Welcome to the Friday headlines, straight from the news desk. I'm your humble correspondent, French Stewart.

The WWE's "Be A Star" initiative leads off the coverage this week, as Stephanie McMahon replied to a Twitter user asking about the potential hypocrisy of advertising this initiative incessantly while simultaneously featuring characters like Ryback acting like, well, bullies. Below, said question and response:

Twitter Q: "What do u say to those fans who say @WWE is going against their own Anti-Bullying campaign w/ showing HHH & Ryback bullying?"

Stephanie A: "No diff than bullying in a movie, WWE is Entertainment @beaSTARalliance is real."

Thanks so much for the distinction, Mrs. McMahon. I wasn't clear whether Mae Young actually gave birth to a hand or Mr. Yamaguchi chopped off the "pee-pee" of Val Venis. Several thoughts occur to your reporter as he mulls over this response. The first would be that I have never, nor do I now, feel that children should take ANY television programming at face value. I don't care if they are watching Sesame Street or Pawn Stars, the parents of the home need to do their due diligence and make sure kids understand that television and reality are vastly different spheres, and rarely the two shall meet. As for reality television, it might be the biggest misnomer since the funny bone.

The point here is that while children can and will emulate behavior they see on their favorite shows, it's ridiculous for the WWE to assert that young children can so easily distinguish their positive ad messaging from the fictional beatdowns Ryback inflicts upon caterers and cabana boys. It will only be much later that they realize the true punishment is having to sit through a match featuring Ryback. The WWE situation is actually far different from a movie, since the movie doesn't stop every half hour to remind us all that violence is awful and drugs are bad, mmkay? If the WWE insists on making a big deal out of their certainly honorable attempts to discourage kids from bullying other kids, they should be cognizant of the potential for criticism when one of their wrestlers engages on exactly that activity each and every week with little repercussion. I would think an executive would know that.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let me be very clear that this whole story rubs me the wrong way. I'm fascinated by anyone that wants to pin their children's behavior on any form of entertainment, be it WWE, video games, or cow tipping. Quite frankly, if your children are watching WWE in order to learn how to treat their friends and classmates, you've got larger issues on your hands to deal with. Just about every person in the world experiences bullying at some point. It's not pleasant, it's not good, and it has the potential to turn into some very serious problems if not checked. I think it's powerful for WWE personalities to comment upon this, and if it inspires even one child to either stop bullying or overcome it, go for it. The true ability to combat this very real issue comes from within, however. Good parents don't let their children watch Ryback vignettes. Great ones don't let them watch Ryback matches. (Torch)


Speaking of Skip Sheffield, he adorns the promotional poster for the upcoming WWE pay-per-view for the month of October, the brand-new Battleground. Battleground will be sandwiched between the upcoming Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell, and replaces Over The Limit. Rather interesting that WWE would put a wrestler on the poster who hasn't been involved in a feud of any kind for the last month. Unless he's going to take on the makeup people and timekeepers in a backstage battle royal, WWE will have to match him up with someone soon. (NoDQ)


Sidelined John Cena has provided the wrestling world with an update following his torn triceps surgery just nine days ago. Since your correspondent knows you await injury tweets with baited breath from the ex-champ, allow me to deliver:

"Day 9 Post Op. still can't move arm, may be bending rules a bit. I refuse to sit still. Stitches out in 5days. Then time 2 b #evenstronger."

The net has been abuzz with Cena's potential timetable for a return. Four to six months would place him somewhere between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. I will say that one thing you must admire about John Cena is the fact that he tweets just like he does promos. Much entertainment can be gained by reading that tweet in the deadpan, he-really-means-business tone that JC adopts for nearly every show. He also sells the hashtag far better than almost anything else. Expect much more medical updating by Cena in the coming weeks. He is a doctor of Thuganomics, remember. (Rajah)


Friday Headlines favorite Dolph Ziggler has taken to the airwaves to blast HHH's storyline chosen one, Randy Orton. Doing an interview in Washington, DC, Ziggy said the following:

"If you've been familiar with WWE for the last 10 years or so, you would understand without Triple H coming up front and coming out and saying this is our hand picked guy, he's the face, no matter what we're behind him," Ziggler said. "If you've been watching the last 10 years or so, you'd already know that they made up their mind about him long time ago. No matter what he does, good or bad, they're behind him and they'll go out of their way to cut peoples legs from underneath them to make sure Randy comes out looking great."

"So, the fact that it's now out in the open, and I'm allowed to comment on it, it actually makes me sick. I'm really happy from Randy, he's awesome, he's so good at this. It makes me mad how good he is. But the opportunities that he gets over and over again makes that chip on my shoulder feel that much bigger to me. I wanna go out there and prove that they're wrong, prove [to] Triple H that he backed the wrong guy for the last 10 years, and no matter what, I'm going to come out on top, one way or the other."

Dolph is just excellent for source quoting. It feels like he is inside my mind sometimes! We may need to add that to his list of superpowers, which includes (but is not limited to) galactic hair care products, pronounced wiggling, and telekinesis. Ziggler said much the same during his buildup to becoming champion, bringing out a Shawn Michaels-esque desire to steal the show night after night. Unfortunately, that reign was short-lived, and Dolph currently finds himself in the middle of the pack watching fellow net fave Daniel Bryan get the push. DZ is too good to be on the midcard, and this interview shows you yet another reason why. Whether this comment finds itself in the current storyline of HHH & friends getting revenge on wrestlers badmouthing them on social media is above this reporter's pay grade to predict, but here's hoping they find Dolph something important to do. And soon. (WrestlingINC)


As to Dolph's former paramour (and all around badass) AJ Lee, it should be pretty obvious by now where this scribe stands on the matter. Reaction to that story on the boards and various commentary around the world wide web would indicate I was very much not alone in my adoration of the pipe bombette. One wrestler with a very interesting take on the matter was Mick Foley, who blogged about it on Facebook.

Foley's comments were interesting and well worth a read, which is not a surprise. I found it interesting that he found a way to compliment AJ on her promo and defend the Bella Twins in the same breath. Ever the company diplomat! I do understand Foley's points, and I haven't yet decided whether it's the Bellas on-air personas or off-air personas that I dislike more. In all seriousness, it's a combination of the characters and the writing of those characters that I think fans are responding to. If Total Divas is meant to show us what being a diva is all about, there seems to be way too much doting on each other's love life. Then again, your humble scribe is likely not the target audience for said programming. (Rajah)

Where the AJ segment leads in terms of future episodes of Raw should be interesting. I could not agree more with Mick's observation that the wrestler believing what they are saying is so important to the viewer. If you need evidence of it, you don't have to look much further than Mick himself:

One of the most raw and emotionally compelling promos from a guy who knew how to deliver the goods. In honor of being a star, I'll write no more of the Bellas this day.

That clears the news desk for your Friday, ladies and gents. Thanks for taking the time to check out the dirt of the day. Get involved in the conversation in the space below and feel free to fire off a missive or abbreviated epistle on Twitter @coffeyfan77. Have an excellent weekend and see you Tuesday!