Welcome to your Friday headlines, straight from the news desk. I'm your humble correspondent, Bartleby, the Scrivener.
Can Hulk Hogan's time at TNA be coming to a close? That is the hot topic leading off your weekend's news and notes, as the Hulkster participated in a couple of angles shot for this and next week's TNA broadcasts in which some doubt was raised as to whether you've seen the last of Mr. Nanny in that promotion.
On last night's Impact Wrestling segment, Dixie Carter delivered an ultimatum to HH that he had one week to decide where he stood in her ongoing heel turn. Next week's taping immediately followed, so thanks to the magic of television we already know the Suburban Commando's answer...well, sort of. The second segment ended with Hogan storyline "quitting" TNA and Dixie on her knees pleading with Mr. America to stay.
Where this angle goes is anybody's guess, as Hogan's contract with TNA is apparently up fo realz next month and these were his last scheduled televised appearances. Recent departures of bigger names and Jeff Jarrett's more hands-on approach of late both give indications of TNA's financial struggles. Are they dire enough to facilitate Thunderlips' exit stage right? Only time will tell.
For readers lobbying for Hurricane Spencer to return to his old stomping grounds in WWE, let's remember that last time we saw him, Santa with Muscles was saving Hornswoggle from the clutches of The Great Khali. The fact that he performed that action alone condemns him from the Friday Headlines for all time. Anything less would be uncivilized. (Rajah)
Friday Headlines will, however, approve of more of this:
As bearers of the tidings of all things Hogan-related, fellow ageless contemporary Sting recently said during a promotional interview that nostalgia is a major reason why he and Hogan are still on television these days. Sting also broke the news that the Phillies will be missing the playoffs, nobody gets anything done in Congress, and Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is worth watching.
"It's love of game, the roar of the crowd, and just not wanting to say goodbye. Nostalgia is a big thing. I've learned that in this business. It's like a Hulk Hogan--they do not want to see Hulk disappear or go away. And, I'm the generation after him, so it seems to be the same kind of deal."
Sorry, Stinger, but it's also about love of money. As long as promoters see dollar signs and merchandising opportunities, they will continue to bring the stars of yesterdecade to your tube. In the eyes of your reporter, a little bit of nostalgia goes a long way. We are, after all, talking about two of the most identifiable names in the business. That said, Hogan's gone off the deep end of late and carries way too much baggage without being stopped by TSA, and Sting's last notable match was against a blitzed-out-of-his-gourd Jeff Hardy. Going away for a bit would be just fine. (Torch)
Friday Headlines has been all over the hubbub concerning Jim Ross's oddly publicized departure from WWE. The latest grist for the mill regards his relationship with overlord Vince McMahon, who apparently has been harboring grudges against the Boomer Sooner for quite some time due to Ross being vocal over disagreements about direction. This certainly seems possible, as both men have a well-earned rep for being outspoken.
According to the report, Triple H of all people (Ross's former boss in developmental) had been doing his level best to keep the situation from escalating. Despite the commentary from both sides that there's nothing to see here and we'd best move along, the entire tale has been odd from start to finish. Some sources seem to think JR will be back in WWE's good graces in time for Wrestlemania XXX. (Inc)
Your humble reporter makes no claims to speak for the masses, but I'm sure you'd much rather hear the dulcet tones of Michael Cole over, say, this:
Ever wonder what your favorite wrestler gets paid? Well, if your favorite wrestler is Tensai, wonder no longer. (Also seek therapy immediately.) Word has it that WWE paid a pretty tidy sum for the former Albert to depart his NJPW stomping grounds for the greener, lingerie-filled pastures of World Wrestling Entertainment, to the tune of $400,000.
No word on why the WWE would spend serious cash on what has essentially devolved from a serious villainous character to a slapstick comedy act, but apparently the economic issues aren't affecting everyone. A reported three hundred percent raise can certainly buy quite a bit of sweet tea. (Rajah)
While on the subject of money, one wrestler who apparently doesn't have the wherewithal to make it is one Dolph Ziggler. This according to a recent report, which suggests WWE officials have decided the Friday Headlines favorite won't ever be a guy who rakes in the cash for the promotion. Perhaps this goes a way to explain the complete and utter slide of DZ since his unfortunate injury after winning the World Title all those many moons ago.
This reporter leaves it to you, dear readers, to decipher for yourself the veracity of this report. I would submit that building big stars is what the WWE does and many times does well. Ziggler has plenty of the characteristics that the organization has historically looked for in crafting their talent. Releasing him, not burying him, would seem to be the recourse of a company that has reached the end of their creative rope.
Perhaps the meteoric rise of Daniel Bryan has stunted the growth of Ziggler? Timing, sometimes, is indeed everything. In the eyes of Friday Headlines, it may have been the face turn that spelled disaster for Mr. Ziggles. I can assure said officials that they'd have at least one happily paying customer for his matches. (Inc)
As for who is drawing these days, the answer appears to be one CM Punk. His segment on this week's Raw with former cornerman Paul Heyman and his new protege Ryback was the highest-rated segment on the show. This may not surprise anyone who watched Monday night, as it was the best thing on the program. Nothing besides the end-of-show overrun and the opening segment scored even close.
One can get lost in the ratings, but a couple of other interesting notes most certainly arose from this. Big Show on Miz TV and the main event both did very poorly, which can indicate the level of interest on where this angle is going. The lowest-rated segment, believe it or not, was The Wyatt Family's match against the Prime Time Players. While two commercial breaks certainly figured into the momentum loss, it's worth wondering what WWE's creative team is doing failing to strike while the iron is hot with these very intriguing characters. Punk and Heyman are two of the most valuable commodities in the WWE right now, and these numbers bear it out even further. (Torch)
Finally, since news broke that AJ Styles was set to become a free agent in the near future, the net has been abuzz with conjecture over the potential of him appearing in a WWE ring. Those hopes may have taken a bit of a hit with a recent report by F4W's Bryan Alvarez quoting a source as saying that there is "far less interest in AJ from the WWE side than a normal, rational person would think."
Styles' age may have something to do with it, as may the penchant of the WWE brass for looking within rather than outside, but in this reporter's mind the issue lies on the other side. If Styles had serious interest in making a move, I highly doubt he'd allow himself to be placed in the current page-one storyline of him vs. newly minted heel Dixie Carter. TNA has taken many justifiable hits for their product lately, and they simply cannot afford to not keep Styles happy, come what may.
Styles' current short-term contract is supposedly up in December, so the wrestling community should know by then where the die will be cast. Perhaps WWE can dip into that Tensai slush fund. (Rajah)
Friday Headlines leaves you with a sneak peek at WWE contract negotiations:
That clears the news desk for this Friday, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read the dirt of the day. As always, chime into the conversation roiling in the depths below or send off Halloween costume ideas or general witticisms to me on Twitter @coffeyfan77. Have a great weekend and I'll see you Tuesday!