This Week in ‘E – Comings and Goings

Batista is apparently unhappy, Randy Orton continues to run his mouth, Rey Mysterio is sticking around the company for the long haul while CM Punk looks to bring some prestige back to the World Tag Team Championship.

Opening Witty Banter
Fall TV season is in full swing and I’m instantly back in love with My Name is Earl, The Office and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. What’s this got to do wrestling? Nothing really, but now SmackDown!, Impact and AWA on ESPN Classic will sit on the DVR a little longer. Today’s issue is brought to the new Chris Rock comedy special on HBO.

The News of the Week
Apparently Batista is unhappy with his current standing within the company. He wanted to take time off after WrestleMania, but the company asked him to stay on due to a perceived lack of depth. He feels he’s not “the” guy anymore, and really hasn’t been since his run in 2005 with Triple H. Batista is nearing forty years old and he really doesn’t have that many years left as a top shelf performer, which is another reason he is postponing his Hollywood aspirations. He has a reputation of loving the superstar lifestyle, a trait he picked up from rolling with Ric Flair. He also was discouraged that his big-time match-up with John Cena was blown off with little build at SummerSlam when it should’ve been saved for WrestleMania. WWE gave him that win over Cena as sort of a vote-of-confidence from management.

I don’t understand how he could be unhappy. He’s been in more pay per view main events than anyone else over the past few years and is constantly at the top of the card. I agree he doesn’t have the same spark he did back in 2005, but he’s still a proven main event draw for the company.

Edge is coming back soon. It was expected he would take some time off to sell the “straight to hell” image from SummerSlam and give Undertaker some time to move into a new program. It’s expected he might interfere in the Triple H-Jeff Hardy match at No Mercy to put himself in the Title picture.

I think it was good that Edge took some time off to sell the blow off, and taking a couple months off only helps keep his character fresh.

Rey Mysterio has signed a new three-year deal with the company despite AAA offering him a generous seven-figure offer. AAA felt they needed to make that big of an offer in order to even be competitive in negotiations. They wanted to make Rey their tippy top guy and make him into a cross-genre mainstream star a la El Santo.

I feel Rey is smart to re-sign with WWE and probably finish out his career there. Rey’s not the same performer he was a decade ago and he might be able to transition into other roles within WWE once it comes time that he can’t go in the ring anymore.

In keeping with WWE presence in Mexico, the company is tailoring their SD! broadcasts on TV Azteca to the native audience by putting video inserts of the various wrestlers into the show. Shane McMahon has told the Mexican wrestling community that the company is not coming down there to put AAA or CMLL out of business. Insiders feel that WWE’s presence could bolster the entire Mexican wrestling community and cause a spark of popularity of local Mexican organizations.

WWE seems serious about making this venture into Mexico a success, and reminding everyone that “World” is still part of their title.

In what I think is wonderful news, the company has put down a new mandate to slow down the progression of its big angles. This explains the long build-up to feuds like Edge-Undertaker and Chris Jericho-Shawn Michaels. This is also is the reason why Randy Orton hasn’t officially taken leadership over the next generation kids quite yet.

I think it’s great we are getting back to long, drawn-out, layered storylines and angles. A long angle can really help build the careers of everyone involved and make things more memorable.

Speaking of Orton, here is a funny little excerpt from an interview Randy Orton gave to Power Slam magazine in the UK last month:

“I was at the Draft (on June 23) after I got hurt. I was in the locker room watching the backstage monitor. I was hoping to get traded (from Raw to SmackDown). Actually, it’s funny because Umaga just got traded to SmackDown. He was like, “Man, you know what? At least I haven’t got to be around Triple H no more.” So (Umaga) goes to SmackDown and I’m like, “Yeah … F–k you!” The last Draft pick’s Triple H and I’m like (punches the air), “Yes! Oh, my God!” Yes, yes, yes!” I went right up to Umaga and I was, like, “You’ve got to deal with it now!” It was my favorite Draft pick, to be honest with you. And we got Rey Mysterio, we got Kane, Batista. I’ve got history with those guys.”

Hahahaha…everyone already stole all the good jokes about asking when Umaga learned to speak.

Of all the new class of stars that have debuted on WWE TV the past few months apparently “All-American American” Jack Swagger is one that the company sees the most potential in. Arn Anderson has taken a shine to the kid and they see him as a future star.

Jim Ross has been singing the praises of Jake “Jack Swagger” Hager for years now and it’s evident that he’s in line for a big push.

Speaking of Jim Ross, he announced on his blog that the Starrcade DVD isn’t cancelled, but rather postponed. Ross indicated that he had been in New York filming footage for the set.

That’s great to hear that the Starrcade set is still in the works. There’s an easy $20 that the company will get from me when it comes out.

CM Punk is now focusing on challenging Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase , Jr. for the World Tag Championships. He hasn’t announced a partner yet, but logic seems to point at Kofi Kingston as his teammate.

I think this is a cool, old-school move. The main event scene is pretty crowded now with Jericho, Michaels, JBL, Batista, Kane and Mysterio and Punk going after the Tag belts adds some star power to the mid-card. Plus it’s a cool throwback of Punk going through an entire stable in order to get to the leader Randy Orton. It’s like how Rhodes, Sting and so many others did with the Four Horsemen many moons ago.

John Laurinitis was down in Ohio Valley Wrestling this past week to evaluate talent.

I think it’s great that even though WWE and Ohio Valley aren’t in an official working relationship the company still recognizes that young, future talent is still being cultivated in what has become a premiere wrestling training facility.

Here’s the line-up for the new three-disc “Viva La Raza – The Legacy of Eddie Guerrero” DVD coming out in November:

Disc 1:

ECW World Television Championship Match – 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Eddie Guerrero (ECW TV April 8, 1995)
ECW World Television Championship Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (ECW Hostile City Showdown April 15, 1995)
Eddie Guerrero vs. Shinjiro Otani (WCW Starrcade December 27, 1995)
WCW United States Heavyweight Championship Match – Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Hog Wild August 10, 1996)
WCW United States Heavyweight Championship Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (WCW SuperBrawl February 23, 1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match – Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro November 10, 1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (WCW Starrcade December 28, 1997)
Eddie Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon (WCW Slamboree May 17, 1998)
Juventud Guerrera vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Nitro August 3, 1998)
Psychosis vs. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Thunder June 24, 1999)

Disc 2:

WWE European Championship Match – Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWF RAW April 3, 2000)
King of the Ring Qualifying Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Matt Hardy (WWF SmackDown! June 8, 2000)
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Rob Van Dam vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWF Backlash April 21, 2002)
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Jeff Hardy (WWE RAW April 29, 2002)
No Disqualification Match – Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWE SmackDown! September 26, 2002)
WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Team Angle vs. Los Guerreros (WWE Backlash April 27, 2003)
Latino Heat Parking Lot Brawl – John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWE SmackDown! September 11, 2003)
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero (WWE Royal Rumble January 25, 2004)
WWE Championship Match – Brock Lesnar vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWE No Way Out February 15, 2004)

Disc 3:

WWE Championship Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio (WWE SmackDown! March 18, 2004)
WWE Championship Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield (WWE Judgment Day – May 16, 2004)
Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship – JBL vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWE SmackDown! July 15, 2004)
WWE Championship Series – Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle (WWE SmackDown! April 14, 2005)
Steel Cage Match – Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWE SmackDown! September 9, 2005)
World Heavyweight Championship Match – Batista vs. Eddie Guerrero (WWE No Mercy October 9, 2005)
Eddie’s Final Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Mr. Kennedy (WWE SmackDown! November 11, 2005)

Looks like an absolutely phenomenal set. I know I’m really excited for the first disc with all the old-school ECW and WCW stuff.

WWE will be changing their TV taping schedule for a few weeks in November where ECW will be taped with RAW and SmackDown! will be taped bi-weekly. After the listed dates below, the schedule goes back to normal.

11/10/08 – Manchester, England – RAW & ECW Taping
11/11/08 – Manchester, England – SD Taping (2 Episodes)
11/17/08 – Atlanta, GA – RAW & ECW Taping
11/24/08 – Providence, RI – RAW & ECW Taping
11/25/08 – Albany, NY – SD Taping (2 Episodes)
12/01/08 – Washington, D.C. – RAW & ECW Taping

Back-to-back SD! tapings…that’s a lot of Triple H right there.

Wrestler of the Week
I’m trying to think of new ways to change up/improve this column so each week I will highlight who I think was WWE’s Wrestler of the Week, kind of like what JR does on wwe.com. As this is still in its early stages I don’t really have any criteria, but I’m sure my choice will come from a combination of kayfabe and real-life factors.

Week of September 22 – 28: Carlito and Primo Colon
After what was a random and inauspicious debut for Primo Colon on RAW, the writers came to their senses and moved Primo to SmackDown! and paired him with his brother, who was purgatory since moving from RAW to SmackDown! this past summer. A brother team makes sense and it’s easy to market them. So I think it’s great that they put the WWE Tag Championships on them. WWE is trying to expand their foreign markets and it’s logical to put a Championship on a pair of the company’s Latino stars.

RAW’s On Tonight!
RAW’s coming from my backyard of Minneapolis tonight and so far nothing has been announced. The crews will be coming off a European tour so I’m not expecting too crazy from the jet-lagged roster. But I’m sure Chris Jericho, Batista, JBL, Kane, Rey Mysterio and a host of others will all be there, and there should be some talking and some fighting.

On Last Week’s Episode…
SmackDown!

ECW

RAW

How They Rated
A.M. RAW (9.28.08) – .5

RAW (9.29.08) – 3.1

ECW (9.30.08) – 1.2

SmackDown! (10.3.08) – 2.4

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Wiswell talks tag teams.

Ditch continues to educate us all on Kobashi.

Glazer reviews Death Before Dishonor VI.

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