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And happy birthday to the /slash, too! Hey, Nash and slash, that rhymes. Let us check the news.

    He apparently injured his quad and will need surgery. Where have I heard THAT before, jeez Nash how about trying something original? I don't want to make light of someone being injured, but... come on. Come ON. His first match back? Is he made of toothpicks and held together by used gum? This would be pretty funny if it wasn't so sad. Sad meaning pathetic.

    What this means for the nWo I surely do not know. I figured the chances of HHH joining were pretty slim, but now he may have to if the group is to mean anything.
    In some late breaking news, the NWA TNA site has announced that Vince Russo has joined them, meaning he must have left WWE. Or maybe Vince McMahon sent him to TNA to destroy it! We shall soon see.
    I see people saying the split needs to end and, I'll tell you what friends and neighbors, I don't at all agree. Yes, the rosters are weak, at least Raw's is. Yes, the shows would probably be better. It may not be strong enough for 2 rosters, but it's too strong for just 1. If you take a typical Smackdown and then try to work in Booker, the nWo, RVD, Brock, Benoit, Guerrero... how much time is left for say Team Canada? How much is left for the cruiserweights?

    Not to mention the wrestler hierarchy would be screwed. Would Angle and Jericho consistently be the top heels when Brock Lesnar and the nWo are also on the show? Would Benoit and Eddie be underneath all of them? RVD and Booker are pretty much the top babyfaces on Raw by default, although they haven't really hit that "top" level yet. But put them on the same show with Rock and HHH and Hogan and how high on the card will they be? What becomes of Edge in the same situation?

    It's a much better idea to keep things like they are and try to build Raw, in my opinion. I wouldn't have liked the idea at all 24 hours ago, but the first step in that may be turning HHH heel and putting him with the nWo. Smackdown has gotten along just fine without him, and Raw seriously needs the star power. Then with him in that role somebody like Booker T has a top opponent he can feud with to ideally take him up to the next level. Is that really going to happen by fighting Big Show or X-Pac?
    Why does nearly every person in the free world feel the need to say things like "why are they showing the Rey Jr. videos on Raw shows when he's going to be on Smackdown"? Yeah, WE know he's going to be on Smackdown. Have they said that on TV at all? In the realm of storylines couldn't he be a free agent who could go to either show? Isn't it nice that they're hyping him, so that when he does show up it seems like a big deal? And maybe the announcers could even talk about how great it is that Rey ended up on their show? For the love of Pete.
    Last week's Wrestling Observer had surprisingly little about the Vince Russo situation, so you didn't miss anything from that. This week's covers in-depth the Bret Hart injury, the WWE financial report, and the career of DDP.

    Other tidbits:

  • Regarding WWE financials, they currently have $294 million in cash and $64 million in receivables, meaning they'd be able to take $358 million in losses before needing more money.

  • "Very early" estimates on Backlash have it doing 400,000 buys, which is about a .8 buyrate. Very early? It was like 3 months ago.

  • Shawn Michaels is (was?) going to start attending house shows in Nash's corner once Nash started wrestling. There may start to be pressure on HBK to wrestle due to the lack of star power.

  • The general consensus is that Shelton Benjamin, Rob Conway, Nick Dinsmore, Victoria, and possibly Steve Bradley are all ready for elevation from the WWE development territories. John Cena was also mentioned, but he's already around.
  • WWE finances! They're pulling in some money. I'm not gonna go over all this cause it's pretty boring. In the period from February to April they made $135.9 million, up almost 5 million from that point last year. They ran more events than they did last year, which softens the blow even with lower attendance and stuff.

    PPV revenue was up just over a million dollars compared to the 2001 quarter, and actual buys were 2.4 million up from 2.3 million last year. The April PPV began the $5 increase in price, it should be noted. Early WrestleMania figures were estimated at around 1.2 million early on, then were estimated around 800,000, but looks to be somewhere between that as they noted the show doing approximately 1 million buys like last year.

    In the big revenue generating categories PPV was first with $40.6 million, merchandising did $30.8 million, house shows did $27.9 million, and TV ad revenue got them $21.9 million. They nearly doubled the amount of home videos sold, and DVDs jumped from 13% of the units sold up to 49% this year. The cost of switching from WWF to WWE was only about $2 million.

    Since it was the end of the 4th quarter they covered the fiscal year that ends in April, which showed some losses. Total revenues were $425 million, down from $456 million last year. Live event revenues and attendance were down, even with the increase in shows. PPV revenues and buys were down, part of which can be blamed on the DirecTV situation. Based on the figures the average buyrate from May 2001 to April 2002 was 500,000 to 600,000, but it's hard to pull out exact numbers for specific shows cause gay stuff like the Fanatix series would also be included there.

    Over the next year they plan to run more events and make even more money. Linda apparently said during the conference call that they plan to increase the number of PPV's, too.

  • Bret had a stroke and suffered paralysis on the left side of his body. He wasn't wearing his helmet when he fell on his bike, but doctors don't think his previous head injuries played a part in it and that he might have had the stroke before he fell. I think some article said Bret didn't agree with that, though. The situation has gotten lots of mainstream press in Canada and Vince was quoted in the Calgary Sun.

  • Disco Inferno is telling friends that the deal was done for him to be Russo's assistant in WWE, but now it's all up in the air. Russo is telling people that he still thinks he'll be taking over the writing sometime soon. Wrestlers say that Russo returning to power would not be accepted by most of the locker room. "Vince Russo is not welcome here," one guy said. "There are just too many people who don't like him. I'm hearing it from just about everyone."

  • Paulina from Tough Enough One is training at the OVW center. Sources say she's not being asked to pay for the training even though she's not under WWE contract.

  • No contracts have been offered to anyone from the last development camp.

  • HWA sources think Mike Sanders will get called up if Nash has anything to say about it. Otherwise Mike is SOL. And you know what that means.

  • Nidia is getting good reviews from co-workers. Someone said she's rough around the edges, but it's to be expected from someone with as little experience as she has. There's no truth to the rumor that Nidia and Jamie Noble are actually a couple. Jamie is married and has a kid.

  • There are rumors in HWA that Johnny the Bull will be called up to wrestle exclusively for Heat. You don't say! Some apparently uninformed HWA sources didn't think that was the case, nor did they think that Johnny is ready to be called up.

  • Friends of Hogan say he wasn't consulted before Russo was brought back, despite their ongoing legal issues. Other wrestlers supposedly got wind of it a week or so before it happened.

  • The women who worked the divas lingerie show were surprised that TNN got uppity. One WWE employee said "you probably see more T&A during a bra and panties match on Raw". I dunno about that.

  • Shane McMahon did his "attend the PPV and the TV aftewards" loop after KOTR.

  • JR says there is no consideration being given to doing away with the brand extension.

  • Tazz, Big, and Michael Cole attended a Cubs game at Wrigley on June 24 and sat right behind home plate. A WWE employee remarked "There was heat on Tazz for not standing during the national anthem, but later it was confirmed he really was standing so everything turned out okay". Ha.

  • Curt Hennig did a recent interview saying he didn't blame Vince for firing him over the plane incident, and he expects to work for WWE again some day.

  • For what it's worth, Stephanie McMahon is being named in a radio ad for an upcoming Smackdown taping.

  • Linda Miles is getting strong reviews from veteran wrestlers for her backstage attitude and her in-ring potential.

  • Officials are under the impression that Shawn Michaels wants to return to the ring. He's brought up the idea while talking with friends, but he's still not sure if he wants to risk his reputation.

  • There is concern between mid and undercard guys that development wrestlers and Tough Enough guys are getting better pushes. Some are privately accusing management of pushing the younger guys because they'll work cheaper.

  • Sources say that even though most of the wrestlers sided with management, nobody is saying anything bad about Austin. One guy said he thinks people are afraid to say anything because they think Steve will be back sooner or later.

  • WWE wrestlers who admitted to watching the NWA show were impressed with the product, especially the X division. They hope the group succeeds.

  • More than one wrestler has laughed about how "young and arrogant" members of the writing staff are. Others joke that the writers are young because Stephanie feels more comfortable being their boss than she would being above people who are older than her.

  • Following up on last week's item, Dennis Brent has taken a leave of absence from his job as head of developmental talent relations. He didn't resign and he's leaving to work on a family project, writing a book I think JR said. He'd given them notice a few months ago.

  • Sources don't think JR is on the verge of resigning, as some had speculated last week. He's giving up some duties to Johnny Ace because he has too much on his plate.

  • More than one person thinks of Brian Gewirtz as a cancer on the writing staff. The feeling is that he writes most of his material to please Vince and not the audience. But people say he's an excellent promo guy who has written some of Rock and Booker's best stuff.

  • Wrestlers were surprised by Taker's interview on where he said he wouldn't consider he and Austin friends. Some took it as Taker laying groundwork for a future angle, since people did think of Taker and Austin as friends.

  • People are now claiming that the first two NWA TNA shows drew far less than what the Jarretts are saying. Several sources are saying the show did under 20,000 buys. "If TNA had drawn 80,000 buys they would have been running naked through the streets," one source said. "They're claiming 80,000 buys? Yeah right". Meanwhile, WWE officials have told people that the first show only did an estimated 18,000 buys.

  • Two sources backstage at the first NWA PPV defended Buff... or should I say Marcus... in light of the comments that he was passed out backstage. One wrestler who's not friends with Bagwell said that he saw him several times and didn't think he looked tired or "out of it" at all. Jerry Jarrett is high on the idea of being the first to "utilize Bagwell's potential".

  • Kid Kash is telling friends that he contacted TNA about working for them, but was told that he'd need to send a tape of his work.

  • Jerry Jarrett is getting rave reviews from those who met him for the first time at the PPV. The difference between Jerry and Eric Bischoff was described as "night and day" by one guy. Jerry is soft spoken and has no signs of having a big ego.

  • Gangrel has told people that he was only signed for one show and was given no indication of if he'd be back.

  • Sawyer Brown wrote and performed much of the music used on the shows.

  • Lots of wrestlers were in awe after meeting Ricky Steamboat. More than one wrestler called him a class act and hoped that he'd be around for future shows. People say he was very helpful backstage and gave younger guys a few pointers on selling. He also called a few spots in the Shamrock title match. The promo Steamboat did with Shamrock on the second show had to be edited heavily for things like Ricky saying "earlier tonight" when referring to the first week's show.

  • The XWF passed on their TV deals, which would have had them paying WGN or Fox Sports to air XWF TV. They're going to try getting deals overseas. Several office people were laid off following the decision.

    John Flood will run the company from his office in New Jersey, but the offices will remain in Tampa. Jimmy Hart is still with them. Former WCW employees Mike Lima and Janie Engle were let go. The XWF says the people who were laid off got a month's severance pay and will continue working into mid July. Sandra, another former WCW employee who designs costumes, was also let go but already got work with the Houston Texans.

  • XWF officials are quietly saying that it was bad WWE press that prevented them from getting better TV deals, as all the networks wanted the right to edit content. They also say the door is still open with Fox Sports and WGN if they change their minds and decide to pay for programming.

  • Josh from Tough Enough did give up his $500 a week XWF retainer to attend the last WWE camp. Josh has told people that Kevin Kelly played hardball with him, saying the camp was his last chance to get in WWE. The XWF is still interested in using Josh in the future, but won't put him under retainer again.

  • Sonny Onno has been trying to help them get a TV deal in Japan, probably with the Samurai Network.

  • Terry Taylor is telling people that he's been working with John Collins, formerly of the MECW fiasco, about a new project. Taylor says Collins sent him a check and it actually cleared.
    Don't miss the Anniversary stuff. I've heard good things about it.
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