–Wrestling News World reader Michael N sent word that Paul Heyman has been added to the Alumni section of the WWE website. Heyman returned to WWE TV on the latest Raw Supershow. Click here to view it.
–The Miz recently led a Be A Star rally in Schenectady, New York. ABC News 10 has coverage at this link.
– Full Sail University officially announced their new deal with WWE to bring WWE NXT to the campus. Below is the official statement:
WWE and Full Sail University are combining forces to make entertainment history! The WWE franchise NXT is moving full-time to Full Sail University and Thursday, May 17th, 2012 will be its inaugural event. A powerhouse night of hard-hitting action returns to the Full Sail Live Venue as WWE invades the Full Sail University campus!
The night will feature a special appearance by WWE’s own Triple H and includes a WWE Superstar Showdown with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus going against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship and Kofi Kingston and R-Truth going against Epico and Primo for the World Tag Team title!
Want to sit ringside? Wear your favorite WWE shirt and bring your most creative wrestling sign and you could find yourself closer to the action than you ever imagined.
This event is free to all Full Sail students and staff with a valid Full Sail ID. Please send your ticket request to [email protected] for tickets!
– John Cena will join Tom Arnold, Daniella Monet, Jake Weary and Carlos Knight in the cast of “Fred 3: Camp Fred.” Variety has more details available at this link.
– I’m told WWE officials are somewhat concerned about spending a lot of time and money on pushing Alberto Del Rio because there is a feeling he might not be around for the long haul. While Del Rio drew a lot of attention in August 2011 by claiming he wanted to retire in five years, I heard he recently claimed while doing media for WWE in Japan he plans on retiring by the end of next year. However, given the fact WWE is very thin on top talent, especially heel top talent, I’m told it’s not seen as something that is going to have much effect on his current push.
– WWE has a new article online over on dot com looking at the “A Revolution is Coming” viral marketing campaign. The piece doesn’t shed any new details and is just looking to generate hype for the campaign. WWE uses these type of marketing campaigns because they generate a lot of interest and social media buzz. You can read the piece on dot com at this link.
– WWE and SyFy have announced a live Smackdown on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. A presale to obtain tickets will begin on Thursday at 10 AM using the password SMACK.
– WWE has announced a Smackdown live event on Saturday, July 21, 2012 from the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
– WWE issued the following press release today:
STAMFORD, Conn., May 14, 2012 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) and Full Sail University announced today an innovative partnership that moves live tapings of WWE NXT® series to Full Sail Live, the university’s state-of-the-art performance venue, and creates a new student scholarship fund.
Beginning May 17, 2012, students of the university’s entertainment-focused degree programs, including Film, Show Production, Digital Arts and Design, Internet Marketing and Entertainment Business, will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with WWE, a leader in global entertainment, to produce NXT.
Throughout the taping schedule, Full Sail University students, staff, faculty and the general public will be invited to attend the live tapings on the campus. All proceeds from ticket and merchandise sales will go towards a scholarship fund for students enrolled at or planning to attend Full Sail University.
“WWE has always been a leader in creating superstars in front of the camera. Now, with this unique partnership with Full Sail University, WWE will develop stars behind the camera as well,” said Paul “Triple H®” Levesque, Executive Vice President, Talent and Live Events for WWE. “With the opportunity to host events at Full Sail’s top-notch facilities and the chance to tap into Full Sail’s greatest resource, its students, we are excited to provide real-world experience while giving us a fresh, creative perspective from ambitious students.”
“As a leading entertainment and media focused institution we are delighted to announce this remarkable new collaboration, which highlights WWE’s commitment to education and advanced growth in the entertainment industry and Full Sail’s commitment to bringing industry-leading organizations directly to our students,” said Ken Goldstone, Chief Operating Officer for Full Sail University. “We look forward to sharing this incredible experience with our students, the entire Central Florida community and the millions of WWE fans worldwide.”
WWE NXT airs in more than 60 countries worldwide and also on WWE.com. WWE NXT showcases WWE’s brightest young talent as they battle to become the elite WWE Superstars of tomorrow.
– Zack Ryder will face Kane in the WWE Over the Limit pre-show that will be broadcast live on the company’s official YouTube channel and embedded here prior to Sunday’s pay-per-view.
– The stipulation for John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis at Sunday’s WWE Over the Limit pay-per-view is that if Cena wins, Laurinaitis is “fired.” The match will be a singles match and any WWE star that attempts to interfere, will be “fired.”
– Mark Henry announced tonight on his official Twitter account that he’ll be undergoing surgery tomorrow. I haven’t heard what he’s having done, but you can view his Tweets below:
#wwe tomorrow I go under the knife. When I return I will be the fire breathing, pain inflicting,face melting better than ever Mark Henry!
— TheMarkHenry (@TheMarkHenry) May 15, 2012
#wwe Listen up! IF NOT! I will walk away. I have to much PRIDE to not deface any one in the WWE. The Hall of Pain is open for business!
— TheMarkHenry (@TheMarkHenry) May 15, 2012
– Vince McMahon was featured in a video package for Maria Menounos on last night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars.” McMahon put Menounos over in the package, calling her “daring” with “great work ethic.”
– Following last night’s Raw Supershow, WWE Champion CM Punk beat Chris Jericho and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, John Cena & Randy Orton beat Dolph Ziggler, Kane and Lord Tensai in dark match main events.
– WWE will return to China with a Smackdown live event from the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China on Saturday, August 11, 2012. Alberto Del Rio was recently in the country, promoting the show for WWE.
– The following is from the official Twitter account of Ted DiBiase:
Tate McKinley DiBiase was born a healthy boy today at 4:17pm, weighing 6.9 lbs! Thank you Lord. May Tate bless your name!Psalm 127:3
— Ted DiBiase Jr. (@TedDiBiase) May 15, 2012
– Wrestling News World reader Kirsty sent word that WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan in a Submissions Match and John Cena vs. Lord Tensai with John Laurinaitis were advertised for the late-August/early-September Raw tour of Australia.
– Alberto Del Rio didn’t appear at this week’s Smackdown taping but an interview to promote his inclusion in the World Heavyweight Championship match at WWE Over the Limit this Sunday is expected to be added in post-production.
– I’m told a gag order is expected to be put in place between John Cena and his future ex-wife Liz Huberdeau. One source told me the two have been together so long that Liz “knows everything” and the divorce has the potential to get very ugly.
– THQ reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. In the official release, the official video game maker of WWE ’12 noted the following about the series:
WWE(R) ’12 has shipped more than 2.2 million units since its launch in November 2011. The successful rebranding of this annual franchise has led to higher sell-through to date, which is up approximately 20 percent on like-for-like platforms in North America versus the year-ago title.
– There’s an interesting story making rounds today in the Linda McMahon for Senate campaign. Campaign rival Christopher Shays is making bribing accusations against Linda McMahon as Republican Town Committee chairman John Slater was ringside at Wrestlemania XXVIII in Miami and publicly endorsed McMahon a month later.
“I find it interesting that John Slater went to WrestleMania in Miami, and soon after he returned came out and endorsed Linda McMahon,” said Amanda Bergen of the Shays campaign.
Slater has denied the accusations, claiming he attended the show on his own dime and sent a photo of his bank statement and ticket stub for the event to the Greenwich Time. According to the materials sent to the publication, Slater paid $355 for a central rise seat at Wrestlemania. Slater officially endorsed McMahon on May 8th.
“If they’re insinuating a bribe, which I can prove never happened, that’s totally wrong,” Slater told Greenwich Time. “If that’s the road that his campaign is now taking, it shows another reason why not to vote for him, because it’s a lie.”
Click here for full coverage by the Greenwich Time.
– The return of Paul Heyman to WWE has been a real delicate matter and really shows how much stroke CM Punk has at this point, as it was only a few months ago that Vince McMahon wasn’t willing to entertain any ideas involving Heyman, not even Heyman appearing in WWE ’12 as Brock Lesnar’s manager. Throw in the fact that Heyman and Brock aren’t close anymore and this whole deal was fairly tricky. Heyman recognized that with Brock Lesnar’s limited amount of dates, there would certainly be a useful role for someone representing Lesnar to keep Lesnar relevant while he is away. Heyman urged Punk to pitch the idea and Punk was willing as he’s always felt Heyman saved his job with WWE and they have remained relatively close. Punk made the pitch directly to Vince McMahon and Vince brought it to the creative team for discussion. Typically, most people would be afraid to favor any idea involving Heyman since Vince has always shot them down, but since it was Punk presenting the idea, people felt safe being in favor of it. I’m told even while Vince had sworn up and down to never bring Heyman back, he recognized that as quickly as they’d been burning through dates on Brock, it wasn’t worth continuing to hold the grudge and Vince realized bringing in Heyman was a logical and inexpensive way to keep Brock fresh in people’s minds. Other than Vince, his inner circle and Punk, almost nobody knew Heyman was coming in. Brock himself didn’t even know until a few days before and according to a source close to him, didn’t care one way or the other. The feeling is Brock doesn’t trust Heyman anymore and they aren’t close, but he didn’t try to stop him from coming in and was fine with it.
– What does Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer have in common with John Cena? MyFox9.com’s Doug Erllen compares Mauer to Cena in a new article looking at his struggles. Below is an excerpt:
Joe Mauer once beloved by his home town fans is now playing the role of John Cena of WWE fame. He is suddenly hearing more boos with every ground out. With a no-trade clause and a 23 million dollar price tag per year, Mauer has become the punch line of fans and local media alike. The man once dubbed “The Baby Jesus” for his untouchability has only eight hits in the month of May. The only difference between Mauer and Cena at this point is there is no “Let’s go Mauer” chants from one half of the stadium, and “Mauer sucks” from the other half.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
– The Rock has earned $36 million in the past year and is being credited for saving two film franchises. Forbes.com looks at him doing the same thing for the second installment of G.I. Joe. You can read their article at this link.
– WWE issued the following press release today:
ISTANBUL, May 17, 2012 – WWE (NYSE:WWE) and D-Smart today announced a two-year television distribution deal that brings WWE’s weekly flagship television programs WWE Raw® and WWE SmackDown® to D-Smart, a leading digital broadcasting platform in Turkey.
Under this new agreement, the one-hour international versions of WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown will be available every Saturday night at 11 p.m. (SmackDown) and 12 a.m. (Raw) on D-Smart channel 77, Smart Spor.
WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown combine an exciting mix of in-ring action and compelling storylines featuring WWE Superstars and Divas including: John Cena™, Randy Orton™, CM Punk™, Alberto Del Rio™, Sheamus™, Layla™ and many more. In the United States, WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown are the first and second longest running weekly episodic programs and are consistently among the most-watched, regularly scheduled entertainment programs on cable television.
“We’re thrilled to announce this new partnership with D-Smart which is representative of WWE’s plans in the region to expand the brand,” said Ed Wells, SVP & Managing Director, WWE International.
“It’s show time in Turkey for WWE fans,” said Ali Güven, D-Smart CEO. “The vivid action of WWE has huge appeal with fans in Turkey and will add more value to D-Smart’s rich array of content.”
John Cena Tweeted at today’s USA Upfront Presentation that WWE Raw Supershow will be expanding to three hours permanently beginning on July 23, 2012. Below is the official press release:
WWE® MONDAY NIGHT RAW® EXPANDS TO THREE ELECTRIFYING HOURS LAUCHING WITH THE 1,000th EPISODE, JULY 23 ON USA NETWORK
@JohnCena Tweets Historic Announcement From USA Upfront Presentation
NEW YORK – May 17, 2012 – WWE Superstar John Cena® announced via Twitter today that WWE Monday Night Raw will expand to a three-hour event 52 weeks a year. The extended telecast will kick-off July 23 at 8/7C on USA Network and marks the 1000th episode of the WWE Raw franchise and a television record – no other series has ever reached this milestone.
The announcement was tweeted today by Cena (the No. 1 most influential male athlete on Twitter last month) during USA’s upfront presentation in New York City. The move firmly put WWE’s stake in the ground as one of the most powerful social brands in the world and an integral part of USA Network’s social media initiative.
“The WWE Universe is one of the most socially active and passionate fan bases in all of television,” said Chris McCumber and Jeff Wachtel, co-presidents USA Network. “The powerful three-hour block of live TV truly makes USA the year-round destination for young male viewers on Monday nights.”
“WWE is proud to celebrate this historic milestone with our partners at USA Network,” said WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. “Our new three-hour Raw represents the next generation in interactive television where our fans won’t just watch the show, they will help create it.”
The expanded WWE Monday Night Raw will transform television to an unprecedented level of viewer interaction. Fans will have new ways to get involved in the show through WWE.com and social media by deciding matches, stipulations and new character development. WWE will brand this unprecedented fan interaction as “#RAWactive.”
– Dot com has a new article on Chris Jericho now online. In it, the piece looks at “what’s at stake” for Jericho at WWE Over the Limit on Sunday and teases he may be facing “his final days in a WWE ring” if he doesn’t win the World Heavyweight Championship. You can read the piece at this link.
– Deadline.com reported today that FilmDistrict has secured the distributions rights to “Dead Man Down,” the romantic thriller starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper. The $30 million film is being financed by IM Global and WWE Studios.
– Ric Flair’s daughter Ashley Fliehr is rumored to be headed to WWE developmental next month. Ashley made headlines in 2009 when she was arrested after a domestic disturbance involving Ric and her boyfriend. Ashley pled guilty to the charges.
– The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Shawn Michaels to promote his new EyeBlack. in the piece, Michaels discusses his retirement from WWE. Below is an excerpt:
“I walked away from an extremely well paying job, which is probably not the smartest thing to do. [Michaels chuckled], but I did it solely to come home and to help my wife raise our children, to be a part of their lives.
“WWE would have allowed me to work any kind of way that I wanted. I could have very easily have said, ‘Hey, I’d like to slow down over the next couple of years, do a few things here and there,’ and I think everybody would have been fine with that, but for me, I think that would have probably been harder on me. Personally, I think the job would be harder for me to do, personally, on a semi, here and there, in and out type basis.
“It’s easier, and I think I’m better at it when I’m doing it or I’m not. So for me I felt it was better to walk away completely.
“You have to be careful because if you leave it as an open option, you’re going to be getting calls on a regular basis. Every time somebody gets injured or every time somebody comes up with an idea, the phone is going to be ringing, and you’re going to have to deal with ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ I didn’t want to run into that. I didn’t want to put myself through that, and I didn’t want to put the company through that.
“I’m certainly not going to wrestle, but if you need me for something, if you’re in a bind, you can give me a buzz, and I’ll be more than happy to be there and help out any way I can.”
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
– In news I’ll never feel comfortable covering, TMZ is reporting a new twist to the John Cena divorce story. According to the publication, Cena’s wife, Elizabeth, claims John’s divorce petition is full of errors and should be dismissed. She has filed the legal documentation to request the documents be thrown out. Liz says John inaccurately referred to her by her maiden name (Huberdeau) instead of her legal name (Cena). This has resulted in her claim that John failed to bring “a proper dissolution of marriage action” against her. She also claims that John failed to attach the prenup he references and disputes his claim there is no martial property. Elizabeth is requesting that John re-file the divorce petition with the appropriate changes made.
An amendment passed today by the House Appropriations Committee could threaten WWE’s partnership with the National Guard as the bill would prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, or other sporting events or competitors.
Below is the official press release sent out by Congresswoman Betty McCollum out of Minnesota:
For Immediate Release: May 17, 2012
Contact: Maria Reppas, (202) 225-6631 / (202) 527-0149 [email protected]
Ends sponsorships costing taxpayers $1 billion over the past decade
Washington, DC – Today, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment offered by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) to the Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Appropriations bill prohibiting taxpayer funds from being “…used to sponsor professional or semi-professional motorsports, fishing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, or other sporting events or competitors.” The amendment passed the committee on a voice vote and will be included as the nearly $608 billion defense funding bill moves to the floor of the U.S. House for consideration.
The Department of Defense is spending more than $80 million this year to sponsor NASCAR racing teams, Indy racing, professional bass fishing, pro-wrestling, and ultimate fighting. In 2011 and 2012, the National Guard alone has spent $121 million on professional sponsorships, including $20 million for professional fishing and $90 million for NASCAR, Indy car, and motorcycle racing. Over the past five years the National Guard’s sponsorship of NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his #88 team has cost taxpayers over $136 million. This taxpayer spending will all come to an end if the “Kingston-McCollum” amendment becomes law.
“At a time when Congress is increasing defense spending by cutting ‘Meals on Wheels’ for vulnerable seniors and nutrition programs for hungry children, it’s time to eliminate wasteful Pentagon spending on NASCAR, fishing and ultimate fighting sponsorships that have nothing to do with our national security,” McCollum said.
“If the private sector wants to demonstrate their patriotism by sponsoring military racing teams, I say fantastic! But for taxpayers to pay for racing and bass fishing teams is a ridiculous waste of money,” McCollum concluded.
Republican Congressman Jack Kingston, representing Georgia’s 1st Congressional District said, “We may disagree on some things but on this we should be able to come together. The government borrows forty cents for every dollar it spends and this is where we’re spending it? In the face of deep cuts and troop force reductions, the military should not be spending nearly $100 million sponsoring professional sports. After Congresswoman McCollum brought this issue up last year, the Pentagon had a year to justify this spending but they have not. They have had the chance to prove me wrong but I just don’t see how seeing a logo on their favorite racecar or on a fisherman’s visor is going to encourage someone to join the military.”
– Chris Jericho spoke to the Daily Star out of the United Kingdom about his WWE contract status. In it, he says he signed for four months longer than he planned and once his deal is up, he’ll devote himself 100% to Fozzy for their run. Based on the wording, one would imagine he’s finished with WWE after SummerSlam (or at least that’s what he wants people to believe). Below is an excerpt from the article:
You can’t please everyone,” Jericho told FT this week. “I left because of Fozzy in September 2010. Lots of fans were saying please come back, so I came back.
“Punk and I had some good thoughts on what we could do together and people were saying screw you, you’re only back for the payday at Mania.
“I’m nothing like those guys. I’ve only missed four house shows since I came back. I ended up signing for four months longer than I planned to do. And yes, when it’s done I’ll devote myself 100% to Fozzy for our run.
“I’m in the best shape ever, I’m not hurt, I can easily come back for as long as I want whenever I want, but people should understand that I’m not going to wrestle until I’m 85 years old.”
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.