- The latest story circulating on Alberto Del Rio's release from WWE is that he was involved in an altercation with social media manager Cody Barbierri. As the story goes, someone told Barbierri to wipe his plate clean after a backstage meal at catering at a recent television taping. Joking, Barbierri said that was Del Rio's job.
Del Rio ended up finding out about the comment and perceived it to be racially charged. He confronted Barbierri and rather than apologize, Cody smiled. This is when Del Rio allegedly slapped him.
The WWE office found out what happened and terminated Del Rio over the incident. This also implies these uncharacteristic Tweets from the verified WWE Twitter account about Del Rio were made by Cody Barbierri. After all, Barbierri's job is to Tweet from the verified account.
Dot com announced Thursday evening that Del Rio had been released "due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee." We explained past controversial incidents, including Del Rio not getting along with majority of the roster. We also highlighted how Del Rio likely knew his release was coming, as was evident in his mysterious promo on this week's episode of WWE Main Event.
- We're told the booking philosophies within WWE in terms of pay-per-view are shifting due to the price of the WWE Network only being $9.99.
According to a source, the feeling is they have a lot more leeway now for pulling bait and switch angles that typically would have only happened on television. However, with people only paying $9.99, the company isn't afraid of the backlash if there are non-finishes on pay-per-view.
One of the first examples of this new philosophy was Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose being announced but not taking place at WWE Battleground last month. We're told there was never a plan to do the match prior to SummerSlam and there's no way the company would have "pulled a stunt like that" when people were paying in excess of $50 for pay-per-views.
- The WWE Network will launch as an over-the-top service in more than 170 countries and territories on Tuesday. Additionally, it will launch on a subscription basis on Rogers Channel 512 in Canada. Rogers will offer the WWE Network content preview subscription to all cable, satellite and IPTV providers across Canada.
Dot com makes it easy to check availability where you are at this link.
The company has also rolled out new payment plans and they're different than what was previously stated. The $9.99/month plan with a 6 month commitment is still available and you can pay for all 6 months at once at $59.94. The biggest change is a new $12.99/month subscription that is available with no commitment that can be canceled at any time. This is $7 cheaper than what the company stated in their last conference call.
You can view the new pricing plans at this link.
- Vince McMahon's interest (or lack thereof) in Bo Dallas and Adam Rose has hit a low point. With so much focus being on trying to sell SummerSlam, the newer gimmicks have seemingly brushed to the side. That doesn't mean the list of prospects is any shorter or any less deep. Kevin Steen reports in two weeks and multiple stars loom for main roster call-ups including The Ascension. WWE has successfully reloaded NXT with Fergal Devitt, Kenta and Steen. The point of interest in what I've termed "the international trifecta" is how much time each will spend at the WWE Performance Center. None of the three want to spend a lot of time down there and we're told it took some convincing to get these deals done.
- The idea behind the heavy promotion of Hulk Hogan's birthday bash was two-fold. One, the company wanted to use it as an avenue for Brock Lesnar to "crash the party" and John Cena make the save. There was a lot of angling throughout the day of Hogan wanting to bump and Ric Flair wanting to bump but WWE wouldn't clear either. They're being more careful after what happened to Jerry Lawler and fair or not, it's going to take some convincing to get Vince McMahon to allow Legends to take bumps. Ultimate Warrior dying shortly after appearing on WWE TV earlier this year didn't help things. The second part of the Hogan birthday bash was to help promote the WWE Network. The hope is if fans aren't interested in SummerSlam -- or more specifically, the current product -- they'll signup for the archived content. It's no coincidence the WWE Network was launched internationally the day after a heavily promoted Hogan appearance. Hogan is seen as the "face " of the WWE Network.
- There is another dynamic to the current behind-the-scenes real life tension between Vince McMahon and Triple H. In speaking with various talent, it's apparent there are workers on Team Hunter and workers on Team Vince.
Many of the NXT guys are pro-Triple H and "can't wait for him to take over," while veterans are very loyal to Vince and feel like Hunter is in such a rush to overhaul the roster with "his guys," that he's neglecting a lot of existing talent. Mid-carders that have been there a while, feel the exact opposite about Triple H as the new guys. The writers all like Triple H better because they feel like he's more interested in week to week logic and less erratic. Not to mention, they get more face time with him on the day television is taped.
On the average Monday, Vince is "holed up in his room" not wanting anyone to see him. Apparently this stems from his own self-consciousness and the fact his health is deteriorating and he can't maintain the physique he was so proud of. The more time that passes, the fewer people that have direct access to him.
To explain the difference in philosophy, right now Vince wants to do everything possible to convince The Rock to come back and work Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31, whereas Hunter wants to do Brock vs. Roman Reigns. And while a lot of power has shifted to Hunter, Vince McMahon is head of creative and that power is something he may hold on to for years to come.
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