteen to thirty-five are currently absorbed. Though finding an individual in wrestling who fits that bill may be a tough task, it would provide fans with the best of both worlds, silencing those who feel that Cornette’s ideas for gimmicks are dated while still allowing for his years of knowledge to be brought to the forefront.

Mr. JL Airs Grievances

Jerry Lynn recently appeared on the audio show Wrestling Weekly and explained his reasons for requesting his release from TNA. Lynn, who had recently left his duties as an agent with the company to return to the ring, grew frustrated after not being booked on two consecutive television tapings. In TNA, you’re not paid if you’re not booked. Lynn apparently figured that he could make more money in a promotion that would actually use him, and thus he walked away from Total Nonstop Action despite having been with them since their inception in 2002.

In the past, I’ve discussed how ridiculous the terms of TNA contracts are. As was the case with Lynn’s deal, it appears that many of the lower card wrestlers are not paid if they do not actually perform on shows. Yet, at the same time, the contract prevents them from appearing for most of the larger independent promotions in the country, particularly Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerilla. This means that a TNA wrestler which TNA won’t use is barred from attempting to make back money which the promotion’s creative decisions are costing him. How any individual could be happy in such a situation is beyond me, and I fully support Lynn’s decision to leave under such circumstances.

What we’re looking at here is a promotion that needs to seriously rethink how it pays its performers, as the contract structure above creates two problems. The first is wrestlers like Lynn becoming dissatisfied and leaving. The second is that the contracts put pressure on the promotion to book as many wrestlers as possible on their cards in an effort to keep money flowing to talent, which in turn keeps morale high. However, one of the most common complaints by TNA viewers is that there are just too many stories and too many wrestlers crammed on to the shows, leaving the entire promotion a rushed, frenetic mess. Though I understand that the company is still not profitable, TNA needs to take a page out of WWE’s book and institute a “downside” guarantee for talent, in which wrestlers are paid a small amount no matter how frequently they are used. Though this means that the promotion’s expenses will be greater, it also prevents individuals like Lynn from giving up on the company, and it will prevent the company from forcing itself to create matches for the entire roster, which will in turn improve the quality of its product as a whole.

New Roles for New Women

TNA continues to expand the role that women have in its storylines, and it looks like there are more on the horizon. As I’ve noted for the last couple of weeks in my Impact Crater column, a woman has been seen at ringside carrying pro-Bobby Roode signs, and she is none other than Rain. Rain is an independent wrestler who has extensive experience throughout the United States indy scene, spending the last several years competing in ROH, SHIMMER, CHIKARA, IWA Mid-South, and many more promotions. Obviously the idea is that she will eventually join Roode.

Additionally, PW Insider recently reported that a second woman will be getting a new position in TNA. According to the site, Shelly Martinez, who was recently seen as Ariel the tarot card reader in WWE, will soon become a member of LAX. Impact viewers saw a “mystery member” of the group’s Latino nation entourage hand Homicide a weapon this week, and the expectation is that Martinez will be revealed as this individual. Given the mystery person’s loose-fitting clothes and rather small stature, this would seem to make sense.

I’ve got split feelings on these two newcomers. First of all, I have to say that the TNA roster is reaching the point of oversaturation. Though they do now have two hours of television time, they need to stop adding new characters very soon unless they want their two hour programs to feel as cramped and overbooked as their one hour shows did. At the same time, if you’re going to add female talent, Rain is perhaps one of the best pickups that you could have made. I said this past Thursday that, just by debuting, she immediately becomes the second best female wrestler in the promotion (behind Amazing Kong), and I stand by that claim. However, I can’t endorse Martinez as strongly. Though I know she does have some loyal fans (many of them wrote in the last time I discussed her in this column), I have yet to really see anything positive from her. The limited in-ring work that she did in WWE was outright horrible, though I have to admit that she was in against an incredibly green opponent in ECW’s Kelly Kelly. As a valet she was fine, though I don’t see what qualities she brought to the table that hundreds of other women have not had in the past. Of course, this could be a situation in which an underutilized talent wows me with her skills after not receiving an opportunity to show them in WWE, but, as of this time, I have no indication of that being the case.

Random Video Interlude

Nate Orton, brother of current WWE Champion Randy Orton, hasn’t decided to get in to professional wrestling like his father and grandfather did. However, the younger Orton brother has decided that he’s going to enter the world of mixed martial arts. The video below is from Nate’s MMA debut, which took place on a relatively low level show held on September 29. Since we are dealing with a small show, the video quality isn’t the greatest, but the easiest way to differentiate Orton from his opponent is by keeping in mind that Nate is the one in the yellow gloves.

To view videos that have appeared in previous editions of the Custom Made News Report, be sure to check out my new YouTube page.

Foreign Fanatics

So, NOAH/Joe

Let’s get straight in to the international news most likely to interest U.S. readers. Samoa Joe’s debut in Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH occurred this week, albeit with mixed results. Before he even set foot in the land of the rising sun, Joe was booked for two matches on NOAH’s October tour, one of them a shot at the GHC Heavyweight Title currently held by Mitsuhara Misawa. The second match was a tag team encounter involving Joe and Misawa, which was clearly booked to set up the later title match. Though a few individuals – mainly hardcore Samoa Joe marks leftover from his run in Ring of Honor – thought that the Samoa Submission Machine could actually bring home the gold, most were capable of predicting the results of the matches in their sleep. As expected, Joe won in the tag team match and then went on to lose the championship battle. The only thing that was surprising about Joe’s tour was just how dominant he was in the tag match. Many people figured that he would wind up pinning Misawa’s tag partner and former ROH Champion Takeshi Morishima. Instead, Joe took it straight to the champ, not just pinning Misawa but pinning him with the legend’s own hold, the Emerald Frosion. Some sources are reporting this as the first time that Misawa had been cleanly pinned in two years.

What will be interesting to see now is what Joe’s future will be in Japan . . . assuming that there is any. The way that I see it, NOAH could take this in one of two directions. The first is to capitalize on Joe’s tag team victory over Misawa, using it to establish him immediately as a foreigner not to be messed with. It could perhaps even set up a second singles encounter between Joe and Misawa, the rationale that they each hold a pinfall over the other and need a rubber match to determine who is the better wrestler. On the other hand, NOAH could simply say goodbye to Joe at this juncture. Though he certainly is a talented individual, this could be nothing more than the promotion attempting to create a one-time challenger for Misawa without having to sacrifice one of the regular members of their roster. Only time will tell which option the promotion chooses, though they certainly could use a new face to freshen up what many have been calling a rather boring series of NOAH lineups for 2007.

Upsets Highlight G1 Tag Tournament

New Japan Pro Wrestling is in the middle of its big G1 Tag League Tournament, and there’s been some interesting booking going around. Massive upsets have been taking place in practically every third match, and the result is an absolutely deadlocked field heading in to the final two matches, which take place this weekend.

The craziness began on October 21, when in the main event of a show in Fukuoka, Milano Collection AT pinned IWGP Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi. Not only is the win rare because a reigning champion got pinned, it’s also odd in that a junior heavyweight wrestler went over a heavyweight. Oftentimes this sort of booking is used to set up a title bout down the road, though there is no indication as of yet that Milano will be getting a crack at Tanahashi’s belt. The upsets continued the next day in Nagasaki, with two somewhat odd results. In the sixth match of the card, Takashi Iizuka and Naofumi Yamamoto, a team of underpushed veterans, defeated uppercard mainstays Togi Makabe and Toru Yano. Then, in the very next match, we saw another juniorheavyweight over heavyweight result, with perennial IWGP Junior Tag Champs Jado and Gedo defeating Manabu Nakanishi and the last IWGP Champ Yuji Nagata, with Jado pinning Nagata. Finally, on October 26, Jado and Gedo did it again, this time beating Masa Chono and Akebono, albeit this time around it was due to Chono being DQed.

With numerous upsets, several teams could walk away the winner. The tournament is scheduled to be decided entirely by points, as opposed to other league tournaments in which the top two or four points earners face each other in single elimination action. However, if there is a tie at the top of the tournament rankings, playoffs may be necessary. Currently that is the case, as Goto and Milano have eight points, as do Tanahashi and Koji Kanemoto. Every other team is tied with six points apiece.

The remaining two matches in the tournament are Giant Bernard and Travis Tomko against Chono and Akebono, as well as Togi Makabe and Toru Yano meeting Jado and Gedo. All four of these teams are involved in the six-point tie, and wins will give them two points while draws yield one point. My guess would be that we get wins from the Berndard/Tomko and Makabe/Yano duos, creating a four-way tie at the top of the rankigns and forcing the tournament to have de facto semi-finals and then finals. I’ll follow up with results from the tournament next week.

Wrestlers Attack Reporters in India

Just when you’d thought that last weekend’s Cow Palace convention was the biggest disaster that wrestling could muster, something worse happens.

Tiger Jeet Singh, an Indian wrestler who currently resides in Canada, was actually a very big star in the territorial days of wrestling in the United States (particularly in Detroit) and a massive heel in New Japan Pro Wrestling as one of Antonio Inoki’s biggest rivals. He would go on to father Tiger Ali Singh, a wrestler who had a cup of tea with the WWF in the late 1990’s. Though the two are persona non gratas in today’s wrestling scene, they recently attempted to promote a three city wrestling tour of India, using the name Universal Wrestling Stars, Incorporated. Numerous wrestlers were brought in to India for the series of shows, with the biggest names being Sonjay Dutt, Steve Corino, and Jerry Lynn. Also on the tour were several Canadian wrestlers, including a gentleman named Nikita (who had gotten Japanese exposure as “Jason the Legend” in Pro Wrestling ZERO-ONE), Don Paysan (who had recently debuted with CHIKARA and was starting to get a following in the US indies), Ron Hutchinson (a Canadian veteran who trained Edge and Christian), and three female wrestlers from the Canadian scene, namely Kacey Diamond, Josianne the Pussycat, and Portia Perez (of SHIMMER fame).

Unfortunately, things turned sour earlier this week. According to articles published by Indian news sources Daily India and the The Times of India, an incident at a press conference has lead to criminal charges being filed against at least one of the wrestlers. For reasons that still remain unclear, the troupe was told that the tour was going to have to be cancelled. As soon as this happened, the wrestler working under the name Nikita flew in to a rage, throwing a table across the room and having to be separated from reporters after attempting to accost them. Other wrestlers restrained him, and fortunately there are no reports of anybody involved being injured. In a quote provided to Daily India, the Senior Superintendent of Police for the area in which the press conference occurred was quoted as saying that the wrestlers’ passports have been seized pending an investigation. It wasn’t made clear when any of the wrestlers would potentially be allowed to leave, though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this tour is never getting rescheduled.

Footage of the incident has also made its way to Indian television and can be seen below.

300 Word or Less DVD Review

In this segment of the column, I attempt to review wrestling DVDs in three hundred words or less, with the idea being that I enjoy reviewing shows but don’t have the time to make them as long as I otherwise would. The three hundred word limit begins . . . now.

Daizee Haze: Flower Power (Disc One) (Buy It).

Haze vs. Lacey: Sick spot early as Lacey whips Daizee through several rows of empty chairs. (Good for the match, bad for the live gate.) Lacey wins as Haze passes out in the Full Nelson Mandela.

Haze vs. MsChif vs. Mickie Knuckles: Highlight is Mickie perching herself on MsChif’s back and Daizee clotheslining Knuckles in to Chif’s wacky bodyscissor rana. Chif wins with a Desecrator (DDT) on Mickie after misting Haze.

Haze vs. Tracy Brooks: GREAT mat wrestling by Daizee, including some really intricate reversals. The Daizee Cutter hits, but Brooks ducks a Yakuza kick and hits a lariat to win.

Haze vs. Knuckles vs. Brooks: Haze takes the whip in to the chairs again. It looks ten times worse than the first. Poor girl. Similar to the prior three-way.

Haze vs. MsChif: Solid performance by two women who are familiar with each other. This time the mist gets MsChif DQ’ed.

Haze vs. Knuckles vs. Lacey vs. Rain vs. MsChif vs. Mercedes Martinez: There’s not much Daizee featured here. Mainly a collection of big moves: Lacey’s Implant DDT, Mercedes’ top rope fisherman buster/Saito suplex, and Chif’s Desecrator.

Haze vs. Knuckles vs. Lexie Fyfe: Mickie/Daizee try to get Fyfe out first but fail as Lexie isolates Knuckles and TKO’s her. Daizee fights back and takes one home for the good guys.

Overall: Daizee is one of today’s best female American wrestlers. These matches are all from 2004, so she’s not as good as she’d become, but every bout is a thumbs up. Since there are a lot of multi-woman matches, those new to indy wrestling get some variety and a chance to become familiar with many performers. Top notch DVD! Disc two is next week.

Indy-Sent Headlines

Convention Craziness 2: Electric Boogaloo

Last week, I made mention of “Malice in the Palace,” a wrestling convention that was scheduled to take place in San Francisco’s historic Cow Palace. The convention was scheduled to take place across last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I was writing last week’s piece on Saturday, and things were already looking fairly bizarre, with wrestlers staging a sit-in in order to make sure that they were paid and a wrestling card that was scheduled for the convention having to be seriously reshuffled due to the promoters advertising talent that was not scheduled to appear or talent pulling out when they realized that something was fishy about the convention.

There has been great coverage of the insanity surrounding this convention at F4W Online, with three podcast interviews being conducted with individuals who were at the convention in some sort of official capacity and a huge write-up being printed in the F4W Newsletter. I’m not going to crib everything that the site had to say about the weekend, but here are a few highlights which were not included in the piece that I wrote last week.

Monetary problems didn’t just cause the aforementioned sit-in. They also lead to at least two fights. In addition to the wrestling show, a mixed marital arts show was scheduled for the weekend, though it was ultimately cancelled. (The reason for the cancellation has never been 100% confirmed, though there are several theories.) Initially, the MMA fighters present were told that they were not going to be paid because the show was not taking place. Naturally, this left them rather angry with the individual who promoted the MMA show. Also mad at him were the wrestlers, who were told by the individual who promoted the wrestling show that the MMA promoter had money to pay them. This lead to a confrontation on Saturday night, when several wrestlers and fighters were crammed together with the MMA promoter in a hotel room. Don Frye, a mixed martial artist and sometimes-wrestler for New Japan was attempting to mediate the rather tense situation when he was given lip by another individual in the room, who most reports state was the boxing coach of Leland Chapman. (Chapman, who is the son of TV’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter” was scheduled to fight on the MMA show.) The boxing coach allegedly sucker punched Frye at one point, which depending on whose story you believe either knocked Frye out or let to him taking down the coach and wailing on him. Additionally, there was a SECOND scrap between the two later in the night, with another alleged sucker punch landing on Frye. Somewhere in the middle of this, the MMA promoter vanished.

Also gone was the wrestling promoter, who, despite the sit-in, had left several wrestlers unpaid. Virtually nobody saw him on Sunday, the third and final day of the convention. Though the man in charge had flown the coop and though they had not been given what they were promised, many wrestlers showed up to the last day of the convention anyway. This was in part because they wanted to give something to the fans who paid to attend the event and in part because they were able to partially recoup their losses by selling merchandise. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the biggest name on the convention, was scheduled to appear Sunday and did so, in large part because he had been paid his entire appearance fee in advance. At the end of the weekend, wrestlers had to suffer one more indignity, as the majority of them were flown in to airports up to two hours away from San Francisco to save on expenses. With the promoter gone, they had no way to actually make their flights, with several of them taking expense cab rides or relying on generous fans to get them to their destinations.

Jimmy Snuka and Ted DiBiase were both reported as being particularly upset with the events of the weekend, with DiBiase being quoted as saying that it was the worst he had ever been treated during an appearance. I don’t think that I need to go to any great lengths to describe just how pathetic the individuals who put together this event are. All I can say that is I hope karma exists, and I hope that they are forced to pay in some way for the manner in which they abused the trust of the individuals they booked to appear on the show.

SHIMMER Takes to the Airwaves

For those of you in the Chicago area, SHIMMER: Women Athletes will soon be featured on television. No, it’s not a regular TV series for the indy group, but it is a profile on 1900 North, a news magazine program which airs on WLS Channel 7 in the area. WLS cameras were at the most recent SHIMMER DVD taping on October 13, both getting footage of the in-ring action and interviewing fans. For those of you in the area and interested in watching the segment, it will air at 10:35 PM central time TONIGHT. There is also the possibility that it will be archived on the show’s website here. I will follow up next week with a direct link to the video of the piece if it is, in fact, posted.

Following Up

Here are a couple of small updates to stories that I have discussed in previous editions of the report:

~ Word made the rounds a few weeks ago that Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett were vying for backstage power in TNA. However, according to the most recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the two sides have “made peace.”

~ Recently we reported that D-Lo Brown and Bull Buchanan won Pro Wrestling NOAH’s GHC Tag Team Titles. Well, it turns out that reign wound up lasting all of SIX DAYS, as they were defeated by Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura on the October 27 NOAH show. D-Lo also had a big singles match on October 22 against reigning GHC Heavyweight Champion Mitsuhara Misawa, which he lost in ten minutes after being hit with the Emerald Frosion. Misawa’s GHC Title was not on the line.

~ Jeff Small has the full details in his Thursday news report, but it appears that my theorizing last week that Kristal Marshall’s release from her WWE contract was a disciplinary matter was correct.

~ Also from last week: I talked about the possibility of a Mexican independent promotion booking El Santo vs. LA Park in a mask versus mask match. Well, it appears that match will now no longer be happening . . . or at least it won’t be guaranteed to happen. The promotion now instead plans to run a big show in December that will feature a somewhat unusual tournament in which the loser advances, with the two guys unlucky enough to make it to the finals having to put their hair or mask on the line. Santo and Park are still probably going to be entrants in the tournament, which will also include names such as Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon Jr.

Wrapping Up

And that’s the news for this week. I’ll be back in seven days with even more word from the wrestling world. Until then, make sure you check out my recent DVD reviews in the 411 Movies Zone, which have included Disney’s Meet the Robinsons and BET’s American Gangster. Hey, my tastes are nothing if not eclectic. Also worth a reader is my MySpace blog, which was updated this week with a review of some action from the short-lived Women of Wrestling (WOW) promotion.


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Ryan Byers

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