Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Sources are saying McMahon's surgery was similar to The Undertaker's procedures that he had done for fixing the top of his hip joint. PWTorch's report went on to say McMahon most likely needed the surgery because he continues to do squats in the gym, and his excerise regimen has caused deterioration on his hips.
WZ reported earlier today that McMahon is in fact at tonight's RAW tapings, and is backstage walking around with the assistance of crutches.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
It wasn’t until The Rock left for Hollywood again and Lesnar’s departure as well did things start to dwindle. The TV ratings started to tank and the company hadn’t created its next big star yet. Although McMahon was looking forward to the Raw 1000th episode in July that year.
The 1000th episode of Raw marked the beginning of making the show 3 hours each and every week. McMahon was optimistic that the extra TV time will make the show more exciting. Little did he know that his plan backfired as Raw hasn’t seen low ratings since 1997. Now it is December and the ratings haven’t improved.
Another thing that has made McMahon very upset in the amount of money his wife lost spending it all on her unsuccessful senate campaign. She spent $50 million on her run in 2010, and another $40 million to try again in 2012. In total, she lost $90 million on two unsuccessful campaigns.
The last thing that has made him furious is the recent bankruptcy of THQ. THQ has published all of the WWE video games since 1999, but has now filed for bankruptcy. It’s possible Ubisoft will buy its assets, although THQ still owes the WWE $45 million.
McMahon had better pray for a better 2013. 2012 had its positive moments, although the latter parts of the year have been nothing but pretty bad for the Chairman.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Saturday, December 1, 2012
There has been some changes recently in Martha Hart's lawsuit against WWE, Vince McMahon and Linda McMahon with part of what was still in court being thrown out. On November 16th, Judge Stefan R. Underhill dismissed more of Hart's lawsuit against WWE. It remains to be seen what was actually dismissed and what is left but it appears that WWE continues to whittle down the charges brought against them by Owen Hart's widow.
Before the November 16th hearing, what was remaining were claims that Owen's name would have reverted back to his usage and his usage alone in his passing and that his legal name would not be considered his "ring name", meaning WWE does not have the rights to use, market and promote that name in their materials and DVD releases. The claim also remained that WWE released eight DVD's and other materials including the WWE Encyclopedia without proper payments to Owen's estate per his Booking Contract with Titan Sports, which required royalty payments continue after his death, per the written contract. Furthermore, the claims that WWE used original intellectual property including family photos without the permission of Owen's estate and that the Owen Hart Foundation has been hurt due to its unwanted association with WWE through WWE's use of Owen video and other material.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Monday, October 8, 2012
Once again, Vince McMahon will be around to deliver a “State of the WWE” Address. I’m sure Vince will brag about certain things like Twitter or Tout and some other non-sense that is good in the WWE. I’m sure there will be some attempt to start a major angle as well. But the problem is, you know the angle was hastily put together in the last week. That more than likely means the angle has very little, if any, direction and the WWE won’t know where they are going with it.
But while Vince will try to tell you that everything is okay in the WWE, what he won’t tell you about is the numerous problems the WWE is facing right now. Number 1 is the continual drop in ratings for RAW. Last week, RAW received a 2.5 rating, the lowest non-holiday rating in a very long time. The ratings haven’t gone up on RAW in quite some time. And the third hour of the show, the 10-11 time slot, has at times been the lowest rated hour on the show. By starting the show at 8, the WWE is now wearing out a lot of their viewers by 10 p.m. And can you blame them? How many good TV shows can keep viewers for 3 hours? Wrestling is not programmed to go three hours on a weekly basis, especially if you have been booking it the way the WWE has. But Vince won’t let you know that moving to 3 hours was a bad idea, no matter how much he and the executives at USA think it is a good idea.
Vince also won’t tell you how thin and poorly booked the WWE roster is. Look at RAW right now. John Cena is injured. Who is the guy stepping up to take his place if he can’t go? Ryback, a guy that I would not feel comfortable putting in the main event of a PPV at this point in his career. And then over on Smackdown, Sheamus is the World Champion. Randy Orton is away filming a movie. He is still around, but who is helping out Smackdown with Orton gone? Yeah, your guess is as good as mine. You would think with all of this time of programming that the WWE would have found a better way to get their mid card performers over. And I wonder, Vince, why have you not given more time to get some of your roster over? Stupid, pointless, 3 minute squash matches do not help those guys get over. Especially when there are multiple ones on the same show. Look at RAW in recent weeks. Wade Barrett and Ryback have a squash every week. How were Brodus Clay and Tensai introduced? That’s right, squash matches. It can maybe work for one guy, like Ryback, but having multiple squash matches is just bad. Instead of getting people over, it just ends up feeling like filler in the end.
When you have 5 hours of main wrestling programming to fill, you don’t go out there and 3 minute squash matches. If you want people to care about the mid-card, you give them time to develop actual programs and feuds. You give them time to work a 10 minute wrestling match in the ring. What mid-carders actually have a program right now? Miz is the Intercontinental Champion, who is going after his Title? How about Antonio Cesaro and the United States Championship? Anyone? Yes it was nice to see him beat Brodus Clay, but what does that lead to in the end? The WWE apparently has high hopes for Wade Barrett, but you wouldn’t know it by watching RAW and Smackdown. Its just one squash match after another. It works once or twice, but not every show over the span of a month or two.
Another problem with 3 hour RAWs? They’ve over-exposed a lot of characters. The prime example of that is Sheamus. Sheamus has not gotten over well since becoming World Champion. He’s almost getting into unbearable John Cena territory, at least for me. Just like Cena, Sheamus is throwing out corny catch phrases and just not looking like the bad ass he once was when he was a heel. Sheamus and John Cena are a large part of the WWE’s continuing problem of how to properly book a face, but that is a different discussion all together. There have been 3 people/things that have benefited from the move to 3 hours: C.M. Punk, Daniel Bryan and the Tag Team Division. I can’t thing of anything else. I wanted to see more good wrestling but we only get one, if we are lucky two, good matches a show.
So while Vince McMahon will parade out on RAW and try to make you think everything is okay, remember that it is not. Vince knows that he has a problem on his hands and he needs to pull a rabbit out of his hat to get viewership.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
McMahon left Connecticut for Montreal on Monday in his personal jet to pick Lawler up from the hospital. He then flew him to Memphis where WWE filmed Lawler's returning home that aired on Raw.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Triple H is said to be convinced that he's more effective as a heel but McMahon insists that he remain a babyface. One source told The Wrestling Observer that there appears to be growing unspoken tension between the two over the issue, especially since SummerSlam.
Friday, August 10, 2012
WWE Electrifies Saturday Mornings STAMFORD, Conn., August 9, 2012 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) and Saban Brands today announced a new, weekly half-hour show, WWE Saturday Morning Slam, that will debut on Saturday, August 25 at 10 a.m. WWE Saturday Morning Slam will be part of the television premiere of Vortexx on The CW, a Saturday morning kids' television block, reaching 114 million U.S. television households. This marks the first time, since 2001, WWE will have a program in a kids' time slot and reinforces WWE's commitment to kid-friendly entertainment. WWE Saturday Morning Slam packs the riveting in-ring action, the larger-than-life WWE Superstars, and the WWE's entertaining brand extensions into the fastest, most energy-filled half-hour on television. WWE Superstar profiles, behind-the-scenes footage and an exclusive WWE match every week will all combine to make WWE Saturday Morning Slam the perfect destination for the youngest viewers in the WWE Universe. The show will also include highlights from WWE's Be a STAR anti-bullying campaign and other community initiatives. "We are extremely excited to partner with the WWE to bring their world-class brand of entertainment to Vortexx," said Joel Andryc, Co-President, Vortexx. "With a focus on action, adventure and comedy, Vortexx is the perfect home for WWE Saturday Morning Slam and will definitely excite our fans."
WWE has a long history on Saturday mornings, and we're thrilled to make our action-packed return on Vortexx with WWE Saturday Morning Slam," said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. "The new program enables us to further engage kids and families, a vital component of WWE's passionate and multi-generational fan base."
Friday, August 3, 2012
WWE News: 8/2 Vince McMahon conference call - WWE Network, WWE TV deal with Ion, Raw expansion to three hours
-Michael Weitz of WWE Investor Relations opened the call and noted that he was joined by Vince McMahon and WWE CFO George Barrios. Weitz turned the call over to Vince.
-McMahon said the quarter was essentially flat. "It was nothing to write home about," Vince said. He touted the 17 percent increase in pay-per-view revenue. He noted the decrease in licensing profits was due to the lack of the WWE All-Stars title. Vince said the live events and TV ratings were flat.
-Vince boasted about the "excellent" television ratings for Raw 1000. He said the third hour of WWE Raw will give them more exposure.
-Vince laughed as he talked about remastering and releasing "No Holds Barred" and said it has done extremely well.
-Vince said people have been very patient regarding when and what the WWE Network is. He saidthey are not ready to make an announcement, but he feels very confident that next month they will be making one.
-Barrios said the company invested $5 million in Tout. He said the Tout app was downloaded more than 30,000 times after they included Touts in their live Raw broadcast. He ran through the second quarter earnings presentation.
-Barrios said the WWE Main Event television show will debut on October 3.
-Barrios touted upcoming movie releases, including "The Marine: Homefront" with The Miz, "Dead Man Down" starring Colin Farrell and co-starring Wade Barrett, "The Hive" with Halle Berry and David Otunga, "No One Lives" with Luke Evans and co-starring Brodus Clay, and a film called "Barricade" that will be released in September.
-Barrios also noted that they spent $100,000 to remaster "No Holds Barred" and expect to generate $300,000 in revenue from the film.
-Barrios raved about their increases in Facebook and Twitter follower count and Youtube views.
-They switched gears to take questions from callers. The first caller asked for more details regarding the range of format options for the WWE Network. Barrios said the three basic models that exist are broad basic distribution, a pay TV format, and a third would be "over the top." He said they continue to have discussions regarding all three.
-Barrios said he feels they've improved the content and functionality of the WWE website, and he said he feels increasing the social aspect of it has also helped improve their numbers in that area.
-Barrios said they will spend between $5 million and $10 million on programming for WWE Network this year. He ran through other expected costs. He said they will discuss the expense model and investment model once they release more details about the network.
-A caller asked to explain the pay-per-view growth this quarter. Barrios said WrestleMania buys were up roughly 15 percent. He said the other events were up 20 percent. The caller asked if they spent more on marketing. Barrios said he felt the creative was great and that's what drove it. He said marketing was essentially flat compared to the year before.
-The caller asked about North American attendance being down. Barrios said it's hard to make a comparison from quarter to quarter because they are in different markets. He acknowledged that Smackdown live event attendance is down from where they would like it to be. Barrios said they view the numbers as status quo.
-The caller also asked whether the Youtube content takes away from television. Vince said it enhances it. He turned the focus to the three-hour expansion and said the earlier hour helps them reach a different audience. He said they can't get much from that extra hour internationally because they have existing deals. He said the same is true for the WWE Main Event show. He said they expect that to change once the existing contracts expire.
-Barrios declined to say what percentage of Tout they own. He noted that they released the investment amount ($5 million).
-A caller asked where WWE expects the most growth from social media. Barrios said it's hard to draw a direct line. "I believe the bigger win is just enhancing the brand and engaging with our audience, and that ripples through everything," Barrios said.
-Regarding WWE Network content, Barrios mentioned Legends House and said they expect to have live programming as well. He mentioned their library and said they are creating new content using the library. He said they've developed a "compelling show" called "Monday Night Wars."
-The caller stated that as a shareholder, the company needs to say more regarding the WWE Network. "I'm quite confident that the next earnings call will have a lot more clarity for you," Vince McMahon responded.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Vince McMahon is going all out for the upcoming 1000th episode of RAW and is open to anybody returning.
“Vince is forgetting about politics, personal issues, any heat guys might have with each other and wants this to be monumental,” a source said.
WWE has apparently put together a list of names they are expecting to appear on the show, but want to keep several names unadvertised. They have told these names to do “anything and everything” to keep the surprises secret including saying publicly that they will be somewhere else the night of the 1000th RAW.
As noted earlier, here is an updated list of WWE Legends confirmed to appear on the 1000th episode of RAW:
* Triple H and Shawn Michaels have been advertised on WWE.com and locally for a “DX Reunion.”
* Brock Lesnar will return to respond to Triple H’s challenge to face him at Summerslam.
* Bret Hart has been advertised locally.
* The Rock said on Twitter that he will return on the show. That was confirmed on WWE.com and RAW.
* Mick Foley will appear on the show.
* Tatanka, Roddy Piper, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, DDP, Steve Blackman, Vader, Doink the Clown, Bob Backlund and Sid Vicious have all also teased appearances, appeared recently, or been contacted by WWE about appearing.
« « Randy Orton Set For Big Push, PAC To WWE Confirmed, SD Pre-Sale
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Former WWE writer Alex Greenfield recently talked with MLWrestling about a verbal exchange with Vince McMahon that came close to exchanging blows. Here is the story.
“Now that I think about it, I can’t remember what arena it was but it was over the stupidest f–king thing in the world. It was during the thing when it was Shane and Vince vs. DX and we were doing some silly, little backstage pre-tape. This isn’t even a live show. This is something we’re taping earlier in the day to feed back into the show.
“So, Snitzky and a couple other guys are watching DX make fun of Vince and Shane on the monitor. Then, we come out of the monitor, and we see the guys laughing at all the hilarity of Shawn and Hunter — which is a whole other issue — and then you do the slow reveal that Shane and Vince are standing right behind them. Then they yell at the guys and I think Shane punches one of them out or something like that.
“What I wanted to do was get Kevin Dunn to feed back in the bottom of the scene, so that we would be seeing them still standing in the ring and the audience cheering or whatever it is they were doing when we pull out so that the audience understands what these guys are laughing at. Vince is like, ‘No, God damn it.’ Then he gets on the headset with Kevin Dunn and says, ‘Just put the Raw logo up and we’ll come out of the logo.’
“I said to him, ‘Vince, that’s not going to make any sense to the audience.’ He said, ‘Yes it will. We’re just doing it.’ I said, ‘No, let me explain.’ He said, ‘I don’t want to hear an explanation.’ I said, ‘You f–king hired me, I’m going to give you an explanation.’ His eyes went wide with shock.
“I think the thing that pissed him off is that I did all of this in front of everybody standing there. But, he was just shutting me down without listening to what I had to say and I was f–king right.
“Anyway, we go back and forth and it’s his company so Vince gets it his way. When it aired, the shot didn’t make any sense whatso-f–king-ever. You couldn’t tell what the guys were laughing at. Then, after the scenes over, he says, ‘You come with me right now!’ I was like, ‘OK,’ thinking I was going to get fired, frankly.
“He lights me up outside, saying, ‘God damn it! How dare you get on my case in front of people. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ Understand, there are fans in the background because we’re standing right outside the arena. There were fans way back that were wondering what the f–k Vince was doing yelling at this little Jewish kid. [Laughs.] I just refused to back down and said, ‘My way is the right way. You did it wrong.’ He said, ‘God damn it, I wish you were 6’7″.’ I said, ‘I’m not but I’m standing right here.’ I get pretty pissed myself.
“There was a moment in that conversation where I thought he was just going to haul off and punch me in the face. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking like a bad ass here, like I would have won this confrontation. [Laughs.] He probably would have broken my jaw. But that was the big, almost-coming-to-blows confrontation. I’m convinced to this day that he thought about knocking the s–t out of me.
“I think it became a game to Vince. (Fellow ex-WWE writer) Court (Bauer) and I played this little game once. I was going to pitch this idea that everybody on the writing team believed in and we decided, you know what — because Vince liked Court a lot — you know what Court, let’s have you pitch this. He did and it got over and I know with a certainty that if I had pitched the same idea, it wouldn’t have. I think for Vince — and this was right before I quit — it became the game of ‘how far can I push this guy before he blows up?’”
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Friday, June 8, 2012
Drawing money has its privileges and that privilege for Brock Lesnar is being a difficult employee. A new report exposes a tense situation behind the scenes of the WWE featuring a match we won’t see in the ring between Brock Lesnar and Vince McMahon.
Dave Meltzer has an extensive report in his latest Wrestling Observer newsletter documenting a frustrating situation in WWE land. According to Meltzer’s report, Lesnar has McMahon in a rage over his appearance at UFC 146 and talk of a return to the octagon. The Chairman of the Board is not happy with his $5 million investment.
Meltzer reports that Vince was furious after hearing about Brock’s appearance at the UFC event. McMahon was even more outraged at the talk of Brock returning to fighting. Meltzer also reports in his latest podcast that Triple H had to calm Vince down before Vince made any rash decisions.
The backstage story of this whole Brock Lesnar-WWE relationship is a heck of a lot more interesting than anything I have seen on RAW since Brock returned. While Lesnar was open to losing to John Cena at Extreme Rules, my hunch is that at the end of the day the root of all of these games being played by Lesnar is the job he had to do for Cena. What Lesnar said in meetings about being open to losing and his actions after the match seem to indicate a much different feeling out of Team Lesnar.
Many believe that when this whole thing shakes out that Brock will wrestle Triple H at SummerSlam 2012 as planned. Whether he makes it through WrestleMania or not is another story. Something else Meltzer hinted at in his story is that the WWE may not even that many dates on Lesnar left. That theory makes a whole lot of sense when you take a real hard look at Lesnar’s actions over the last two weeks.
I also don’t think it is a coincidence that the Brock returning to UFC talk started right around the official WWE Extreme Rules 2012 buyrate came out. More than losing to Cena, I think this is what sent Lesnar over the edge. For Lesnar, the WWE business was much different and a lot hotter during his days with the company. Brock made millions in bonuses in the UFC off of buyrates. I am sure that Brock was expecting to do the same with the WWE. That isn’t going to happen if the marketplace isn’t there.
For the UFC it is a no-brainer to bring back Lesnar. The injury bug is biting the UFC once again lately and headline talent is scarce. The UFC schedule is at an all-time high and it will only get harder to fulfill those demands as guys get older or more guys get hurt training for fights. Like Brock or not, he was the biggest draw in UFC history. Brock returning to the UFC is a money fight and there isn’t anyone in the UFC that can draw money like him if Brock can put a title run together.
On Wednesday an MMA reporter on Twitter reported that he talked to someone close to Lesnar who guarantees that Lesnar will fight again in the UFC. The tweet indicated that Lesnar was a go for 2013 but it would not be against Frank Mir. If an opponent is already in line, I have to imagine that any negotiations between Lesnar and the UFC are serious.
This also plays right into the theory that the WWE has blown through a lot of Lesnar’s dates. If that is the case, Brock knows he will be a free agent shortly. Negotiating with the UFC and planting stories with the MMA media certainly gives him a ton of leverage when he sits down with the WWE to negotiate an extension or a new deal. Vince McMahon is no dummy and knows this as well.
I find this story fascinating and quite frankly, I think Brock is fighting in the UFC in 2013. Whether that means he is done with the WWE by January or he wrestles his last WWE match at WrestleMania 29, I think he fights again. There is way too much money on the table as the biggest drawing card in UFC history for him not to fight and for the UFC not to aggressively recruit him. Brock knows this, Dana White knows this, and Vince McMahon knows this which is likely why he is losing his mind.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Last night on Raw, WWE unsurprisingly failed to mention Brock Lesnar's shocking appearance at UFC 146 to watch the main event between Junior dos Santos and Frank Mir, even though it would play into their current storyline of Lesnar quitting the company after Triple H refused his contractual demands and he broke Hunter's arm over the snub. This seemed to confirm that Vince McMahon was completely blindsided by Lesnar showing up in Las Vegas for his pay-per-view rival's latest extravaganza. Indeed, Dave Meltzer on his subscriber only radio show today said that all his sources have told him that "this was all Brock's idea", though I'm sure he had some help from his confidante and political mastermind Paul Heyman. So what was Brock up to then?
Given that Lesnar's business meeting with Dana White went badly, he obviously wasn't serious about fighting for UFC while working for WWE at the same time, a scenario that White, currently struggling to make his new FOX television deal a success and finding enough marketable matches to fill up a bloated PPV schedule, seemed very willing to consider. According to Meltzer, despite rumours to the contrary, Lesnar's WWE contract is an exclusive one, so without Vince McMahon onboard it was impossible for a deal to have been struck.
Though Lesnar working for both companies at the same time could be mutually beneficial, it would carry big risks for WWE. If Lesnar lost again, then it would hurt their portrayal of Brock as a virtually unstoppable monster and a legitimate ass kicker. Moreover, if he was seriously injured in UFC competition, then that would jeopardise his appearance at WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey, where Lesnar must pull in at least close to record business to cover his $5 million contract. Simply put, that's a gamble McMahon would be reckless to take.
So what was the game being played by Lesnar then? My colleague Geno Mrosko was on the right track when he suggested the possibility that "Lesnar is just in business for himself and he's doing whatever he feels will make him the most money". He's sent a message loud and clear that he doesn't have to be dealing with WWE's shit and he has other options if they don't keep him sweet, something WWE may have had second thoughts about after the Extreme Rules buy rate came in. It could also be a power play to ensure that WWE doesn't think about having Triple H win their planned match at SummerSlam, after already losing to John Cena in his return bout.
Of course, I'm sure Vince McMahon doesn't like being toyed with in such a public fashion, so his usual instincts would be to show Brock whose boss, but he has so much riding on this investment that I can't see any other option than to begrudgingly do whatever it takes to appease the disgruntled star. For the time being at least.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Last summer, for example, began the rise of Daniel Bryan. After an extended losing streak, Bryan shocked the wrestling world by winning the Smackdown, Money in the Bank Briefcase at WWE’s Money in the Bank PPV in July. Even then it seemed like the WWE was unsure of what they wanted to do with Bryan (if anything at all). Bryan lost another string of matches right afterward that made everyone wonder what exactly the WWE was doing with him. Finally, Bryan began to pick up steam on his way to winning the World Heavyweight Championship from The Big Show in December. In this case, the “experiment” eventually paid-off. One could argue that Bryan is now one of the top five stars in the company.
So who’s it gonna be this summer? Will Cody Rhodes follow in his father’s footsteps and grab that brass ring as well as the World Title? Will Dolph Ziggler finally rid himself of completely unnecessary manager Vickie Guerrero and break into the main event scene? Or will Wade Barrett return from injury and rip the World Title from whatever poor soul holds it at the time? Whatever the WWE is planning, it better be good. Both RAW and Smackdown need new life breathed into their respective shows. New stars need to be made now, and the summer is a perfect time to try and elevate as many as possible.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
As part of an evolution rooted in the company’s popular “attitude era” of the 1990s, professional wrestling fans have taken to intermittently ignoring the best intentions of behind-the-scenes puppetmasters and -- gasp! -- occasionally exhibiting minds of their own.
Today, nearly two decades after crowds first started chanting “die Rocky die!” because they resented the way a 24-year-old golden boy named Dwayne Johnson was being foisted down their throats by promoters, it’s fairly commonplace (bordering on clichéd) for wrestling fans to cheer certain “bad” guys while booing certain “good” characters.
According to the WWE company line, this is part of what makes said audience so great, though it’s easy to imagine wrestling’s army of showrunners and writers secretly find it irritating.
In any case, that unpredictable nature might have raised serious questions about how the so-called “WWE universe” would react to Brock Lesnar on Monday night, as he returned to the fold and stepped through the literal/metaphorical curtain for the first time since 2004.
After all, wrestling fans viciously taunted Lesnar on his way out the door eight years ago, chanting “you sold out!” and “this match sucks!” during his tiff with Bill Goldberg at Wrestlemania 20 because they already knew both guys were departing WWE immediately after: Goldberg to become an occasional color commentator at small-time MMA shows; Lesnar to make a failed try at playing in the NFL.
In the intervening years, Brock didn’t have many tremendously nice things to say about pro-wrestling, speaking out against what he called the "WWE lifestyle" and telling Maxim Magazine in 2009, "You get so brainwashed ... the guys who get out are the smart ones, really and truly.”
If his four-year UFC career did anything for him, it established his credibility as a legitimate tough guy only while simultaneously undermining it. Lesnar garnered quick and arguably unparalleled success in the Octagon, but eventually proved unable to hang with MMA’s elite heavyweights, suffering embarrassing losses to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem and twice seeing his path interrupted by reportedly life-threatening bouts with diverticulitis.
Lesnar additionally used his time in the UFC to reveal himself as a personality who is not easy to cheer. For the duration of his MMA career he was surly and boorish; mocking his opponents, needling fans and acting by turns aloof and hostile toward the media. Though his crossover fame instantly made him the UFC’s biggest pay-per-view draw, many MMA fans never quite warmed up to him.
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty ImagesDespite failing against the likes of Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar was welcomed with open arms upon his WWE return.
Contrary to the mainstream stereotype, pro wrestling fans are smart enough to know all this. They understand both that Lesnar acted like a jerk throughout his UFC tenure and that he ultimately couldn't cut it at the sport's highest level. Frankly, there was no telling how the wrestling faithful would react to that knowledge as a noticeably smaller, slightly doughier and far, far less tanned version of Lesnar showed his face during the final segment of “Monday Night Raw” this week.
Answer: They love the guy, maybe now more than ever.
Lesnar was given a hero’s welcome back to the world of professional wrestling. WWE fans -- given time to lick their wounds after Lesnar spurned them years ago -- appear to be more forgiving than their MMA counterparts.
In truth, the company stacked the deck in Lesnar’s favor during his return by having him hit the ring and deliver his old school finishing move to John Cena, who is currently the good guy fans love to hate for his squeaky-clean image and status as a true company man.
Even amid a shifting landscape where WWE appears at times to be scrambling to keep up with the increasingly discriminating palate of its fan base and at times unapologetically obdurate in the face of it, one equation still worked like a charm: Pretty much anybody can get cheers by doing something bad to Cena.
Still, watching Lesnar slam Cena with his signature “F-5” facebuster, then prop himself up on the second rope to soak in the cheers, it was instantly clear that the big fella is back where he belongs now.
His flights of fancy with football and mixed martial arts are mercifully finished. They were always somewhat awkward fits, anyway. With his unique blend of size and natural athleticism, Lesnar could have been great at nearly any physical endeavor, but what he chose first upon graduation from the University of Minnesota in 2000 was professional wrestling.
It’s the one thing he’s been consistently great at for more than a few fleeting years. Now he’s back to it and, while it’s impossible to predict how wrestling fans will react to him over the long term, it’s good to see "The Next Big Thing" once again in his natural habitat.
By Chad Dundas
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
WWE Hall of Fame 2012
This year’s ceremony started quite surprisingly as many empty seats seemed apparent on the lower levels. Arena staff seemed to be taking people from the higher levels and moving them further down on to the empty seats. A sight which is quite worrying, and the lack of major traffic outside the Arena when compared to the Miami Heat game all made sense when we got inside.The show kicked off with Jerry Lawler introducing Ron Simmons as the first inductee. Lawler introduced JBL who came out and began to tell some old stories about him being on the road with Ron and all his accolades throughout his career. He also made a small negative mention towards not being able to swear as they are no longer in the attitude era and also not needing a creative writer to help him introduce his friend.Ron Simmons came out and thanked his fellow wrestlers and family for all the respect they have shown him.Alberto Del Rio came out and introduced his Uncle Mil Mascaras out. Mil Mascaras didn’t come across very well over the speakers but he thanked the crowd for being able to wrestle all over the world.Dusty Rhodes came out and introduced the Four Horsemen. In the process he became quite passionate about using the term Professional Wrestling rather than Entertainment. The Horsemen came out and JJ Dillon spoke first, followed by an emotional Ric Flair who thanked everyone in WWE for inviting him to be involved in the weekend. Next was Barry Windham and Tully Blanchard. Tully explained that he lost his Father less than a week ago and his memorial service is on Monday. He thanked his family and then passed on to Arn Anderson. Arn’s crowd reaction matched if not bettered Ric Flair’s. Arn praised the current talent and explained that the current crop of talent and legends like Triple H and Undertaker will never be matched again.
Shawn Michaels and Triple H came out next to introduce Mike Tyson. Both had fun and Triple H kept mocking HBK by explaining a story of one time where HBK missed one of Tyson’s fights because he was parking Triple H’s car. Triple H also kept making fun of HBK being knocked out by Mike Tyson at WrestleMania 14. Both HBK and HHH could not fight back smiles and laughter during this segment and created a funny atmosphere before Tyson came out. When Mike Tyson came out he was hard to understand and at one point he tried to copy John Cena’s ‘You can’t see me’ hand gesture, only for his Hall of Fame ring to come off his finger which he had to pick up.
The Uso’s came out and spoke fondly of Yokozuna and their family heritage. They became emotional but told a funny story of being small children when Yokozuna debuted and they argued he was not their Uncle because the man on TV was Japanese. They introduced their Father Rikishi who came out and spoek fondly of Yokozuna the man as well as the competitor.
Christian came out to induct Edge. Christian became very emotional about how Edge only ever wanted to become a WWE wrestler to be able to buy his Mum a home to live in because they were going through very hard times. Then he lightened the move by explaining that at School they used to use a square room at the bottom of some stairs as a wrestling ring. Christian then said that Edge has never grown up and had recently broken in to the school and security cameras had got footage of his actions. To our surprise Christian then played footage of Edge bouncing off some walls at his school and acting out wrestling moves. Christian explained that Edge had sent him that video and he was going to never send him anything ever again after he realised he used it tonight.
Edge came out and showed off his new haircut. He hugged Christian for a long time and then embraced the crowd whilst filming them on his camera. Edge explained lots of old stories which involved Rhyno, Lance Storm and Christian. He praised and thanked all of the talent and also told a funny story of how he made Undertaker’s eyes roll in to his head for real after he smelt some of his bad gas on a trip for the tribute to the troops. Edge also used the titantron to show some funny pictures and make fun of talent. He also became emotional when talking about his Mum. Edge demanded the Hall of Fame music to be changed for the end of the show and some Rock music played to close the show.
At the end of the show, all inductees and presenters came back on the stage to wave to the crowd.
Friday, March 23, 2012
What's up Brock? UFC president Dana White is "pretty confident" we won't be seeing Brock Lesnar in the Octagon again.
But that doesn't mean he won't be involved with the organization in another way.
During an exclusive interview with UFC CENTRAL’s (Showdown) Joe Ferraro following Wednesday’s announcement of the UFC’s first trip to Calgary, White said he had spoken to the former UFC heavyweight champion on a couple occasions since he lost to Alistair Overeem in December and promptly announced that he was leaving the sport. While it seems Lesnar -- who went 5-3 as professional MMA fighter (5-2 in the UFC) but also dealt with some major health issues -- is done fighting, could he return to the UFC in another capacity? Maybe, White seemed to hint.
“We talked right after he made his decision to retire and we were bouncing some things around -- not about fighting -- just other things," White said. "When I went on that crazy tour (of cities for UFC events) he had tried to call me. When I called him back, he said, 'Nevermind, everything’s cool.'"So could it be that they discussed a possible role much like former light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who is now executive VP of business development? That’s unclear, but either way, it may be a daunting prospect to get the former pro wrestler away from his "natural habitat" of hunting and relaxing in Minnesota. "I think he’s enjoying his retirement status," White added. "Believe me, Brock’s got plenty of money. He likes being out there in the woods. He likes hanging with his family. I’m pretty confident he’s going to stay retired."
(To hear White’s response to the Lesnar question, go to the 6:20 mark of the embedded video.)
Saturday, March 17, 2012
No, you won't hear Vince McMahon -- or even any of the talent -- call it that in interviews. But with Raw being a well-established weekly spectacle filled with many of the company's top stars, Smackdown is obviously No. 2. Not that that's a bad thing, though.
But this year's WrestleMania season drives the message home harder than a Brogue Kick.
Looking at the line-up for the pay-per-view, a clear majority of all the show's top matches have been built on Raw: The Rock vs. John Cena, Triple H vs. The Undertaker, Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk and, to a lesser extent, the recently announced divas tag match pitting Eve and Divas Champion Beth Phoenix against Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos.
A 12-man tag team match with teams picked by Raw and Smackdown General Managers John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long, as well as the grudge match between Randy Orton and Kane -- confirmed on Friday night's Smackdown -- have been built across both shows.
The only two truly Smackdown matches so far on the WrestleMania card are Daniel Bryan's World Heavyweight Championship defense against Sheamus and Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes facing off with Big Show.
The good news is that both of those matches have been given proper time to develop and blossom. The Rhodes-Show feud came out of nowhere, amidst rumors of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal's involvement, but it has become a decent midcard feud to keep Rhodes busy at WrestleMania.
Sheamus' Royal Rumble victory automatically made the match between him and Bryan seem more important, and on the grandest stage of all, they'll have the opportunity to prove themselves as leaders of the new generation and worthy of a spot on the show.
Smackdown is a place where young talent can grow and prosper. When I interviewed Rhodes last year, he said, "It's a varsity team loaded with freshmen, and that's a good thing because those freshmen are going to turn into studs and are turning into studs before your very eyes."
He's absolutely right. The Smackdown roster is loaded with potential, and the sad truth is, there's not room at the top of the WrestleMania card for everyone -- even for those who deserve it.
But with hard work and continued dedication, these young superstars can easily prove themselves worthy of carrying the torch into the future, and Smackdown is a show that gives them that opportunity.
One year ago, Sheamus and Bryan were competing for the United States Championship and bumped from WrestleMania. This year, they aren't in the main event, but they're in a spotlighted match that will give both young men an opportunity to shine.
What exactly each superstar does with the chances laid before him is in his own hands, but there's no reason to be ashamed to be part of the blue brand. They should follow Rhodes' example and take pride in their show.
* The feud between WWE Champion CM Punk and Chris Jericho has gotten personal. I wasn't a fan of Jericho's Raw promo, as I thought it pushed the boundaries of appropriateness for today's WWE. He cut a similar, yet toned down, promo on Smackdown. The issue with this storyline is that Jericho isn't calling out Punk's personal demons, but those of his family, which makes it less effective and harder to believe that it bothers Punk to his core.
The match between Jericho and Sheamus was a really strong television main event and made both world title challengers look strong. They had a good amount of time to work before Jericho won via countout, albeit with an assist from Bryan. As I said before, these two young men are proving themselves capable of hanging with established veterans at the top of the card. Hopefully pushes continue for both of them after WrestleMania.
* David Otunga wrestled the best match he's had in a long time against Kofi Kingston. It wasn't a five-star classic by any means, but they worked decently well together and there was nothing offensive about the bout. The ending came when Santino Marella distracted Otunga, allowing Kingston to hit Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere. It should also be noted how awesome it was to see Otunga wrestling in dress slacks and shoes, though his pants did seem to have weak seams on the backside.
* A match between AJ and Nikki Bella was a highlight of the show, though little of it had to do with the match. Bryan's behavior while "coaching" AJ made this segment tremendously fun. He stopped "twin magic," which allowed AJ to pick up the win. Immediately afterward, Bryan jumped in the ring and celebrated like he'd just won the world title again. While walking to the back, Bryan told AJ that it would have went much more smoothly if she just did everything he said. In no way is an abusive or controlling relationship a positive thing in real life, but in the wacky world of professional wrestling, it's working wonders for both Bryan and AJ.