WWE Network Review: Does Vince McMahon’s Latest Gamble Pay Off?

Vince McMahon

Last Monday, after weeks of hype and promotion, and literal years of speculation, WWE unveiled the newest iteration of pay-tv sports-entertainment. There were a few issues out the gate. Fans lashed out on Twitter. Even by Thursday, major problems still kept cropping up at inopportune times. But this was a new streaming revolution, and as such, growing pains were to be expected. So the real question is: did WWE manage to overcome those obstacles to deliver a service worth investing in, or have early bandwidth issues created an uphill battle for McMahon & company? Read on to find out. [Read more...]

WWE Raw: No CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Triple H Escalates on Hot Show

bryanhhhBrian and Steve are back for the podcast as they talk about last week’s NXT Arrival show which Brian was at and appeared on, Raw from Monday night, CM Punk not appearing on the show, the hot crowd throughout the night, the interaction between Daniel Bryan and Triple H, another great match between The Shield and The Wyatt Family, how WrestleMania 30 is looking and more including your questions.

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Could We See CM Punk Make His WWE Return on Raw Tonight?

cm-punk-lookingIt has been over a month since CM Punk last appeared for the WWE entering the Royal Rumble as the number one entrant and surviving until the final four before being eliminated by Kane.

He was scheduled to be on Raw the following night but within an hour of the show going on the air, Punk decided for whatever reason he didn’t want to be there and walked out on the company.

Read the rest of this post at Brian’s blog at The Orlando Sentinel.

Vitor Belfort Out of UFC 173, Lyoto Machida to Face Chris Weidman

belfortposeJust hours after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to ban therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy, Vitor Belfort pulled out of his upcoming middleweight title bout against Chris Weidman at UFC 173.  Former champion Lyoto Machida has already agreed to square off against Weidman for the title.

“The Nevada State Athletic Commission recently altered its policy and no longer will permit testosterone use exemptions, and will not permit a TRT program,” Belfort said in a statement.  “As other jurisdictions may follow suit, I am going to drop my TRT program and compete in MMA without it.  Given the time constraints involved between now and my proposed next bout in May, I have determined not to apply for a license to fight in Nevada at this time.”

UFC 173 takes place on May 24 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Belfort was riding a three-fight winning streak, defeating Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson, all by knockout.  All three of these bouts took place in Brazil where he was allowed to continue to use TRT.

That was going to come under scrutiny once Belfort was given the title shot against Weidman in Las Vegas.  He would first have to apply for a license in Nevada where he failed a drug test for elevated testosterone in 2006.  Belfort would have been required to go before the NSAC and apply for a license as well as an exemption for TRT use.

Now, Machida get his chance to reclaim the UFC middleweight championship against Weidman at UFC 173.  Machida is coming off a unanimous decision win over Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night on February 15.

Nevada State Athletic Commission Bans Testosterone Replacement Therapy For All Fighters

nevada

A few moments ago, the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to ban therapeutic use exemptions for (TRT) testosterone replacement therapy effective immediately.

If any athlete has a TUE, no state commission will recognize it. Any fighter who competes in MMA, boxing and kickboxing will not be allowed to apply for an exemption going forward.

Some of the notables who have or had a TUE in the past include Vitor Belfort, Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson.

Brett Okamoto from ESPN.com got comment from UFC President Dana White regarding the news.

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Triple H Talks NXT Arrival Show, WWE Developmental and Looking Foward

triplehsuitbigWWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul Levesque (Triple H) spoke with the media on a conference all to talk about the NXT Arrival show which will air Thursday night live on the WWE Network, NXT as a whole and the growth of the WWE developmental system, the performance center in Orlando, taking a bigger role in the company over the past few years, seeing younger talent come up through the system and now be on the main WWE roster, being involved in the creative process with the company and with NXT and much more.

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WWE Raw Recap, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker Return

undertakerbrockstareBrian and Steve recap WWE Raw from Monday night including the returns of both Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker who confronted Brock Lesnar, the Wyatt Family still going after John Cena who may have been injured and more.  Plus, they talk about the debut of the WWE Network, how WrestleMania 30 looks right now along with your questions.

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Hulk Hogan Makes His Return To WWE Television (Video)

It was announced on Friday that Hulk Hogan was returning to the WWE and would appear on tonight’s show.

Hogan opened the show to a thunderous ovation and hyped up the WWE Network. Hogan stated that he was glad to be back home in the WWE. Then “The Hulkster” announced that he would be the host of this years WrestleMania 30.

You can watch the entire segment in the video above.

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WWE Elimination Chamber Results: Randy Orton Retains, The Shield Takes on The Wyatt Family

On the latest Between the Ropes LIVE podcast, Michael and Steve discuss everything that happened at WWE’s latest pay-per-view, including a great match between The Wyatts and The Shield, Jack Swagger vs Big E for the Intercontinental Championship, and the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

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WWE Smackdown Recap, Elimination Chamber Preview

smackdown outline

Michael and Steve are back for the latest podcast as the guys recap WWE Friday Night Smackdown. The show saw two Daniel Bryan matches and a Christian vs Sheamus main event.

The guys then preview the Elimination Chamber main event, the WWE return of Hulk Hogan, CM Punk at UFC 170 last night and the health of Jake “The Snake” Roberts.

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UFC 170 Results: Ronda Rousey Stops Sara McMann In The Main Event

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UFC 170′s main event of Ronda Rousey vs Sara McMann was hyped up as a battle of the Olympians. Rousey won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics and McMann won a silver mdeal in wrestling at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

The fight began with both fighters going right at each other. A few moments later the champion was able to shove McMann into the cage and started landed a few knees. Rousey tried a few judo attempts, but the challenger was able to stuff them.

The end of the fight came when Rousey landed a knee to the body, an elbow, a knee, another elbow and then a knee to the liver that made McMann crumble. Rousey a couple short shots and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight, which elicited boos.

Ronda Rousey defeated Sara McMann to retain the UFC women’s bantamweight championship at 1:06 of round one. It was Rousey’s first win by stoppage due to strikes and was also the quickest fight in women’s MMA in the UFC.

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Hulk Hogan Makes His First Comments Since His Announced Return To The WWE

Hulk-hogan

It was announced yesterday that former WWE champion and Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan is returning to the company. Hogan will be the guest host of Wrestlemania 30 on April 6th and will return to WWE television this Monday on Raw in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Hogan made his first comments since the press release was sent out regarding his WWE return. Here is what “The Hulkster” said on Twitter.

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Hulk Hogan Officially Back with WWE

hulk-hoganAs expected, Hulk Hogan is returning to the WWE and will be a part of WrestleMania 30.  Here is the press release from the company announcing his return.

STAMFORD, Conn., February 21, 2014 – WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan has returned to WWE (NYSE:WWE) and will host WrestleMania® 30 on Sunday, April 6 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Hogan will make his long-awaited return to WWE this Monday on Raw®, which airs live at 8 pm ET on USA Network. He will also appear onWWE Raw Backstage Pass, airing live on WWE Network on Monday night at 11:05 pm ET.

A larger-than-life icon, Hogan is one of the biggest names in WWE history. On January 23, 1984, “Hulkamania” was officially born when he defeated The Iron Sheik to become WWE Champion at Madison Square Garden. He headlinedWrestleMania III, where he successfully defended the WWE Championship against Andre The Giant in front of a record 93,173 fans at the Pontiac Silverdome. Hogan went on to win six WWE Championships, starred in movies, television shows and became an idol to a vast legion of fans he dubbed “Hulkamaniacs.” Hogan was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 by Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone. His last WWE appearance was in December 2007, where he appeared at the 15th anniversary of Monday Night Raw.

“We are thrilled that Hulk Hogan has returned home to WWE,” said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “It’s fitting to have him help us celebrate 30 years of WrestleMania and usher in a new era with the launch of WWE Network.”

“Words cannot express how excited I am to be back in the WWE family,” said Hulk Hogan. “I only have one question for the WWE Universe: whatcha gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild as the host of WrestleMania 30?”

WrestleMania 30 takes place on Sunday, April 6 from Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Tickets are currently available through www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. All tickets are subject to service charges and facility fees. The event will be broadcast live on WWE Network. For more information on how to get WWE Network click hereWrestleMania 30 will also be available on pay-per-view. Check with your cable, satellite or telco provider for availability.

Steve Corino Talks Tonight’s Ring Of Honor 12th Anniversary Show, Why Winning The ECW Title Wasn’t His Biggest Moment

Photo From ROHWrestling.com

Photo From ROHWrestling.com

Ring of Honor holds their 12th anniversary show tonight in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The main event features Adam Cole defending the Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Championship against Chris Hero.

We talk ROH commentator Steve Corino about the show tonight, the biggest star in the history of the company, why winning the ECW championship wasn’t the biggest moment in his career and more.

Follow Steve Corino on Twitter @KINGCorino.

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Vince McMahon Makes His First Comments On CM Punk Leaving WWE

CMPunkchamp

It has been almost a month since former WWE champion CM Punk left the company. His return to company is uncertain at this point. Punk hasn’t released any statements and neither has the WWE, until today.

The WWE today held their fourth quarter conference call as Chairman Vince McMahon, CFO George Barrios, and Investor Relations Michael Weitz were on the call.

A caller asked what the status of Punk was and McMahon answered the question.

McMahon mumbled, “He’s on a sabbatical. Let me just put it that way.”

It seems like with those words that McMahon feels Punk will eventually return.

Do you think McMahon feels that way?

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Adam Cole On Headlining The 12th Anniversary Show For Ring Of Honor And How CM Punk Made Him “Fall In Love” With ROH

adam coleWe talk to the current Ring of Honor World Champion Adam Cole who headlines the company’s 12th anniversary show against Chris Hero on Friday night at the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Cole discusses what headlining this show means to him, how CM Punk got him hooked to Ring of Honor, his crush on UFC star Ronda Rousey, the rise of Daniel Bryan and much more.

You can follow Adam Cole on Twitter @AdamColePro. You can also find some of Adam’s apparel with the Suplex Wrestling Team at www.suplexwrestling.com and www.suplexapparel.com.

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WWE Fails to Reach Agreement with NBCU, TV Licensing Deal Up for Grabs

Last Friday came and went without the WWE and NBC Universal reaching a new agreement on a television deal before their exclusive negotiating period ended.  Now, the WWE can officially negotiate with other networks including Viacom, Disney and 20th Century Fox which may be looking to land the TV rights for WWE programming.

WWE confirmed that no agreement was made to Variety.com and also released this statement: “While we were unable to reach an agreement with NBCU during this period, we have certainly appreciated our long and productive partnership. With year-round, live programming that is highly coveted by programmers, distributors and advertisers, we are extremely excited about our future. We look forward to engaging with potential partners who recognize the value of having the #1 show on cable and live content delivered 52 weeks a year.”

In a perfect world, WWE would like to have all of its shows on one network family but it may have to split them up.  The company fully expects to more than double the almost $140 million a year it currently receives in licensing fees in any upcoming deal.

While a new agreement has not been reached between WWE and NBCU, the network does have the right to match any offer made by another potential partner.   And the sports entertainment juggernaut has implied in the past that it would prefer to remain with NBCU.

It will be interesting to see what other networks go hard after WWE programming and would also be willing to take all of the shows on the table including “Raw”, “Smackdown”, “Main Event”, “Total Divas” and “Saturday Morning Slam”.

WWE has said that it hopes to have a deal done by April or May at the latest.

 

What to Expect on WWE Raw

WWE.com has released its preview for tonight’s edition of WWE Raw so here is what you should expect on the show.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton will square off against Sheamus in the final one-on-one-match he will have against his opponents at  the Elimination Chamber PPV on Sunday.  So far, Orton is 1-3 in the matches including a loss to Cesaro on “Smackdown”.   WWE is doing everything it can to show that Orton’s title reign is in big jeopardy but they are really just diminishing their champion and the gold around his waist.

A match will officially be announced for Sunday’s PPV pitting the Usos against the New Age Outlaws with the tag-team titles on the line.  The Outlaws have been leery of the match but somehow they will get forced into it.

More Jack Swagger who is now the #1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship after beating Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio and Mark Henry to earn the spot.  He’ll square off against Big E at Elimination Chamber for the title.  It will be interesting to see if WWE actually does something with Swagger since he was positioned as the out man out of the Real Americans with Cesaro getting pushed into a world title shot.

danielbryanyesshirtExpect at least a confrontation between Daniel Bryan and Kane on the show as well.  In fact, I’d say there is a good chance the former tag-team champions will face off in a match.  On a side note, have you see Daniel Bryan’s new t-shirt?

Look for Alberto Del Rio to go after Batista after getting beaten up silly by the Animal on last week’s show including his eating a Batista Bomb through the announcers table.  Good luck getting this feud on track and create doubt on who will win the match at Elimination Chamber.