After a week where the C.M. Punk news started dying down, people both in and out of the company are now looking at the 3/3 Raw, since it’s from Chicago.
Either Punk will be back on that show and they’ll get an incredible reaction for it, or there is a lot of concern how that show will play out. My gut says that if Hulk Hogan and Undertaker are brought to that show (both are scheduled to be brought back to TV at the 2/24 Raw in Green Bay), as they should be, plus Brock Lesnar, that while the Punk chants will probably be there, having Hogan there may serve as a counter. If Hogan was around too long, it would be one thing, but on week two and in Chicago, where he was a star dating back to around 1981, they aren’t going to “turn” on him.
There was less concern this past week because while there were Punk chants at several house shows, they didn’t pick up strongly nor last long. The feeling is that with nothing significant on that front happening with a Los Angeles television crowd, that it’s a pretty much done situation with the possible exception of Chicago.
At the house show I went to in Oakland, it sounded like maybe four people who were clearly aware of the situation (since Punk was never booked for that show to begin with) started the chant. It picked up somewhat, but it was mostly little kids just parroting a chant, and not any kind of a protest akin to the nearly two years of “We Want Flair” chants at WCW shows from the summer of 1991, to early 1993 after he left the company for WWF.
At the Raw show in Los Angeles on 2/10, the company feared given they were in a major market, that fans could hijack the show and ruin the John Cena vs. Randy Orton TV main event, like happened with their match at the Rumble. So the idea was to bring Daniel Bryan out twice, including right before the main event, have him go over strong and get the chants out of the way.
For Punk, what happened, whether by design or an audible (and I’d be shocked if this was an audible because can you imagine the heat Rollins would have gotten had it backfired and he did it without prompting?), is that during the Dean Ambrose vs. Mark Henry U.S. title match, in the third hour, Rollins got on the mic as soon as they cut to a commercial at home, and said “C.M. Who? How about showing some respect for Dean Ambrose, the greatest champion in this company,” which started the Punk chants (one person said the Punk chants started right before and Rollins said that in response).
The idea seemed to be that long before the three minute break was up, people would get it out of their system and at home, nobody would hear it. That seemed to work to a point. When they came back from the break, there were remnants and there was a woman right in front of the camera holding up a Punk sign, but it was barely audible and the chants never came back.
During that commercial break, Lawler made a remark about them going to die out soon, Cole on the headset said, How about “Go away, Go away,” like they should chant that instead, while people were doing the chant. Layfield laughed and said there wasn’t much determination in them (the ones chanting as it quickly died down).
During the videos they showed during commercial breaks on the show, there was a lot of Hogan and Sting, but everything with Punk was edited out. They even played the ad for the “Best of the Money in the Bank” DVD and everything with Punk was edited off the ad.
But they were not confiscating signs when you came through the door. There were a few Punk signs, and as noted, one was right in front of the camera shown during the Henry vs. Ambrose match, but that was about it.
The next night in Ontario, there was one small chant but one can argue the people who start those chants are smart enough to know it’s not making it to television on a taped show. The crowd was said to have responded there pretty much the way one would program them to respond.
There is a mixed feeling within the company. Virtually nobody sides with him when it comes to walking out 30 minutes before a live TV shoot unless it’s an elaborate angle (which on 3/3 we’ll likely find out 100%, although those in the company certainly don’t believe it’s a work). Many have sympathy for some of his points about being promised things, or the heads of the company being so steadfast into believing that if you don’t have the right kind of size and physique you can’t be the top star. But they argue Punk very legitimately was No. 2 for a while. I guess the idea is that he really wasn’t No. 2 because Cena was always around, and Dwayne Johnson was clearly ahead of him, and Lesnar was ahead of him, and now Batista was being positioned ahead of him.
While most conceded he was very popular, the belief was that he was not a ticket seller to live shows, and only on occasion was he a difference maker in PPV (clearly he was a few times).
On the flip side, he was the No. 2 merchandise seller, and his T-shirts in particular are a hot item so he is a strong revenue generator.
One person noted to us that he saw with his own eyes Staples Center security telling fans not to chant for Punk, and that security pulled two people aside and threatened to kick them out if they kept chanting it as they tried to get a chant going while they were on the air.
Regarding Punk, I don’t know who he’s in contact with, but it doesn’t seem like he’s in communication with many. The story is that those who have worked with him and know him that have tried to contact him haven’t heard back, just like a TNA storyline about not returning phone calls, texts or e-mails in between shows.
It is notable that he really did come close to leaving in 2011 and when the angle started, he was gone. I think the moment it changed is when he was going through that period on Raw where he quietly lost every week, until all of a sudden things changed.
Jim Ross, who had been in communication with Punk in recent months, said he thought C.M. Punk would make a great MMA announcer.
“He’s glib. He’s intelligent. He’s well-spoken. He understands infinitely the product and he knows how to entertain. He has everything that an MMA company would desire. And I think he would just be phenomenal.”
During one of the periods where Punk was injured and he worked as an announcer on Raw he was praised for his instinctual timing in the role.
Mick Foley, another friend of Punk’s, was on Live Audio Wrestling this past weekend talking about him.
“The last time I touched base with him was after the Rumble and I don’t want to discuss what he said exactly. I’ll just say I wasn’t shocked when he decided to leave because he and I, there is a deep, mutual respect there and we like each other. I would say to him after I watched him at a house show and I would say, `Geez, you don’t have to work that hard every night.’ And he would say to me, `If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.’ And I respect the work ethic and I understand if you’re hurt and you’re not enjoying yourself that it’s not the place to be. I would hate to see C.M. Punk turn into what I did where my philosophy became, `Good enough is going to have to be good enough.’ And it wasn’t that philosophy that helped me succeed, to get me into the WWE Hall of Fame and I kind of regret going through a few years where things had to be that way. I don’t think Punk wants anyone to see him at anything less than his best and I know he’d been frustrated for a while.
“He’s a pretty outspoken guy, and in the end, he’ll make the decision that’s best for him. What I said, and I’ll repeat for you guys, if he can reconsider one thing, it’s not to let whether or not he’s officially the main event dictate how good his match is. If he had a big match coming up at WrestleMania, I would encourage him to at least think about taking advantage of that. In 2006, in no way, shape or form were Edge and I the main event at WrestleMania, but we had a great match. I didn’t walk away from that WrestleMania thinking it was any less special because we weren’t the feature, so that’s the only piece of advice I’d give him, not to let those words, main event, dictate how important the match is, but if your heart’s not in it, it’s not in it.”
The New York Post ran a story intimating that negotiations between WWE and NBC Universal have hit a snag. NBC’s Exclusive negotiating period ends this week and they are expected to be putting in a final bid on 2/14. What is fortuitous is that the USA Network’s gap in being No. 1 in cable has been closing. While last year, if you took WWE out of the mix, USA would still have been No. 1 in prime time, this year that may not be the case and USA would badly want to keep that slot.
They are looking at really loading up the 2/24 Raw, because it’s both the start of the direct push for Mania (since Elimination Chamber will be over) and the night of the network launch. Both Hogan and Undertaker are currently scheduled for their first appearances on the show.
While on television and in all publicity they keep pushing that the network will start at 11:05 p.m. on 2/24, when Raw goes off the air, that will be for live programming with the post-Raw show. There will be video-on-demand programming available at 9 a.m. That day, the same time they will open up for orders.
At press time, with only one Raw left before the PPV, only four matches are official for the 2/23 Elimination Chamber show from Minneapolis, the six-way chamber match for the WWE world title with Orton vs. Cena vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Bryan vs. Christian, The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, Batista vs. Del Rio and Langston vs. Swagger for the IC title. They are either doing the New Age Outlaws vs. Usos for the tag title, or a multiple-team match that would include those two teams, the Rhodes Brothers and possibly Ryback & Axel. It was hinted to me it would be Outlaws vs. Usos. An A.J. Lee vs. Naomi women’s title match had been scheduled but Naomi’s injury takes that one off the boards. Nothing has really been hinted at as far as a new opponent. They did put Cameron over the past week.
Sting, while the deal had not been signed as of a few days ago, it’s more the WWE side dragging its feet. As noted, Sting is not the priority in the company the way some of the other big-name deals have been. Even for me, I suppose he could do a face General Manager role but given the current storylines, why would The Authority hire a face G.M. that muddles their own power. I suppose they could build then to a Sting vs. HHH match for control of Raw, but does HHH really want that given whatever value Sting has is nostalgia, and nostalgia generally has a very short shelf life. Sting himself was hoping to get a match with Undertaker at this year’s Mania, so I guess he bought into the Internet hype for himself since the company and Undertaker himself have had the Lesnar plan dating back to 2010. The one thing from the Sting standpoint is that since he lives in the Dallas area, he was willing to go with Undertaker and work out the match in private at Undertaker’s gym, over and over, to get it right, which is what Undertaker’s opponents the last several years have done. That’s one of the reasons the matches have gone over so well. There was some question that Lesnar, who is in it because he makes huge money for limited work and only has a certain number of dates on his contract, of whether he would be willing spending several extra days working with Undertaker to get the entire match worked out.
On the injury front, as it turned out, Naomi has a fractured orbital bone and may need surgery. After she went home, the eye swelled up and got very painful, enough to where she went to the hospital in Tampa and got a CAT scan, which showed a minimally displaced fracture of the orbital bone on the inside part of the eye socket. She’ll be checked out again this week to see if she will need surgery. Because of that, there is no estimate yet on how long she’ll be out of action. It was noted to us that her timing could be the best or worst, but if she doesn’t need surgery, there is a silver lining. The idea that she just gets married and was on her push for a title shot and then got hurt can be a major storyline of “Total Divas,” and make her more of a focus of that show. If she can come back and challenge at Mania, the story is much bigger. If she does need surgery and misses Mania, they can make that part of the story, but either way, it’s more focus on her for when she returns.
Rhodes has some MCL damage in his right knee but it’s not clear what it is, past the point his knee is in a brace. This came from the cage match. Not sure if it was the moonsault off the top of the cage when he wasn’t caught because he looked to me to land on his shoulder and not his knee. But both he and Goldust were off the weekend shows. Rhodes worked Raw on 2/10 but clearly wasn’t ready. He worked very little in a trios match, and when he tried a dropkick and other moves requiring spring, you could tell he couldn’t get much off the right leg.
WWE and 20th Century Fox studios announced two new movies. The first, “Jingle All The Way 2,” a sequel aimed as a direct-to-home-video release will start production next month. Larry the Cable Guy will be the star and Santino Marella will have a featured role.
The other, “The Marine 4,” coming off the success on the video market of “The Marine 3,” will bring back Mike “Miz” Mizanin in the lead role. Summer Rae will be cast into a key role. It’s also a straight-to-video release.
Cena simply has unreal powers of healing. He had his eye shut on 2/1, and six nights later in Oakland, you would have never known anything had happened. You’d have to look super close to even notice which eye it was as there was no visible remnants of bruising. His repaired left triceps that he came back early from looks just as freaky as it always did.
SummerSlam is official for 8/17 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the same site it’s been held since 2009. It was announced at the 2/10 Raw show that tickets for SummerSlam would go on sale on 3/15.
At press time after the close of the market on 2/11, the stock was at $22.87 per share, meaning the company’s market capitalization was $1.72 billion.
Ryback seemed to injure his hand in the tag match on Raw but we don’t have any official word on it at press time.
Stephan Bonnar (who was sitting right behind the announcers) was identified on the air as being there by Layfield as a UFC Hall of Famer. Boy did that sound weird. Bonnar is good friends with Batista and helped train Batista for his lone MMA fight. Three of the Four Horsewomen (Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir–a coach on Team Rousey in TUF, amateur fighter and former judo champion) were also at the show, but no Rousey.
Frank Bullock, who worked as an audio tech for WWE, passed away from cancer at the age of 56. WWE put up a graphic for him at the start of the show, and when you consider the huge name wrestlers who have passed away that they haven’t done that for, that was telling. Jim Ross wrote about him, “Frank was invaluable to the announce teams that passed through WWE as he always made sure that we could hear ourselves and what we needed to hear via our headsets. Thanks for being a friend, Frank, and for your years of service to the business. Condolences to your family, friends and co-workers who will miss you.” Bullock would sit in the position called “the corral” at ringside right behind timekeeper Mark Yeaton at television. He was the guy who looked somewhat like Benjamin Franklin.
Ross also suggested that both Kurt Angle and Cody Rhodes eliminate moonsaults off cage from the repertoire, noting the risk/reward ratio of it. If the move was used as a finisher in a blow-off on a major match it’s one thing, but as a high spot, it’s something else. The way Angle did it, you can’t help risking a knee injury. Maybe smaller and younger guys can get away with it, but nobody past 40, let alone past 40, at 220 pounds and, with a history of knee damage, should be doing it. The Rhodes version isn’t as dangerous but you need an experienced catcher, which Cesaro was and he never got hurt doing it several nights over the post-Christmas tour with Cesaro there to catch him.
Mark Crozer, who wrote and performed the song that is now the Wyatt Family theme, will be playing live at WrestleMania for Wyatt’s ring entrance for his match on the show against Cena. Crozer posted it on Facebook, but then took it down.
Jim Ross spoke to the Miami Herald web site about his being let go by WWE. “I knew that when it was over, a lot of the top WWE officials (read that Stephanie McMahon) were very anxious to get Ric Flair out of the facility. So I knew there was some concern there, but I didn’t know that the concern involved me. A story started out of misinformation that I had been drinking with Flair all day. And the issue was that if they had checked their schedule, I had been booked all day with WWE activities and SummerSlam that had nothing to do with Ric Flair.” “I knew before we started, we didn’t have any script, we had no prompter, we didn’t have a producer in my ear, and we had a panelist that was obviously impaired that should not have been on the panel. So you know that things have a chance, now, to not be the smoothest rides one has been on.”
Foley on Live Audio Wrestling said Bryan is more over than he ever was. I mean, as far as crowd chants, he’ s as over than anyone ever was, but in reality, he’s not. Part of it was the era, but mainstream, or even among wrestling fans, Foley was far more over, selling tickets, moving ratings, PPVs, any measure you want, than Bryan. Bryan may be closer to the top because there are no Rock’s and Austin’s, but the No. 2 or 3 guy today isn’t close to even the No. 6 or No. 7 guy in 2000.
Foley was called this past week to be involved in company activities in New Orleans the week of Mania, being part of several events.
At Raw in Los Angeles, they were once again doing a test for the pre-game and post-game shows for when the network opens, with Booker T, Josh Matthews and Matt Bloom as Tensai as the hosts. It looks like Bloom is done as a wrestler and is being groomed to be an announcer. He’s not ready yet but he’s just starting and it’s not like he’s bad, and he comes across as having a good knowledge of wrestling and being able to discuss it in a fan friendly manner. Still, by far the best guy they’ve got for that role is Regal, and he’s being used less and less in NXT, and is likely to never get a shot for a main roster show. And when it comes to an announcer, age shouldn’t be a factor as much as ability to tell stories and get talent over.
Flair has signed a new contract with WWE. All his appearances and business deals have to be cleared by the office, which means he’s not going to be able to take some things he’s gotten in the past, and companies that don’t like having to deal with WWE aren’t going to be happy. He can be booked apart from WWE, but in every deal they insist on a clause that if WWE calls and needs him for anything (such as recently when he had a gig at an auto race in Georgia and got pulled by WWE at the last minute), then everything is off. That makes booking him risky, because it’s a high dollar deal, $10,000 or more for an appearance, plus advertising, trans, hotels, and within the contract it can be pulled at the last minute by WWE.
Van Dam was at the 2/10 Raw show backstage. He came for a meeting with HHH. He wrote on twitter that he’s interested in coming back. Not sure how WWE views it. We know they weren’t happy about him leaving, even though his deal he signed over the summer was a 90-day contract, he fulfilled it, didn’t complain about being buried at the end, but WWE wasn’t happy that he wouldn’t sign a new deal at the time. WWE didn’t bring back Jericho this year either. On the Jericho side, there was talk in 2013 of him coming back as usual for the first several months of 2014. The issues that kept them apart were more creative, as I didn’t sense financial played into it.
Lita (Amy Dumas, 38), was announced as the third person in this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. She was working in some bands and taking judo and then got interested in pro wrestling watching Nitro. She found out she could learn in Mexico so went there in 1998, where she’d work at clubs while learning to wrestle and stared with EMLL (now CMLL). She met the Hardys at Carolina indie shows, and in 1999 was introduced to Paul Heyman, who hired her. Her role was to play a skank, who would use the name Miss Congeniality, which was a spoof on beauty contest contestants because she was made up like a crack whore. She wasn’t wrestling at the time, just being there as Danny Doring’s girlfriend. At the same time, she started training at Dory Funk Jr.’s school in Ocala, FL. The Funks recommended her to Jim Ross, and she was signed in late 1999. She was working in the Memphis developmental territory, before first being brought up as part of an act of Essa Rios (a high flying Mexican wrestler who is now Mr. Aguila in CMLL) & Lita. That act was really going nowhere, and WWF lost interest in pushing Rios. They split them up and put her with the Hardys and Team Extreme. She wasn’t really a good worker, but she could do moonsaults and huracaranas, so people thought she was. On August 21, 2000, she and Stephanie McMahon main evented an episode of Raw, and drew a big quarter hour as Lita won the Women’s title with The Rock as referee. She later feuded with Dean Malenko and she became linked in both storyline and real life with Matt Hardy. She suffered a broken neck while working on a fight scene for a TV show called “Dark Angel” (which later became the ring name of Sarah Stock in Mexico) in 2002, needed surgery and was out a year-and-a-half. She did a number of angles including being pregnant and marrying Kane, and then losing the baby due to Snitsky. Eventually in real life, when she was living with Hardy, Hardy found out she had a private cell phone and she was sneaking around with Adam Copeland (Edge), who was one of Hardy’s best friends. Hardy and Lita broke up for real. Hardy got so mad, but Edge was the bigger star, and Hardy wound up being fired. Hardy made so much noise about it that Jim Ross got them to agree to work together as professionals and do a feud. This led to Edge & Lita being put together and really that was the period where Edge grew to being a main event heel in 2006. Shortly after her rival Trish Stratus retired, she decided not to sign a new contract and finished up in November, 2006. She formed a punk rock band called the Luchagors and has made a few TV appearances from time-to-time on WWE shows.
Cyndi Lauper’s name has also been up for discussion regarding the Hall of Fame this year. It would make sense with Hogan and Piper in the fold to honor Lauper and Mr. T, because they were the ones who took both of them to new levels of exposure and popularity and were the keys in the first WrestleMania clicking. The idea of two celebrities in one year would be overkill, but as the 30th WrestleMania, it would make sense if they could pull it off. The word in WWE is that Mr. T has agreed to go in this year, so we’ll see.
WWE is looking at both getting into the podcasting business with the success of Austin and Jericho’s shows that they aren’t a part of, and is also looking at doing touring talk shows in comedy clubs after the success Foley has had.
At the Smackdown tapings in Ontario on 2/11, HHH announced the Hall of Fame ceremony would air in its entirety live on the WWE Network.
In a scheduling surprise, the WWE has a house show on 3/16 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. That’s the day after the Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler UFC match that is almost sold out with 14,000 paid and $2.2 million as a first weekend advance.
Batista will start wrestling at the house shows this weekend.
Over the Edge, the 1999 PPV show where Owen Hart died, on the network, the company didn’t make the decision until the last few weeks, and the show will be edited so the stuff referencing Owen Hart won’t be airing.
The decision has been made that from this point forward, Cesaro has no first name. He is just “Cesaro.” Please don’t ask me to explain this past the point it’s Vince.
Also, Langston from this point forward was decreed to have no last name. He is supposed to be referred to only as Big E.
One note on the Mania payoffs and the payoffs on the shows that Lesnar and Dwayne Johnson appeared on. The money that the wrestlers make on PPVs is a certain percentage earmarked for talent, which the payoff person, who is currently Sean Cleary (who took the spot of Jane Geddes when Geddes was moved from talent relations to working in HHH’s office in Stamford) figures out. I’m guessing it’s a straight percentage formula. When wrestling people like Pat Patterson, J.J. Dillon or Jim Ross did it, there was a lot of instinct involved which over the years did lead to issues when you had two guys in the same match and one (the clear star) would make more, and sometimes tons more, than the other. That still happens, such as Undertaker making more than Punk at last year’s Mania. However, Lesnar and Johnson, as special guests, are paid differently and their money isn’t taken out of the talent payment side. In other words, if we were to say (and these figures are hypothetical) the money talent would have gotten paid at last year’s Mania was $3 million total, and Johnson’s deal is $1.5 million or $2 million (which itself isn’t that far from the number), it’s not like everyone else has to share in $1.0 to $1.5 million and thus having the big star there cuts back their payoffs. Instead, because the PPVs were higher with him (the live gate really was going to be the same either way), the total that the wrestlers earned would be higher because he was on the show. Because of the rise in price, it would be higher than the previous year even though the previous year did more buys. Now, if a guy was high on the show in 2012 and low in 2013, he could make less, but the total pay for talent is up on these shows with the guest stars who actually add to buys. Obviously, when it comes to SummerSlam, which did great in 2012 and not so great in 2013, that would not be the case.
Michael Cole worked the 2/3 Raw just days after the death of his father, Thomas Coulthard of Hudson, FL. Coulthard, a U.S State Trooper in Millbrook, NY, for 26 years, passed away due to cancer at the age of 74.
There is already talk of a “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel that would come out on May 6, 2016. Batista plays “Drax the Destroyer” in the first one, which is scheduled for an 8/1 release.
A correction from last week. In NXT, the women’s title has always been called the women’s title. It was the FCW women’s title that was called the Divas title.
As far as weekly Internet scores of interest coming off the 2/3 show where you had less in the way of star power than the previous weeks, Dave Batista was still No. 1 with a score of 4,000 (well down from the previous two weeks) with Randy Orton second at 3,400, Daniel Bryan at 3,000, HHH at 2,600, Stephanie McMahon at 2,000, and Roman Reigns at 1,600.
Stuart Tomlinson, a former underwear model and soccer goalkeeper from the U.K., in developmental, worked as a male escort as well according to testimony in a lawsuit. It started with a lawsuit filed by Kerry Miller, 46, who claimed sexual discrimination and sexual harassment in a suit against the Burton Albion football club. In trying to discredit her, the team claimed she would come into the dressing room while players were coming out of the shower and sent pictures of herself wearing underwear to a 23-year-old player on the team. Later another player said she texted him a topless photo and he texted her back a photo of himself with no clothes on. During the trial there was testimony of a relationship between Miller and Tomlinson, a goal keeper who is a bodybuilder type who looks like a guy who would be on the cover of a Men’s Fitness type magazine. Testimony in the trial claimed the two were together in late 2012. She had a Facebook photo with Tomlinson supposedly on a date after a big game. Tomlinson quit soccer after a bad knee injury in 2013 and tried to get into WWE. Ben Robinson, the team’s chairman, noted Tomlinson worked as a part-time male escort during the time he spent with the team.
Shane McMahon currently owns 1,541,224 shares of WWE stock which is worth more than $35 million. With all of her sales in the last year, Stephanie McMahon owns 661,678 shares, worth more than $14 million.
Regarding Nikki Bella taking real estate courses in San Diego, every state has difference real estate licensing requirements. Most don’t recognize licenses from other states. Some states do have licensing reciprocity, meaning if you have a license in one state you can do work in another. However, there is no such agreement between California (where she is taking the classes) and Florida (where she currently lives).
Lawler worked a match on 2/8 in Joppatowne, MD, for Maryland Championship Wrestling on 2/8, pinning local wrestler Shawn Patrick on a show that drew 750 fans with both Mickie James and Angelina Love as the other name wrestlers appearing.
Sami Zayn returned after his knee injury on 2/7 with a win over C.J. Parker in Crystal River, FL.
Both Layla El and Richie Steamboat are still under contract to the company. There have been reports, which make sense since Steamboat hasn’t been around since late 2012, that he was cut, but he’s out with a back injury that could be career ending. Layla has been dealing with personal issues.
Ray Leppan from South Africa, 34, in developmental for years as Leo Kruger, who recently changed his name to Adam Rose, playing a party type of guy, was noted by Adam Rose, an actor and film maker. He wrote, “So a pro wrestler named Leo Kruger changed his name to Adam Rose and started using the hashtag #Rosebuds. Why’d it have to be a wrestler?” The hashtag #Rosebuds had been used by Buzz TV’s Christian Rosenberg (real name Josh Tariff), who started with the station in 2013 and does a podcast after Smackdown and has worked indies in Southern California for eight years. He wrote: “And my gimmick has been stolen. Letting everyone know I’m not mad at him. He’s a great talent and I enjoy his work. Just some things about this business just anger you.”
While it’s not a lock, there has been talk seriously of both Kevin Steen and Michael Elgin being invited to a talent evaluation camp. Steen has known about this for some time and the feeling is that if he shows up out of shape, they’ll look down on him a lot. A few years ago, when Takeshi Morishima worked a dark match, and with his flying around at 330 pounds, even though nobody knew him, his match got over pretty big. WWE, however, including Vince McMahon, felt it almost as a sign of disrespect that a guy would come to get a WWE tryout in the shape he was in. Those who have been at camps and noted that they start off testing conditioning making you do stuff designed to blow you up to see who can gut it out the longest, with the idea they can tell from that who wants it the most, feel Steen will need a miracle to get through that aspect of the process. I’ve also had guys question that process, noting that a lot of guys on the main roster, if they were put through that, could never pass it either and some have been solid money drawing stars. WCW did that to Dave Bautista before he ever signed with WWE, and he became one of the biggest stars of the last decade.