This Week in ‘E’ – Cutting Ties

Opening Witty Banter
Welcome kids to a brand-spankin’ new column here on Pulse Wrestling titled “This Week in ‘E’.” Pulse Wrestling does a phenomenal job of promoting all aspects of wrestling. We probably have the most comprehensive Ring of Honor coverage around. We have two phenomenal, well-informed puro experts, a great lucha report and info on all things indy. But as I’ve stated earlier I’m one of the few WWE homers on our staff and felt that the big fish in the pond needed a little love. So starting this week, and for every week for the foreseeable future you will all be treated to a World Wrestling Entertainment themed news report to compliment the rest of our great coverage. I’ll hit the high points of WWE related news and give a little insight on what’s been going on in the land of the “E.”

I’m still moving in and trying to get things comfortable around here so forgive the mess this week. I’m sure that things with change/move/improve as weeks go by.

The Big Story
As luck would have it, a lot of news came out of Titan Towers this week but this week’s biggest story perhaps is the announcement from WWE.com that SmackDown! will be leaving The CW Network at the conclusion of this 2008 spring season.

After almost a decade of being on network television the fate of SD! remains in limbo right now. WWE is in pretty good standing with NBC Universal still, so there’s a foreseeable chance that it could end up on an NBC-affiliated network like USA or even NBC itself. Can you imagine SmackDown! on Bravo, sandwiched in between some model show and Inside the Actor’s Studio? Ha! Apparently there is also talk of negotiations with Newscorp and the Fox Networks. That would position the blue show on perhaps FX or the fledgling MyNetworkTV. As of right now it’s all speculation but WWE shouldn’t have any trouble finding a new home considering the ratings it pulls in and its ability to pump out fresh content constantly.

Everything Else Fit For Print
Last Monday, WWE made it official. Bobby Lashley is officially gone from World Wrestling Entertainment. Lashley has left cryptic messages on his website about why he was leaving but no concrete reason has surfaced from either side. Lashley claimed that he was healthy and ready to return but hadn’t been in contact with WWE officials and didn’t have any information on a return date. He also apparently upset with his $250,000 WrestleMania payoff. And then to top it off he didn’t like the treatment his girlfriend Krystal Marshall received during her last days in WWE. PWInsider also reported that he has signed up with Zinkin Entertainment and Sports Management, a group that handles a lot of top MMA fighters

Lashley should be grateful for a quarter million dollar payoff. Granted he was in the biggest angle at WrestleMania but it wasn’t him or Umaga that drew the gate, it was McMahon and Trump. Any face and heel could’ve been plugged into those spots to make it work. Plus he was essentially a rookie in the business and should have been pretty grateful for a top billing and payoff like that. With his new management contract the rumors have stared that Lashley’s next move includes a stop in the MMA world. The comparisons to Brock Lesnar grow by the day.

The same day Lashley was released, PWInsider.com also announced that six developmental talents have also been released. The talents included Ace Steele, Cassidy Riley, Michael DiPaolo (Roadkill), Shawn McGrath (Osborne), George Murdoch (G-Rilla), Robert Anthony.

Steele was a former ROH standout that was signed after he portrayed Donald Trump in the infamous Danold-Rosie match from last January. ROH fans had a field day that all three of the Second City Saints (Steele, CM Punk and Colt Cabana) were all signed by WWE and a reunion could he held on the biggest stage of them.

Cassidy Riley was a former TNA jobber. I’m not really sure why WWE signed him in the first place. Perhaps he’ll end up back in TNA now that he has some sort of WWE cred.

Michael DiPaolo had been playing a Polish heel gimmick named Anthony Polaski in Ohio Valley. He was completely stripped of his successful Amish Roadkill gimmick from ECW and floundered in his new role.

The other three I have no real knowledge of but apparently G-Rilla was a really big guy that Vince usually loves, but apparently he wasn’t catching on quick enough.

Triple H missed last week’s RAW taping due to a “family emergency.” Barring any Benoit jokes about the term “family emergency,” PWInsider reports that Triple H’s brother-in-law Gordon B. Ouellette passed away suddenly at the age of 41. He was married to Triple H’s sister Lynn Levesque. He will be back for the No Way Out pay per view next Sunday.

A sudden death in the family like that is no joke and my thoughts go out to everyone involved.

WWE.com also announced that they are pulling all ties from Ohio Valley Wrestling. All remaining WWE contracted talent in Ohio Valley will be transported to Florida Championship Wrestling, run by Steve Keirn. Tom Pritchard and Billy Kidman will also serve as trainers to assist with the 70-some talents that will all be located down there. In related news, Ohio Valley’s main trainer Al Snow has also been released.

Apparently the WWE brass hasn’t been happy with Ohio Valley’s results recently. Some are saying that Lashley’s departure, a graduate of Ohio Valley, was the straw that broke the camel’s back here, but I suspect this has been coming for a while now and his departure was coincidental. WWE also seems to want full control over their developmental territory, which they have with FCW. Ohio Valley is owned and run by Danny Davis so it should remain in operation as a stand-alone independent organization. OVW has also opened its own beginner’s class, called Derby City Wrestling, where athletes paid to train there in hopes of getting noticed by WWE brass. The future of that program is still in question.

As for Al Snow, it’s sad to see him go, as he’s been an underutilized talent for WWE for over a decade. I’m not sure what the Snowman will end up doing now, but perhaps he could end up in a backstage road agent type gig in TNA or make some good wages on the indy circuit. I’m sure we’ll hear more from Snow as the weeks go on and his no-compete ends.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Tonight on USA is WWE’s flagship show Monday Night RAW. Normally this will be a quick preview of what is hyped to happen on the show, but due to last week’s double taping, tonight’s show is already in the can.

Expect a John Cena-Mark Henry match stemming from last week’s arm wrestling match, a Ric Flair-Mr. Kennedy confrontation and apparently a pretty solid Jeff Hardy-Shawn Michaels main event match. It sounds like it could actually be a good show if you can get past the Hornswoggle-McMahon shenanigans.

On Last Week’s Episode…
The new guy R. Phillip Provencio and Hepple give SmackDown! coverage.

Blatt give his always entertaining thoughts on ECW. This episode was better than has been in a while. It’s good to see some mid-card feuds starting as opposed to just random on-off matches every week.

Hatton rabbles on about RAW. Sometimes his report is more entertaining than the actual show. Jump on the forums and you too can be part of the show.

Other Guys Who Write Good Stuff
John Wiswell, another newbie, debuts with a ROH themed column – Cult of ROH.

Jake Mulligan brings some solid in-sight on puro. It’s a must-read for those who aren’t familiar with the wrestling over in the Far East, like myself.

Glazer has become a real ROH guru around these parts, and Ring of Honor Weekly is the premiere ROH column. This week he gives a great heads-up on all of the company’s current tag teams.

Jonathan Kirschner has a brief Indy Wrestling News Update, highlighted by information on CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament. Of the teams included look out for Demolition Ax & Smash and the One Man Gang, Team WWE~! baby. Usually Jonathan kicks in with a full article tilted PWG Chikarticles, so be on the look out for that.

In Case You Didn’t Spend the $40
This spot is reserved for some quick pay per views results for WWE shows. Last night was a TNA show that apparently was pretty par for their recent course. Next week there’ll be some quick ‘n’ dirty results for No Way Out.

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