Missing Links on Mania, Andy Kaufman, Wrestling’s Popularity & More

Some links from around the Interweb, as we kick off Wrestlemania Weekend:

– Wrestling is on the rise, and the Charleston, SC, Post and Courier has written a story that includes the stats to back it up, with more people saying they are fans, particularly in the 25-34 age group (and for some reason a lot more Native Americans are fans now, yet a lot less Asian Americans).

– Carlito told the Ottawa Sun that he’s not happy about being left off of Wrestlemania. “Apparently, they had to make space for Kane vs. Khali and Melina vs. Ashley. How can I be at Wrestlemania? If I politic and kiss ass, I should make it,” he told the paper. “I’m not going to cry or be bitter, there’s always next year … and I don’t want to get fired … But they’re showing disrespect by not having Ric Flair at Wrestlemania and even more disrespect by not having Carlito there.” In the interview, he also said he hates being a babyface and that he has better hair than McMahon or Trump.

– In that same story, the Sun confirms that Chavo Guerrero’s WWE contract expires in April, and he says that “I’d be stupid to leave, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.”

– ALSO in that story, Mickie James says she’d have to think about it if asked to post in Playboy, but “it’s a coin toss.” If you’re wondering why that’s a funny statement, maybe you haven’t seen these explicit, notsafeforworksodon’tclickifyou’regonnagetfired pix of her back in her Alexis Laree days.

– The Ann Arbor News has a feature on Steve “Brooklyn Brawler” Lombardi.

– There’s a really weird interview with Mickie James and her fiance Kenny Dykstra in the London Free Press that’s a must-read if for nothing else than the awkward responses to questions about steroids, wrestling being fake, etc. Eeks.

– Adam Graham at the Detroit News continues the paper’s extensive Wrestlemania coverage with a great interview with Jerry Lawler. On getting into the Hall of Fame, he says “Well, to be perfectly honest with you, it kind of makes me feel old. I don’t feel that my career is over. I still wrestle on a pretty regular basis and I still want to wrestle on a regular basis. But it’s a great honor, when you think about the talent and the performers that are already in the Hall of Fame, just to be considered in the same light as those guys. That in itself kind of blows me away.” Also in a funny exchange, he tells a story about how Andy Kaufman would have loved to be involved in the induction ceremony if he were still alive: “I got a funny phone call about 1:30 in the morning last week, it was from a guy I know, and a lady that he was vaguely familiar with called him up and said her brother called her and had this dream. In the dream he was conversing with Andy Kaufman, and he said, ‘I want you to get in touch with Jerry Lawler, and tell Jerry I’m very interested in this big upcoming event he’s going to have.’ And he said tell Jerry to hire 25 Andy Kaufman look-a-likes for this event and have them in the audience.” Lawler also recently spoke with Hall of Fame Magazine, and William Shatner did a video post about the subject here.

– There are stories by the Canadian Press and UPI on Trump vs. McMahon, to add to all of the coverage it’s already gotten (not to mention HUGE color ads in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal this past week).

– Aside from the mainstream press WWE is getting, WWE.com has of course populated its Wrestlemania.com sub-site with tons of special features, including an interesting look at Ford Field, as well as a story on Mania’s impact on Detroit’s economy.

The Condemned premiere was last night in Detroit, and WWE.com has a story and photos from the event, and the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News talk with the movie’s star Stone Cold Steve Austin.

– Ever wonder what goes into WWE’s pyro? Wonder no more.

– Do the WWE Divas think bald is beautiful? Diva Dish answers that, and links to some truly beautiful pix as well.

– On WWE.com’s Broadband page, the latest Heat is up (featuring Shelton Benjamin, Val Venis and Cryme Tyme), a Ringside Reality on Balls Mahoney, part 2 of the Trevor Murdoch Lifestyles, behind-the-scenes footage from the Emergency Room with Khali, Jerry Lawler’s On My Day Off and more.

– ECW.com has continued it’s “ECW Wrestlemania Dream Card” here, with Joey Styles and Tazz so far listing these matches as ones they’d love to see at an All-ECW Mania: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko, Bam Bam Bigelow vs. RVD, Cor Von vs. Burke vs. Thorn vs. Striker, CM Punk vs. Chris Benoit in a Submission Match, Sandman vs. Tommy Dreamer in a Falls Count Anywhere Match and Cactus Jack vs. Sabu in a No Rope Barbed Wire Match. Click over to the above link for video of the two ECW announcers’ rationale in choosing these matches. Also on ECW.com are CM Punk, Most Extreme Player, “anticipation” as Matt Striker’s Word of the Week and more.

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