I would like to wish everyone a Happy Fourth of July weekend. There is a lot of news to cover so let’s get into it.
The champ is here
John Cena won his record-setting 15th WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV. While there is a natural inclination for fans to be upset with another Cena title run, he was clearly the most logical option to win the gold.
It’s been widely speculated that Cena will be defending the championship against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. With Brock having defeated Undertaker at WrestleMania, now is hardly the time for him to be losing. My gut feeling is that Brock will walk out of SummerSlam as the new champion.
In the meantime, Cena will defend his championship at Battleground in a Fatal 4 Way match against Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Kane.
Seth Rollins is Mr. Money in the Bank
Just a month after betraying his Shield brothers, Seth Rollins got his biggest career victory to date by winning the MITB ladder match. Not only does it ensure him an opportunity to challenge for the world championship at any time or place over the next year, but it solidifies him as one of the top young stars on the roster. Rollins is an outstanding all-around performer and I am excited to see where he goes from here.
Emma Fired and rehired in the same day
Wednesday was a crazy day at WWE headquarters. For the first time that I can recall, a WWE performer was fired and rehired in the same day.
On Monday, Tenille Dashwood, better known as Emma, was arrested at a Walmart in Hartford, CT. According to a police report on the Hartford.gov web site, she was arrested at 1 p.m. and released from custody at 2:13 p.m. and charged with sixth degree larceny, which is essentially a shoplifting charge. The item was an iPad Mini case.
Sixth degree larceny in Connecticut is stealing something with a value of less than $250 and is a Class C misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of three months in prison and a $500 fine.
Dashwood was at Monday Night Raw doing a corporate meet and greet before the show, but was kept off television.
Word of her release broke on Wednesday afternoon. In fact, the following statement was issued on WWE.com:
“WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Diva Emma as of today, July 2, 2014. WWE wishes Emma the best in all her future endeavors.”
Almost instantaneously, the news of her reinstatement broke in the following official company statement:
“Upon further evaluation, WWE has reinstated Tenille Dashwood (WWE Diva Emma) but will take appropriate punitive action for her violation of the law.”
Talk about a reversal of good fortune for Emma.
I initially did not feel any sympathy when I heard the news of her release. There is no reason why any WWE performer should be stealing an iPod case or any other item. WWE is currently in the midst of its greatest cost-cutting period in history. Unless you’re a main event-level star, this is the absolute worst time for talent to be making foolish decisions. On the other hand, there was the 2012 incident when WWE Diva Cameron (of Total Divas fame) was arrested on a DUI charge and for bribing a police officer. WWE didn’t take any disciplinary action toward her. Perhaps there are more details that haven’t been revealed as of yet in Emma’s case.
I think Emma was spared because she is a relatively new addition to the main roster. As embarrassing as her arrest was for the company, her firing may have come across as an even bigger black eye from a corporate/public relations perspective. I can’t imagine WWE’s investors being too thrilled with the company firing 13 employees over a three-week period.
Update 7/5/14: Hubert Santos, Emma’s lawyer, claimed that she was using a self checkout machine and bought about $30 worth of items and simply forgot to scan the iPad case. Also, WWE Diva Cameron was suspended for 15 days following her 2012 arrest.
Daniel Bryan’s status remains unclear
Daniel Bryan made his first appearance on WWE television since being stripped of the world championship when he addressed the Boston fans at the MITB Kickoff show. As usual, the fans were rabid for the leader of the Yes Movement. The biggest news to come out of it is that Bryan admitted that he did not have an approximate timetable for his return. Even worse, he strongly hinted at the possibility of a second surgical procedure.
I feel badly for Bryan and really do hope that he’s able to come back in a healthy physical state. He reached his career pinnacle of winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 30, only to lose it due to circumstances outside of his control.
Chris Jericho and AJ Lee return
It’s always a pleasant surprise to see a WWE Superstar return following a lengthy absence. However, it’s a rarity to see two major names come back on the same show. That is exactly what we got on Monday when Chris Jericho and AJ Lee made their triumphant return on Monday Night Raw.
Jericho shocked everyone when he interrupted a promo from Miz. He then proceeded to deliver a codebreaker much to the crowd’s delight. He didn’t have long to celebrate before being attacked by the Wyatt Family. Apparently, Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt is on tap to be a key match at SummerSlam. This has the potential to be one of the best feuds of 2014.
AJ’s return was just as impactful. She came out to confront Paige and goaded her into a title shot. Seconds later, AJ was the new Divas Champion. I felt this match told a very good story. For one, AJ got poetic justice for her loss to Paige the night after WrestleMania 30. It’s also worth noting that the match accomplished a rare double turn. AJ played total babyface while Paige worked as a heel. Most important, this seems to be the beginning of a real program between the two. In addition to her working ability, AJ has more charisma than any woman on the roster. I believe that she can get the most from Paige inside and outside of the ring.
Bad News for Barrett
Just when it seemed that Bad News Barrett was hitting his stride, he now joins Daniel Bryan on the list of WWE starts on the shelf. The incident occurred at last week’s SmackDown taping when Jack Swagger rammed Barrett into the ringside barricade. It was obvious that Barrett was doing more than a typical sell job. It was announced over the weekend that Barrett would be dropping out of the MITB ladder match. He recently underwent surgery to repair his separated shoulder and is expected to be out of action for several months.
As a result of his injury, Barrett was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship. A battle royal to determine a new champion will occur at Battleground.
Mysterious white powder scare at WWE headquarters
On Wednesday afternoon the WWE headquarters in Stamford, CT, was checked out after police responded to reports of a mysterious white powder.
According to an article in the Stamford Advocate, a suspicious letter arrived at headquarters that day. The letter, which had no return address, was leaking a white powder from one of its corners.
The fire department’s HazMaT team, FBI members and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection investigated its contents. Nothing dangerous was found.
“All WWE personnel are safe, and business is being conducted as usual,” said WWE spokeswoman Tara Carraro.