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Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Thoughts on the Benoit Tragedy

It would seem that a few people are interested in my take on what has unfolded over the past few days in reference to former professional wrestler Chris Benoit. In many circles, I am the "wrestling guy", so I will try to fufill that role and give as much perspective as I possibly can into this almost unbelievable series of events to ever occur in pro wrestling history.

On Monday Night, I signed online looking for my friend Tuna to be on. WWE had scheduled a three hour "Raw" to air, ironically with a theme of a funeral for Vince McMahon based on an angle they had shot two weeks prior. I assumed Tuna and I would watch together.

Immediately when I signed on, Pittsburgh independent wrestler, Kid Cupid instant messaged me to see if I had heard the news. I expected a joke about the girth of his genitals or something.

Simultaneously, I was hitting my standard rotation of wrestling websites to make sure that I was up to date on all that I needed to know in preparation for that night's "Raw". The IM window flashed...Chris Benoit is dead.

I made it to the first wrestling site immediately and it confirmed the news. I was shocked. I was numb. I went to a popular wrestling blog that I frequent and people were already mourning. To non-wrestling fans this may sound stupid, but I thought of Chris Benoit as an entertainer. Anyone can be a bit shaken when one of their
favorite entertainers is taken unexpectedly, especially if that person had been entertaining you for over a decade.

Not knowing any details, I composed the following message in response to someone who was chastizing Vince McMahon for his ficticious death angle:

"This is not about Vince or his angle. This is about the best wrestler that the WWE has ever seen being dead. Rest in Peace Chris...You were an incredible performer. I will miss seeing you do what you do best."

There was a part of me wanted to write a long memorial, but also a part of me felt it was too soon. I read that not only was Chris found dead, but also his wife Nancy and his son Daniel.

It's funny how wrestling fans get in a huff over a fake Vince McMahon death angle, but as soon as they hear about a real death, they pray for it to be a tasteless WWE storyline. We were all praying hard on Monday night that this was the case. If not a storyline, perhaps it was a gas leak. No one wanted to think there was foul play involved.

At the time, I figured it was most likely a domestic dispute, as I had read that Benoit called off a house show and knew he missed a pay-per-view for "personal reasons." I couldn't imagine what was really transpiring.

I received a text message before "Raw" that night from a good friend asking if I thought this was real or just the worst angle ever. I responded:

"Unfortunately real"

I saw groups and sites pop up in great numbers paying homage to a guy who had always been considered a class act in the world of pro wrestling. A traditionalist who gave his 100% every night in the ring. I read as people were ready to throw Nancy's body over the coals if she had done something to kill Chris Benoit. I decided not to comment until I had some details.

Some people suggested that Kevin Sullivan may be to blame. Sullivan, also a wrestler, used to write the storylines for World Championship Wrestling. He paired Nancy (his then wife) together with Benoit in a storyline, and they ended up sparking a true life romance. I was asked if I thought Sullivan was the culprit. I replied, it's been ten years, you'd think he'd be over it by now.

People wanted to believe anything other than that Chris Benoit could be responsible for the deaths. I sat in Tuna's house as we watched the tribute to the former World Champion. Vince McMahon broke character to announce that he was not dead, and it was just a storyline. They then showed some of Benoit's most incredible moments in the business, which admittedly he had no shortage of.

Fans listened as Benoit's peers talked about how much respect Benoit had, how he would always give 100%, and how he was a great family man. It made the events that would later unfold that much more unbelievable.

In hindsight, many people have been critical of WWE's decision to run the tribute show. Well, to all the Monday morning quarterbacks, or in this case Tuesday morning bodyslammers, you have to understand that at the time of the event, WWE had no idea of the details that would soon be unveiled. The live show was cancelled and the tribute emanated from an empty arena because the arena was decorated for McMahon's faux funeral.

It would obviously have been in poor taste to have fans cycle into the arena among those decorations and mention Benoit's real passing. The week before, former WWE valet Sensational Sherri had passed, and WWE received a lot of heat for not giving that enough attention while promoting the McMahon storyline. By all means, for what they knew at the time, they were handling it as best as they could.

By the time "Raw" was over, speculation was very heavy that Benoit was indeed a killer. Fans were making up their own scenarios as to what may have happened. The next morning I wrote:

"I feel as though I know nothing, yet I still know too much. As more details appear, I will force myself to read them, but it seems to be everything I dreaded upon hearing all three were dead is reality. It's just unfathomable to me. If the early reports are indeed confirmed by the investigation, it will be hard for us as wrestling fans to reconcile our feelings on the fantastic performer that Chris was. His in-ring abilities certainly do not go away, but how do you celebrate him? Do you even want to?

This is a PR nightmare for World Wrestling Entertainment, and another hard shot for wrestling fans as this event is likely to shape the mainstream opinion of professional wrestling for years to come. It is just too early, I feel, to really go into my comments or feelings on Chris Benoit.

We are so conditioned now to get our news and information so rapidly and immediately make a statement upon it. However, I think some of us really need to take a step back and wait for some real details to come out before we form our opinions on Chris or Nancy.

I think out of respect for the victims and respect for ourselves, it's best if we stop worrying about immediately pointing fingers, wait for authorities to sort the situation out, and then digest the facts as they come."

The next day I followed the news closely. It wasn't hard as all mainstream media outlets had picked up the story. I was notified that WWE had made a decision to quietly take down all references to Benoit. This was all but confirmation of a wrestling fan's worst nightmare. I wrote:

"I went and visited WWE.com and the site is certainly backing down from the tribute it had up last evening and early this morning. The main article is still obviously in regards to Benoit, as many WWE fans would likely be pissed if they went looking for an update this afternoon and found nothing. The link inside that would have clicked to Benoit's bio now loops you back to the same article. However, if you go through to the ECW section, Benoit's bio is still listed on the Roster page and his tribute stuff can still be found there for now..."

In a matter of four minutes, his superstar page and bio had been removed. I wrote:

"They have taken all his stuff off of WWEshop, and went so far as to take his name out of the description of the WrestleMania 23 winners plaque, despite the fact that he is clearly pictured.

Also, this is a direct quote from the description of the WrestleMania XX DVD, from which Benoit won the title:

'The entire event is here. Seven championships are on the line, featuring Eddie Guerrero VS. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship & Triple H defends his World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels.'

If WWE.com was your source for all things wrestling, it is almost as if Benoit never existed."

I sat on google refreshing the news about Benoit, knowing that something big was about to break. The distance that WWE put between themselves and one of their most celebrated performers was a clear signal that it was going to be bad.

Before the AP broke the story, I had already read the details on TMZ.com. I was floored. The whole thing was just terrible.

Some wrestling fans focus shifted to if Benoit really did this, does he deserve to get into the WWE Hall of Fame. I wrote:

"Benoit was arguably the greatest wrestler ever. Still, that doesn't mean he should be unconditionally honored. With more of these reports coming out, it shows that he truly had no honor".

One fan said he didn't know if we should pray for Chris or damn him to hell. I replied:

"I pray for Nancy, Daniel, and the two children left behind.

I also pray for Chris, but it's very different.

I am through celebrating him, but I don't think it's our place to damn anyone. That's just my belief."

I got home just in time for the beginning of the press conference. By dinner time I knew that Benoit had bound his wife, driven her into the floor, and choked her to death with wire. He had waited a number of hours, and smothered his son with a bag. He waited a number of hours again before hanging himself from a weight machine in his basement. He left no suicide note. All the communication he made were text messages suggesting that his dogs were in an enclosed space, his door was open, and his address.

The whole thing was sickening. WWE released a statement saying they were stunned by the details. Anyone who was a fan of professional wrestling can tell you the same. WWE was also "concerned" about the sensational reporting.

I must admit, I was too. Shepard Smith immediately began blaming the encounter on steroids. WWE has gone on record to say that Benoit passed a drug test in April. Plus, the fact that Benoit did this act over the course of three days, bounding his wife, and placing bibles with the victims doesn't support this at all.

Shepard Smith said that 60 well known professional wrestlers under the age of 45 have had steroid related deaths in the past ten years. This is simply not true at all. Owen Hart died from a fall at a pay-per-view when making a superhero like entrance to the ring. Earthquake died from cancer. Mr. Perfect died of acute cocaine intoxication. Miss Elizabeth died from a combination of alcohol and pain killers. Some deaths referenced happened over ten years ago, and still weren't steroid related. Dino Bravo was murdered. Kerry Von Erich shot himself.

Yes, there is an overabundance of dead professional wrestlers: (The British Bulldog, Brian Pillman, Bam Bam Bigelow, The Big Bossman, Ravishing Rick Rude, Chris Candido, Yokozuna, Andre the Giant, Eddie Guerrero, Johnny Grunge, Rocco Rock, Gino Hernandez, Chris Adams, Louie Spicolli, Terry Gordy, Eddie Gilbert, Road Warrior Hawk, Hercules, The Wall, Crash Holly, Pitbull #2, The Renagade, Bad News Brown) But they all died of various causes.

Reporting Benoit's act as though it comes with the territory in the life of a professional wrestler is irresponsible journalism.

Nancy Grace chastized WWE for running a tribute show to a murderer. Well Nancy, that would make sense had WWE known at the time of the tribute he was murderer. Instead, Vince was dealing with a lockeroom who felt as though they had lost a brother, 20 million people who tune into "Raw" on Mondays who would have been outraged if the show went on as normal, and three hours to figure out what to do while being tremendously distraught himself. Get off your high horse. Better hope Anderson Cooper never pulls something like this and lands you in the same position.

I've noticed a lot of fans having trouble with Benoit's actions. It's hard for them to watch their hero being villainized. Many people have no frame of reference for Chris Benoit outside of this incident, and it's almost as if fans want to defend that he wasn't really like this.

Unfortunately, he proved otherwise. Fans want to show the world that they are shocked and never believed anything like this could happen, thus distancing themselves from the fact that they spent years cheering for a would-be murderer. It's similar to when a murder happens in a small town and the mayor consistently wants to reiterate that he never thought anything like that could happen there. You want to defend some semblance of yourself from the judgement of others.

As a child, I was a huge fan of He-Man cartoons. Then one night flipping through the channels, I found Hulk Hogan, who for my four year-old brain was a real live-action He-Man. I was immediately hooked. These were real life superheroes. As I got older, I became more intrigued with the business side of wrestling, and how decisions were made. Being older I learned many things that were dissapointing about my childhood heroes, probably first feeling that impact when I heard Jake "The Snake" Roberts talk about his life on the road.

Someone asked if Jimmy Snuka hadn't also killed his wife. I explained the story of how Jimmy Snuka had been travelling in the very early 80's (before I was born) with a ring rat (wrestling groupie) and they had gotten into an argument on the side of the highway. Snuka shoved her and she had cracked her skull. She died hours later in what was ruled an accidental death, and Vince McMahon did a great deal to help cover up the incident and make sure Snuka never had to serve time.

Telling the story made me exclaim:

"Unfortunately, pro wrestling is full of drug abusers and woman beaters."

The funny thing is, I have known this for at least ten years, but it's probably the first time I have ever said it outloud. I guess I just didn't want to let myself believe it. Professional wrestling was an escape from the real world to me.

So I guess this is my final stance on what happened this weekend:

"I am done celebrating Benoit. I would much rather celebrate his wife Nancy, who portrayed the character 'Woman.' I knew Woman many years before I ever knew of Benoit. Nancy Daus debuted as Robin Greene, the love interest of Rick Steiner. She later turned on Rick and his brother Scott and aligned herself with Butch Reed and Ron Simmons, who were known as Doom.

She was a beautiful woman, and a fantastic wrestling valet in the late 80's early 90's. I was not really familiar with her work in Florida as the Fallen Angel, and I think she was less intriguiging in her later roles in WCW, but she was fantastic in the Steiners/Doom storyline. Wrestling fans seem to be missing the fact that the wrestling world has lost two personalities, not just one.

Now onto Chris Benoit. As I have said, this incident doesn't take away the fact that he is perhaps the best in-ring performer EVER, but to read wrestling fans everywhere defending him makes wrestling fans everywhere look retarded. Just because you drop a few thousand perfect diving headbutts doesn't excuse his actions.

Think of the most vile gangsta rapper you can think of, and Benoit is way worse. They sing about rape and murder. Benoit smothered his 7 year-old son.

It's hard to reconcile as a fan, because all you ever heard was good about Benoit. There are other guys where it would seemingly be more fathomable. Unfortunately though, facts are facts. Benoit murdered Nancy "Woman" Daus Benoit and his son Daniel, and no matter what influenced him, the act was sensless and horrible.

I don't agree that we should condemn him to hell, because it's not our place. I pray for Nancy, Daniel, the two remaining children, and his extended family and friends.

I also pray for Chris, but I do so in a different way.

It's funny because I usually go to wrestling to escape life. Now I am looking to life to escape wrestling. Chris Benoit, the guy who was so passionate about tradition and respect has raped professional wrestling of its innocence and fun. In time, I think things will return to a sense of normalcy, but this is a black eye that professional wrestling will wear for a very long time.

If the reports are true, there is no one to blame but Chris Benoit. He did just about the most reprehensible thing a person can do, and I refuse to make excuses for him just because of his workrate. The thing that pisses me off the most is how ready people were to damn Nancy initially when they assumed it was her doing, but now that she's the victim, people are still looking at Benoit as some type of martyr. If I were not a fan of professional wrestling I would look at these fansites and tributes and barf in their general direction.

Chris Benoit does not deserve to be honored, as he was a man who had no honor. Chris Benoit is not a hero. Period!"

I just read a report on a website in which the author says, "So in spite of all that has happened, I am not afraid to say this: Chris Benoit, you where (sic) my hero and I shall remember you for every good match, for every chop, for every flying headbutt, for every crippler crossface and more importantly, for every tear I dropped at the end of that Wrestlemania. Because for those lasting minutes, wrestling was real."

Well I got news for you Armando, wrestling is not real. The deaths of a lovely 43 year old woman and an innocent 7 year old boy are.
More on This Story...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Former Benoit Tag Partner Dead at 42

With all the coverage on the tragic Chris Benoit story, it seems the death of Shayne Bower has been overlooked. Shayne, who went by the name Biff Wellington, was a former tag partner with Benoit in Stampede Wrestling and WCW.

Bower, despite never really cracking the mainstream in the States, was a wrestling icon in Western Canada and a regular in Japan. Over the past few years he suffered from a variety of health problems including multiple strokes.

He was found dead in his home, of an apparent heart attack, on Sunday June 24th. He was 42 years old.

Despite some internet rumors to the contrary, Bower's death is in no way related to the Benoit tragedy. More on This Story...

My Benoit Blog

If you're a wrestling fan, watch the news, or have internet you have heard the story. Chris Benoit, pro wrestler, killed his wife and son, then himself. It seems now his wife and son were over the weekend and he hung himself yesterday. I'm not going to go into any story or anything like that. I never met him. I was always a fan of his work (in ring not so much promos) and had him in all time top 10 wrestlers in the world.

I have seen on message boards, sites, away messages, myspaces, etc.. with a lot stuff about him. Tributes if you will. I know some who looked up to the man. He was one hell of an in ring performer. He went thru a lot in his career. I do not get those who suddenly have huge tributes and such to him when before, he was an afterthought. I guess its like a bandwagon of sorts. Or maybe its simply showing respect and I'm a bitch about it.

Please keep in mind I am in no way defending what he did. He murdered two people and then took his own life. I've been depressed. I've had suicidal thoughts in my past. I cannot fathom killing a wife and son but depression does funny things to people. However to condem him to hell and forget all he did is a bit strange to me. You do not have to like him or respect what he did during the last 2-3 days of his life Over the course of his life he accomplished a lot in his chosen industry. While yes "predetermined" , it is an accomplishment none the less.

There have been some people insisting people are praising a murderer, a horrible person, drug addict (steroids), and other crazy things. Well I hope those people don't enjoy movies or music. Chances are they are fans of a few addicts. Watch TV for 24 hours and if you pay attention, I'm sure you'll find a lot to hate about celebs. No not just Paris Hilton either. That fucking cunt. Hell search the internet for celeb dirt. Although don't believe everything you read. Moving on from movie and music stars... politics? Bush sent troops to war. In some eyes, he is a murderer. I'll stop there before this blog becomes even longer.

I guess this whole thing comes down to two things. One, if he wasn't such a big deal to you, don't act like you followed his career for years and he was your hero. Its a slap to those who were huge Benoit fans and those who truly considered him an inspiration. Two, if you're running this "oh he's a bad person kick" think this... if one of you're heroes died and you read deragatory things, how great would you feel?

I miss the guy. I wasn't his biggest fan. I think it sucks we won't see him vs. Punk. I was really looking forward to that. No one knows what happens after you die. But no matter where or what, I hope that peace can be found... for all.
More on This Story...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It’s All About the Wrestling: But Sometimes it’s Not

Last night I was sitting in my chair working on my laptop and playing with my cable remote, I happened to pass the RAW listing and for some unknown reason I decided to DVR it. I don’t normally watch RAW or any WWE programming but I guess something was telling me that this would be the last chance to see Chris Benoit in a positive light.

I myself did not find out about the tragedy until about 10:30 last night, fellow PWP and Wrestling Inc writer Brady Hicks sent me a text message telling me to turn on RAW at about 8PM but I didn’t catch that until much later. I found out about the tragedy at Wrestling Inc. after posting my latest TNA commentary. I found myself speechless. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to react. I still don’t know what to say or how to react.

Since the initial reports it has come to light that Chris Benoit very likely murdered his wife and child and then hung himself. Vince McMahon is going to make a statement tonight on ECW apologizing for the tribute show on RAW last night. In retrospect no one can fault Vince for airing what he did last night, he went with his gut reaction to celebrate Benoit’s career, but many people will fault him.

Chris Benoit will not be remembered as the great wrestler he was, instead he will be remembered as a double murder who bound his wife and strangled her and suffocated his young son before killing himself in his basement. It is obvious there were some problems in Benoit’s personal life and as more details about his life are revealed it will more than likely be revealed there were signs that could have been acted upon to prevent this tragedy.

But one man is responsible for this tragedy though and that is Chris Benoit, no one else can be blamed if indeed the initial reports are found to be accurate. This is a terrible tragedy and a public relations nightmare for the WWE (and wrestling in general). The WWE has rightly distanced themselves from Chris and his merchandise and wrestler page have been pulled.

We all sit and enjoy our escape from reality while watching our favorite wrestling programs, it’s easy to forget that these people have real lives and real problems and maybe not everything is great behind the scenes. Chris Benoit may have been a great superstar, he was one of the last of the old school technical wrestlers and one of my favorites but his actions that ended his life speak louder than his actions in the ring and sometimes it’s not all about the wrestling.

As always you can contact me at pwp.chris@gmail.com.
More on This Story...

AP: Benoit Strangled Wife, Smothered Son

The following is confirmation from the Associated Press of the horrendous final weekend of the Benoit family. God Bless Nancy and Daniel, as well as the two sons remaining from one of Chris' previous relationships. PWP extends it's sympathies and condolences to all who were touched by this unfortunate series of events

ATLANTA (AP) -- Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife and smothered his son before hanging himself in his weight room, a law enforcement official close to the investigation told The Associated Press Tuesday.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Authorities also said they are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Benoit, his wife and their 7-year-old son who were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard said test results may not be back for weeks or even months.

Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in DeKalb County.

Investigators believe Benoit (pronounced ben-WAH) killed his wife, 43-year-old Nancy, and son Daniel during the weekend and then himself Monday. The bodies were found Monday afternoon in three separate rooms of the house, off a gravel road about two miles from the Whitewater Country Club.

Fayette County Coroner C.J. Mowell did not return calls seeking comment. The answering service for his funeral home said he was out of town.

Authorities also declined to say whether drugs or steroids were found inside the house. "We're not releasing any information as far as what was located inside the house," sheriff's Sgt. Keith Whiteside said Tuesday.

Asked about the condition of the interior of the house, Whiteside said investigators found "nothing really out of the ordinary." He said Benoit was found in the home's weight room, his wife in an office and the son in an upstairs bedroom.

Whiteside said toxicology tests could take up to a week or longer to complete.

Neighbors said the Benoits led a low-key lifestyle.

"They were nice," said Lorre Jones, who lives across the street. Her daughter Alaina said: "We would see Chris walking in his yard from time to time. He wasn't rude, but he wasn't really outwardly warm."

Jimmy Baswell, who was Benoit's driver for more than five years, placed a white wreath at the Benoits' gate Tuesday.

"I saw him with his family all the time," said Baswell. "They always seemed like they were the happiest people."

World Wrestling Entertainment said on its Web site that it asked authorities to check on Benoit and his family after being alerted by friends who received "several curious text messages sent by Benoit early Sunday morning."

The WWE, based in Stamford, Conn., said it had been asked by authorities not to release further information on the deaths.

Benoit, born in Montreal, was a former world heavyweight champion, Intercontinental champion and held several tag-team titles. His names in the ring included "The Canadian Crippler."

"WWE extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Benoit family's relatives and loved ones in this time of tragedy," the company said in a statement on its Web site.

Benoit had maintained a home in metro Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the defunct World Championship Wrestling. The Fayette County Tax Assessors Office lists the value of the house, situated on more than 8.5 acres, at nearly $900,000.

The WWE canceled its live Monday Night RAW card in Corpus Christi, Texas, and USA Network aired a three-hour tribute to Benoit in place of the scheduled wrestling telecast.

Benoit's wife managed several wrestlers and went by the stage name "Woman." They met when her then-husband drew up a script that had them involved in a relationship as part of a story line on World Championship Wrestling, the newspaper said.

Benoit has two other children from a prior relationship.

Benoit became a standout at an early age among wrestling prospects who trained in the dungeon basement of the house where fellow Canadians and professional wrestlers Owen and Bret Hart trained. Owen Hart was killed during a wrestling event in 1999.

"He was like a family member to me, and everyone in my family is taking it real hard," said Bret Hart, a five-time champion with the World Wrestling Federation. The federation has since changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment.
More on This Story...

Wrestling Reporter's Journal - The Benoit Ending

This is just one of many Chris Benoit editorials you are going to read over the next few days, weeks, months, probably even years.

Because one of the most universally recognized and respected wrestlers in wrestling history has seemingly killed himself and his young family.

Anybody who knows anything about Chris Benoit knows he was a quiet man, but that the words that he did choose to speak had a deep impact because they were always carefully selected. No doubt his actions this past weekend also spoke about as loudly as any promo ever could have.

On a personal level, I'm facing a lot of guilt because I used Benoit and his popularity with the fans as a platform eight years ago to get myself over as a heel writer.

I said at the time he wasn't interesting enough to be a top star and wasn't big enough to carry a company. On both counts, I was obviously lying.

WWE, ECW, and the whole wrestling world have lost one of a dying breed. I feel bad for all of them, even more so now because to take several lives before killing yourself makes you a very pathetic person.

If Chris Benoit never drank and never did drugs as I've heard then I suppose he must have had a lot of emotional trauma. And the real shame is when all this goes away, WWE lost another talented guy who could work anywhere between the opening match and the main event, delivering a match of the night.

A post-humous induction into the WWE Hall of Fame is also a very sad affair because he and Nancy deserved better. And as fans, I believe we all deserved a better ending as well.

I'm drained. Feel free to e-mail me at bradyhicks@gmail.com

More on This Story...

Details on the Benoit Tragedy

I signed online at about 7:30 last night when a Pittsburgh Indy Worker asked me if I had heard the news. I was almost waiting for a joke.

As I began clicking ahead to the typical wrestling newsites, he dropped the bomb on me. I was just shocked. Part of me wanted to write a long memorial, and part of me felt it was too soon.

I feel as though I know nothing, yet I still know too much. As more details appear, I will force myself to read them, but it seems to be everything I dreaded upon hearing all three were dead is reality. It's just unfathomable to me.

If the early reports are indeed confirmed by the investigation, it will be hard for us as wrestling fans to reconcile our feelings on the fantastic performer that Chris was. His in-ring abilities certainly do not go away, but how do you celebrate him? Do you even want to?

This is a PR nightmare for World Wrestling Entertainment, and another hard shot for wrestling fans as this event is likely to shape the mainstream opinion of professional wrestling for years to come.

It is just too early, I feel, to really go into my comments or feelings on Benoit, We are so conditioned now to get our news and information so rapidly and immediately make a statement upon it.

I went and visited WWE.com and the site is certainly backing down from the tribute it was last evening and early this morning. The main article is still obviously in regards to Benoit, as many WWE fans would likely be pissed if they went looking for an update this afternoon and found nothing. The link inside that would have clicked to Benoit's bio now loops you back to the same article. In a matter four minutes, his superstar page and bio had been removed.

They have taken all his stuff off of WWEshop, and went so far as to take his name out of the description of the Wrestlemania 23 winners plaque, despite the fact that he is clearly pictured.

Also, this is a direct quote from the description of the Wrestlemania XX DVD, from which Benoit won the title:

"The entire event is here. Seven championships are on the line, featuring Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship & Triple H defends his World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels."

If WWE.com was your source for all things wrestling, it is almost as if Benoit never existed.

The following report is unconfirmed by authorities, but is currently being reported at popular celebrity scandal site, TMZ.com:

TMZ has learned more about the deaths of WWE wrestling superstar Chris Benoit, his wife and son -- and the information is extremely disturbing.

Several Atlanta-based law enforcement sources have told TMZ Benoit may have strangled his wife on Saturday, then smothered his son in his bed a day later. Investigators refuse to officially comment, pending final confirmation by the coroner on the cause and time of the deaths.

One source told TMZ that Benoit was texting friends during Sunday's WWE "Vengeance" Pay-Per-View program -- possibly watching the show with his son, who may have been alive at the time.

According to sources, Benoit then hanged himself Monday in a weight room inside the family home.

A police investigation is ongoing.
More on This Story...

Monday, June 25, 2007

In Memory of Benoit

Chris and family were found dead in their home in Georgia today and the situation is being investigated as a murder-suicide. Please keep the Benoit family in your thoughts and prayers. More on This Story...

It's All About the Wrestling: Frustrated

I'm frustrated. I tune in to watch TNA each week but instead of them advancing forward they seem to be stepping to the side. TNA had a chance to push forward with their company at their recent pay-per-view by awarding Samoa Joe the title but instead Kurt Angle wins it. Kurt won the title a month ago, why take it away from him only to give it back to him a month later. I feel cheated. Not only does Kurt winning the title not advance TNA at all it makes me feel like I wasted an entire month prepping for the big King of the Mountain title only to have Kurt win the title again.

As much as I enjoy TNA and the wrestling they put on, over the last six to nine months they have made some decisions I can only scratch my head at. The announcement that Kurt Angle was going to come to TNA was huge and had me jumping in joy that TNA would be jumping to the mainstream. But that hasn't happened. In fact by my opinion TNA is worse off than they were before Kurt came in.

At this point I'm not sure what they can do. The rumored announcement of a second hour of programming would be a start.

Sorry for the short article this week, I'm busy with deadlines elsewhere. As always feel free to e-mail me at pwp.chris@gmail.com. More on This Story...

Those Tasteless McMahons

As far as being tasteless, sometimes I think WWE gets a bum rap for trying to do things that every other major media outlet is doing.

Maybe it's because they marketed their product so hard to kids in the 80's. Maybe it's because they are seen as a lesser form of entertainment. However, TV shows and movies deal with the concept of a character dying all the time, with no backlash. Would the "Sopranos" be suddenly seen as tasteless if their Key Grip guy died?

The problem with the Vince McMahon death angle is not that it's tasteless. It's that it's uninteresting, which is a shame considering they just killed off an incredibly OVER character who has been the focal point of the show for the past ten years.

The reason it is uninteresting is because fans smell the shit they are about to be fed from a mile away. An angle like this deserves a huge payoff, but WWE has no aces up its sleeve.

Remember when The Undertaker was answering to a higher power? Fans speculated that it might be Jake Roberts, Ted Dibiase or even that possibly Owen Hart's death was untrue and he could be the higher power. Instead, we got Vince McMahon.

What about when Stone Cold was run down in the parking lot? Logical sense pointed directly to The Rock. Having Austin VS. a fresh Heel Rock and the Angle/HHH/Stephanie love triangle going on simultaneously could have propelled WWE to new heights. Instead, WWE didn't want to lose The Rock's T-Shirt revenue, so Rikishi was found to be the one driving the car. Rikishi? Please...

How can anyone forget about the WCW "Who was driving the hummer?" angle. Oh, what's that? You forgot? Well, it's probably because they never answered the question. I am just going to assume that whoever they found that blew up this limo was also driving that hummer. I am hoping it is Kenny Dykstra, because he wouldn't have even had a Driver's License then.

Professional wrestling has a history of ending these storylines in the most uninteresting way possible. Not to mention that Triple H was lifted in a car in a crane and dropped 40 feet, and came back to wrestle a week later in what Jim Ross described as "a miracle." The true miracle was that no charges were pressed against Steve Austin who had obviously attempted to kill the man the week before. Hulk Hogan and The Giant squared off in a monster truck sumo match on the top of a building. The Giant was pushed off and came back to wrestle that night.

Wrestling fans know that WWE has about 200 ways to just shrug this off. And who are the interesting suspects? Mick Foley? Bobby Lashley? Please. About the best payoff you could muster would be Degeneration X was playing a prank that went a little overboard. Imagine the looks on HBK and HHH's face as they shrug their shoulders and say 'oops'. Then the crowd pops as they crotch chop into the night.

With the concept of an FBI investigation surrounding the case, anyone who is responsible would likely be taken off TV for some time, having to go to court and eventually jail. That will not happen however, as the suspect will be guilty without trial, and some wrestler will choose to get his revenge in the ring, rather than through federal 'pound me in the ass' prison time.

In the end, it's pretty obvious to me that Vince will have indeed faked his own death, and Stephanie will turn babyface, distraught that her dad could pull such a horrible stunt. Shane will be mad at Stephanie, distraught that his dad could raise such a horrible cunt.

If anything is worthwhile about this angle, it's that it has the wrestling world talking, something that we haven't had a chance to do much, unless it's over distaste about pulling things out of Jim Ross' ass or incessant John Cena bashing. Still, the Vince McMahon presumed death is to most fans just "WrestleCrap" waiting to happen. The most unfortunate thing about the angle is what it is doing to the talent on each brand.

The most unfortunate thing about the angle is what it is doing to the talent on each brand. Last night, WWE showed a highlight clip of Cade and Murdoch screwing the Hardys out of the tag team titles. With the brands seemingly once again divided with clear lines, Matt Hardy won't be able to show up on "Raw" to get his revenge. Oh, scratch that, he can show up on "Raw" all he wants if they win the tag titles at Vengeance. I'd rather see Dave Taylor come over and win them with Regal myself. I digress.

London and Kendrick were about as mediocre looking as could be on "Raw", wrestling the World's Greatest Tag Team. When I was predicting what would be on "Raw", saying that Bobby Lashley would squash Daivari and Umaga would squash The Sandman, I wanted to include that London and Kendrick would squash WGTT, but I left it out because I would have assumed that the actual match would at least be entertaining. It wasn't really.

If you are WGTT, why do you unleash your new gear on a night you are inevitably jobbing? Every time these guys give me something to get excited about, it turns out that there is absolutely nothing to be excited about. I can't believe that the guy that beat Triple H on "Raw" a few years back is now one half of "Raw"'s most infamous jobber tag team. Weak. It's strange how London and Kendrick came off as really being something special on "SmackDown!", and are just an afterthought on "Raw". The crowd fizzled after the team's victory. They really do seem out of place, and I'd love to see them go to "SmackDown!" or ECW.

The Sandman is also obviously out of place on "Raw", but at least he got a pop. The funny thing is, many think WWE ressurected ECW to snuff out any remaining ECW chants, by associating those letters with a vastly different product. Ironically, The Sandman probably got more ECW chants on "Raw" than the whole ECW show will get Tuesday Nights on the Sci-Fi channel. Funny how he should be in the ECW element, but he is probably more significant on another brand, as he can really bear the ECW flag when not held back by ECW.

I want to say how refreshing it was to hear the biggest pop of the night go to Mickie James. Of course, in her hometown, she had to eat the pinfall. Lame. At least it happened after the new sweet finisher of Melina, a leg-drop to split variation of the DDT. The commentators were really getting on my nerves, from Lawler's insistance that someone as boring as Paul London could be the culprit in the McMahon bombing, to the validated statement that Lashley and King Booker had never wrestled before.

It makes me want to go check their claim that Foley hadn't been in a singles match on "Raw" in seven years. What most irked me was how both of them kept calling King Booker, Booker T. "SmackDown!" did a great job in associating Booker with his new gimmick and letting us know that this wasn't just a flash in the pan thing. That helped position King Booker in a place where he could win a World Title. On "Raw", he's a contender, but the commentators can't even get his name right.

It just goes to show how clusterfucked things are, because the guys who are paid to put the stuff over can't even remember what's going on. WWE needs to stop all this flash in the pan booking, so that matches that should mean something when they happen, actually can. The fact that WWE gave away an inevitable Cena/Orton confrontation for free on "Raw" still baffles me.

Lastly, and not least, whether Stephanie is looking plump or not, I'd still hit it. Actually, I'd rather have her go down on me, that way I'd be assured that I wouldn't have to hear her talk. To make it fair, I'd return the favor. That way I can let all you readers know, exactly how "tasteless" the McMahons truly are.
More on This Story...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'm not dead

Man, ECW is still way better than TNA. I don't mean to be the typical antagonist, but I had a hard time watching TNA Thursday night. Here's what I got: Jim Cornette has some announcements that will change the face of wrestling, it involves Samoa Joe, Sting, and Kurt Angle, and they'll wrestle each other tonight? No? I've heard that's the format the TV tends to follow every week. I believe there was seven minutes of combined wrestling time on this show.

I've always been a fan who leans more towards the wrestling side rather than the entertainment side, so ECW's Tuesday night show was a real treat. They had the ECW World Title on a pedestal at ringside, with each participant in the tournament walking by, looking at it, touching it, the entire time the commentators are putting over how important the championship is. I loved it.

Last night, I saw a fantastic Matt Hardy-Finlay match. Is anyone more ready for a main event run than Matt Hardy? I can remember his feud with Rey Mysterio carrying the show a few years back and no one has looked better in recent memory. I thought Jeff's return would hamper Matt, but it really made both of them superstars again. Here's to hoping Matt gets a nice, long main event run. And isn't it perfect timing that Edge is the World Champion on his brand?

Wrestling for me, personally, has been going well. I've opened my own company, Pro Wrestling Dynasty (http://www.myspace.com/pwdynasty) and I've been keeping busy with shows all over Florida and Georgia. You can check out my own MySpace @ myspace.com/daronsmythe.

I miss ya buddy. More on This Story...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wrestling Reporter's Journal


Probably one of the biggest perks of covering this sport is the opportunity to meet some of the young up-and-comers in the sport. Looking at guys like Matt Riviera, Ricky Landell, Jason Static, Eddie Kingston, Thoruf Marius, The Nerdy Boys...ad nauseum, I can see that the future of wrestling is alive and kicking.

I'm reminded of something a young Paul Levesque (Triple-H) once told me a long time ago, even before his oh-so-memorable stint in WCW. "As long as there are kids at home watching the product on Saturday mornings, be it WCW, WWF (WWE), whatever, Hicks, there is always going to be a crop of talented young guys to push wrestling forward."

And how right Trips turned out to be.

I have no doubt at the time that he saw himself as one of those young hungry guns in the industry looking to make a break when the time was right. In that respect, it proves that even the highest of the high once competed in high school gymnasiums and park recreation centers.

Of course, Hunter went on to bigger things than most. He made more than enough of a break for himself, marrying the boss' daughter and essentially inheriting the company upon which all of wrestling tradition is being bestowed.

Not bad for a young Terra Ryzing to aspire. With any luck, all of the autograhed pictures on my wall from guys you've never heard of will be very significant in years to come.

That's all I have for today. Thanks for reading, and be sure to shoot me an e-mail at bradyhicks@gmail.com and I'll throw your comments/questions in an upcoming column. More on This Story...

Wrestling Reporter's Journal

Traveling the globe for my magazines, a lot of people ask me all the time who are some of the most surly individuals I've met and who are some of the best. Well, I can tell you that - reputations aside - Randy Orton is one of the most genuine and honest folks in the locker room. The problem he runs into all the time is that he's too honest.

Like when he told that woman he was going to poop in her travel bag if she didn't go out with him. Made sense I thought. He told her what he was going to do. She didn't do it. And she took remnants of his waste home with her as she walked out the company doors forever.

Like when he told the late Mr. McMahon he was going to get drunk and trash his hotel room like Shawn Michaels once did if he didn't get a title shot. I was in the corridor to see McMahon just laugh and shrug it off. I'm guessing you all heard what happened with that one as well.

Orton once told me - and I'll never forget this - "The problem with people, Hicks, is that nobody says what they mean." In a world of backstage politics and back-stabbing friends, Randy Orton is a courageous fighter, reputation be damned. He needs to get a more public face if he is to ever get ahead in this world.

As for the nastiest of the nasty, I'd have to give that honor to Umaga. When Raw was in Wilkes-Barre, PA last week, the wild Samoan and former three count member actually choked out Steve-O from Jackass to the chagrin of WWE executives. Now, I've met both men quite a few times and I can tell you that Steve-O is a legitimate Jackass dating back to well before his time in West Chester PA at the height of his show's popularity. And to have the gall to agree to sign a waver he will not sue the former Jamal for hurting him takes a lot of guts, and stupidity.

Would you let a guy with no command of the English language whatsoever choke you as long as he wants? I'm not sure where WWE keeps finding these island savages and Ugandan headhunters and Punjabi prize-fighters but it's probably somewhere near parts unknown.

That's all I've got for this week. Shoot me an e-mail at bradyhicks@gmail.com and I'll answer your letters in an upcoming column. More on This Story...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

It's All About the Wrestling: Mailbag Edition

OK so last week I wrote about the Dudleys and how I thought they were over-rated and how I also wouldn’t be adverse to them leaving TNA to return to WWE because their shtick has gotten old. Evidently people have quite an opinion on the Dudley’s both for and against and since I am feeling extra lazy this Father’s Day evening I am going to share with you a few of my e-mails and maybe a little response here and there.

The first one comes from William and he writes:

“I just got done reading what you had to say about the dudleys on
wrestlinginc.com. And as someone who would normally defend a team like the dudleys, I sadly have to agree with everything you said. I thought that the dudleys and TNA would be fit so when I heard that they where there I was happy as could be, but its just been one disappointment after another with these guys. TNA gives them a lot freedom to say and do as they please and they just blow it. It's just sad. Come up with something new and not play out or go back to WWE, were they like that kind of thing. Oohhh Testify.”

The Dudley's tenure in TNA has been a total waste and while some will place the blame on TNA management the Dudley's are responsible for their in ring performance and it just is not up to snuff. Management and the booking committee can only be held responsible for so much and they certainly can be blamed for the fact that Dudley's have never evolved any further. Sure get the tables is entertaining but I (and more than likely you) have been watching the shtick for the last 10 years or so. It was stale when they left the WWE and it is still stale now.

Our next one comes from Jean and he thinks I am very short-sighted but yet wants to applaud me (oh wait that was just me reading it wrong):

“I am appauled that you would have such short sightedness regarding the Dudleys. They ARE one of the greatest tag teams in pro wrestling today, including the tables segments. If they are successful in coming back to WWE it will be a great day because all of us fans have missed seeing them on WWE. As for TNA, I personally don't think they were given even half a chance to really shine like they did when they were on WWE.”

My eye doctor does tell me I am blind but I don't think it is in regards to the Dudleys but more due to the fact that I actually can't see. Sure I will concede that the Dudleys are one of the greatest tag teams in pro wrestling today but that is because there aren't to many legitimate tag teams, let alone ones with a "legacy" like the Dudleys. I hope for your sake, as a fan of the Dudleys, that if they do end up returning to the WWE that they entertain you guys like never before but TNA has given them every opportunity to entertain me. Their mic skills have always been weak and they have never evolved past punch, punch, kick, kick, whazzup and get the tables. For me I just require a little more.

While Jean may not really want to applaud me Dave here might:

“I am what many would call an old school wrestling fan. Unlike most people I grew up with the likes of the Von Erichs and the NWA. Now I am not trying to be one of those old school guys who is like wrestling today is crap and I watched it when it meant something, more of letting you know that I am not some hack who is saying this, but someone who loves this sport. So well done on the article about the Dudley's. I am so glad that someone else sees this. They are one of the most overated tag teams out there. They have two moves the 3D and tables o and they punch you. Who remembers them at the very first ECW pay per view when they went up against a team that I actually believe is one of the most underatted teams ever the Eliminators? They had about 3 minuets of offense and then they got destroyed. I can not believe that TNA choose this team over the naturals or to break up AMW. This is once again proof to me that TNA is missing the point buy trying to win people over by putting over big names or suppossed big names instead of doing the one thing that I loved about them which was winning us over by wrestling.

That is my rant...thanks for writing the truth!”


It's nice to see an old school wrestling fan who has made the transition to the modern era. Tag team wrestling has been suffering a slow death. When I started watching TNA (about a year ago now) what I enjoyed the most was that TNA had wrestling, and not only did they have wrestling but they had a strong tag division. That division has since been decimated and they seem hell bent on pushing over the Dudleys. The best thing for TNAs tag division would be for the Dudleys to leave and go back to WWE. I know that doesn't make much sense, being as it would further weaken the division but I seriously think TNA should rebuild from the ground up. Keep LAX, the Outlaws, the Steiner Brothers (hoping that Scott can wrestle again), the Bashams, reunite AMW and team up Christian and AJ and I think you would have a really strong tag division.

Buddy chimes in but it seems he just has respect for the Dudley’s as people:

“I can not believe you as a wrestling fan can sit there, and say that Team 3d is overrated. They are one of the best ever. They rank up there with Road Warriors, Tully and Arn, and many others. They helped change the way we looked at tag team wrestling. They are the only team from those triple threat tlc matches to already be an established tag team. EandC, and the Hardys are great, but they needed the dudleys to be where they are. I believe that they are the worst of the three teams but they are great. They do this business because they love it. To many people do it for fame, not them.”


You can't seriously consider the Dudleys in the same league as the Road Warriors. Devon and Bubba Ray can't even hold Hawk and Animal's jock straps. I just got the WWE Ladder match set and watched the early TLC matches (the first three), the Dudleys were the weakest team in the matches. They would punch and kick there way to an advantage, loose said advantage and then reappear later in the match to have Devon headbut someones crotch and then get the tables.

I myself have never actually met either of the Dudleys but I have heard they are really nice guys and I have no doubt that they love what they do but being nice and loving your job don't make you good at it. I feel the Dudleys have become as big as they are due to the weakness of tag wrestling in general over the last 10 years. There just aren't great teams like there used to be.

I do think Buddy eventually came around to my way of thinking, maybe not:

“agree. tag wrestling is weak. it has been weak, but the dudleys made a lot of people famous in ecw. weakest teams in those matches, yes. weakest teams on the dvds, yes, but they have a legacy and we have to respect that.”


Well that about does it for this weeks article. Check back next week when I will take a look at what happened at tonight’s Slammiverary PPV. In the meantime you can send questions, or comments to me at pwp.chirs@gmail.com. More on This Story...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just try and not watch.

I worked out in the ring last night with one student and one of my co-wrestlers. We kept the garage doors down and the windows closed. It wasn’t comfortable, because it shouldn’t be. Wrestling should be both hard work and hard earned. And I came home feeling pretty good about wrestling. And well, I should have never turned on the TV.

Mr. McMahon “died” yesterday. I didn’t see it on Raw. But I watched the replay and I heard the announcers speak in the same “this is real” hushed tones that they used when we all sat helplessly and watched Owen Hart be carried lifeless from the ring. I have no problem with the storyline death of a character. But then, it happened.

A ten bell salute.

I’ve been wrestling almost 12 years. Met a lot of people, good and bad. But no matter where I was, that ten bell always sent a chill into me, because it meant that someone would never grace us again with his gifts. That they were gone, forever and ever, amen.

I really don’t have the words to tell you how insulted I was. Or how insulted you should be. I live my whole life thinking that I have a very short time on this earth to accomplish the goals that I have set for myself. So I take death very seriously and with plenty of respect. And to hear that clank of the ring bell ten times for no good reason other than to get over an angle…after the last few years of people I grew up watching dying almost weekly…it was just all too much.

It’d be easy to say it’s all such a joke. But where I come from, jokes tend to be funny. More on This Story...

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Rough Draft

The WWE Draft is only hours away, and ever since it was announced, WWE.com has been asking, where would you like to see certain superstars wind up?

I have taken it upon myself to look at every wrestler on every brand's roster and suggest what I think would be best for their careers at this given time.

Active “Raw” Talent:

Shelton Benjamin - Benjamin is doing well on the “Raw” brand since being reunited with Charlie Haas. To my chagrin, his singles push was not successful. In time, Benjamin may be able to become a break-out singles star, but until then, I would keep the WGTT in the once-again-competitive “Raw” tag division.

Lance Cade - WWE.com has been teasing the split of Cade and Murdoch much more significantly than anyone else in the upcoming draft. I don't see why it even matters, as The Hardys were tag champs right before them while on separate brands. Someone might think it's cute to split them up, but the last time they did, we saw what happened...in a few months they were put back together. I think that Cade can be a main eventer someday, but for now, let him stay with Murdoch on “Raw”.

Carlito - Carlito is a superstar who is in desperate need of a shot in the arm. I actually have never liked him since he's been on the “Raw” brand, and I think that a move to “SmackDown!” might be the perfect medicine for this cool Caribbean superstar.

John Cena - Rumors have swirled that a Cena/Batista feud may be in the works. For now, I would guess it's just fan speculation. If the feud is to happen, Cena would likely move to “SmackDown!”, and Edge would come to “Raw” to feud with the returning Triple H and HBK. If WWE wants to do Batista/Cena, they will save it for WrestleMania. To have Batista and Cena on the same brand in June seems like a bad idea. If this match is to happen, I look for it to be inter-promotional one at 'Mania, rather than part of a brand split. If Cena does move, I think it will have a lot to do with Vince's son-in-law.

Hacksaw Jim Duggan - Here's a guy you don't think about. Suprisingly not released in the last string of guys dropped, Duggan is actually the type of guy that could experience a career rebirth if placed in the right setting. With better legends around on the “Raw” brand - namely Ric Flair - it would be interesting to see Duggan take a move to ECW with his 2x4 in hand, align himself with guys like Sandman and Tommy Dreamer, and get back to what he did best: beating people up, tough guy!

Kenny Dykstra - The Dykstra-Nitro combination is not working for me, and doesn't seem to be working for many others. However, WWE.com did an article to let us know this is not a fly by night affair. If WWE wants a tag team, send Dykstra to “SmackDown!” and put him back with Johnny Jeter. Give them a freakin' baseball gimmick and call it a day.

Eugene - Eugene needs more than just a change of scenery. If ECW was the ECW we all remembered, I would place him there. When the hostile ECW fans tore the gimmick to shreds, Dinsmore could repackage himself, and deliver the goods in the ring like he did before he was saddled with his retard gimmick. Unfortunately, today's ECW fans come for “SmackDown!” shows, and would respond to Eugene the same way as “Raw” fans do. With indifference.

Ric Flair - Everyone hopes The Nature Boy has a 17th title run in him. It doesn't seem likely. What could change that? The reemergence of The Four Horsemen. Who could be candidates though? Well, as much as Flair thought him leading HBK, HHH, and Kurt Angle sounded great a few years ago, it is not likely the group will be so elite. One proven member however could be Chris Benoit, after a jump to “Raw”. Picture Flair as World Champ, Benoit as IC champ, and Cade and Murdoch with the tag gold. Heel or face, that sounds like money to me. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Shad Gaspard - Big Shad has a great upside, but is probably not ready to be all Vince wants him to be. Breaking up Cryme Tyme seems like a good idea, but it's probably premature. Shad however should be ready to be a big star by the next draft.

Charlie Haas - Poor Charlie. So vanilla, that getting no reaction from fans is actually named after him. Cheer up Charlie, WGTT might be able to get you and Shelton over enough so that people will remember you as the Marty Jannetty of the team 5 or 10 years from now. Stay on “Raw”.

Jeff Hardy - The IC title is beneath him, the World Title is above him. What can Jeff Hardy do? After single handedly reestablishing the Intercontinental title, and watching Santino Marella single handedly give it less clout than the WCW TV title when it was pulled out of a garbage can, Hardy should take his extreme self to the ECW brand to give it some star power, and take the place of what will hopefully be a departing CM Punk.

JTG - Wow, who gives a crap about JTG? He'll stay on “Raw” with Shad until Vince wants to make Shad into something greater. Then JTG will become Scotty 2 Hotty 2.0, wearing his gimmick even thinner while jobbing on “SmackDown!” each week.

The Great Khali - No one has traded brands more recently than the Great Khali, and no one has less to do creatively than him after both tapping and being pinned by John Cena. You can send him on a World Tour to let Lashley and Batista do the same, or you can just release the big guy. I will say, however, no matter how much he sucks in the ring, he is a draw just based on his size and look. Leave him on “Raw” I guess, but who cares?

Santino Marella - I would move him if he wasn't the IC champ. Keep him, and the belt on “Raw”, but give the belt to someone who has clout or will be a main eventer someday.

Chris Masters - Masters is languishing as well, but his bread and butter is likely to be on the “Raw” brand, as he doesn't seem to fit on any other show. Hopefully he will step up his game in the next year.

Robbie McAllister - The Highlanders should move to “SmackDown!” with The Boogeyman and everything else that should be aimed basically to the younger audience.

Rory McAllister - See Robbie. (I'm Robbie!)

Trevor Murdoch - Stay on “Raw”.

Johnny Nitro - Either let him be a U.S. or IC title contender, or find a legit tag team partner for the guy. I was playing "'SmackDown!' VS. 'Raw'" yesterday and remembered how sweet the guy was when paired with Melina just based on his entrance alone. He may not have gotten over to the company's liking, but right when he started to catch on, they pulled the red rug from underneath him. I say leave him on “Raw”, give him back his girlfriend, and give him something to do. Melina's Women's title run has played itself out anyways.

Randy Orton - Orton is rumored to be Triple H's opponent for SummerSlam, which means an extended stay on “Raw”. His last move to “SmackDown!” wasn't very productive anyways. If I were Vince, I would throw him on ECW, as a brand of punishment. It wouldn't be too harsh, however, as he'd feud with Lashley over the World Title.

Chuck Palumbo - Harley riding Chucky P has no real significance. Leave the guy on “Raw” and see what happens.

Umaga - I'd keep him on “Raw” and prepare him for a new program with John Cena, but that may be all but ruined now that Cena has beaten both Umaga and Khali. Cena/Snitsky anyone? Didn't think so.

Val Venis - Basically forgotten is Val Venis. This guy needs to be more than just enhancement talent, as I have said before. He has the look, the mic skills, and the in-ring ability. Send him to “SmackDown!” and have him serve in an enforcer/bodyguard role for Edge. Play up their Canadian background as a reason for them being together, play up Edge mistreating Val, and then remind fans that Edge dumped Val's sister years ago. Then start an Edge/Sean Morley blood feud over the Heavyweight title. Morley doesn't have to win, he just deserves a push.

Viscera - Who would have thought that King Mabel would still have a job? His only usefulness is to seem like he'd be a contender in Battle Royals. Leave him on “Raw” or release him.

Inactive “Raw” Talent:

Armando Estrada - Bring him back to light the fire under Umaga that makes him a contender again.

Shawn Michaels - Leave him on “Raw”.

Super Crazy - Move to “SmackDown!” to be a Cruiserweight or to ECW to be his old ECW-self. On “Raw” feuding with Chris Masters, the guy is a bathroom break.

Triple H - Stay on “Raw”.

Active “SmackDown!” Talent:

Batista - Leave him on “SmackDown!” to be a major babyface character, until the time is right to pull the trigger on a Cena/ Batista feud. When it seems that Cena has vanquished all the monsters, he will see what it is like to run into an animal.

Chris Benoit - A move to “Raw” and a legitimate purpose would do Benoit a lot of good. Hold up your four fingers (that's wishful thinking!).

The Boogeyman - Stay on “SmackDown!”, be all goofy, have kids like you, whatever...

Daivari - I have a strict Cruiserweights on “SmackDown!” policy. Why, if you weighed under 220, would you want to be anywhere else? Leave him.

Deuce - Leave him.

Domino - Leave him.

Edge - Leave him for now. As I said, some type of shake up before WrestleMania setting up Edge/Triple H and Batista/Cena sounds like a good idea, but it's too soon.

Finlay - Finlay has a lot of momentum on the “SmackDown!” brand that could be lost in another setting. I would leave him.

Funaki - Cruiserweight, stay on “SmackDown!”.

Chavo Guerrero - Kerwin White? Stay on “SmackDown!”

Matt Hardy - If people want a Matt Hardy push, it will have to come on ECW. He is not good enough to main event on “Raw” or “SmackDown!”. He may be able to wrestle, but he is boring and he can't talk for shit.

Mark Henry - Another monster to line in front of the champ? Move him to “Raw”. He's injured all the “SmackDown!” guys, and Henry/Edge isn't exactly a money match.

Kane - A Kane/Edge program would not be too bad, but they may have missed the bus on Kane being pissed about Edge's opportunistic MITB win over his brother. I think he should stay put however, because “SmackDown!”is his best chance of another World Title run before he retires.

Brian Kendrick - Stay on “SmackDown!”.

Paul London - Stay on “SmackDown!”.

The Miz - You don't matter to anyone, so either die or stay on “SmackDown!”

Shannon Moore - Cruiser, stay on “SmackDown!”

Jamie Noble - Cruiser, stay on “SmackDown!”.

Montel Vontavious Porter - U.S. Champ? Stay on “SmackDown!” .

William Regal - Stay on “SmackDown!”

Dave Taylor - Stay on “SmackDown!”

Jimmy Wang Yang - Cruiser, Stay on “SmackDown!”

Inactive “SmackDown!” Talent:

Gregory Helms - Breaks the Cruiser policy. He had the longest Cruiserweight run EVER, and he's done about all he can do there. Send him to “Raw” as an IC title contender, possibly as a babyface to feud with Johnny Nitro.

Mr. Kennedy - He's going to have a score to settle with Edge. Leave him on “SmackDown!” .

King Booker - Move to “Raw” to feud with Cena or my wishful new Horsemen faction.

Rey Mysterio - With Batista and possibly a turned Mr. Kennedy, Rey is the babyface fuel that drives “SmackDown!”. That is until Batista turns heel and John Cena moves to the brand.

The Undertaker - The most controversial decision? Move him to “Raw”. When he is healthy, he will give Umaga, Khali, and other's someone to feud with, and if Cena does leave “Raw”, he will give them the babyface they need to keep drawing kids.

Active ECW Talent:

Elijah Burke - This guy could be money everywhere. I would have to look at the big picture to see where he should end up. He will probably stay put to give ECW some needed star power.

CM Punk - Move to “SmackDown!” to feud with MVP.

Marcus Cor Von - Move to “Raw”.

Tommy Dreamer - Stay put.

Bobby Lashley - Stay put.

Balls Mahoney - Stay put.

Brett Major - Stay put.

Brian Major - Stay put.

Nunzio - Stay put.

Stevie Richards - Stay Put.

The Sandman - Stay Put.

Snitsky - I guess they are moving him to “Raw” to be Cena's next opponent, but Mark Henry makes a lot more sense, and Snitsky and Lashley have some unfinished business. I would keep him on ECW.

Matt Striker - Stay Put.

Kevin Thorn - A better choice for a Cena feud than Snitsky, but not as good as Mark Henry. Stay put for now, but be ready to break out by this time next year.

Inactive ECW Talent:

Hardcore Holly - Stay Put.

WWE Divas - Here is my policy. If they can wrestle, put them on “Raw”. If they can't, divide them between “Raw” and “SmackDown!”. Maria and Torrie Wilson are taking up space that could be occupied by Jillian Hall and perhaps Michelle McCool.

Referees, Ring Announcers, Commentators - No one gives a shit, so don't waste time moving them.

My mind is subject to change, as I have not yet really looked at a final roster of these brands based upon the moves that I have made. I do know that I gave ECW some more star power and a shot in the arm. I took some good wrestlers off of “Raw”, but gave them a few talented workers and the possibility of a Horsemen stable to counteract the John Cena/Hogan-esque downing of the monsters that WWE seems to want to do right now.

I gave Edge some decent guys to feud with, although there is an assumption that somehow Edge and Mr. Kennedy will move to “Raw”, and John Cena will move to “SmackDown!” to feud with a heel Batista, both before WrestleMania, giving “Raw” Taker, HBK, HHH, Edge, Benoit, Flair while “SmackDown!” has Cena, Batista, Kennedy, Punk, Carlito, Mysterio, MVP. ECW becomes a bit stronger with Lashley, Orton, Burke, and The Hardys.

As far as real predictions go, I don't really have any. My only real prediction for the draft is this: No matter who gets moved where, I think “SmackDown!” is going to get raped hardcore.
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Sunday, June 10, 2007

It’s All About the Wrestling: Goodbye and Good Riddance


A recent injury to Scott Steiner will more than likely force the cancellation of the TNA World Tag Team Title match at Slammiversary between the Dudley’s and the Steiner Brothers. Do I feel bad, yeah for the Steiner’s and I hope Scott gets well soon but really I don’t care at all about Team 3D and I haven’t since they were last in the WWE. Maybe hoping to spark some kind of revival, Devon Dudley is supposedly pushing hard for him and Bubba Ray to return to Vince’s organization.

Personally if I were TNA, I would let them go right now. Let them return to their sacred land of honey and let TNA focus on people who can do more than “Get the Tables”. Sure the table gimmick is fun but it is also considerably played out at this point. I love to watch people go through tables; I enjoy it even more when it is one of these two boobs.

The Dudley’s sit out there and speak about their legacy and how they have beaten everyone and accomplished everything. I have to give it to them on the last one, they have captured all the major belts in American professional wrestling but are they really that good? Every memorable match that they have been in they were the weaker team, regardless of who won the match. The Hardy’s? Better. Edge and Christian? Better. AMW? Better. The New Age Outlaws? Better. LAX? Better. They may have wins against these teams but they certainly were not the better team.

In the late 90s, when extreme wrestling was at its height, the Dudley’s seemed extreme, especially to fans of the relatively tame WWE. Sure some of them watched ECW wrestling and knew they weren’t that extreme but for the most part the Dudley’s caught the average wrestling fan off guard and were able to jump to the top of the pack. But now? Today in 2007? The shtick just doesn’t fly.

Go on Devon head back to papa Vince and collect your paycheck. I’ll be happier when your dumb ass is off TNA TV.

Well that's it for this week, as always you can shoot me an e-mail at pwp.chris@gmail.com. Catch you next week. More on This Story...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Here's another Draft Lottery, and here's me giving a damn


This just in: As part of the draft lottery next week, WWE will be launching another brand, that will become the company's D Brand. The name? Fourthbrand. Expect Vince McMahon to book himself to become the Undisputed Crunchy Melty Spicy Grilled Champion, just to add another World Title to his resume. In addition, with the lack of success of Saturday Night's Main Event, WWE is going to try to bring back such classics as Shotgun Saturday Night, Sunday Morning Superstars, and Thursday Raw Thursday in an attempt to bring back the ratings.


Let's face it, Wrestling today just isn't what it was 10 years ago. Vince had tried hopelessly over the years to rekindle the magic of the Monday Night Wars, but nothing short of the return of a big name, giving away a huge title or gimmick match on free TV, or constantly showcasing the biggest names on the Fed's payroll has done so yet. Vince's latest answer to this a few years back was the draft lottery. It was a unique concept, and for a while it worked. With a smaller roster to work with, more midcard guys got TV time and pushes. They were running twice the number of house shows to generate some extra cash. When they would hold CoBranded PPVs it meant something huge when guys from Smackdown and Raw were shown backstage in an altercation. But over the years, and the last few months especially, the limits of being on one roster has gone completely out the window. Now WWE is trying to trick us into forgetting this. Perfect example… last night on Raw during the Tag Title Match Ross and Lawler speculate the Hardy's being split up in the upcoming draft… Um, they're already on separate shows.

Is another draft lottery really the answer? All signs point to know. The fact that they requested 3 hours from USA for this just shows that they are trying to do it as a ratings ploy. I would say that it would be a good idea to mix the rosters up a little, give some guys a new chance to shine, start some new angles and feuds, even out the top names between the brands. But will all of this mean anything in the long run? I'm sure they'll try to reinforce the rules for a little while just to get the concept of the draft over, but give it 2 months (3 at the most) we'll be back to seeing ECW guys on Raw, Raw guys on Smackdown, and Smackdown guys on Fourthbrand. Maybe there is no answer. Maybe 10 years from now wrestling will be in a worse state than it is now, or maybe 10 years from now, TNA or some other promotion will step up and give WWE a run for its money so Vince pulls his head out of his ass and steps up the shows. Or maybe 10 years from now WWE will have 7 different brands, one for each night of the week (with an 8th one between Dateline Tuesday and Dateline Katilsday.) Whatever the case, whatever you do, make it consistant, make it mean something, and maybe we'll make it a point to watch.
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