Good morning, good afternoon, good why-haven't-you-read-this-yet-do-you-have-a-job-or-something! I'm Heather and I'm here to share my take on this weekend's headlines.

Fake Injuries Only, Please.

Let’s hope it’s much ado about nothing, but reports of AJ Lee’s collapse dominated social media all weekend. At a live event in London on Friday, AJ fainted from the ring apron during a tag match. Medical personnel were summoned and a pinfall quickly counted to finish the match without her. On a promising note, AJ was able to walk back to the locker room with assistance, and wrestled again the following evening (WrestlingInc).

Dehydration is being cited as the culprit for her collapse. Now, being someone who follows the Hollywood headlines as much as I do those in wrestling, I know that “dehydration” is often Publicist Speak for “strung out on something unsavory”. I highly doubt this is the case with AJ. WWE’s Wellness Policy ensures that their talent stays beyond clean, and beyond reproach in terms of publicity (CM Punk’s tweets notwithstanding). Furthermore, I’ve read multiple reports of this European tour being particularly grueling, plagued by injuries and exhaustion of the very real sort. If they’re logging a lot of time in the stale, dry air of airplanes and sweating it out in the ring every night, dehydration sounds like an unfortunate but logical conclusion. Now, overworking your employees is another issue altogether. Overseas tours are notoriously rigorous, squeezing a marathon’s-worth of matches into a sprint’s-worth of time.

Most of us fans would agree that staggered rest periods would benefit our beloved wrestlers and refresh storylines too. Take care over there, everyone, and hurry back so that we can hurl insults at your performances in the Country episode of Raw tonight! AJ, I’d recommend you make yourself scarce backstage while they’re planning the show… my money’s on the first Diva they find being slotted to ride the mechanical bull.

 

The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment

In the last year or so, I have bought far fewer wrestling DVDs than usual, but I WILL be buying this DVD. I’ll need a physical copy clutched in my talons, a whole night set aside, and special snacks planned in advance. To have so many great moments compiled in one place, not to mention the great moments that I should know about but have yet to see! And given the talented video editors on staff at Titan Towers, I am super confident that they’ve lovingly pieced together a great story (biased, yes, but that’s part of the propaganda that I’m buying into here). This DVD hits the shelves tomorrow, November 19th!

One of the most iconic moments that holds a special place in my heart is that of Vince welcoming people to WrestleMania III. I know exactly where I was sitting in my local arena as a kid, watching WM III on a big screen. When the video sprang up on screen, showing the sea of people that had filled the Pontiac Silverdome, It’s really too bad that they have to blur the WWF logo on all of their footage. It is such a distraction, and petty on the part of the World Wildlife Foundation (who successfully sued them, resulting in the re-naming of WWE). The rules for blurring the logo and muting the term “WWF” in archival footage are confusing to me, but it sounds like they’ve recently won more freedom in that department. I have my fingers crossed that nothing here is blurred, bleeped, or blooped. We need to see the puppies in all their glory!

What’s Up?

In other news, R-Truth revealed to Bang Showbiz that he plans to release a rap album “about real-life situations”. Now I enjoy the rap myself, though I’m just a fan and not an artist like Truth. It’s tempting to withhold judgment, because the man recently lost his sister to cancer, so maybe he’s inspired to write about that. I’m just saying maybe he shouldn’t be the one to sing it, because quite frankly he sucks. But that’s not news to you, is it? (WrestlingInc)

 

Count Him Out of WWE, But Don’t Count Him Out

In last Monday’s News Update, I covered the story of Kassius Ohno’s release from WWE. In just one week’s time, he has released an eloquent and proactive statement on facebook, and booked himself into some fine-looking indy matches (all with 3 more NXT matches still in the queue for broadcast, the final one being December 11). WrestlingInc reports that Ohno’s release had been in the works for a while, which may explain the graceful way with which he’s been handling it. On December 15, he’ll face an equally-grounded dude in one Mr. Lance Storm, a match put on by Smash Wrestling near Toronto, Ontario Canada (said in Howard Finkel’s voice only). I’m pretty bummed that I will be out of town for this event, so everyone please go out and relish seeing these guys in action!

This past Saturday night, Ohno (back to using his old ring name, Chris Hero) certainly received a hero’s welcome at a Pro Wrestling Syndicate event in New Jersey (his first match since being released). He won against Hurricane Helms in what came off as a spirited and jovial event. You can watch the footage here at WrestlingInc. The fans’ reactions, and the camaraderie between Hero and Helms, embody what going to an indy show is all about.  

 

You Can’t See Me (Unless You’re On Eastern Standard Time)

There’s never been a question of the United Kingdom’s passion for pro wrestling. So many globally-recognized grapplers have hailed from there, and the fan fervor at matches is always impressive. These facts, coupled with WWE’s recent tour of the area, have revived a popular request for London to host a Pay-Per-View event. Wrestling fans get particularly nostalgic about the classic match between Bret Hart and the British Bulldog at Summerslam ’92, held in Wembley Stadium (made ever-more amazing to me after reading Hart’s account of the match in his biography – apparently Bulldog had been high on crack just the night before, and required Hart to instruct him on every step of the match).

John Cena played on those passions and nostalgia when he took to the mic after a show in London this weekend:

“This city deserves a WrestleMania [“Yes!” chant breaks out] … after standing here year after year, and knowing that down the road there’s a big-ass stadium, and we could have one hell of an event … if you can’t make it out to WrestleMania 30, I sure as hell hope they decide to have it here in London for 31 because you deserve it.” (WrestlingInc)

He ended the night on a high note for everyone, which is his favorite thing to do; even all the Cena haters fell into his brilliant, hometown-loving trap. Who WOULDN’T cheer for WrestleMania coming to his country, especially a country so devoted to wrestling that thousands of its citizens flock to the big event in the U.S. every year? A country that would happily fill its stadium... but would it happily still order the PPV if it aired at 3 o’clock in the afternoon?

That’s the problem in the eyes of World Wrestling Entertainment. In order to harvest those precious viewers in North America, the PPV must be broadcast during prime time, their time. How would that affect viewership elsewhere, and buy rates and spoilers?  For Vince, “acting globally” means whirlwind tours and The Great Khali. Call me naïve and uninformed (no, go ahead, I’m cool with it), but I think a 3pm start time wouldn’t be the end of the world. Maybe you’d get more families tuning in? Or the Queen!

 

One More Thing

Speaking of John Cena, he caught me off guard more than a little bit on twitter Sunday. He wrote, “The 1st sneak peek at something BIG that will be happening soon”. I’m pretty sure I did a super-slapsticky double-take when I first clicked the link:

Excuse me. WHAT IN THE NAME OF MAE YOUNG IS HAPPENING HERE??? I’m all for healthy choices, but I just… I just… wasn’t expecting this? Okay, wait, is this another avenue for cross-platform expression? Maybe WWE wants to lure more female fans to Camp Cena, as females are generally more inclined to sign up for weight-loss programs (I say this because I’m close with people who’ve tried several, and membership runs like 98% female). But this smarmy approach seems like work for a Superstar who’s been Future Endeavored, or a Legend who shares an agent with JENNIFER HUDSON WHO SHILLS FOR WEIGHT WATCHERS AND SHE’S MARRIED TO DAVID OTUNGA WHO HANDLED JOHN CENA’S DIVORCE PAPERS HOLY CRAP IS THAT IT? Inside voice, Heather.

I see that hundreds of people have already bookmarked and re-tweeted and registered for this ChangeTime program, hoping for a follow back and the promised personal coaching from John Cena. If seeing Cena’s tweet has motivated you to make a positive change, then they’ve picked the right spokesperson and here’s to your good health! I’m having trouble getting past the cheesy grin and the thumbs up, but if they also do an infomercial, all is forgiven.

“That’s great-tasting bass!”

I can’t think of a better way to close today’s News Update. Have a good one, come back and see us often at TJR Wrestling!

Heather Hickey on twitter: @kickyhick

By email: heatherhickey@live.ca