It's now looking like Cena was not, in fact, injured. Reminder that we are all marks no matter what happens. Yes, you. You are a mark, as am I.
Billy Robinson passed away. He passed away in his sleep at age 74.
The McMahons are billionaires again thanks to WWE's stock being around record levels. Specifically, it has more than doubled in the last 5 months. Hmmmmm.
Cena suffered a knee injury on Raw.
Added to Mania: Taker vs Lesnar.
Meltzer reports that WWE is hesitating to re-up Mysterio due to his constant injuries and high guaranteed pay. Viewership in the hispanic demographic is down, which means WWE isn't as concerned about appealing to them.
EC winners: Orton (via. Kane interference), Batista, Wyatts, Outlaws.
Viscera/Big Daddy V died from a heart attack.
As expected, Hogan will be back as the 'host' of Wrestlemania.
Raw in two weeks will be especially big, both kicking off the final run to Mania and the launch of the online WWE Network. Taker, Hogan and more are expected back.
Added to EC: Batista vs ADR.
I love the story making the rounds about Kurt Angle being hurt, getting written off TV, and then having to fight management when asked to do something physical at a UK house show a few days later. I'm not sure if it's more an indictment of TNA's refusal to care about the well being of wrestlers, Angle's failure to look after himself to the point where TNA expects him to be up for anything, or pro wrestling in general. I'll go with TNA, because you can never go wrong in blaming them for something.
If Sting is signed, it's unlikely he would be used for Mania. They would establish him on TV before giving him an in-ring push.
Many in WWE think the Punk situation is a work. You've got to love pro wrestling.
Elimination Chamber so far: Orton vs Cena vs Sheamus vs Bryan vs Cesaro vs Christian; Shield vs Wyatts.
Punk, whose contract ends in July, has walked away from WWE as a result of frustration with the booking and constant travel. His big remaining goal is a Mania main event, and he sees part-timers constantly coming back in that spot. This will almost certainly lead to Bryan facing HHH at Mania.
Sting and WWE are in serious contract talks.
Rumble winners: Batista, Orton (via. Wyatt distraction), Lesnar, Wyatt, Outlaws.
Added to Rumble: Rhodes Bros vs New Age Outlaws; Bryan vs Wyatt. Bryan's concussion wasn't severe.
Raw did a good rating thanks to Batista's return. Even more interesting is that the rating dropped as the show went along, meaning that a lot of people stopped watching after the Batista segment.
Lawler was briefly in the hospital with chest pain and nausea.
Even more heat on Ryback for giving Ziggler a serious concussion during a Superstars taping.
WWE has given up on trying to edit out Batista spoilers and announced he will return at the January 20th Raw. Batista's deal will focus on TV appearances, will last beyond Mania, and could go through Mania in 2016.
Jeff Jarrett has left TNA as a wrestler, but still has a small ownership stake. This has taken the promotion by surprise.
It seems that WWE has failed to gain traction with cable operators for their network, so they're leaning towards an online version. It will be modeled after things like baseball's MLB.tv, and Meltzer reports that they're actually consulting with MLB on how to operate a big streaming service. WWE would be aiming for $10/month. MLB charges essentially that (~$120 a year) and has 2 million subscribers. WWE has a smaller domestic market, but has a much bigger overseas fanbase to compensate.
WWE has made several changes to Wellness. Among them:
-Limited-time "therapeutic use" exemptions for banned substances. The time limit would mean guys can't use it as a blank check for testosterone.
-Legal issues related to drugs can lead to being fired.
-Fines can now be levied for alcohol (I'm assuming only if someone gets legally drunk).
-A wrestler with two strikes can go through a lengthy rehab process and get the strike removed if the program is completed.
Meltzer reports that Cena is really banged up. I can't get over the fact that he was rushed back for arguably the biggest lull of the PPV cycle (post-Summerslam). Having him wouldn't have done much for these buyrates, and if he'd been away longer his return would have been a big deal.
Chris Hero was cut from developmental. He was instantly swamped with indy booking requests. Despite the recent story about him not trying hard enough in the gym, PWInsider reports that his last match on NXT got praise from HHH, which led to confusion backstage when his release was announced.
Bryan's inability to draw buyrates during his recent push will likely make it hard for him to get back to main event status.
Low Ki's ribs got hurt by an Akebono splash last month. He says he's retiring because All Japan isn't covering his expenses.
Mania set a WWE (and likely pro wrestling) record for largest gate, and was the first or second largest attendance in company history depending on if one believes the stated WM3 number.
Meltzer revealed that WWE offered Bob Sapp a big money deal to come in with a massive push and title win back when Sapp was still a star, but Sapp turned them down. Meltzer adds that the plans were essentially used for Lashley when he debuted. The prospect of Sapp being involved in the Vince vs Trump feud is mindboggling.
WWE has come to an agreement with the World Wildlife Fund about the use of WWF (words/logos) in old footage, in order to reduce the effort needed when digitizing the library.
TNA's last PPV of the year got a meager 8,000 buys. That's about 1 buy per 170-190 Impact viewers.
The spinal stenosis that ruined Steve Austin and Edge's necks is genetic, but for people who don't rattle their spine for a living it normally doesn't kick in until old age.
Meltzer printed a chart showing how many wrestling fans there are in various demographics (in the US). African-Americans are 3 times more likely to be fans than whites, which means they could be 30-40% of the total fanbase. Also, the very poorest households are far more likely to be fans than anyone else, even compared to other below-average households. Thus the low ad revenue per capita. A lot of that has to do with young, single men being a core group, and "young single person" is always by far the poorest group in society.
Meltzer notes from his bio on Savage:
-The famous match with Steamboat was originally supposed to be Steamboat vs Bret Hart, but the decision was made to keep the Hart Foundation together and they went with Savage vs Steamboat.
-The overall Wrestlemania 4 & 5 storylines produced several 'peaks' for WWF, including the two highest-rated wrestling shows in US history, the biggest non-stadium gate in US history (WM5), and the biggest pre-Austin buyrate (WM5).
-Randy was incredibly controlling of Elizabeth. During the period where she was off TV (because Randy was managed by Sherri), he didn't want her leaving the house at all. That drove her to getting the divorce.
-Randy's second wife was his childhood sweetheart. They lost touch during his career and reunited after he retired.
Meltzer detailed that Court Bauer, who ran MLW and was later on the WWE creative team, came up with the idea of a special high-flyers division to use as a vehicle for Mistico in WWE. Bauer wanted to get top athletes like Milano Collection, Ishimori, Dragon Kid, Jack Evans, etc, such that it would be enough of a different style to really get over (as opposed to having small guys work WWE style). But because he also had Super Porky on the list, Vince fixated on that and turned it into a short-lived comedy midget division. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's remarkable that someone with so many bad ideas and mindsets could end up as the #1 wrestling promoter of all time by an order of magnitude.
Archive of news posts on the Benoit tragedy.