s noted, WWE Hall of Famers Booker T and Jerry Lawler will now serve as key analysts on the WWE Network Kickoff specials and pre-shows due to announce team changes in the WWE Draft. They will be joined by Amy "Lita" Dumas and likely host Renee Young.
Lita's role within WWE is shifting from that of a Producer to an on-air panelist for the RAW, SmackDown and pay-per-view pre-shows. As of this coming week, Lita will no longer work as a producer and will work the RAW and SmackDown pre-shows on the WWE Network.
No word yet on who, if anyone, will takeover Lita's previous duties but there has been talk of some of the trainers and coaches from WWE NXT getting called up to work with the main roster.
July 23, 2016
July 22, 2016
Stephanie McMahon Talks Upcoming Book, Why She Loves Playing Heel, Being a Part of the WWE Creative Process, Triple H Proposal & More
Stephanie McMahon did another Q&A with the official WWE Facebook page talking about the process behind her upcoming book. She noted that she does have a ghost writer for the autobiography, his name is Pablo, and he created a structure that Steph is currently going through and re-writing, filing in details and telling her story in her own words.
You can check out the interview in its entirety above, which I actually recommend because it shows a very out-of-character Stephanie that’s very passionate about her family, her kids, and the work she does with WWE behind the scenes and as a character, which she loves doing. Here are the key details:
She will be talking about her home life and her experience as a mother and relationship with her daughters, which is something that doesn’t come out with Stephanie McMahon the character very much.
There will be a book tour and signings that likely correspond with WWE live tour dates.
There will be some details and stories that “shock” the WWE Universe.
Her inspiration for writing this book is that she is turning 40 soon.
Steph says that Vince is very excited for the book and has read the first half so far.
The book has a tentative release date of October 4th.
Triple H does NOT cook dinner at home, unless it can be grilled.
Steph says her kids understand that she plays a character on TV but they don’t understand why she would choose being a villain. She says it’s the most fun, and loves being a heel because the better she is, the better she can make the babyface look.
Her most embarrassing moment was having the wardrobe malfunction where Triple H gave her a Pedigree and her breasts popped out of her top, and then having Howard Stern bring it up on his show.
July 21, 2016
July 20, 2016
As noted, WWE announced new commentary teams earlier today but left Jerry Lawler off RAW and SmackDown. They just announced that Lawler and Booker T will be key analysts on WWE Network pre-shows and Kickoff specials:
In addition to the commentary booth updates on Raw, SmackDown Live and more, WWE Hall of Famers Booker T and Jerry "The King" Lawler will bring their decades of experience in sports-entertainment to recurring Pre-Shows and Kickoffs as key analysts, among other names still to be announced.
ESPN posted the following video featuring Jonathan Coachman appearing on ESPN First Take to discuss the recent news of a concussion related lawsuit against WWE by a large number of former talents.
Coachman talks about his own experiences with concussions and his relationship with Vince McMahon, then says he does not like how people blame Vince for their issues. He says Vince paid them for years and has still helped them out, and in response they sue WWE and blame the company for not taking care of them.
The following is a list of WWE.com roster names who were left off tonight’s draft due to injury or special circumstances. As noted, Heath Slater was labeled “not drafted” by WWE, and no reason was given.
Emma (out with a back injury)
Heath Slater (not drafted)
Luke Harper (Injured with a torn ACL)
Nikki Bella (out with a neck injury)
The Rock (Only makes special appearances)
Rosa Mendes (Currently on maternity leave)
Ryback (Currently amidst a contract dispute)
Tamina Snuka (Injured with torn ligaments)
Triple H (Only makes special appearances)
Tyson Kidd (Out with a spinal cord injury)
The Undertaker (Only makes special appearances)
It’s a New Era for the entire landscape of WWE, which continues to change and evolve with the WWE Brand Extension Draft. That includes the announce teams for WWE programming. The teams for Raw, SmackDown, "WWE Superstars" and WWE Main Event are all experiencing a major shakeup, including one major voice changing shows and several rising commentators being inserted into the lineup.
The new announce teams for WWE’s New Era will feature Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton Monday nights on Raw, while Mauro Ranallo, JBL and David Otunga handle the commentary for SmackDown Live every Tuesday night.
Also receiving a makeover will be the announce teams for WWE Superstars and WWE Main Event. Both shows will be led by Tom Phillips, and he will be joined each and every week by Graves on WWE Superstars and Otunga on WWE Main Event.
July 19, 2016
According to MMAFighting.com, in addition to failing an out of competition drug test taken by USADA from a June 28th sample prior to his UFC 200 fight, Brock Lesnar also failed an in-competition drug test prior to defeating Mark Hunt at UFC 200.
To clarify, in-competition is a window of 12 hours before and after a fight.
The report added Lesnar failed both tests for the same banned substance, and the name of the substance will not be revealed unless Lesnar first reveals it himself.
The second test will very likely be folded into the first one and be considered a single potential doping violation.
UFC’s anti-doping policy states two positive tests could be considered aggravating circumstances, potentially leading to further sanctioning.
Lesnar passed multiple drug tests before failing the one taken from a June 28th sample, and as we noted he was tested eight times in the month leading up to the fight and passed the first five tests. Lesnar has now failed at least two of the last three tests. As noted, Lesnar faces a possible two year ban from UFC.
According to PWInsider.com, the live WWE Cruiserweight Classic finale, airing on September 4th, will likely be to crown the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion. The report added no talents have officially been signed for the division as of yet, but as we noted over the weekend, CWC talents Kota Ibushi and Gran Metalik have signed WWE deals.
WWE will likely be looking to sign additional CWC talents such as Zack Sabre, Jr., Lince Dorado, Jack Gallagher, Akira Tozawa and Cedric Alexander for the returning Cruiserweight division, and they might also use veteran Cruiserweight talents such as Brian Kendrick and Tajiri so there are some familiar faces on Raw in the division.
As noted, Bloomberg reported that WWE was sued by "dozens" of retired wrestlers who are claiming that the WWE was responsible for neurological injuries they suffered from years of wrestling.
The full lawsuit is available at this link. Wrestling Inc.'s own Chris Harrington posted the full list of plaintiffs involved in the suit, which you can check out below:
July 18, 2016
The New York Department of State, the body that governs the New York State Athletic Commission, issued the following statement to WrestlingINC.com in regards to questions about whether the NYSAC would prevent Brock Lesnar from performing at WWE Summerslam in Brooklyn, New York, on August 21. Due to a potential violation of USADA policy, related to drug-testing for his fight at UFC 200, Lesnar may be suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission. There have been questions about whether New York, which also regulates pro wrestling, would enforce that suspension at Summerslam.
In 2002, New York State passed legislation that scaled back the regulation of "professional wrestling" in many respects based on a recognition that the activity is entertainment rather than bona-fide athletic competition. Under current New York State law, "professional wrestling" is defined as wrestling "primarily for the purpose of providing entertainment to spectators and which does not comprise a bona fide athletic contest or competition" (NY Unconsolidated Laws section 8928-b). As such, the State does not license individual wrestlers, and Mr. Lesnar is not a licensee of the New York State Athletic Commission. In the context of "professional wrestling," as defined above, the State licenses only the promoter, such as the WWE. Per New York law, among other health and safety requirements that apply to the licensing of a promoter, the event promoter is required to have a physician examine each wrestler and determine whether each wrestler is medically fit to participate.
The question of whether Mr. Lesnar is fit to participate in a "professional wrestling" event is one that will be determined by the application of the professional medical judgment of the examining physician, the policies of the WWE, and the choices made by Mr. Lesnar with regard to his own participation leading up to the event date.
It seems the state is confirming it wouldn't prevent Lesnar from participating in pro wrestling events such as WWE Summerslam due to an MMA suspension, because New York doesn't license individual wrestlers, and his participation is merely up to the physician, WWE and Lesnar himself.
New York requires all pro wrestling events to have a medical physician present, who determines whether wrestlers are medically fit to participate. WWE provides their own ringside physicians, such as Dr. Chris Amann.
WWE Issues Statement Responding to Lawsuit Filed By Former WWE Wrestlers, More Wrestlers Named as Plaintiffs
As we noted earlier today, 24 former WWE wrestlers, including Jimmy Snuka, Road Warrior Animal, Chavo Guerrero Jr and more have filed a lawsuit against WWE over brain injuries.
The lawsuit alleges WWE failed to care for wrestlers’ repetitive head injuries “in any medically competent or meaningful manner.
Additionally, the lawsuit argues that despite WWE’s ironclad control over the Plaintiffs, WWE refused and continues to refuse to classify its wrestlers as employees. WWE maintains the untenable position its wrestlers are independent contractors, requiring its wrestlers to sign unconscionable “Booking Contracts,” employment contracts of adhesion intended solely for the benefit of WWE and VKM. These contracts were drafted by WWE and its army of attorneys to restrict and abolish all of Plaintiffs’ rights and to fraudulently misrepresent and deceive both Plaintiffs and the federal government. The misclassification of wrestler-employees as “independent contractors” effectively eliminated WWE’s wrestlers’ knowledge of any employment rights they had under federal and state law, including OSHA, FMLA, and the NLR Act. The Booking Contracts are nothing more than an unconscionable scheme to save money in violation of public policy and the legal rights.
WWE has issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
“This is another ridiculous attempt by the same attorney who has previously filed class action lawsuits against WWE, both of which have been dismissed. A federal judge has already found that this lawyer made patently false allegations about WWE, and this is more of the same. We’re confident this lawsuit will suffer the same fate as his prior attempts and be dismissed.”
The new WWE General Managers have been revealed - Daniel Bryan for SmackDown and Mick Foley for RAW.
The announcements were made by RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon on tonight's RAW from Providence.
Stephanie also announced that the company will be launching a new cruiserweight division and it will be exclusive to Monday nights. She said this is being done due to the success of the Cruiserweight Classic.
Jimmy Snuka, Chavo Guerrero, Road Warrior Animal, Marty Jannetty, Paul Orndorff and 19 Other Wrestlers Suing WWE Over Brain Injuries
According to Bloomberg.com, Jimmy Snuka, Road Warrior Animal and numerous other former WWE stars are all plaintiffs in a lawsuit against WWE alleging the company failed to care for wrestlers’ repetitive head injuries “in any medically competent or meaningful manner.”
WWE is also accused in the lawsuit of misrepresenting and concealing the nature of long-term neurological injuries they suffered during their careers. The following is a list of plaintiffs who have joined the lawsuit, according to Pro Wrestling Sheet:
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Bryan Clark aka Adam Bomb
King Kong Bundy
With this Tuesday's WWE Draft on the premiere of SmackDown Live on USA Network fast approaching, WWE.com answers the biggest questions of the WWE Universe with a breakdown of the official rules, regulations and procedures for one of the biggest nights in WWE history — including a major update that will change the face of NXT as well.
The rules for the WWE Draft are as follows:
Raw has the first overall pick
Since SmackDown Live is a two-hour show and Raw is three hours, for every two picks SmackDown Live receives, Raw will receive three picks
Tag teams count as one pick unless a Commissioner/General Manager specifically only wants one member of the team
Six draft picks will be made off the NXT roster
The list of current WWE Superstars eligible for the WWE Draft will be as follows:
*Triple H and The Undertaker are not on the list
July 17, 2016
During his time in the NFL, Quinn Ojinnaka earned his keep by performing the grueling (and often thankless) tasks of an offensive lineman. He was a versatile guard/tackle who was capable of filling in when needed, and typically not someone whom the media watched closely.
Ojinnaka’s journey into pro wrestling, however, has shown him what it’s like to be a star.
After two years with the wrestling company Ring of Honor, Ojinnaka, who goes by “Moose” in the ring, became the subject of widespread speculation when his last contract expired. Dubbed the biggest name in the sport’s free agency, it was unclear whether he’d re-sign with ROH or head elsewhere. Rumors swirled; Ojinnaka remained coy on social media.
The answer came last Tuesday night, as Moose made a surprise appearance on IMPACT WRESTLING’s live show, Destination X, confirming he joined the company TNA. He surprised fans by interrupting the Title vs. Title Main Event, showed off his new finishing move, The Gamebreaker, and took out both wrestlers to end the night.
“It was the first time in about two years I had nerves running through my body,” Ojinnaka, who spent four years with the Falcons, said. “I was shaking. It’s always a great experience when my music hits and I walk out there. It’s a new chapter and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. It was definitely amazing. It was a surreal experience”
Ojinnaka’s transition to a new home marks a big step in his career. At TNA, the second-biggest wrestling company out there, he’ll get to face top competition on a regular basis. He’ll receive plenty of exposure, too, thanks to TNA’s broadcast deal and production value.
“It was a bit stressful because of all the craziness that came with it, but I feel like I made the right decision,” he said. “I’m with TNA and ready to roll.”
July 16, 2016
When Sarah Stock first traveled to Mexico in 2003, she arrived eager to learn all she could about the unique art of lucha libre, even though she spoke no Spanish and had barely a year of ring experience to lean on.
The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, knew she wanted to pattern her career after the paths laid out by her heroes, fellow Canadians like Chris Jericho and Owen Hart, which meant first establishing herself in her home country and then traveling abroad to expand her skill set in faraway places. What she didn’t realize then was that her sojourn to Mexico, which was supposed to last only three months, would take on a life of its own.
By the time Stock finally left, to accept a coaching position at the WWE Performance Center, 12 years had passed, and the luchadora once known as “The Dark Angel” had evolved into one of the most internationally acclaimed female wrestlers. She learned Spanish, sure, but she also toured Japan and the United States, capturing titles wherever she went, all while maintaining a home base in Mexico, where the opportunities to perform were plentiful. Along the way, she notched historic milestones, too, such as becoming the first female wrestler to force an opponent to unmask inside Arena Mexico, the country’s oldest venue.
Now looking to instill perseverance and mental toughness — “the two things you need to be a survivor in this industry” — in NXT’s recruits, Stock said the transition from competitor to coach has been more fulfilling than she ever imagined.
“When you’re in the ring, you think there can’t be anything more rewarding than an entire arena cheering for you,” she said. “Then you help somebody understand something about wrestling in the ring, or you see a lightbulb go off for somebody who’s new, and it’s even more rewarding.”
After acing a series of guest-coaching stints, Stock officially joined the Performance Center staff in October 2015, just as the Divas-turned-Women’s Revolution was truly taking hold in WWE. With a primary focus of instructing the female Superstars of tomorrow, Stock has quickly proven herself a valuable member of the team.
“It’s been really cool to have a second female opinion, because the girls get another chance, a different viewpoint, but still somebody who’s relatable for them,” Assistant Head Coach Sara Amato said. “She’s been a much-needed addition.”
As noted, the UFC announced Friday night that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Brock Lesnar of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation from an out-of-competition sample collection taken on June 28, 2016. Lesnar issued a short statement to the Associated Press, saying, "We'll get to the bottom of this."
The Associated Press also reported that they received three letters from USADA to Lesnar informing him that he had passed tests on three other samples collected in mid-June, days before the sample with the potential violation was collected.
Lesnar's opponent at UFC 200, Mark Hunt, said that he wants UFC to "sort" the situation out or he wants his release.
"They say they are trying to clean up the sport, but it doesn't feel like it," Hunt told MarkHunt.TV. "The UFC is basically saying if you cheat you won't be penalised.
"This is the third time I've had to fight a cheater in my career. The other two times I didn't ask for compensation, but this is the third time and I'm sick of them getting away with cheating. I've told Dana that I want a release from the UFC if they don't sort this out."