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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Teddy Annis is at it Again! Plus Other Rants..
February 27, 2004 by Mark Rose


Teddy Hart is at it again. For a little while things seemed to be cooling down for wrestling's self proclaimed "Loose Cannon". He was working with MLW, had a little argument with Steve Corino but both parties had come to a compromise and MLW was even getting ready to start a program between the two before it shut down. I don't think it's a coincidence that after seemed to cool his jets that very shortly after reaching an agreement with Steve Corino he got bookings with Jersey All Pro Wrestling, CZW, a return to ROH where nobody EVER thought he'd back, and NWA TNA where even some of TNA management had stated behind the scenes that Teddy Hart would return to TNA "When Hell freezes over".

I was very happy to see that. Despite the negative writing I have done about Teddy in the last 6 months I think he's very talented. I'd like to see Teddy succeed. I figured well maybe this whole ridiculous routine he pulled in TNA when he no-sold Juventud Guerrera's finish, and of course the infamous incident at ROH's Main Event Spectacles show where he did unplanned spots at the end of a scramble cage match (see my two earlier columns about Teddy for more details) was just an attention getting stunt. Free publicity if you will. I wanted to think that Teddy Hart was becoming the Madonna of indy wrestling. Doing stupid things to shock people and get their attention. Then came a pre show incident before this week's NWA TNA broadcast.

Instead of me recapping this incident i'm just going to present a few versions of it by wrestlings most respected websites and journalists. Just to show you i'm not speculating and i'm not making this up. Not only that but to give it to you from the horse's mouth and not the horse's ass.

Here is the story as reported by Mike Johnson at Pro Wrestling Insider ( http://www.pwinsider.com ):

Mike Johnson @ 4:40:00 PM on 2/25/2004

There was a fight this afternoon between Teddy Hart and CM Punk in Nashville, TN.

According to sources who witnessed the incident, Hart and Punk got into a confrontation at a café the boys can eat for free at near the Fairgrounds where TNA tapes their weekly PPVs. Punk was leaving the restaurant as Hart and his entourage were coming in.

When the two ran into each other, Hart asked Punk if he had a problem with him and to step outside if he did. Punk didn't back down and obliged. Once they got outside, Punk slapped Hart across the face. A short fight took place, which was finally broken up by Sabu, among others. Hart began claiming he was trying to shake Punk's hand which Punk then responded wasn't the case and that he was standing right there if Hart still wanted to do something. I was told at that point Sabu got in the middle of the situation and told everyone to stop, which they did out of respect for his status as a veteran.

According to one person who saw them later on in the locker room, Hart ended up with a fat lip and a bruise on his face, while Punk scraped up his elbow and was bruised "on his forehead." TNA management spoke to everyone involved and basically warned them that it was not to happen again or people would lose their jobs.

- he then recapped the previous heat between CM Punk and Teddy and finished with this note

There is already an exaggerated version of the story making the rounds that Teddy Hart tried to shake CM Punk's hand in the locker room of the Fairgrounds only to be slapped in the face by Punk, which led to a fight between the two. According to several sources I have spoken to, that is absolutely factually incorrect.

Here is 1wrestling.com's report of the incident (keep in mind that Bob Ryder one of the owners of 1wrestling.com works in a management position with NWA TNA):

2/25/2004 11:57:35 PM

According to a first-hand account, the incident between CM Punk and Teddy Hart started as Punk was leaving the White Trash Cafe, where the wrestlers eat prior to the show, and Hart was entering. Hart chest bumped Punk, to which Punk responded by telling Hart to knock it off and to wipe the smile off his face. Hart asked him to step outside, which Punk did. When they were outside, Hart raised his hand gang style and Punk slapped him. Hart began crying and swung at Punk who kneed him to the gut. As Sabu tried to intervene, Hart grabbed Punk's hair and punched him in the forehead. Punk knee-barred Hart to the ground. Sabu was able to break it up. As Hart got up, he explained that all he was trying to do was shake Punk's hand.

As reported earlier, both men were talked to by TNA management. This is the first known incident of this type in the TNA locker room, which by all accounts is one of the most positive in the business. It is understood by all that nothing of this nature is tolerated and is grounds for the termination.

Now of course I wasn't there. I can't say first hand what really happened. I'm just like everyone else and I can only see what was presented in these stories and go by that. However I gotta believe that two big reputable sites like 1wrestling.com and pwinsider.com report the exact same story that it has to be pretty damn accurate. From my view of things I have to say Teddy Hart was being a complete d**k by confronting Punk like that. He KNEW going and doing that he was going to get some sort of reaction from CM Punk if he pushed his buttons enough. I believe this is a case of Teddy creating his own news. Now don't get me wrong I don't think CM Punk was right to physically attack Teddy, but I have to honestly say that I may have done the same if in his shoes considering the circumstances and the previous incident with Teddy. Teddy clearly provoked CM Punk and got the reaction he wanted.

I just don't understand it. From what he was doing before Teddy had gotten himself plenty of attention and lots of bookings. Why take it even further? Is he that desperate for attention? I know some people say that there is no such thing as bad publicity I personally think that is a load of BULLSHIT. If there is no such thing as bad publicity tell that Michael Jackson and OJ Simpson. Teddy seemed to be putting those past incidents in the past and had gotten great publicity from them. This incident was childish and completely unnecessary.I can just imagine how JAP owner Fat Frank, CZW owner John Zandig, and ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky and owner Rob Feinstein feel now that they have Teddy booked. They must feel now like they are going to have to be babysitters instead of bookers.

Teddy better watch himself on these next bookings. His next in ring opponents are Homicide in JAP and B-Boy in CZW. Those two are NOT guys who will put up with crap in the ring. If Teddy messes with them he'll find himself stiffed. And with the ROH booking if Teddy does something else to piss off ROH he'll have Samoa Joe and CM Punk looking for him in the locker room. Punk made you cry last time Teddy and I KNOW you don't want any of Samoa Joe. Hell under those circumstances who would?

I was really hoping Teddy had put that garbage behind him. I was really disappointed to hear about this incident with CM Punk. Now i'm almost at the point where I don't care how many times he apologizes and how many times he changes his story. Teddy you have an opportunity to build on one of the greatest wrestling legacies. Don't waste it because you have TONS of talent. The one thing that really scares about this whole attitude of Teddy is that it sets a terrible precident. What if a few indy workers see what Teddy has done and it spawns several imitators? Does indy wrestling really need a bunch of people acting like assholes to seek attention and get bookings?

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Happy Birthday "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Feb 25 was Ric Flair's 55th birthday. God Bless you Ric Flair, you're still great to watch and the wrestling business wouldn't be the same without you.

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Before i'm done I just really want to take a moment to give MAJOR kudos to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. On Feb 20th Scott Hall and Kevin Nash worked a show at the Grove in Anaheim, California for UPW's 5th anniversary show for free to raise money for the Orangewood Children's Foundation. Their website is http://www.orangewoodfoundation.org

Not only did Hall and Nash work for free but they put over UPW regulars Tom Howard and Christopher Daniels in a CLEAN double pin. That to me showed true professionalism and a lot of class. I have never been a big fan of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash due to their backstage politics and egos. But I have to say after seeing this. I am now.

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Mike Rotunda, a very overlooked wrestling superstar who first came to fame in the WWF as one half of the WWF World Tag champions in the US Express with Barry Windham (as Mike Rotundo not Rotunda) has announced his retirement from professional wrestling. Rotunda and his wife are now going to be running an auto parts store and a security company.

Rotunda was also a part of the fantastic heel group The Varsity Club in WCW. He had also been a part of the York Foundation known as Michael Wallstreet. His second run in the WWF was also very successful as Irwin R Schyster where he was once again a co-holder of the World tag team titles with "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase. His 2nd run in WCW was as VK Wallstreet and he was a part of the NWO. Rotunda had also toured Japan throughout his career mainly with All-Japan Pro Wrestling and had recently finished his final matches on a tour with IWA Japan.

On a personal note Mike Rotunda was one of the very first wrestlers I ever marked out for. The very first episode of WWF Superstars I ever watched featured Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham winning the world tag team titles from Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. I was also a huge fan of the Varsity Club. Rotunda to me is the one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the history of this business. I know it's cool to say that you were a big fan of a wrestler AFTER he has passed away or retired but this is not the case for me. Even though I hated the shitty gimmicks he was given for the last few years of his career I was also a big fan of his work. Best of Luck in retirement Mike, I wish you success in everything you do in the future.

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Plug section:

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That's all I have to say for now thanks for reading and please feel free to send in your thoughts and opinions. If you want to send them directly to me you can but I would prefer them to be sent to the general e-mail of this site please.

Mark Rose..


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