Welcome to a very special edition of Friday News Update, ladies and gentlemen. I'm your humble correspondent, Bernard Nadler. In case you're wondering what makes this particular installment of the FNU so important, it's because it was one year ago to the day that I became part of the NXT version of new recruits at TJR (a factoid given to me by fellow recruit and current holder of the TJR Divas Breakroom Title, Heather Hickey). One year later, and I am blown away by the intensity, integrity and intelligence of this group of writers that I am proud to be a part of. It's also been one hell of an opportunity to connect with huge wrestling fans week to week and one that this scribe never takes for granted. But before this becomes too much of a Kurt Angle promo, let's get to the news.
Well, okay, NOW let's get to the news. Can't be an authentic FNU without cartoons, now can it?
Leading off this week, it's been officially reported that WWE has released Luis Ignacio Urive Alvirde. No, that is not the real name of the Most Interesting Man in the World (though I'd personally root for him to host WrestleMania, brother!) but rather the actual name of the wrestler known as Mistico but better known to us as the original Sin Cara. Fans may remember the near record-level revelry that accompanied his signing, as he was one of Triple H's first talent grabs and a giant press conference was held in Mexico to celebrate.
Then came this:
Following that, it was an all-too-brief slide down the slippery slope of irrelevance, leading to the current day when he and the WWE will likely be engaged in legal battles over the Sin Cara name due to Hunico now portraying that character on WWE television. Frankly, at this point I'd argue the flotilla had sailed and maybe Mistico has way more cachet. Blame the mood lighting in the ring, blame the mini trampoline, blame the inability to do promos of any kind, blame the injuries; blame whatever you like, but Sin Cara The First never became the Rey Mysterio replacement WWE brass was hoping for. Worry not, though. There's always El Torito. (Torch)
If you're the kind of person who likes mixing their love of professional wrestling with an equally strong love of betting sums of money, FNU has very good news for you. Should your bracket have been busted after the first couple days, take faith in the fact that you can clean up with the early odds for the upcoming WM XXX pay-per-view. That being said, the early lines show lots of clear-cut favorites and very few toss-ups, so you might have to go for the battle royal to truly channel your inner Pete Rose.
Daniel Bryan is currently a double digit favorite to defeat Trips in their match, and also owns the distinction of being far and away the odds leader for walking out of WM as champion. Beast Brock Lesnar isn't being given much pop to beat The Undertaker (60-1 favorite), which isn't that much of a surprise given the way the build has been booked. If Brock is scared of druids and parlor tricks, he hasn't been watching much of the WWE Network. In an interesting aside, Bray Wyatt is currently a three-to-one favorite to defeat company golden boy John Cena. Vegas odds are typically not that informative up until the day of said event, but it does give us an opportunity to see how the winds are blowing right now. (Rajah)
You can always just head to the casino:
If, like me, you've been counting down the minutes to another Rob Van Dam run in the WWE, the forecast for your wrestling weekend is very promising indeed. A recent news item indicates RVD will be returning to Monday Night Raw on April 7th in New Orleans, also known as the day after WM XXX. The same report says that Van Dam will be staying with the company for a couple of months. This would appear to be similar to RVD's last WWE deal, as he appeared in the promotion's Money In The Bank event in June and was booked rather solidly through October, including two shots at the World Heavyweight Championship held at that time by Alberto Del Rio.
No word on if RVD will be reunited with former cornerman Ricardo Rodriguez, who was aligned with him at the time of his previous departure. Whatever the circumstance, FNU will certainly be happy to have Van Dam back in the fold. (INC)
More of this would also be appreciated:
Outside the scope of all things WWE, news has surfaced that cable channel AMC has picked up an untitled wrestling project brought to them by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. Corgan, a lifelong wrestling enthusiast who has appeared in ECW, AAA, and TNA, among other spots, will be "pulling back the curtains on the pro wrestling world as he takes over creative direction for the independent wrestling company Resistance Pro," according to the synopsis in the press release.
Of course, you can also read FNU's own press release: "From the same company that brought you Vince Russo: Morality and Midgets, comes a new untitled wrestling project that harkens back to 1979. There is zero chance you should miss this perfect chance to drown in what AMC is proud to call an updated form of cherub rock. Starting today, you will be disarmed like a bullet with butterfly wings. When does it begin? Tonight, tonight!"
As to whether it will succeed, your guess is as good as mine. There are shows about arm wrestling at this point, so the jury's out for me. (Rajah)
The on-again, off-again news train that is Sting's status with WWE is rolling back into the station once more. The latest information is that it is expected Sting will wrestle in only one more match before announcing his retirement. That match is expected to be against the aforementioned Undertaker at WrestleMania XXXI. This follows on the heels of previous reports that had indicated Sting was watching old Taker matches in order to prepare himself for what's to come. Your correspondent has also been watching them, mostly because they get pretty freaking awesome after the writers drop chloroform endings.
It remains unclear whether Sting has signed a contract, although it's certainly possible that it's a done deal but the WWE has held off announcing it due to the fact that they won't really be using him until next year. It's also possible that an agreement is in place but has yet to be formalized, and the information on it changes by the minute. Whether Sting would be brought in immediately after WM or closer to next year's seminal event is not known at this point, but it appears to be a guarantee that when he does, it will be this match and this match only that takes place.
I don't know that Sting would have the best match possible with Taker, but it would be intriguing for a whole bunch of reasons and a hell of a way for a wrestling legend (or maybe two) to ride off into the sunset. (INC)
So, at the end of the day, I want it, but not as much as Nic Cage wants cake:
Looking for a ticket to the upcoming big dance? It appears you can have it. A recent story indicates that the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of this year's WM, has sent out a mailer offering discounted tickets to the event due to their concern that it will not sell out otherwise. Close to 9,000 tickets remain on StubHub, with many of the cheaper seats going at or under market value. All this indicates that there may not be as much buzz for the WWE's biggest event as in years past. Whether that's up to the absence of Hercules is yours to decide.
On the other side of the coin, this August's SummerSlam from Los Angeles is already sold out. I guess Jeremy Piven got the word out. (Rajah)
That clears the news desk for this weekend, ladies and gentlemen. As always, I'd like to take the time to thank you for reading the dirt of the day. And don't forget to take part in the conversation roiling in the depths below. You can reach me on Twitter @DharmanRockwell or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As to my fellow not-so-newbies-anymore, there's nothing I can say that Little River Band can't sing for me: