Currently the biggest feud in professional wrestling isn’t taking place anywhere near a ring or an arena.
But it’s setting the blogosphere on fire and could be headed to a courtroom in the very near future.
The war of words between Hulk Hogan and The Warrior — and mostly words coming from Warrior’s camp — has escalated to a new and possibly litigious level.
Recent online videos released by The Warrior (Jim Hellwig) have verbally lambasted his one-time ring rival and, according to celebrity gossip site TMZ, could result in a possible Hogan lawsuit against Warrior for alleged defamation.
One Warrior video claimed he was going to set the record straight and reveal Hogan’s “dirtiest secrets.” He followed up with a scathing video last week in which he accused the Hulkster of being “a dope head” while in WWE, having an open marriage, mocking Randy Savage after his death and trying to get Warrior to have sex with Hogan’s former wife.
Calling him a “malicious, back-stabbing operator,” Warrior accused Hogan of having a “long-running reputation for being a liar, a fraud and a phony.” He also claimed that Hogan was to blame for the late Miss Elizabeth (Liz Hulette) divorcing Savage.
“What kind of human being are you? The things that have real value mean nothing to you in your life,” said Warrior, 51, who legally changed his name to Warrior several years ago.
Hogan responded that Warrior was “spewing sewage” and called the allegation of cocaine use in WWE a “blatant lie.”
“None of that ever happened,” said Hogan. “This guy is out of his mind.”
Hogan, 57, initially took the high-road approach in responding to Warrior.
“It’s awesome how such grateful, positive people live in abundance and how they always try to help and pray for the lost, negative people. His (Warrior) claim to fame was our match at Wrestlemania; if he didn’t have that I’m not sure what he’s done. He’s just trying to keep his deal alive. Only pray for him, and just hope he stops attracting so much hate into his life. Like attracts like.”
Hogan says he tried “ignoring” Warrior, but he has now involved his lawyer and plans on filing suit against Warrior to prevent him from continuing his claims against Hogan, according to the TMZ report.
This feud, however, is far from over.
Warrior has promised a 55-minute shoot video on Hogan that is scheduled to be released on June 17.
-- A Randy Savage tribute show is being planned for Sept. 3 in Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada.
The main event will pit Savage’s brother, Lanny “The Genius” Poffo, against Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. Former
“Macho Man” impersonator and former TNA star “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal also will on hand to pay tribute.
Poffo told Bright House Sports Network last week that his brother died due to a heart condition known as ventricular fibrillation. The condition is described as a severely abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to fainting or heart attacks.
“What it means to me is, it was a beautiful way to die,” Poffo said. “It’s quick and painless.”
Savage died on May 20 at age 58.
Poffo credited his brother’s widow, Lynn, with saving the life of a motorcyclist by steering the vehicle that Savage was driving away from traffic and into a tree.
“Randy’s foot was still on the accelerator,” Poffo said. “She reached over and steered the Jeep Wrangler into a tree, saving the life of a motorcyclist and possibly (avoiding) a bus. You know, there’s no telling what can happen when you’re going the wrong way.”
The official autopsy and toxicology reports have yet to be released.
“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage,” Savage used to tell Poffo, who noted that his brother suffered chronic pain in the neck, back and knees in recent years.
-- Former Mid-Atlantic star Don Kernodle recently underwent successful quadruple heart bypass surgery in Greensboro, N.C.
“I’m doing fantastic,” Kernodle said five weeks after surgery. “After about a week and a half, it was like I didn’t even have surgery,” he adds.
It was a blessing in disguise, says Kernodle, that he found out about his health condition.
“I had never had a problem in my life with my heart or any chest pains or any symptoms,” says Kernodle, who doesn’t smoke or drink. “I was going to turn 61 on May 2, so I decided to get checked out. I got a stress test and it turned out abnormal.”
Kernodle went into the hospital the next day for a catheterization when doctors discovered four artery blockages. He underwent heart surgery the following week — one day after his 61st birthday.
Prior to the surgery, says Kernodle, he felt at peace while reflecting on his life.
“It crossed my mind that I might just pass on, go to heaven and it would be the best thing in the world that could happen. My momma and daddy would be in that golden ring in the sky, and I’d never lose a match.
“But then again, you might have a heart attack or stroke or be an invalid for 15 years, and have to stay in a rest home. I guess the good thing was that there wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about things.”
Kernodle says he doesn’t expect to have any lingering problems.
“There were blockages, but fortunately I didn’t have any muscle damage,” he says. “It was a blessing in disguise that I found it. I guess I was fortunate that the Lord blessed me and I went to get it checked. I couldn’t believe it. Look at old Randy Savage ... he didn’t get a second chance.”
Kernodle, who held the NWA world tag-team belts on three occasions during the ‘80s with Sgt. Slaughter, Ivan Koloff and Bob Orton, recalls meeting the late superstar when both were relative newcomers during the mid-’70s.
“He was younger than me,” says Kernodle, who first met Savage in 1977 in Atlanta when Ole and Gene Anderson were booking the territory.
“We were midcard, but this is the honest truth, we were stealing the show. He was a great worker and could take some crazy bumps. We had some great 30-minute Broadways. He’d charge me and I’d backdrop him over the top rope, and you didn’t see stuff like that back then. He could do it so well. He didn’t weight more than 200 pounds at the time.”
Kernodle spent nine days in the hospital, and says the recovery process has gone smoother than expected.
“It’s like I never even had an operation. It didn’t bother me at all. And it helps that I’ve got a great job with great benefits.”
The Burlington, N.C., native, who carries a firearm and taser, has served as a detention officer for Immigration Customs Enforcement in Almanance County for the past seven years and helps transport prisoners.
“I love my job. It’s a fun job and very exciting,” he says.
It could be eight or nine months before he heals completely, but he expects to return to light duty soon.
For the time being, he says, he’s getting plenty of rest on his recliner.
“I thought it would be bad. I haven’t even needed any pain pills since about a week and a half after the surgery. It’s amazing.”
He also plans to drop some additional weight. Kernodle, whose working weight during his wrestling days was around 235, had gone up to more than 300 pounds after retiring from the ring.
“All that good home cooking from my momma,” he says. “But I’ve already lost about 25 pounds. I’m doing great.”
-- Mick Foley and Chyna (Joanie Laurer) have both parted ways with TNA over creative differences — of an entirely different nature.
Foley, whose contract expires in September, said he had some “major differences of opinion” with management. It had been rumored that the company wanted Foley to turn heel and join Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, and Foley rejected the idea.
Current speculation is that Foley will return to WWE for a possible “Rock ‘N Sock Connection” reunion headed into next year’s Wrestlemania. The two teamed up for the highest-rated segment ever on Raw with The Rock’s version of “This is Your Life” in 1999.
The hardcore legend left WWE for TNA in 2008 after a 12-year relationship with the company.
“I really believe that I would not be given a chance to do anything really memorable in WWE again,” Foley said at the time. “I accepted that I might be an occasional comical distraction or enhancement. But when TNA called and convinced me that I would have a chance to really make a difference, and that if I was happy there I could be a big part of the future of the company, I became every enthusiastic about the possibilities.”
TNA’s Eric Bischoff said he enjoyed some of his best moments on camera in TNA with Foley.
“I will miss working on camera with Mick Foley,” Bischoff told the Monday Night Mayhem show. “In terms of being disappointed, as much as I enjoyed working with Mick, there’s a very limited role for someone like Mick Foley, a character like me who doesn’t wrestle, who is really only a talker. If you look at where Impact Wrestling is right now, there’s just not a whole lot of room for more guys like me or Hulk Hogan. We just have to be the central focus of the storyline and probably will be for some time, and there’s only so much real estate. A lot of that real estate has to go to guys who can deliver action in the ring.”
Chyna, meanwhile, decided to head in a different direction with her entertainment career.
She left the company after claiming she was warned that she would never be allowed to work there again if her new porn tape was released.
She says she had been optimistic about coming to terms on a long-term contract with TNA — until an adult video surfaced.
“The whole thing has been constant drama ... it’s all good in the end. (TNA) is missing the boat,” she told TMZ.
Chyna, who has appeared twice in Playboy magazine, is currently promoting her new adult film, “Backdoor to Chyna,” which is scheduled to be released June 27.
The 40-year old former WWE star is no stranger to X-rated videos as she participated in a sex tape with then-boyfriend Sean “X-Pac” Waltman in 2004.
“It was degrading and violating and a really traumatizing experience,” she told the Baltimore Sun last week. She said she was excited about her recent work with what she called a “reputable” company.
“Not only did they pay me well, but I felt really beautiful and sexy, and it was fun. I was involved from beginning to end and there was nothing negative about the experience. I found it to be very empowering and it helped me therapeutically with something that I had in my head mentally from a really bad experience, and it healed me in a way. It’s kind of crazy.”
Chyna appeared at TNA’s Sacrifice pay-per-view on May 15 when she teamed with Kurt Angle to defeat Karen and Jeff Jarrett.
Bischoff, for one, wasn’t on board with Chyna.
“I was not excited with the fact that the company decided to bring her in for the pay-per-view,” Bischoff told Monday Night Mayhem. “The initial thought was a turnoff for me, but I kept my mouth shut. When I saw her at the pay-per-view and saw that ‘deer in the headlights’ look in her eyes when it actually came time to do something, it kind of confirmed what my instincts told me ... I was really, really, really, really glad that I don’t have to try and explain to anybody why I work in the same company as her.”
-- TNA star Kurt Angle revealed last week in an interview with the UK Sun that The Undertaker handpicked him to end Taker’s Wrestlemania streak in 2006.
“It was considered back in 2006,” Angle recalled. “The person who wanted to do it was Undertaker himself. I was flattered for him to go to Vince McMahon and pitch it. Undertaker at that point never had a five-star Wrestlemania moment match.
“He figured that the only one he could do it with was me at the time. Thank God a couple of years later he had Shawn Michaels, and it worked. But Undertaker really wanted to have that match, he asked Vince to push our match back from No Way Out to Wrestlemania and, since I was champion and they wanted me to keep the title, Undertaker was willing to take the loss.”
Taker ended up beating Mark Henry at Wrestlemania 22.
-- Independent pro wrestler Robert Dale Phipps, 39, passed away after suffering a heart attack and collapsing in the ring last weekend.
Reports say that Phipps, who performed as “Real Deal” Adrian Steel for the Mid States Wrestling Association in Arkansas, collapsed without warning as he waited in the ring for his opponent to enter. Doctors said he suffered a massive heart attack.
Matt Gilmour, who wrestled across Canada as Duncan McTavish, passed away at the age of 80 on June 5 in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
-- The fine folks at Old School Championship Wrestling have another big show lined up for July 10 at the Hanahan Rec Center. A lineup should be announced shortly.
-- And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Aug. 4-7 when Greg Price brings his annual NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest Weekend to Atlanta’s Airport Marriott Hotel.
If you’ve never been to one of these affairs, do yourself a favor, because you’ll wish you would have done it before now.
-- Kudos to homeboy Roddy White who put on a great football camp last week at his alma mater of James Island High School that hundreds of wide-eyed youngsters will never forget.
The Atlanta Falcons All-Pro receiver is one of the good guys in the sports world who never forgets his roots and graciously gives back to the community.