This Week in ‘E – The Miz Cashes In, John Cena and Many Others Cash Out

The Miz fulfills a boyhood dream while many others lose their boyhood dreams. Plus the company signs someone named Vince McMahon to an exclusive contract.

Opening Witty Banter
Yeah this is day late. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? Survivor Series was mildly disappointing, but last night’s RAW, which I watched as I finished this was absolutely fantastic, making for two stellar RAWs in a row, with anticipation of next week’s King of the Ring episode to add to the string of goodness. Congratulations to The Miz. I am generally excited for him and his victory. I haven’t popped like that since Bret Hart returned back in January and the excitement of this victory was on par as CM Punk’s first victory back in the summer of 2008. Also congrats to Miz on becoming the 40th man to capture the prestigious WWE Championship, putting him on the same list as Rogers, Sammartino, Backlund, Hogan, Andre, Undertaker, Austin, Rock and Cena. It’s hard to believe for a kid from The Real World. I’m sure I’ll have more on his victory next week.

Oh and before I forget, “There’s two things you don’t mess with, legends and America,” – Sgt. Slaughter address Alberto Del Rio on the Old School RAW. Best comment since CM Punk said, “Luke, Serena, bring me Jared from Subway.”

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
WWE came to terms on the releases of many wrestlers on November 19, including Shad Gaspard, Luke Gallows, Vance Archer, Caylen Croft, Tiffany and Jillian Hall. Creative team member Christopher DeJosephs and referee Aaron “Goose” Mahoney have also been released.

WWE.com confirmed the releases with this little blurb:

World Wrestling Entertainment has come to terms on the release of WWE Superstars Shad Gaspard, Luke Gallows, Vance Archer and Caylen Croft and WWE Divas Tiffany and Jillian Hall as of November 19, 2010. WWE wishes them the best in all future endeavors.

Okay here goes with a little “obituary” on each major release:

Shad Gaspard originally tried out for the second season of Tough Enough back in 2002 but did not make the final cut to make the television show. He joined Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2003 using the name Da Beast and acted as an enforcer for the company’s villains. After improving his skills he was signed to a developmental deal in June 2005. He was called up to the WWE main roster in September 2006 alongside JTG to form Cryme Tyme, a parody on black racial stereotypes. The fan favorite team was a huge hit for a year before being released in September 2007 for relationship problems. The duo were re-signed in March 2008 and picked up where they left off. Shortly after WrestleMania XXVI, the duo split up. Shad attacked JTG after losing a tag match. Shad and JTG feuded through the spring of 2010, highlighted by a Strap Match at Extreme Rules. Shortly thereafter Shad was sent to Florida Championship Wrestling for more seasoning. He hadn’t been seen on WWE television since May.

Luke Gallows (real name Drew Hankinson) signed with WWE in early 2005 and was assigned to WWE’s then developmental territory Deep South Wrestling. His first stint on WWE television was in May 2006 when he portrayed an imposter Kane who feuded with the real thing. Unfortunately the gimmick and the storyline bombed and he was sent back to developmental. He returned to television in the summer of 2007 as the dimwitted Festus, who teamed alongside Jesse (Ray Gordy) in a low card comedy tag team with middling success. Festus was sent to the RAW brand during the 2009 supplement draft, but was used sparingly. He was repackaged again in November 2009 as Luke Gallows, a drug free and alcohol free follower of CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. This was Hankinson’s most successful gimmick to date. After losing a feud to The Big Show in September 2010, Punk turned on Gallows, effectively splitting up the Society. Since then he wandered aimlessly through the low card on SmackDown before his release.

Vance Archer has had the most success and longevity of any of today’s release. He spent nearly five years in TNA Wrestling using the names Dallas, his real name Lance Hoyt and later Lance Rock. Along the way he became a two time NWA World Tag Team Champion with Kid Kash, formed various tag teams and alliances and competed with and against all of TNA’s top stars of the day including Abyss, Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Ron Killings. He joined WWE in April 2009 and was sent to Florida Championship Wrestling for repackaging. He debuted on ECW in November 2009 as Vance Archer and received a small mid-card push. After ECW folded he was moved quietly to the SmackDown brand. He re-debuted in May 2010 as a tag team partner of Curt Hawkins, unofficially known as The Gatecrashers. The duo split inauspiciously in October after Hawkins attacked Archer. His final appearance on television was a loss to fellow releasee Luke Gallows on the November 4 Superstars.

Caylen Craft, who was born Kris Pavone, debuted in 2001 and worked in Ohio Valley Wrestling using the moniker Chris Cage. He was an OVW mainstay for years. He signed his original WWE contract in 2003 but was never called up to the main roster. He was released in 2006 due to behavioral problems. He was re-signed in 2008 and reported to FCW. Now going by the name Caylen Croft he formed The Dudebusters team with Trent Baretta and Curt Hawkins. Croft and Baretta were called up to the ECW brand in December 2009 as a villainous tag team. When ECW folded they were immediately moved to SmackDown and returned to using The Dudebusters nickname. They worked primarily as a low card team, competing primarily on Superstars. At the time of his release Croft and Baretta were feuding with Hawkins.

Tiffany was a model who tried out for the 2007 Diva Search using her real name, Taryn Terrell. She didn’t win but still was signed to a developmental deal. After a stint in FCW she debuted on ECW in June 2008 as Assistant General Manger to Teddy Long. In April 2009 she was promoted to General Manager of ECW when Teddy Long was promoted to SmackDown. She remained the ECW GM until the brand ended in February 2010. She was moved to SmackDown and used sporadically in a tag team with Kelly Kelly against LayCool. She was taken off television and suspended in August due to a domestic dispute with her real-life husband Drew McIntyre. She had not been on television or on the road with WWE since that point.

Jillian Hall (Jillian Fletcher) was a veteran of the wrestling rings having debuted in 1998. She joined Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2003 using the Jillian Hall name. She was called up to the main WWE roster in July 2005 as the “fixer” for the Hollywood team of MNM (Melina, Nitro and Mercury). She was given the gimmick of having a disgusting growth on her face that played like the “mole” gimmick from the Austin Powers movies. After her run with MNM she joined up with John “Brashaw” Layfield in the same fixer role. During this time her blemish was “eaten” off her face by The Boogeyman. After that she went solo as a competitor in the women’s division. In early 2007 she found her calling as an obnoxious singer who didn’t realize how bad she really was. The gimmick gave her longevity and versatility to be used in a variety of situations. From that point on she was never really used as a serious threat in the women’s division but did briefly hold the Divas Championship for a few minutes in October 2009. But her biggest claim to fame was an iTunes ep released in December 2007, which saw her badly cover Christmas classic while in character. In October 2010 she was taken off the road in order to become a trainer for the new crop of women in FCW.

I can’t say I’m surprised by any of their releases as none of them were featured heavily at the time. However I find it interesting that Caylen Croft (Chris Cage) got his walking papers for his second time while both his running buddies, Trent Baretta and Curt Hawkins, escaped the axe. As a fan of Baretta’s, it will be interesting to see him as a solo act now. But once again with the loss of Croft, Gallows and Archer, it’s some more blows to the already on life support tag team scene.

Last weekend the cuts actually started as WWE released six talents from their developmental contracts, including Devin Allen, Cable Jones, Fady Rachmann, Ron Myers and referee David Skyler were all released.

I can’t comment on any of them as I sincerely know nothing about any of them, but I seem to remember the signing of Fady this past summer a fairly big deal. But it’s sad to see them all go, from the unknown rookies to the people like Gallows, Gaspard and Hall, who had been on the roster for years.

The match listing for the hotly contested Top 50 Superstars DVD, which comes out on December 14, has been released.

Disc 2
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Lou Thesz vs Argentina Rocca
Buffalo, NY

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Jack Briscoe vs Dory Funk Jr.
Championship Wrestling from Florida

Women’s Championship Match
The Fabulous Moolah vs Susan Green
Madison Square Garden – June 16, 1975

Gorilla Monsoon vs Muhammad Ali
Philadelphia, PA – June 2, 1976

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Harley Race vs Terry Funk
Championship Wrestling from Florida – February 6, 1977

Boxing Match
Gorilla Monsoon vs Andre The Giant
Puerto Rico – September 23, 1977

WWE Championship Match
“Superstar” Billy Graham vs “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes
Madison Square Garden – September 26, 1977

WWE Championship Match
The Iron Sheik vs Hulk Hogan
Madison Square Garden – December 28, 1984

Six Man Tag Team Elimination Match
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Rowdy Roddy Piper & Junkyard Dog vs Randy “Macho Man” Savage, “The King” Harley Race & Adrian Adonis
Madison Square Garden – February 23, 1987

“Ravishing” Rick Rude vs Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Madison Square Garden – December 26, 1987

AWA Heavyweight Championship
Jerry “The King” Lawler vs “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig
AWA – August 13, 1988

No Disqualification Match – Virgil Barred from Ringside
Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Madison Square Garden – December 28, 1989

Disc 3
WWE Championship Match
“Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs Bret “Hit Man” Hart
Saskatoon, CN – October 12, 1992

WWE Championship Match
The Rock vs Mankind
Halftime Heat – January 31, 1999

Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE Championship
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock vs Undertaker vs Kurt Angle
SmackDown! – December 7, 2000

Undertaker, Kane, Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy vs Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Edge & Christian
Raw – April 23, 2001

Edge & Triple H vs Kurt Angle & Chris Jericho
SmackDown! – May 16, 2002

Eddie Guerrero vs Big Show
SmackDown! – April 15, 2004

Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton
WrestleMania 22 – April 2, 2006

John Cena & Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker & Batista
No Way Out – February 18, 2007

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Edge vs Undertaker
WrestleMania XXIV – March 30, 2008

While there isn’t a lot of five star classics there is a lot of old school rarities and hidden gems buried throughout. This will be a set I will definitely be picking up for the documentary portion first and foremost.

In the “I can’t believe I’m reading and reporting this” news of the week, Vince McMahon (yeah that one) has signed a new contract with WWE. The employment contract is effective for three years from January 1st, 2011, with additional year extensions unless he or the company decide not to extend. Vince will continue to serve in his current roles as Chairman and CEO, as well as Creative Director, writer and performer. He’ll get a yearly salary of $1,100,000 and will be entitled to receive an annual bonus target of 100% of base salary depending on performance. He’ll have access to the company aircraft for personal time if it’s not in business use at the time, along with immediate family members, and gets four weeks paid vacation. He has a one-year no-compete clause.

That is just so absurd. Why has something like this never been reported before? Now cue up the release jokes and the ones about the NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

WWE has sent out letters to cities announcing that they would be accepting bids for cities to host their physical Hall of Fame. It is noted that WWE is looking for a location partner that would help offset the cost of building and maintaining the facility. They are very early in the process, and according to a source in the company, they are looking at 2012-2013 at the earliest for the project. There is also the idea that they could regularly tape footage and wrap-around for the potential WWE Network at the location.

I’m already creating my resume and cover letter to apply for curator or whatever they need when it comes to working there, regardless of whatever town it lands in. I’m already giddy for this concept.

CM Punk will not need surgery for his lower body injury and will instead rehab it. He’s expected to have an on-air role while he does.

And how awesome is he already sitting behind the desk?

Should the Justice Department and FCC approve Comcast’s purchase of 51% of NBC-Universal from General Electric, current USA and SyFy President Bonnie Hammer has already been told that she will add E! and G4 to her direct portfolio. The merger in general will give the WWE access to more potential cable networks to air their programming on (as the NBC-Universal deal stipulates the WWE can only be on cable stations in the NBC-Universal family unless they want to go to a network or superstation). Hammer is a huge fan of WWE in the past and is responsible for the synergies seen between her networks and shows, including having WWE wrestlers guest star on other USA and SyFy programs. After the merger, expect more of the same from Ms. Hammer as well as potential homes for WWE programming.

I’m still begging for WWE to show up on some Bravo network shows. I had no idea they had control of E! as well, so hopefully we can see some stars on The Soup and Chelsea Lately in the near future.

The Road to…TLC
rumored/expected matches:
Edge v. Kane for the World Title in a TLC Match
John Morrison v. Sheamus in a Tables Match
Kaval v. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Title in Ladder Match
The Miz v. Wade Barrett v. Randy Orton for the WWE Title in a Chairs Match
Rey Mysterio v. Alberto Del Rio in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match

Wrestler of the Week
Week of November 15 – 21: Randy Orton
Forget John Cena, Randy Orton is WWE’s hottest star right now. Everything he does just exudes a star quality. He is easily the company’s most complete package right now and this past week showed it. He was all over last week’s Old School RAW and looked like a star in that Piper’s Pit segment with Piper, John Cena and Wade Barrett. Then at Survivor Series he successfully retained the WWE Championship clean as a whistle in a match many did not expect him to win, let alone in such a clean manner. He’s well on his way to become the 2010 Superstar of the Year.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Yeah RAW’s already in the books, but what a show! I’m anxiously looking forward to next week.

On Last Week’s Episode…
SmackDown results and 10 thoughts

Superstars results and 10 thoughts

RAW results and 10 thoughts

How They Rated
Superstars (11.11.10) – .56

SmackDown! (11.12.10) – 1.7

A.M. RAW (11.14.10) – .47

RAW (11.15.10) – 3.1

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Dr. TNA keeps fighting the good fight for TNA.

Logan continues to go through early Nitro episodes. Sting-Dean Malenko? What a random main event.

DITCH. That is all.

In Case You Didn’t Spend the $50
Pulse was all over Survivor Series results with a live report,
10 thoughts and 10 more thoughts, from a bar.

Here’s the quick ‘n’ dirty:

In the dark match that happened before the pay per view went live on the air, R-Truth (accompanied by Eve Torres) beat Zack Ryder.

In the opening match, WWE United States Champion Daniel Bryan beat Ted DiBiase (accompanied by Maryse). He made DiBiase tap out to the Labelle Lock. Post-match, The Miz and Alex Riley showed. Miz level Bryan with his Money in the Bank briefcase and then threatened that it was only a matter of time before cashing in Money in the Bank.

John Morrison pinned Sheamus after a running knee to the face.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler (accompanied by Vickie Guerrero) beat Kaval. He rolled through when Kaval tried for a victory roll and used the tights for leverage.

Team Mysterio (Rey Mysterio, The Big Show, Montel Vontavious Porter, Chris Masters & Kofi Kingston) beat Team Del Rio (Alberto Del Rio, Drew McIntyre, Tyler Reks, Cody Rhodes & Jack Swagger) in an elimination match. Mysterio and Big Show were the survivors.
Order of elimination:
McIntyre pinned Porter after Del Rio hooked Porter’s foot on a suplex attempt, allowing McIntyre to fall on top for the victory.
Del Rio made Masters tap out to a rolling armbar.
Del Rio was taken out of the match after a KO punch from Big Show.
Big Show pinned Rhodes after a KO punch.
Kingston pinned Reks after a kick to the face.
Swagger made Kingston tap out to an ankle lock.
Mysterio pinned Swagger after a splash off the top of Big Show’s shoulders.
Big Show pinned McIntyre after a 6-1-9 into a chokeslam.

In a handicap match, Natalya Neidhart beat co-Unified Divas Champions LayCool (Layla & Michelle McCool) to win the Championship. She made McCool submit to the Sharpshooter. Post-match, LayCool attack Natalya, but Beth Phoenix made her grand return and made the save for Natalya.

The World Title match between Edge and defending Champion Kane ended in a tie. Edge speared Kane and both fell into a double pin situation. The referee declared the match a draw. Therefore Kane remained Champion.

WWE Tag Team Champions The Nexus (Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater) beat Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov to defend their Tag Titles. Slater pinned Marella after a reverse DDT move.

In the main event, WWE Champion Randy Orton pinned Wade Barrett. Barrett hit Orton with Wasteland but Orton got the ropes, negating the pinfall. Barrett was angry about this and argued with special referee John Cena. Cena and Barrett argued about this, which led to Cena dropping Barret with an Attitude Adjustment and then led into Orton dropping Barrett with a RKO for the 1-2-3. As a result of this John Cena was fired from WWE. The show ended with Cena contemplating his future. He brought the WWE Title into the ring for Orton and the two men embraced. Orton then nodded in approval to give Cena his spotlight. Cena removed his Nexus gear and celebrated with his crowd before he left goodbye.

Rasslin’ Roundtable Results for Survivor Series
Here’s the roundtable results for Survivor Series. No one predicted Orton retaining and the Edge-Kane draw screwed everyone up but due to uncertainty regarding the elimination match and the Divas Title match no one really walked away a big winner.

Roundtable Champion: Mark Allen: 5-3 (216-125)

The rest:
Chris Biscuiti: 4-4 (27-46)
Steven Gepp: 4-4 (66-91)
Raffi Shamir: 4-4 (197-162)
Kyle Sparks: 4-4 (29-29)

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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