Welcome in to another red-hot edition of Friday Headlines! I am your humble correspondent, Sgt. Bilko.
This is the second week in a row that major news has found its way to the headlines going into the weekend, and this weekend it is particularly magnified as the focus is on Sunday's big SummerSlam show. Assuming that you have not been living under a rock, I'm fairly sure you've heard by now through pretty much every major media outlet out there that Darren Young, half of the Prime Time Players, randomly and surprisingly dropped a bomb on a TMZ reporter when asked about his sexual orientation. While gay superstars in pro wrestling or any sports may not in itself be newsworthy, DY becomes the first superstar to discuss it while employed by WWE. You can check out the segment below.
TJR's own Lonestar already has an excellent article up on the site discussing the magnitude of this event, and I urge you to check that out here. Reaction to this story has been all over the board, but you have to admire the bravery of someone being that honest on their terms in front of the world. I thought Darren did a great job through a couple follow-up questions that ranged from odd to nonsensical (it is TMZ we're speaking of, after all). Mainstream media tends to only bring up wrestling when it's a negative story, so this is a tremendous development for Young personally and wrestling fans alike. Rather than run through many of the potential ways WWE could take this real issue and turn it into a bad angle, let's sit back and appreciate the moment for what it is. There will be plenty of time for all the rest of that later.
In the meantime, John Cena (hotly rumored to be dropping the strap due to angle, injury, or both) was also approached by TMZ looking for a reaction to this news. What made Cena's response even better was that he had no idea Darren Young had already come out, and when met with the news, he handled it, well, like a champion would. Judge for yourself in the video below.
For their part, WWE said the following on WWE.com Thursday morning: "On TMZ this morning, WWE Superstar Darren Young revealed to the WWE Universe that he is gay. WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar. Today, in fact, Darren will be participating in one of our Be A STAR anti-bullying rallies in Los Angeles to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation."
All in all, a big story for plenty of reasons, and all of them good. Well handled by all involved. Let's look for more acceptance to come.
In other news, if you're like me you've asked yourself many times why The Miz was "asked" to be the host of SummerSlam. According to the rumor mill, it was due to the WWE's strong feeling that he is the "top social media representative" of the company. Essentially, they feel the former reality show star will be the best at drumming up excitement through all forms of social media.
This title sounds a lot like one of those awards you'd win at school for participation. That said, Miz has improved as an announcer since his rather inauspicious start, and he will be getting to use the super-groovy, whizbang new glasses from Google that look like something out of Star Trek. If only he could replicate some better material. (Rajah)
Meanwhile, in other SummerSlam news, you can all stop collectively holding your breath because the match you've all been waiting for has finally been announced. According to a tweet sent by Brad Maddox (I'm doing you a favor not linking that part, why should you share my pain?), frequent celebrity wrestler and all-around beautiful person Maria Menounos will partner with Natalya to take on Brie Bella and her partner, later revealed to be Eva Marie, who's been a fairly major focal point of Total Divas according to my network of spies and informants.
Following that match, which will happen on Sunday at WWE's Axxess session (I adore when they change the spelling of stuff to trademark it), the singles match between Natalya and Brie will still occur on the big show. Well, not literally ON The Big Show, but I'd pay for that match. Clearly this was added for the usual 2 reasons the McMahon clan does anything: (1) A celebrity will appear on the PPV. (2) Ratings have been good for Total Divas and they will ride that horse to the bank. It is rather odd that WWE acknowledges the Young/TMZ thing but has chosen to ignore the Bellas and their respective boy toys for storyline purposes on anything but Total Divas, but I digress. I could make an Axxess joke, but let's move on. (PWTorch)
If, like me, you're concerned about the future potential of Brock Lesnar obliterating people for our enjoyment in the WWE on a weekly basis, you need worry no longer. Sort of. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the Beast himself made a couple of admissions that surprised just about nobody (he came back to the WWE because they met his scheduling demands and you won't likely be seeing him in UFC again) before providing something for us fans to sink our teeth into. Brock said that after signing an extension earlier in the year, we will in fact be seeing him in "a couple more Wrestlemanias."
To this I say, bring them on, big man! I admit I was skeptical about the scheduling of Lesnar, but I think WWE has handled it really well overall. The HHH storyline went on too long (don't they always), but now a great feud with Punk and some more on the horizon. To say they need to book Lesnar/Taker now is the understatement of the age. Frankly, if both of those guys show up once a year, it works for me as a fan. Hopefully it won't be that long between appearances for Brock. Good news. (NODQ)
Sources have indicated that they scheduled pre-show match between US Champion Dean Ambrose and challenger Rob Van Dam might actually be smoke and mirrors in order to set up a match on the PPV itself. As tag champions Rollins & Reigns issued an open challenge on Monday's Raw and then had an angle rumored forever and a day with Mark Henry and the returning Show, this would seem to make sense. It's unclear whether this would be a 3-on-3, tag title defense, or a Los Angeles Smog Match, but something seems to be afoot.
This logic baffles your intrepid reporter, naturally. I am at a loss to understand why I'd get a championship title defense on the pre-show that sets up a far less important 3-on-3 match later, but it's not official at this point, so take it for what it's worth. It is perhaps an avoidance of putting the Tag Champions on two straight PPV pre-shows, but if the idea is to sell tickets, I don't know that this strategy is working. The hounds of justice appear to be in the doghouse. (Rajah)
Finally, if you'd like some non-Summerslam news, I've got you covered. Friday Headlines favorite Dolph "Don't Call Me a Face To My Face" Ziggler is going to be in a real Hollywood movie with some actual stars and such. Well, okay, it's got the kid from the Sixth Sense in it anyway. The plot is described as a comedy about "sexual identity with three friends exploring love, lust, and...sword combat." Sounds a lot like my formative years. Not sure which friends explore which identities, but it's a brave new world out there people! Besides, it has to be better than the WWE movie featuring Hornswoggle. (NODQ)
That clears the news desk for your Friday, ladies and gents. I'd like to thank you all for taking the time to check out the dirt of the day and encourage you to enjoy the heck out of what promises to be a great SummerSlam weekend. Feel free to leave your comments, questions, concerns, and brownie recipes in the space below, or reach me on Twitter @coffeyfan77. I'll talk to you all on Tuesday. Have a great one!