August 26, 2007
Mike Abitabile

The Devil’s Advocate:
If a Tree Falls in a Forest and No One Cares, Does It Still Fall? Yes, It Does

In the wrestling business, few things actually surprise me anymore. Maybe that is a bad thing, seeing as that’s one of the most fun parts of watching wrestling. Then again, many times I like to play along and pretend what I am watching surprises me, often times yelling things at my television such as “Come on, he’s had enough, don’t hit him again! Oh man, he’s gonna need medical assistance” or “RKO Cena on that chair! Do it again and again and again. For the love of everything holy, do it! Soften him up for Summerslam!” I suggest trying this some time, it makes watching the product much more enjoyable for the cynics who watch the show just to pick on everything.

Anyway, my above mini-rant brings me to the point of this week’s column. I was actually shocked when I read something late Wednesday night. posted the following (here)

Dan Rodman released

WWE has come to terms on the release of developmental talent Dan Rodman. We wish Dan all the best in his future endeavors.

For the uninformed, Rodman (real name Rodimer) was a contestant on the 2004 edition of Tough Enough (the final version, which was on Smackdown! each week, not the actual half-hour show on MTV) and was eventually won by Daniel Puder (current ECW heartthrob, The Miz, came in second place). Rodimer was eventually signed to a development deal and sent to Deep South Wrestling (DSW) last summer. Many internet critics didn’t see anything in Dan and argued he would just be another waste of space. Of course, this might have had something to do with the fact that his biggest supporter was Stephanie McMahon.

Rumors began to fly that she was so high on Rodimer that he was going to be called up in January of 2007 to team with Rated RKO in their feud against DX. Then Triple H got injured and those rumors simmered down as the feud ended. Rodimer did debut on Heat in February and lost to Eugene. (However, WWE doesn’t usually acknowledge Heat activities as part of a wrestler’s history when they come up to Raw or Smackdown! so this could be rendered moot.) He even headlined a house show match against John Cena in June in North Carolina. The point I am getting at is, when a guy is on the fast track, and the head of the writing team is his biggest fan, you don’t expect to hear he was released. Then again, maybe I am the only one because the internet wrestling community took the release with a collective “sigh”. Let’s examine the few who did report on this though.

First is Dave Scherer, at PWInsider (here (here), with the headline “WWE RELEASES A TALENT MOST PEOPLE HAD NO IDEA THEY EVEN HAD UNDER CONTRACT”:

WWE released former Tough Enough (remember that?) contestant Dan "Rodman" Rodimer today. Of course, the sides "came to terms" (as if Rodimer had any choice in the matter) and they wished him "all the best in his future endeavors".

The first thing that caught my eye was the headline. I know most of the regular fan base doesn’t follow the inner-workings of the business as closely as some of us do, but the internet news sites rarely acknowledge this. They like to act as if the readers of their site make up the majority (such as when all their readers hate a show, the site will act as if its readers are speaking for every WWE fan). So then, did Dave actually admit the internet fans are in the minority?

Secondly, I know it’s probably easy to take a shot at Tough Enough (“remember that?”) but the show was fairly successful during its run on MTV, and while many of the Tough Enough talents are elsewhere, someone like John Morrison probably remembers the show.

Lastly, to throw in the “as if Rodimer had any choice in the matter” is unwarranted. How do we know Rodimer didn’t ask for his release? Maybe he didn’t, but then again, maybe he did. If Dave knows the truth, he could at least tell us (or if he’s saving it for the pay site, he could at least drop a hint). Basically, my main problems with this post are the unnecessary editorial comments, which, if you read my column regularly, shouldn’t surprise you.

Next up would be James Caldwell, at the Pro Wrestling Torch (here): reports that former Tough Enough contestant and current developmental wrestler Dan Rodman (real name Daniel Rodimer) was released by the company on Wednesday. After signing a developmental contract in July 2006, Rodman trained at the Deep South promotion in Georgia. He then spent time in OVW and appearing infrequently on Heat before transferring to the new Florida training school.

Rodman was at one time expected to have a major TV push as one of management's pet projects. Rodman was even placed in main events on house shows this past spring, including a main event match against John Cena at a June 17 house show. The company then decided he was not ready for TV and he was transferred to Florida shortly thereafter.

For his part, James covered the facts and didn’t editorialize. And really, that’s all I ask for. So I really have no issues with his posting. The final report I could find was from Dave Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer (here):

--WWE released Daniel Rodimer (Dan Rodman). That's a surprise because they thought he was going to be the next Kevin Nash. And they meant it as a good thing.

As far as editorial comments go, that one was actually pretty funny. And really, if you are going to editorialize, at least do so with facts (and in this case, evidence from the past), which Dave clearly did.

And that was basically it. The other sites (which don’t break the news, just report it) pretty much copy and pasted the article. And even on the History of WWE message board, when I posted the news, there were only two responses. On one hand, I was expecting people to use this to throw Stephanie under a bus, but on the other hand, I am glad they didn’t (not that I am the biggest Stephanie McMahon fan, but if I was rooting for people to attack her, that really would make me a hypocrite). Still, when I first read the news on Wednesday night, the apathetic response from fans and Internet sites was not what I was expecting.

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