Welcome to another fun-sized edition of Friday News Update. I'm your humble correspondent, Ralph Trilipush. We begin this edition of the weekend's speculation and innuendo with, of course, more information about the untimely demise of The Ultimate Warrior. For FNU's take on things, you'll find it at the end of this week's roundup. In the meantime, major waves were made when cable host Nancy Grace devoted an episode of her latest show to a discussion about Warrior's death. In a surprise to pretty much nobody whatsoever, a major portion of the conversation seemed to be the pronouncement that "rumors were swirling" about what role steroids played in said death.
In another surprise to likely even fewer, Grace decided to add gravitas to her theorizing by providing a scrolling list of wrestlers who had died of drugs. That list included Chris Candido, referees Joey Marella and Mark Curtis, and most astonishingly, Owen Hart. It would appear that the producers over at HLN aren't even able to fact-check Wikipedia to get the information needed. As you might imagine, this ridiculous and insensitive reportage set off a firestorm of responses from wrestlers past and present on Twitter, almost all of which were hilarious and very many of which are unprintable. FNU's personal favorite came from Zeb Colter, who tweeted:
"If anybody receives an email entitled NANCY GRACE NUDE, do not open it. It's not a virus. It really is Nancy Grace nude."
By the end of the day, #CancelNancyGrace was trending on Twitter and her guest for the evening, Diamond Dallas Page, was explaining why he chose to involve himself in her hot mess:
"I went on Nancy Grace last night expecting to discuss Warrior the man. Had I known the only topic discussed would be steroids I would not have participated. At the time I was also unaware of the list that was shown to the viewing audience. To imply that all of the wrestlers on that list died from steroids was wrong and for that they owe the families an apology. Again, my only intention was to discuss Warrior the man and share some stories about how dedicated he was to the wrestling business. I am saddened that was not what happened and my thoughts remain with his family."
While I am a big fan of DDP (particularly what he's done outside of wrestling), I find it hard to believe anyone sentient wouldn't expect base peddling of the lowest variety from a woman capable of stuff like this. There is no denying that wrestling has a long history of losing folks far too early due to their own poor decisions, but painting the business with a brush that broad without validating the basics is a sad state of affairs indeed.
I'll stick with my own preferred headline news, thanks:
If, like most people, you're still finding yourself stumped by the rather puzzling ending to the Undertaker/Brock Lesnar match at last Sunday's WrestleMania, you're not alone. So is the referee. Word came out yesterday that the official presiding over the historic match, Chad Patton, was not only unaware that Undertaker would be losing the match, but had actually been informed that the Deadman would be getting the "w" when all was said and done. This comes on the heels of information that the betting odds for the match swung drastically in Lesnar's favor by the time the match got underway, indicating that some of the folks "in the know" had access to the planned ending in advance.
It remains unclear to this point (and perhaps permanently) whether it was honcho Vince McMahon or Taker himself who made the call to have Brock end the vaunted streak. Both scenarios have been tossed out there in the days following the bizarre situation. It was also reported that although Undertaker was released from the hospital and in attendance for Monday's Raw, the decision was made to not use him on air. Ultimately, one would assume that the WWE will be figuring out a way to plan a proper tribute and sendoff for one of the most popular and enduring characters ever, but this story has plenty of legs in the meantime. No word on whether Jesse Ventura has already begun work on a conspiracy theory involving the Teletubbies and global warming. (Rajah)
As for the reaction to the ending, I think Chris Farley sums it up best:
In current storyline news, it appears that Fandango and Summer Rae are heading toward separate dance partners. Due to the success of her appearing on WWE's Total Divas, Summer Rae is apparently in line for a push on the Divas side of things. Whether that includes a tete-a-tete with brand spanking new champion Paige is anyone's guess, but it's not like the two don't have history. Don't shed any tears for your favorite flamenco flouter, however, as Fandango will reportedly be attached to Layla. The former member of Extreme Expose has plenty of street cred for the rug cutters, including stints for Carnival Cruise Line and the Miami Heat. So everybody's happy. (Rajah)
Summer Rae's new dance partner is a natural choice:
It appears that wrestling legend Sting has finally (for real this time!) signed a deal with the WWE. According to reports, it is not just a Legends deal, but one that will see the Stinger having some sort of television role. Sting, who was effectively written out of TNA storylines in January, was not removed from that organization's website until earlier this week. It's been widely reported that he would be signing with the WWE for some time now, a place where he has never worked in his long tenure. Much discussion has been had that Sting would be in line to possibly wrestle the aforementioned Undertaker in his last "big" match, but clearly those plans are highly questionable following WM XXX. Smart speculation would seem to indicate that Sting will be making a few appearances in a build toward a match with an apropos opponent prior to a likely induction to next year's HOF class. (Torch)
If you've been wondering what some of the potential matches for the next pay-per-view on WWE's docket, Extreme Rules, may be, FNU has your answer. It would appear that on the heels of their confrontation Monday, The Shield will be participating in some kind of match against the former members of Evolution (sans the Nature Boy, of course). Should corporate enforcer Kane be a part of the match, it would naturally lead to the obvious inclusion of new champ Daniel Bryan, thus turning it into an 8-man tag. Another speculated battle would be a WrestleMania XXX rematch between John Cena and Bray Wyatt. Given WWE's propensity for rolling right into the sequel, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. (EWrestlingNews)
Kind of only this extreme so far:
As to the Warrior's unfortunate and heart-rending passing, plenty of my fellow writers on this site have put down thoughts well worthy of your consideration. FNU would merely add that things do happen for a reason, and one of the things you quickly learn spending any time watching this business is how anything truly can happen. Warrior's saga had many ups and downs, and provided so much in the way of urban legends and hazy remembrances that even his death was an angle more than once. Given the acrimonious nature of their previous communication, one could be forgiven for wondering what exactly they were in for when tuning in to see Warrior's acceptance speech Saturday night.
What we got was a message from the large heart of a larger-than-life man, someone who didn't let his disappointment and rancor overtake his desire to give back to the fans who helped make him what he was. I was riveted. Warrior, who rambled incoherently at the top of his game, was clear, concise, and driven. He came across as someone who those close to him always knew him to be: a leader in the business and a guy with plenty to give to those with the desire to listen. His message on Monday's Raw was so eerily prophetic as to be ridiculous. The anger was replaced with happiness, the alienation with acceptance, and the instability with contentment. His tenure as an ambassador for the WWE might have been brief indeed, but we all got a chance to pay our respects to a figure that defined wrestling in his era and today. There will never be another one like him. RIP.