TNA Knockout Tara Released From Company

TaraTNA Wrestling is continuing its latest round of cost-cutting as Knockout Tara was given her release today.  Here is the official statement from ImpactWrestling.com:

IMPACT Wrestling has released Tara. We thank Tara for all her contributions and wish her the best of success in the future.

While she is now 42 years old Tara (Lisa Marie Varon) was still a very good in-ring performer for the company.  However, she was not wrestling that often in the last few months and her role had been downsized which led to the decision to release her.

It will be interested to see what her future in wrestling holds and if she would return to the WWE, work independents or simply not wrestle anymore after a very good, long career.

She does own The Squared Circle restaurant in Chicago and frequently has various wrestlers dropping by.

Video: Brock Lesnar Attacks CM Punk on Raw

In case you missed it or want to re-live the fantastic segment from this past Monday edition of Raw, WWE has posted the segment which included the interaction between CM Punk and Paul Heyman before Brock Lesnar cam out and wreaked havoc and assaulting Punk including an F5 on the announcer’s table.

WWE.com is also reporting — although this is likely just more part of the storyline — that Punk was injured during the attack.

In what sounds more like an injury report from a car crash than a fistfight, medical officials have told WWE.com that Punk suffered whiplash and strained ligaments in his left knee and right ankle. Punk’s ribs are also bruised, potentially broken, as a result of the attack.

Below is a picture that WWE included on their Instagram account of CM Punk being looked at by WWE doctors after his beating from Lesnar.

punkhurt

WWE Monday Night Raw Rating Down From Last Week

The WWE was coming off a really good Money in the Bank pay-per-view Sunday night and it was expected that the carryover from the event would translate to better rating than last week’s Raw. Unfortunately for WWE, that wasn’t the case.

Last night’s Monday Night Raw averaged a 3.04 rating with an average of 4.1 million viewers. That rating is down from last week when Raw had a 3.08 rating with an average of 4.167 million viewers.

The first hour had a 2.99 rating, the second hour had a 3.03 rating and the final hour got a 3.1 rating.

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Between The Ropes Wrestling Podcast – July 16, 2013

Brian and Steve talk about last night’s edition of Raw including the incredible angle between Paul Heyman, CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, Daniel Bryan being selected by John Cena for his SummerSlam opponent for the WWE Championship, several very good matches on the show, putting together a possible lineup for SummerSlam and more.

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Monday Night Raw Reaction and Review – 7/15/2013

Be sure to check out the Raw Rundown for complete coverage of last night’s show!

Cena vs BryanBrad Maddox kicked things off on Raw, and what an impressive way to promote his first official night as General Manager. I was worried creative was going to make him look like the weak authority figure. Instead, they put him in the ring with John Cena, Randy Orton, and Fandango. Triple H and Stephanie even put over his “pick your own opponent for SummerSlam” as a good idea. Maddox has a lot of charisma, and I hope he continues to be used effectively.

Two surprise attacks last night also made things interesting. Seeing The Shield tear apart a beast like Mark Henry was fun and unexpected. Does this mean Henry is turning face? If so, he seems like the perfect foe for this powerhouse trio. For some reason, their segment didn’t feel like “just another Shield attack” for once. If they do beat the big man, this could be their shot at redemption. Likewise, The Wyatt Family surprised us with their attack on a returning R-Truth. Bray Wyatt cut an amazing promo here. Something about eater of worlds, the creator being a liar, etc. This character is something different and refreshing, and his lackeys are simply terrifying. Plus, his challenge to Kane should make for some interesting fodder between now and SummerSlam.

We all know CM Punk and Paul Heyman are really, really good. But sometimes the WWE product can skew our expectations. Let me say this: that segment last night was one of the best I’ve ever seen in professional wrestling. Not only did Punk and Heyman put together some of the most effective mic work that WWE’s seen in months (years?), Brock Lesnar was to perfection as the muscle. This feud feels personal only because of the way Heyman and Punk sold it. I have so much more I want to say about this, so maybe I’ll put together a full column on it at some point down the road. For now, just know that this was a must-see moment.

I was worried that Rob Van Dam would be lost in the shuffle last night. With so much else going on, there was no way WWE had time to really promote his homecoming, right? Wrong. Instead of putting together an artificial promo, or hotshotting a feud, they simply put him in the ring with another veteran and let him work. The message is clear – why should people care about RVD? Because he’s an exciting wrestler. His ring work is unique. The “you-still-got-it” chants were completely wrong, because RVD never lost it. This was an incredible, Pay-Per-View worthy match. Check it out.

John Cena finally picked Daniel Bryan as his SummerSlam opponent, and internet marks everywhere let out a collective sigh. This was expected, but it was the right call. John Cena always does better when he has a skilled mat technician to work with (just look at his epic feud with Punk), so these two should tear down the house at SummerSlam. Question: Does this mean Daniel Bryan has finally arrived?

Overall show was one of the best episodes of Monday Night Raw I’ve seen in months, maybe years. The crowd was hot, the show felt fresh, and everything delivered. I said on Facebook that this felt like a “post-Wrestlemania Raw,” but I was wrong. It was better.

WWE Raw Rundown – July 15th, 2013

rawIncredible edition of Monday Night Raw that delivered with surprises, entertainment, and excitement. The three-hour show was booked to the fullest. Let’s take a closer look: [Read more...]

WWE Money in the Bank 2013 Results

WWE_Money_In_The_Bank_2013_poster

Money in the Bank is in the Bank for WWE this year and now comes the time to see how my predictions, taken from the staff predictions stacked up against the actual event results
All-Star Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship contract
Randy Orton def. CM Punk, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Rob Van Dam, and Sheamus to win the contract. I totally did not see this coming but the interference by Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman made for an interesting result. Ultimately, though, I award myself no points.
WWE Championship Match
John Cena [c] def. Mark Henry, and I called it. No way Cena was going to lose this title now. 1 point.
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Alberto Del Rio [c] def. Dolph Ziggler by DQ after AJ hit Del Rio with the Divas Title belt. I called this one, but not necessarily the angle. Either way, 1 point.
Ryback def. Chris Jericho, I honestly saw Jericho getting the win on this one, but score 1 for Ryback and none for me.
WWE Divas Championship Match
AJ Lee [c] def. Kaitlyn, saw this one coming a mile away. 1 point.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Curtis Axel [c] def. The Miz, the newest Paul Heyman guy struck again (and then again later in the night). 1 point.
Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship contract
Damien Sandow def. Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Jack Swagger, and Antonio Cesaro after an unexpected but exciting betrayal of former partner Cody Rhodes. I did not even see this one coming. 0 points.
WWE Tag Team Championship Pre-Show Match
The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) def. The Usos, in what was an exciting high-octane match to get the night started. My prediction came to fruition and the Shield left Philly gold firmly around their waists. 1 point.
This puts my score for the night at 57%. My total for the last three events at 58%. How will things look when wrestling is next on pay per view with next month’s SummerSlam, stick around to Between the Ropes for all the latest

Between The Ropes | Arda Ocal – July 15, 2013

Brian talk with Arda Ocal about the grand opening of the WWE Performance Center which he was  at last week, the Money in the Bank PPV and looking ahead to SummerSlam, Triple H’s role with WWE, Orlando becoming such an important city for WWE, the Hall of Fame, WrestleMania host cities going forward and more.

Follow Arda on Twitter @arda_ocal

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Video: WWE Money in the Bank Kickoff Show Online

WWE has posted the kickoff show from last night’s Monday in the Bank pay-per-view online including the tag-team title match between The Shield and The Usos.

Between The Ropes Wrestling Podcast – July 15, 2013

Brian and Steve talk about Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV including Damien Sandow and Randy Orton each winning the ladder matches, the physicality of the All-Stars ladder match, a really good John Cena vs. Mark Henry match, possibilities now for SummerSlam, the Ultimate Warrior working with the WWE for the new 2K14 video game, last week’s grand opening of the WWE Performance Center and more.

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Video: Ultimate Warrior Returns to WWE in 2K14 Video Game

Yep, the Ultimate Warrior is back with the WWE.  Well, at least for the new WWE 2K14 video game.

While the game doesn’t come out until October on for PS3 and XBox, anyone that pre-orders the game will be able to download the Ultimate Warrior character.

Here is the video of Warrior’s return for the game.

WWE Money in the Bank 2013 – Reaction and Review

Last night’s highly anticipated “Money in the Bank” Pay-Per-View brought us a loaded card with numerous surprises, and the much-hyped return of Rob Van Dam. But did it deliver? Read on to find out. [Read more...]

WWE Money in the Bank 2013 – Staff Predictions

WWE_Money_In_The_Bank_2013_posterLater today is the WWE Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Here is the predictions from the Between The Ropes staff for each match on the show.

WWE Tag Team Championship:  The Shield vs. The Usos (kickoff match)

Brian Fritz:  WWE has ben putting in a little more for the Usos as of late to try and make them look like a legitimate threat to The Shield.  But they really aren’t.  I hope more is done with the WWE tag-team division but it has to be built around The Shield at the top and they need a long reign so it won’t end here.

Steve Muelhausen:  Hard to believe this match is the kickoff match starting at 7:30p ET at every possible platform online. The match should be good based on the four talents but I see Rollins and Reigns retaining.

Michael A. Wiseman:  Considering The Usos have only been relevant for a day or two, I’m going to have to go with The Shield here.  The Usos have been highlighted effectively in the last few weeks. Before they won their title shot, though, they had little-to-no air time on the major WWE shows. I’m glad creative is trying something new here, but I don’t think they’re putting any long-term focus on The Usos – at least not enough to give them the gold.

Marshall Bowen:  Show of hands, who thinks that WWE spent all that time building up The Shield for Rollins and Reigns to lose to the Usos, who haven’t had a solid direction in the entirety of their short WWE careers? No, nobody? It’s pretty obvious that they needed to throw together something of a worthy pre-show to what is steadily becoming a major event for WWE and a tag title match fills that void nicely. Look for The Shield to retain.

Chris Jericho vs. Ryback

Brian:  While Ryback is in a much bigger need for a win, I think Chris Jericho gets the victory.  But Ryback gets his revenge on Raw the following night with Vickie Guerrero by his side.  I can easily see a scenario where Ryback takes out Jericho to not only get some steam back but also as a way to explain Jericho’s latest break with his WWE contract about to expire and him going on tour with his band Fozzy.

Steve:  It is hard to see where WWE is going considering there was really no buildup this week for this match. You had Jericho have two matches with Curtis Axel and Ryback working with the Miz. Jericho will be taking a hiatus from WWE. Ryback gets a much needed win here.

Michael:  Ryback’s character seems to be in a funk, and Chris Jericho has taken a backseat to pretty much every other storyline in the company. This past Monday night hinted at a change in Ryback’s character.  Will we see it play this Sunday? I think Ryback wins as a way to re-establish himself, and that Jericho’s reputation for putting over young, new starts remains intact.

Marshall:  I’m shooting widely in guessing on this one only because this match has no direction towards it and say Jericho wins. Hopefully this can go somewhere and both of these men can get back to something interesting and not thrown into nothing matches to fill time on the pay per view.

Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn
Brian:  I’m not the biggest fan of this storyline and don’t like it when WWE does these petty ‘you’re fat’ angles, especially with the women.  But AJ has broken out as the star of the division both in the ring and out with her promos.  AJ gets the victory here and next up a likely split from Dolph Ziggler.

Steve:  I have really intrigued with this feud. Lee has been really solid on the mic and Kaitlyn has played her role well. Best feud for the women’s division in a long time. I see Lee retaining.

Michael:  It’s refreshing to see the Divas division highlighted in such an effective fashion. I think the last week or two has been more of the same (AJ, we get it, you think Kaitlyn is chubby), but both of these ladies have delivered on their promos. Ultimately, I think AJ walks away with the win here (and, as a result, her ego causes a split with Dolph Ziggler). These two should put on an entertaining match come Sunday, and I think this rivalry will carry the division through to SummerSlam.

Marshall:  As is the case with The Shield, WWE didn’t spend all that time building up AJ for a Diva’s title run to hot potato it back to Kaitlyn weeks later, AJ wins with some help from Big E and we all get to hope this match is better than the more recent meetings between these two.
Intercontinental Title:  Curtis Axel vs. The Miz

Brian:  I’m not sure exactly what the WWE has planned for either of these guy in the coming months.  I’m one of the few people that still really likes Curtis Axel but he needs more opportunity to speak and go through those growing pains so he can improve.  Typically, being on the main roster is not a place for that but he needs it, even with Paul Heyman in his corner.  As for The Miz, this guy headlined WrestleMania a few years ago and now he is trying to land a secondary title so his stock isn’t very high.  While I want to see Axel get into the bigger picture, I think he’ll have to wait but in the meantime, he’ll remain the Intercontinental Champion.

Steve:  Like how Axel has booked even though he lost to Jericho this week on Raw and Smackdown. That showed Axel can be beat and showed great intensity in losing. I don’t know what WWE is doing with The Miz. Doesn’t seem like they have no long term plan with him. Should be a solid match with Axel going over to retain the title.

Michael:  It’s easy to say Curtis Axel walks away with the championship just because WWE would be foolish to take the gold off of him during this build. On the other hand, I think The Miz is in greater need of this championship than Axel. Since this feud is probably just a placeholder to the next step of his push, I do think Curtis Axel retains on Sunday. Personally, I’d like to see him drop the title to The Miz and go on to bigger and better things.

Marshall:  Axel retains in what should be an entertaining match for the IC title to help legitimize his reign as IC champion with Paul Heyman by his side.

World Heavyweight Championship Contract Money in the Bank Ladder Match:  Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Fandango, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro

Brian:  This is the tougher of the two MITB ladder matches to predict.  The popular choice seems to be Wade Barrett which I am in favor for but I’ll go a little out of the box and go with Antonio Cesaro.  Now, I might be dead wrong on him but he’s been such a good worker and I think he’s awesome at his character.  He’s the younger (or newer) WWE guy that people seem to never bring up but now is the time for him to get his due.

Steve:  This has been the match put on the back burner due to the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match. Like the fact this match features all heels. All of these past matches have been good and this match should be no different. Feel that the favorites are Ambrose, Fandango and Sandow with Cesaro as the darkhorse. Going with Ambrose as he has the most upside out of these individuals and see how far he can go.

Michael:  Think Jack Swagger loses any sleep over the fact that he’s the only former World Champion in this match and not in the “All-Stars” one?  If I were a betting man, I’d put money on Wade Barrett to win here, since he looks the most poised to take his game to the next level. But the flashes of greatness I’ve seen from Antonio Cesaro in recent weeks make me consider him a close second. If Barrett does win, I expect him to cash in on Dolph Ziggler at some point down the road.

Marshall:  I call this one for either Swagger or Cesaro, with the edge towards Swagger. Their storyline has made for some great heel heat and winning the contract would only help to elevate that heat to the next level with the threat of an impending cash-in.

Money in the Bank All-Stars Ladder Match:  CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Rob Van Dam, Randy Orton, Christian and Sheamus will compete to win a contract for a WWE Championship Match

Brian:  All along, I’ve thought that Daniel Bryan was destined to win this match and I won’t change that prediction.  However, if you go by regular WWE booking, he has been winning a lot lately so that would seem he wouldn’t get the big win here.  But I think WWE is trying to put him on a big streak to cement him as a main-eventer and set up a big championship match for him against John Cena at SummerSlam.   I would not be surprised in the least though if Randy Orton won here.  The scenario I would like to see play out: Brock Lesnar takes Kane’s spot and win the match.

Steve:  The TBA is due to Kane being out of the match after getting brutally attacked by the Wyatt Family on Raw this past Monday. The match should be the match of the night with Punk, Bryan,Van Dam and Christian in the match. The favorite seems to be Daniel Bryan in this match as he is rumored to be headlining Summerslam. Think the wild card in this match is Van Dam as the returning star. Think Sheamus and Orton cause each other to not win, Punk getting screwed over somehow by Paul Heyman. Feel that Daniel Bryan wins the match and goes onto SummerSlam.

Michael:  Smart money says Daniel Bryan takes the briefcase and main-events SummerSlam with it. But I’m going to go out on a limb here say that RVD becomes Mr. Money in the Bank for a second time. We know Punk is feuding with Lesnar, Sheamus and Orton are both fillers here, and Christian is stuck in mid-card Hell again. So I think it’s only appropriate, in front of a jacked Philly crowd, that Rob Van Dam wins the match and cements his WWE homecoming.

Marshall:  Daniel Bryan wins this match and his second MITB contract. Since losing the Tag Team titles with Kane he’s really seemed to have the build that he had around the time he last won the contract.
World Heavyweight Championship:  Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

Brian:  Ziggler has lost a bit of his “cool” factor over the past few weeks and it could be tough for him to get it back with his switch to a babyface.  I think it’s too early to take the title off Alberto Del Rio so I’ll say he retains but nothing would surprise me here.  I am glad that Del Rio is back being a heel which he is much better suited at.

Steve:  These guys had a really great match last month at Payback where Del Rio regained the title and saw a double turn as well. No Ricardo Rodriguez as he is suspended for 30 days for violating the wellness policy. Ziggler has looked really strong the last few weeks over Del Rio. Should be another great match with Del Rio retaining and this feud going on until SummerSlam.

Michael:  These guys have had a fantastic feud, but their time is about up. I think Ziggler ultimately wins here to finalizes his ongoing face turn.  Ziggler needs the title more than Del Rio to keep his status in the main event picture. Plus, the endless possibilities of Money in the Bank mean that Ziggler can win without actually leaving with the title. A triple-threat match including Ziggler, Del Rio, and Barrett would be fun for SummerSlam, and give Zigs one of those “overcoming the odds” moment that every babyface in WWE needs. Then again, I’m not a wrestling booker.

Marshall:  Del Rio retains and continues this feud with Ziggler into SummerSlam. This should be another guaranteed great match as Del Rio and Ziggler have always had high energy quality matches when they meet one on one.
WWE Championship:  John Cena vs. Mark Henry

Brian:  I gave away my prediction for this match coming off the All-Stars MITB ladder match with John Cena retaining.  This match may not be that great but the build up to it has been fantastic.  If Henry wins, I think were in line for the triple threat match at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship between Henry, Cena and Ryback and Daniel Bryan would remain out of the title picture for at least another month.

Steve:  The buildup has been better for this match than the two month feud with Cena and Ryback. Henry has been great here with his mic work and Cena as well for the mic work and selling Henry as a legit threat to win the title. The match won’t be a Flair-Steamboat classic, but the match should be passable. Feel this is Henry’s last go around and see Cena retaining and heading to SummerSlam.

Michael:  When this feud kicked off with Henry’s fantastic retirement speech, I really thought he had a chance at winning the WWE Championship. And while I still think he deserves it as the final notch in his career, recent weeks have me convinced that Cena is going to retain in another one of his “odds stacked against me” challenges. But hypothetically, if Henry were on the way out of WWE, wouldn’t a win for him be the perfect goodbye? Then, his rematch with John Cena at SummerSlam with a retirement stipulation would feel like a huge deal. Alas, the year of CENA continues…

Marshall:  Cena retains, flat out. Mark Henry has no shot of being WWE Champion in 2013. World Champ again, maybe, but not the big prize.

WWE Smackdown Rundown – July 12th, 2013

smackdownEntertaining edition of WWE Friday Night Smackdown. While the build for Smackdown’s own Money in the Bank match continued to be lackluster, a solid wrestling card and other final pushes made this a go-home show worth watching. Take a look: [Read more...]

Triple H Talks Performance Center, Transition to WWE Executive

WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events Triple H talks about the new Performance Center, his vision for it, what this means for the company, the advantages new talent will have, his transition from in a full-time wrestler to being an executive, how much he wants to be in the ring and the challenges of doing it now and more.

WWE Executive John Saboor Talks New Performance Center, WrestleMania

WWE Senior Vice President of Special Events John Saboor talks about the new Performance Center in Orlando, FL, WrestleMania possibly returning to the city and the chances of a physical WWE Hall of Fame in the near future.

Sheamus Talks WWE Performance Center, Wants the Gold Again

WWE superstar Sheamus talking about the new Performance Center, his training when coming into the wrestling business, the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV and his part in the All-Stars ladder match and wanting to get back in the WWE Championship picture.

Stephanie McMahon Talks Performance Center, Back on WWE TV

WWE Executive Vice President of Creative Stephanie McMahon talks about the new Performance Center in Orlando, her husband Triple H’s vision for it and being back on WWE television.