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Thanks to all of you that sent me positive thoughts regarding my relative that's in the hospital. She is doing better, but still has significant challenges ahead in order to beat this thing completely. Your words meant a lot though and I appreciate all the support.
I want to put over a few in-house notes before getting started. First of all, the planned return of the Voice of Wrestling set for tomorrow night is now being put off until July 23rd. Some last-minute scheduling conflicts are preventing us from both being available every Monday until this month is over. We appreciate your support and apologize for the inconvenience.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue hosting "VOW Reaction" every Monday following Raw. I'm also starting a new weekly series on Friday nights called "Shots In the Dark". It will air live after Smackdown every week and will feature me and a panel of expert guests discussing/debating wrestling hot topics and having a good time over our favorite drink of choice. I'm proud to announce that Justin LaBar, David Herro from the Pro Wrestling Report, and Arda Ocal from "Aftermath Radio" will make up the the inaugural panel. It should be a lot of fun, so check it out this Friday night, beginning at 10:30 EST.
That does it with the plugs, for now. Let's get into the "Stars in Progress" part of this feature. It seems like WWE talent is dropping like flies, and for a variety of reasons.
RANDY ORTON - ONE MORE STEP DOWN
The suspension was, of course, step down number one. Now there's rumors of WWE taking this opportunity to get rid of him for good. I still view that as a "no chance in hell" situation, but there are credible sources claiming otherwise.
The pure speculation is a telling story on its own.
Has Randy Orton's stock fallen that far? If it has, I certainly didn't know it. When did it happen? What caused it? How in the blue sky did I miss it?
Regardless of his position on the card for a given month, I've still always considered Orton one of WWE's top five assets in terms of respect, reputation, pull backstage, and overall brand significance. He's not where he once was, and really hasn't been since moving to Smackdown, but I thought that was "his" choice, not the company's.
I actually gave him even more respect for working with -- and putting over -- guys like Cody Rhodes as much as he has in the past year or more. He could have easily said enough was enough and demanded his placement back in one of the two world title pictures.
Turns out, maybe he couldn't have done that.