By Mike Mooneyham
June 22, 2003
Shawn Michaels has lost his smile – again.
Michaels, outraged that his Bad Blood pay-per-view match with Ric Flair last weekend was cut in half, posted a scathing commentary on WWE’s Web site after the bout. Not surprisingly, Michaels’ missive was removed within 24 hours.
“I’m disappointed in the time,” wrote Michaels, who had fought a bout with stomach flu the week before the match. “You had two of the best wrestlers in the world. We were given 18 minutes to wrestle. That’s BS.”
Actually, the highly anticipated Flair-Michaels match produced 14 minutes of wrestling, with the rest of the time consisting of ring entrances. Michaels had revealed the previous week that he and Flair had been given at least 30 minutes for the bout. Plans changed, however, prior to the contest, presumably to allow more time for Triple H’s Hell in a Cell match with Kevin Nash.Even with the main event going more than 20 minutes, the show still ended nearly 30 minutes early, making the decision to cut Flair-Michaels even more inexplicable and indicating a terrible job of time management on WWE’s part.
Michaels, who temporarily walked out on the company in 1997 claiming he had lost his “smile” (he actually balked at laying down for Bret Hart at Wrestlemania XIII), has butted heads with WWE owner Vince McMahon on more than one occasion in the past. But since turning over a new leaf and becoming a born-again Christian a year ago, the once-temperamental Michaels has earned the respect of the WWE locker room. Sunday night’s outburst, however, didn’t sit well with McMahon.
For his post-match rant, Michaels was sent home and scratched from the Raw lineup Monday night in Dallas.
Michaels, though, wasn’t the only unhappy camper at Bad Blood. Bill Goldberg, who signed a seven-figure contract with WWE in March, was said to be fuming backstage over a comment Linda McMahon made publicly a couple of days earlier that his character had been “disappointing” thus far, reinforcing a private statement Vince McMahon previously had made during a meeting with road agents.
While Goldberg was the fortunate recipient of a mega-push several years ago in WCW, his character had, for the most part, been protected until politics reared its ugly head in that company. WWE, perhaps biting its nose to spite its face, has not offered that same measure of protection to Goldberg, who has been portrayed as a much milder version of the once-invincible force.
Goldberg already has drawn management’s attention by sparring with Chris Jericho backstage and demanding that certain storylines be changed at the last minute. He publicly displayed his growing frustration Sunday night at the pay-per-view when he barked at ringside fans.
WWE talent chief Jim Ross acknowledged the creative problems with Goldberg last week, admitting that the company had made a mistake by trying to duplicate the streak from Nitro and by adding humor to Goldberg’s character. Ross said in the future Goldberg would be presented as an “animal” who fights much more than he talks.
Reports surfaced last week that the long-awaited title match between Goldberg and Triple H, tentatively planned for Summer Slam in August, could be scrapped in favor of a Triple H-Mick Foley headliner.
– The McMahons plan to take part in a number of upcoming house shows in an attempt to drum up business for one of its most critical areas. With average attendance down in most cities, the McMahons hope to pinpoint the problems, gauge who’s getting reactions from the crowds, and determine what needs to be done to reverse the downward spiral. Vince already has booked himself on a series of Piper’s Pit segments.
– Mark Jindrak, who has spent most of his WWE tenure being groomed in the developmental Ohio Valley Wrestling since coming over as part of the WCW group in 2001, will be brought in as the fourth member of Evolution.
Deacon Batista (Dave Batista) originally occupied the spot, but was dropped from the group after re-tearing his right triceps in April.
– After watching the public humiliation of Eric Bischoff at Bad Blood, I thought of something Ronnie Garvin once said after Dusty Rhodes resurfaced in the WWF in 1989 with his blue-collar, polka-dot wearing “Plumber Man” gimmick. “I knew then that the fat man was broke,” joked Garvin.
One can only wonder how much humble pie the former WCW president will be forced to eat. The man who once vowed to run Vince McMahon out of business – and nearly did – appears to be eating a lot of it for a paycheck these days.
– Former ECW champ Steve Corino was arrested by U.S. Customs agents in Detroit upon returning from a recent tour of Japan. Corino, 30, was extradited to Pennsylvania where he was charged with 30 counts of forgery and fraud.
The charges against Corino were filed by an ex-girlfriend who claimed that Corino failed to pay her rent, obtained credit cards in her name and proceeded to make more than $10,000 in purchases without the victim’s knowledge.
Corino, whose bail is set at $10,000, has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday.
Corino said in a statement that at no time was he involved in any illegal activity and that he was looking forward to proving his innocence in a court of law. He said the case involved an ex-girlfriend who claimed he forged a $2,100 check and used her credit card 25 times without her knowledge.
“The real truth of this situation will come out in court and I am confident that I will be found innocent of all charges,” said Corino.
– Miles Road Baptist Church will hold its annual Family Fun Night on Friday. The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature food, refreshments, games and a wrestling exhibition featuring such names as Greg Valentine, Jimmy Valiant, Ricky Morton, The Barbarian and George South. Also making appearances will be Del “The Patriot” Wilkes and Burrhead Jones. The church is located at 816 Miles Road in Summerville.
– HBO’s “Real Sports” will air a segment titled “The Sickness” at 10 p.m. Tuesday. The show will focus on the deaths of more than 60 current or former professional wrestlers, all under the age of 45, who have died in the past five years.
“Some died from injuries sustained in the ring, others from drug overdoses, and still others from complications caused by years of steroid and drug use,” the show’s Web site states. “All of them, according to renowned performer Rowdy Roddy Piper, suffered from the sickness’ brought on by years of living the extreme lifestyle of a pro wrestler. Often, young athletes lured to the industry by the promise of fame and fortune discover a truly lonely existence instead. On the road for as many as 300 days a year, with no job security, and performing in spite of debilitating pain, they frequently spiral into depression and drug use.”
– Zane Bresloff, one of wrestling’s most successful live event coordinators, passed away early Friday at a hospice in Denver. He was 57.
Bresloff never regained consciousness after an auto accident on May 16. Bresloff began as a wrestling promoter in 1984 with the WWF after a career as a rock and roll promoter. He promoted several Wrestlemanias and the majority of WCW shows from 1994 until its closing.
– WWE has assigned Keith Elliot Greenberg to write a book on Ric Flair. Greenberg is a longtime writer for WWE magazines and is author of “Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks,” the autobiography of the late Freddie Blassie.
– WWE Smackdown champ Brock Lesnar was injured last week in a boating accident when his leg hit the propeller of a boat. Lesnar, who suffered a cut about three inches long and one inch deep, received numerous stitches but reportedly refused pain medication. It is unknown whether or not he will be able to wrestle on this week’s edition of Smackdown.
– Rena (Sable) and Mark Mero (the former Johnny B. Badd) have gone their separate ways. Sources say the two split partly over Rena’s decision to return to WWE. Although she left the company several years ago surrounding a swirl of controversy, she has re-emerged as one of Vince McMahon’s favorite characters.
Jim Ross told TSN’s “Off The Record” last week that Rena had separated herself from the people giving her bad advice, including her husband, and said the male demos like her and the company is able to “put the audience before personal feelings.”
– Zac “Little Wahoo” McDaniel will attend Dory Funk Jr.’s “Funking Conservatory” wrestling school in Florida on Tuesday.
Fifteen-year-old Zac, son of the legendary Wahoo McDaniel, is 6-1, 210 pounds and wears his famous father’s Indian headdress to the ring.
– Terry Funk is rumored to be making an appearance on this week’s Raw as part of a special ceremony for Mick Foley.
– Greg Oliver has written a terrific book on Canadian wrestling. Aptly named “The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Canadians,” the book takes a fascinating look at what it calls the best-kept secret in professional wrestling: Canada.
According to the book, by population no other country has sent as many top performers to the upper echelon of the squared circle. The retrospective contains bios on and more than 200 photos – including some great one-of-a-kind-shots from the personal collections of the wrestlers themselves.
The book is available in many bookstores and can be ordered through most major retail and on-line booksellers, and also can be found at the publisher’s Web site, www.ecwpress.com, in the New Releases category.
– Mike Tenay taped a 30-minute-plus sit-down interview with Sting at NWA-TNA’s anniversary show last week. Some of the footage is expected to air on this week’s show.
Sting, who worked his first U.S.-based match since the last Nitro, teamed with Jeff Jarrett against A.J. Styles and Sean Waltman in last week’s main event. The promotion held an autograph party after the show, but neither Sting nor Waltman (who was accompanied backstage by real-life girlfriend Joanie “Chyna” Laurer), took part.
– WWE writer Chris Bell has been released from his position on the Raw brand creative team. Bell, who came from California’s UPW promotion, was on a three-month deal and was told that it would not be renewed.
Bell reportedly had landed the spot on The Rock’s recommendation.
– J.P. Gagne, son of former AWA star Greg Gagne and grandson of longtime AWA champ Verne Gagne, has signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies. Gagne, a pitcher out of Notre Dame, was selected by the Rockies in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball draft.
– A forensic scientist who examined “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith’s body for a cause of death at the request of Smith’s family recently said that she found levels of morphine and steroids in his body, but they were not high enough to kill him, according to a report in The Manchester Evening News.
The medical inquiry was done at the request of Smith’s father, Sid, who did not believe the accounting of Smith’s death told by then-girlfriend Andrea Hart that Smith passed away in his sleep as the couple and Hart’s five children were vacationing.
“The levels found suggest a history of therapeutic use of codeine and morphine, but there is no scientific evidence of abuse,” said Julie Evans, who ruled the 39-year-old Smith’s death to be of natural causes stemming from an enlarged heart. “There were high levels of testosterone, but many athletes can have a higher level of testosterone than the average person.” The ruling backed up an initial ruling by Canadian investigators.
Smith, who insisted that his son’s body should be returned to England for a post mortem, told the newspaper that he may go to Canada himself to investigate Smith’s passing.
“I believe my son was murdered, he was so fit and healthy, it doesn’t make sense,” Smith told the British paper after the inquest.
Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at (843) 937-5517 or by e-mail at [email protected] He is the co-author of “Sex, Lies and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation,” published by Crown.