International Talents Set For TNA World X Cup, Batista taking break

ring162.jpgby Mike Johnson

-For those curious about the international talent coming in for the TNA World X Cup.

-Team Mexico for TNA’s World X Cup will be Averno, Rey Bucanero, Ultimo Guerrero and Volador Jr. EMLL’s Alex Koslov will work as part of Team International.

-Team Japan will be comprised of New Japan’s Milano Collection AT and Taichi Ishikari as well as Dragon Gate’s Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino.

-I know TNA has been working on bringing in Doug Williams from Great Britain as well.

(source: Mike Johnson)

– Our source is reporting that Dave Batista will be taking several months off until SummerSlam. Batista’s break from the ring isn’t wellness-related.

Ring of Hell Review

Chris BenoitJonathan Snowden reviews “Ring of Hell”

When professional wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife Nancy and seven-year-old son Daniel, the wrestling community was shocked. Or at least they claimed to be. It turns out that these purveyors of deceit, these muscle-bound charlatans, were carefully hiding the truth. The lovable family-man Chris Benoit they talked about in their interviews on CNN or Fox News didn’t exist. He may have never existed. The real Chris Benoit was a stunted (both physically and emotionally) weirdo who popped enough pills and shot up enough steroids to kill an elephant, sacrificing his health to make a living in the ultimate con game.

Matthew Randazzo V has shown in dizzying detail in his new book Ring of Hell how the wrestling business Benoit loved with a child’s enthusiasm helped lead to his death. It was a business where you had to endure countless hours of physical abuse as part of your initiation just to join. Once you “made it” you were blessed with the chance to ride for hours from town to town with a roving gang of lunatics and drug addicts for little pay. Benoit made his start in the business (professional wrestling is always referred to by wrestlers as “the business” in hushed tones) in two of the most warped and twisted training grounds the sport had ever seen. The stories about what it took to break into this freak show act in Calgary’s Stampede Wrestling and to survive months in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s tortuous training dojo are truly startling. Even long-time fans of wrestling will learn new details about the life their favorite stars had to withstand to make their start in wrestling. Randazzo paints a vivid picture of the life of a Westerner in Japan, a place where a 400-pound star can punch an old lady in the face and receive nothing but thanks in return, a place where the payoffs are all in cash and from the hands of the Japanese mafioso who really control the wrestling industry there.

Randazzo follows Benoit from his beginnings in the industry through his career in America. The “family man” his WWE co-workers portrayed in their media appearances actually spent every minute he could away from home. The only thing Benoit loved was professional wrestling and he did whatever it took to make it. That means he did a lot of steroids. Like his idol the Dynamite Kid, Benoit did copious amounts of drugs to build muscle on his slight frame. Even then he was still considered too small for mainstream American wrestling in WCW. Wrestling booker Ole Anderson (the man who made the matches and decided on storylines) was able to wrap his massive hand all the way around Benoit’s wrist. “Female bones.” And like that his dream of making it big as a wrestler in the United States was seemingly crushed.

The answer to this size problem was an increasingly violent and dangerous style of wrestling. Dives from the top rope directly onto his head, concussion-causing suplexes and pratfall bumps, chops to the chest that popped blood vessels. Nothing was too crazy for Chris Benoit to do in the ring. Combined with the drugs, this physical abuse took its toll on Benoit. Once the quiet “young boy” Benoit become a sadistic ribber and locker room disciplinarian. Something in Benoit wasn’t wired right. He saw other’s pain as merely weakness. Like his idol the Dynamite Kid, Benoit was constantly proving himself, a little man in a big man’s game, but through sheer effort of will (and a willingness to humble himself and cripple his body), Benoit eventually made it to the big time.

Here the book loses its bearing for a time. It follows Benoit to the oddball ECW locker room where drug use was never hidden and an inability to entertain fans conventionally was masked by an ability to get thrown through a table or hit with a steel chair. The book does a good job of succinctly summing up the Paul Heyman led company: it was a promotion that emphasized the ECW brand name over any individual wrestler. Heyman was one of the first to recognize wrestlers as the disposable commodities they are. He pushed them to the brink of their physical well being and when they couldn’t continue at that pace, he replaced them with someone else.

ECW gave Benoit a jumping off point into the wild world of WCW. Here Benoit, who loved wrestling and the wrestling business with an unbridled and unhealthy passion, ran head long into savvy operators who realized wrestling was a job like any other. Men like Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were working to maximize their own income, like most Americans, and weren’t held back by wrestling’s unwritten rules about being a good soldier and keeping your mouth shut. Benoit was unhinged at the very thought of these men not respecting “the business.” He would give up anything for wrestling, his self respect, his physical health, his sanity, his family. The WCW period is interesting but has been well covered in books like Bryan Alvarez’s Death of WCW. Long-time wrestling fans likely won’t learn anything new in this section and the material may be a bit dense for non-wrestling fans.

The book picks up steam again as Benoit journeys to wrestling nirvana-World Wrestling Entertainment. Randazzo has good sources in the WWE and the book opens wide the dysfunctional McMahon family circus. The book shows explicitly how McMahon encouraged his wrestlers to push themselves to the limits. It isn’t a coincidence that wrestlers from the McMahon era have routinely died in their 30’s and 40’s. The WWE schedule is a non-stop grind of lonely hotel rooms, long drives, flights, and back-breaking matches. McMahon also requires a physique impossible to acquire without performance enhancing drugs. Wrestlers get hooked on a lethal cocktail of painkillers, steroids, and pharmaceuticals. Chris Benoit was no exception. Even after watching close friends like Eddy Guerrero and Brian Pillman suffer and die after attempting to push their bodies harder than physically possible, Benoit learned no lessons. Despite being wealthy enough to leave the pain and misery behind him, he pushed himself harder and harder. Life without wrestling to Benoit wasn’t life at all.

After his best friend Guerrero died of a steroid-induced heart attack, Benoit became distraught. The book falters here as Randazzo seems reluctant to discuss the murders in all of their grisly detail. This restraint may be the sign of a good person, but it isn’t the sign of a good True Crime author. Observer readers will have already read all the details in Ring of Hell and more. But this book isn’t really about the murders. It’s about a cutthroat industry that has left bodies in its wake for two decades as Vince McMahon built a billion dollar company. And it’s about a Canadian lunatic beloved by fans but never able to love himself. It’s an amazing story well-told and an honest look inside a brutal and backwards business.

(source: www.pwinsider.com)

Homicide on Konnan lawsuit, New TNA Cross The Line Video, King of the Mountain Preview

homicide_joe.jpg– Homicide response to questions about the Konnan lawsuit against TNA:

“To be honest with you, I really don’t know what’s going on with that situation. That’s down to him.

I’m still friends with Konnan but when it comes to business everybody here has to feed their kids.

I’m not saying that I’m not down with Konnan but I work for the money. I am a single dad.

I’m working with TNA so I’m down with the company. Business is business.

I’m appreciative of what Konnan did for us, especially for me because nobody gave me a chance due to my size and my background, and he gave me the opportunity to come to TNA to show my stuff.

But now I’m with TNA and it’s a great company.

Konnan’s got a little side job going. He’s already a legend, he’s already made his name.
Now it’s our turn.”

(source: Bill Taylor, www.thesun.co.uk)

– There’s a new TNA Cross The Line Video at www.tnawrestling.com. Click here to check it out!

-Look for a King of the Mountain preview match on next week’s iMPACT!. Mike Johnson is reporting that the winner will get a TNA title shot on the iMPACT! Right after Slammiversary.

Bobby Lashley in MMA, Goldberg done with Wrestling, Heat is off WWE, The Rock single

bobbylashelyaoaoao.jpg– There’s a rumor that WWE’s Bobby Lashley has signed with a MMA Promotion. Go to www.themmanews.com for updates on the story.

– Bill Goldberg said that he was done with pro wrestling recently during an interview. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Goldberg said that it was a case of philosophical differences between himself and WWE and a lack of vision in TNA.

-Heat will run its last episode this weekend on WWE.com. Heat will wrap up with 513 episodes in the series.

– Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has finished divorce proceedings with his now ex-wife Dany Garcia. The wrestler-turned-movie star separated from Garcia after ten years of marriage. The former courple have a seven-year-old daughter, Simone. Johnson has agreed to pay $22,000 a month in child support, according to papers filed at Mimi Dade County Court in Florida. Both parents will have custody and also pay $5,000 each a month into a trust fund to cover Simon’s education.

TNA house show cards

ring162.jpgTNA house show cards for the upcoming Liverpool, England shows

6/12 Card for Liverpool, England has Samoa Joe vs. Kurt Angle for the title, LAX vs. Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley for the tag team titles, Petey Williams defending the X-division title against Sonjay Dutt and Jay Lethal, Awesome Kong vs. Gail Kim for the Knockout title, Rhino vs. Booker T and AJ Styles vs. Robert Roode.

6/13 card: Samoa Joe vs. Booker T for the TNA title, LAX vs. James Storm and Robert Roode for the tag team titles, Williams vs. Lethal for the X-division strap, and Kong vs. Kim.
One, if not both shows, will be taped for Global Impact. It is unclear if TNA will get a Spike TV special, or if they will be released on DVD.

(source: The Wrestling Observer Newsletter)

Triple H moving to Smackdown?, Jim Ross posts, Kevin Nash Auction fake,

triplehasdfljasdf.jpg– Triple H’s name has been mentioned as a possible move to Smackdown during the WWE draft on 6/23. A source tells us that several wrestlers have had it with Triple H and would applaud the move. Apparently, the atmosphere around Vince McMahon’s son-in-law is tense. It has been suggested that if Triple H moves to Smackdown, Undertaker may be moved to Raw.

– Jim Ross updated his blog and spoke about WWE’s $1 million giveaway. “The $1M promotion that the WWE is going to start soon on Monday Night Raw is garnering a healthy amount of reaction from fans and Internet types. It appears to be similar to many ratings promotions that are done by TV networks, especially in May and November, and also by radio stations, to enhance viewership. Many critics are blasting the on air promotion before it even starts or before the details are known, but that isn’t unusual these days.”

-J.R. posted that the 6/23 draft in San Antionio, TX will be a three-hour Raw.

– The eBay auction that ended this past weekend where you would travel to meet Kevin Nash and spend time with him was a fake. There were no bidders for the auction which started at a $2,300 minimum bid.

April Hunter Auction, TNA Slammiversary spoiler, Angelina Love Bump

aprilhunterFormer women wrestler April Hunter is auctioning off clothes to help pay medical bills. Click here for the details!

-TNA may be looking to re-create the Randy Savage-Miss Elizabeth WWF wedding when ‘Black Machismo’ Jay Lethal weds So Cal Val at the 6/8 Slammiversary PPV. TNA has already contacted Kamala and George ‘The Animal’ Steele and the company is looking to get in touch with other stars from the era for the Lethal-So Cal Val ceremony.

-Larry Zbyszko was backstage at this week’s TNA tapings in Orlando filming segments to plug his new autobiography, ‘Adventures in Larryland.’

– Angelina Love received a concussion from a bump during the tapings this week but is said to be OK and won’t miss any bookings.

‘Bigger, Stronger, Faster’ Opens Today

biggerstrongerfaster.jpgThe steroid documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” is opening today in select theatres. Comingsoon.net features an interview with “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” director Chris Bell. The film focuses on the steroid culture of the United States.

Bell worked for WWE as a creative team member and his brother Mike was a journeyman wrestler who worked for WWF and ECW.

Bell is asked during the interview if he attempted to get WWE performers to take part in the film.

“Yeah, absolutely. I used to work for a short time at the WWE as a writer, so I’m pretty friendly with Shane McMahon, and Vince McMahon knows who I am. I have a lot of friends like John Cena wrestles for the WWE and he’s a really good friend of our family’s. I tried to talk to all those guys, and any of those guys, it’s like John would talk to me about those issues, and a lot of those guys would talk to me, but they’re not allowed to without the permission of the WWE. So rather than asking the guys individually, because they’re all my friends and I know they would talk to me, but the WWE does not actually allow them to talk about performance enhancement drugs to the media. It’s actually bizarre because when this whole Chris Benoit thing happened, they then let them talk to the media. But when we asked after that, they still said “No” because I think they know they have no choice about making a statement on CNN and these shows, but I didn’t think they wanted to get involved with a film. They really know that I know too much. I used to be in the locker room with them. I think that Vince is great and I think a lot of the stuff they’ve been doing in trying to police it within his business is good, and I hope that it’s not for the mere fact that the media and the congress is coming down on them. There are some issues with his wellness policy that he’s instituted, and that is actually what I wanted to talk to him about. I didn’t want to ask if he was on steroids or point the finger at WWE, I wanted to say, “Well you guys instituted a wellness policy but there’s all these flaws in it. Let’s discuss those.” I think that’s the same policy—it’s not just Vince McMahon, it’s everybody. It’s Major League Baseball and all these others, they have these policies, but these policies have flaws. Somebody comes around pointing out those flaws, Congress doesn’t know any better. Congress doesn’t know enough about steroids. They don’t have a steroid expert in Congress to be able to say, “This actually makes no sense.”
The official website for the film can be found at www.biggerstrongerfastermovie.com.

(source: John Johnson at www.pwtorch.com)

*SPOILERS* – WWE Smackdown Results For May 30

ring162.jpgWrestling News Confidential has spoilers for May 30 WWE Smackdown. Just click on more to view. Read more »

*Spoilers* TNA iMPACT! May 29, Updated card

ring162.jpgWrestling Confidential has spoilers for TNA imPACT! for May 29. Just click on more to see. Read more »

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