This Week in ‘E – Money and Wishes

Opening Witty Banter
Hi to everyone out there in Internet-land who is reading this right now. I wish I had something noteworthy, witty or altogether interesting to say up here, but it’s late and I’m still recovering from a whirlwind weekend of debauchery so forgive me. Plus the news cycle hasn’t been real active this past week. As WWE continues to roll towards WrestleMania it’s safe to say that the company is trying to maintain good publicity and keep away from negative press. Well it’s not like WWE ever goes looking for negative press (I don’t think so anyways). Sit down, grab a Pabst and find out what’s been happening this past week in the Land of ‘E.

The Big Story
There really wasn’t any huge story this week, but the one with the most money and publicity has to be anything with to do with Floyd “Money” Mayweather. He lived up to his moniker this week when it was reported he is going to earn $20 million for his WrestleMania appearance and build-up.

That seems like a ridiculous amount of money to throw at someone for a payday, but WWE won’t really be losing money on this whole deal. Mayweather’s interaction will draw WWE some serious publicity like the Donald Trump appearance did last year. Plus the PPV price went up again so that will help pad some of those costs. And over 50,000 people filling the Citrus Bowl brings in a lot of coin to the WWE piggy bank as well. Forget the arguments that the $20M could go to good use like building up tag teams or something like that. This is WrestleMania. The event has always been built upon glitz, glamour and over-the-top theatrics, and if a five star match breaks out in the middle of the pageantry then so be it.

Everything Else Fit For Print
According to PWInsider, Rey Mysterio had his biceps tear surgery on Wednesday in San Diego with a Dr. Chao. Apparently the tear was one of the worst this guy had ever seen and was only worsened when Mysterio worked two more matches after the initial injury. His return has been rumored to be anywhere from a few weeks to nine months.

After the John Cena miracle return, WWE’s credibility is shaky in regards to injury severity and return times. It remains to be seen whether Mysterio will be able to make any appearances in regards to the Big Show-Mayweather build-up. Get well, Rey-Rey.

SmackDown! already found a new home come this fall. WWE has signed a deal with MyNetworkTV to air the blue brand. MyNTV doesn’t have Hi-Def capabilities yet but with months to go before the transition there is strong possibility that upgrades could be in place by then.

To me this seems like pretty much a lateral move from The CW. MyNetworkTV is seen in like 96% of American markets, and pretty much took over the local affiliates that used to be either a UPN or WB host so it’s not like there will be a severe loss of coverage. On the plus side, SmackDown! will become the fledgling network’s flagship program which means WWE theoretically could have some leeway in regards to scheduling. A return to Thursday nights perhaps?

Colin Delaney, ECW’s resident whipping boy, has officially signed a three-year WWE contract. It became official when Colin announced he would have to pull out of the CHIKARA King of Trios tournament that happened this past weekend.

Good for Colin. Most people who get into the wrestling business I would imagine would want to work for WWE, as they are the top of the industry. Plus Colin doesn’t have the usual “WWE look” so that should help him stand out in his role and be an inspiration for other professional wrestlers who aren’t built like Batista that there is still a glimmer of hope for them to reach the big dance.

Neil Bzibziak, who played Chet the Jet down in Ohio Valley Wrestling for years, has recently been released. He was recently suspended for a Wellness violation. Apparently he was going to be brought up to the main roster with a Polish gimmick but he couldn’t speak a lick of Polish so it was scrapped.

We hear at Pulse Wrestling wish Chet the Jet well in all his future endeavors.

WWE Films worked out a deal with 20th Century Fox, where Fox has first dibs on each new WWE film the company produces. WWE apparently has one more feature film and four straight-to-DVD movies all in the works.

John Cena’s “12 Rounds” is the next film to come out of WWE Films and will get a full theatre-run. That’s a logical move as of the company’s three previous offerings Cena’s “The Marine” has been the most successful. All WWE releases will now go with a PG-13 rating, which is also a good plan as a lot of WWE’s current fans are younger and a guy like Cena draws well with the tweener crowd.

Speaking of John Cena, he recently made some interesting comments regarding The Rock.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview, done with The UK’s Sun newspaper.

“He is a genuinely nice guy and a fantastic human being. What I kind of get peeved about, and this is my Achilles heel, is that I’ve wanted to do this my whole life. Rock falls into that category. At one point he loved wrestling and wanted to do this all his life. So explain to me why he can’t come back. Simply put it’s because he wants to be an actor and there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s very good and very successful. Associating with sports entertainment doesn’t do much for his acting career. I get it. Just don’t f*ck me around and tell me that you love this. That’s the only thing that gets me really pissed off. Our fan base have so much admiration for him, he’s got to respect that. He doesn’t give anything back.”

I like both Cena and Rock and feel they both seem to legitimately love the wrestling business. However it seems like the business sucks people in for life. Ask Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan or Jim Duggan. The Rock had a fantastic opportunity to get out of the business while the getting was good. A lot of people, including Cena, feel that Rock owes the fans and the business something, but really I can’t blame Rock for making a clean break when he did. And besides he’s coming back for the Hall of Fame banquet this year to honor his family so really this maybe all a moot point.

WWE announced this week that they are going to grant fifty separate Make-a-Wish wishes on the road to WrestleMania. As an aside to that John Cena himself will be a part of his 100th separate “wish.” This will all culminate during WrestleMania weekend where a group of Wish kids will be a part of the “Circle of Champions” super wish during the annual Bacon, Bagels and Biceps brunch.

Yes it’s “good for business” to be a part of a foundation like Make-a-Wish, but you know a lot of this done just out of the goodness of their hearts. Plus it’s an ego trip to know that many terminally ill children want to spend their time with World Wrestling Entertainment as opposed to some other entertainment.

In a puzzling move, WWE.com has now included an “industry” tab on their main page that highlights news from TNA, Ring of Honor, other indys and former WWE talent.

I don’t really understand WWE’s logic behind this. In the past WWE has been so egocentric in regards to the rest of the wrestling industry that it seems odd they would acknowledge TNA’s existence. It’s quite jarring to read TNA Impact results from the “comfort” of the opposition’s main page. Others think that in the wake of recent Congress hearings, WWE has created this “industry” page so that people who stumble upon the WWE site to find out what all the fuss is about will be able to see that there is other professional wrestling out there besides them. I’m kind of intrigued by the whole concept and look forward to seeing where it goes from here. I mean I just read a plug for CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament for crying out loud.

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 v. Chris Jericho
two to four more participants will be added as the weeks go on

Floyd Mayweather v. The Big Show

Career Threatening Match
Ric Flair v. Shawn Michaels

Battle for Brand Supremacy
Batista v. Umaga

Bunny-mania
Maria & Candice Michelle v. Beth Phoenix & Melina

*John Legend will perform America the Beautiful

rumored matches:
Matt Hardy v. MVP for the United States Championship
Finlay v. JBL or Mr. McMahon

Hall of Fame Watch
Last week it was announced Ric Flair would get his much-deserved spot in the Hall of Fame.

This week it was announced both “High Chief” Peter Maivia and his son-in-law Rocky Johnson would both be inducted into the Class of 2008. The most exciting thing about this however is that The Rock has agreed to come back to induct both his father and grandfather into the Hall. It will be just phenomenal to see The Rock back at a WWE function. His unmatched charisma just brings up the level of everyone else in the room. As for Johnson and Maivia, both men are HOF worthy and definitely deserve the accolades.

RAW’s On Tonight!
No matches have been announced but the biggest hype so far has been going to the Big Show angle where he will wrestle a “professional fighter.” I’m not sure if Floyd Mayweather will make an appearance as well, but this should a way to get some heat on Big Show and put him over strong.

The JBL-Finlay angle should go into a higher gear as JBL accused Finlay of being Hornswoggle’s real father. This week should see some physicality between the two veterans.

Maria’s Playboy cover will be revealed and hopefully Santino Marella says something funny.

Plus there will be some main event shenanigans between John Cena, Randy Orton and Triple H, Money in the Bank implications and some build between Shawn Michaels & Ric Flair. I smell a tag match with Michaels & Flair against Cade & Murdoch. It’s just a question of who turns on whom first. I would also guess an Umaga squash to keep him strong going into his match against Batista.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Brad Curran gives a delightful review of Heat’s 500 episode. His review may have been more entertaining than actually watching the show.

Provencio and Hepple continue with SmackDown! double coverage. There was a Balls Mahoney sighting, a Major Brother in the main event and Great Khali teaming with MVP. Other than that it seemed like business as usual for the blue brand.

Blatt got to watch five star matches like Stevie Richards versus Mike Knox on ECW this week so he’s a winner in my book.

Marshall breaks down RAW so I don’t have to.

Other Guys Who Write Good Stuff
Mulligan!

Glazer!

Wiswell!

Kirschner!

Tags: