The Botterm Dollar In News #9

Welcome.

I’ve got lots of news this week. It’s all good, too. I’m not going to have a Five Things I Think I Think this week, though, as I’m running short on time and I have to leave for Austin to see Radiant play at Stubbs tonight. Frankly, I’m also exhausted after typing up all this news, so I’ll just save Five Things for next week.

I do, however, have a new edition of The List.

THE LIST: THE TOP TEN WRESTLERS NOBODY REALLY CARES ABOUT

These are the guys that draw no heat. No face pops, no heel heat, nothing. They came out on television and you immediately fall into a state of not caring about watching the next segment. It’s not that they’re bad workers, because some of them are quite decent. It’s just that they inspire feelings of apathy in the viewer.

1. Sting
2. Charlie Haas
3. Matt Hardy
4. Christian Cage
5. Tommy Dreamer
6. Monty Brown
7. Balls Mahoney
8. Konnan
9. Viscera
10. Gunner Scott

== WWE NOTEBOOK ==

— The decision-makers in WWE did not have time to react to RVD and Sabu’s arrest. John Laurenitis was the one handling the legal aspects of their punishments, but everyone else was scrambling to rewrite storylines that had been planned months in advance. There was no official meeting held by management with the workers to talk about the situation, and everyone feels like it’s going to be swept under the rug and never spoken of again. While many originally felt that it would be a huge blow to the careers of both men, it’s now looking like it’ll be swept under the rug and RVD will come back with a huge push and recieve the top spot in ECW again. Actually, the suspension of RVD and the subsequent crowning of Big Show as the new ECW Champion will actually work better for ECW storylines, because a returning RVD chasing a heel Big Show and the man who screwed him out of the title and suspended him will at least give the show some direction. It’s expected that Big Show will be pushed as completely unstoppable and will squash everyone he faces leading up to a probable Summerslam match with Van Dam.

— The place RVD and Sabu were pulled over is a well-known speedtrap to wrestlers, so it’s surprising they did not know about it to begin with. Two other wrestlers got pulled over in that location the same night that RVD’s incident happened, one of which was The Sandman. The difference is that Sandman wasn’t smoking pot at the time.

— It has been confirmed from sources in WWE that Kurt Angle is off the road for at least 30 days to deal with issues related to prescription pain medication. Angle wants to be known as the best pro wrestler of all time, so he was content to stay on the road and let his body rapidly deteriorate. There’s only one way for a pro wrestler to handle something like that, and that’s to use heavy amounts of painkillers to numb themselves and keep going. Kurt has built up a dangerously high tolerance to pain pills over the years, and WWE wanted to curtail that before it got even more out of hand than it already is. There’s also rumors that Angle failed a drug test for Vicodin, but the company thus far has released all failed drug test results and they haven’t done so with Angle. Angle will be re-evaluated after 30 days and it will be determined if he can come back at that point; most within the company believe it’ll be longer and he could be out until after SummerSlam. For my part, I already think Kurt is the best pro wrestler of all time and needs to protect himself more than worry about his legacy, which can only be tainted by him deteriorating and becoming a shell of what he once was.

— Sabu was scheduled to be RVD’s mystery partner in the originally-planned three way tag team match from Raw. Sabu ended up getting (and winning) a dark match at the ECW tapings and it’s expected he’ll be pushed hard. The feeling from Sabu is that he dodged a major bullet, and he was extremely upset about the trouble he caused the company because he’s genuinely thankful to be able to make good money at this point in his career. Vince is personally very high on Sabu’s work ethic and personality, and in fact approached him after the ECW show and told him that he respected how Sabu had handled the situation and looking forward to working with him more in the future. Sabu had even offered to take the fall for RVD, knowing that RVD was the top guy in WWE and didn’t want him to lose his spot. RVD denied Sabu’s offer, valiant as it may have been.

– Vince was said to be upset, but not surprised that RVD has been caught with pot in his car. WWE has a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding marijauna: as long as it doesn’t affect their work, they can smoke on their own time. RVD’s arrest, however, can be considered affecting his job and planned storylines in WWE, so it’s likely he’ll start getting tested on at least a semi-regular basi when he returns from suspension. Rob, a piece of advice for you, okay? Take one Niacin every night before you go to bed, and you’ll NEVER pop hot on a urinalysis. You can get it at the pharmacy, it’s over the counter, and it works flawlessly. I’m not a pot smoker, but I am a medic in the Army and I know the stuff works like a charm. We have guys in the military who smoke pot every day, and we have a urinalysis every few weeks, and they never come off hot.

— There were a bunch of WWE writers backstage at the ECW tapings this week. Several workers felt like there were way too many writers trying to get their pieces added to the script, and it ended up being a very chaotic atmosphere. Dean Malenko and Tim Horner were the agents in charge. Malenko is respected more than any other agent because he’s still seen as one of the guys despite being in a high authority position. He is said to handle problems very well and will likely be groomed for a higher management position down the road.

— Vince has been hands-on at nearly every ECW show, but Shane and Stephanie have stayed away. Steph, of course, is due to have her baby at any moment, but she’ll probably play a larger role in ECW once the baby is old enough to travel around in that swank bus Hunter bought her for the road.

— Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon met a few weeks back to discuss the upcoming Randy Orton/Brooke Hogan/Hulk storyline. It’s looking like that match will be the main event of Summerslam, and Orton probably won’t win. Hogan has complete creative control over all his storylines and will script the entire thing to best serve the Hogan family. Orton was originally under the impression that the match would take place at WrestleMania, but Brooke’s new record is coming out in October and Hogan wanted to rush the program to get her as much exposure as possible. Brooke’s record label is horrified with the whole deal, as they feel that linking her with pro wrestling will is a disaster in the making. Wait, so she DIDN’T get the record deal because her dad is the most famous pro wrestler of all time? She actually got it because of her amazing singing talent? No.

— Trish Stratus will likely be retiring from wrestling in September. She’s getting married to her long-term boyfriend and wants to wrap her career up. She’s been with the same guy since before she joined WWE, which is why you never heard stories of her on the road. People in the company couldn’t believe the guy was lucky enough to land Trish, because he doesn’t look like he enjoys physical fitness at all. It’s also said that the guy is quite boring. I guess holding a normal construction job, paying your bills on time and not getting arrested for smoking pot while speeding is considered boring to these men. And see, there’s something to be said for personality after all.

— After he finishes the summer DX angle with Triple H, Shawn Michaels will be having minor knee surgery. Upon his return, he’ll be working three weeks a month to preserve his body. Michaels is said to be growin upset with the DX angle but doesn’t want to come off as a primadonna, hence Triple H always sending him away when something racy is happening. The DX angle is hilarious, but for all the wrong reasons.

— Glen Jacobs is said to be very upset with the way that the Fake Kane angle played out. Jacobs was promised that they’d make him a major heel for the movie and that the angle with Fane would be the biggest storyline of his career. They’d planned on playing the storyline out until WrestleMania, but because of crowd responses they rushed the match to Vengeance. Kane lost cleanly and Vince had a classic meltdown because the crowds weren’t responding to the garbage, so he killed the angle. This angle is said to have Jacobs considering shortening the timeframe for his planned retirement.

— Paul Heyman actually scripted the second ECW show with no input from Vince McMahon, but Vince took back control after the horrid response to the ECW Arena show. Paul wrote original scripts for the last two episodes of ECW, but they were tossed out and rewritten by Vince and creative.

— Heyman’s been preparing himself for the eventual day when ECW is canned: he’s supposedly burying Greg Gagne to Stephanie so he can get that job back whenever ECW folds. For his part, Gagne is said to be trying hard, but is way behind the times as far as the characters and modern wrestling storylines go.

— Test recieved good reviews from some and bad reviews from others on his demeanor backstage this week at ECW. He has a reputation for having a huge ego because of his size and because of the huge push he recieved as a veritable rookie with the Stephanie angle. Speaking of Test, I guess he hasn’t heard about this newfangled Wellness Policy, because on ECW he looked like he swallowed the previous test. Dude was gigantic, so huge that the crowd started chanting “You take steroids” during his match.

— Brent Albright (Gunner Scott) is headed back to Ohio Valley Wrestling. Apparently the company wasn’t too thrilled that he didn’t get madly over despite being marginally pushed as Chris Benoit’s protege. It probably didn’t help that Benoit was at home during half of Gunner’s television run.

— Edge is still hurting badly from a botched table spot in a recent spot with Tommy Dreamer. He’s still on the road and as WWE Champion is expected to stay there, but they have pulled him from promotional events and replaced him with Randy Orton.

— The McMahon’s aren’t getting free rides on the corporate jet anymore. They’ve always been able to use the aircraft for personal usage and the bill was footed by the company, but no more. In a June 23 amendment, the company will now require the McMahons to pay for personal use of the jet out of their own pockets. This can be a hefty bill, since in the 2006 fiscal year, they accumulated almost $200,000 in expenses for using the plane. Vince and Linda still do not recieve a standard salary from the company, but that is expected to change after December 2006.

— Ultimate Pro Wrestling out of California has become an official “talent scout” for WWE. The company has been acting in this role for a long time; they’ve trained over 500 wrestlers, and 20 of them (including John Cena) ended up signing contracts with WWE, so they’re making it official and turning them into a territory.

== TNA NOTEBOOK ==

— IP EXCLUSIVE: The Number One Contender match featuring Samoa Joe, Scott Steiner, Sting and Christian Cage has been turned into the main event for Victory Road. The company (wisely) decided not to have Jarrett defend the World Title against the winner of the match, instead choosing to build the match for another match. Now that the decision has been made, it’s obvious they are going to put the belt on Joe, and this was a wise choice. Instead of having zero build for Joe chasing the title, they get to stretch it out for another month or two and make it more meaningful. This idea came from Jeff Jarrett, who wants to make sure that a Joe title win means something, so he decided to stretch it out. He knows that a Joe title win over him will mean something because nobody wants to see Jeff as champion at this point, so it’ll give Joe even more of a push to beat him cleanly on PPV after a chase.

— Brother Run (Spike Dudley) opened a wrestling school on July 5. You must be shorter than 5’4″ and weigh less than 140 pounds to attend.

— TNA handles all independent bookings for its long-term contracted workers, including AJ Styles. They recently pulled Styles from an indie date because they felt he was being stretched too thin.

IN CLOSING

Sorry again about the lack of Five Things I Think I Think this week. Frankly, there’s been too much pro wrestling on television the past few weeks and I’m a little burned out from watching and talking about it.

Have a great week, and visit my blog.

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