Punk has back and rib injuries that he's working through.
Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards have been brought into NXT for an extended tryout. For Davey it's pretty much make-or-break, given how many bridges he's burned.
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.
Added to TLC: Punk vs Shield, Bryan vs Wyatts.
If Hogan wrestles at Mania, it would almost certainly be a tag to protect him.
Hell in a Cell had a decent buyrate for this time of year (200k), but Battleground did very badly (130k).
Survivor Series winners: Orton, Cena, Punk & Bryan, Shield Americans, Langston. Mark Henry answered Ryback's open challenge and beat him.
Set for TLC: Orton vs Cena, title vs title TLC match. It's unclear whether the titles will be unified; they might do a swap.
Goldberg said HHH has called to start negotiating for him to return for Mania. He added that he's only interested if the money is right.
Ryback continues to be unpopular backstage, as evidenced by his loss to Big Show on Raw going so far as to have Show kicking out of Shellshock. There had been rumors about Ryback turning face and getting a push, with possible matches against Lesnar and Goldberg, but that seems doubtful now. On that note, Ryback used the spear and jackhammer without permission, which might have been seen as him egging on the fans to make them want Ryback vs Goldberg before WWE had settled on it.
Wrestlemania is well on its way to selling out the current seats. As usual, more seats will be released as the staging plans are finalized.
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.
Rumor has it that Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, who currently has an indy promotion, will attempt to buy TNA along with some friends. A man who earned fame with something partially titled "the infinite sadness" is definitely the right person to operate TNA.
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.
PWI reports that Hogan is a legit free agent and hopes to have one last match in WWE.
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.
Colt Cabana is getting another WWE tryout. Interestingly enough, he's already going to be scanned for the next video game, which seems like a vote of confidence.
Flair went through rehab via. WWE.
Low Ki managed to anger All Japan management almost immediately, which means he's burned through everyone but Dragon Gate.
Summerslam's buyrate dipped from 2012, but was on par with 2011.
Sheamus had shoulder surgery and will probably be out the rest of the year.
RVD is in a weird long-term deal where he does 90 shows, then gets time off, then does the rest of the dates. Supposedly this means WWE doesn't want to invest too much in him or something.
Zach Gowen said in an interview that for his match with Vince in 2003, Vince told him to throw shoot punches. Zach thinks Vince wanted to have more convincing selling; I think Vince was confident that given their respective frames he wouldn't take serious damage. Still, it's a story that seems credible to me because Vince really does care enough about the product to put himself on the line like that.
Mark Henry signed a 3 year extension, which would take him to 20 years in the company. Incredible to think about considering how bad he was in the '90s.
Flair has an arrest warrant out for failing to pay alimony to his ex-wife (#4). She, in turn, has a warrant out for arresting Ric's current girlfriend. Good lord.
In a story that tops "WWE writer fired for booking a 4-way to set up Undertaker's Mania opponent" for being a confusing mess, someone has been posting WWE PPV results on Reddit, and claims to be doing so in order to protest WWE's problem of creative leaks. WHAT.
TNA is in bad shape, cutting wrestlers and delaying payments. The shift from the Impact Zone to tapings on tour has been expensive.
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.