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Hey! Sup! Let's check the news.

    Last Monday I was under the impression that my cable company had finally gotten rid of our PPV channel, pulling one of those punk-ass "you gotta get digital cable if you want PPV" scams on me. By Wednesday I managed to get things cleared up and found that I DO still have a PPV channel, which made me happy cause I don't wanna miss anything. But then, for different reasons altogether, I missed King of the Ring anyway. Ain't that a bitch? The response to the show that I've seen hasn't been positive, though. I think Rick Scaia was the only guy who liked it.

    But I did see the NWA show! It was... all right. I hope they do really well, but it just doesn't seem like my cup o'noodles, you know?
    The big news this week is that Vince Russo, the man who is perhaps single-handedly responsible for the revolution of using Z's at the end of words that end in S, is back with WWE. Depending on which version of the story you care to subscribe to, Russo was brought back to be an idea man for both shows, or to totally be in charge of creative, but was quickly found to be out of touch with the current product, or found out to be a dummy, or both, and has been demoted to being a consultant who gets paid to sit at home. I would quite literally murder someone to get a job where I'd be paid to sit at home. Fuck you, Russo.

    Figuring into the story is the possibility acknowledged by everyone that Russo may have been rehired simply to keep his tell-all book about his days with the WWF from coming out. So basically we really don't know anything except that Vince Russo is back on WWE's payroll. Hey, maybe now Ric Flair can get payback for having his head shaved.
    After years of being the internet's #1 love toy, Chris Jericho has done a masterful heel turn by writing a big rant against smart marks over at his website. After doing what he thought was one of his best matches ever at King of the Ring, criticism of the match by "bitter know-it alls" on the internet caused him to snap and open fire.

    Some people think he's just carrying his on-camera persona onto the internet, and that he didn't really mean what he was saying. Nuts to that, says me, I hope he meant every word. But regardless, as is the case anytime a wrestler dares insult the internet audience, dozens upon dozens with no sense of irony line up to prove the guy right. Dudes, seriously, if Jericho felt that was one of his best efforts, are you really going to tell him he's wrong like you would know more about it than he would?

    But jeez, why go to sites like the Torch for feedback? C'mon, Jericho, you're just asking for bad news.
    Starting right now not only will we cover that gem known as the Torch, but we'll also take some things from the famed Wrestling Observer Newsletter! Are you excited? Me too!
  • Filming for Rock's next movie "Helldorado" should run from September to Christmas. There's hope that he can do some TV during the filming, but it may be hard to pull off.

  • Much of the talk regarding future main event plans revolve around Kurt Angle being the top guy, but there's different ideas about how to do it. There's talk of turning him face and talk of putting the title on him and having him fight both heels and faces like an old-school champ.

  • Raw writer Brian Gewertz suggested last week's Raw angle of teasing Austin and delivering Rock.

  • They filmed a SummerSlam commercial featuring Trish getting chased by guys in an ice cream truck..
  • The Steve Austin situation didn't translate into ratings. People are worried that Vince is preoccupied with what happened with Austin and that it'll distract him from getting back on track. Vince has been more open to hearing suggestions than at any time in recent memory, and may have lost his swagger.

  • Many wrestlers were surprised by the Austin fallout. Most guys didn't agree with what Austin did, but many wanted to hear his side before passing judgment. Austin is/was one of the most popular guys in the locker room. "Everybody likes Steve. He's a man's man and all of that. He never let his fame or money go to his head," said one guy. "I know he was upset about the direction of the company. He's been making it known that he thinks the show needs to focus more on wrestling again," said another guy.

    But yet another guy says he predicted a while ago that Austin was about to snap, saying that while Austin was his usual self on most days, there have been recent occasions where Austin was "so wound up or tense" that the guy didn't go near him. "There were definitely times that I've been nervous about approaching him lately," said the guy, who attributed it to whatever personal demons Austin is battling.

  • The news of Austin's domestic disturbance was not as surprising. "It's one of those things when you are surprised when you hear about it, but I can't say I was shocked by it or anything," said one wrestler. Wrestlers are saying that Austin has always been over-protective of Debra, and more than one guy recalled an incident last year with Raven. Debra had been cutting a promo near the shower area and Raven walked out in just a towel. Austin thought Raven was flaunting himself in front of Debra, and he grabbed Raven and chewed him out. Raven said he had no idea Debra was there. It was resolved quickly and Austin later apologized.

    Wrestlers say there has been locker room talk about the way Austin treats Debra privately, but most say they chalked it up to rumors and speculation. The general opinion of the locker room is that Austin's meltdown is attributable to his "personal partying habits" that have grown in recent months to the point that they're affecting his moods and demeanor. Austin never had a reputation for abusing his previous wife Jeanie, who's the one who moved to England with their kids.

  • A Honolulu paper reported that Rock is set to star in a movie about King Kamehameha.

  • Some wrestlers say Rock was different backstage this week, his first appearance in the locker room since the success of Scorpion King, but others say it was the same old Rock with no signs of letting anything go to his head. One wrestler said "Rock is either the best faker in the business, or he is a genuinely nice guy. Either way, it doesn't matter because he's always cool." Others said Rock seemed to be avoiding certain guys and trying to stay clear of any political situations.

    Rock didn't get to Raw until 15 minutes before his promo. Usually if a surprise guy shows up backstage, someone leaks it out and the information circulates before the surprise. Rock's promo was scripted for him and wasn't without political implications, as Smackdown writer Paul Heyman was said to be strongly against having Rock be on Raw since an intricately planned storyline involving Brock Lesnar was to start playing out a few weeks later at Rock's previously scheduled return date. By coming back earlier Heyman was worried it could take some steam off the eventual Brock/Rock situation. Raw writer Brian Gewirtz was behind it.

  • Several guys think that Shane McMahon has been staying away from TV tapings because he's unhappy with the current direction of the company. But the general consensus is that while Shane might not be happy, he lacks the creative mind or wrestling wisdom to make the proper changes.

  • WWE wrestlers say they'd be surprised if RVD gets a stronger push than he has now, as they still consider him to be a sloppy and dangerous opponent to work with. But his solid match with X-Pac was a step in the right direction, as both guys liked it and expressed a desire to work with the other more often.

  • Kidman may have some heat with management after rejecting the storyline idea of being paired with Torrie on-camera. Some think that Torrie being more risque during her segments with Maven might be payback to Billy.

  • Dean Malenko is working as the agent for the cruiserweight division, much like Fit Finlay has been working as the agent for the women's division.

  • Wrestlers think there may be a reason behind Arn Anderson's recent portrayal on TV. Sources say that not only was Arn "obnoxious" on the infamous flight home from England, but he also showed up late for a TV taping recently and missed the morning's agent meeting. Arn said he missed his early fight and then couldn't fly with the wrestlers because everything was full. Arn had a bad rep in WCW for being half-hearted as an agent and being more concerned about his next beer, but he'd managed to turn that around after coming to the WWF. Some people were upset with the way Arn has been treated, but it's all good to Flair.

  • Some are worried that Nash and HBK are slowly gaining power while Vince has been consumed with the Austin situation. Those who are suspicious point to Shawn and Nash's antics on commentary, teasing JR, as a sign that Nash isn't on as short a leash as he was his first few months back.

    Sources say there's also friction between the nWo guys and Paul Heyman, as the nWo thinks Heyman has been bad-mouthing them during booking meetings. HBK and HHH haven't been seen hanging around together, but sources think they've ironed out their differences.

    Meanwhile, Shawn continues to get rave reviews for his conduct backstage since he's returned.

  • People say Jeff Hardy appears more rejuvenated and is taking his career more seriously than he was a few months ago. The idea to keep him off recent house shows was actually planned in advance, so there were no recent incidents that led to it. Wrestlers are still concerned about Jeff's lifestyle out of the ring, though.

  • Guys are still unhappy with the writers. One guy said they have no idea what they're doing. Some say Stephanie is as much to blame as anyone, despite Friends Of Stephanie claiming in the past that her hands are tied by Vince. She does not have a rep as being good with criticism and seems too "set in her beliefs" for her age and for the fact that business has declined while her creative influence has grown.

  • Wrestlers say Brock's attitude has improved greatly since Curt Hennig was let go. Brock had been picking up some of Hennig's bad behavior and was ribbing other wrestlers, who took offense to it due to Brock being a rookie.

  • Bubba Ray Dudley's mom died.

  • Molly is not thrilled with the "fat ass" gimmick. Sources say she appeared to be intentionally screwing up the pre-taped promo that aired on Raw, which caused several re-takes. She has some heat in the locker room because wrestlers think she has a history of rejecting proposed storylines, yet still ending up in good spots. She also has heat for telling someone that she'd rather be paired with them on TV than with anyone else, which isn't a big deal but she'd made the same comment to other people.

    Despite her unhappiness over the ass stuff, Molly is said to be happy that the writers have worked her "real life virginity" into her character. Well I'll be a son of a gun.

  • Mean Gene is still involved with the company doing "Best of the AWA" type shows.

  • At the first NWA-TNA show the ring broke just minutes before everything started. Jerry had the 6-man tag scheduled to open, followed by the legends ceremony, but they switched it so the ring could be fixed.

  • Jerry Jarrett told the Torch that he was happy with the first PPV, but already saw room for improvements and tweaking. He says the ring breaking almost gave him a heart attack. Reps from In Demand who were at the show told him that early reports from cable companies were encouraging, with "overwhelming success" being the language they used, but that he wouldn't know anything until Friday.

  • Future NWA PPV's will be held live every week in Nashville. The Jarretts sent people out to give away free tickets to the first PPV, and the crew was said to have passed out over 10,000 coupons that could be turned in for free tickets. The day of the show about 1500 tickets had been given away as a result.

  • Jerry said he was disappointed in aspects of the tag team division's performance, and that he'd be altering his plans for the tag team tournament that was scheduled for the July 3rd show. Jerry was happy with Malice, formerly The Wall in WCW. And he put over K-Krush as a superstar who will be treated as such.

    Jerry thought the celebrities did very well in their roles and the crowd reacted very well to them. Scott Hall, Buff, and Rick Steiner... who all have checkered pasts... were nothing but "100 percent cooperative and professional". Jerry said not one wrestler so much as raised an eyebrow over what he had scripted for them. Ken Shamrock is willing to do anything asked of him.

    But Jerry wasn't thrilled with everyone and said he had the foresight to sign most everyone to short-term deals, and that some wouldn't be back after their deals were done.

  • Jerry originally planned to do a big cluster non-finish involving the celebrities for the second week's Hall vs. Jarrett match, but he changed it to a pinfall finish.

  • If this concept works Jerry is interested in doing non-wrestling events for In Demand on an a la carte basis. In Demand has already approached him about the potential of such future projects.

  • Jerry says the K-Krush angle wasn't meant to be "black vs. white", but that Krush was supposed to be suggesting that the NASCAR guys weren't "his type" as in they aren't real athletes.

  • Alan Funk is teaming with Lenny Lane because Lodi needs neck surgery. Funk is known as "Bruce" because it's a play on "Lenny Bruce", the famous comic, plus it's also said to be a rib on Bruce Prichard who used to clash with both Jarretts during their time with the WWF.

  • Sources say several wrestlers have contacted the office to voice their disapproval with Francine being hired.

  • There is talk that management is aware of the rep Low-Ki has for having a big head and that they plan to "bring him back to earth", as one wrestler put it.

  • More than one of the bigger NWA names complained to friends about having to appear at the talent meeting on Tuesday and being asked to be at the building on Wednesday by noon.

  • Jim Barnett, the former promoter that WWE hired, was supposed to appear on the first PPV playing a Mr. Magoo like character. Some felt the hiring was Vince trying to sabotage the first NWA show, but most think he was doing a good deed by hiring the aging Barnett.
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