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What a week it was


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* Shinya Hashimoto dies

* WWE releases a fifth of their roster

* Jim Cornette gets released from his duties in OVW and is (temporarily?) replaced by Paul Heyman

* WWE airs a controversial "terrorist" angle on Smackdown involving Muhammad Hassan and Undertaker

* Shawn Michaels turns heel on Hulk Hogan

* HHH disappears and isn't coming back in the near future

* Kenta Kobashi agrees to do a match in ROH

* Hulk Hogan debuts his new reality show

* Brock Lesnar most likely resigns with WWE

* Matt Hardy's no-compete expires

 

Wow. This has been the biggest week of news for wrestling in ages. I actually had to go check some websites and make sure I didn't miss anything here if that tells you anything.

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Yeah, but who knows, maybe HHH really wanted the time off. I'm kinda shocked that he has gone this long without collapsing or suffering a major health setback, because being the top guy is an incredibly stressful position. I guess the security of knowing that even if you bomb, you still have your spot is a factor, along with him not working quite as many house shows as he once did. He also used to wrestle on TV every single week and now averages probably one TV match a month.

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Wasn't one of the claims floating around that the writers felt HHH was overexposed? As if anyone in the company would have the balls to say that out loud, let alone act on it.

THAT is the main reason I am leery of Scherer's report. No one in their right mind, who wants to keep their job, would ever tell Trips he is over-exposed.
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If he's not back by the RAW after GAB (two weeks from now), then we can assume that this is correct. That will be when the Summerslam hype kicks into overdrive, and he'll be there immediately if he's going to be on the show.

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Meltzer seems to think he doesn't want to be around at all when Hogan is around.

I'm guessing that's an understatement too.

 

To be honest, while it was a big week as far as news go, a few of those stories (the Hassan-Taker angle, the releases (some of them, at least), Cornette) as well as the product being generally bad all contributed to wrestling sucking the life out of me last week. It's also why I haven't been motivated to participate in the tag tourney, until today.

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Wrestling Observer Live radio report

 

 

 

by Luke Barasic

 

Wrestling Observer Live Report

Airdate: (10/07/2005)

 

Hosts: Dave Meltzer & Bryan Alvarez

Guests: None

 

Way too much news for a guest tonight. WWE cut a swag of wrestlers this past

week. Jim Cornette was also fired, not because of budget cutting, mind you. One

of the trainees laughed at a botched angle and it was caught on camera. Cornette

yelled at him and, when the trainee no-sold the verbal rundown, then Cornette slapped him

a few times. Dave and Bryan lament it is a sad day, although Bryan still has a

week of Cornette-booked OVW to watch. On Monday's Dave watches RAW and then

OVW. 90% of the time, OVW makes Dave happy. The booking makes sense and the

promos are logical, although the wrestling is often not very good. Bryan

says it's just a fun hour of wrestling. Bryan says Heyman is a good move and

softens the blow of losing Cornette. Dave guesses that Al Snow will replace

Cornette on commentary.

 

Commercials.

 

Dave brings up Hogan Knows Best. Bryan's buddy Vince has seen it and said he had

never seen a faker reality show, but enjoyed it regardless. Brooke

Hogan's first date is tonight. Brock Lesnar is probably coming back, which

isn't much of a shock. He hasn't signed a contract yet. The wrestlers have such

low morale given all of these guys get cut to seemingly pay for Lesnar. Bryan

says if used correctly, Lesnar will be worth ten times as much as the released

talent would've drawn. Dave says a frustrating thing is the naivety of

wrestlers and fans as well at times. WWE fired these people because they had no

use for them. They didn't have to do it. It makes sense business wise, and it's

not Lesnar's fault. Bryan is confused over Matt Morgan's release. Dave says

Haas as well confused him. Dave says the Dawn Marie firing was classless

considering she is pregnant. She did the ECW PPV and then they fire her. Holding off letting her go for another couple of months wouldn't have killed them financially. Dave

knew which Divas would be fired, due to the influx of a fresh batch of Diva

Search contestants, and that Jackie Gayda would've known it was coming. Dave

says firing both members of a married couple isn't great either. Dave saw MNM

against Holly-Haas at a recent house show and it stole the show. If a guy

(Haas) is working hard, it doesn't make sense. Dave questions Sylvain Grenier

being kept ahead of most of the releases. Bryan questions someone like

Heidenreich being kept ahead of Matt Morgan. Bryan says Morgan could've been in

development for another two years and really be something. He was lumped with a

bad gimmick. He got over well in OVW as a face. Then they turned him heel and

he became the top heel. Dave says Heidenreich is more over, but is a worse

wrestler, is older, and has less upside. Bryan brings up hiring Big Guido and

how that can be justified given who has been released.

 

Commercials.

 

Dave just wants to make it clear that he doesn't disagree with most of the cuts

and also doesn't disagree with Cornette's firing. He is just upset with the circumsances that led to it

happening. Bryan says there had been a big build-up to the Cornette firing. Dave

says it couldn't be condoned. Dave says it wasn't as bad as the JBL thing, but

that isn't an excuse. Everyone knows there is a double standard. He is not defending what Jim Cornette did. HBK turned heel and is going to wrestle Hulk

Hogan at SummerSlam. Matt Hardy made a couple of posts leading Dave to believe

he won't be returning to WWE. He seems to be heading to TNA with brother Jeff

and Shannon Moore. Bryan says only Hurricane is missing. Dave thought The

Hurricane skit from RAW was hilarious. Bryan doesn't think tag champs should be

doing that sort of stuff. Dave says maybe if they were Gene and Ole Anderson it

would be wrong, but this is Hurricane and Rosey. Dave says if the Dudleys go to

TNA, they will be the most over tag team in the business. The tag division is

shot. MNM will be stars, but Regal/Tajiri have been split. The Heart Throbs

have been ruined by being called up too early. Dave brings up the horrible

segment with Hassan, The Undertaker, and the terrorists. At least it was edited

around the world. Dave says it was listed on the website, and was then taken

down rather abruptly. Bryan says it wouldn't have aired if the bombings had

happened in the States. The first thing they did was re-edit the England show.

Dave says Vince McMahon lives in a bubble. Dave says a few people thought he

was too harsh on Vince with his comments last week, so Dave urges people to

call and defend McMahon. Dave says the 1991 Gulf War angle killed a lot of

aspects of business and he didn't learn from his own mistakes. Bryan says it

wouldn't grow any interest for the Hassan-Taker match anyway. The fact it went

on the website showed they had no idea. At least they took that down. Better

late than never. Bryan says it's scary they couldn't figure it out on their own

and had to hear complaints from people to get it. Investor's conference. Bryan

says it was the worst conference call. Bryan says there were very angry

investors. They asked a lot of serious questions about the business end. Bryan

thought it wasn't possible to make Linda McMahon charismatic, but the new people they've hired managed to do it.

 

Commercials.

 

Dave has a big story on Cornette coming up in this week's Observer. Dave likens

it to reading the Death of WCW. There will

be a story on the cuts and whatever else is going on. Dave mentions the Heroes

show in Japan doing better than the last Pride show.

They talk about the upcoming Choi Hong-man-Sapp match on September 23rd. Dave

says you can just see dollar signs all over Choi. They are talking about Bob

Sapp-Royce Gracie potentially for New Year's Eve although Dave doesn't think it will happen. James is in Tallahassee.

Sadly, a friend of James was a soldier in Iraq who was killed by terrorists.

James thought the Hassan-Taker stuff was one of the most disgusting angles he

has ever seen. It was in horrible taste. Dave says the crowd just didn't care.

The whole symbolism just shows what WWE is about. Dave says wrestling is built

on bad taste, but this is up there with the worst. Dave mentions that Daivari

is of Iranian heritage and that Hassan is of Italian descent. This sort of

angle has been on the cards as WWE warned Arab-American groups (who were

complaining in the beginning but have gone quiet) that things would get worse.

James really likes Daivari's performance. He also thinks Hassan is a great

talker. Dave says it's a pity he can't back it up in the ring. Dave brings up

that Opie and Anthony (shock-jocks) were shocked, thinking Vince has lost his

mind. Dave says they still should've changed the show in the US. James says it

should be interesting to see what happens with HBK-Hogan. Dave thinks it could

easily be a good match and Bryan mentions the good match Hulk had with Jericho

a couple of years ago. Dave says Hogan is the smartest man in the business

(when it comes to manipulations). He blows HHH and Vince away. Dave says Hogan

always comes out with the best deal when dealing with Vince. Hogan will always

know when is the best time to go. Dave mentions Hogan saying in an interview he

will wrestle until he is 71. Bryan wonders if, when he is 65, will he push it up

to 80?

 

Commercials.

 

Warren is in Louisville. Dave feels sorry for him, given the OVW situation.

Warren hasn't seen THE segment. Bryan wonders how they will explain his

absence. An email has arrived to confirm that Daivari's parents are Iranian and

own a pizza franchise in Minneapolis. Bryan says maybe they can say that Kenny Bolin ate Jim Cornette! Warren

will have to hold on because it is time for the...

 

Newsbreak.

 

Warren wants to ask about TNA. He has a booking idea for Rhyno and Matt Hardy.

Dave is actually watching Impact on Sun Sports. Dave says there isn't anything

bad on the shows and they are quite good. Dave says they try to fit too much

into a one hour show, trying to fit 90 minutes into 60. Warren thinks Jeff

Hardy should confront Jeff Jarrett over beating up the Jeff Hardy-lookalike

fan. Rhyno then gores Jeff Hardy and the two do a beatdown until Matt Hardy

makes the save. Dave doesn't think it will go down that way. He expects Rhyno

to gore somebody, though. Bryan says if TNA gets TV in October, it is good

timing if they want any of the cut wrestlers as the 90 day cycles will be close

to expiring. Ed is in San Antonio. He wants to talk about Hogan and asks if he

is under contract. Dave says he is. Ed asks about the legends contracts. Dave

says all of them were given a $10,000 down payment, plus royalties and

appearance fees. Hogan and Piper would be making more, though. Ed commends

Vince on looking after some of the legends like Billy Graham. Dave says there

are people they consider family (Graham, Blassie, James Dudley), but others are

purely business. Ed mentions last week was the anniversary of Ted Di Biase's

father passing away in the ring. He wants to know how many wrestlers have died

in the ring. Gary Albright and Owen Hart come to Dave's mind straight away.

Bryan brings up Oro. Dave doesn't have a number, but says probably between 40

and 50 in modern wrestling history. Dave brings up Daniel Quick from a few

weeks ago, who died taking a move. A few have died after shows. Ed mentions

Moondog Spot dying in the ring. Dave isn't sure it was in the ring as opposed to having the heart attack in the ring an dying enroute to the hospital. Jonathan is

in Savannah. He has a question about the cuts. He doesn't understand Matt

Morgan. Dave says their reasoning is they couldn't figure out what to do with

him. There were also a couple of agents who weren't keen on him. A lot of

people wouldn't have seen OVW tapes of him, either, so haven't seen what he can

do. Dave says he is a thousand times better than Batista at the same point in

their careers. Dave says if Batista hadn't have been paired with HHH and Flair,

he may very well have been in these latest cuts. Bryan says Cena and Hogan

aren't great technical wrestlers, but have both gotten over. Dave says Matt

Morgan is an athlete, as compared to the bodybuilder types. Dave says Morgan

was very agile for his size, but just didn't know what he was doing in the

ring. Dave thinks he would've learned. When Cornette says you will main event

WrestleMania in 5 years (he picked Batista spot on), Dave wouldn't cut them.

Jonathan asks why the Dudleys were cut. Dave says they rubbed some people the

wrong way. There was a feeling they were stale. They also had relatively good

money contracts that were coming due.

 

Commercials.

 

Todd is in Detroit...first time caller. He is 40 years old and grew up on The

Sheik. Dave mentions how he was the only wrestler Terry Funk was scared of,

because of his unpredictability. Dave talks about the incredible draw The Sheik

was. He was constantly in the main event, wherever he toured. Dave talks about

the night Bobo Brazil beat The Sheik in Detroit in 1971. Todd is appalled to see the way Ric Flair

is being treated nowadays. Dave says at his age, it is hard to convince people

that he should be going over regularly. Dave says he loves doing it,

regardless. He has never minded putting people over. Tyler is in Apple Valley,

Minnesota. He wonders when Lesnar will return. Dave says once he signs and gets

in shape, he will be back. He asks who Cena and Batista will be working with.

Dave says Cena will be working with Jericho and then Edge. Batista will be

going with JBL and maybe Hassan. Dave can see Batista dropping the title in the

next couple of months, but they are crazy if they take it off Cena. Dave says he

does not like where the Eddie-Rey storyline is going. Dave says, though, that

they did some great babyface-heel stuff. It was old school and it was great.

Dave says Lesnar and Batista is quite possible for Mania next year. Bryan asks

if they should bring Brock back as a face or heel. Dave says he should be

brought in as a heel and start building him up for Batista. Bryan thinks Booker

may be turning. Ernest is in Belleville, Illinois. He thinks RAW will go in a

downward spiral without Batista. Dave disagrees, thinking RAW is still a hot

show. Ernest says it will go down if they build around Hogan. Dave says it will

if he hangs around for too long. Ernest has a message for Maven: don't let the

door hit you where the dog bit you. Missed the next caller's name and location.

Caller also wants to talk about the cuts. He was surprised they got rid of Spike

Dudley, given his efforts. Dave wasn't surprised because he was always fighting

uphill in WWE. Dave says Spike doesn't fit with what WWE likes. Dave says they

don't cut based on how you work, more based on how you look. He asks where

Cornette will go. Dave says he won't be going anywhere in particular. He'll

probably do some stuff with The Midnight Express on the indy circuit.

 

Commercials.

 

Les is in Knoxville. He asks something to do with contracts (bad line). TNA

contacts are mainly based on a per date system. WWE contracts come with a

downside guarantee, but also have bonuses based on business and merchandise. Jeffrey is in NYC. He says it may be

a touchy subject. He may be in the minority, but feels Hassan is more of a face

than a heel. Dave says it is because Jeffrey is thinking with logic rather than

emotion, which is how WWE books for its audience. Jeffrey says it is different

to how other 'foreign' heels like him have been portrayed. Dave says Jeffrey

obviously thinks more than the average fan or at least WWE's vision of the

average fan. Dave says when Bret Hart did the heel turn in 1997, it was very

hard to dislike him. When he worked with Austin, he expressed his view so well

whereas Austin came across like a redneck, it was hard to hate him when you thought about it, but since Austin was the American against the Canadian, he was super over in America as the face. Bryan says

a villain needs to believe what he is saying. To the average person, though,

people have not been cheering Hassan. Although, he hasn't been able to draw

money either. Jeffrey also wants to know about the opening promo between Angle

and Flair on last week's RAW. He was surprised they did a worked shoot. Dave

said what Flair said is what he really thinks. Dave says it got over very well.

Jeffrey says HHH tries to be like Flair, but is bad at it. Dave thinks HHH is

more like Harley Race. Kurt is in Walnut, California. Kurt hasn't been on in a

long time. When he heard The Sheik brought up, he couldn't help but bring up

Martin Kardajian, who was huge in Argentina. He out-Sheiked The Sheik in terms

of someone so old still headlining. They talk about what a great promoter he

was and how he drew when opposed to a mummy. Kurt took Dave to his first show

in Tijuana. That is where Dave met Rey Mysterio when he was 14. Dave thought it

was a joke when told he was a pro wrestler, although Dave didn't actually see

him work. It was the exact same reaction WCW had to him in 1996. Kurt says Rey

looked like he had just came from a junior high gym class.

 

Commercials.

 

Gary is in Redlands, California. He doesn't know why they released Akio. Dave

says maybe because he worked too hard. He asks about Sakoda. Dave says Sakoda

got hurt and they never brought him back, although he wasn't a great worker.

Dave says Akio had all those great matches with Paul London. We are out of time

once again. Dave isn't sure if the show is live or taped next week so I may or

may not be back next week. Take care.

 

That's all for this week.

 

Feedback: luke [at] deakin.edu.au

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Guest teke184

Well according to Meltzer and Alvarez on WOL, HHH is the one who wanted to take the time off because he himself thinks he's overexposed.

I guess that proves he's officially 2 years behind the curve on the subject...

 

 

At least he's figured it out though.

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