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Old 23 Dec 2002, 02:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Backstage business moves anger wrestlers


December 23, 2002

PATTY THERRE
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

As we saw on a recent World Wrestling Entertainment "Smackdown!," A-Train (Matt Bloom, formerly called Albert) injured Rey Mysterio (Oscar Gonzalez) in a story line to give Mysterio time off for minor knee surgery.


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That was not the original plan, however. WWE had penciled in Chris Benoit to be the one to injure Mysterio but changed plans to give Benoit a different direction.

Matt Hardy was then slated to be the wrestler to "injure" Mysterio and, subsequently, work a program against Edge (Adam Copeland), who is defending his tag-team partner and friend, Mysterio. When Mysterio was ready to return, Hardy would have started a feud with him.

But at the last minute, Vince McMahon decided to put A-Train in Hardy's place and move Hardy into a match on "Velocity," a late-night Saturday program.

Hardy was said to be upset by the change of plans. A feud between him and Edge would be good for his career, and the promise of a feud between him and Mysterio was something he looked forward to showcasing.

Several WWE wrestlers went to bat for Hardy, including Edge and Rikishi (Solofatu Anoai), asking McMahon to change his mind and put Hardy back into the program. But, as we saw, A-Train was the one who got the slot and is now feuding with Edge.

Many workers were angry with this decision as A-Train is not a main-roster competitor, and they felt he didn't deserve the high-profile spot. Some have said that McMahon is readying A-Train for a feud with the Undertaker (Mark Calaway) when he returns from his time off.

Another situation that is causing problems backstage is the suspension of Justin Credible (Pete Polaco).

Credible has been showing up late for non-televised shows recently. However, his travel partner, Jeff Hardy , also has been showing up late for the shows, something he has been suspended for in the past.

Credible was pulled from house shows and television, while Hardy was reprimanded and taken off house shows, but garnered two wins over D-Lo Brown (A.C. Conner) Dec. 15 and 16 on television.

Workers feel that punishment is not being fairly doled out among the roster and that the workers who are more popular or well liked in WWE get away with breaking rules that others cannot.

The arrival of Scott Steiner (Scott Rechsteiner) was not looked at as a good thing by all "Raw" wrestlers. Although many feel Steiner will help "Raw" to become a better show, others feel that he leapfrogged over them to get a title shot against WWE champion Triple H (Paul Levesque).

They feel that those who have been working hard for months, even years, still have yet to get a title shot, while Steiner, who has not been in WWE in years, immediately got one.

Morale is said to be low due to these incidents, but the workers are continuing to do their best to make both "Raw" and "Smackdown!" quality shows despite their personal differences with management.


Kurt Angle wins belt, and he gets time off, too


In a rather surprising turn of events, Kurt Angle beat the Big Show (Paul Wight) for the Undisputed WWE title on the "Armageddon" pay-per-view Dec. 15.

However, due to Angle's knee injury and Thursday surgery, WWE is developing an injury angle to explain his absence. Brock Lesnar , who had befriended Angle and helped him win the belt, went on a rampage when he discovered that Angle and Paul Heyman , Big Show's manager, were in on a plan to deceive him.

Lesnar "injured" Angle on Thursday's "Smackdown!" broadcast, giving him an excuse to be off TV and maybe wearing a knee brace when he returns.

Until Angle is able to wrestle again, look for story lines to revolve around Lesnar seeking revenge on Heyman and Show.


WWE is letting some of its workers leave


The Godfather's (Charles Wright) contract was not renewed when it ran out recently. Although he is well liked by WWE management, financial cuts needed to be made. However, he may still make occasional appearances on a per-night basis.

Saturn (Perry Satullo) recently was released from his contract. He had been out with an injury and was let go after he fulfilled a promised tour with World Wrestling All-Stars, an international wrestling promotion.

The WWA promotion agreed with WWE to trade Steiner, who was promoted as being on the overseas tour for weeks, for both the Godfather and Saturn.

Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkenburg) was also released after he decided that he did not want to be a commentator for WWE at this time. Although he was told there was a place for him in broadcasting, he has chosen to pursue movie and television acting roles.

Page did say he may return to WWE in a broadcasting position at some point but had no interest in doing so now.

Ron Simmons (formerly Farooq) will not have his wrestling contract renewed when it runs out soon. Simmons, 43, has many physical limitations and is ready to retire from the ring. WWE would like Simmons to remain with the federation in a backstage capacity and is working out the plans. Patty Therre of Central New York is former editor of WCW Magazine. She runs her own wrestling Web site for women, www.wrestlingonthefringe.com. E-mail her at wrestlewriter@aol.com
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Old 23 Dec 2002, 02:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ya I can agree with a few of these things, that being I would of pushed for Matt to fued with Edge instead of A-Train...McMachon yet is messing up for two reasons, not pushing Matt who is in dying need of a push and two for pushing A-train to get a fued going with The Undertaker...oh man lets hope they dont fight @ WrestleMania...=\
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Old 23 Dec 2002, 02:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ya I can agree with a few of these things, that being I would of pushed for Matt to fued with Edge instead of A-Train...McMachon yet is messing up for two reasons, not pushing Matt who is in dying need of a push and two for pushing A-train to get a fued going with The Undertaker...oh man lets hope they dont fight @ WrestleMania...=\
ya that would be a really bad match for WM. A-Train vs Undertaker. But I still would rather have A-Train get a push instead of Matt Hardy.
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Old 23 Dec 2002, 03:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Matt Hardy Vs. Edge would be a great fued. Then when Mysterio returns, it can turn into Mattitude (Matt Hardy & Shannon Moore) Vs. Edge & Mysterio.
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Old 23 Dec 2002, 03:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore are the worst team ever.
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Old 25 Dec 2002, 12:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I gotta say that this is a problem that Vince must think is gonna work itself out. I don't understand why anyone with any backstage power would ever even give someone as one-dimesional as Albert a push over someone like Matt Hardy.....Overall Matt is a better mat wrestler and better preformer then Albert, not to mention Albert has no mic or mat skills anyways........It would make much more sense to give someone as young and resourceful as Matt Hardy a push with upper mid carders then someone who has failed time in and time out with crowd reaction with the fans, weather it be heat or pop.

I think that the problem that some have with the Stiener issue is very legit, however i want to see this fued....

And as far as the departure of Saturn, that is truly the loss of the WWE, this man is far from done, and one only needs to think of Total Elimination to know this mans actual limits
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Old 25 Dec 2002, 04:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I like Patty Therre's view on wrestling. She is one of my favorite columnists.
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