Orton Returns to WWE, Divas Injured, Smackdown Star Released, Loads of ECW News, More!
Ready for the ECW One Night Stand 2 pay per view? Me neither. I am a little disappointed at how the whole show is playing out. But we will see. I am just glad I have last year's ECW One Night Stand on DVD. This one is more like a combined Raw/Smackdown show with a few guests. Still, I am holding out hope that ECW comes out on top and isn't made to look weak like they were on Monday's Raw. My thoughts about ECW and why WWE is doing it all wrong will be coming in another column. Here is the latest news for you.
HIS BROTHER COULDN’T SAVE HIM FROM BEING RELEASED
WWE released Road Warrior Animal on Tuesday afternoon. Although Animal, whose real name is Joe Laurenaitis, has a brother is high places - John Laurenaitis is WWE's Director of Talent Relations - the decision was made to let him go. He wasn't doing much after Heidenreich was released and didn't look to be in good ring shape. He had a brief program with Matt Hardy then sort of disappeared from sight. I don't think anyone can complain about the release. The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom were a great tag team from yesteryear but Animal at his age just really didn't cut it as a singles wrestler.
TWO DIVAS INJURED DURING RAW
You may have seen Lilian Garcia being escorted to the back by two men after the Charlie Haas/Johnny Nitro Match on Raw. Haas accidentally knocked Lilian off the ring apron when he went to leave the ring (in a supposed rage over losing) causing her to sprain her wrist. She will be able to fulfill her announcing duties without interruption.
A much more serious injury was had by Beth Phoenix during her match with Victoria. She suffered a broken jaw after a roll up. Some say Victoria was stiff in the ring but people who know have said that Beth actually kicked herself with her knee to her jaw when being rolled up for and attempted pinfall by Victoria. Either way, Beth will have oral surgery and be out of action for at least two months. That has got to stink for her just coming in and getting a big push. Now that Ashley is on Smackdown and Trish is still injured, I have no idea who will stand in to continue Trish's feud with Mickie James until Trish is able to compete again. I wish both women speedy recoveries.
ECW ONE NIGHT STAND PPV LINE UP THUS FAR
As of late Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, the ECW ONS 2 PPV looks like this:
John Cena vs. RVD for Raw title
Rey Mysterio vs. Sabu for Smackdown title
Edge & Mick Foley vs. Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer
Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton
Tazz vs. Jerry Lawler
There will be other matches made, no doubt. I sure hope we see some ECW vs. ECW action like we did last year. Right now this looks like a WWE vs. ECW pay per view. The outcomes will be interesting and will definitely give us all a feel for how important the ECW brand really is to WWE. If ECW talent is shown in a good light and at least one belt changes hands, that's a good sign that WWE truly has faith in the brand. I really hope to see ECW talent prevail over WWE talent on their own brand's pay per view.
ANGLE TO ECW BUT WHY?
A lot of people have asked why Kurt Angle was sent to ECW especially since he was so vocally against the promotion on and off screen. A source I spoke to personally this afternoon told me that Angle was not at all happy about being switched to the new brand but didn't have the "stroke" to flat out refuse to make the move. Apparently the powers that be feel that Angle will bring some true wrestling talent to the ECW brand and will show prospective viewers that ECW isn't all about hardcore matches and garbage wrestling. Of course, fans of ECW already know this but new fans may not so Angle is being positioned as the guy to negate the notion that ECW is strictly hardcore. Ironically, ECW is still being depicted as a wayward, unruly band of thugs with no true wrestling talent by almost everyone in WWE when they talk about the brand.
TAZZ TO DEFECT TO ECW
Expect Tazz to leave his Smackdown announcing position to do color commentary with Joey Styles on the ECW brand show. He may also wrestle a bit but is not going to be a full time wrestler. Who will replace Tazz is up in the air but a few names have been bandied about. We'll see who ends up sitting next to Cole very soon.
ORTON RETURNS TO WWE
Suspended WWE Smackdown wrestler Randy Orton returned a week early to build his feud with Kurt Angle for Sunday's pay per view. He showed up on Raw to attack Angle and accept his open challenge. Many were disappointed - myself included - that Angle's opponent is going to be Orton because they wanted to see a fresh match up with an ECW star or someone new from another promotion. We already saw Angle vs. Orton on free TV so the anticipation for that match is not too high.
As for whether Orton has changed his ways, some reliable sources are saying he hasn't at all. Then again, it has been just one night and I don’t know how anyone can really access whether Orton has learned to respect the others on the roster and change whatever it is that he was suspended for. I guarantee you that if hasn't changed and continues to be a problem for management, he will be either demoted or suspended again. I don't see him being released because WWE has high hopes for Orton and they would hate to see him jump to TNA. Still, this suspension was a stern warning to him and I hope he did learn his lesson and will go on to bigger and better things in WWE.
WRESTLING SOCIETY X SIGNS SOME, LETS OTHERS GO
MTV's new conceptual wrestling promotion, Wrestling Society X, has allowed Justin Credible, Chris Hamrick, New Jack, and Puma to leave the promotion. Puma is working in TNA and was given an oral release weeks back. WWE has shown some interest in Justin Credible and Chris Hamrick for the ECW show, and I have no idea what New Jack's situation is.
Meanwhile, the promotion has extended the contracts of Teddy Hart, Vampiro, Sean Waltman, Aaron Aguilera (formerly WWE's Jesus), Jack Evans, Kaos, Luke, Alkatrazz, and announcer Kris Kloss.
At MTV's request, Big Vision Entertainment, the producers of the Society X pilot, has signed the above until early July while they work on the concept and direction of this new wrestling show. This is a good sign for the show and means that MTV has a true interest in airing it. I don't know much about the promotion except that it has a harder edge and will have some music related components to it. It will be a weekly one-half show as it stands now. I will definitely keep you informed when I learn more. The above information was posted in part on www.pwinsider.com which a great place for reliable wrestling news.
I am going to stop here because I will be writing a lot more as the ECW pay per view airs and I still have MySpace addresses to post and so much more! So much stuff, so little time (and space!).
Come on over to the forum where we discuss all of the above plus much, much more. We're friendly and easy to get along with and all opinions are welcome. All I ask is that you respect differing opinions because, in wrestling, there will never be anything that we all agree on (except one phrase about Johnny Ace that was posted but you'll have to find that yourselves! Ha!).
Watch for columns with my opinions and ECW One Night Stand 2 pay per view results and thoughts late Sunday night.
I'll be back (said in an Arnold accent),
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