This Week in ‘E – ‘Big’ Developments

Opening Witty Banter
I welcome everyone who is coming back for another weekly does of ‘E. If you’re a first time visitor then I welcome you and hope you enjoy your stay. WWE is a week out of No Way Out and about five weeks away from WrestleMania so theoretically all the company’s energy is devoted to making their big event the best that it can be.

As for me, I’m theoretically devoting all my energy to finding a new job. Enough with all the malarkey, let’s read the news.

The Big Story
The big story of this week in WWE-land has to do with The Big Show. The former WWE, WCW and ECW Champion made his return to WWE last Sunday night at No Way Out. He came back looking almost 100 pounds lighter and in great shape. But the real story was his altercation with championship prizefighter Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at the PPV. Mayweather legit broke Show’s nose with a flurry of punches and then ran like hell before a full-on fight could erupt.

The next night on RAW Mayweather showed up again to further the angle. Show challenged Mayweather to a match at WrestleMania, which Mayweather accepted after some goading and insulting. Monday afternoon WWE will hold a press conference at the Staples Center in LA to formally announce the match and set the stage for WrestleMania in general.

This should bring some more mainstream coverage to WWE that the company always seems to drum up around WrestleMania time. Mayweather is a legit fighter right now, with a 39-0 record. His fight with Oscar de la Hoya in 2007 was bought by over 2.4 million households, destroying any pay per view numbers that WWE has ever done. Needless to say Mayweather is a huge star and his presence on RAW and on the WrestleMania card will only help out WWE. This isn’t like TNA grasping at any “celebrity” to try and draw in viewers. WWE knows how to use and properly promote big-time celebrity involvement in regards to their big shows.

Apparently the original plan was to run a tag team match with Mayweather teaming with Rey Mysterio against Big Show and a tag partner rumored to be anyone from Shane McMahon to Oscar de la Hoya. But with Rey Mysterio’s injury it seems like the plan will now be a Mayweather-Show singles match. It hasn’t been said yet what type of match it will be or whether there will any stipulations added to the event, but I’m sure more information regarding the match will follow shortly.

Everything Else Fit For Print
Speaking of Mysterio, the little man will miss out on WrestleMania for the second year in a row. He injured his bicep in a tag match with Kane against Hawkins & Ryder on SmackDown!’s recent tour of South America. He went under the knife on February 22. They are estimating a six-month recovery time for the injury.

It’s unfortunate that Mysterio will miss out on the big dance for the second year in a row. He had only been back six months or so from his previous injury. It seems as if his injuries have been piling up over recent years. Perhaps its time for Rey to look into a drastic change in wrestling style or at least more of reduced schedule when he returns. Retirement seems to be too strong of a word to throw around quite yet, but both of Rey’s knees are shot and his aerial style isn’t helping his body out right now. Here’s hoping he comes back better than ever once he recovers from this latest setback.

Lindsay Lohan was backstage at RAW last week. She apparently is fan of WWE and was just there enjoying the show. As luck would have it a young boy from the Sunshine Foundation in Canada was there for his dream wish and got a bonus of not only meeting WWE stars but also the paparazzi target as well.

Hey, it’s been a slow news week around Titan Towers. Good to see LiLo is a fan of WWE. Now let the “Lohan for WrestleMania” rumors begin.

The latest rumors regarding SmackDown!’s future are that the blue brand will probably end up on either MyNetworkTV or WGN come this fall.

MyNetworkTV has more visibility in regards to cable coverage, but doesn’t have any Hi-Def capabilities yet so all of WWE’s expensive upgrades would be moot. WGN can be seen in Hi-Def but is in fewer homes. However SD!’s departure from The CW is still a long way of so I’m sure we’ll all have a clearer picture as the months go on.

Tommy Dreamer and Little Guido were in attendance at Thursday night’s TNA house show in New York. Bubba Ray Dudley called out Tommy specifically and made his attendance known to the audience.

Hey, I said it was a slow news week. Good for Tommy and Guido to get out and see some live wrestling. They are fans of the business after all.

With WWE pulling out of Ohio Valley Wrestling all of the WWE-contracted talent will be moving from Kentucky down to Tampa to the Florida Championship Wrestling training facility and territory. That list of names includes Jay Bradley, Colt Cabana, James Curtis, Atlas DaBone, Charles Evans, Vladmir Kozlov, Mike Kruel, Stu Sanders, Shawn Spears, Matt Sydal, Andrew Vain, Lupe Viscara, Silas Young and Milena Roucka.

This isn’t really news, but I included it so as to allow myself a chance for a small rant.

I personally don’t like the concept of all WWE trainees being in one spot. I like the idea of having a series of developmental territories around America and Canada so that trainees can learn from different trainers and work in front of a variety of crowds. I think they should’ve stayed working with Ohio Valley, continue their Florida start-up and then maybe partner with Lance Storm’s academy in Calgary and maybe one or two other reputable schools, like Harley Race’s in Kansas City. They had a good thing going in the late ‘90s when they were sending their low card guys and young talent to ECW and Memphis for more seasoning. But it’s obvious that WWE wants their trainees to come out a certain way and so to have them all in one spot helps them achieve that goal. Critics have described their four-ring warehouse set-up in Tampa as “fast-food wrestling training.”

Former Tough Enough 3 winner Matt Cappotelli still is employed by WWE, getting his $75,000 downside guarantee. Cappotelli also posted an update on his MySpace blog regarding his brain tumor. He has apparently finished his radiation treatments and is on his sixth month of chemotherapy. According to his most recent MRI there is a part of his brain that is completely gone due to the cancer. He apparently hasn’t suffered any severe deficiencies based on this revelation, but it still remains doubtful if he’ll ever step into the wrestling ring again.

I’m glad WWE is doing the right thing by keeping Matt employed. It’s good that his health seems to be relatively under control. I’ve always been a fan of Cappotelli’s since he won Tough Enough 3 with John “Morrison” Henigan. It’s amazing to see how far John has come since that time. Can you imagine where Cappotelli would be had he not had all these health problems?

WrestleMania Road Map
We are officially on the “Road to WrestleMania” and just a little over a month away from professional wrestling’s biggest show of the year. So this little section will provide you with a scorecard in regards to latest match line-up for the “Showcase of the Immortals.”

WWE Championship Triple Threat
Triple H v. John Cena v. Randy Orton (c)

World Heavyweight Championship
The Undertaker v. Edge (c)

Money in the Bank
Jeff Hardy v. Mr. Kennedy v. Shelton Benjamin
three to five more participants will be added as the weeks go on

rumored matches:
Ric Flair v. Shawn Michaels
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. v. The Big Show
Matt Hardy v. MVP for the United States Championship
Finlay v. Vince McMahon or JBL

Hall of Fame Watch
It was announced that “Nature Boy” Ric Flair will be the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2008. Congrats to Mr. Flair. There isn’t a more deserving person in the wrestling industry (besides Vince, Jr.) to be inducted into any wrestling hall of fame. This is quite the change from not even being on the WrestleMania main show last year to being one of the centerpieces of this year’s event.

Hopefully the majority of the other entrants into this year’s class will be centered around Flair as it was in 2005 when Hulk Hogan was inducted around his various opponents and allies.

RAW’s On Tonight!
No matches have been announced for RAW tonight, but apparently we will be treated to a preview of Maria’s Playboy spread, with hopefully some Santino Marella shenanigans thrown in for good measure.

Also JBL and Mr. McMahon will be around to explain their actions regarding their beat down of Hornswoggle last week. I’m sure Finlay will also make an appearance for a rebuttal of some sort.

Plus expect talking and fighting between John Cena, Triple H and Randy Orton in regards to their WWE Championship match, and some more information pertaining to the Big Show-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. rivalry.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Hatton and his crew rabble about RAW. There was a Val Venis sighting so that was cool.

Marshall steps in for Blatt and covers ECW. I correctly predicted that Stevie’s opponent last week would be James Curtis. This week I say he’ll gets Mike Knox.

Hepple and Provencio provide dual coverage of SmackDown! I’ve been pretty bored by the blue brand lately, but this episode featured a really good Jimmy Yang-Shelton Benjamin Money in the Bank qualifier and a better-than-expected Jesse & Festus-Deuce & Domino tag bout.

Other Guys Who Write Good Stuff
Kirschner talks ROH, PWG, CHIKARA, FIP and more, all in one convenient location.

Glazer brings the Bryan Danielson love during this week’s ROH Weekly.

Mulligan shows what he knows in regards to puro.