This Week in ‘E – A Change in Direction

This week Randy Orton gets into a food fight and Mike Adamle takes a walk at a time when Santino should have. Plus peeing in a cup just got a whole more humiliating.

Opening Witty Banter
I’ve really got nothing witty to say this week, but then when has that ever stopped me from rambling incessantly before?

The Big Story
It’s usually anticipated that right after WrestleMania WWE goes through some booking, personnel and cosmetic changes, but the past few years it seems as if things really a month later, after Backlash. Backlash has sort of become the unofficial sequel or wrap-up to WrestleMania. Once the loose ends are tied up then a new direction can emerge.

This past week on WWE TV we have perhaps seen that new change in direction emerge, as all three flagship shows ended in an odd fashion.

On RAW, William Regal pulled the plug on the Triple H-Randy Orton main event WWE Championship match while the match was still taking place. RAW ended up slowly fading to black as the action continued.

Then on ECW, Mike Adamle got up and left abruptly before the Kane versus Chavo Guerrero/Bam Neely main event was about to begin. His broadcast partner Tazz soon got up and followed Adamle out of the arena. WWE picked up on this and turned into an online angle, as they reported that Adamle and “exited the arena and marched straight to the parking lot. Adamle was said to look shocked and expressionless as he left.” Throughout the week the website has been playing up the fact that they have not been able to get a hold of either broadcaster. Apparently after the walkout Tazz and Mike Adamle did not return to the backstage area, and rather just left the arena altogether. It was said that some WWE workers actually thought Adamle walking out was a legit shoot and figured Vince McMahon had fired him.

Finally on SmackDown!, during a show billed as “Night of Champions” Vickie Guerrero stripped Undertaker of the World Championship for his continual use of the “not a gogopolatta.”

I’m actually intrigued where all three shows go with these new angles. On RAW it looks as if William Regal will become a sort of tyrannical ruler on RAW, doing what he wishes when he wishes. Judging by Mr. Kennedy’s actions last week he may be the one to try and step up to Regal’s antics, but I’m not quite sold on a Kennedy face turn.

Adamle and Tazz’ walkout on ECW was so bizarre. It was so unexpected and came out of nowhere. So I’m excited to see ECW’s “100th episode” this week to see what tone they take with the show. At the very least it looks like this will finally be the week where Colin Delaney will win his WWE contract.

With SmackDown! I’m really surprised by their decision to take the World Championship off of Undertaker. I wasn’t happy when I initially read last week’s spoilers for SmackDown!, but after watching the show I’m a little more okay with the whole thing. I fully expected this to be Undertaker’s much-deserved long World Title reign (barring injuries) so I’m kind of intrigued to see how this plays out. Whether it will be a full-scale tournament to crown a new champion, a battle royal or some shenanigans to give Edge an easy road to the Championship it is at least something a little different for the blue brand.

Everything Else Fit For Print
According toPWInsider, former IWA and WWC wrestler Al Barone (IWA’s Cyber Viking and WWC’s Paul Leduc) has been hired to play Santino Marella’s bodyguard.

Bodyguard roles are used a lot these days (see Guerrero and Neely) but have usually been successful and drawn good crowd heat. Santino is much more entertaining on the mic than in the ring so if he can transition into a manager type role for some big guy then its for the better. It’s seemed to have worked for Matt Striker as well.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Randy Orton had another incident on the most recent European tour. He was apparently mad that the hotel staff woke him up earlier than he scheduled. In response, Orton took his food from room service and threw it on the staff that woke him up. He reportedly laughed after the incident and went back to his room.

Also on the same tour, when the RAW crew landed in Portugal, there was an incident where a fan grabbed Maria, which shook her up immensely. She was going to make a formal complaint but Umaga overheard the story and demanded to know who did it. He went after the guy, but never found him.

It looks like Orton’s douchebag ways haven’t completely subsided. It seemed like he had been good behavior for quite a while now, but perhaps it was the stress that comes with a long overseas trip like that which caused him to snap and revert to his immature ways. Regardless it is no way for the top guy in the company to act.

As for the Maria incident, I’m just glad that Umaga never found the guy who grabbed her. I would imagine things would’ve gotten ugly in a hurry.

WWE released Balls Mahoney and Dave Taylor this past week.

Neither man’s release comes as a big surprise, as neither has been on television in months.

Taylor works so much better as a trainer rather than an on-air talent, it’s a shame he couldn’t have been kept on in that type of capacity.

As for Balls, once his angle with Kelly Kelly was inexplicably scrapped in late 2007, the writing on the wall was plain to see. I honestly didn’t expect Balls to outlast so many of the other ECW originals in the first place. It looks as is Tommy Dreamer, Little Guido and Stevie Richards are the only ones left to uphold the ECW Originals banner now. At the very least Balls will be able to command a very high price tag on the indys now thanks to his recent international exposure.

Early in the morning on May 1, Santino Marella was arrested on charges of Driving Under the Influence. Marella was stopped at 6301 Westshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida and was held on $500 bond. He apparently had been out with Kevin Thorn and a few developmental wrestlers.

According to PWInsider, Marella was pulled over after police noticed his car drifting back and forth. Police noticed that Marella had “bloodshot, watery and glassy eyes.” He then apparently failed several several roadside tests given to him by authorities (and couldn’t keep his balance in one) and was arrested. His blood alcohol level was later revealed to be .061 (which is below the legal limit of .08) but the DUI charge stands since his blood alcohol level wasn’t tested until hours after he has been in custody.

That’s interesting that his blood alcohol level wasn’t tested immediately. I know that it is usually one of the first things done after being stopped. I don’t really have any witty comments regarding this, but I am interested to see how this will affect Marella’s television time.

According to PWInsider, Warner Bros. is opposing WWE’s trademark of “Tazz” due to its similarities to their trademark of the name “Taz.”

It’s interesting that WB is finally coming forward with something about this after over eight years of Tazz being on national television. It’s looks as if this is just the WB fishing for some settlement money here.

PWInsider is reporting that Bret Hart visited Florida Championship Wrestling this past week to observe the developmental talent. He also gave several wrestlers feedback on matches they put together for him to review.

Absolutely fantastic news. I’m glad that Hart has buried the hatchet enough that he was willing to go visit with the new generation of WWE talent. Whether you like him or not, Hart was a top guy in the wrestling industry for years and has a wealth of insight and knowledge he can impart on the new crop of wrestlers coming up the pike.

Also according to PWInsider, WWE has tightened up the Wellness Policy even more. In the past, the person being tested was allowed to urinate into a vial at a urinal, but as of this week, both male and female performers were required to drop their pants to their knees, lift their shirts up above their nipples, and provide their urine sample with agents from Aegis Science watching. This change was done to prevent people from cheating in urine tests. The word backstage is that a specific incident did spark the changes, but nobody knows the exact details. Some believe that a developmental talent that was released recently was caught trying to cheat.

I’m all for WWE trying to continue to clean up their Wellness process. It sounds like it will be quite a humiliating experience for the talent involved, but if it helps keep things on the up-and-up then go for it. Most of the talent is over half naked on national television every week so maybe it won’t be a big deal.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Nothing tangible has been announced yet for RAW tonight, but WWE’s official preview hints at more build-up in the Santino/Carlito-Holly/Rhodes World Tag Title feud as well as more from JBL and his new reign of terror. Plus I’m sure Triple H and Randy Orton will say bad things to each other, and William Regal’s actions from last week’s RAW will be addressed. But how will Mr. Kennedy fit into all of it? A recent spoiler also says that the entire ECW roster is expected to be at the show too. Will the brand be dissolved? Highly unlikely, but it should be interesting to see anyways.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Hepple brings the SmackDown!

Blatt recaps ECW while MM give his thoughts on the show.

Marshall talks RAW in real time and Daniels provides the analysis.

How They Rated
A.M. RAW (4.27.08) – 0.4

RAW (4.28.08) – 3.3

ECW (2.29.08) – 1.1

SmackDown! (5.2.08) –

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Glazer examines Age of the Fall, Sweet ‘n’ Sour and other hot button ROH issues.

Jake gives the low down some of puro’s most recent booking moves.

Wiswell has a really good piece analyzing ROH’s undercard.