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February 9, 2016

Daniel Bryan Officially Announces His Retirement, What Happened After RAW, Why He Cut His Hair

Daniel Bryan officially announced his retirement on tonight's WWE RAW from Seattle. Bryan said he's had several concussions after 16 years in the business and it got to the point where he was told he could no longer wrestler. Bryan fought that for a long time until he had tests one week ago that told him that his brain isn't as well as he thought it was. Bryan said that led to his retirement because he has a family to worry about and wants to start having kids with wife Brie Bella.

“Within the first five months of my wrestling career, I’d already had three concussions,” Bryan explained. “For years after that, I would get a concussion here and there, or here, or there, and it gets to the point when you’ve been wrestling for 16 years that it adds up to a lot of concussions. It gets to a point where they tell you that you can’t wrestle anymore.

“I have loved this in a way that I have never loved anything else. But a week and a half ago I took a test that said maybe my brain wasn’t as OK as I thought it was. And I have a family to think about, and my wife and I want to start having kids soon.

“I’ve been angry, I’ve been sad, I’ve been frustrated, and all that. But when I woke up this morning, I felt nothing but gratitude.”

Bryan was then given a send-off by the WWE locker room, including company EVP Triple H (real name Paul Levesque) and majority owner Vince McMahon, Levesque’s father-in-law.

Levesque had been involved in a well-received onscreen feud with Bryan in the spring of 2014, culminating in Bryan’s Wrestlemania victory, in which Levesque and his on- and off-screen wife, Stephanie McMahon, taunted Bryan by claiming he was not the type of wrestler to lead the WWE.

Last year, it emerged that the WWE was being sued by three of its former performers for allegedly concealing the effects of head trauma, in a lawsuit similar to that between the National Football League (NFL) and its retired players.

Bryan delivered a great speech for the RAW over-run, going to 11:30pm EST almost. Bryan also revealed that he cut his hair for the "Wigs For Kids" organization, which provides wigs to kids with cancer with no charge to the family.

After tonight's RAW went off the air, the WWE Network opened up with a live shot from the key Arena with Bryan greeting fans at ringside while the entire roster came to the stage and joined in on the "yes!" chants, including Tripe H, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon. Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton stayed on commentary to remember Bryan's career. Bryan made his way to the ramp and was joined by Brie. With the roster behind him, he faced the crowd and did one last "yes!" chant. Bryan walked up and was hugged by Vince before walking to the back. Video begins at the 41.04 mark.

February 8, 2016


Veteran wrestler and trainer Mike Quackenbush is working at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando as a guest coach this week, according to PWInsider. Quackenbush also owns the CHIKARA promotion.

Daniel Bryan Announces Retirement

Daniel Bryan announced today on Twitter that, effective immediately, he would be retiring from in-ring competition. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion announced that he would elaborate on tonight's episode of Raw.

Rumor Mill - Daniel Bryan Reportedly Tried To Give WWE His Notice, Was Blocked From Doing So

It's been widely speculated that former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan may be appearing on Raw tonight from Seattle, fresh off of his brand new Tide Pods commercial. However, a new report has surfaced, which says that Bryan tried to leave the WWE, but was blocked from doing so.

Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer posted on the Wrestling Classics forum, saying that "He did give notice and was told he did not have the right to give notice."

Bryan's contract has been frozen due to an injury, a provision in Superstar contracts that helps WWE make up lost time when a talent is sidelined. The company was at odds with former WWE Champion Rey Mysterio due to this same clause.

As is pertains to Bryan not having the right to give notice, based on the available talent contracts, that appears to be true. The contract can be pretty much permanently frozen unless Bryan takes the WWE to court.

Bryan has been out of action since last April, when he suffered a concussion in a six-man tag match in the UK. In total Bryan has only been able to wrestle a little under three months over the course of the last 22.

February 7, 2016

CM Punk's First UFC Opponent Revealed

Mickey Gall is officially CM Punk's first UFC opponent after he won his fight against Michael Jackson tonight.

Gall vs. Punk is speculated to take place at UFC 199 in June.

In an interview this week Punk had the following to say on Gall:

"To me, Mickey Gall is a means to an end. He's humble, he's respectful, and he's smart. he called me out when he knew he had Dana (White's) ear. He knew what he had to do, he said my name, so he did the right thing. Honestly, I'm looking forward to meeting him, he seems like a nice kid"

February 6, 2016

Triple H Remembers Friend Lemmy Kilmister; Talks Motorhead And The WWE Audience, Their Friendship

Triple H recently spoke with Metal Hammer magazine to remember his friend Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead. The full interview is at this link. Below are highlights:

What was it like speaking at Lemmy's funeral? You were standing up in front of some of your own rock and metal heroes.

"When they asked me to do it, I asked them, 'Are you asking me because you want me to do this, or are you asking me because you think I want to do this? Because if it's because you think, 'Oh, H would probably want to speak,' then I won't do it'. They said it was because they wanted me to do it, and so yeah, I was sat with Gene Simmons in the front row, and Ozzy's just behind me, and then I'm up there in front of the Metallica guys and Dave Grohl and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. These people are peers and friends of his, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I was honoured to be amongst those people, and I made a point of saying that at the start."

Doing the Game theme and connecting with the WWE audience became a big part of Motörhead's identity moving forwards.

"It's funny; after Motörhead did The Game, Lemmy used to say to me that there were a lot more younger kids at Motörhead shows. You'd get people that'd have heard of Motörhead, but they'd think it was, like, a biker brand or something, like, 'I'd heard of these guys, but I didn't know they sounded like this!' They were just so different to anything else [being used in WWE] at the time. And after I posted on social media after he passed away, a lot of people replied to me saying, 'Thank you for getting me into Motörhead'. That meant a lot to me. We also got some [WWE] flags made for the funeral, and it was really cool seeing those up there as well."

It seemed like you and Lemmy became great friends along the way.

"When we did an interview together a few months ago, they asked him what he thinks about our relationship, and I'm sure I'll get the exact quote wrong, but he basically said that in life you sometimes just have a connection with people. That was really cool!"

Check out the full interview with Triple H at this link.

Did WWE Sign AJ Styles To Replace Daniel Bryan?

AJ Styles Speaks On Meeting Vince McMahon For The First Time & How He Will Be Portrayed In WWE

AJ Styles was a guest on the latest Talk is Jericho podcast. Styles revealed the first discussion he had with Vince McMahon, where they talked about how he would be portrayed on WWE television.

“Him and I did sit down and talk and we talked about this character. I know this character who he’s talking about because I was [a] heel. This guy whose had to fight for everything.”

“The character that he explained to me is very close, very similar to [the guy I am]. He brought it up ‘this is the way you need to be. You’re not the tallest guy, you’re not the biggest guy, but you’re a pit bull.’ I know that guy, I could be that guy.”

Styles also revealed that he found out he would be in the Royal Rumble match the week of the event.

February 5, 2016

Awesome Kong Announces Departure From TNA

Following a physical altercation with Matt Hardy's wife Reby Hardy (real name Rebecca Hardy) prior to last Friday's Impact Wrestling taping at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom, Awesome Kong (real name Kia Stevens) has parted ways with TNA.

TNA announced the release of Kong on its official website this afternoon:

Following a physical altercation in the locker room last week during IMPACT WRESTLING's UK Tour, TNA announces today the release of Awesome Kong (Kia Stevens).

"We conducted an investigation and determined releasing Awesome Kong is the appropriate action in this case," said TNA Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Television John Gaburick. "Kong has been a great contributor to TNA and helped solidify the Knockouts as the best female division in professional wrestling. We thank her and wish her well."

Kong addressed her departure from TNA via Twitter, stating, "My time this round in TNA was fun. Time for me to move on to other things. #Released #HeadHeldHigh."

It was reported Wednesday in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the altercation stemmed from bad blood the two had dating back to 2013.

Both women were assigned to the same locker room at the event after changing in separate rooms at shows they both worked. Kong got upset with Hardy and threw her belongings outside of the room. This led to a profanity-laced argument between the two, with Hardy saying she won't be bullied and for Kong to "f*** off."

This infuriated Kong, who allegedly attacked Hardy. She drove her into a concrete wall and began choking her in front of her son, who was only a few feet away.

The altercation was broken up by security personnel and producer Pat Kenney. There were reports that Hardy had visible marks on her neck.

Chikara: Pro Wrestling's Comic Book Turns the Page

He had previously turned his back on his fellow arthropods – a group known as the Colony ­– and was now supposed to destroy former friend Fire Ant, though judging by the way his tiny antennae was twitching, he was struggling with the task at hand. The crowd surrounding the ring picked up on his hesitation, begged him to remember his past and break free of the bonds that had caused him to go bad. Fire Ant begged too. But given that this was pro wrestling, reason quickly gave way to brute force: An errant blow to the head ended his amnesia, Soldier Ant embraced his opponent and all was right with the world.

Obviously, this did not happen at a Vince McMahon-sanctioned event. Instead, it went down at Top Banana, the season-capping event of Chikara, a Philadelphia-based wrestling promotion where ants and anthropomorphic ice cream cones share the ring with tough-as-nails princesses and all manner of masked marauders. Part badass B-movie, part sugary Saturday morning cartoon, it's wild, weird and everything WWE isn't. And that's precisely the point.

"We wanted to make something different from what we were seeing. It just felt monotonous. Everyone was making the same flavor of wrestling," Chikara founder (and former indie wrestler) Mike Quackenbush says. "I think we were kind of bored. At the end of the Nineties, during the [WWE's] Attitude Era, there was a thought that all characters needed to be written with shades of gray. But clear heroes and villains appeal to me. At a young age, I didn't watch wrestling, but I did read X-Men, I read the Justice League. I wanted to make something like that."

Originally, Quackenbush intended Chikara to be little more than a showcase for the students he was training at the Wrestle Factory, a school he had started with fellow indie grappler Tom "Reckless Youth" Carter. But after debuting in 2002, the promotion began to take on a life of its own, thanks in no small part to the Factory's focus: teaching a truly international style of pro wrestling, heavy on the tough, traditional techniques of Japan and the theatrical acrobatics of Mexican lucha libre. In short, the matches were awesome – but the characters that began to emerge were just as compelling...More?

source: rollingstone.com

Steve Austin On Why WWE Stars Are Getting Injured

Steve Austin recently spoke to FOX Sport about the recent injury plague that has hit WWE and his theory as to why it has happened:

“I just think that, when you look at the game of professional football it’s sped up so much more than it used to be. The guys are bigger, faster, stronger, and I think the same kind of goes with WWE. I think the guys and the gals are working harder and faster, and are more athletic than they ever were. So the athletic sequences are so risky.”

WWE Release Two NXT Trainees

In addition, to the already reported release of three NXT stars, NXT trainees Peter Howard and Magno (Oscar Vasquez) have been let go by the company.

WWE were at one stage high on the signing of Vasquez, he worked extensively on thendependent circuit, including appearances for Ring of Honor, Chikara, and various National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Affiliates, as well as TNA.

Update on the Passing of Axl Rotten

Former ECW wrestler Axl Rotten was found dead Thursday outside of a McDonalds in Baltimore, according to ProWrestlingSheets who spoke to Axl's mother.

The wrestler who appeared for ECW throughout the 90s was found in his car outside the restaurant and his mother believes “Brian lost his battle with his demon.”

It should be noted no drugs were found inside his car but authorities have told the family that he had a cardiac arrest.

WWE Release Three NXT Stars

The official WWE website has removed the profile of NXT stars Bull Dempsey, Marcus Louis and Sylvester Lefort.

It is believed they have all been let go by the company.

Dempsey, who has been with WWE since 2013 tweeted:

"It's been real @WWENXT. Amazing group of coaches & coworkers & a helluva boss. Thank you for the opportunity @TripleH. See ya down the road!"

Lex Luger to be honored by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame issued the following press release on Thursday to announce that Lex Luger will receive the Frank Gotch Award.

Overcoming adversity is the hallmark of this year’s recipient of the Frank Gotch Award. Lex Luger will be presented the award by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum during the 2016 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend on July 21-23.

The Frank Gotch Award is given to a professional wrestler who brings positive recognition to professional wrestling through work outside the ring.

“The Total Package” Lex Luger is one of the most recognized professional wrestlers in the history of the sport. He was a two-time WCW World champion and a five-time NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight champion. He is best known for his feuds with Sting, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair as well as being a member of the famed Four Horsemen. Luger was selected as the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year in 1986 in a class that included Sting and Bam Bam Bigelow. He was also a standout in football, playing for the Miami Hurricanes before a career in the CFL, NFL, and USFL.

On October 19, 2007, Luger suffered a stroke, which led to temporary paralysis. He was in a quadriplegic state for a month after the surgery, but is able stand for short periods of time with his walker. Today, Luger presents a message of hope to thousands across the country.

“The Frank Gotch Award was established to recognize wrestlers who have brought recognition to wrestling beyond the mat,” said Bill Murdock, 2007 winner of the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award and a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee. “Lex Luger personifies this award. His positive message has touched countless people throughout the world. It is an honor to induct Lex into the 2016 Class of the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.”

February 4, 2016

More Details On Tammy Sytch DUI Arrests, Former Diva Facing Mandatory Prison Time

TNOnline.com featured an article today looking at WWE Hall of Famer Tammy "Sunny" Sytch pleading guilty to the three DUI cases against her. As we noted previously on PWInsider.com, Sytch plead guilty to DUI charges stemming from arrests on 5/30/15, 6/1/15 and 6/20/15 as part of a plea agreement.

The Judge presiding over the case is now waiting for the results of a pre-sentencing investigation (which Sytch's defense requested) as well as the results of a drug and alcohol evaluation.

During her hearing on 1/30, Sytch was informed that she will face mandatory prison terms on two of the counts against her. If she is approved for the Intermediate Prisoner Program, she would also be subject to house arrest following her prison term.

The TNOnline.com article, noted that at the time of all of her arrests, Sytch did not have a valid driver's license in any States and provided some additional details on each arrest.

On 5/30, Sytch was stopped by Mahoning Township, PA police after being seen driving erratically into a Wal-Mart parking lot. A test showed a 0.25 percent Blood-Alcohol level.

On 6/1, Sytch was pulled over after her car crossed the solid center yellow line several times and then entered oncoming traffic on Interchange Road in Lehighton, PA. Sytch was unable to provide proof of insurance or a drivers license and was identified via authorities checking records. When he stopped her at 10510 Interchange Road, Lazarchick said she was unable to provide a driver’s license and proof of insurance. He identified her through a records check. Trooper Jonathan Lazarchick of the Pennsylvania State Police reported that her eyes were bloodshot and glassy and that she smelled like alcohol. There was an open bottle of Coors Light in the passenger side of the vehicle and another 11 unopened. The open cap was on the floor of her passenger's side. Sytch claimed she had been drinking the night before, was driving to pick up milk and eggs and when asked to get out of the vehicle, staggered, had problems with her balance and needed to lean on her car to maintain her balance. Her blood-alcohol content was 0.3 percent.

On 6/20, Sytch crashed her car into a ditch in Towamensing Township at 10:40 p.m. and claimed to authorities responding that her GPS had told her to made a "sudden turn", leading to her turning too wide and ending up in the ditch. Sytch told authorities that she was unable to back the car back out. Cpl. Shawn Noonan of the Pennsylvania State Police observed the odor of alcohol and bloodshot eyes. He requested Sytch take a field sobriety test but she claimed to be "in too much pain due to her recently blacking out and falling down the steps." She was taken under arrest for DUI and was given a breathalyzer test back at police barracks. The results of that test were 0.078 percent. Sytch would later claim on social media, in response to PWInsider.com reporting of the case, she was not arrested for DUI when she crashed her car because she had a "seizure."

Click here for the full article.

Axl Rotten Passes Away

Brian Knighton, professionally known as Axl Rotten, was found deceased today in Baltimore, Maryland. According to sources we have spoken with, he was found by authorities in a motel. He had tweeted earlier today, so the belief is he passed away sometime in the last ten hours. Knighton was only 44 years old.

Knighton was best known for his run in the original Extreme Championship Wrestling, where a feud with his storyline brother and former tag team partner Ian Rotten resulted in ECW getting a ton of magazine press and online buzz for the usage of barbed wire baseball bats and a level of blood and violence that wasn't the norm in 1995 anywhere but some of the Japanese death match promotions. The feud was named the 1995 "Feud of the Year" by Pro Wrestling Illustrated Magazine and at the time, the throwback to the old days of wide-eyed, bloody photos in the magazines, mixed with the storyline of two "brothers" trying to maim each other with barbed wire, led to ECW far more coverage than it would have likely

Knighton, as Rotten, was trained by late WCW enhancement talent Joey Maggs and Maryland independent wrestler Ricky Lawless. Although he grew up in Baltimore, Rotten was billed as from the UK and for a time carried a cockney accent. His ring name was a tribute to heavy metal and punk rockers Axl Rose and Johnny Rotten. Metal music was a huge influence for Knighton, who was specifically a massive Kiss fan.

CM Punk Interview Ends After Heated Exchange; Punk On Not Answering WWE Questions, His MMA Training

CM Punk recently spoke with Kevin Wong of Complex Magazine. The full interview can be read at this link. Below are some highlights, including a portion of the awkward end to the interview:

Not wanting to answer WWE questions:

"I don't feel like fielding questions about it [WWE]. I've been there, I've done that, and I've accomplished everything I was going to."

After Punk was asked if he's anxious or intimidated to go from pro wrestling to MMA, they had this awkward exchange that led to the interviewer being informed Punk never wanted to speak to him again:

"I get this question a lot, and it's like you guys think I'm an idiot. Like I didn't know MMA wasn't pre-determined or something like that. Have you ever tweeted at me, 'Hey, do you know what you're getting into?'"

"I never have."

"Okay. It sounds like you might have."

"I don't mean to put you on the defensive…"

"I'm not on the defensive. Your question is insulting. You're asking me if I know the difference between the WWE and the UFC?"

"That's not what I'm asking."

"That's exactly what you're asking... You say my fans say that? You're mistaken. My fans do not say that. I wouldn't say anything to them [my critics]. I don't justify stupidity with an answer. I don't give a s--t what anybody thinks of me, whether I'm going to fight or not. I know what I'm going to do. If I did anything in my life based on someone's negative opinion on me, I would never f--king leave my house. My fans are people who don't tweet negative s--t at me."

Punk also got testy when asked what specific areas he's working on improving with MMA. It's a great read, you can check it out by clicking here.

Rumor Mill - Top WWE Officials Reportedly Meet With Lucha Underground Officials, Lucha Turns Down TNA Idea

WWE officials met with Lucha Underground back in December but nothing came of the meeting, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

WWE was represented by Triple H and Senior Director of Talent Development Canyon Cemen. There was some discussion about talent but the talks went nowhere.

On a related note, TNA recently reached out to Lucha Underground. The company floated the idea of doing a joint show in Dallas during WrestleMania 32 weekend but Lucha Underground turned the offer down. The feeling was that it would be a bad mix.

Rumor Mill - WWE Working On Big Plans For Multi-Week Network Series To Focus On Lighter Weight Wrestlers

WWE is currently working on plans for a multi-week WWE Network series that will focus on lighter weight wrestlers, possibly this coming summer.

Details are still sketchy and plans will likely change or could be nixed altogether, but the idea is to produce a 10 episode tournament for "unknown" wrestlers that haven't appeared on WWE or NXT TV, who weigh less than 205 pounds. One idea was to do something like a Japanese tournament but that could change as well.

Another version of the project would feature all indie wrestlers with the idea that they would be signed to WWE deals if they got over. Another idea was to mix "hot indie guys" with WWE developmental talents and use the show as a way for Manny Andrade (La Sombra) to make a big debut.

February 3, 2016

Billy Gunn talks about DX’s invasion of WCW, his release from the WWE

Former WWE Superstar and trainer Billy Gunn recently spoke with Chris Featherstone for Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard website. The full interview can be found at this link. Below are highlights:

The DX WCW invasion angle and whether there was a plan if they were let inside:

"There wasn't any. Just get on this tank, drive down there, see what you guys can do. And if you get arrested, I'm coming to get you. It wasn't like go try to get arrested, but just go push the boundaries and do whatever you could do. If they would've opened the door, we would have went in. The smartest thing Eric Bischoff could have done was to open the door and let us in. He's got both companies on his TV show! We weren't looking for fights, we weren't looking for trouble. We just went down there to go down there, because at the time, that's what DX did."

DX and nWo being involved with Sting vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 31:

"You're really looking for moments. It is a Sting moment, because it's the first WrestleMania he's ever been in and he's wrestling Hunter. But then again, from a company standpoint, how do we get the most out of this because our fanbase is not really a Sting fanbase? Sting being there is a big moment, but when you have DX and nWo behind that, it makes a little bigger in the majority of the people's eyes. I'm not meaning to downplay Sting in any moment, but the way I look at it, it was just a bigger moment at a WrestleMania, rather than just that single moment."

His 2015 release, for reportedly using PEDs and not notifying WWE of powerlifting meets he was competing in:

"The first thing I want to make clear is the powerlifting meet that I went to. I wasn't on it to win that powerlifting contest because it was me against me anyway. I popped on their test, because I was over their test limit. Let's face it: I'm 52 years old. I have my [prescription] from the doctor, but it was the way it all came out is what they had to do. I don't blame them at all, and I'm going to take every single bit of it because it wasn't fair to NXT for what Hunter had done for the company. What he's done with that brand is amazing. [WWE] had to do what they had to do. They did it, and I'm perfectly fine with it, and hopefully one day they'll hire me back because I feel I was a pretty good coach. It's just the way it all came out. It wasn't anything that WWE did; they [had] to do what they did, and I feel like I let the NXT kids down. I never, ever wanted to do that. Ever. So I'll take that."

Gunn also discussed leaving WWE and going to TNA, recently winning the WWE Tag Team Titles and more in the full interview.

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