This Week in ‘E – Broken Harts

Martha Hart comes after WWE again, a boatload of news about upcoming DVDs and a ring announcer gets the axe.

Opening Witty Banter
So there was a lot of news from the ‘E this week, but other than Martha Hart suing WWE once again there was nothing that really made for a standout week. Recently re-watched The Four Horsemen DVD. How is Arn Anderson not on TV every week talking up somebody? His skills behind the microphone are too valuable not to use. Today’s column is brought to by some reruns of “Man v. Food,” it’s basically just food porn.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
Martha Hart is suing World Wrestling Entertainment once again. The lawsuit is stemming from WWE’s continual use of Owen’s name and likeness, “despite agreeing to stop upon his death.” It is alleged that WWE has used Owen’s name and likeness without right, violating a contract between Martha Hart and WWE that restricted the use of his name, likeness and wrestling footage, and disregarded Martha’s wishes to completely disassociate her late husband from WWE following his death. This agreement was apparently put in place after Martha and WWE settled a wrongful death lawsuit in 2000. Vince McMahon, acting Chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, and Linda McMahon, former WWE CEO, are listed as defendants in the suit.

WWE certainly does not sell any Owen Hart merchandise currently, but WWE used Owen’s name on a display at the WrestleMania XXVI AXXESS event dedicated to the Hart Family and he was featured prominently in the recent Hart & Soul: The Hart Family Anthology DVD release. His matches are regularly featured on various WWE DVD releases and his name is brought up often in conjunction with other Hart family members. In fact Martha has claimed that she sent WWE a cease-and-desist desist letter on March 25, 2010 before the Hart & Soul DVD set was released.

WWE responded to the claim quickly and made an official statement via the company’s lead attorney Jerry McDevitt. McDevitt claims that Martha’s lawsuit is the first time the company has heard from her since both sides settled the wrongful death lawsuit in 2000. “WWE has the right to use its own copyrighted material,” McDevitt said.

For a full PDF file of Martha Hart’s of the entire lawsuit click here.

Okay I can understand Martha wants to be completely disassociated with WWE and pro wrestling in general, but its not like WWE is dragging Owen’s name through the mud for their own purposes. (Hi Eddie!) Even Good Ol’ JR thinks this politically motivated based on the timing of the lawsuit. Here’s hoping both sides can settle easily so we can still enjoy Owen on future WWE programming and keep Martha out of the way.

Speaking of the Harts, apparently the real reason Bret Hart was written out as RAW GM due to an issue with Bret’s insurance policy not meshing well with his recent on screen physicality. Hart has a policy with the infamous Lloyds of London, and they don’t take too kindly to a bunch of brawling while under their coverage. The Fatal 4 Way PPV and RAW were in part re-written due to him leaving, which was apparently not planned. He is also getting re-married in July so that may also have to do with the time off.

Well I’m glad it wasn’t a big falling out between the two sides once again. Here’s hoping he’s back again sometime this summer. Sure he wasn’t the most elegant in regards to his promo work but it’s been great to hear that music and see him come out on RAW for these past few months.

In more Canadian news (I love these easy transitions), Chris Jericho Tweeted this past “Had the best match I’ve had in months tonight. Bourne is the real deal…and I must destroy him.” It is also in the rumor mill that many are talking about Chris Jericho likely not re-signing with the WWE when his contract is up in September. Although Jericho asked permission before he tried to host Downfall, Vince McMahon was still quite upset when he left to tape the show.

But all is not lost with Jericho as much more news has surfaced about his upcoming three disc DVD coming out at the end of the year. The set, which as been named The Highlight Reel, will feature a big documentary feature on the life and times of Jericho and reportedly have a dozen matches spanning Smokey Mountain, ECW, WCW and WWE.

Yeah this DVD is going to pretty fantastic all around if it features a documentary as well. With only a dozen matches there will be plenty of complaining all around by what was and what wasn’t included in the set but you can’t please them all. That being said I am anxiously awaiting to see the match listing and full chapter content revealed.

Hey look! More DVD news! Around the same time the Chris Jericho DVD news broke, Joey Styles Tweeted that WWE employees were voting on the 50 greatest superstars of all time for a new WWE DVD. There is no official word on what it will be called; a release date is also unknown. However it is rumored that there’s already controversy surrounding the project. A lot of employees are voting but even after the votes are tallied Vince McMahon will look at the final list and rearrange it the way he wants. Another rumor surrounding the 50 Superstars is that it will contain wrestlers from all over the world, not just North America, which means WWE friendly foreign talent like Antonio Inoki and Mil Mascaras could be included.

Other new titles in the works from WWE included the best of RAW ’93-’94 set, a third John Cena set, The best of SmackDown 2010, a Bobby Heenan project and 100 Craziest Moments in WWE History

Okay that 50 Greatest set sounds pretty fun just on the premise alone as it will determine what WWE thinks of history at that moment in time anyways. It won’t be an end-all list but should be fun regardless. The Bobby Heenan DVD will also be a lot of fun, just for the extras alone. They really don’t make them like “The Brain” anymore. And the 100 Craziest set should also be fun, once again just to see where WWE is at that point in time. “Craziest” also carries a lot of weight in regards to what can be included in the set. So I’m sure there will be goofy comedy skits mixed in with iconic celebrity appearances and big time angles. But guess won’t be on there? The two truly craziest moments of WWE, you know, when Chris Benoit killed his family and himself and when Owen Hart fell from the top of the Kemper Arena.

The upcoming Elimination Chamber set has gotten even more tweaking as in Europe it will have a new title, WWE Iron Will: The Anthology of WWE’s Toughest Match, complete will new DVD artwork.

Yeah I can guess the term “Elimination Chamber” still probably doesn’t fly real well in Europe.

Bryan Danielson news just continues to come out. He has opened a new website at bryandanielson.tv, complete with his upcoming tour dates and some bad ass t-shirts, including a “Team Bryan” shirt and a “Violent Bryan” Obama-like shirt.

I must say for wrestling t-shirts they are both pretty bad ass. Why do I keep reporting on Bryan Danielson when he’s no longer in the ‘E? Because I firmly believe he’ll back in the company by the time his 90 day no compete clause is up and the little bastard draw hits.

In more Bryan news, PETA of all organizations has gone to bat for him to come back to WWE as well. The dude who wrote the letter is clearly a big WWE fan. You can read the letter here.

While kind of funny and awesome that PETA went to bat for the world’s toughest vegan, how many large corporations are going to try and dictate WWE’s direction from now on? Remember when Vince McMahon didn’t bow to anyone, even the USA Network?

In Diva news, Melina is apparently ready to return to WWE and should be down in FCW soon to shake off ring rust before her big return. Meanwhile her frenemy Beth Phoenix is still 3-5 months away from recovery from her ACL injury.

Eh…that’s cool I guess. I can’t say I’ve really missed Melina but it will be good to have Beth back.

And now transitioning into more Diva news, WWE released ECW/NXT ring announcer/backstage interviewer Savannah (real name Angela Fong) on June 23.

Someday I’m going to go back and re-read this article and I will have completely forgotten about who this chick was.

And finally to close out the week, WWE finally got with the times and officially partnered with YouTube to make their content available on the service. Here’s the press release:

WWE® Partners with YouTube™
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and YouTube announced today a multi-year partnership that will make full episodes of WWE “Friday Night SmackDown®,” “WWE NXT™,” “WWE Superstars” and “ECW®,” available at WWE’s official YouTube™ channel ( www.YouTube.com/WWE : ). This marks one of the first times that YouTube will feature complete episodes of primetime television programs on their site.

The multi-year deal greatly expands WWE’s YouTube channel offerings, which already has 90,000 subscribers who have viewed more than 100 million WWE videos to date. WWE will also augment the channel by increasing content clips of WWE’s flagship program “Monday Night Raw®,” as well as “WWE Classics” and short videos.

“WWE has established itself as one of the top global entertainment brands in the world,” said Chris Maxcy, strategic partner director at YouTube. “WWE’s content is hugely popular on YouTube. Bringing in full-length, primetime television programs to the site is a huge win for our community and fans of the WWE.”

“As part of our ever evolving digital media strategy, WWE is one of the first global entertainment companies to offer audiences access to complete primetime shows on YouTube,” said Brian Kalinowski, WWE’s Executive Vice President, WWE Interactive. “This partnership also enables WWE to increase its official PG-content offerings online for our fans, generate revenue, protect our content and broaden our brand exposure on the world’s largest online video site.”

So I would imagine that it will be even harder to keep pirated WWE footage on YouTube now that someone will probably be monitoring even more closely now. Also, what does this mean for their partnership with hulu? Regardless it seems like a logical concept and could be fun to watch archival footage. But notice that RAW’s full episodes aren’t included in the package? That continues the notion that RAW is truly the A-show of the company.

The Road to…Money in the Bank
World Heavyweight Championship
Rey Mysterio (c) v. Jack Swagger

Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship match
participants TBA

Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship match
participants TBA

expected matches:
John Cena v. Sheamus for the WWE Title
The Hart Dynasty v. The Usos for the Undisputed Tag Titles

Wrestler of the Week
Week of June 21 – 27: Cody Rhodes
In a week where the wrestling on TV didn’t really stand out on any of the shows, I want to give some love to “Dashing” Cody Rhodes. Originally I was going to give the nod to Justin Gabriel, for not only earning a RAW contract but for delivering the move of his career by hitting the 450 Splash on Mr. McMahon. One little misstep and he breaks his boss’ jaw or arm or leg. But I felt Rhodes had an even better week; easily the best he has had in months. On NXT he actually won a five-minute challenge gimmick and let more of his awesome heelishness shine. Then on SmackDown he got over his new nickname and pretty boy persona. He looked at home having his Rookie Husky Harris in the ring with him as his new enforcer. A Rhodes and a Windham back together again; its like Barry and Dustin in 1992 WCW all over again. Expect his momentum to build going into Money in the Bank.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Last week was a fluke as the guest host gimmick is back on once again this week as Rob Zombie will be on hand to guest host the show live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The legendary rock star and horror film auteur should provide a fun flavor during his appearance. Zombie will be on hands to promote the 2010 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which will touring the nation through July and August. Zombie will be one of the festival’s headlining acts alongside Korn, Lamb of God and Five Finger Death Punch. His latest album Hellbilly Deluxe 2 is currently in stores. While Zombie has never appeared on WWE TV previously, he has a working relationship with the company for years. Many of his songs have been used in various capacity for WWE. “Feel So Numb” was the theme song for No Way 2002 while Edge used a remix of “Never Gonna Stop” for his entrance theme from late 2001 until 2004. As for the show, expect build to the inevitable Cena-Sheamus one-on-one pay per view bout, more information and hype for the participants included in RAW’s Money in the Bank bout, and continued push for the Harts-Usos tag bout. Plus there should be plenty of little e-mails from the new unknown GM and some appearances from those pesky kids in the Nexus.

On Last Week’s Episode…
SmackDown thoughts from Chantel, who wins by mentioning Alberto Del Rio’s failed MMA career, highlighted by a shitkicking he received from Mirko Cro Cop.

Superstars report and thoughts

NXT results and thoughts

RAW results, thoughts and judicial review

How They Rated
SmackDown! (6.11.10) – 1.9

Superstars (6.17.10) – .35

A.M. RAW (6.20.10) – .84

RAW (6.21.10) – 3.5

NXT (6.22.10) – .86

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
LOGAN~!

BRASHEAR~!

GLAZER~!

MORGADO~!

Mark has been a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over three years now, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into his current Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.

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