Welcome to your Friday Update, straight from the news desk. I'm your humble correspondent, Randall Flagg.
As we head into the weekend, Friday Update reads through the legalese so that you don't have to. I refer, of course, to the recent changes made by the WWE to their Wellness Policy. For those who have not seen it, the majority of the addendum discusses a Therapeutic Use Exception (aka "TUE") which talent may request in order to prevent them from violating the "three strikes, you're out" rule regarding wellness violations.
Considering the large number of folks on the current roster who have been subject to these suspensions (at least those on the public record since the verdicts were made known to all beginning 11/1/2007), this does have a large significance for the talent themselves and all of us as wrestling fans. Names like Sin Cara, Darren Young, Heath Slater, R. Truth, and Ricardo Rodriguez have all had violations in the past. In addition, the WWE have a couple of known two-time offenders in William Regal, Rey Mysterio, Evan Bourne and reigning WWE champion Randy Orton.
The new provisos allow talent discovered to be in violation of the program to contest the ruling if the drug is found to be necessary for them to take for therapeutic use, as the name implies. While the WWE has shown it can and will release talent who have issues with this program, most of the terminated wrestlers thus far have been developmental or enhancement talent. A big exception to that would be Jeff Hardy, whose well-publicized issues with illicit substances are (hopefully) a thing of the past at this point.
Policing the sport and keeping it clean is the best way to allow the wrestlers we watch every week to live longer, so it's most definitely a good thing. As we've seen with other sports, expect the Wellness Policy to continue to grow and adapt with the times in order to allow fairness to the talent while enforcing strict rules about abuse of the program. (Rajah)
Keep it clean, kids. You don't want to end up like Mr. Furious:
While on the topic of drug abuse in professional wrestling, Shawn Michaels admitted to being a drug addict while wearing championship gold in 1996. HBK was speaking to a group of 500 middle and high school students in Pennsylvania and recounted his then-girlfriend picking him up in the shower when he fell and carrying him to bed from the sofa. As he described it himself: "I was doing everything I could to kill myself except put a loaded weapon in my hand."
As revealed in his autobiography, Michaels fought substance abuse for a very long time while wrestling and finally quit in 2002 when his two-year-old son had difficulty waking him up after he had taken painkillers to fall asleep. With the ridiculously tragic number of wrestling deaths, it's vitally important that A-list talent like Michaels let kids of all ages now the dark and difficult road substance abuse can take. Kudos to the Showstopper for delivering this potent and pertinent message. (INC)
Friday Update considers it canon that the late British Bulldog winning the Intercontinental Title from Bret "Hitman" Hart in front of his home country at SummerSlam 1992 to be the best match ever at that PPV event and one of the best in all of WWF/E history. It is with a broad smile, then, that we greet the news that WWE is internally considering a return to England for August's PPV.
The attendance for the SummerSlam '92 card was unquestionably one of the best in history, and that is despite not featuring too many memorable matches other than the one stated above. There are also the viewing factors to consider, as clearly presenting a PPV from overseas with a time delay will potentially negatively impact the number of North American viewers watching. '92 was shown two days after it was actually done, and in this day and age spoilers will abound. We shall see. (Rajah)
Fans curious about the future plans of erstwhile (and ex) legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross will be happy to learn that he may have landed his next gig, and it is wrestling based. From the rumor mill comes word that Ross has been in talks with top Mexican wrestling promotion AAA about being an announcer for them when they begin airing on the El Rey network in 2014.
AAA is apparently looking for an English-speaking announcer for said broadcasts, and the recently canned Ross fits the bill quite nicely, thanks. It is unclear how quickly Ross would be able to take any wrestling-related job (particularly as an on-air talent) due to the potential of a no-compete clause in his WWE contract. Friday Update, for its part, feels its excitement well up as it thinks about the possibilities of Cibernetico stomping a mudhole in somebody or the potential of a Chessman slobberknocker. You're missed, JR. (Rajah)
Readers following the well-publicized escapades of Reddit user Dolphins1925 and his very accurate predictions of WWE events may be heartened to learn that, according to WWE brass, they have no issue with the continued postings and no plans to discover who is behind them. WWE's Director of Communications asserted to Motley Fool that predicting outcomes is a protected First Amendment right and that they have made no attempt to discover the mystery man's identity.
Friday Update heartily congratulates the WWE for their rarely-displayed senses of humor and fair play, rather than the standard rubber-stamp practice of overreaction they seem to employ far too often. The best part about predictions? They are made before the event, so you can always change what you were planning anyway. (Rajah)
Last time anyone investigated the Dolphins, it was much better:
And, last but not least, I'd be remiss not to offer a tip of the homburg to La Parka, one of the best (and most entertaining) of the luchadores for Friday Update's money, who turned 48 yesterday. An absolute legend in Mexico, La Parka produced some very memorable moments during his WCW run until, alas, Vince Russo took over the booking. How many stories end that way? Happy birthday to the Chairman:
That clears the news desk for this weekend, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to thank you for taking time to read the dirt of the day. As always, chime into the conversation roiling in the depths below or fire off turkey basting tips and Boardwalk Empire laments to me via Twitter @DharmanRockwell or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great weekend and I'll see you Tuesday!