Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, January 24, 2015 to Friday, January 30, 2015 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- talkSPORT has an interview online with Daniel Bryan to promote Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view. In it, Bryan admitted his body “felt horrible” after his WWE return last week and he was “feeling pretty beat up.”
However, he said he’s back to feeling good and his neck feels really strong.
Below is an excerpt:
“To be honest, I had my first two matches last week and when I got home my body felt horrible,” Bryan revealed.
“Your body adapts to pretty much anything but when you're not used to wrestling it's very physically tough, not to mention the travel.
“Last week I did three live events, then Raw and then SmackDown so when I got home on Wednesday my body was feeling pretty beat up.
“Yesterday it was back to being good, I'm back to feeling mobile and my neck feels really strong - yeah, it feels good!”
Bryan said Roman Reigns is going to be a “big rival” in the Royal Rumble.
CLICK HERE to read the piece in its entirety.
- To follow-up on the status of AJ Lee, she is no longer advertised for Saturday night’s WWE live event in East Rutherford, New Jersey. As we reported here on Wrestling News World, AJ was advertised for the show as of last Wednesday. She Tweeted on Monday she is not 100% and has been out nursing a neck injury. CLICK HERE for local show information for WWE’s final show at the IZOD Center.
- Uhaa Nation has been pulled from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s show on February 27, 2015.
We reported here on Wrestling News World Premium on January 13th that Nation was going through the medical screening/drug testing pre-screening process with WWE. As of that report, he had not yet signed a WWE contract.
- There is a picture of a billboard in Times Square that depicts Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns and Sting vs. Triple H for Wrestlemania 31 circulating online. No such billboard exists and the image was created by a fan. With that being said, those are two matches I am expecting for Wrestlemania.
- For those that have asked us about Layla, she is out with an undisclosed injury situation. Sunday, January 25, 2015 9:32 AM EST Update: Layla IS NOT injured but had "personal surgery." She's slated to return soon. End update.
- WWE filmed Shawn Michaels’ interview with Booker T at Raw on Monday night. It will air as part of the Royal Rumble Kickoff on Sunday night. Shawn is heavily promoting his new book, Wrestling For My Life and was in Las Vegas later in the week.
- Reports of Justin Gabriel quitting WWE are indeed true. I’m told he quit on Friday but it’s unknown why at press time. The news was first reported by the F4WOnline/Wrestling Observer website. As a result, Gabriel has been removed from Sunday’s 30-man Royal Rumble match. Neither he nor WWE have commented.
- Daniel Bryan and The Bella Twins didn’t work this weekend’s live events in New Jersey because they were at Wizard World Portland Comic Con in Oregon on Saturday.
- WWE NXT talent Adam Scherr (a/k/a Braun Stowman) had surgery on Saturday for a badly herniated disk in his back. He noted on Facebook that everything went great, he’s out of pain and he can move his foot again.
- A new series titled WWE 24 will premiere on the WWE Network Monday night after Raw. Below is a synopsis:
The premiere episode of the original series, WWE24, takes you behind the spectacle of WrestleMania XXX and its most compelling stories.
- As it turns out, Layla isn’t injured but had “personal surgery.” The following is from Twitter:
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We noted on Saturday Layla was out with an “undisclosed injury situation.” We have updated our original report to reflect the accurate information.
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wanted people to know he was in Philadelphia on Saturday. He Tweeted this:
Obviously with WWE Royal Rumble emanating from the Wells Fargo Center in Philly on Sunday this will only create rumors and raise speculation. We can’t confirm anything.
Further, please be aware the day of Royal Rumble is known for “superstar sightings.” We’ll navigate through all the information we get but will be careful to point out what is confirmed and what is not.
- After John Cena & Roman Reigns vs. Big Show & Seth Rollins was advertised for WWE Fast Laneearlier this month, Reigns is now being advertised in a Last Man Standing match at the inaugural pay-per-view against Big Show.
What’s important to note is that WWE sends venues advanced promotional material to sell tickets. It’s also mentioned card/wrestlers advertised to appear are subject to change and one reason why we never put too much into local promotional information. The only thing it does is give us an idea of future creative plans. Nothing more and nothing less.
WWE Fast Lane 2015, the inaugural edition, will take place on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- WWE issued the following statement here on dot com:
WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Superstar Justin Gabriel as of Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. WWE wishes Justin Gabriel the best in all of his future endeavors.
We confirmed reports on Sunday morning that Gabriel requested his release and it was granted. We’re told he quit on Friday.
CLICK HERE for more.
- WWE covered The Rock’s social media posts here on dot com and questioned if he would be at Royal Rumble on Sunday. While they used it to plug the WWE Network exclusive, this likely increases the chances of him appearing in some capacity. We have a backstage update on Rock at this link.
- Rob Van Dam is now considered “doubtful” for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view and is in-between WWE contracts. The ECW Original was at one time considered a favorite as a surprise Rumble match entrant.
- The promotion for The Rock on Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view continues.
Lana, who was featured in an angle with Rock and of course Rusev last fall on Monday Night Raw, Tweeted the following:
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- WWE has changed the Royal Rumble Kickoff match to Kofi Kingston & Big E vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/Adam Rose. It was originally advertised as 3-on-3 but I’m assuming that Xavier Woods was pulled due to his hamstring injury.
- The Rock is at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The following photo of Rock with his mother was posted on the verified Twitter account of Vince McMahon:
- 17,164 was the announced attendance from Royal Rumble 2015 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Steve Austin is returning to the WWE Network for a new podcast after the February 2, 2015 episode of Monday Night Raw. His guest will be Triple H. CLICK HERE for coverage by dot com.
- WWE posted video footage of Superstars and Divas arriving at Royal Rumble at this link.
- Below is the order of entrants and order of elimination in the 2015 30-man Royal Rumble match. To read how all this went down, make sure to read our complete Royal Rumble results at this link.
Order of Entrants:
1) The Miz
3) Bubba Ray Dudley
4) Luke Harper
5) Bray Wyatt
6) Curtis Axel (never entered but taken out by Erick Rowan)
7) The Boogeyman
8) Sin Cara
9) Zack Ryder
10) Daniel Bryan
12) Tyson Kidd
14) Diamond Dallas Page
17) Kofi Kingston
18) Adam Rose
19) Roman Reigns
20) Big E
21) Damien Mizdow (The Miz tried to take his spot but he got in anyway)
22) Jack Swagger
25) Dean Ambrose
26) Titus O'Neil
27) Bad News Barrett
29) Big Show
30) Dolph ZigglerOrder of Eliminations:
1) The Miz by Bubba Ray Dudley
2) R-Truth by Bubba Ray Dudley
3) Bubba Ray Dudley by Bray Wyatt
4) Luke Harper by Bray Wyatt
5) The Boogeyman by Bray Wyatt
6) Sin Cara by Bray Wyatt
7) Zack Ryder by Bray Wyatt
8) Tyson Kidd by Daniel Bryan
9) Diamond Dallas Page by Rusev
10) Fandango by Rusev
11) Daniel Bryan by Bray Wyatt
12) Adam Rose by Rusev
13) Kofi Kingston by Rusev
14) Goldust by Roman Reigns
15) Stardust by Roman Reigns
16) Damien Mizdow by Rusev
17) Titus O'Neil after only 4 seconds by Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose
18) Big E by Rusev
19) Ryback by Big Show & Kane
20) Jack Swagger by Big Show & Kane
21) Bad News Barrett by Dolph Ziggler
22) Cesaro by Dolph Ziggler
23) Dolph Ziggler by Kane
24) Bray Wyatt by Big Show
25) Dean Ambrose by Big Show & Kane
26) Big Show by Roman Reigns
27) Kane by Roman Reigns
28) Rusev by Roman Reigns
There were only 28 eliminations because Curtis Axel never entered at 6 but was taken out by Erick Rowan, who wasn't in the match.
1) Bray Wyatt (6)
2) Rusev (6)
3) Roman Reigns (5)
Roman Reigns will face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31.
- Brock Lesnar retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena and Seth Rollins in a triple threat match at the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view. The match featured more than ten German suplexes as well as interferences from J & J Security. Rollins had a big spot where he jumped from the turnbuckle and landed on Brock Lesnar on the announce table. Lesnar pinned Rollins to retain. This most likely means Lesnar will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31, but anything is possible. Stay tuned to WrestlingNewsWorld.com for Royal Rumble news and results.
- Bubba Ray Dudley entered the WWE Royal Rumble Match as the third entrant. Bubba Ray eliminated the first and second entrants, The Miz and R-Truth. Ray and Truth hit Team 3D on Miz before they were eliminated. Bubba Ray was eliminated by Bray Wyatt.
- The Boogeyman was a surprise entrant in the 2015 30-man Royal Rumble match, entering seventh but quickly being eliminated by Bray Wyatt.
- Zack Ryder returned from a torn rotator cuff as the ninth entrant but was also eliminated by Wyatt.
- Diamond Dallas Page was a surprise entrant in the 2015 30-man Royal Rumble match, entering #14. He hit a Diamond Cutter on Stardust before being eliminated by Rusev, who entered at #15.
Below is a screen shot:
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- Roman Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble Match after last eliminating Rusev. Reigns entered at number nineteen and eliminated six people. Before the finish, The Rock came down to and fought off Big Show and Kane. Reigns will challenge Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
- Following this year's WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view, below is the first look at the Wrestlemania 31 lineup:
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Brock Lensar (c) vs. Roman Reigns
- Sting vs. Triple H
- John Cena vs. Rusev
Neither Sting vs. Triple H nor John Cena vs. Rusev have been announced but both have already been teased. WWE started to tease Cena vs. Rusev in the Royal Rumble Fallout show on the WWE Network, having Rusev confront Cena in a backstage segment.
Sting vs. Triple H has been in the works since Survivor Series and received its first followup on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
Wrestlemania 31 will take place Sunday, March 29, 2015 from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. We'll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Oops. They did it again. WWE lost the crowd badly during the 30-man Royal Rumble match after making many of the same mistakes they made last year. This year, however, the crowd turned far earlier when Daniel Bryan was eliminated 11th by Bray Wyatt. By that point the crowd was primed to boo Roman Reigns out of the building when he entered at 19 and that's exactly what happened.
The Philadelphia crowd didn't buy the dominance of Big Show and Kane, coupled with the predictable outcome of Roman Reigns winning. WWE sent The Rock out to take the heat off Reigns, but even he couldn't stop the crowd from chanting for Rusev. The crowd popped for Rock but quickly rejected Reigns again, who had his mouth busted open.
Just like last year, WWE appears to have a major problem with Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania and seem to have no viable plan for Daniel Bryan.
Take a look at this WWE Facebook poll:
Rock helped Reigns on the mic in a backstage interview on the Royal Rumble Fallout show but something funny happening in the background impacted the delivery. WWE was attempting to use Rock to leverage their risk of losing the crowd but it didn't seem to work as they had hoped.
- The hashtag #CancelWWENetwork trended Twitter in the hours after Royal Rumble 2015. Many subscribers Tweeted photos showing the cancelation of their subscription from the service following the pay-per-view. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the crowd turned on the show after Daniel Bryan’s elimination from the 30-man Royal Rumble match followed by Roman Reigns winning the match.
- WWE24 premieres Monday night after this week’s WWE Raw. The special teases backstage footage of Undertaker after suffering a severe concussion in his match against Brock Lesnar. You can watch a trailer at this link.
- Video of The New Day vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd from the Royal Rumble Kickoff is online at this link.
- The first commercial for the inaugural WWE Fast Lane pay-per-view is online at this link.
- This week’s episode of After Total Divas is online at this link.
- The Rock is already back in Miami and has probably completed his morning cardio as I type this. He Tweeted this about the Royal Rumble “passion” by the crowd in Philadelphia:
I’ll reiterate a point I continued to drive home in Richard Reacts to Royal Rumble. This wasn’t on Roman Reigns, this was on WWE’s booking. They didn’t put Reigns in a position to succeed, in fact it was quite the opposite.
Daniel Bryan was eliminated far too early, Reigns was booked far too dominant but the latter didn’t even matter. When Bryan was eliminated, the crowd checked out and continued to highlight the stubbornness of the WWE brass to LISTEN TO THEIR FANS.
It's identical to the position they put Dave Batista in one year ago. WWE refused to even have Daniel Bryan in the Rumble match and than forcefully booked Batista to win the match. Same situation here. Rather than tactfully scripting Reigns' elevation, they unimaginatively booked him with careless eliminations and sent The Rock out in hopes of saving him.
Scott Fishman from The Miami Herald Tweeted this point:
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- Bubba Ray Dudley Tweeted the following after appearing as a surprise entrant in the 2015 30-man Royal Rumble match on Sunday night:
In a backstage interview, Bubba Ray talked about this year being his first ever Royal Rumble match and his first time back in WWE in “like 10 years.” He called WWE his home, not because he says so but because the WWE Universe says so. Bubba said WWE is where he belongs.
You can watch the interview at this link.
The former Bully Ray is another top TNA name to leave the promotion and any chance of him returning is now out the window.
After being inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame with Devin over Bound for Glory weekend, he garnered heat for cutting two unapproved promos on the show where he called out the Bullet Club from New Japan Pro Wrestling. Both promos were edited off the pay-per-view broadcast.
In November, Ray used Twitter to voice frustration over TNA’s lack of communication with their talent. He expressed interest in facing Brock Lesnar in December.
Most recently, Bubba Ray appeared to voice legitimate frustration over TNA’s handling of Velvet Sky as she was “fired” as part of the company’s “Feast or Fired” match. He Tweeted the following to Destination America:
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In reality, TNA was unable to come to terms on a new contract for Velvet Sky.
In regards to Ray’s future with WWE, I am unable to confirm his status going forward. I know communication has been open for quite some time and I’m on record as to writing a pairing with Paul Heyman would get over huge.
I reminded Vince McMahon and Triple H of the possibilities on Twitter:
- WWE announced Monday that Arnold Schwarzenegger will be inducted as a Celebrity Inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame over Wrestlemania 31 weekend.
CLICK HERE for coverage by WWE.com.
Schwarzenegger inducted Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013 and last appeared on Monday Night Raw in 2014.
Schwarzenegger joins ”Macho Man” Randy Savage as Class of 2015 inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame.
The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place the night before Wrestlemania 31 on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California.
- The Rock posted a video on Instagram after Royal Rumble from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. In it, he admitted the crowd "booed the hell” out of his boy [referencing Roman Reigns]. Rock said all was good and thanked the Philadelphia crowd.
You can watch it embedded below:
- Curtis Axel never entered the 30-man Royal Rumble match, therefore he was never eliminated. He Tweeted about the logic gap in what was one of the worst booked Rumbles in WWE history:
- Zack Ryder returned to WWE as a surprise entrant in the 30-man Royal Rumble match. Dot com posted an exclusive backstage interview with him about his inclusion and his health. Ryder told Tom Phillips his shoulder is “not 100 percent but it’s good enough.” You can watch at this link. Ryder has been out since November with a torn rotator cuff. He had a minor procedure on November 11 in hopes of avoiding major surgery. He resumed training earlier this month.
- It’s weird how history is repeating itself. Last year, WWE had to deal with CM Punk quitting the day after a tumultuous Royal Rumble. This year, they have to deal with the possibility of their TV tapings being canceled due to weather after a tumultuous Royal Rumble.
- Pat Patterson was at Sunday’s pay-per-view. Here’s a photo with Vince McMahon, Stephanie and Triple H:
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- Velvet Sky Tweeted about Bubba Ray Dudley’s surprise entrance in the 30-man Royal Rumble match:
- Diamond Dallas Page discussed his surprise appearance at Royal Rumble at this link.
- For those that missed it in our first lookWrestlemania 31 card on Sunday night, WWE has officially teased a program between John Cena and Rusev. The angle aired during Cena’s backstage interview on the Royal Rumble Fallout broadcast. You can watch at this link. A Cena/Rusev program at Wrestlemania has been on the books for what seems like months and something we’ve mentioned on numerous occasions. This has resulted in some people behind-the-scenes calling Rusev the 2015 Bray Wyatt.
- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw will not emanate from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut due to the impending blizzard in the Northeast and statewide travel bans. Instead, this week's Raw will emanate from WWE's studios in Stamford, Connecticut.
Tuesday's Smackdown taping from the TD Garden in Boston, MA has been canceled. Instead, WWE will air Smackdown live on SyFy on Thursday night from the XL Center in Hartford.
Ticket holders to Tuesday's taping have the option to exchange them for tickets to the WWE live event from the venue on June 27, 2015 or get a full refund.
Below is the official statement from WWE:
STAMFORD, Conn. – Due to the impending blizzard in the Northeast and statewide travel bans, WWE has postponed tonight’s live event in Hartford and cancelled tomorrow night’s live event in Boston; however, WWE will emanate live tonight at 8 p.m. ET from its studios in the Stamford world headquarters.
Hartford, Conn., XL Center: Tickets for tonight’s show in Hartford will be honored for a SmackDown event this Thursday, January 29 that will air live on Syfy.
Boston, Mass., TD Garden: Fans with tickets to tomorrow’s event in Boston will have the option of either exchanging tickets for an upcoming WWE event on Saturday, June 27 or obtaining a refund at point of purchase.
Richard Reacts: This is a blessing in disguise for WWE. They don't have to deal with a live audience upset over the Royal Rumble and fans will have a few days to cool down before the show. Stay safe if you're in the Northeast and try to avoid being outdoors if at all possible.
- Daniel Bryan Tweeted the following about the crowd strongly supporting him at Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view in Philadelphia:
While I’m not trying to suggest Bryan is "pulling a CM Punk," how can we not reference the following Tweet made by Punk the day after Royal Rumble 2014:
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This was Punk's way of telling his WWE fans goodbye before giving the scoop to Colt Cabana last November on the Art of Wrestling podcast.
Once again, I’m not suggesting that Bryan is going to quit WWE but I did find the Tweet to be a strange coincidence
- The Authority has a new official Twitter account. On Monday, they announced John Cena will face Rusev at WWE Fast Lane. Triple H "has challenged Sting to meet face to face" as well. Below are both of the tweets:
WWE Fast Lane will take place on Sunday, February 22, 2015 from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Dot com has a new interview online with Bubba Ray Dudley about being a surprise entrant in the 2015 30-man Royal Rumble.
In it, Ray said WWE called him about a month ago and asked if he would like to be a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble.
In regards to his future with WWE, Ray said if the fans and higher-ups want to see him and Devon again, hopefully there is a future.
When asked what it was like to hear the name Bubba Ray Dudley in a WWE arena once again, Ray stated:
I’ve always been Bubba Ray Dudley. That’s who I am. Throughout the course of your career, sometimes you have to reinvent yourself. I’ve always considered WWE my home and where I belong. Sometimes you have to leave a place to truly appreciate what you had. Being away from here for so long made me appreciate what I had here. I’m more mature as a person, I’m more mature in the business, and this was a great night for me. More importantly, it was a great night for the WWE Universe. I think they had a great time for the five or 10 minutes I was out there. If tonight was the only night, great. If it could go on longer, that’s great, too. Hopefully it can.
CLICK HERE to read the piece in its entirety.
Ray Tweeted another “thank you” on Monday that you read below:
As Bubba Ray commented above, he worked Sunday’s pay-per-view on a per shot deal. Communication has been open so obviously the possibility is there for there to be more. As we reported here on Wrestling News World, he is finished with TNA Wrestling.
I also found it appropriate to mention that nearly one year ago, Ray invited CM Punk — who had just quit WWE — to join him in TNA Wrestling:
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- This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw was broadcast live from WWE’s studios in Stamford, Connecticut. A number of top stars were brought to Stamford, where they filmed interview segments that were included on the historic episode.
Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns had a great encounter that closed this week’s broadcast. I really think the live Raw taping in Hartford being canceled was a blessing in disguise because WWE was able to take the first step to Lesnar vs. Reins at Wrestlemania 31 without the crowd being involved. As I've continually mentioned, the crowd rejected the Royal Rumble because of the way it was booked, NOT because Reigns went over.
In fact, at press time the below segment has 7,744 “like” votes on YouTube, compared to only 410 “dislike” votes.
You can watch this segment at this link or embedded in the video below:
Heyman Tweeted out photos of him and Brock arriving in Stamford earlier on Monday:
Neither Brock Lesnar nor Paul Heyman are advertised for this week’s special live Smackdown in Hartford on Thursday night.
- WWE posted the complete calendar for their April 2015 tour of the United Kingdom Tuesday on dot com. Top names on the tour include Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, John Cena and Seth Rollins.
Below are the dates:
Wednesday, 8 April, 7:30 p.m.: The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Scotland
Thursday, 9 April, 7:30 p.m.: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, England
Thursday, 9 April, 7:30 p.m.: 3Arena, Dublin, Ireland
Friday, 10 April, 7:30 p.m.: Sheffield Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, England
Friday, 10 April, 7:30 p.m.: Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Saturday, 11 April, 7:30 p.m.: Nottingham Capital FM Arena, Nottingham, England
Saturday, 11 April, 7:30 p.m.: Genting Arena, Birmingham, England
Sunday, 12 April, 5 p.m.: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales
Sunday, 12 April, 5 p.m.: Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, England
Monday, 13 April, 7:30 p.m.: WWE Raw at The O2 London, London, England
Monday, 13 April, 7:30 p.m.: First Direct Arena, Leeds, England
Tuesday, 14 April, 7 p.m.: Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth, England
Tuesday, 14 April, 7:30 p.m.: WWE SmackDown at The O2 London, London, England
CLICK HERE for complete coverage on dot com, including links to buy tickets and VIP Packages.
- Dolph Ziggler has pitched a match to Daniel Bryan for this year’s Wrestlemania 31 pay-per-view. Bryan responded by saying that he was in.
Below is the social media encounter:
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- WWE announced on Tuesday the WWE Network has reached 1 million subscribers.
Below is the official press release:
STAMFORD, Conn., January 27, 2015 – WWE® (NYSE: WWE) today announced that WWE Network has surpassed 1 million subscribers just 11 months after launch, making it the fastest-growing digital subscription service. These results represent a 37 percent increase (24 percent domestically) in subscribers since last reported at the end of third quarter 2014, driven primarily by a successful free November promotion, the launch of the service in the UK and significant additions for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. “We’re thrilled that we’ve surpassed the 1 million subscriber milestone less than a year after launching WWE Network and in advance of WrestleMania, our biggest event of the year on March 29,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “We remain focused on delivering an outstanding value proposition for ours fans by adding new content and new features in the coming year.” Viewer data continues to indicate that, on average, close to 90 percent of subscribers access WWE Network at least once per week, 99 percent access WWE Network at least once per month and 86 percent of subscribers are satisfied with WWE Network. Like other digital subscription services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, fans are able to sign up for WWE Network online by going to WWE.com and can watch WWE Network on their TVs through connected devices such as Sony Playstation 3, Sony Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku streaming devices as well as Smart TVs including Sony and Samsung. The U.S. English language version of WWE Network is available direct to consumers in more than 170 countries and territories and recently launched in the UK and Ireland. WWE Network’s one-of-a-kind programming includes all 12 WWE pay-per-view events LIVE at no additional charge plus groundbreaking original series, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches, exclusive coverage of special events and more than 2,000 titles in its video-on-demand library. Average fourth quarter and year-end WWE Network numbers will be reported in the normal course as a part of our earnings release on February 12.
- This week’s episode of Total Divas garnered an average viewing audience of 1,207,000 viewers up against WWE Royal Rumble on Sunday night on E. The audience was down (-46,000) viewers from the week prior but keep in mind, it was head to head with Royal Rumble.
- The WWE Monday Night Raw after the Royal Rumble received an average viewing audience of 4,420,000. The show was supposed to be live from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut but it was postponed due to the impending blizzard. Instead, the show featured exclusive interviews with certain superstars and matches from the Royal Rumble that just aired the previous night. Below is the hourly breakdown:
Hour one - 4,468,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,657,000 viewers
Hour three - 4,135,000 viewers
You can check out the competition against WWE Monday Night Raw that night through TV By the Numbers by clicking here.
- Dolph Ziggler continues to tease a potential program with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 31, posting the following tweet earlier today:
- Sam Roberts posted an interview today that he conducted with Roman Reigns prior to this year's Royal Rumble. During the interview, Reigns discusses his background, his signature moves, and how the digital age has transformed the business.
In the following excerpt, Reigns answers his critics and explains his mindset as a performer:
Roberts: Do you think - I don't want to be feel like I shoved down people's throats. I want people to feel like they're behind me and they're the ones that made me. Does any of that occur to you?
Reigns: I'm aware of all these things, but you have to look at it at many different perspectives. For me, as a provider, and as a man, I have a responsibility to provide. I can't look at it and get down on, "Oh, this is what they're thinking, this is what they're saying." Because, to be honest, I really don't care. I can only do my thing and do the best that I can. But the majority of critics, I would say, are people who have no clue what they're talking about. People who have never been in a wrestling ring. They've never been a public speaker. They wouldn't even know how to lock up if I allowed them to. If I gave them the opportunity to lock up and tangle with me in the ring, they would have no clue what to do, so for them to critique or even ever say anything about any performer is asinine and just blows my mind.
It's one of those situations where, obviously, the company's going to do what the company does. The fans are definitely going to do what they do, and that's what's so great. But the fans have to realize that, as opinionated as y'all are and the way you want it, the company's the same way. They're going to do what they want to do. Y'all are gonna do what y'all want to do, the company's gonna do what they want to do. Hopefully at the end of the day, I'm just the guy getting rich.
The interview is available at this link.
- The WWE announced a new promotional campaign this morning for the WWE Network. The company is offering a free month of the network to new subscribers during February. The new subscribers will be able to get WWE's newest pay-per-view Fast Lane for free, which airs on February 22nd. Below is WWE's official press release:
STAMFORD, Conn. — Due to the tremendous response from fans to the free November promotion, WWE will again offer a free month of WWE Network to new subscribers during February in advance of its biggest event of the year, WrestleMania 31 on Sunday, March 29. During the month of February, subscribers will have access to all of WWE Network’s programming, including a live podcast hosted by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin this Monday, February 2 featuring Triple H, and the all-new, live pay-per-view event WWE Fast Lane on Sunday, February 22.
“Last November, we offered a free month of WWE Network to new subscribers with great success, helping us reach the one million subscriber milestone,” said Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “We are excited to extend the same opportunity in February to those who have not yet subscribed, so they can experience all that WWE Network offers right before WrestleMania.”
On Tuesday, WWE announced that WWE Network had surpassed one million subscribers just 11 months after launch, making it the fastest-growing digital subscription service.
Like other digital subscription services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, fans are able to sign up for WWE Network online by going to WWE.com and can watch WWE Network on their TVs through connected devices such as Sony PlayStation 3, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku streaming devices as well as Smart TVs, including Sony and Samsung. The U.S. English language version of WWE Network is available direct to consumers in more than 170 countries and territories, and recently launched in the UK and Ireland.
WWE Network’s one-of-a-kind programming includes all 12 WWE pay-per-view events LIVE at no additional charge, plus groundbreaking original series, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches, exclusive coverage of special events and more than 2,000 titles in its video-on-demand library.
WWE announced on Monday that the network reached over 1,000,000 subscribers, which you can read about it at this link.
- WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan was recently interviewed by Contactmusic.com. During the interview, Hogan talked about getting back into shape so he can enter the WWE ring again and become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Hulk Hogan revealed the advice Vince McMahon gave him:
"I got some advice from a wise man, his name is Vince McMahon and he said, 'Never, say never.'"
When discussing whether Hulk will get back into the ring, he stated:
"I'm home and to end the legacy and put the period on the end of the sentence I am training right now like I'm getting ready for the WWE Championship. You just never know when Hulk Hogan is going to tear the house down. It could be any time, it could be anywhere. I am training and getting ready for my last match, my last run or my retirement match. It's not over until the fat lady sings and I haven't put the period at the end of the sentence yet."
Hulk Hogan has a huge track record of back problems, so there are a lot of people who are questioning whether or not it could hold up. Hulk puts those questions to rest:
"My back is straightened out after nine back surgeries, everything seems to be on track and working really well."
You can read the interview at this link.
- The official WWE website has posted an article covering the potential WrestleMania match teased by Dolph Ziggler & Daniel Bryan. The article notes that, though the match is only fantasy at this point, the WWE Universe has shaped the WrestleMania card before. Click here to read the article.
- In the wake of Deflategate, WWE talent give advice to the Patriots on the latest episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch at this link.
- It was announced on this week's live SmackDown that Paige will challenge Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship at WWE Fast Lane. John Cena vs. Rusev is the only other match confirmed for the pay-per-view as of this writing.
WWE Fast Lane will take place on Sunday, February 22, 2015 from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Mick Foley is making headlines after being ejected from Wing Bowl 23, a chicken wing-eating contest held in Philadelphia on Thursday. Foley was caught hiding wings in his fanny pack. TMZ acquired video of the event, embedded below:
- WWE is still trying to get Brock Lesnar to sign a contract extension but they haven’t made any progress. If Brock leaves, there is already concern that Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns [at Wrestlemania 31] could end up failing as bad as Goldberg vs. Lesnar did at Wrestlemania XX. One source commented, "it has disaster written all over it.” Things are still very fluid right now, with Seth Rollins “cashing in” as an obvious contingency plan. We’re told Hunter wasn’t against Rollins successfully doing so at Royal Rumble and it will be interesting to see if this is something he pushes for if it becomes clear Lesnar is leaving. Vince McMahon and Hunter both want Reigns in the main event at Wrestlemania, but Triple H is skeptical of whether or not Lesnar will re-sign. Hunter had previously suggested they go with Rollins vs. Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, if it were clear Brock was leaving after the pay-per-view. Obviously, it wasn't and they stuck to the original plan. Those close to Vince McMahon say Vince is convinced he’ll get Lesnar to re-sign after Wrestlemania, almost “to a delusional degree.” A lot of people believe Brock's leaving, but Vince is posturing that he’s confident he’ll be able to convince him to stay.
- This week’s live episode of WWE Smackdown garnered an average viewing audience of 2,952,000 viewers on SyFy. That number is up +138,000 viewers from the week prior. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 18-49 for all of Thursday at this link.
- Secondary market ticket prices for Wrestlemania 31 have increased 5.03% since the conclusion of last Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, according to TiqIQ.com. The average asking price has increased from $343.63 to $360.95. The cheapest seats available went from $107 to $116 during that same time period. Tickets are available at this link.
- This week’s episode of The JBL (Not Cole) Show is now online at this link.
Below are Smackdown Fallout videos:
- The latest kayfabe Michael Cole interview with Triple H is now online at this link.
Topics addressed include this week’s Raw taping postponed, WWE Network hitting 1 million subscribers, Hunter on Steve Austin’s podcast after Raw next week, NXT TakeOver on February 11, Fast Lane on February 22 and the Royal Rumble controversy.
Regarding the controversy, Hunter said when he goes back and watches the Rumble match, “it’s just not right.” He said he thinks the whole world knew it, everyone voiced their opinion. Even Bill Simmons and ESPN.
Triple H said unlike the NFL, we address our problems. We’re not going to turn our back on our balls and we’re going to address them Monday night on Raw.
Here's what Simmons Tweeted:
- This week’s episode of WWE Smackdown garnered an average viewing audience of 2,814,000 viewers on SyFy. The audience was up +139,000 viewers from the week prior as the go home to Royal Rumble. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 18-49 for all of Thursday at this link.
- Last week’s episode of Impact Wrestling garnered 517,000 viewers on Destination America. That number is up +130,000 viewers from the week prior and the highest since their premiere on their new network. The replay at 11 PM garnered 86,000 viewers.
- We’re told Havok worked the last set of TNA Impact Wrestling tapings without a contract. TNA doesn’t feel WWE would have any interest in her, so as long as they can get her to work for per appearance, they keep delaying her contract so they don't have to pay her a monthly guarantee.
- There has been some talk about Jim Ross coming into Lucha Underground as a commentator but they weren’t able to agree on money. We’re told it’s looking like it’s not going to happen. Jeff Jarrett has been “very aggressive” in trying to get JR for his Global Force Wrestling TV show but still hasn’t been able to produce something. We’re told a lot of guys feel like Jarrett is trying to use their names to land a TV deal, but doesn’t actually have anything.
- Speaking of Jarrett, we’re told reports indicating that he’ll be distributing English versions of AAA pay-per-views like did with New Japan Pro Wrestling are false. Jarrett has been telling people it’s a done deal but AAA is still weighing their options.
- Submission Radio had Royce Gracie on as a guest and he discussed CM Punk signing to fight for UFC. Below is a quote the show sent us:
“I haven’t had a chance to train with him yet, but it’s controversial. Everybody is like, a lot of people are upset with him jumping from WWE to MMA. Man, MMA is for everybody. You want to try out? Go ahead. If you’re not ready, it’s not going to be a good way to make a living. 'Cause he's gonna get punched in the face for real. If he’s going to be good or not, time will tell. He might be awesome at it. He might be one of those talented guys. You see, with a little bit of training he could go on and be good, be an add-on to the MMA shows. But if he’s not ready, man the guys will hit him for real and they'll punch him in the face for real. But I’m in favour of anybody should try out. For you to try, you gotta get ready.”
You can listen to the interview at this link.
- TNA Wrestling just announced on their official website that they are "heading home" to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for a series of tapings. These tapings consist of pay-per-view, international television, and Impact Wrestling tapings. They will be filming in February, March, and April. Here is the press release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 27, 2015) – TNA Entertainment announced today it is heading home to Universal Studios in Orlando for a series of Pay-Per-View, international television and IMPACT WRESTLING tapings in February, March and April.
TNA Superstars and some very special guests will be in Orlando February 12 – 16 for a fun-filled and action-packed five-day extravaganza of events filmed at Universal Studios Back Lot Stage 20.
Cameras will be rolling for nine events over the five-day run, with eight special One Night Only Pay-Per-Views and Xplosion matches. Doors to Universal Studios Stage 20 will open one hour before the listed show time. Entry to the venue, which is free of charge, is first come first seated.
Below is the taping days and times. This five-day run will be filming eight special One Night Only pay-per-views and Xplosion matches:
Thursday, February 12 at 7PM
Friday, February 13 at 1PM and 7PM
Saturday, February 14 at 1PM and 7PM
Sunday, February 15 at 1PM and 7PM
Monday, February 16 at 1PM and 7PM
The company will return to Universal Studios in March and April for Impact Wrestling tapings. The schedule is below:
Friday, March 13
Saturday, March 14
Sunday, March 15
Monday, March 16
Thursday, April 23
Friday, April 24
Saturday, April 25
You can see all of the information on TNA's website here.
- Ever since TNA Wrestling and Spike TV departed ways at the end of the year, Impact Wrestling isn't airing in Canada because they do not have Destination America. With that being said, the company has been negotiating with networks to possibly air Impact in the country. While talks have been ongoing, TNA President Dixie Carter announced on her official Twitter account that negotiations are continuing, but Canada viewers will be able to see Impact someway this week. Below is her tweet:
- TNA Wrestling announced on Thursday that Canadian fans can exclusively watch full episodes of Impact Wrestling on ImpactWrestling.com. New episodes will be uploaded every Saturday at 10 AM ET. It should be noted that only Canadian fans can watch these episodes, as I did try to play it. Click here for full details.
- Mickie James re-debuted with TNA at an UK Impact taping in Glasgow, Scotland.
- Drew Galloway, formerly known as Drew McIntyre, made his TNA Wrestling debut at tonight's Impact Wrestling tapings in Glasgow, Scotland. As noted earlier, Mickie James returned to the company at the same taping as well.
Do you think with WWE's lack of competition that Vince McMahon is just complacent? He often seems more interested in pushing his own agenda, than he does in giving the WWE audience what it wants. I just don’t believe the once great VKM could be this out of touch with the WWE audience.
I want to start my response by making something crystal clear. It’s not the fact that Roman Reigns won that ruined this year’s Royal Rumble match for the second consecutive year. It’s how the match was laid out and WWE’s blatant unimaginative/lazy/arrogant/illogical booking the company should be ashamed of.
Last year, Daniel Bryan was the hottest name in WWE. The “Yes” chants were taking over sports venues across the world and everyone was behind his rise as the next top babyface in the company. However, Vince McMahon wanted to do Batista vs. Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 30 and was convinced Batista would fill that top babyface role (Batista himself didn’t think it would work!).
When fans realized Bryan wasn’t even in the Rumble match and they were being force-fed Batista in a blatant unimaginative/lazy/arrogant/illogical way, they turned hard. WWE ended up correcting their mistake but at the cost of ruining one of their “big four” pay-per-views.
This year, Roman Reigns was the clear favorite to go over in the 30-man Royal Rumble match. It’s something Vince and Triple H were in agreement on and something we expected to happen. What went wrong was how it was done (Batista was the favorite in '14, but it was also in the execution where things went horribly wrong).
I explained how WWE needed to carefully handle Reigns and his booking, making him “earn it” with a competitive yet dominant performance. The problem is WWE didn’t even give him that chance.
Daniel Bryan shocked the world when he announced he was healthy enough to return to the ring at the end of 2014. This after months of uncertainly following neck surgery in May 2014. In the weeks after his return, Bryan’s crowd responses were amazing, as we’re told even Vince McMahon was surprised how he “didn’t miss a beat” even after being out for so long.
Bryan worked some TV matches against Kane, even having to earn his spot in the Royal Rumble. Keep in mind in storyline, Bryan never lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but vacated it due to injury. While Reigns was considered the favorite, Daniel Bryan was a guy many saw in it until the end.
Instead, WWE made him the first notable elimination at #11 eliminated (Fandango, DDP, Tyson Kidd, Zack Ryder, Sin Cara, The Boogeyman, Luke Harper, Bubba Ray Dudley, R-Truth and The Miz were eliminated before him).
After that, good luck on getting anything out of the match. The crowd rejected WWE’s blatant unimaginative/lazy/arrogant/illogical booking and turned. Roman Reigns never had a chance and was put in the exact same situation Batista was last year. He was scripted to win the match, WWE knew it was going to be a risk but they did nothing to protect him.
WWE sending out The Rock in attempt to quell the critics shows just how out of touch they really are with their fan base in 2015. Sure, Rock drew a monster pop but it did absolutely nothing to save Roman Reigns. The crowd made Rusev a babyface and flat-out rejected WWE’s unimaginative/lazy/arrogant/illogical effort.
So to answer your question, I don’t know if Vince McMahon is complacent or clueless. He sure is stubborn. Anyone that reads this website on a regular basis could have seen this coming from a mile away (the EXACT SAME THING happened last year).I haven’t even mentioned how Big Show and Kane — as The Authority’s “henchman” — teamed up to continually eliminate up and coming talent. There is absolutely no reason they should have been among the final four in the match.
Kane (47 going on 48) and Big Show (42 going on 43) are at the stage of their respective careers where they need to be utilized to help get some of this new crop over, not eliminate them by “teaming up.” But it goes right along with what WWE did with The Rock. Relying on stars of the past to make memorable moments at shows in 2015. It highlights WWE’s biggest problem of failing to develop new talent that I wrote about at length in Ask WNW last week.
What if Daniel Bryan turned heel?
Why would you turn the most over babyface in WWE heel? Daniel Bryan is over and ready to go. Unless there is some underlying health issue still looming, WWE should push him to the moon as is. Listen to the crowd! It’s not just a certain segment or certain location, he’s over everywhere he goes. His thoughtless elimination in the Royal Rumble match ruined it for the second year running. And we’re not just talking about the crowd in Philadelphia either.
Royal Rumble received an overwhelmingly negative response from WWE’s fan base, have you seen this poll? 28.K fans voted Thumbs Down, compared to 7.7K fans that voted Thumbs Up. The hashtag #CancelWWENetwork has trended Worldwide since the hours after the show went off the air and is full of screen grabs of subscribers canceling their subscriptions. This is not the response WWE was hoping for!
I’m not saying every show has to feature 3-4 Daniel Bryan segments and that he has to be in every single main event, what I’m saying is WWE has to show confidence in him. They cannot continue to book him like an afterthought, while also trying to push someone the crowd has fully embraced. WWE’s carelessness with Bryan hurt Roman Reigns and it hurt the enjoyment of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
How can WWE save the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 31 after the dreadful Royal Rumble ending?
I hope WWE uses the extra time from Monday to Thursday to figure something out. A double turn could be the best option, because it’s going to be hard (if not impossible) to keep the audience from booing Roman Reigns. I am just so frustrated at WWE and how reckless they are with up and coming talent, while always relying on just a select few to do everything. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Royal Rumble was epic, a true “coming out” party for Seth Rollins, while also showcasing the strengths of Brock Lesnar and John Cena. Rollins had to do the job but the crowd was fine with it because of how good he looked in losing. If Bryan would have been given that same confidence, things would probably have been a lot different.
Do you think if there were still two titles people would still be complaining about Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble?
Because there is only one world title, the Wrestlemania main event means more. This is what WWE was hoping for, however, it also means WWE has to get it right. So far, they’re zero for two on completely missing it out of the Royal Rumble. I really don’t think all of the heat is from Reigns winning as much as the unimaginative/lazy/arrogant/illogical way it was done. As I stated on Monday, blame WWE, not Roman Reigns.
From the Ask WNW vault…
January 2014: Was it just me or was the Royal Rumble a let down, with the exception of Roman Reigns and the Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt singles match? It just felt like Batista was thrown in to win it, anticlimactic if you will. - I warned everyone on Friday that if you’re going into Royal Rumble expecting some kind of miraculous swerve, you were setting yourself up to be disappointed. I also noted on numerous occasions that Batista was favored to win the Rumble match and would get complete protection to build momentum with his return. However, the crowd didn’t care that Bryan wasn’t advertised for the Royal Rumble match. They didn’t care that Batista was favored or Randy Orton and John Cena had another match for the WWE title, all they cared about was Daniel Bryan getting his moment. That moment didn’t come and it backfired on WWE. Vince McMahon is a smart man and part of me believes this is all part of an angle (more on that later) but WWE ended the night with egg on their face. Regardless of what anyone says, when a crowd turns that hard on one of the biggest matches of the year, it’s a serious problem. Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt opened with a match that was impossible to follow and Roman Reigns is getting his shot. Other than that, this was a “by the book show” that I’m not sure created the momentum towards Wrestlemania that the company was looking for.