Battleground winners: Cena, Usos, Miz, Jericho. Rollins/Ambrose never really started.
Set for Summerslam: Cena vs Lesnar.
The Cesaro push was put on hold so they could focus on Reigns.
For reasons I can't fathom, WWE is trying to block indy promotions (especially ROH) from doing piggy-back events near Mania next year.
Added to Battleground: Usos vs Wyatts (2/3 falls), Ambrose vs Rollins.
Meltzer reports that WWE has had discussions with several UFC fighters, but never came close to offering a deal. WWE is skeptical that someone who started in MMA (which wasn't the case with Shamrock and Lesnar) wouldn't stick around given the touring schedule and small per-event pay.
Battleground: Cena vs Reigns vs Orton vs Kane; IC title battle royal; Wyatt vs Jericho.
Angle said he turned down a contract extension with TNA, and that his deal ends on 9/21.
WWE held off on announcing the KENTA signing until this weekend's Japan tour.
WWE's roster is still in the dark on what their Mania bonus pay will be.
Vince has begun historic budget cuts. With how much overhead the company has, it will be interesting to see how much is visible on TV.
There is some discussion about giving Lesnar the belt, which would require re-negotiating his deal to add more dates.
It's fascinating to me that TNA is doing a 50-50 cooperative relationship with Wrestle-1, a second-tier promotion in the wasteland that is 2014 Japan. Meanwhile, ROH works with New Japan, and TNA worked with New Japan back when NJ was at a low point. TNA: still TNA.
Battleground so far: Cena vs Orton vs Reigns vs Kane; IC title battle royal.
Bryan could be out for a while yet.
Jericho should be around through September.
As expected, Batista will return after he's done promoting Guardians of the Galaxy. I can't wait for Thanos on the big screen a few movies from now. Seriously. You guys. THANOS~.
The buyrate for Extreme Rules, the first post-Mania PPV in the WWE Network era, dropped from 209,000 buys to 107,000. It was also hurt by DirecTV and Dish not carrying the show.
Meltzer reports that Bryan might not return until September. Regardless of his status, Lesnar will almost certainly be challenging for the title at Summerslam.
WWE's goal is to cut $20 million from their annual budget. One item of note is saving $250,000 by getting rid of the truck needed to transport the entrance gimmicks for Fandango and Barrett.
AJ Lee, having recently married Punk, will take time off due to a pregancy. I have to think that if she returns to WWE, that would be motivation for Punk to return... but until then it's motivation for Punk to stay home.
The (delayed) post-Mania purge includes McIntyre, Hawkins, Brodus, Bourne, Tatsu, JTG and Teddy Long. Employees across the company are being laid off as a result of recent financial losses.
WWE has signed Kevin Steen.
Rollins' turn was kept under tight wraps, almost as much as the Taker/Lesnar result. For instance, it wasn't in the distributed Raw script.
Meltzer reports that WWE is taking a look at Ibushi. He has also noted that despite New Japan's business surge (~double the income since 2012), NJ's dojo is very lacking, especially compared to WWE's developmental system.
More on WWE's TV deal from Meltzer: WWE soured negotiations by demanding too much, and most networks walked away. Now they stand to lose around $50 million this year as a result of the network launch cost (and, I'm guessing, a drop in PPV revenue).
Mysterio's contract was extended based on his having been out so much from injuries.
WWE's stock didn't just drop when the TV deal was announced; it plunged 40%. That price run-up a few months back never smelled right to me. It looks like they need 1 million subscribers for the company to be profitable, and sluggish subscription numbers after Mania suggest they will struggle to get there.
In news that will come as a COMPLETE AND UTTER SHOCK to everyone, the Sting/WWE talks have once again hit a snag, at least as far as an in-ring role, per Meltzer. However, WWE Network and DVD related work is lined up.
Bryan's surgery was successful, and there were no complications. WWE plans to build to a Summerslam return.
Meltzer reports that Devitt has finally signed with WWE. Sting, on the other hand, is in that same "about to sign" position has was reported months ago. Devitt's visa is still being processed.
WWE stock took a hit after the latest TV deal with NBC/Universal was announced. They "only" got a 25% increase, rather than doubling.
Lawler is finally negotiating to sell the Memphis tape library to WWE. I'm stunned it took this long. Good for Jerry; I'm sure he'll get a much better price now that he would have 5-10 years ago. If you haven't seen prime '80s Lawler yet, you're in for a treat, especially once WWE cleans up the footage. He had some decent showings in WWF/WWE, but nothing touched the quality of his matches with Bill Dundee. PUNCHING~!
Meltzer noted that Cena sells 5 times as much merchandise as the #2 wrestler, which he said is currently Bryan.
Goldberg is getting back in ring shape, in case he can work out a deal to return next year for the Mania run.
Warrior collapsed outside his hotel and was pronounced dead, almost certainly from a heart attack. He was 54. Many reports suggest he didn't look right in public over the weekend.
WWE Network already has 667k subscribers. The fact that they aren't at a million yet caused a stock price dip.
Mania set a new gross ticket sale record for wrestling history.
WWE's stock jumped briefly due to a rumored buyout by AMC Network. That is TNA booking levels of stupid.
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.
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 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 idea of Sapp being involved in the Vince vs Trump feud is mindboggling.
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 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.