Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Friday, November 05, 2004
Pro Wrestling--- During last night's episode of WWE Smackdown in the Washington DC television market, an advertisement aired for the November 20th Smackdown house show in DC (at the DC Armory instead of the larger MCI Center). The focal point of the ad was the advertised main event, and I quote, "John Bradshaw Layfield vs. The Big Show for the WWE Title."

This is incredibly sloppy on WWE's part, whether it's giving away the result of the JBL-Booker match at Survivor Series or it's advertising a WWE Title match between JBL and Big Show that isn't going to happen. Also, something tells me that Booker T suddenly being thrust into the main event of a pay-per-view for no apparent reason might mean that he is not too long for this business. It might just be that WWE is giving him a proverbial "gold watch" on his way out for his years in the business, as happened with Jackie Moore and her Cruiserweight Title angle before she was released.

-There is an article about TNA's Sonjay Dutt featured prominently on the front page of today's Style section in the Washington Post, which has a national weekday circulation of over 700,000 issues per day (certainly good publicity for TNA). The article can also be found online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26894-2004Nov4.html. Hilariously, the headline of the article is "Star of the Staged," and the author still feels the need to point out just in case you weren't aware that the winners of pro wrestling matches are pre-determined. Mainstream media people still feel the need to point that out as if it's some kind of revelation despite the fact that it has been openly acknowledged since the 1980's.

-The "Fall Cleaning Spree" continues in World Wrestling Entertainment, as they have released a whopping ten wrestlers this week (and the week isn't even over yet). The Wrestling Observer reports that at least two more cuts are coming, and as you might expect, morale is horrible in both the Raw and Smackdown locker rooms. The following is a list of wrestlers who have been released so far, along with a brief note on why they may have been released:

Billy Gunn: One of WWE's longest-standing employees, he was recently sent to drug rehab after being found passed out in an airport. He has also been disgruntled with his recent lack of push on WWE TV, despite the fact that no one has been given more chances over the years to get over (and failed so horribly each time) than Billy Gunn. His WWE release opens up the door for him to reunite with former tag team partner The Road Dogg, now wrestling in TNA.

Chuck Palumbo: WWE has done absolutely nothing with Palumbo since the whole "gay wedding" publicity stunt they pulled on Smackdown a while back. He was relegated to B-show status on Velocity, and then after being moved to the Raw brand was relegated to B-show status on Heat. Palumbo was actually a decent wrestler in the ring and was never given a real push by WWE.

Nidia: Nothing less than shocking given the fact that the latest Tough Enough competition is currently taking place each week on Smackdown, prompting WWE to make the head-scratching decision to release the co-winner of the first Tough Enough. WWE's not-so-creative Creative Department (headed by Stephanie McMahon) had absolutely no idea what to do with Nidia after her angle with Jamie Noble played out on Smackdown last year, and had recently been pushing her as a "Puerto Rican fire-cracker" with absolutely no explanation or depth behind the character.

Test: This is a little bit surprising given that Test is engaged to Stacy Keibler, and releasing Test could make Stacy want to quit or otherwise make her a disgruntled employee. Test had just recently been given medical clearance to return to the ring after undergoing spinal surgery. Nothing says, "Thank you for putting your body on the line for this company and breaking your neck" like a pink slip. Test is still young and showed a lot of promise throughout his WWE career, despite some occasional attitude problems behind-the-scenes, and one has to chalk up Test as another case of WWE Creative never pushing someone properly before throwing their hands up in the air and releasing the wrestler.

A-Train: Fans were conditioned to ignore A-Train on a consistent basis due to the stop-and-go pushes WWE would give him on the air, in which he would go back and forth from being an unstoppable monster and being someone who was barely on TV for months at a time. No one would say that A-Train was a great in-ring worker, but he was pretty damn good for a big man, and is far better than the countless no-talent, muscle-bound wrestlers that have gotten big pushes in the last year or so (Heidenreich, anyone?).

Rico: This is a surprising release given that Rico was over with live crowds and was essentially playing the "Goldust" character better than Dustin Runnels ever did. It doesn't seem like Rico fit in with the current Charlie Haas-Miss Jackie-Dawn Marie story line, but that is hardly a reason to cut him on the spot. Unless there are other circumstances that I don't know about yet, Rico's release is indicative of WWE's tendency to give up on a wrestler the minute they can't think of any story lines for him.

Johnny Stamboli: He never really got over and was never particularly good in the ring, so I can understand this release. Apparently the WWE's new and ridiculously strict dress code that wrestlers have to follow 24/7 was prompted in part by Stamboli showing up to a TV taping wearing a shirt that had some kind of vulgar saying on it. Management's typical over-reaction led to the current situation where all wrestlers are required to wear a nice suit even if it's 3:00 AM and they're on the way to the hotel in a rental car in the middle of nowhere.

Rodney Mack: He never got a sustained push in WWE, but this release seems a bit heartless given that WWE released Jazz (Mack's real-life wife) on the same day. Husband and wife laid off on the same day... if only that would happen to Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.

Jazz: She was once pushed as a kind of monster heel in the women's division, but her push has been sporadic at best. Her release is surprising if for no other reason because WWE only has about seven women wrestling in Raw's women's division, and they just released three of them.

Gail Kim: She is the third woman released this week, accounting for almost half of the female roster on Raw. Gail Kim was given a big push out of the gate with a Women's Title win during her Raw debut, but since then has suffered a variety of injuries, ranging from a partially broken collarbone to one of her implants leaking and needing to be repaired. Gail Kim has a small frame and the concern was that it would not be able to hold up to injuries under the rigorous WWE schedule of being on the road taking bumps 250+ days a year.