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NEWSFLASH: Firings and Other Wellness Fallout 
September 2, 2007

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


No time for a huge write-up just now, but it's been a busy weekend for WWE, and we oughta cover these tidbits while they're fresh.

For one, WWE has publicly confirmed that the number of Wellness Policy Suspensions is 11, and that includes 10 first time offenders (30 day suspensions) and 1 second time offender (60 day suspension).

*If* (and that's a big "if") the names floated by Sports Illustrated last week were properly researched, that would have to mean

that Randy Orton is the second-time offender (this would be his fourth suspension in the past 18 months, yes, but only his second which is directly drug-related and governed by the Wellness Program).

However: Orton worked a house show this weekend, and appeared at the TV taping for tomorrow's edition of RAW, being granted a PPV rematch against John Cena later this month. If he's being "suspended," WWE's sure letting the douchebag off easily, but letting him keep his spot and the PPV bonus and whatnot. It's either that, or they're delaying his suspension until after the concludes this one last story arc.

Or possibly (though it seems unlikely): SI got the story wrong, and Orton is a totally mature and responsible adult who has done nothing wrong. 


Sorry. I usually don't make myself crack up like that. I guess only time will tell with Orton.

But we don't have to wait to know that several of the other names circulated last week were the right ones. Because both WWE brands are leaving for overseas tours later this week, they taped TV on Saturday and Sunday night. If you're averse to SPOILERS, then look away, and tune in to RAW and ECW and SD! to be surprised.

Otherwise, here's what we know:

Jeff Hardy beat Umaga to win the IC Title. Hardy is fresh back from a non-drug related suspension, while Umaga was one of the men named in the SI steroid sting. This match will air tomorrow night on RAW.

CM Punk beat Johnny "Nitro" Morrison to win the ECW Title. After a trio of previous title shots (all underwhelming matches with lame, anticlimactic finishes), Punk took the title in a solid 20 minute match, as Morrison is now headed to a 30 day suspension for being a customer of Signature Pharmacy.

Umaga was "written out" following a sledgehammer assault by HHH, which should give him the necessary 4 weeks to go bye-bye. Similarly, on SD!, Chavo Guerrero was brutalized by Rey Mysterio and a steel chair in a reportedly very-good "I Quit" match, and should be off TV for the requisite period of time as a result of the "knee injury." Ken Kennedy was also involved in an angle -- crossing Vince McMahon -- that could likely lead to his TV absence following next week's RAW. And William Regal was beaten up pretty badly by Cena as part of an angle, possibly requiring a bit of recovery time away from TV.

Rather ominously: Booker T was completely absent from tapings, just 7 days removed from a semi-headlining gig against Triple H at SummerSlam. Booker was on the "maybe" list we talked about on Friday, and if he was the 11th suspendee added over the weekend, that would explain things.... 
Neither Funaki nor Charlie Haas performed at tapings (more than likely, neither were missed by most fans). Throw in Edge and Gregory Helms both being out of action with injuries, and that's pretty much all the "confirmed" suspensions either being MIA or being somehow "written out" or demoted in TV appearances.

Well, except for Orton. But the fact that so many of the other names on the list got sanctioned makes it even harder to believe that Orton's anything other than the beneficiary of a temporary stay of execution so he can put Cena over before commencing his 60 day unpaid vacation. Honestly: how does the biggest fucking twat on the entire roster keep falling ass-backward into the most ludicrous special treatment? Just sack him, and I *swear* to you if you ran with Cena vs. Carlito at the next PPV, and let Carlito run his mouth the way he can (about the backstory between him and Cena, AND about Carlito's pinfall over Cena just 2 weeks ago), it'd do every single bit the buyrate that Cena vs. Orton would have. But no: some fucktard (or possibly several fucktards) are under the impression Orton is integral to the product. 

Baffling. Because anybody with 40 or more IQ points to rub together can easily deduce that the only thing Randy Orton is integral to is the late night shift at Domino's (driver carries less than $20, which is good, since that's as high as Orton can count). But this only happens after WWE's talent evaluation department's intellectual capacity finally exceeds that of Orton's. Till then: I guess the choade is safe. Were I a bookie, I'd place the over/under on when this breakpoint occurs at 42 months. And were I a bettor, I'd take the over, and pray every day to lose my money. 

In addition to the 11 suspensions (a number which is still subject to increase, apparently), WWE also fired four men over the weekend.
Mike "Simon Dean" Bucci was fired for drug-related reasons. As a front office employee (he oversaw the developmental territories and worked under Johnny Ace), he wasn't necessarily bound by the Wellness Policy, and thus, was outright fired for his first drug violation. Word among some is that Bucci was not well liked; word among others is that Bucci was Johnny Ace's fall guy and essentially spent the last 12 months taking the blame for Ace being utterly incompetent. Who knows? For now, all that matters is that Bucci is gone, and Tommy Dreamer has been asked to return to his front office role to replace him (it's the job Dreamer left behind to return to action for ECW).

Eugene (Nick Dinsmore) was fired for reasons that are as yet unclear. Two years ago, immediately after Eddie Guerrero's death, Eugene gave officials a scare when he was found unconscious in the locker room at a live event. He went through rehab, and returned to action about 4-5 months later, and has never (as far as anyone I talked to knows) tested positive as part of the Wellness Program. However, Eugene was (much to his own surprise and the surprise of others) fired Saturday night at the SD! TV tapings. If the guy is genuinely clean and well, that sucks, as it's WWE's own fault for not exploring even 10% of the potential of "Eugene's" gimmick. And I'm not talking about the "retard" part of the gimmick. I'm talking about the part where it would have been hilarious to have Eugene temporarily (for maybe 2-3 months at a time) "morph" into one of his heroes from the past and emulate all their mannerisms. Gold, I tells ya, GOLD.

And just this evening, Cryme Tyme were fired at RAW tapings. Why? Something behavior or attitude based is the early word, specifically an incident of some kind at a house show the night before where they did some unscheduled post-match antics and bullied/upstaged a referee and Cade/Murdoch to do it. Huh. Seems a weak-ass excuse to go so far as to release them, but who knows if there isn't something more to this. Till we hear more, it matters not, cuz Shad and JTG are all about the fired, fired, yeah yeah.

I think that's all I'll do for now. Quick and dirty and then back to enjoying the last dregs of the holiday weekend (and the criminally excellent weather outside) for me. I'll be back at you soon enough with a full column. 

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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28



Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.




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