This Week in ‘E – A WWE Royal Rumble Upgrade and Trouble for Khali

The Great Khali causes a riot in India, the Royal Rumble expands for more Zack Ryder goodness and Mike Adamle covers his tracks after last week’s arrest.

Opening Witty Banter
Thanks to my local fye store closing today I was able scoop up a pile of wrestling DVDs for ridiculously cheap prices. So today’s column is brought to you by the new Chris Jericho DVD. It’s pretty fantastic so far.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
This year’s WWE Royal Rumble match will be expanded to feature 40 wrestlers, as opposed to the standard 30 wrestlers. The news was announced via the preview for the match listed on wwe.com.

After the initial Royal Rumble in 1998, which featured 20 men and was broadcast on the USA Network, the match has featured 30 people, with a new wrestler entering at a set interval. This year it was announced that someone will enter every 90 seconds.

However according to wwe.com’s RAW and SmackDown rosters there are only about 50 healthy male rosters currently performing on television, including both WWE Champion The Miz and World Heavyweight Champion Edge, who will both be defending their Championships on the pay per view as well. Therefore I would expect plenty of surprise entrants, including returning stars, past legends, a debut or two and perhaps even a female wrestler.

The Royal Rumble is also an entertaining match and a personal favorite of yours truly, so I am excited and optimistic about the change. It gives more wrestlers a chance at a pay per view spotlight and payday. But I miss the days of powder blue Vince McMahon looking the camera dead in the eye and saying “Darren Young could very well win the Royal Rumble match this upcoming Sunday.”

According to SLAM Wrestling, former World Heavyweight Champion The Great Khali and his bodyguard were involved in a shooting incident in his native India on Friday, January 21. Three people were seriously wounded in the shooting.

Khali (born Dalip Singh) was invited to the home of Satpal Gosain, the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab State Assembly in the city of Ludhiana. As he approached the residence, Khali was besieged by fans, asking for photos and autographs. According to eyewitnesses, Khali’s bodyguard was hostile and began shoving and assaulting children as they approached Khali. The bodyguard then grabbed a boy and beat him. People tried to rescue they boy, which led to the bodyguard shooting into the crowd. The bodyguard has been accused of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the shooting.

Khali fled the scene during the shooting. Ludhiana police have not released any information regarding the incident, and no charges have been filed.

After that was posted, more information came out regarding the shooting.

According to an article in the Times of India, the incident occurred near the house of Punjab Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Sat Pal Gosain at 11:30 PM EST on Friday night, when Khali was leaving his host’s house after dinner. It was previously reported that three were injured, however it is now being stated that only one person was injured as a bullet hit the person in the shoulder.

A case under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 34 (common intention) IPC and Arms Act has been registered at division No 2 police station.

”We have registered the case on the complaint of Gauravjeet Singh alias Gora against the unidentified gunmen,” said Surinder Mohan, station house officer division number 2, police station.

Sources said The Khali was accompanied by 15 security guards, who fired 40 bullets to scare away the crowd.

Khali released a statement, claiming he was not present during the shooting.

In the statement he said, “I am deeply saddened to hear of this incident and am disappointed it has been incorrectly reported that I was involved. I had left my friend’s house a half an hour before the reported shooting took place and did not have any bodyguards with me. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people who were injured.”

Hmmm…bad timing for Khali, especially when he’s always a shoe-in to make a big appearance in the Royal Rumble match.

On his new blog, Dave Lagana, ROH Producer and former member of WWE creative, talked about what he learned from Vince McMahon:

#1 – Know your Brand
Coke is a brand. Tide is a brand. You are a brand. Vince would always make this one point very clear: “Perception is Reality.” Vince McMahon is a brand. From how he walks, to how he carries himself, to the speech patterns he uses. What he does, works for him. Don’t believe me? Check out his net worth.

Vince would sit down with talents to talk with them, to get inside their heads and find out who they are. The best characters always come from inside the person playing them. Vince prided himself with finding a little nugget inside a talent and running with it. All the great characters are a piece of themselves, with the volume turned up.

If you walk into work, complaining everyday; what are you? How people perceive you is how they see you.
This is true in every profession, including wrestling. The “show” doesn’t stop when the red light goes off. Look what being mean to a catering person did for Randy Moss. The information (publicly and privately) you put out, every interaction you have; this is your foundation. If you don’t know how to communicate, what will happen to your brand? Look at the truly successful people and the brands they create for themselves. It’s really the idea of personal responsibility. You can blame others or take ownership in the things you control.

#2 – What’s your Finish
As talked about in a previous article, storytelling is key to all forms of communication. No matter if it was a storyline being pitched to Vince or details of a match, he’d always ask “What’s your finish?” He wanted to see if you had thought about where you were going, the goal. While this sometimes could be perceived as a power game, it also made you prepare differently for the next time.

Every task you tackle, it has an order. Putting thought into them before starting will save headaches along the way. I have an IKEA desk that will agree with this way of thinking. Know your plan, know your mission. Write it down. That way when asked “What’s your finish?”, you can properly communicate it and then execute it.

#3 No Sneezing
If there is one thing Vince McMahon hates… it’s sickness. “There is no such thing as sick”, was the usual response when someone would try to use it as an excuse. Vince is a workaholic and if anything gets in the way of his work, it makes him angry. Paul Heyman would joke that Vince would get angry with his own sneezes. Perhaps it was because he couldn’t control it. Like the famous quote from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings”. In the pro wrestling world, “Every time someone sneezes, Vince McMahon gets angry.”

You know why Vince McMahon is still thriving in this business when everyone of his competitors is talking on DVD sets? Because of things like Lagana talked about in this blog.

Conor O’Brian was the second Rookie eliminated from WWE NXT, season 4, tonight, January 18, 2011. O’Brian’s elimination came at the end of the episode. As he tried to give his goodbye speech, Ricardo Rodriguez, Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer, cuts him off. O’Brian chased him off and then crawls under the ring like the rat he has been portraying all season.

The show opened with a How Well Do You Know Your Pro immunity challenge. Derrick Bateman and Daniel Bryan won the challenge when they got every answer correct. Bateman is now way ahead in immunity points and should have immunity going into the season finale.

Chris Masters beat his former Rookie Byron Saxton by making him submit to The Masterlock.
Derrick Bateman & Daniel Bryan beat Ted DiBiase & Brodus Clay when Bateman rolled up DiBiase.
Backstage, Conor O’Brian and Ricardo Rodriguez argue with each other, so Alberto Del Rio, O’Brian’s Pro, books the two in a match against each other.
Rodriguez pinned O’Brian in the final match of the evening. O’Brian hit the turnbuckle head first and Rodriguez hit him with a poor looking splash.

Well that was an obvious finish. Remember when Conor O’Brian was a tough guy known as Roughouse O’Reilly? Yeah me neither. I’m guessing Johnny Curtis goes next. When is Tough Enough start again?

After I wrote about Mike Adamle’s DUI arrest last week on Examiner and then re-posted in this column I was one of many who received this press release in my inbox defending Adamle. Take a look.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT FROM LAWYER REPRESENTING MIKE ADAMLE, CHICAGO SPORTSCASTER

CHICAGO (17 January 2011) – Lawyer Dean Dickie from the law firm of Miller Canfield (Chicago office) issued the following statement today on behalf of his client, local sportscaster, Mike Adamle:

“Mr. Adamle vigorously disputes that he was under the influence of alcohol or any other illegal substance when detained by the Evanston police.

Mr. Adamle fully cooperated with the police officers, demonstrated his sobriety, passed the breathalyzer test, and intends to defend the charges.

Mr. Adamle has retained Miller Canfield to represent him and to investigate the entire circumstances surrounding the recent incident, including the propriety of having been ticketed for not having changed the address on his driver’s license while living temporarily outside the marital home during the resolution of his divorce proceeding.

Mr. Adamle believes himself to be innocent of any wrongdoing and reiterates that at no time was he impaired by alcohol or otherwise such that he was unable to operate an automobile in a safe, lawful manner.”

While the investigation is ongoing, Mr. Adamle will not be offering interviews or further comment. Questions can be directed to Dean Dickie at Miller Canfield.

# # #
SOURCE: Miller Canfield
Media Contact: Christy Baas, 313.496.7555, baas@millercanfield.com

Hey sweet! Somebody read my stuff!

Rick Morris, host of The FDH Lounge on sportstalknetwork.com announced that Bob Barker will be appearing at WrestleMania XXVII. Barker was a Raw guest host, and was one of the most well received celebrities during the time that the company did the guest host gimmick.

Hell yeah! Arguably the best of that abysmal guest hosting gimmick so he will be a welcome addition to the WrestleMania pageantry.

The following was posted on Linda McMahon’s Facebook this past week:

“Senator Lieberman announced today that he will not seek re-election. I believe he deserves our respect and appreciation for bringing a strong, independent and principled voice to Washington. Many people have asked me what my plans are. While running for the U.S. Senate in 2012 remains an option for me, I will spend …the next few months focusing on how I can best serve the people of Connecticut.”

Yeah! more Linda campaign goodness upcoming in the future! Now cue the haters bemoaning no stopping of TV-PG in the foreseeable future.

Former WCW World champion Diamond Dallas Page tweeted that there will be a Best of Nitro DVD coming and that he may host:

Just got the Word… Looks like I may be hosting the Best of Nitro coming out on WWE DVDs…Sounds like a Great time… I’ll keep you posted

Hell yeah! There should be plenty of goodness tucked in there between the nWo chaos. You wonder if the set will just cut off about the fall of ’99, as really, other than the young Power Plant kids and the resurgence of the cruiserweights, what was good about that last year and a half?

In addition to “Macho Man” Randy Savage, IGN has reported that Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Eddie Guerrero, Jimmy Snuka, Sgt. Slaughter, John Cena, The Rock, Andre the Giant, Ricky Steamboat, Triple H, Bret Hart, Big Show, John Morrison, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and Sheamus are all confirmed names that will be in the WWE All-Star video game.

WWE previously announced the following synopsis of the game:

WWE All Stars will deliver one of the greatest rosters ever assembled in a wrestling-centric video game. Renowned WWE Legends will align with today?s most prominent Superstars, inviting players to generate fantasy matches and ultimately determine the greatest competitors of all time. In addition, each Legend and Superstar will boast a distinctive and highly stylized appearance, adding to the overall atmosphere and intrepid attitude exuding from the on-screen action. WWE All Stars will encompass a fluid, intuitive and original gameplay style, creating a highly competitive environment and an engaging spectacle of big, bold and over the top moments. Every Legend and Superstar on the power-packed roster will be equipped with individual abilities, signature moves and renowned finishers to create the ultimate in-ring experience.

I’m not much of a gamer, but it sounds like a fun game; much different than the SmackDown franchise.

For fans that order The Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania, WWE will be giving away a $50 gift card.

I think that’s a great gimmick. As a fan the only pay per views I pay money for are the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, so getting fans to buy Elimination Chamber in between there is a solid concept.

Shaul Guerrero, the daughter of Eddie and Vickie Guerrero, is currently doing the ring announcing down in FCW. She was signed to a developmental deal last year.

If she has the talent and charisma of her mom or dad, then she should do alright for herself in WWE.

The Road to…The Royal Rumble
40 Man Royal Rumble Match
expected participants include: Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, Drew McIntyre, John Cena, CM Punk, David Otunga, Mike McGillicuty, Husky Harris, Daniel Bryan, John Morrison, King Sheamus, Ted DiBiase, Mark Henry, Yoshi Tatsu, Tyson Kidd, William Regal, Darren Young, Primo, Zack Ryder, David Hart Smith, Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Ezekiel Jackson

WWE Championship
Randy Orton v. The Miz (c)

World Heavyweight Championship
Edge (c) v. Dolph Ziggler

The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Shawn Michaels

Wrestler of the Week
Week of January 17 – 23: Justin Gabriel
This was another of those weeks where a lot of people had good weeks in WWE but no one really stood out head and shoulders for me. But Justin Gabriel looked pretty solid on SmackDown. After getting a chance to introduce himself to the SmackDown audience as part of the Corre. Then he got I believe his first ever solo main event on TV against World Heavyweight Champion Edge, and even got the pinfall. His “sternum crushing” 450 Splash is incredibly over and is sold as a legitimate match ending finishing move and that will only help Gabriel in the long run as he continues his young career.

RAW’s On Tonight!
It’s only six days before the Royal Rumble and boy am I excited. Twenty-five of the forty participants have been named for the match. And chances are you can probably guess at least ten more names just by looking at the roster list. As for tonight’s show, the company is sticking with the 2011 theme of putting on quality main events. This week it will be Champion versus Champion bout between Edge and The Miz. Surely there should be plenty of interference from Alex Riley, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton and maybe even Vickie Guerrero. Oh and I’m sure there’ll be some other matches as well.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Superstars

NXT

RAW results, 10 thoughts and judicial review

How They Rated
Superstars (1.13.10) – .58

SmackDown! (1.14.10) – 1.92

A.M. RAW (1.16.11) –.52

RAW (1.17.11) – 3.3

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Steven Gepp has been a reading and reviewing madman. Check out his thoughts on Bret Hart’s book and Wrestlecrap: Book of Lists.

Logan brings some more 1996 RAW goodness.

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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