By Mike Mooneyham

May 23, 2004

Triple H may not be going for the WWE title at next month’s Bad Blood pay-per-view, but there’s little doubt about who’s headlining the show. And it’s not world champ Chris Benoit.

Kane, who won last week’s 20-man battle royal on Raw to secure a shot at the title, appears to be a poor choice for Benoit’s challenger. Maybe a few years ago, when he was the “Big Red Machine,” the match could have have carried some weight. But since his most recent metamorphosis, Kane has lost the mystique that made him of the company’s more interesting characters. Last year’s feud with non-wrestler Shane McMahon made him look far from the invincible monster heel he’s portrayed to be. Not to mention the clash in styles, a Benoit-Kane world title match just doesn’t hold much appeal as a PPV headliner.

The unofficial main event, of course, will be a grudge match between Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Michaels is an early candidate for wrestler of the year, with a string of outstanding performances, while Triple H undoubtedly will have his big show working shoes on.

Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit

Benoit, unfortunately, will be asked to carry the lumbering Kane, much like Smackdown champ Eddie Guerrero did last Sunday night in his pay-per-view title match with Justin Bradshaw Layfield. To his credit, though, Layfield turned in his best showing since he’s been with the company in his 30-minute bloodbath with Guerrero, who was taken to the hospital following the bout as a precautionary measure due to his massive blood loss.

Edge initially had been considered for the title shot at Benoit, but his mega-push has temporarily been put on hold.

– Sting (Steve Borden), who in the past has been cool toward a possible WWE stint, said last week that he’d love to work for the company if the timing was right.

“If it were done properly, I would do it,” he told the Web site. “This last Wrestlemania would’ve been a good one, just the fact that I’ve never been a part of one. I would definitely do it. You know, Vince (McMahon) and I have talked several times over the past few years. The Wrestlemania before, he wanted me to repel out of the ceiling and do something with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. We were set to do it, we were going to do it, but once the attorneys get going … and it’s not my attorney, he’s only doing what I ask him to do, but once their attorneys get involved, it’s tough. When I talk to Vince, it’s easy. Anyway, I had to call Vince and tell him that we couldn’t do it. He’s been great every time I’ve talked to him, so you never know. It’s something I’m interested in.”

Sting, who has appeared for NWA-TNA several times over the past two years, also said that he didn’t consider himself an “NWA wrestler.” He said the only reason he helped the promotion was because Jerry Jarrett had given him an early break in his career and he wanted to repay the favor. He also said he wanted to meet Orangeburg native Shelton Benjamin, who copies a number of Sting’s moves in the ring. “I’m flattered. I’ve got to meet this guy. That’s pretty awesome. There’s no other way to put it. I feel honored that he does that.”

Sting said that his matches with Ric Flair were his career favorites.

“The matches with Flair were consistently the best throughout the years, and through every character I ever had, and even in the last match I ever had on Nitro. I had a lot of fun working with him and I give him a lot of credit for becoming the wrestler who I became. He had a choice at the very first Clash of the Champions. It was a 45-minute live match that we had, and he had a choice to make me look good or make me look mediocre. He chose to make me look good. He put my name on the map. It was already starting to steamroll pretty good, but he’s the one who put me on the map, period.”

– Ashley Fliehr, youngest daughter of Ric Flair, has verbally committed to play volleyball at Appalachian State. A rising senior at Charlotte’s Providence High School, she plans to sign Nov. 1. Fliehr is one of the top-rated volleyball players in the state of North Carolina and was recruited by such schools as UNC, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Michigan State and Indiana.

The College of Charleston was among a long list of schools seeking her services, but had asked her to walk on her freshman year before giving her a three-year scholarship. She will be on a full five-year scholarship at App State.

– Former WCW performer Lodi (Brad Cain) lost his apartment in a fire Sunday night. Among the lost possessions were his many wrestling mementos.

“The best news I have to bring to you is that I still have my health,” he said on his Web site. “I was home at the time but able to get out of the apartment before the fire totally consumed my dwelling. One of my favorite mantras I preach to my personal training clients is ‘if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.’ I am still very much alive and that, my friend, is wonderful news. I have received many condolences already and I greatly appreciate all of them.”

– Brian “Grandmaster Sexay” Lawler was shown the door by WWE brass just weeks after resurfacing. Lawler, son of Jerry “The King” Lawler, repeatedly had arrived late for WWE events and had been warned that his tardiness would not be tolerated.

Lawler previously had been released by the company in 2001 after being charged with possession of illegal drugs. He later pled guilty to possession of cocaine.

Lawler is back on the road, however, as he appeared as a special referee at a pudding wrestling bout Thursday night at the Sirens Gentlemen’s Club in Columbus, Ohio.

– Jerry Jarrett was hospitalized prior to last Wednesday night’s NWA-TNA show in Nashville. Jarrett, who had complained of lightheadedness and chest pains, arrived at the hospital with a highly elevated heart rate. He was scheduled to remain hospitalized pending a more detailed prognosis. – AJ Styles also was taken to a Nashville hospital following the NWA-TNA show and received six stitches as a result of a guitar shot from Jeff Jarrett in the main event.

– Carolina Pro Wrestling Association will present its “Outbreak” show Saturday at Sterett Hall on the former Charleston Naval Base. Bell time is 7 p.m. and doors open at 6. Admission is $8 (children 12 and under $5). Top matches include Xavier Knight vs. Rick Dreamer, and The Armed Forces defending their tag-team title against The Bruze Brothers. For more information, call 766-1344 or 532-9924.

– The Wrestling For Jesus promotion will present a show at 6 p.m. June 5 at Sea Harvest World Outreach Center, 1033 St. Andrews Blvd., West Ashley. Main event will be a three-way match for the WFJ title featuring Hector Guerrero (brother of WWE champ Eddie Guerrero), The Natural and Dynamite Dave Deuce. For more information, contact pastor Steve Vaughn at 297-2460.

– The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young are scheduled to appear on the Jay Leno show Monday night.

– Heard that longtime WCW announcer Tony Schiavone is looking for bookings for speaking engagements and wrestling conventions. That’s somewhat ironic since a number of folks have told me that Schiavone, who now work for an Atlanta radio station doing Atlanta Braves baseball, has pretty much dissed the wrestling business over the past few years. Maybe he’s given up on the bumbling Braves as well.