By Mike Mooneyham

May 15, 2005

Dusty Rhodes, just months after being given the booking position at Total Nonstop Action, has been relieved of duties.

Rhodes, who turned down an offer last week to become part of an interim booking committee, has been blamed for the poor showings of the past two TNA pay-per-views. Management is expected to steer the struggling company in a more contemporary direction.

Rhodes will remain with the company as an on-air talent as the group’s “Director of Authority.”

Rhodes, who has called the booking job a “thankless” one, has seen his power greatly diminished in recent weeks. Some of his characters and storylines were dropped after the poorly received Destination X pay-per-view, and he has come under attack from some for not changing with the times.

Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes

Somewhat surprisingly, one of Rhodes’ most vocal critics has been Kevin Nash, despite the fact that Rhodes has pushed for “big-name” but past-their-prime talent such as Nash to be the focus of the promotion. Nash, currently filming a movie in China, has been mentioned as a candidate for the top booking spot.

– Tammy Sytch was hospitalized last weekend for what was described as a minor nervous breakdown. Sytch’s common-law husband and soul mate since 1990, Chris Candido, passed away April 29 at the age of 33 as a result of a blood clot brought on by complications from surgery to repair a broken ankle.

Sytch, who is now home recovering, has denied that her hospitalization was due to an overdose of pain medication.

Sytch made an appearance last Saturday in Philadelphia at a Women’s Extreme Wrestling show where she managed indy worker Talia. She wore Candido’s ring jacket and gave a short speech at the beginning of the event following a 10-bell salute in Candido’s honor.

– Luther Reigns (Matt Wiese) has parted ways with WWE. The split, reportedly a mutual one, was made official with a call from WWE hatchet man John Laurinaitis last week.

Reigns, who had expressed concerns that he was being underutilized, has returned to his home in Phoenix to manage his personal businesses, including real estate projects and a tanning salon he co-owns with his fiancee.

Reigns, a product of the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, credited WWE with helping him turn his life around in an interview earlier this year with the Danbury (Conn.) Times. He told the newspaper that he had spent most of his life in “institutions.”

Reigns, 33, has survived shootings, stabbings, drug overdoses and homelessness. He still has a bullet from a .38 caliber handgun lodged in his stomach, and sports a seven-inch scar stretching across his throat “where a guy cut me wide open and stabbed me in the chest, about an inch from my heart.”

The 6-5, 285-pound Reigns enrolled at the Power Plant training facility in 1996 before landing a contract with WCW where he worked under his prison nickname of Horshu. It wasn’t long, however, before Reigns fell back into his old lifestyle.

When he wasn’t in jail, on lockdown for being a security risk, he admitted to being a “party animal out of control.” His life changed, he says, when he got a call from WWE. “I got the chance to work with the WWE and that pretty much turned my life around. It changed my whole life completely.”

Reigns had been most notably utilized as Kurt Angle’s bodyguard during Angle’s stint as Smackdown general manager. He had been sent home from the European tour following Wrestlemania 21 due to illness.

– Lorie Bischoff, the wife of Raw figurehead general manager Eric Bischoff, is featured in the May issue of Playboy as part of a “Not So Desperate Housewives” pictorial.

The 43-year-old homemaker and mother of two is part-owner of MYLF, an online clothing company, named after the two different aspects of the line: Making Your Life Fun, which sells vintage clothing for men and women, and Making Your Life Fast, which creates clothing for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Eric Bischoff recently told the Arizona Republic that he encouraged her to pursue the Playboy project.

“I was excited because she was excited. For the past 20-odd years she’s been taking care of our house when I’ve been on the road, and I wanted to do this for her.”

“I think it’s a good tribute to all the sexy housewives out there,” she told the newspaper. “The role of mom and housewife is overlooked and minimized. Our jobs are 24/7, taking care of everybody else. So if you’ve managed to be a great mom, wife and still be considered a hottie, I think that’s great.”

Bischoff was the oldest of the 12 women featured in the pictorial. Playboy’s call for real-life sexy mothers was answered by nearly 1,000 women ranging from 18 to 60 years old.

w Jim Cornette, suffering the effects of burnout, is taking a forced vacation from his duties at Ohio Valley Wrestling. He is expected to be gone four to six weeks to recharge his batteries.

Tommy Dreamer will be overseeing Ohio Valley Wrestling TV while Cornette takes a break, with Lance Storm, Al Snow and Danny Davis also expected to pitch in.

– Legendary pro wrestling manager Captain Lou Albano suffered a heart attack last week.

The 71-year-old Albano had been scheduled to be reunited with his former tag team, Jimmy and Johnny Valiant, at a convention this weekend in New Jersey.

– Guy Brunetti passed away last Sunday at age 75 in Phoenix.

He teamed with “brother” and former University of Utah football teammate Joe Tangaro as the Brunetti Brothers during the ’50s and ’60s. The All-American combo, who wore their Utah letter jackets to the ring and teamed for nearly 15 years, worked against such heel brother duos as The Kalmikoffs, The Millers, The Gallaghers and The Smiths.

– Chris Kreski, one of the original WWE writers who replaced Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara during the WWE boom of the late ’90s, died last week of cancer at age 42.

Kreski, head writer during the company’s best drawing period, left WWE in 2002.

– The ashes of pro wrestling legend Lou Thesz were scattered Wednesday at four locations in his hometown of St. Louis. Thesz, regarded by many as the greatest wrestler of all time, died at 86 on April 28, 2002, in Winter Garden, Fla.

The locations included his old home; the site of the old arena on Oakland Avenue where more than 17,000 fans watched Thesz beat Buddy Rogers for the NWA title in 1951; the stage door at Kiel Auditorium; and the site of the gym where Thesz first trained.

– Former women’s wrestling champion Madusa (Debbie Miceli) became the first female to ever win the Monster Jam World Finals Racing Championship in monster truck racing on March 19 in Las Vegas.

The Tampa native captured the title in her Ford F-150 monster truck Madusa. She joins only a small number of women ever to win a major motorsports championship against an almost all-male field of opponents.