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May 28, 2016

WWE Cancels Sales of New Pabst Blue Ribbon Inspired John Cena Gear, WWE Rep Comments

According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, WWE will no longer sell John Cena‘s new Pabst Blue Ribbon inspired shirt, despite the company feeling they did nothing wrong in the first place.

A rep for WWE says, “As a content creator, WWE respects trademarks and intellectual property, and therefore will not proceed selling the merchandise, despite it being an original design clearly within fair use.”

WWE issued a Tweet featuring Cena’s new gear yesterday, and Pabst reacted with a Tweet which seemed to threaten WWE and Cena with a cease and desist. You can check out Pabst’s Tweet below, and WWE has deleted its original Tweet featuring photos of the new Cena gear:

May 27, 2016

WWE Studios Announces Its Next Movie Will Feature Six WWE Superstars

WWE announced today that WWE Studios plans to make another installment of the “Marine” franchise, which starred John Cena in the first film back in 2006.

The new movie will see The Miz reprise his role from the last two Marine movies, and the film will co-star Miz’s wife Maryse, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Heath Slater and Naomi.

The film is set to begin filming on May 31st, and the following is the plot synopsis issued by WWE:

“The Miz returns as Jake Carter, an ex-Marine who served in the Middle East and is now saving civilian lives stateside as an EMT. After responding to an emergency call in an abandoned parking lot, Carter finds himself protecting an injured man from a ruthless biker gang. With the odds stacked against him, Carter utilizes his unique Marine skills to stop the bikers’ rampage before any more innocent blood is shed.”

Hulk Hogan Gets Another Win Over Gawker, Hogan's Billionaire Backer Speaks Out, Gawker CEO Responds

Hulk Hogan got another victory in court this week, as a judge in Florida denied a motion by Gawker for a new trial and to have the verdict dropped or reduced. According to The New York Times, Gawker argued that documents that were sealed during the trial should have been made available to the jury, which included Hulk Hogan's racist comments. They also stated that the objectivity of the jurors had been tainted, and that no other Florida defendant had ever been awarded such a large amount in similar cases.

As noted, it was revealed that Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, secretly bankrolled Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker and paid approximately $10 million for the suit. A lawyer for Gawker argued that Thiel was new discovery material, but the judge refused to look at articles regarding Thiel's involvement.

Thiel, a pledged delegate for Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican National Convention, has held animosity towards Gawker ever since the website outed him as gay in 2007 in this article titled, Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.

"It's less about revenge and more about specific deterrence," Thiel told The New York Times this week, after it was revealed that he was funding Hogan's case. "I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest."

Thiel added that "even someone like Terry Bollea who is a millionaire and famous and a successful person didn't quite have the resources to do this alone."

May 25, 2016

WWE Targeting China Expansion

It looks like the WWE could be targeting China as their next market to conquer as along with Lun’s inclusion in the tournament, the company will be holding tryouts in Shanghai next month.

The try outs, which are due to take place from the 13th to the 16th of June, will offer a $40,000 starting salary and three years of training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. In a classic WWE move, however, participants in the try outs are required to be at least six foot two. This is a bit of a stretch, literally, in a country where the average height is around five foot seven.

WWE’s enthusiasm to expand into China has been well documented over the past few years, with increased efforts to give China access to WWE content. Currently, media deals with Sohu and Iqiyi give fans access to RAW, Smackdown, NXT and all WWE Network events for free. And WWE’s top star, John Cena, has learnt Mandarin Chinese and is never shy to show it off at press conferences and other media events.

WWE’s continued efforts in China will be of great interest to not just the wrestling world, but the wider entertainment world as a whole, as China is a huge untapped market for much of the Western media.

Hulk Hogan Funded By Billionaire During Lawsuit Against Gawker?

The New York Times is reporting that professional wrestling legend, Hulk Hogan, had a secret financial backer for his invasion of privacy lawsuit against online media company, Gawker.

In 2012, Gawker published a sex tape of Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, without his permission. This March, the pro wrestling heavyweight was awarded a jury verdict of $140 million as a result.

According to The New York Times, Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, secretly bankrolled Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker, as Thiel was outed as gay by Gawker in 2007 and has had a contentious relationship with the company ever since.

This news comes only days after Nick Denton, Gawker's founder, speculated that Hogan had to have been receiving funds from a third party to finance the lawsuit. The identity of the person who revealed Thiel's involvement in the case remains unknown at this time.

Sasha Banks Reportedly Scheduled For Evaluation This Weekend

We noted before via Wrestling Observer Radio and Squared Circle Sirens that Sasha Banks suffered an injury, rumored to be a concussion, during a six-woman match at the May 15th WWE live event. The "freak accident" happened when the referee accidentally hit Sasha in the head with a solid knee shot. Our original report briefly had the referee misidentified. It was actually referee Darrick Moore involved in the incident.

In an update on Sasha's condition, Uproxx reports that she did suffer a concussion and her next evaluation is scheduled for this coming Saturday. It was also noted that it's anticipated that Sasha will pass the evaluation and be cleared to return to the ring.

It was indicated on this week's Wrestling Observer Radio that the current injury Sasha is dealing with is significant and could put SummerSlam plans in jeopardy as WWE has wanted to do Sasha vs. WWE Women's Champion Charlotte in August.

Conspiracy Thriller ‘SHOOTER’ to Premiere Immediately Following SMACKDOWN on July 19 at 10/9c

Beginning July 19, immediately following SMACKDOWN, USA Network will premiere the new original drama SHOOTER, starring Ryan Phillippe (“Secrets and Lies”), at 10/9c. SHOOTER is based on the best-selling Bob Lee Swagger novel by Stephen Hunter, Point of Impact, and the 2007 Paramount film starring Mark Wahlberg. The series follows the courageous journey of Swagger, a highly-decorated ex-marine sniper who is coaxed back into action after he learns about a plot to kill the President. Mark Wahlberg (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Entourage”) of Closest to the Hole Productions serves as executive producer along with Stephen Levinson (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Ballers”) of Leverage Entertainment; Lorenzo di Bonaventura (“Transformers,” “The Real O’Neals”) and John Hlavin (“The Shield”). The series is a co-production between Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions.

SMACKDOWN Going LIVE On USA Network Beginning Tuesday, July 19

SMACKDOWN to Feature Distinct Roster and Storylines

NEW YORK and STAMFORD, CONN – May 25, 2016 -- USA Network, the exclusive cable home to WWE’s marquee properties, announced that its weekly SMACKDOWN show will air live – for the first time ever – and move to Tuesdays every week beginning July 19 from 8-10PM ET/PT. With the SMACKDOWN move, USA Network will now offer five hours of live WWE programming a week, including the weekly three-hour live WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW (airing Mondays from 8-11PM ET/PT), with each show featuring a distinct cast, unique storylines and a dedicated writing team.

In 2016 to date, MONDAY NIGHT RAW is averaging 4.011MM total viewers, 1.873MM P25-54 and 1.846MM P18-49 L7, and SMACKDOWN in its current time slot is averaging 2.674MM P2+, 1.136MM P25-54, and 1.058MM P18-49+ L7, making USA the #1 cable entertainment network across the key demos on Monday and Thursday nights. In 2015, the two programs combined reached over 50MM viewers. Both shows will now air live 52 weeks a year.

“The fan base for our WWE shows is one of the most passionate and engaged audiences in all of entertainment,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “There is a huge appetite among our viewers for live programming, and the ability to move SMACKDOWN to a live format brings a new level of excitement and helps truly eventize this every week.”

"WWE's flagship programs will both leverage the incredible depth of our talent roster, distinct storylines and the unpredictable nature of live TV," said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. “This move will undoubtedly build more excitement and deepen engagement with our fans around the world.”

With 874 original episodes, SMACKDOWN is the second longest-running weekly episodic program in U.S. television history, only behind MONDAY NIGHT RAW at 1,200 episodes.

May 24, 2016

Eden Announces Her WWE Departure

WWE announcer Eden tweeted the following tonight:

"What I've been teasing for weeks: I've been offered a new opportunity outside of WWE!! So I've decided to part with WWE after tonight. BeingBrandiRunnels.com will continue! Check it out soon for updates on my new career life! Doing things my way! #RhodesStrong"

WWE wrestler Kane considering running for mayor in Knoxville

Kane is looking at a new kind of ring: the political one.

The WWE superstar, whose real name is Glenn Jacobs, is considering running as a Republican for mayor in Knoxville, Tennessee for the 2018 election.

“I think the most important thing is I care very deeply about this community, like a lot of people do,” Jacobs, 49, told WBIR.

“And that’s the only reason I would consider getting into any sort of government because I do care very deeply. And I think it’s incumbent upon people who care about the communities to try to make a difference.”

Chyna's brain to be examined for CTE damage from WWE career

The 7-foot, 300-pound wrestler made his most recent WWE appearance at WrestleMania 32 in April when he was eliminated from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal by eventual winner Baron Corbin.

Over his 25-year wrestling career, he’s racked up 18 titles, including three-time world champion and 12-time world tag team champion.

Jacobs — whose character is the brother of WWE legend The Undertaker — was also the third man to win the WWE Grand Slam.

“I could live anywhere, but the reason I live in Knoxville is that I love it here – I love East Tennessee,” Jacobs said.

“I love the people. I think they have great values and I think they have common sense. And for me, the political philosophy should reflect that – to keep Knox County a great place to live and a great place to raise a family.”

WWE star Adam Rose arrested for domestic violence in Florida

As a small business owner — he and his wife, Crystal, own Jacobs Insurance Associates — Jacobs said he would work within the constraints of the budget and keep county taxes low.

“What I’ve seen in Knox County the past several years is that taxes have remained low because it’s a great place to live. People move here and that helps expands the tax base,” he told WBIR.

“My political philosophy is the ‘smaller the better.’ Government should stay out of the way and let free enterprise do what it does best.”

Jacobs has some competition already, according to the TV station, including Knox County Commissioner Bob Thomas, Knox County GOP chairman Buddy Burkhardt, County Commissioner Brad Anders and state GOP Chairman Ryan Haynes.

Internal Heat Over Cody Rhodes Statement

It was noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that despite losing to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules, WWE does have big plans for AJ Styles. No word yet on what they have planned now that Reigns has apparently moved on to Seth Rollins.

It was also reported on WOR that Cody Rhodes got heat from WWE for the statement he made regarding why he requested his WWE release, particularly the part about about a head writer hitting on developmental divas.

Shane McMahon "Tell All" Podcast Recap

We're live from backstage at RAW in Baltimore as Mick Foley is joined by Shane McMahon. Foley says this is pretty big and Shane is excited. Foley was excited to get the call. He says he feels the need to tell everyone Steve Austin had a shoulder injury and he hopes to fill Austin's big shoes. Foley and Shane say they're ready to go and ready to tell all. Foley asks how it was returning after being gone for 7 years. Shane says it was humbling to return in Detroit that night. He wasn't expecting that reaction. He gets goosebumps thinking about the crowd that night. Foley says there was respect from the fans that night, a lot of respect built up. He asks what it was like growing up the son of Vince McMahon and how his friends dealt with it. Shane says his dad was gone a lot growing up and like every child who has a father that is gone, you wanted them there. Shane says he missed his dad a lot because he was on the road a lot. He grew up always wishing Vince was around more. Foley says that's almost universal among wrestling children. Shane admits his dad is iconic but it became a natural part of his life. He can't imagine what it's like for kids of major celebrities but he became used to it.

Foley asks when Vince got the most mad at Shane when he was a kid. Shane says there are several times but when he was 17, a friend came over on his Kawasaki motorcycle. Vince always told him to stay off the bike because he knew Shane was an adrenaline junkie. Shane got on the bike one day, wearing sneakers, no helmet and shorts. Shane says he was exceeding the speed limit by a lot and when he came back, his friends were there waiting. He didn't know it but his dad was there working with Pat Patterson on a WWE show. Vince came out and told Shane's friends goodbye, they got the point and quickly left. Shane says that was the angriest he saw his dad. He talks about how Vince and Pat always worked by the pool under a cabana. The joke was that people always had to come see them to do business and that person would always end up in the pool. Shane says he decided one time it needed to be his dad going in the pool. Shane hid in the bushes and pushed Vince in the pool, causing Vince to throw a tantrum in the air. Shane says Vince came flying out of the pool after him. Shane bailed in his car for the rest of the day until he called his mom to check on things. He says Vince was pissed because Shane embarrassed him. Foley says Shane has a lot of energy and can rub people the wrong way. He asks if that lead to bullying or problems with other kids. Shane says he was always anti-bullying and never had a problem with kids bullying him. He would never start a fight but could always handle himself.

May 23, 2016

Roman Reigns, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon & Alicia Fox Featured In “The More You Know” Videos

Last fall Triple H noted on Twitter that he and Stephanie were filming vignettes for NBC’s The More You Know campaign. Yesterday NBC began rolling out those videos featuring not only Triple H and Stephanie but also Roman Reigns and Alicia Fox.

Roman Reigns and Alicia Fox's videos are here and here.

WWE Releases Adam Rose

WWE has granted Adam Rose’s request to be released, as of today, May 23, 2016. WWE wishes Rose the best in all his future endeavors.

May 22, 2016

Cody Rhodes Issues Statement On His WWE Release

WWE Releases Cody Rhodes

WWE has come to terms on the release of Cody Rhodes as of today, May 22, 2016. WWE wishes Rhodes the best in all his future endeavors.

May 21, 2016

Cody Rhodes Says He Requested His WWE Release

Rhodes, real name Cody Runnels, took to Twitter to announce that he'd requested his release, saying the last ten years had 'been a trek.' He said that he would speak on his request at a later date.

Stephanie McMahon Interview With Joe DeFranco

May 20, 2016

Details On Syfy Airing Two-Hour Version Of WWE RAW

According to PWInsider.com, Syfy will start airing a condensed, two-hour version of WWE RAW starting tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

The replay was said to be a regular addition to Syfy’s schedule, at least for a few more weeks. Syfy hosted various WWE programs, including ECW from 2006 – 2010, NXT in 2010, and WWE Smackdown from 2010 through 2015 until it moved to USA Network this year. Syfy is owned by NBC Universal, which also owns USA Network.

Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling Coming To Netflix?

GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) owner Ursula Hayden, also known as Babe The Farmer's Daughter, announced on Facebook earlier this week that she signed a deal for a full new season of GLOW TV on Netflix. No other details were given but Diva-Dirt reports that Jenji Kohan, the creator of hit shows Orange Is The New Black and Weeds, is set to begin working on the series. It was also indicated that they are working on a pilot but the full season has not been confirmed yet.

GLOW will apparently tell the tale of a struggling actress in the 1980's, who lands a role on a cult women's wrestling show - GLOW. The Netflix series will focus on the actress struggling through the "many highs and lows of the (not so) glamorous world of wrestling."

Kohan is executive producing while Carly Mensch (Nurse Jackie, Weeds) and Liz Flahive (Nurse Jackie, Homeland) will be writing the pilot.

Kohan got the idea for the new series after watching a GLOW documentary available on Netflix.

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Oderint Dum Metuant: Let Them Hate As Long As They Fear