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July 15, 2018

Hulk Hogan reinstated into WWE Hall of Fame

After a three-year suspension, Hulk Hogan has been reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame. This second chance follows Hogan’s numerous public apologies and volunteering to work with young people, where he is helping them learn from his mistake. These efforts led to a recent induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame.

July 13, 2018

ROH Dojo Announces Partnership with Four Other Major Wrestling Schools

The following comes from ROHWrestling.com:

The ROH Dojo is now officially open in Baltimore, MD and is an invite-only program for future ROH stars. With that, ROH is proud to announce its affiliation with four of the top, internationally-recognized wrestling schools in the world. The World Famous Monster Factory, Team 3D Academy, Maryland Championship Wrestling, and the Power Factory will provide a pipeline of talent and well over 150 years combined in professional wrestling among their trainers and lineages.

The World Famous Monster Factory has produced numerous World Champions seen on television since the late 1970s, with Larry Sharpe training some of the day’s top stars before the Monster Factory officially launched in Paulsboro, NJ 1983 under its historic name. The Monster Factory, led by Danny Cage, possess one of the longest and most accomplished lineages of alumni of any school in the country. Danny Cage continues to open doors all over the world for aspiring wrestlers with his state of the art facility.

For 11 years, Bully Ray and Devon have owned and operated Team 3D Academy in Kissimmee, FL, providing hands-on training from the most accomplished professional wrestling tag team of all time. Bully and Devon have most recently been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and have produced many stars that have been seen on television for organizations all across the globe!

Since 1998, Maryland Championship Wrestling in Joppa, MD has served as a training home for some of the fastest-rising stars in professional wrestling. The host of the Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup each year, MCW has turned from one of the top showcases in the world for the brightest independent stars to one of the top producers of blue chip talent in the world. Head ROH Dojo Trainer Joey from Wrestling has led many of the most recent classes, building on the legacy created by owner Dan McDevitt and current trainers R.J. Meyer and Dean Gutridge.

Lastly, The Power Factory is the youngest school among the affiliates of the ROH Dojo but its trainers have nearly 40 years combined experience in professional wrestling. Ray Lloyd (aka Glacier) and QT Marshall lead the Power Factory in Norcross, GA, near Atlanta, GA! Lloyd and Marshall have state of the art facilities, as well as strength coaches and dieticians to help you get to the next level and have seen blue-chip prospects appear on international television in the just-under-one year they have been in existence!

These four schools will serve as partners for developing young talent who will train to learn wrestling, communication, and all other aspects needed to enter the ROH Dojo and become an ROH Star. Keep it locked in to ROHWrestling.com for the latest news on the ROH Dojo and if you are ready to begin your journey to success in professional wrestling, please contact one of our affiliates nearest to you!

July 12, 2018

GLOW Nominated For 10 Emmys

While WWE was unsuccessful in their bid for an Emmy nomination, congratulations go out to the cast of Netflix’s GLOW as they were nominated for 10 Emmys. Nominations include Outstanding Comedy Series.

July 10, 2018

This Week's WWE RAW Draws Lowest Viewership In History

Monday's WWE RAW, featuring the final red brand hype for Extreme Rules with Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins in the main event, drew 2.470 million viewers. This is down 8.8% from last week's 2.707 million viewers and a new viewership low for 2018. This is also the lowest RAW viewership in history, coming in under the 2.478 million viewers from the September 26th, 2016 episode, which went up against the Trump - Clinton Presidential Debate and Monday Night Football.

For this week's show, the first hour drew 2.582 million viewers (last week's hour 1 - 2.641 million), the second hour drew 2.508 million viewers (last week's hour 2 - 2.822 million) and the final hour drew 2.320 million viewers (last week's hour 3 - 2.658 million).

RAW was #4 for the night in viewership on cable, behind Hannity, Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle. RAW was #2 in the 18-49 demographic for the second week in a row, behind Love & Hip-Hop.

Hannity topped the night in viewership on cable TV with 5.817 million viewers. The Bachelorette drew 5.677 million viewers on broadcast TV in the 8pm hour while MOM drew 3.908 million viewers on broadcast TV, also in the 8pm hour, and American Ninja Warrior drew 4.999 million viewers in the 8pm hour.

July 9, 2018

Jay Lethal Responds To The Allegations

Taeler Hendrix made an accusation last week that she lost her push in ROH because she refused to sleep with Jay Lethal. ROH responded by saying they are taking this claim seriously and they are currently investigating the matter.

Lethal broke his silence on the matter as he tweeted out a message to his fans. He wrote a full response in a notepad and included it as an attached screenshot.

"Please do not use my words here as fuel to attack myself or my accuser, there is already too much hate going around in the world so let's not add to it," Lethal advised in his tweet.

"Let me be clear, there is absolutely no validity to these baseless allegations. Throughout my career, I have sought to conduct myself with honor and integrity. I would never engage in any conduct that disrespects this business or the men and women in this industry.

Every individual has a right to be heard and must be given every opportunity to speak truth to power. Anyone engaging in misconduct or abuse of any kind simply has no place in our business or our society.

I am confident that these unfortunate allegations will be proven to be completely unfounded at the conclusion of Ring Of Honor's investigation."

Why Fox Was Attracted To WWE, What Happened With The ESPN - WWE Negotiations, More On TV Deals

Sports Business Daily has a new article looking at how WWE's new deal with Fox marked the end of more than two years of negotiations among TV networks looking to land deals with WWE and the UFC. The article also looks at how two of the top entertainment agencies went head-to-head for their clients - Endeavor worked the five-year $1.5 billion deal between UFC & ESPN while Creative Artists Agency (CAA) crafted the $2.34 billion deal between WWE and NBCUniversal & Fox. Below are a few notes from the piece:

* While considering a future with or without UFC, Fox started looking at other sports content to fill nights on its broadcast network as part of a new strategy that focused on live programming in primetime. It sounds like Fox first started looking at WWE some time in 2017 and Fox insiders were attracted to the consistently high ratings & passionate fanbase that WWE has.

* WWE's negotiation period with NBCU ran until mid-May of this year but officials had already been making the rounds to get to know other TV executives through a series of "get-to-know-you meetings. The networks had one significant issue - Endeavor owns UFC and Endeavor's Ari Emanuel is friends with Vince McMahon, who asked Ari to represent WWE during media talks. Networks did not feel comfortable negotiating with the same person who was working on behalf of two competing sports brands. This was seen as a conflict of interest and networks made it clear to WWE officials. WWE hired CAA, a top rival of Endeavor, soon after a WWE show in Los Angeles during the spring of 2017 where Fox Sports President Eric Shanks pulled Vince to the side to point out the conflict of interest. Fox pushing for the change annoyed Ari and indicated that UFC & Fox would have trouble coming to a deal.

* Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Co-President George Barrios and Co-President Michelle Wilson met with ESPN executives 4 times from December 2017 through the spring. ESPN had upped their coverage of WWE and was receptive to talks but it was soon clear that a deal was not going to be reached. The issue between ESPN and WWE came down to scheduling as RAW & SmackDown are produced every week and ESPN can't afford to give any sport 52 weeks in a year.

* ESPN did consider WWE programming for their ESPN+ streaming service but that would have directly competed with the WWE Network.

* WWE soon targeted Fox and made it clear they were interested. Fox did the same. Shanks and other Fox executives were shown on camera during a May 2017 RAW show from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. WWE was still in the exclusive window with NBCU, which ran until mid-May, but Stephanie, Triple H and other WWE executives made a point to visit the Fox lot for an informal meet & greet. WWE told Fox executives then that they could not discuss terms of a potential deal until NBC's exclusive window closed but both sides were interested.

* Bonnie Hammer, a longtime friend of WWE's and chairman of the NBCU cable entertainment group, was leading the renewal talks with WWE. Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting & Sports, oversees all major sports rights negotiations for NBCU but they view WWE as an entertainment property so Hammer led the talks while he was on hand to participate in strategy sessions and offer advice. NBCU officials knew Fox was interested in WWE but they believed WWE ultimately wanted to stay on the USA Network. They also believed WWE fans wanted consistency as they knew where they could go to see RAW on Mondays and SmackDown on Tuesdays.

* WWE had been averaging $130 million per year for each show in previous deals and that figure was considered well below the market value by network executives. WWE officials knew they were negotiating from a strong position and decided to split their TV package in two. CAA told Hammer they wanted $265 million per year for RAW and $200 million per year for SmackDown - a 358% increase. NBCU's exclusive window closed on May 16th and they informed WWE they would take RAW for $265 million but they would not renew SmackDown. The next day WWE executives visited the Fox offices in New York City for the meeting that included Rupert Murdoch. The $205 million per year deal that would move the blue brand back to Fridays was settled on that day as both sides quickly realized they were close to an agreement. WWE signed the five-year SmackDown deal with Fox and renewed a five-year RAW deal with NBCU for USA.

Stephanie McMahon On List Of Most Influential Women In Sports

Stephanie McMahon is more than the Billion Dollar Princess we see on television. Aside from her duties as Commissioner Of Raw, she is also WWE's Chief Brand Officer and appears on the company's behalf on a regular basis.

McMahon is featured in AdWeek's list of 30 Most Influential Women In Sports. The feature mentions McMahon's participation in WrestleMania 34 and her match tagging with Triple H against Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle. It was noted WrestleMania 34 broke the record for highest-grossing entertainment show at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with $14.1 million.

It was also mentioned how WWE continues to strengthen their influence on women's sports entertainment by growing the status of women in the company. Rousey's signing put a huge spotlight on the Women's Division, and WWE nearly doubled the roster of female Superstars in the past three years. WWE has also hired three female coaches and a female referee.

Mattel's line of WWE Superstar Barbie Dolls was noted as an accomplishment as well. Due to these increased efforts to focus on women, WWE's female fan base is said to have increased by 40%.

July 6, 2018

Ronda Rousey Becomes First Woman Inductee In UFC Hall Of Fame

Ronda Rousey helped sell millions of pay-per-views during her MMA career and it helped transcend Rousey past her MMA roots into mainstream pop culture. She has acting and media appearances under her belt as a result of her MMA and Olympic fame. Signing with WWE brought her to a marquee match at WrestleMania 34 where she and Kurt Angle defeated Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in her first match with the company.

She is now a WWE Superstar and competing on the Raw Brand, but Rousey was awarded last night in her previous home because she is now a UFC Hall Of Famer. Matt Serra was inducted into the Pioneer Wing, Art Davie was placed in the Contributors Wing, and Rousey received the honor of being the latest to enter the Modern-Era Wing of the UFC Hall Of Fame.

Rousey is the first female inductee into this elite club of fighters, but during her acceptance speech, she hoped there will be more to come. She also praised everyone involved for the group effort it took to help move along the women's fighting revolution.

"Because of you I am the first woman standing up here accepting this incredible honor, may I be the first of many," Rousey said. "I look around and I see together we have built this. This division, this sport, this revolution. Together we have redefined what it means to be strong, to be sexy. We have changed what it means to fight like a girl."

ROH Issues Statement Regarding Allegations Against Jay Lethal

Former ROH star Taeler Hendrix recently made allegations saying her run in Ring Of Honor was sabotaged due to the fact she wouldn't sleep with current-ROH World Champion Jay Lethal.

Hendrix replied to a fan standing up for Lethal's accomplishments by saying, "the dude you're standing up for is the same dude that told me because I didn't sleep with him they sabotaged me and took me off TV. that being the all mighty Jay."

She also said in a later social media post that her attorneys are working on this case at the moment. These allegations came out a week after Lethal started his second run as ROH World Champion.

Ring Of Honor released a statement to PW Torch on the matter. ROH said they are troubled to hear about these allegations and are taking the matter very seriously. They said appropriate action will be taken after they draw a conclusion following an investigation.

"We were troubled to hear the allegations that surfaced last night on Twitter. We take these matters very seriously and will be investigating this situation thoroughly, reviewing all evidence related to the matter. Ring of Honor strives to provide an environment and workplace where male and female wrestlers are free from any misconduct or abuse. We will take appropriate action upon the conclusion of our findings."

June 30, 2018

Triple H Offers To Save Toys R Us Mascot With NXT Opportunity

Toys "R" Us is unfortunately officially closed, but before he retires Geoffrey might have a chance to step into a WWE ring thanks to Triple H.

As the store wound down, a photo made the rounds of the store's mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe wearing a hat and sunglasses with a suitcase, apparently on his way to enjoy a nice retirement or at least a vacation. Some fans evidently used that opportunity to place Geoffrey in front of the WWE Performance Center and inside of it too, where the wrestlers of NXT and Tough Enough have trained.

Triple H got a big kick out of the images and took to social media to tease that maybe fans will see Geoffrey in an NXT ring someday.

"Thanks for recommendation. You know what they say, Geoffrey when one door closes...another one opens! #WeAreNXT WWEPerformanceCenter.com."

Odds are you won't see Geoffrey going against Adam Cole or Velveteen Dream anytime soon, but it's nice to know if he wanted to he at least has options.

June 26, 2018

WWE And FOX Announce New SmackDown TV Deal For FOX Sports, Vince McMahon Touts Perfect Match

WWE and FOX issued the following today:

FOX Sports Becomes New Home of SmackDown® Live

06/26/2018 - NEW YORK & STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- For the first time, every Friday night beginning October 4, 2019, FOX broadcast network will air WWE®'s flagship program SmackDown Live as part of a new five-year agreement with FOX Sports. The weekly, two-hour live event will air 52 weeks a year and captivate fans with a unique combination of edge-of-your-seat action, unpredictable drama and world-class athleticism.

"At FOX we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the FOX Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television," said Eric Shanks, President, COO and Executive Producer FOX Sports. "We are huge fans and know that together FOX Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future."

"WWE and FOX are a perfect match," said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. "Moving SmackDown Live to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX's extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming."

SmackDown Live is a consistent winner on television, currently averaging1 1.3M P18-49, 1.3M P25-54 and 3M total viewers P2+.

On air for almost 20 years and nearly 1,000 episodes, SmackDown Live is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable television show in U.S. primetime history, only behind Monday Night Raw®. SmackDown Live is currently among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable and delivers more viewers in primetime than any cable network in the U.S. (2.9 million average viewers).

SmackDownLive has also helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne "The Rock®" Johnson, John Cena®, Undertaker®, Triple H®, "Stone Cold®" Steve Austin and The Bella Twins™.

1: Source: Nielsen NNTV, 2018 YTD through April (1/1/18-4/30/18), Live+7 Average Viewers for selected demographics (P18-49, P25-54, P2+).

USA Network and WWE® Monday Night Raw® Extend Long-Standing Partnership

Three-Hour Live Programming Block to Continue Weekly on Cable's #1 Entertainment Network

NEW YORK & STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- USA Network and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a five-year extension for WWE's flagship program Monday Night Raw. The new agreement for the live, weekly three-hour block which commences in October 2019 continues WWE and USA's nearly three decade-long relationship. Monday Night Raw, the #1 show on USA Network, delivers action, drama, compelling storylines and unmatched athleticism, 52 weeks per year.

"Monday Night Raw and USA Network have dominated Monday nights during a truly historic run," says Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. "Our partnership with WWE is one of the strongest and most successful in the business, and together we'll take Raw to even greater heights."

"We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal and USA Network," said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. "Monday Night Raw has been synonymous with USA Network and we are excited about what the future holds for WWE's flagship program."

On the air for 25 years and more than 1,300 episodes, Monday Night Raw is the longest-running weekly episodic television show in U.S. primetime history and consistently a ratings juggernaut. Among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable, Raw delivers more viewers in the U.S.than all sports other than the NFL. On USA Network, the weekly block is currently averaging 1.7M P18-49, 1.7M P25-54 and 3.6M total viewers P2+1.

Since its debut in 1993 on USA, Raw has been watched nearly 6 billion times in the U.S. alone. In its 25-year history, Raw has helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne "The Rock®" Johnson, John Cena®, Undertaker®, Triple H®, "Stone Cold®" Steve Austin and The Bella Twins™.

1Source: Nielsen NNTV, 2018 YTD through May (1/1/18-5/31/18), Live+7 Average Viewers for selected demographics (P18-49, P25-54, P2+).

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