With WWE Fastlane approaching quickly, you would think the event would be dominating the news cycle this week. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
The past seven days have been filled with sad stories from around the wrestling world, but there's always something positive happening somewhere else to counteract the negative.
ECW Original Dies
It seems like a member of the wrestling community dies every week these days. Mike Sharpe left us recently, and this week we learned of the death of Axl Rotten.
WWE acknowledged Rotten's death on Thursday, sending condolences to his friends and family.
R.I.P. AXL ROTTEN— Rob Van Dam (@TherealRVD) February 5, 2016
I feel fortunate to have known Axl Rotten. He was always good to me & was a pleasure to be around. Smart. Witty. Underrated. RIP— Chris Hero (@thechrishero) February 5, 2016
RIP Axl Rotten! #OnceAgainTooYoung— Terri Runnels (@theterrirunnels) February 5, 2016
Rotten might not be a name younger fans recognize, but he was a big part of ECW in the '90s. He went on to be one of a select group to wrestle in WWE, WCW, ECW and TNA during his career.
Rotten, real name Brian Knighton, was only 44 years old when he died on Thursday. Fans and Superstars have been eulogizing Rotten through social media since the news broke, including many he worked with in ECW.
WWE Hires New Announcer
Mike Johnson of PWInsider revealed WWE has hired Cathy Kelley as its newest female announcer, joining the likes of Renee Young and Eden Rhodes.
Kelley has been featured on Championship Wrestling From Hollywood and hosted shows on AfterBuzzTV relating to WWE and NXT.
Kelley's hiring is another sign WWE is moving away from past trends. Announcers used to be former wrestlers and men exclusively, but the past few years have seen some of those roles go to women.
lucky to call this place home the last 4 yrs. to the friends who've become family, thank you for letting me do this. pic.twitter.com/FeX65i3jTY— Cathy Kelley (@catherinekelley) February 4, 2016
Young has found great success as an interviewer on Raw and SmackDown, a commentator for NXT and the host of every pay-per-view Kickoff show.
It will be interesting to see where Kelley ends up in the shuffle. She could be starting out as an interviewer in NXT, but if top brass sees potential in her, we may see her on Raw and SmackDown sooner than expected.
Bret Hart Reveals Cancer Diagnosis
WWE Legend Bret "The Hitman" Hart revealed some sad news through his Instagram account this week. The Hall of Famer has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Hart has previously bounced back from a career-ending concussion and a stroke, so fans and family members are hopeful The Excellence of Execution can fight through this battle too.
According to Mayo Clinic, prostate cancer usually grows slowly and can be treated or removed in many cases, which means Hart's chances of beating the disease are higher than if he had been diagnosed with a different kind of cancer.
Hart will undergo surgery in an attempt to remove the cancer from his body. Let's hope the procedure is successful and Hart remains with us for many years to come.
Sunny Releases Tell-All Book
Tammy Lynn Sytch, better known to the wrestling world as Sunny, has been in the news a lot recently for issues stemming from DUI charges and her prospective new adult film, reported by TMZ (h/t Fox News).
The original WWE Diva is making headlines again following the release of her new autobiography through Riverdale Ave Books, entitled A Star Shattered: The Rise & Fall & Rise of Wrestling Diva.
Regardless of how you feel about Sunny's choices, many will likely be interested to read what she has to say in her new book. She was a big part of WWE during its biggest boom period, the Attitude Era, so she probably has some good stories.
5 NXT Superstars Released
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, five NXT talents have either left the company or been released in the past week.
Oscar Vasquez and Pete Howard have been released by the company before they ever had a chance to perform in front of a WWE camera.
The other three departures are names the NXT Universe is familiar with. Both members of The Legionaries, Marcus Louis and Sylvester Lefort, are officially gone after going over a year without a push.
That being said, I'm available for bookings, appearances, birthdays, bar mitzvahs and everything in between! BookBullDempsey@gmail.com— Bull James (@BullDempseyWWE) February 5, 2016
The biggest surprise of the bunch was the exit of Bull Dempsey. He was popular with the NXT crowd despite never having more than the occasional brief feud. His last match with NXT took place on Jan. 27 against a returning Alex Riley.
WWE has hired a lot of new talent over the past year, so it's not surprising to see a little house cleaning going on. If anything, we should be expecting more releases in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.