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   Sat, April 16, 2005



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Trio turfed
WWE surprises followers by chopping performers
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


Matt Hardy, Molly Holly and Rhyno are finished with WWE. The trio was released as part of the latest series of talent cuts, which also saw Paul Bearer and Aaron (Jesus) Aguilera handed their marching orders.

Hardy's departure was a huge surprise as he had just been cleared to wrestle after seven months on the injured list. His return was originally planned for Wrestlemania but that was dropped when it came out his real-life fiancee, Lita, was having an affair with Edge (Adam Copeland).

Fearing a backstage altercation, Hardy's comeback was put on hold. His sudden release, announced this week in a brief blurb on WWE's website, came without an explanation but insiders say WWE bosses were upset Hardy allowed his domestic problems with Lita to go public.

Since news of the affair came out, both Edge and Lita have received negative crowd reactions, especially in the Carolinas where Hardy has a massive cult following.

Holly's release was also a shock, even though WWE has begun phasing out trained female wrestlers in favour of silicone-enhanced models.

Reports say Holly (Nora Greenwald) asked to leave the company after reaching a stalemate with the writing team about the direction of her character.

Rhyno (Terry Gerin) was already in hot water with WWE execs after he broke a vase in a hotel lobby during an argument with his wife following Wrestlemania.

He was written out of storylines earlier this month, so most mat watchers knew his release was imminent.

Gerin is expected to be back, perhaps on a short-term deal, for the ECW pay-per-view in June.

Hardy, Holly and Gerin will have to sit out 90-day non-compete clauses before they can perform for a rival wrestling group. Also leaving this week were writing team executive Tom Chehak and developmental wrestler Chilly Willy.

- - -

HULK RETURNS: Hulk Hogan will make a surprise appearance at Raw in Madison Square Garden Monday, according to WWE sources. It will be the Hulkster's first showing on WWE TV in almost two years. He's in a rare back-to-back taping of Raw and Smackdown.

The shows are usually recorded on alternate nights but they are being combined into a marathon four-hour taping this week so the wrestlers can fly to Europe for a hectic two-week tour. Overseas they will perform for sold-out houses in Ireland, the U.K., Germany and Italy, taping the following week's Raw and Smackdown episodes in Birmingham, England.

It's been a tough run for the wrestlers and TV crew, beginning at the start of April with several days of heavy promotion leading up to Wrestlemania. The wrestlers didn't even get a day off after their annual super show, taping consecutive nights of TV in California before heading to Australia for a four-day tour.

Six events were crammed in during the trek Down Under, with a lengthy flight home and another batch of TV tapings to look forward to. The crazy schedule will finally return to normal at the end of the month, with the tour confined to the U.S. until Raw comes to the Saddledome May 30.

- - -

GAME LAME: Triple H suffered a neck injury at the Raw TV tapings in Illinois Monday but it appears he will go back on the road this weekend. The injury during the Game's match with Hurricane and Rosey was severe enough officials cancelled the off-air main event in which he was scheduled to take part.


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