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And say that you won't go

When CRZ told me that my next update was the last one I needed to do, I figured I was finally getting put on that slow boat to Shanghai. Let's be honest. The ratings had slipped. The crowds weren't as vocal as they once were. The glory days were gone. /Tuesday had certainly seen better times.

But then I found out the actual reason and I was hit with a veritable plethora of emotions. I was happy for CRZ and for Kim. They're good people. Doing those intensely detailed recaps we had come to love had to be a burden on it's own, not to mention when just watching the shows could be painful. And he certainly didn't owe us anything. As for me, in all likelihood I was going to have to stop doing updates anyway due to some changes in my schedule, so the timing was pretty good in that respect.

But regardless, I didn't like it. Reading CRZ on Tuesdays and then on more days later on became a routine for many of us. He was a kind voice in a room full of strangers, a light in the darkness. Like a good neighbor, CRZ was there. Where would we turn without him? Why do things have to change? It wouldn't be the same anymore. I didn't want him to go. But he did.

Those of us who knew him best talk about him often. I swear, the stuff he pulled. Sometimes it makes me sad though, CRZ being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they are gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

Say, let's check the news.

  • Last weekend Lennox Lewis officially passed on WWE's offer to fight Brock Lesnar in a shoot fight. Talks began about a month ago, primarily over the phone but it got serious enough that Vince, Shane, Lewis, and his agent Adrian Ogden met face to face in New York. Shane is being credited with this idea and getting things going with Lewis and his people. It's believed that WWE offered Lewis over $7.5 million and a cut of the PPV profits. A key source says Lewis was close to doing the fight, but had to back out once he learned that HBO had booked him for more fights in 2003 than he'd anticipated.

    They would have held the show in Las Vegas, with sanctioning by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to prove that it was legit, and they apparently wanted to get Butterbean in the spot against Kurt Angle (then presumably setting up Brock/Angle at WrestleMania). It would have been Lesnar's fight, Angle's fight, and 3 undercard boxing matches, meaning it would have been separate from a typical WWE PPV.

    Lewis is scheduled to box three times in 2003, but he'd been under the impression that a June rematch with Tyson was his only fight. As negotiations went on he realized he had more fights, including one in February that killed the chances of fighting Lesnar then. With the $60 million he'll get from the 3 fights, WWE's offer wasn't enough to justify backing out of one of them. The chances that he'd lose to Brock apparently had nothing to do with his backing out, as Lewis told Vince and Shane that he thought he could win.

    The rules were never finalized but the plan was to come up with a mix of boxing and mixed martial arts rules. Lewis wanted a rule to prevent Brock from attacking his knees. It wasn't known if Lewis would wear boxing gloves or UFC style gloves. WWE and Lewis ended negotiations on good terms and the door is open to do something in 2004, but informed sources doubt the fight will happen and Lewis probably won't make any WWE related appearances as not to give the impression that he's hanging with the phony wrestlers in case the fight does take place. Having Brock fight Mike Tyson instead was considered, but it was decided against since Mike had been involved with wrestling angles in the past.

    At this point they aren't looking for a replacement to fight Brock and they aren't continuing with plans for Angle to face anyone.

  • The plans to start separate Raw and Smackdown PPV's in February has been canceled. It would have been pushed back anyway if the Lewis/Lesnar fight had happened, since that would have been in February also. But even though that's not going to happen, they're holding off on doing separate shows anyway based on the belief that ratings and PPV buys aren't strong enough to do it now. A cable industry source estimated the Unforgiven buyrate at 250,000 buys. SummerSlam did under 500,000, which is it's lowest in years.

  • Smackdown has gotten praise in some mainstream media publications for being able to keep steady ratings against the stiff network competition. The October 10th show went up against the National League championship game and Smackdown won in kids and teens, while older guys watched baseball.

  • Most wrestlers are strongly against the direction Raw has taken in recent weeks, but Vince has set the tone that criticism should be held back. Kevin Dunn is the genius being credited with inspiring the "soap opera" direction.

  • It could be jealousy or a legit claim, but wrestlers are saying that Brock's ego has been out of control lately.

  • After reading last week's Torch blurb about Brian Gewirtz being the least popular person in the Raw locker room, some wrestlers insisted that William Regal actually holds that title. Wrestlers are leery of him because he's seen as an "office stooge" but tries to present himself as "one of the boys". He's known for critiquing other wrestlers' work and it's not taken well because of the way he does it, and because most wrestlers think Regal has become lazy. He's considered moody and nobody knows what mood he'll show up in. One guy mentioned that the locker room atmosphere dramatically improved a few weeks ago when Regal wasn't on the road during a house show tour.

  • Test still has heat on him for refusing to cut his hair back in the UnAmericans. Christian was also asked but wasn't as vocal as Test and thus doesn't have as much heat. Test also didn't want to change his ring gear, but eventually agreed to bail on the Nash type tights. He also got his hair cut, but not nearly as short as he'd been asked previously.

  • At first it didn't look like there was any heat on Rosey and Jamal for what happened to Pat Patterson, but Jamal doing the 3-on-1 job to Big Show has some people reconsidering that.

  • Rey will be having his knee scoped in December. Because of the holidays and the time off, he shouldn't miss much time. His knees are bad enough that doctors have said he'll need them replaced at some point.

  • Bret Hart is said to be more open to returning to WWE than ever. Using Bret in the Anthology ads is part of Vince trying to mend fences. Vince would see Bret coming back as a big vindication for a lot of things.

  • The rumors of a Horsemen group with Triple H, Flair, Batista, and Orton has upset some mid carders, as almost anything HHH is involved with seems to do these days. Some worry that these will be the only heels that get pushed, and others think HHH just wants to align himself with guys who are in for big pushes.
  • Numerous sources say that Panda Energy is the company investing in TNA. It was thought several weeks ago that the rumors of the Jarretts selling to a Texas based oil company were inaccurate, but now Panda Energy (a Texas based energy company) has been named as the group investing. A TNA source confirmed that Panda Energy has had a presence backstage, but declined on saying whether they were just investing or trying to purchase TNA.

  • There are rumors of a struggle for power between Jerry Jarrett and Russo. There's talk that Russo has convinced Jeff that his dad's ideas are too out-dated to work today, and that Jeff is trying to convince Jerry to stick to his strengths of "identifying talent and getting the best out of them". One source says Jerry is frustrated enough that he may go along with that if it speeds up the process with the investors. But the investors are said to think very highly of Jerry and would likely side with him if he fought to keep his booking power. That hasn't stopped Russo or one of his stooges from telling the investors about his resume (the good parts, anyway).

    Meanwhile, sources say Russo's role in the writing has been reduced drastically the past few weeks and that he's frustrated by every idea that's vetoed and when words are changed in promos.

  • TNA is trying to raise money for Charity. There's a silent auction on the website for various things you can bid on, like "be a valet for The Truth".

    It didn't take long for those darn cynics to make fun of the auctions. When it was seen the company was covering travel, lodging, and meals for the winners, somebody remarked that this was more than some TNA staff gets for coming to shows. Someone else wondered when TNA itself would be up for auction.

  • Jerry is behind the Mr. Wrestling III character. Scott Armstrong has been the guy under the mask, but like with the Bullet it won't be him once the character is unmasked (if he is unmasked).

  • One cable industry source says that buys have slipped to 15,000 - 18,000 a week, down from the 20,000 - 25,000 the early shows were drawing.

  • A Time Warner source says Jerry had a conversation with Brad Seigel about a possible TV deal for TNA, but Brad was against the idea. There's still talk that the Jarretts are trying to backdoor their way onto TBS or TNT through Bill Shaw, who has long been Ted Turner's right hand man.

  • The Jarretts are said to be much more relaxed now that the financial pressure appears to be off thanks to the investors.

  • Lawyers for Phase 3 have amended their lawsuit against TNA to include Cablevision and TVN, which have started airing the shows. There's talk that the investors want the Jarretts to settle their lawsuits out of court.

  • He finished first in the time trials, but Hermie Sadler's TNA car didn't finish the October 12th race. The car is completely new and NASCAR people say it's rare that a new car performs well in it's first race.

  • "Priscilla" is Joanie, Jerry Lawler's girlfriend.

  • Jerry is known for being a stickler over time cues. The Briscoe Brothers haven't been used because they went long during a dark match. Jerry has finally booked the Lost Boyz, who he was once very high on, again after their timing mistake at one of the first TNA shows. Jerry was said to be happy with their latest match, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them on one of the upcoming shows.

  • TNA would like to use Chris Daniels more often, but his Japanese commitments have led to several scheduling conflicts.

  • One TNA official estimated their average crowd at around 500-700 fans, with some of that coming from comp tickets.
    I'd just like to thank anyone who happened to read /Tuesday these past 9 or so months or /Weekend before that and sent me e-mail, commented at Wienerville, or any such thing. And a special thanks to all the people I stole news from. Like Wade for the above stuff, hey thanks Wade.

    It's been a thin slice of heaven.
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