Triple H and Stephanie McMahon had a photo shoot for Muscle & Fitness magazine today at WWE headquarters in Stamford.
August 28, 2014
Batista is Chris Jericho's guest on the latest episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast, which you can listen to here. During the interview, Batista talked about his latest WWE run being "bad from the start."
"It was just bad from right off the bat," Batista admitted (props to MStarz for the transcription). "They said, 'We want you to come out and do this thing with Hunter and Steph and Randy,' and I was like, 'First night back and you can't give me five minutes in the ring by myself in front if the fans?
"I told them from the very beginning [making me a babyface] isn't going to work. They said, 'Nah, man. They love you. They love you. They miss you.' That's going to last for 30 seconds. I said, 'They want to hate me and I'm good at that.'"
August 27, 2014
We noted back in July that the new season of WWE Tough Enough, scheduled to be filmed at the Performance Center in Orlando, was being pushed back due to budget cuts.
There had been talk of shooting the show in the fall but in recent weeks there were no discussions about filming. The budget for Tough Enough was heavily reduced this past week and then the show was scrapped altogether. No word yet if WWE will film the show at a later date but for now it's not happening.
Former NFL star Shawne Merriman had been training to be a wrestler and an announcer, reportedly signing a deal with WWE around WrestleMania time. Merriman is no longer under contract and has no affiliation with WWE.
WWE star Sting spoke with Brian Fritz of the Orlando Sentinel and once again expressed his desire to wrestle Undertaker. "I do believe I have enough left in my tank for one more match and I would love for that match to be against (Under)Taker," Sting said.
"If that can’t happen, Triple H, I think. I just would like to have one more match. I would love to say I had one match under the WWE banner and, of course, WrestleMania. Who wouldn’t want to say that they wrestled at WrestleMania at least one time?" Read the full story at OrlandoSentinel.com.
August 26, 2014
F4Wonline.com has confirmed that TNA offered a new home on a new network that wasn't as big as Spike TV. According to Raj Giri of WrestlingINC, Discovery Network's VELOCITY channel has offered TNA a timeslot. VELOCITY is only in 48 million homes and is available in HD only.
The biggest issue with this deal would be the rights fee, which is less than a quarter of what TNA is currently getting from Spike TV. The deal may not be worth it if TNA can't find an additional revenue stream.
If they take the deal, TNA would have to cut so far back on production and talent that the TNA as we know it would be no more.
August 24, 2014
WWE SmackDown is moving to Thursday nights. SyFy has updated their schedule to reveal the move will take place on Thursday, October 2, 2014. You can view the full schedule at this link.
August 23, 2014
August 22, 2014
Not familiar with Stephanie McMahon? You could be forgiven.
The pro-wrestler and Chief Brand Officer at WWE doesn’t have much time to play the fame game.
She’s busy representing World Wrestling Entertainment Inc – of which she is CBO - in the 150 countries in which they operate, defeating fellow wrestlers in front of millions and raising her three daughters at the home she shares with fellow wrestler Paul Levesque.
Unlikely as it might seem, I am an unapologetic WWE fan despite my 30 years. And for many young fans like me (I started watching at 12), Stephanie was an idol.
She was strong, she was fierce, she was unapologetic and she held her own in the male dominated world of pro wrestling.
Where every other woman I was being encouraged to idolise was stripping off in music videos or falling drunkenly out of a nightclub, here was a woman whose body was strong, whose strength was palpable, whose ambition was worn like a badge of honour.
Stephanie McMahon made her WWE debut at the tender age of 22. She is the daughter of Vince McMahon, who is Chairman of the company to this day.
She became Women’s Champion a year after her debut and, alongside stars like The Rock, Chyna and Stone Cold Steve Austin, hers was one of the golden ages for the WWE.
She worked for the company, on reception, design and TV production during her performing career and was made executive vice president of Creative in 2007.
In 2003 she married fellow wrestler Paul Levesque, Triple H, and in 2006 the couple welcomed their first daughter.
She continues to perform to this day and, she tells me, took her first two girls on tour with her for three years of their lives.
In person Stephanie, 37, is warm, engaging and forthcoming – quite the opposite of the villainous character she plays on WWE. Yet there’s no denying a steel that lies beneath and as the face of the business it’s little surprise that she answers questions in perfect sound bites.
I meet her in London’s Zetter Townhouse - she jetted in from Rome that morning and is off to Berlin first thing tomorrow.
She’s fiercely proud to be a working mum and grateful for the recent trend – galvanised in the USA by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In – for a more open discussion about a woman’s right to have a family and a successful career...More?
The first Wednesday edition of Impact Wrestling on Spike TV drew 852,000 viewers which is down on the 1,126,000 viewers it did for the Thursday edition in the week previous.
TNA and Spike would have expected the drop but will hope to make up the loss in the weeks to come.
David Shoemaker, author of The Squared Circle: Life, Death and Professional Wrestling, posted on Twitter that he heard that Daniel Bryan needs “Tommy John” surgery which could keep him out for another three months.
What is Tommy John?
WebMD: "Tommy John surgery repairs an injured elbow ligament. It's most commonly done on college and pro athletes, especially baseball pitchers. But it's sometimes done on younger people as well."
This surgery usually requires more than three months recovery time.
August 21, 2014
China's VOD movie market remains a question mark after high-profile service generates just $183,000 in quarterly revenue
China’s digital movie service You On Demand Aug. 18 posted a second-quarter (ended June 30) net loss of $793,000 — a marked improvement from a net loss of $3.3 million during the prior-year period, according to a regulatory filing.
The subscription streaming and transactional VOD service, with headquarters in New York and Beijing, has over the years secured high-profile content license agreements with Disney Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures, NBC Universal, Warner Bros., Miramax, Lionsgate and Magnolia, as well as a broad selection of content from Chinese filmmakers.
Yet the service generated just $183,000 in revenue in the second quarter, which was up from $51,000 in revenue during the prior-year period. These are hardly impressive numbers in a Chinese market where more than 700 million people are projected to watch online video content this year.
To help secure better connections in China, You On Demand recently appointed Weicheng Liu as CEO, replacing Shane McMahon, who remains chairman of the board. Marc Urbach is president and CFO of the company.
China remains a burgeoning movie-watching market, with theatrical sales expected to become the largest in the world in a couple of years. Social media sites such as Youku and Tudou have hundreds of millions of unique monthly users, but online digital distribution remains a challenge.
Lionsgate is launching a SVOD service in China this month. The service is a partnership with Alibaba, one of the country’s largest e-commerce sites, and includes the latter’s set-top boxes and connected TVs.
Dubbed “Lionsgate Entertainment World,” the service would also include transactional video-on-demand and electronic sellthrough, featuring the Santa Monica, Calif.-based studio’s catalog of movies and TV shows, including The Hunger Games, Divergent, “Nashville,” Rosemary’s Baby and “Mad Men,” among others.
“It’s another way for us to get content into the Chinese market with a great partner,” Jim Packer, president of worldwide television and digital distribution at Lionsgate, told Bloomberg last month. “We’re always exploring opportunities in China, it’s a growing content market, it’s a content market you have to be in.”
Meanwhile, a 2011 McKinsey & Co. report found that successful online video sites would need to expand their bandwidth; hire experienced online advertising salespeople, and license content that will would generate the largest audiences and advertising.
“The best-funded sites are therefore likely to pull steadily ahead, in what could be a winner-takes-all phase of the market,” analyst Alan Lau wrote.
You On Demand’s fiscal results suggest it will take more than content to lure users.
August 20, 2014
Alberto Del Rio will reportedly be doing media appearances in the United States soon to go into more details about what happened with his WWE departure. Del Rio's representatives have contacted indie wrestling promoters in the US and said that Del Rio will be taking bookings for autograph signings and matches in the US very soon because he doesn't feel that WWE's one-year non-compete that keeps him from doing MMA and pro wrestling, while not paying him, will hold up in court. Del Rio's asking price for indie bookings is said to be extremely high.
Del Rio has been upset about WWE's social media worker Cody Barbierri not being fired for the incident they were involved in but for legal reasons, hasn't been saying anything like that publicly. At first Del Rio was going to speak out in the US media but decided against it. Now, his lawyers have reportedly given him the green light to speak out in the US.
It was also reported by those close to the situation that when Triple H called Del Rio about the departure, he told Del Rio to keep his nose clean and when the heat died down, they would re-hire him in 6 months. Del Rio said he wasn't interested in coming back. Top stars including Big Show, Randy Orton and John Cena all told Del Rio that they would push for him to be re-hired because most of the locker room was sympathetic to what had happened. Again, Del Rio made it clear he didn't want to come back.
Rey Mysterio was essentially forced to stay under contract with WWE for one more year due to a clause in WWE contracts that allows the company to extend a contract if their performers miss a certain amount of time due to injuries.
When Rey's WWE contract expired this year, he reportedly told Triple H that he was not interested in renewing the deal. The two reportedly had a handshake agreement that WWE and Rey would go their separate ways.
Vince McMahon then had Mark Carrano from Talent Relations call Rey to inform him that they were renewing his deal for one more year based on that clause.
Rey is still out of action with a hand injury and has not appeared for them since January. With him living in California, there was some talk last week of bringing him to SummerSlam for media appearances but that obviously did not happen, possibly because WWE didn't want the questions about his status coming up.
The launch of WWE Network in Canada has been huge success and exceeded the companies expectations according to Dave Meltzer on the latest edition of The Wrestling Observer Radio.
WWE has struggled to gain subscribers in the U.S. since the online-only version launched in February. For the Canadian market they adopted a different approach. Instead of offering an online channel, WWE teamed up Rogers Communications and launched the Network as a premium cable television station.
There was concern that offering the Network in this manner might not appeal as it has a higher price point at launch of $11.99 per month, opposed to $9.99 (U.S) and limited video library, in fact there are only several archived PPV's to watch but it does include 13 of the companies monthly PPV's which works out a better deal.
WWE will be watching this success closely and know there is still a much larger audience to gain in Canada considering Rogers Communications makes up only 25% of the market share.
Stephanie McMahon presented Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, with the Cynopsis Media Impact Award at tonight's Women of Action event at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.
August 18, 2014
There have been a lot of rumors going around of Vince McMahon and Triple H "butting heads" creatively, including who to have Brock Lesnar face at WrestleMania 31. The rumor is that Vince wants The Rock vs. Lesnar while Triple H wants Roman Reigns vs. Lesnar.
Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that there is certainly word going around WWE that Vince sometimes undercuts Triple H and makes him look bad but it could be a case of the "good cop/bad cop" dynamic. Meltzer noted that he doesn't sense any strong negative feelings between the two.
Former WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio recently appeared on Televisa's Primero Noticias in Mexico. Thanks to PWInsider for the following recap:
On being fired, Del Rio said there was an incident, an altercation with a WWE employee, that one day he’ll give all of the details on. Right now he’s assessing the best way to do so via legal means, so that everything he says isn’t used against him, since legal matters in the U.S. are handled differently than they are in Mexico.
He said there was an incident where he was offended, where he was completely the victim. He said WWE made a statement that he displayed unprofessional conduct, and that yes it’s true, that he smacked the WWE employee because as he always says, you can take away his job but you can’t take away his dignity and his pride, nor try to offend or humiliate where he comes from, which is of course Mexico, and he doesn’t forget his roots. This problem led to the termination of his contract with WWE.
The interviewer asked if ADR was the victim of racism. Alberto says yes, that there were comments this employee made, and that he admitted he reacted in an inappropriate manner. He said that he wouldn't advise anyone to conduct themselves in the manner that he did. He admitted that he "smacked" the WWE employee and that he is completely embarrassed by his own attitude and by his own reaction, but in that moment, he demanded an apology.
The interviewer interrupted ADR and asked what the employee said to him, Alberto says that part he’s gonna keep to himself for now. He said he's a few days away from being able to tell the world exactly what happened. He said that a lot of people know what happened because there were many people present there in the WWE catering area. The interviewer asks who else was there, Alberto says right next to him was Jack Swagger, one of the referees was behind him, people from the crew, etc. They were all eating in Laredo, Texas at a TV taping.
ADR said he spoke to Vince McMahon after the incident occurred and everything appeared to be fine. Interviewer backs up to the incident, Alberto says someone said something to the WWE employee, and when he responded to the comment, the response was directed at Alberto.
The interviewer asks if he’s had any incidents with this employee before and Alberto says yes. He said that "a while back" there was a time the WWE employee was pretending to read something on his laptop and said, “It says on here Alberto is a ‘tal por cual’ “ (Mexican slang for a slut) and that he tried to play it off like it was a joke and shake Alberto’s hand. Alberto refused and told the employee to get away from him. He said this incident occurred 7 or 8 months prior to the slap. So when this incident occurred recently, Alberto demanded an apology, but that the WWE employee walked right up to Alberto’s face, smirked at him and said nothing. That's when Alberto smacked him. Again, he said he is embarrassed by his reaction, but he doesn’t regret it. He said that yes, it cost him his job, but he thinks WWE is the one who loses the most in this situation.
The interviewer asks if it was another wrestler who he had this incident with, Alberto says no, that it’s their Social Media Manager. He says he never even knew this person's name until after all of this happened. WWE released a statement saying Alberto was fired due to unprofessional conduct, but he wonders why they didn’t mention there was an isolated incident that led to his unprofessional conduct.
Alberto said after the incident happened, Vince McMahon asked to speak to him. Alberto said that Vince himself told him that he understood where Alberto was coming from and why he was upset by the comment, because first he’s insulted and then after the insult the guy smirks in his face. Vince said that he understood ADR's reaction. Everything appeared to be fine after his talk with Vince.
ADR was suspended the next day, which he understood, but that for reasons WWE later decided, they changed their mind and was let go.
Alberto said Triple H called him Thursday morning and told him that it hurts WWE more because they’ve invested a lot of time and money into him, but that they need to let him go. Alberto told him that it was fine, and that once his release was made public AAA contacted him, Japan contacted him, some North American promotions as well.
Alberto said that he has not had any other conversations with WWE since his release, but that word got out of what happened from other people who witnessed the incident occur.
He said going forward, he’s using El Patron now since WWE owns “Alberto Del Rio” (his real name is Jose Alberto Rodriguez). They asked him if he’s going to sue WWE, he said he’s not sure. He said that the reason he went to a lawyer is because when he received his release in the mail, they mentioned he couldn’t wrestle in the United States for a year. ADR admitted he’s not fully familiar with the laws in the U.S. but he thinks it’s unconstitutional to prevent him from wrestling, since that’s how he makes a living and feeds his family.
Del Rio was asked if he wants to wrestle again in the U.S. He says no and that he was already considering not signing a new contract when his contract was up next February. He said he wasn’t sure if he was going to stay or go, so he’s not sure what would have happened, but unfortunately this incident happened which forced him out of the company. He spoke with his wife after he was let go and decided he wasn’t going to pursue legal action against WWE, but then he received his termination letter with the 1 year no compete clause and that changed everything.
Below is the English translation of Alberto Del Rio's promo at AAA's TripleMania event in Mexico last night:
"History will mark this day as the day that El Patron returned home. But the truth is, after listening to that grand reception, I don’t think El Patron ever left, because his heart belongs to you, it belongs to Mexico. A lot has been said about why I left, why I came back. Seven years ago I embarked on that dream, that adventure called America. And by suffering, blood, sweat and tears we showed North Americans and the entire world, that when you do things with heart, with passion, with love, and being humble under the eyes of God our Father, dreams do come true. Of course it wasn’t easy, and then came a day that the dream turned into a nightmare. Similar to many of you, or if not you, to family members of yours, who have gone to the other side looking for a better life for those that we love, I came across a monster, a monster called racism. Racism doesn’t distinguish sex, race, religion, color, it doesn’t care…if you have money, if you don’t have it. But this man that’s standing right here (points at his father Dos Caras), that has given me everything and has made me the person that I am, gave me the biggest gift a father can give his son – honesty and the spirit to triumph. He never lowered his head, so that I could learn to never lower it in front of anyone. I love you, Dad. In the U.S., they might be able to take my job, but they’ll never, ever take away my dignity and my pride. And on this night, my fellow Mexicans, I promise you and God that never again will someone come and disrespect my people, myself and all those that I love – because I am El Patron Alberto and I am Mexican ladies and gentlemen!"
August 16, 2014
Variety has a new story up about WWE raising their new logo at company headquarters in Stamford, CT today. Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon talked to them about the decision to use the new logo:
“The new logo is a representation of the evolution of the WWE brand. Everything from the hard edges and the sleek coloring expresses a contemporary feel and demonstrates we’re always looking ahead."
Stephanie noted that WWE didn't originally plan on having the WWE Network logo represent the entire company but they had "a wonderful response" to it in January and "it represented everything we wanted to say to the marketplace" so they went with it. She also noted that they kept the red & black colors because it's been a staple of the company for 15 years, representing "the bold nature of what we do."
WWE unveils new logo
August 15, 2014
August 14, 2014
Variety reports that WWE Studios' next action movie will be called Lockdown and will feature Dean Ambrose in a starring role. This is the second movie under the new six-pack WWE Studios and Lionsgate deal.
Production starts this month. The movie will be directed by Stephen Reynolds of Tomb Raider: Ascension.
Written by Nathan Brooks and Bobby Lee Darby of WWE's See No Evil 2, Lockdown tells the story of "a police officer who finds himself trapped inside his own precinct and hunted after crooked cops stop at nothing to recover incriminating evidence of illegal activities against those closest to him."
WWE Studios' head Michael Luisi said of Lockdown:
"Lockdown will continue to energize and excite with the high level of adrenaline our fans have come to expect from our films."
WWE & E! issued the following press release:
SEASON THREE OF E!'S "TOTAL DIVAS" PREMIERES SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 7TH AT 9PM ET/PT
Los Angeles, CA, August 13, 2014 – E!, WWE® and Bunim-Murray Productions will once again shadow WWE Divas The Bella Twins™ (Nikki and Brie Bella), Natalya™ (Nattie), Naomi™ (Trinity), Cameron™ (Ariane) and rookies Eva Marie™ and Summer Rae™ giving viewers an inside peek into how these women, who are on the road for 52 weeks a year, balance their personal lives while fighting for the spotlight. In addition, the brazen Latina, WWE Diva Rosa Mendes™ joins the cast when "Total Divas" returns for 10 all-new episodes beginning Sunday, September 7th at 9pm ET/PT.
In the season two finale, Brie Bella and WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan™ had just tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by friends, family and many of the gorgeous girls. While most of the Divas were living large, Nikki was patching up her relationship with WWE Superstar John Cena™ as he had discovered her long kept secret —unbeknownst to anyone but her twin sister she had been married before. Now, the Divas are back with an even more prominent position in WWE as each woman has become a serious contender for the WWE Divas championship title.
Following an off-the-grid honeymoon, Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan are back in the ring, but are quickly challenged with unexpected newlywed hurdles as Daniel faces an injury and Brie considers motherhood. While Brie has babies on the brain, her sister Nikki contemplates freezing her eggs when she learns that John doesn't want children... adding to the growing list of issues they don't see eye to eye on.
The relationships in "Total Divas" continue on a rocky road as Nattie and her WWE Superstar husband, Tyson Kidd™ take a stab at couples therapy to work through their marital issues, Trinity and Ariane end their professional relationship as a WWE tag team, and Eva is forced to pick sides between her stubborn new husband and her disapproving father, who learns that his cancer has returned. Luckily, things are looking bright for Ariane as she takes the next step with her boyfriend Vinnie, and Summer Rae jets off to film a lead role in "The Marine 4: Moving Target" alongside WWE Superstar Mike "The Miz™" Mizanin. Just when the girls are ready to let out a sigh of relief with their nemesis Summer out of the picture for a while, former model Rosa Mendes returns to the WWE's Diva roster after a year and a half hiatus.
During the sophomore run of the series, Total Divas reached over 7.7 Million Total Viewers and 4.6 Million A18-49. On the digital front, Total Divas garnered 17,000 Tweets and ranked as the #2 ad-supported cable or reality program of the night (excluding sports). Season two averaged a #3 social rank among ad-supported cable and #2 versus reality. The season two finale episode notched 1.55 Million Total Viewers as well as netting nearly 1 Million Adults 18-49 (961,000K).
Season three of E!'s hit "Total Divas" returns on Sunday, September 7th at 9pm ET/PT followed by an all-new episode of "#RichKids of Beverly Hills."
"Total Divas" is produced by WWE and Bunim/Murray Productions. Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, Jeff Jenkins and Russell Jay are Executive Producers for Bunim-Murray Productions. Kevin Dunn and Will Staeger are Executive Producers for WWE.
Kurt Angle Talks about Potential Return to WWE, Details on His Current TNA Contract and Update on WWE Not Wanting Angle Back
TNA wrestler and former WWE Superstar Kurt Angle talked to Wrestlezone’s own Mark Madden on 105.9 the X. The super-genius and the Olympic gold medalist hyped Impact Wrestling’s return to Washington, PA on August 16th. Madden asked Angle what his current relationship with WWE is like, and if the door is ever open for a return:
“I think [the door] is always open. I’m really not allowed to talk to anybody, due to my contract, but it’s always an open door. It’s about what you can give, what they want from you, and what you want from them. At the end of the day, it really comes down to how much they want to use me, and how much I want to be used.”
Angle also mentioned that he couldn’t work a full-time WWE schedule after 15 years of hard pro wrestling, stating “wherever I end up it’s going to be part time.” He estimates he could work up to eight days in a month, but it could be as low as one or two. His current deal with TNA is 40 dates per year.
Since the interview, Madden has learned from sources that Kurt Angle has spoken with WWE COO Paul Levesque (aka Triple H), but found out that the company isn’t interested in bringing him back right now. He then contacted Vince McMahon, who deferred to Levesque as the executive handling personnel decisions. It’s being said that Triple H was not happy about Angle trying to go over his head to Vince, and that certainly did not help his situation any.
TNA announced the following:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 14, 2014) – TNA today announced its flagship program, IMPACT WRESTLING, will make a permanent move to Wednesday nights at 9/8c on SPIKE TV beginning next Wednesday, Aug. 20.
"Moving IMPACT WRESTLING to Wednesday nights gives existing fans and new viewers an opportunity to enjoy both wrestling and live sports even more throughout the week," said TNA President Dixie Carter.
IMPACT WRESTLING has enjoyed sustained ratings growth this summer, drawing over 1.5 million viewers each week this quarter, and is among the most watched cable series in key male demos in its timeslot.