As the most established of all the MMA “lifestyle brands,” Tapout has not been as hard hit by the UFC’s sponsorship restrictions and its new exclusive deal with Reebok. But, the company still got a huge boost recently by signing a deal with WWE.
Tapout President Dan “Punkass” Caldwell was in attendance at WrestleMania 31 this past weekend in California, which was his first trip to the annual sports-entertainment extravaganza.
“We’re really excited about the deal,” Caldwell told MMAjunkie. “It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been working on it for awhile, and it’s just finally come together. This is my first WrestleMania, so I’m excited.”
Caldwell is well aware of the state of UFC sponsorships and the way it’s impacting brands that have made MMA the central part of their businesses.
“Domestically, it’s had some troubles here,” Caldwell said. “I feel for some of those other brands that are out there because I was knee deep in that stuff. I was sitting next to these guys at shows. You create this kind of warrior relationship with these guys because they’re all working hard. I just know that it’s going to be hard for them at this point now going beyond what’s happened with the UFC and their deal.
“But, what’s great about Tapout is that we’ve been around so long that we kind of excel beyond. We mean more than the UFC. It’s athletics, it’s – when you think about Quiksilver or Volcom, it doesn’t mean you have to be a surfer to wear Volcom. But yet, that’s what it is. A lot of people don’t even think about that anymore. It’s just a brand that’s out there. It’s a brand that’s made its way, and it’s excelled beyond its own sport, and I feel that’s where Tapout is today.”
Ultimately, Caldwell hopes the Reebok deal works out in a way that benefits the fighters.
“I feel sorry for them,” Caldwell said. “I’m hoping the UFC can put that together for the fighters. It’s really about the fighters for us. It’s always been about the fighters. We want to – they’re the ones that are really putting it on the line. We hope it works out.”
April 1, 2015
Courtesy of WrestlingDVDNews.com, above is a clip from WWE's "Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe" DVD and Blu-ray that comes out on April 14th. The segment is titled "A Lot of Distrust" and features Dana Warrior talking about how Triple H and Steve Wilton of Ultimate Creations worked to get Warrior and WWE back on good terms.
The USA Network issued the following today:
USA NETWORK'S WWE 'MONDAY NIGHT RAW' ATTRACTS LARGEST AUDIENCE IN NEARLY THREE YEARS
5.4 Million Total Viewers Tuned-In to See Their Favorite WWE Superstars Live, Following a Record-Breaking WrestleMania
NEW YORK, NY – April 1, 2015 – Following WRESTLEMANIA 31, where Seth Rollins won his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship, this week's WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW delivered 2.4 million adults 18-49, 2.4 million adults 25-54 and 5.4 million total viewers from 8-11 p.m. (live +same). This is the highest total viewership for RAW in nearly three years, since July 23, 2012, the night of the RAW 1000 special.
Monday's RAW was televised live from the SAP Center in San Jose, CA, and was highlighted by Brock Lesnar challenging Rollins, the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, to a rematch; United States Champion John Cena defending his title against Dean Ambrose; and Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan defeating Dolph Ziggler.
Monday's RAW was up vs. last week's telecast by 27% in adults 18-49, 24% in adults 25-54 and 28% in total viewers 2+. USA was the #1 network Monday night in primetime in adults 18-34 as well as men 18-34 and 18-49 for all of television -- including the broadcast networks.
RAW was also the #2 most social show of the day with 400,000 tweets, reaching a unique audience of 3.6 million people and generating 27 million impressions.
Beginning in September 2007, WWE distributed its first rehabilitation assistance offer to all former WWE contracted talent. The goal of the initiative is designed to help any former talent that may have a substance-related dependency problem. The WWE distributes an annual letter to all former talent notifying them of the program and relevant details. In November 2014, 707 former talent letters were sent out. The WWE has a confidential hotline for former talent to call and seek admittance to a certified treatment center, with all expenses covered by WWE. In addition, the WWE maintains regular contact with talent who have entered a rehab program or reached out for WWE assistance. To date, 10% of former talent have accepted assistance.
The letter that is sent out was originally signed by Vince McMahon. Beginning in 2012, Paul Levesque began issuing the letter. You can view the letter here.
March 31, 2015
PWInsider reports that NXT star CJ Parker requested his release, which was granted last Saturday.
PWInsider noted that the release was amicable, and WWE allowed Parker to work last weekend's AXXESS events.
The New York Post has an article on WWE stock dropping 14.7% on Monday, closing at $14.09, just one day after their biggest show of the year and hours after their big post-WrestleMania conference call with an updated WWE Network subscriber count of more than 1.3 million.
While WWE announced another free month of the Network for April, critics say WWE relying on free monthly promotions for new subscribers could make things worse for stocks. A long-time observer told The Post:
“They’re training fans to subscribe only to those events they really want to see. There’s no penalty for ending a subscription and then picking it up again.”
WWE is trying to combat subscriber churn by announcing the eight new specials and series, including partnerships with Seth Green and Jerry Springer, which some analysts believe could help the Network keep subscribers. Media veteran Eric Sherman told The Post:
“Partnering with outside creative talent will hopefully create some stickiness to the channel past their cornerstone events.”
Earlier this week, WWE announced several new special and series for the WWE Network including new NXT Takeover specials. They wrote the following in their press release:
NXT TAKEOVER – LIVE! – AIRS MONTHLY ON WEDNESDAYS
The future is here. WWE’s hottest up-and-coming Superstars compete to prove they’ve got what it takes. More than just evolution, it’s a revolution! Witness these WWE Superstars of tomorrow as they take over WWE Network with live two-hour specials.
F4Wonline.com reports that WWE officials have confirmed that the NXT specials will remain quarterly. WWE has updated their press release that says the specials will air monthly.
March 30, 2015
Fans may be happy about World Wrestling Entertainment’s 31st annual WrestleMania blowout, but investors are not.
WWE stock fell more than 14% on Monday morning after Seth Rollins stole the World Heavyweight Championship belt from Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. The dive probably has less to do with what happened in the ring, than how many fans were watching–and subscribing to more wrestling.
WWE announced that its “over-the-top” television network has grown to 1.3 million subscribers, up 31% from January 27, when the company passed 1 million for the first time. That’s tremendous growth for a product that costs $9.99 a month. But it clearly wasn’t enough to impress Wall Street.
“We believe that exceeding 1.3 million subscribers reflects the successful execution of our strategy and puts us on the path to transformative growth through WWE Network,” (former billionaire) WWE CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement.
WWE CFO George Barrios admitted that while the company is “pleased with our short-term results” and “confident in the long-term potential,” subscriber count may “exhibit seasonality” in which customers pay for the service in the run up to big events like WrestleMania and drop it during the slower months.
One successful tactic in February was a free promotion that attracted 201,000 trial subscribers to WWE Network. 154,000 (77%) of those converted to paying subscribers in March.
This isn’t the first time a subscriber update at WrestleMania sunk WWE’s stock. One year ago, the stock plunged 19% the day after WWE’s biggest show. WWE kept falling and hit bottom in May, losing 60% of the company’s value in a month and a half. The stock had rebounded 46% since then before Monday.
Fight Network, the world's premier 24/7 television channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, today announced a multi-year deal with TNA Wrestling to broadcast exclusive shows and series across Canada.
Beginning next Friday, April 3, Fight Network will premiere TNA's two-hour flagship weekly program IMPACT WRESTLING every Friday night at 9 p.m. ET. The roster features such greats as Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Lashley, Bobby Roode, MVP, EC3, James Storm, the high flying X Division, Gail Kim and the lovely and lethal Knockouts, and many more.
Premiering on Saturday nights at 11 p.m. ET, TNA Xplosion features explosive exclusive matches, a look back at historical matches, as well as pop culture roundtable discussions, plus recaps of IMPACT WRESTLING.
TNA Wrestling's Greatest Matches, premiering Fridays at 8 p.m. ET leading into IMPACT WRESTLING, is a series looking back at the greatest feuds, match types and highlights from the careers of individual wrestlers from the past and present TNA Wrestling roster.
"TNA has been a staple and innovator in the professional wrestling business for the past decade, providing countless memorable matches and moments, while spawning the careers of new stars and showcasing all-time greats in the industry," said Chad Midgley, VP of Content at Fight Network. "We're excited to become the official exclusive Canadian broadcast partner. In addition to airing the popular IMPACT WRESTLING weekly show, we'll be reliving some of the organization's unforgettable history on the Greatest Matches series."
"We can't wait to be back in living rooms across Canada starting this Friday. Our fans across Canada have been vocal and incredibly patient as we worked to find a fantastic broadcast partner for IMPACT WRESTLING," said Dixie Carter, president of TNA Wrestling. "The good news is Fight Network has picked up other TNA programming like Xplosion and Greatest Matches, so fans in Canada will now have more access than ever to the best pro wrestling entertainment in the world, including TNA Superstars and Canada's own Bobby Roode, Gail Kim and Eric Young."
Vince McMahon, George Barrios and Michael Weitz hosted a post-WrestleMania 31 conference call today from WWE headquarters in Stamford. Below are some highlights:
* Weitz kicks off the call and mentions WrestleMania 31 being a success. He goes over the call and hands it over to Vince.
* Vince says WrestleMania 31 was a big success and touts the attendance. Vince also touts the social media activity, mainly over 140 worldwide trends. He says WrestleMania was a big contributor to WWE Network growth and says they have now surpassed 1.3 million subscribers. Talks about the new programming coming to the WWE Network and says the Divas Search will be successful. He calls the new Camp WWE show with Seth Green "South Park with WWE" with WWE stars as children off to camp.
* Barrios takes over and also touts the new WWE Network programming coming soon, saying the Diva Search will span the globe to find the next talent. He noted that they had 201,000 trial subscribers in February and 77% of those converted into paid subscribers for March. He touted the 1.3 million subscribers and said their longterm goal is 3-4 million. They're going to be adding another 1,000 hours of on-demand footage soon.
* It's time for the Q&A. The first caller gives Vince props for having Ronda Rousey on WrestleMania, bringing up WWE using more mainstream names and asks if that means more cost. Vince said their budgets haven't changed but the success of the Network and being ahead of everyone else helps them land bigger names to work with. For the second time in the call they mentioned other brands starting their own networks because of WWE's success.
* Barrios wouldn't reveal the number of users who had the free month in November that are still paid subscribers. Barrios is confident about the new shows they announced being successful.
* Barrios talked about China and India eventually becoming big markets for the company and the Network. He feels next year will be big for them in India.
* They may look into different price points in the future but they're happy with the $9.99 price right now.
* They started talking with Tapout three years ago and are excited for the partnership. We'll see more Tapout promotion on WWE TV as they get closer to putting the products in stores, which should be next year.
* The international subscription numbers will be released in the quarterly report.
* They had no problems with WrestleMania 31 streaming and the new WrestleMania Experience campaign with Facebook was a success.
* Regarding frustrations over the WrestleMania build-up, Vince acknowledged WWE will always have its doubters and said the build to WrestleMania was more of a last minute thing but that's how WWE does it sometimes. Vince said WrestleMania always tops itself.
* Vince said they do target Males 18-34 but they have programming that targets all demographics and some of the new programming is designed to do just that.
* Vince gave props to their marketing abilities when talking about Sting. Vince said they brought Sting from obscurity to a major WWE attraction.
* They're about fully distributed in Canada.
WWE announced just over 1 million WWE Network subscribers back on January 27th.
Vince McMahon announced that the Network has surpassed 1.3 million subscribers today on the post-WrestleMania 31 conference call. Vince credited WrestleMania 31 with helping boost the subscriber count.
In addition to the premium monthly live pay-per-view events, WWE Network unveiled new programming for the remainder of 2015, which includes eight brand new original series and partnerships with director Jeff Tremaine, Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and legendary talk show host Jerry Springer.
NEW ORIGINAL SERIES:
CAMP WWE – COMING LATE 2015
WWE, in partnership with Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, will debut a new, animated short-form comedy series entitled Camp WWE. Imagine WWE Superstars and Divas when they were kids at their favorite summer camp…which happens to be run by none other than Mr. McMahon – add in shock-value, slapstick humor and social satire – and you have WWE’s first adult comedy, which will debut later this year.
“We’re insanely excited about this collaboration,” said Green. “WWE is one of the most heartfelt and professional organizations I’ve worked with. We’re beyond happy to help them realize this vision.”
SWERVED – COMING IN MAY
WWE teams up with the Director of Jackass and Bad Grandpa, Jeff Tremaine, to give you the hilarious original series, Swerved. Swerved is a half-hour series and will premiere in May.
“I’m excited to combine my brand of entertainment with the world of WWE,” said Tremaine. “It will be the ultimate mash-up.”
DIVA SEARCH – COMING THIS FALL
WWE spans the globe in search of the most beautiful, athletic and charismatic women to find the next stunning WWE Diva. This competition will give viewers the opportunity to witness the challenges, trials, drama and rewards that accompany the journey of these women, as they vie for superstardom. Coming this Fall.
JERRY SPRINGER PRESENTS WWE TOO HOT FOR TV – COMING IN APRIL
Hosted by legendary talk show host Jerry Springer, this series will re-introduce the WWE Universe to the most outrageous stunts and cringe-inducing moments in TV history. The series will be chock full of insane situations and racy romps from WWE’s past that will have members of the WWE Universe asking, “Did they really do this?!” Springer will inject his own brand of humor into each episode with themes such as “Love Hurts,” “All in the Family” and “Weddings and Funerals.”
The half-hour series will be available beginning in April in WWE Network’s video-on-demand library with new episodes weekly.
“I suspect 25 years of The Jerry Springer Show qualifies me to comment on outrageous behavior,” said Springer. “And what is more outrageous than the entertainment, drama and craziness of the WWE. This is going to be fun.”
LIVE! WITH CHRIS JERICHO – DEBUTS MONDAY, APRIL 6, WITH SPECIAL GUEST JOHN CENA
Podcast host Chris Jericho challenges his guests in provocative, candid conversations about their careers, their lives, past controversies and the overall state of WWE. The monthly series kicks off Monday, April 6 immediately following Raw, with its first one-hour episode featuring WWE Superstar John Cena.
“I’m stoked to bring my show to WWE Network and give Jerichoholics worldwide more of what they’ve come to expect – humor, questions that have never been asked before and the best conversations that any podcast host has ever delivered,” said Jericho. “No matter who the guest is, whether it be WWE Superstars, Divas, Legends, executives or icons from the entertainment world, I guarantee to deliver the best, most entertaining interview you have ever heard from each and every one of them.”
UNFILTERED: WITH RENEE YOUNG – DEBUTS IN MAY
WWE announcer Renee Young interviews WWE Superstars and other pop-culture celebrities, covering just about everything, except what they are famous for. In this short-form series, Renee’s guests include Grammy Award winner Wiz Khalifa, five-time Grammy nominee Skylar Grey and WWE Superstars Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Unfiltered will debut in May.
CULTURE SHOCK: WITH COREY GRAVES – PREMIERING IN JUNE
WWE commentator Corey Graves reveals a variety of unique venues, customs, music, food and people as WWE’s tour travels around the world. From Marvel comic headquarters to a tattoo shop on the lower east side of Manhattan, Graves examines the local culture with his unique perspective and style. This short-form series will premiere in June.
WWE THE LIST – COMING IN JUNE
WWE The List is the best, the worst, the most bizarre and interesting of everything and anything WWE. If it’s amazing, outrageous, sexy or just plain fun, it just made #TheList.
In addition to the eight new original series, WWE Network will also debut new episodes of the highly-acclaimed docu-series WWE 24 as well as WWE Countdown and Rivalries. WWE will also add more children’s programming by bringing back the popular 1980s animated series, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling. In addition, WWE Network will produce compelling specials and short form content, while continuing to add 1,000 hours to its robust video-on-demand library, which currently has more than 3,000 hours of content.
The acclaimed 30-minute docu-series takes you on a lightning-fast journey through a day in the life of WWE’s most intriguing Superstars and groundbreaking events.
WWE Countdown settles the great debates across WWE history. Who was the most dangerous Diva? Who had the best catchphrase? This one-hour series allows the WWE Universe to determine the top 10 in each category and have the final word on who tops each list.
This docu-style series takes a look at the greatest rivalries in WWE history, as never told before. Get the real stories behind WWE’s most exciting matches and entertaining feuds through the eyes of the Superstars who created them. Each one-hour episode leaves no story untold.
HULK HOGAN’S ROCK ’N’ WRESTLING
Harkening back to 1985, this Saturday morning cartoon, which originally aired on CBS, features Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Junkyard Dog, Captain Lou Albano, and Roddy Piper in a series that is both nostalgic and entertaining, 30 years later.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER VS. THE BIG SHOW: THE BIGGEST VS. THE BEST – PREMIERES MONDAY, APRIL 27
WWE Network will look back at this epic David vs. Goliath encounter at WrestleMania 24 (2008) and its shocking conclusion coming just in time for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, which is expected to be one of the biggest boxing matches in history.
NXT TAKEOVER – LIVE! – AIRS MONTHLY ON WEDNESDAYS
The future is here. WWE’s hottest up-and-coming Superstars compete to prove they’ve got what it takes. More than just evolution, it’s a revolution! Witness these WWE Superstars of tomorrow as they take over WWE Network with live two-hour specials.
WWE announced tonight that WrestleMania 31 became the highest grossing live event in its history and broke the attendance record for Levi’s Stadium. WWE’s annual pop-culture extravaganza grossed $12.6 million, as 76,976 fans from all 50 states and 40 countries converged on the home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The previous attendance record for Levi’s Stadium was 70,799, and WrestleMania 29 at MetLife Stadium in 2013 held WWE’s prior record for gross revenue at $12.3 million.
“On behalf of the cities of Santa Clara and San Jose, we would like to thank all the fans that came from around the world to be part of WrestleMania 31,” said Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews. “We congratulate both WWE and Levi’s Stadium on their historic achievement.”
“We are thrilled that WrestleMania 31 has set the standard for all future events held at Levi’s Stadium. None of this success would have been possible without the support of Mayor Matthews, Mayor Liccardo and the San Francisco 49ers, as well as our public and private sector partners that worked tirelessly to support all of our regional WrestleMania Week activities,” said John P. Saboor, WWE Executive Vice President, Special Events. “We now turn our attention to the Dallas/Arlington region for what will surely be a historic WrestleMania 32.”
WrestleMania 32 takes place on Sunday, April 3, 2016 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, Ticket information will be announced later this year.
Top Ten All-Time Attendance Records at WrestleMania:
1. 93,173: WrestleMania 3, Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan, March 29, 1987
2. 80,676: WrestleMania 29, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, April 7, 2013
3. 80,103: WrestleMania 23, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, April 1, 2007
4. 78,363: WrestleMania 28, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida, April 1, 2012
5. 76,976: WrestleMania 31, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California, March 29, 2015
6. 75,167: WrestleMania 30, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA, April 6, 2014
7. 74,635: WrestleMania 24, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida, March 30, 2008
8. 72,744: WrestleMania 25, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas, April 5, 2009
9. 72,219: WrestleMania 26, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, March 28, 2010
10. 71,617: WrestleMania 27, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia, April 3, 2011
March 29, 2015
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon appeared in the ring during WWE's WrestleMania 31 tonight and announced 76,976 people in attendance at Levi's Stadium, a new attendance record for the venue.
March 28, 2015
The next generation of WWE has been making a huge impact since NXT’s arrival on WWE Network in February 2014. The past year of live specials, large name signings and epic battles inside the squared circle all seemed to be building toward something even bigger.
That “something even bigger” finally came, as NXT truly marked its territory in the sports-entertainment world Friday night, when a sold-out crowd of 5,000-plus fans crammed into the San Jose State University to see the future of WWE in action.
“I had to take a moment and see everybody out there,” San Jose native Bayley told WWE.com about entering the arena for her first match in her hometown since relocating to Florida two and a half years ago to join WWE’s developmental system. “As I got closer to the ring, I started seeing my mom, my nephew and my sisters. Then I looked up and saw all my friend and people with signs. This is my hometown and they were extra supportive. It’s a cool feeling.”
Rhyno, who has experienced some raucous crowds in his day, summed up the NXT Universe in one word: “Insane,” he said following his match in San Jose.
That feeling of excitement wasn’t just in the jam-packed arena. While Finn Bálor entered in full war paint, Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady brought the crowd to its feet with their trademark trash talk. NXT’s Divas showed why the spotlight is on them, and the backstage area was bustling with current Superstars, Legends and Hall of Famers jostling for a good view of the show on the arena floor or around monitors behind the curtain. They were as fired up as any fan to see the next generation ply their craft and offer a few pointers when they could.
“We want to be around people that are like we were, just hungry,” Sean Waltman said. “Being around people like that is pretty sweet.”
Waltman was joined backstage by WWE Hall of Famers Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, while fellow Hall member Jim Ross took the show in from ringside. Even WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon stopped by San Jose State to see the future of WWE for himself.
For Superstars that have been a part WWE’s developmental system at different points in its evolution, the sight of thousands of fans packing in to watch the future is staggering.
“It’s super-impressive to see how huge it’s become,” said Seth Rollins, the first-ever NXT Champion. “I never could have imagined this when I signed a developmental contract and walked into a warehouse in Tampa.My first show was in front of 12 people. “
There was no one more moved by the outpouring of support for NXT than Triple H, who took on the developmental system and molded it into what it has become. The WWE COO made a surprise appearance at the event to thank the fans for making NXT’s California debut a huge success, and assure them that this is only the beginning of NXT’s rise.
Rhyno thinks that the reason for NXT’s astronomical success during WrestleMania Week and beyond is simple.
“At NXT, everybody works so hard, from the bottom to the top. The competition is great and the fans see that,” he said. “It’s special.”
Rey was asked about how he's holding up following the recent Perro Aguayo Jr. tragedy and Rey talked about the support from his wife, kids, parents, Konnan and the fans helping him and keeping him moving forward.
Mysterio had Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter tell everyone that he is not retiring. Rey says he's not retiring and he believes that's what Perro Aguayo Jr. would want him to do. Regarding leaving WWE, Rey says after spending 13 years with WWE, he wanted to do his own thing, call his own shots and be with his family.
WWE NXT held their biggest event yet on Friday night at San Jose State University with between 4,500 and 5,000 fans in attendance. Thanks to Ryan Aziz and Corey Montgomery for the following results:
* JoJo sang the National Anthem and even before that there was a crazy buzz in the air. The crowd was fired up and ready to go. Corey Graves came in the ring to kick off the show but was met with "you f--ked up" chants because his mic didn't work. Graves talked about how far NXT has come and got a chant going.
* Hideo Itami defeated Tyler Breeze in the opener after GTS. This was an awesome match, maybe it was just the setting but this was a lot better than their recent TV matches. The crowd was chanting for GTS early on and Itami went for it during the match, finally nailing it after a big corner dropkick. Itami got the win and was really fired up feeding off the crowd.
* Jason Jordan defeated Bull Dempsey after an Exploder suplex. Dempsey got decent heel heat for this entrance and controlled most of the match. Jordan looked alright in the ring but he didn't get much of a reaction at all.
* Alexa Bliss and Bayley defeated Dana Brooke and Becky Lynch in a great Divas bout. Bayley came out to a huge hometown reaction that carried on. Bayley hit her suplex on Becky for the win and had a pretty big celebration after the match. She was interviewed by Greg Hamilton I believe it was and called it the coolest night of her life. Becky Lynch was really impressive in this match and played the heel role well.
* Solomon Crowe defeated Kalisto by submission with a Stretch Muffler. They did a lot of back and forth wrestling and a lot of mat wrestling but it was done well. They eventually made their way to the ropes and the floor. Crowe blocked a splash and put Kalisto into the Muffler for the win. Crowe also got a good reaction.
* Baron Corbin defeated Rhyno with End of Days. Rhyno got a huge pop when he came out and ECW chants. They brawled like two big men should after Corbin got warmed up. Rhyno finally went for the Gore but Corbin countered and hit End of Days. Corbin turned around after the match to a Gore from Rhyno to another big pop. The crowd really loved Rhyno as he was not advertised before.
* Corey Graves comes out and introduces Triple H, who gets a massive reaction and "thank you" chants. Triple H is clearly having fun. Triple H called NXT the hottest thing in town and said everyone from Vince McMahon to Shawn Michaels to Sean Waltman, Stephanie McMahon and others are backstage watching. He also pointed out Jim Ross in the front row and JR's name got a massive pop, way bigger than Vince and the others. He praised NXT as the future and got another big NXT chant going.
* WWE NXT Tag Team Champions defeated Enzo Amore & Big Cass and The Vaudevillians in an Elimination Match. Carmella, Enzo and Cass got a reaction that rivaled that of Rhyno and Itami, their schtick is over like crazy. All three teams worked well and played their roles with the crowd really well. That's one of the best parts about NXT is just about everyone seems to connect in some way. Big Cass pinned one of The Vaudevillians and they were eliminated first. Carmella then tried to get involved but it backfired and Cass got hit with a cheap shot while he checked on her.
* WWE NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte by submission with the Bank Statement. The crowd has stayed hot all night but cranked it up a notch for these Divas. They chanted "this is wrestling" and "this is awesome" more than once. Lots of back and forth action several times but Charlotte's babyface comebacks were really cool. Sasha broke a pair of Figure Fours and they traded several pin attempts before Sasha dropped Charlotte into the Bank Statement and made her tap out. This was an amazing match, like Natalya vs. Charlotte. It's hard to do justice with words but hopefully this becomes available somewhere in the near future. Charlotte got a "thank you Charlotte" chant after the match.
* Sami Zayn came out to a big pop and a chant. He admitted he ha some health issues that aren't too serious but he's not cleared to compete. He talks about the NXT revolution until NXT Champion Kevin Owens interrupts on the stage. Owens cuts a promo on Sami and then the fans after they give him the "what?" treatment. Owens brags about taking Sami's title and they had more words. Sami took credit for Owens even being in NXT. They teased a fight but Owens backed off and mentioned his own recent surgery. Sami promised to get the NXT Title back once Owens is cleared. With both of them injured, they made the best of things and pulled off a really good promo segment.
* Finn Balor came out in full body paint for the main event against Adrian Neville and got a "holy s--t" chant from the crowd, who was still hot. There was a better than WrestleMania chant at one point and many other chants as they tore the house down. Balor ended up moving out of the way of Red Arrow and hitting the big stomp for the win.
March 27, 2015
With his KISS makeup on, frontman Gene Simmons always looked a little scary. So maybe this new venture makes sense.
The rocker and reality-show star is teaming with WWE Studios to launch Erebus Pictures, a label that will finance and produce horror movies. The joint venture kicks off with a three-picture deal starting with "Temple," expected to begin shooting this summer.
"The horror genre continues to fascinate me as it proves to be endlessly thrilling and engaging for audiences," said Simmons, who with KISS has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.
Erebus Pictures is named after the Greek mythological deity that personifies darkness. It has a logical marketing platform in the WWE Network, a subscription-based streaming service known for pro-wrestling shows such as "Monday Night Raw" and "SmackDown" that appeal to primarily young male fans, arguably the core of the horror-movie audience.
WWE says "Temple" is about a team of highly trained operatives who find themselves trapped inside an isolated military compound after its artificial intelligence is suddenly shut down. While investigating the source of the malfunction, the crew begins to experience strange and horrific phenomena as they try to uncover who or what killed the team previously stationed at the compound.
The studio says a director for "Temple" will be announced shortly. Erebus Pictures' second feature will go into production later this year.
WWE Studios' most lucrative film has been "The Call," a 2013 thriller starring Halle Berry, which earned $68 million worldwide.
WWE has been named the winner of two 2015 CableFAX Digital Awards – Social Media Dream Team honoring WWE’s social media department and Best Smartphone App for the WWE App.
WWE received the top honor of the night, winning the award for Social Media Dream Team beating Turner Sports, Discovery and OWN. WWE’s social media team manages 11 major platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Pinterest, where WWE has a passionate fan base of more than 460 million worldwide.
The WWE App, which has been downloaded more than 17 million times in 220 countries, was named Best Smartphone App, beating ESPN, Turner Sports, Crackle, Food Network and MSG.
In addition, for the second straight year, Jayar Donlan, WWE Vice President, Social Media, was named to CableFax’s Digital Hot List, which recognizes top industry executives.
The 2015 CableFAX Digital Awards honors the outstanding websites, digital initiatives and people in the Digital and Technology industry that are driving the digital media revolution.
March 26, 2015
According to CMLL star Rey Bucanero, Rey Mysterio is considering retiring from professional wrestling following the tragic death of Perro Aguayo, Jr.
Mysterio was one of the wrestlers in the ring with Aguayo, and was reportedly devastated over the loss of a friend and colleague, not to mention the added burden of being the subject of numerous accusations from upset fans and members of the media. Rey will be making his first appearance since the tragedy tonight in Santa Clara, and again in San Jose for Wrestlecon this weekend.
Televisa, which is one of the two major broadcast groups in Mexico, is reporting that the Attorney General of Baja California have called for Rey Mysterio, Manik and Extreme Tiger to provide their testimony in the death of Aguayo. It was noted that the wrestlers aren't being investigated for wrongdoing, but that the subpoena is to follow up on the case.
March 25, 2015
WWE (NYSE: WWE) and Authentic Brands Group, LLC (ABG) today announced a joint venture for Tapout™, a newly repositioned fitness lifestyle brand. Tapout™ is now the official fitness and training partner of WWE, and will be integrated across WWE’s global platforms including TV programming, WWE Network, pay-per-view broadcasts, live events, digital, and social media.
“Tapout was ABG’s first acquisition and it continues to be a global brand with strong sales and blue chip partners all over the world. We have a very strong commitment to the brand’s ongoing success,” said Jamie Salter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ABG. “WWE is a media and entertainment force and we are excited to partner with them on Tapout’s future growth.”
“WWE is always looking for new opportunities to partner with best-in-class organizations, develop new products for our fans and drive shareholder value,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “This joint venture aligns with our strategic approach, and we look forward to building the Tapout brand.”
As part of this strategic partnership, WWE will create new content featuring its Superstars and Divas in Tapout™ apparel and market the brand across all platforms. Tapout™ branding will also be featured at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, and all performers, trainers, and staff will be outfitted in Tapout™ workout apparel.
“WWE’s expansive reach provides a global platform to broaden Tapout’s presence and consumer base,” said Nick Woodhouse, President and Chief Marketing Officer of ABG. “This is a powerhouse pairing given the synergy between Tapout’s brand promise to be the premiere hard-body fitness brand, and WWE’s commitment to training and fitness.”
“Combining ABG’s strengths in retail brand development, licensing and distribution with WWE’s marketing expertise, global reach and passionate fan base, makes for a powerful partnership,” said Michelle D. Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “The Tapout brand will enable us to expand into new product categories and further grow our current $1 billion consumer product retail business.”
The next generation of Tapout™ preserves the original brand essence and drives a hard-body, fitness-centric message positioned around motivation, discipline and determination. An all new line of men’s and women’s performance apparel and accessories will launch at retail in Spring 2016. New Tapout™ branding and packaging will roll out in key categories throughout 2015 starting with beverages, supplements and fitness centers.
March 24, 2015
Triple H recently spoke with USA Today's For The Win blog to promote his match with Sting at WWE's WrestleMania 31. The full interview is available at this link. Below are highlights:
FTW: How hard is it to wrestle a match after such a long layoff, especially considering your WrestleMania matches are typically half an hour long. What do you do to shake off the ring rust?
Triple H: I got in the ring for the first time the other day and fell down for the first time and it felt like my body exploded when I landed. It takes a little bit. You can train, but its one of those things where ‘experts’ of our business that have never done it will say ‘oh if they gave guys time off it would be better for them’ or whatever, but it’s honestly, having done this for 20 plus years — time off is your worst enemy. It really is, it makes it so much harder to do this.
When you’re doing it all the time it’s like a callus, you’re doing it and it doesn’t bother you. You’re functioning and you can do it every night. when you haven’t done it, getting in there and doing the simplest thing, you’re like ‘oh my God, why am I doing this again?’ You’ve got to get yourself back in the process of getting back in the ring, and the hardest [part] of doing that is… it’s easy to go through that stuff when you’ve got 80,000 people screaming at you, it’s not so easy when you’re in a warehouse with a ring set up all by yourself. It hurts a whole lot more.
FTW: When did you start training for your match with Sting?
Triple H: Well I train all year round. One of the things I found, five years ago or so, I needed to make my training more functional. So I train with Joe DeFranco, Joe’s known as kind of the combine killer for guys in the NFL. I train with Joe and he keeps me in pretty good shape. I’m a gym rat anyway so I like doing that, but once WrestleMania comes around, whether I know I’m going to be working or not working — which every year I have been, but I never really know until it comes closer. I usually start around 16 weeks out, so somewhere around the holidays or right before the holidays I start really tightening up my diet and gearing myself up towards getting back in the ring.
FTW: On the night of WrestleMania, how do you balance preparing and performing in your own match with all the other work you do behind the scenes as an executive?
Triple H: That is the hardest part. WrestleMania week for me, logistically, from an executive to a talent standpoint is crazy I did a DVD a couple of years ago called Thy Kingdom Come and they documented a little bit of it. It’s literally like one minute I’m speaking at a business partner summit, where I’m speaking to our business partners from all over the globe as an executive talking about all the things that we’re doing, and literally coming off stage, changing my clothes as fast I can to jeans and a leather jacket because I have to go do an autograph signing.
They drive me over there with a police escort, I’m eating on the way, I’m signing autographs for two hours and meeting the fans and having to be on as a performer, finishing that and running backstage, changing in the car while I’m on my way to go have a meeting with a bunch of international clients. And that’s all while my department itself, talent relations, completely controls everything WrestleMania from a talent standpoint. Which, we just did the numbers this year today and I think we’re at like 850 appearances and we’re still almost five weeks out. Logistically, trying to get talent to 850 appearances, probably close to 1,000 by Mania over the course of that week. Usually if we do our jobs well nobody’s late, nobody misses an appearance. But it’s just… insanity. That’s the best way to describe that week for me.
March 23, 2015
Sports Illustrated recently interviewed WWE announcer Michael Cole to promote WrestleMania 31. The full interview is available at this link, and below are some interview highlights:
How privy he will be to what’s going down at WrestleMania:
If I wanted to know, I could know everything. But I don’t want to know and especially at WrestleMania. A perfect example was last year with the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. When Undertaker’s streak was ended by Brock, oh, my God, I was as shocked as the people sitting at the stadium that night inside the [New Orleans] Superdome. I had know no idea in a million years that was going to happen, and that was the reaction you got out of our call hopefully. I was expecting The Undertaker to kick out and I did one of my normal “One, two…” and I was expecting to say kick out and all of a sudden it was three. I looked at John and he looked at me and I mouthed to him off-air, “Is it over?” His eyes were big and wide and I said to myself: “Okay, the streak is over.” I want those moments to happen.
One of my favorite WrestleMania matches to call was the first time Rock and John Cenamet in Miami [at Wrestlemania XXVIII]. I didn’t know what would happen and it was such a great year-long build. It makes that moment so much better. At the end of the day, just like anyone else who calls any sport, we are fans of the product and we want to be as intrigued as everybody else.
Who is in his ear during RAW:
So this is the fun part of my job. People think I sit down in a chair and I look at the ring and say, “Okay there are two guys fighting and this is what they are doing” and call the match. That is, and I swear to God, so far from the truth. I sit down and in my headset when I am calling Monday Night Raw for three hours, I have my executive producer, I hear my audio technician, I hear whoever is producing us backstage whether it is [WWE Chairman and CEO] Mr. [Vince] McMahon or Triple H or whoever it may be at the time. I also have two guys I have to listen to that I am working with so we can have a conversation on the air. So at any given time I have my voice, the two guys at ring side, audio, the executive producer and whoever is producing that night. So I sometimes have six voices in my head at once while we are on the air on live television. While that is going on, someone might say that the number one trend in the world on Twitter is this and we have to hit on it. Meanwhile, don’t forget to tell people why Paige is doing this to Nikki Bella. Then John may be telling me a joke and Booker T might be laughing and I have to keep all this going and keep the train on the tracks. I am a traffic cop.
How hard it is to do three hours of RAW:
When 11:15 p.m. ET rolls around, people have said to all of us, “You guys look like zombies. And it’s true. It is mentally exhausting. And it is physically exhausting, too. I sweat through my suit sometimes. When I am done, I get in my car to drive to the next town and I completely zone out for two or three hours. But it is also rewarding every week. I love it.
Footage for the TV special was recorded quite some time ago, so it focuses on stars like Xavier Woods and Corey Graves, as well as NXT stand-out Tyler Breeze.