“Never in [Full Sail]. On the main roster, he was always there on the road. Talked to him a handful of times, never had any long conversations with him, a couple of seconds or a minute here or there. At the big shows, he’d pop up. The San Jose show before WrestleMania, Brooklyn, Dallas he was there. As far as coming down to the Performance Center in Florida, I never saw him down there. It’s kind of Triple H’s building.”
June 30, 2016
Recently on MLW Radio's Writers Room, Dave Bautista, also known as WWE's Batista, shared some insight into his most recent WWE run. According to 'The Animal', his time with the company in 2014 was a struggle from the start. Batista talked about some of the problems he faced during the stint. The six-time world champion claimed that he stayed with the company longer than originally planned during his 2014 run and he divulged why he did not return to WWE for SummerSlam 2014.
According to Batista, his 2014 WWE run was a struggle from the start as he did not share the same creative vision for his return as Vince McMahon.
"Right from before I went back, I was arguing with them. For one, Vince wanted me to come back as a babyface and I was like, 'it's not going to work, Vince. I'm a heel. [The fans] want me to be a heel. They like me as a heel. I'm a good heel!' He was like, 'no, they miss you. They love you.' And I was like, 'Vince, that's going to last for like two seconds.' And then, also, the first night I came back, they wanted me to come out and do this goofy thing with all these other people in the ring and I was like, 'it's my first night back! Give me five minutes alone, me and the fans. Let me just have the ring to myself for a night, my first night back.' And they didn't want to do that, so it was a real struggle from the very beginning."
Batista indicated that McMahon wanted to push him too hard. Also, Batista said that some fans blamed him for CM Punk's departure.
"I was just beating my head against a wall, struggling, fighting with them, arguing. Everyday I was standing outside of Vince's office waiting to talk to him." Batista recalled, "Vince just wanted to push me, shove me down their throats, as a babyface. It just got worse and worse and the more they shoved me down people's throats, the more they resented me for being there. And then, there was all this stuff with [CM] Punk leaving and somehow I was blamed for that. I don't know. It was just really odd. It just wasn't very good from the very beginning."
Interestingly, Batista claimed that he stayed with WWE longer than he originally planned because he was "unsatisfied" by his return.
"I was just starting to really break into my stride when I had to leave. And I had to leave. I stayed a month longer than I was supposed to because I just felt so unsatisfied by that return. It just broke my heart because I was thinking about for years going back. I missed it and I wanted to be there. So I was just starting to hit my stride and I literally had to leave because I just started promoting Guardians [of the Galaxy]."
Apparently, Batista wanted to return to WWE for SummerSlam (2014), but when he brought up the possibility of being with the company while also being in the number one film at the same time, he was disrespected by Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.
"When I left, and I haven't talked to a lot of people about this, and I don't care if they're pissed about me saying something, but I wanted to come back and do SummerSlam." Batista continued, "I wanted to come back around [the time of] the release of the film, around Guardians. And I said, 'wouldn't it be great if I was back and I was also in the number one movie in the world?' And they kind of had a snicker and there was, you know, 'yeah, well, we don't know if the movie's going to be that good.' And it was one of those moments. Literally, and I swear I'm not exaggerating. It was that and it was a very uncomfortable moment where I think they were just kind of doubting me and laughing in my face. And I was like, 'okay'. But it's not that I wanted to leave. I even wanted to come back. It's just that they're really difficult to work with and they're just not very flexible.
"If I ever went back it would be a lot different, a lot different for sure. For one, I'd make sure even before I went back that I knew what I was getting into and they had a plan and stuck to it and I'd hold them accountable for what they promised me. The last time, I really didn't and I'm really sorry about the way the whole thing went, man, still. I'm a little sour about it still."
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting WWE ordered Roman Reigns to go to the locker room and apologize to everyone after his 30 day suspension was announced.
According to a source, Reigns went to the locker room and apologized to everyone before flying home, and it came with mixed reactions. The Observer noted the source said there was no need to humiliate him, but other people disagreed. The request reportedly was made by Mark Carrano, which would mean it came down from Paul Levesque, not Vince McMahon.
On a related note, Reigns won’t get paid any wrestling pay during the suspension, which was guessed to be around $100,000, less than what he’d miss out on if he was suspended from any PPV’s too. Reigns will still get paid merchandise and royalty checks, but will miss out on live event, PPV and downside guarantee money.
June 29, 2016
WFTV in Orlando reports that WWE reached out to Orlando city officials after the Pulse nightclub terror attack earlier this month to offer their assistance.
WWE hosted RAW from Orlando just one day after the attack that left 49 dead and 53 injured in the city, opening with a tribute to the victims. Recently released e-mails by city officials show that Stephanie McMahon reached out to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and offered to "do everything we can to help support you and your efforts to rebuild the constitution of your great city."
WWE nor Orlando officials would confirm to WFTV what may be in the works but said discussions have taken place. Stephanie also told Dyer that she and other WWE stars were grieving with the residents of Orlando, calling the city a "second home" to the company.
Stephanie also asked about what WWE could do to help the victims and the city, writing: "We are already brainstorming ideas to help raise money for the OneOrlando fund, and I wanted to know if there was more we could be doing."
Dyer responded: "Thank you Stephanie for your kind words and your generosity. Someone will be in touch with you."
June 28, 2016
Stephanie McMahon Talks WWE Not “Necessarily” Supporting Brock Lesnar in UFC, Why UFC is Not Competition to WWE, Social Media
While attending the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France last week, Stephanie McMahon spoke with Lara O’Reilly of Business Insider and below are some interview highlights:
O’Reilly: How much do you listen to what fans say on social media and how much does that influence what you do as a company, but also storylines?
McMahon: I think it’s one of the secret sauces to our success if you will is that our fans are a part of our show. They engage, they chant, they cheer, they boo. There’s a problem when they don’t react. So, in essence, every live event is like a focus group. So we are getting that real-time feedback from them, in the arena.
Another reason why I think social media was so successful for WWE is because of that fan engagement, because they are a part of what we do, therefore, even when they are not live in the arena, they have influence through social media. I think that it’s so important. A lot of brands just push messages out on social media, but that’s not what social is about. Social is about engaging, it’s about a conversation, it’s about listening and then responding, it’s an ongoing conversation with our fan base.
So when you consider the fact that our fans influence what happens in a match – a lot of it is improv, so they can dictate the flow if something’s not working, you can make an adjustment on the fly. They dictate what’s being said. They can often chant or you can get a feeling they are not engaged with the content, so you have to find a way to transition around that.
O’Reilly: Brock Lesnar [an NCAA wrestler, turned-WWE star, who is now rising to UFC fame] is a really interesting story right now. You’ve not necessarily ever done cross-brand promotions with the UFC before. Are you realizing there is a place for both UFC and WWE? Do they compete in any way? And also the fact that he’s flipped from one to the other and then back again.
McMahon: Brock is a unique proposition, but just to get to the broader question: UFC is not a competitor to the WWE because we are entertainment and UFC is competitive sport. It’s very different. WWE is all about protagonists and antagonists where ultimately our conflicts are settled in the ring with action that is akin to Hollywood. It’s incredible stunt-like action and the match itself tells a story, but our audience is engaged in the characters and their storyline. It has to be relatable to them so that they care to see the tragedy or triumph and we’re at an advantage because we can script it.
UFC, they can make a big star but the second that person loses, they lose credibility, and how do you continue to make that star rise? So I think we have the best of both worlds and the opportunity to tell the stories in the way we want to tell them.
In Brock Lesnar’s case it was really a special case that we are allowing him to do this fight [against Mark Hunt on July 9]. But like you said it’s not really a cross-promotional opportunity, but we are allowing him to participate in that fight.
E! SETS PREMIERE DATE FOR NEW SERIES "TOTAL BELLAS"
WWE Superstars The Bella Twins(TM), John Cena(R) and Daniel Bryan(R) Move In Under One Roof in New Spin-Off Series Premiering Wednesday, October 5 at 8:00pm ET/PT
LOS ANGELES, CA - June 27, 2016 - Two's company, three's a crowd, and these four - are just too much to handle. E! Entertainment exposes the Raw and real lives of WWE(R) Superstars Nikki and Brie Bella when "Total Bellas," spin-off of E!'s mega-hit series "Total Divas," premieres Wednesday, October 5 at 8:00pm ET/PT. The six, one-hour episodes will give viewers an exclusive, intimate look into the VIP lives of the Bellas and their fellas, John Cena and Daniel Bryan, as the four distinctly unique and comical personalities coexist under one roof for the first time.
Although these twins share the same genes, they will never share the same jeans as living together was more tolerable when they just shared a womb. The free-spirited, vegan-loving, live-and-let-live lifestyle of Brie and Bryan has always clashed with the fancy panache of the designer handbag-loving Nikki and the meticulously organized tendencies of John. However, when the four world-renowned WWE Superstars move in under one roof, the comical clash of titans rings all throughout the suburbs of Tampa, FL.
The series kicks-off with Nikki and John being sidelined by injuries and Daniel's recent retirement from the ring. This docu-series will follow the odd-couple relationships of these eccentric WWE Superstars as Brie does her best to nurse, not only Nikki, but John and Daniel back to health, all while trying to retain their sanity. With Nikki's recent neck surgery, Brie's retirement at WrestleMania(R), Daniel's untimely retirement from WWE, and John's rising profile in Hollywood, fans will get an exclusive beyond-the-ropes glimpse into how these dynamic individuals juggle their reality and prepare for their uncertain futures.
"Total Bellas" is produced by WWE and Bunim/Murray Productions. Gil Goldschein, Jeff Jenkins and Russell Jay are Executive Producers for Bunim/Murray Productions. Kevin Dunn is Executive Producer for WWE. Nikki Bella and Brie Bella also serve as Executive Producers.
A house divided cannot stand... in stilettos. "Total Bellas" premieres Wednesday, October 5 at 8:00pm ET/PT only on E!
June 27, 2016
EVOLVE / WWN Live’s Gabe Sapolsky posted the following announcement, revealing EVOLVE will host WWE Cruiserweight Classic Showcase matches next month:
Breaking News: EVOLVE to host WWE Cruiserweight Classic Showcase Matches on 7/16 in Queens, NY, 7/17 in Melrose, MA, 8/19 in Joppa, MD and 8/20 in Brooklyn, NY. More info in the next WWN Alerts. Tix & info on all events at DGUSA.tv.
Sports Illustrated recently interviewed Kurt Angle, which appears to have been conducted before F4WOnline.com revealed that WWE would not be bringing Angle back to the company. Below are a couple of highlights:
His recent talk with WWE:
"I had a talk with WWE. It's confidential. I will not be returning for the draft. Possibly in the future, most likely next year, but that is not a guarantee. It was a loose conversation but I will be in touch with Triple H [Paul Levesque] in the future."
Vince McMahon always caring for him:
"Vince always cared about me. He's a good guy, and he felt like he was my father figure. I admired Vince's work ethic and drive. He was a machine. He was willing to sacrifice so much to be a success, and he was one of those guys who I feared and looked up to. I feared him the same way I feared my father. I was right – he was a good guy. He would tell me when I screwed up, and he'd tell me how to fix it. He basically said, 'Listen, you won an Olympic gold medal. Very few people on this planet have ever done that. You're special, you can kick this thing.' But I fell back into it."
Angle also discussed his battles with addiction, the murder of his coach David Schultz, Dixie Carter being responsible for Angle going to rehab and much more. You can read the full interview by clicking here.
Stephanie McMahon is the woman behind—and in front of—the curtain at WWE. Over the organization's 36-year history, few executives have been as important to its growth than McMahon, who is the daughter of CEO Vince McMahon. After starting there as an account executive, McMahon now sits on the WWE's board of directors, following a two-decade rise through the ranks that has put her hands into virtually every facet of the business, including creative, talent relations, digital and her current role overseeing WWE's brand efforts and brand reputation among investors, media, business partners and advertisers. And with her dad now in his 70s, McMahon, along with her husband Paul Levesque (better known as "Triple H"), could be poised to inherit the keys to the powerful WWE kingdom
June 25, 2016
According to a report by The Stamford Advocate, WWE is in the running to buy a large building from a bankrupt developer in their home base city of Stamford, CT. WWE wants to acquire the old AmeriCares headquarters on Hamlton Ave in Stamford and use it as their own TV production building.
WWE reportedly put a $27 million bid on the property, which is $3 million above the minimum price set by the court-approved sale coordinator. There are more than 100 bidders in the running for eight different buildings from the bankrupt developer that were made available for bidding. WWE issued the following statement to The Advocate:
“An opportunity arose that made sense for us to pursue. If we’re successful in the purchase of the building, WWE would become the building’s landlord and assumes the previous owner’s lease obligations.”
WWE reportedly abandoned their plans to begin construction on building their own TV production facility.
Road Warrior Animal on Why the Road Warriors Bothered Vince McMahon, Why The Ascension is Failing, Authors of Pain – Ellering in NXT, More
This week, The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling were joined by one half of the greatest tag team of all time, Legion of Doom member Road Warrior Animal. The Road Warriors held tag team gold in nearly every promotion they were ever a part of and specifically are remembered as former AJPW, AWA, NWA and WWE Tag Team Champions. John and Chad explore with Animal the origins of the Road Warrior look, sound and feel as well as the impact they have had on the wrestling business. They are often imitated but never duplicated and although it was always “doomsday” for their opponents, now it’s time for the listeners to the feel the rush of the L.O.D.
Below are some interview highlights:
Paul Ellering’s surprise NXT appearance, initial impression of the Authors of Pain and the “Road Warrior” comparison:
“I talked to Paul and he doesn’t even know if it was a onetime deal or what it is. He’s only going out there with them for one TV so I don’t know if it’s going to be any permanent deal or what but what a great name right? You can’t think of anything better than Authors of Pain? That’s so close to the Powers of Pain you would think they would be able to find a different name. But Paul Ellering is a great guy, a great manager and best of luck to the guys. I hope everybody makes it in the world of pro wrestling but it’s going to be pretty hard to duplicate anything that Hawk and I have done.”
How The Ascension attempted to capitalize on the unique “Road Warrior look” and taking shots at the legendary team:
“Here’s the thing with Hawk and I. We were the Road Warriors. We were the Road Warriors in and out of the ring, we were that way before wrestling and we didn’t have to fake anything. We didn’t have to fake our interviews, didn’t have to imitate anyone because we were us. The time to try to imitate people and try to copy somebody it never works because everyone always remembers the original.
The originals are something everyone remembers and I don’t know why over the years guys if they call it a tribute because it’s almost like the kiss of death. Right away you get good fans that say ‘oh crap’ they will never be the Road Warriors and when you mention Hawk and I’s name in an interview that even kills you off further because now you get people saying that if Hawk were here even though Animal can kill you by himself if Hawk were here they both would kill you.”
Nancy Benoit’s Sister Reveals Frightening Google Search Chris Benoit Did Prior to His Death, Reveals Past Benoit Restraining Order
As noted, the sister of Nancy Benoit, Sandra Toffolini, appeared on this week’s edition of Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast, and during the appearance Toffolini revealed some details about the Chris Benoit murder suicide that the press had previously not mentioned.
Toffolini says she began noticing “changes” in Chris Benoit as early as 2004, and she feels that both “roid rage” and the pressure of winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania 20 contributed to the aggressive behavior he would direct at his wife Nancy.
Toffolini added her sister Nancy was “brutalized” by Chris’ roid rage, but she also said the concussions Chris suffered from his many years in the business coupled with the loss of good friends like Eddie Guerrero and Ray Traylor, aka Big Bossman, also likely played a part in his behavior towards his family.
One of the more frightening revelations Toffolini made during the podcast is she claimed that prior to the murders Chris had done a Google search on the easiest way to break someone’s neck. She also revealed that Nancy had gotten a restraining order against Chris at one point. Toffolini also spoke out against media reports that Chris and Nancy’s son Daniel Benoit had Fragile X syndrome, claiming those reports were false and that Daniel was healthy.
On the subject of the actual murder suicide, Toffolini clarified that Chris killed Nancy on a Friday, Daniel the following morning on Saturday, and then himself on Sunday night by rigging the pulldown machine in his gym to take his own life.
Following reports that supposedly confirmed Kurt Angle would not be returning to WWE and other speculative statements, Angle posted the following to his Facebook page:
In response to some of your questions today regarding the WWE, and all of the media fanfare about it the last few days, I want to, once again, say that our confidential conversation never discussed the brand split. A few wrestling sites seem to have put a spin on this by twisting some words around to fit their agenda, something that I have no control over. What I CAN control is my own life, and my life isn’t only wrestling. I do not expect to be in wrestling much longer. I AM excited about my future. Thank you.
Angle originally told Mark Madden during a recent interview that he had talks with WWE and Triple H a few weeks ago, and his WWE return would happen, he just wasn’t sure when. In addition, Angle also said he hadn’t spoken to anyone in the company since the brand split announcement, and that all previous talks were about working with other talents, and he wasn’t part of brand split plans.
This week, prosecutors in the Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka case filed a motion asking the court to force Snuka to participate in outpatient mental health treatment for 60 days to determine whether the professional wrestling legend can be fit to stand trial for the death of Nancy Argentino over 30 years ago.
This move comes after presiding judge, Kelly L. Banach found Snuka to be incompetent to stand trial following a four-day competency hearing to determine whether Snuka is in fact suffering from dementia and rejected the prosecution's motion to have Snuka involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.
During the above-mentioned competency hearing, experts for the defense and Snuka's wife, Carole, claimed that Snuka's mental and physical health are rapidly declining, while the prosecution's side argued that Snuka was putting on an act to feign dementia.
Banach described 'Superfly' as "vacant" and suggested that he is not smart enough to fake dementia.
After laying dormant for over three decades, the case was reopened. Snuka was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, as a grand jury found that Snuka repeatedly assaulted Argentino at a Pennsylvania motor lodge and left her to die.
Under American law, a mentally incompetent person cannot be required to stand trial. Apparently, Snuka has plans to live with his son in Florida. At the time of this article's publication, a hearing on the motion has not been scheduled.
June 24, 2016
It started as something you barely noticed when watching Raw or Nitro in the late ’90s. Shawn Michaels may have thrown it up in the middle of a match, or Scott Hall would flash it on his way down the aisle. It was an unmistakable gesture that hinted at a secret brotherhood known only to a few.
Twenty years later, it has become the not-so-secret handshake seen in sports-entertainment rings around the world, bridging a generation of Superstars and connecting The Kliq with The Club.
Kevin Nash, Triple H and the four Superstars who brought it back to the forefront of sports-entertainment — AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Finn Bálor — reveal its strange origins, The Kliq and nWo’s influence today, and the person in the locker room who loves to “Too Sweet.” Click here.
June 23, 2016
Notes on Tonight’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic Taping; Accident Causes Delay, Seating Chaos, Top Names Backstage, More
-The show was delayed from its original start time as, according to officials in the arena, there was a traffic accident that delayed some fans getting to the arena and they didn’t want to start the taping with a half-empty house. While there are conflicting statements going around about this, with some suggesting that WWE was covering for a low turnout, local news reports confirm that there was a serious two-lane blocking accident in the Orlando area slowing down traffic considerably.
-Because of the delay and fans arriving late, there was a bit of an issue with seating in the building. Apparently close to the original start time, arena workers had started to tarp off areas and move people into hard camera seats to fill in gaps. However when people began to arrive late, it caused a problem with many of their seats already being taken, and workers having to rearrange reserved seating sections to accommodate for the chaos.
-Both Smackdown announcer Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan, who will be co-hosting the tournament together, received huge reactions from the crowd when introduced.
-WWE did a live stream introducing all of the CWC competitors on their Facebook account, which you can check out at this link.
-There were several WWE and NXT names backstage for the taping, including Finn Balor, Corey Graves and Becky Lynch, Hideo Itami and Funaki (who is still with the company doing Japanese commentary for the PPV’s). Obviously Triple H was also backstage in production as well.
-They will be taping four episodes at tonight’s taping event which will include all 16 of the first round tournament matches. We are hoping to have a bracket for what the second round will look like later tonight.
-Possibly killing the rumor of a WWE Cruiserweight Championship return that has been floating around since the announcement of the tournament several months ago, Mauro Ranallo noted during the Facebook-exclusive talent parade earlier tonight that the winner would receive a Cruiserweight Trophy. No mention of a championship of any kind.
As noted, Kurt Angle appeared on Mark Madden’s radio show earlier this week and said his WWE return is a matter of “when” not “if.” This fueled speculation that Angle might be headed to WWE in time for the upcoming brand split.
However, Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com is reporting WWE officials have confirmed Angle is not returning to WWE, despite Angle claiming he had recent talks with Triple H.
Kurt Angle, 47, last competed in WWE in 2006, and finished up his TNA contract in March. He has been working select indy dates with recent matches against the likes of Rey Mysterio Jr. and Zack Sabre Jr.