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February 11, 2016

Visit the WWE Experience at the 2016 Arnold Sports Festival


For action and entertainment, there’s no better spot than the WWE Experience at this year’s Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, taking place Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6.

Enjoy live matches and meet-and-greets with the Superstars of WWE NXT during autograph signings, as well as guest appearances, Q&A sessions, giveaways and more.

Plus, you can see what it takes to become a WWE Superstar when you watch a live tryout. Will any of these recruits become the next breakout Superstar?

Better yet — will you? If you’re serious about a future in sports-entertainment, stop by the WWE Experience recruiting booth.

The WWE Experience at the 2016 Arnold Sports Festival in takes place on Saturday, March 5, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop by for your chance to meet:

Aiden English
Alexa Bliss
Apollo Crews
Asuka
Baron Corbin
NXT Women's Champion Bayley
Billie Kay
Chad Gable
Dan Matha
Dana Brooke
NXT Tag Team Champion Dash Wilder
Dylan Miley
Emma
Eva Marie
NXT Champion Finn Bálor
Hugo Knox
Jason Jordan
Johnny Gargano
King Konstantine
Kishan Raftar
Nia Jax
Peyton Royce
Riddick Moss
Sami Zayn
Samoa Joe
NXT Tag Team Champion Scott Dawson
Simon Gotch
Tino Sabatelli
Tom Kingdon
Tommaso Ciampa
Tye Dillinger

Tickets for the 2016 Arnold Sports Festival are available now at Ticketmaster.com/Arnold. Get yours today so you don’t miss out on the WWE Experience!

Updated WWE Network Subscriber Count


WWE announced today in their fourth quarter 2015 financial report that WWE Network had 1.22 million paid subscribers, representing a 49% increase from the fourth quarter of 2014. They also announced that WWE Network hit an all-time high of 1.24 million average paid subscribers for the quarter.

In October WWE reported 1.173 million subscribers for the third quarter of 2015. WWE finished the third quarter with 1.233 million paid subscribers. Before that, WWE announced 1.156 million subscribers for the period ending June 30th.

WWE Conference Call: Vince McMahon discusses the fourth quarter financial report


ince McMahon and members of senior management served as the hosts of a conference call pertaining to the 2015 fourth quarter financial report that was released on February 11, 2016. The following are the highlights of the call. Refresh the page for the latest updates.

-The call is hosted by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, WWE Chief Strategy and Financial Officer George Barrios, and WWE Investor Relations Michael Weitz.

-Vince said they produced a record year with $659 million in revenue. He touted the success of WWE on Youtube and the WWE Network. Vince said the average WWE Network subscriber watches more hours of content on the network than any cable network.

-Barrios ran through the highlights of the earnings report presentation. Barrios said they are continuing to work on network launch plans in their three remaining markets China, The Philippines, and Thailand.

-Live events profits are up 9 percent in attendance and 13 percent in ticket prices. NXT becoming a touring brand was touted as one of the factors in the increase.

-Barrios also boasted about the company’s social media success.

-Barrios stressed that WrestleMania will occur on April 3, meaning that it will fall in the second quarter rather than the first quarter as it did last year.

-WWE will release the next WWE subscriber count the day after WrestleMania.

-Once Barrios finished, they opened it up for calls.

Why TV Ratings Aren't As Important To WWE Now


Vince McMahon noted during today's Fourth Quarter 2015 earnings call that the company isn't as worried about TV ratings like they once were.

An investor asked about WWE TV ratings being down for several quarters now and Vince said the ratings are down but not as much as other programming on the networks they work with. Vince talked about how people aren't watching TV as much as they used to. Vince said TV is still extremely important to WWE but when you add in their digital and social content, their audience is consuming content when they want to and how they want to. Vince said that is important to WWE.

Vince added that WWE is not just about TV ratings anymore. He acknowledged that the company used to "live and die by" ratings but that was before the era of new media.

WWE posted an infographic touting the following 2015 stats after today's strong Fourth Quarter 2015 earnings report:


TNA Knockout Says She Was Assaulted During Match; Talks If She Will Press Charges, Being Warned


New TNA Knockout appeared on last night's episode of TMZ on FS1 and claimed to have been assaulted during a match at a WXW event in Miami over the weekend.

"I really got assaulted, I didn't expect it," Raquel said. "Although I was warned that it was going to happen, but I never thought that it would be at that level."

Raquel noted that she cracked her tooth and had to get a root canal and a crown on her tooth. She also had "a little hairline fracture" on her jaw and multiple bruises.

Raquel noted that she does not intend to file charges out of respect to her coach, and that the person who had warned her does not want to come forward.

She believes that the incident happened because she "became very successful in wrestling and got a huge contract with Impact Wrestling."

Raquel also stated on Twitter that she would not let the ordeal affect her and that she was already back training. She also posted the following on her Instagram, writing, "I'm fearless, I don't complain. Even when horrible things happen to me, I go on."

WWE Reports Strong Fourth-Quarter 2015 Results Achieving Record Revenue for the Full Year

Titus O'Neil Suspension Changed, WWE On If Suspension Was Racially Motivated, Titus' Text To WWE


The New York Post reports that WWE changed Titus O'Neil's suspension, and Titus will now be suspended for 60 days instead of 90 days, which would still have him out of WrestleMania.

As noted, Titus O'Neil tugged at Vince McMahon following Daniel Bryan's post-RAW retirement celebration, as seen in the video below. PWInsider.com first reported today that WWE suspended Titus O'Neil for unprofessional conduct for the incident.

The Post article is actually titled "Fans call Vince McMahon a racist for suspending black wrestler," and contains many messages from fans complaining that the suspension was racist motivated.

"The suspension of Titus O'Neil had nothing to do with race and everything to do with unprofessional conduct," WWE told the Post in a statement. They added that Titus "acknowledged the gravity of his mistake" in a text message, writing:

"I feel like s--t now so if you have to let me go, I understand. Stupid mistake."

February 10, 2016

WWE Hires PR Firm For Stephanie McMahon


WWE has reportedly hired a high-powered PR firm to help promote Stephanie McMahon in her role as WWE's Chief Brand Officer as a friendly public face for the company. Stephanie's recent appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" was the first gig the new firm landed her but they continue to try and land her mainstream media appearances. They also want Stephanie to be recognized for her philanthropic efforts, similar to Dallas Cowboys Chief Brand Officer and Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson.

Zack Sabre Jr Talks Meeting Triple H, More


Zack Sabre Jr recently spoke with Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard‘s Justin Barrasso, discussing his career path, meeting Triple H during the EVOLVE show on WWE Royal Rumble weekend, his wrestling influences, and much more. You can read a few excerpts below:

Zack Sabre Jr on meeting Triple H:

“He’s huge. I felt like a child in comparison, but he was very approachable, very friendly, and it’s so inspiring how much he loves the business. For someone who has had such a long and decorated career, and he’s coming down to an indie Evolve show in Orlando the night before the Royal Rumble–where he obviously had such an important night ahead of him–and he was there talking to everyone. When someone like that, who is at the top of the business with so many responsibilities, comes down with that type of attitude, it sets such a great example.

I introduced myself and spoke briefly to him. I’m good friends with [WWE talent scout/NXT trainer] Robbie Brookside, so I had a good catch-up chat with him, and I also met [William] Regal for the first time.”

Batista Says He Told Titus O'Neil To Request His WWE Release Following Suspension


It's no secret that Batista and Titus O'Neil are good friends, going back to before Titus got signed by WWE. Batista played a big role in Titus getting into the wrestling business.

Batista says he called Titus and told him to ask to be released from his WWE contract today. This comes after Titus was suspended for a reported 90 days due to unprofessional conduct. The incident that got him suspended was when Titus grabbed Vince McMahon in a "playful but physical" way at the end of the post-RAW Daniel Bryan retirement celebration.

When asked if he could call WWE and straighten the situation out, Batista replied on Twitter: "I did something better! I called @TitusONeilWWE and told him to ask to be released. #onelife"

As noted via Wrestling Observer Live, word backstage is that several WWE talents have "been riding the line" lately when it comes to following company rules. The feeling is that Vince suspended Titus to send a message to the roster, that he wants them to act professional and stop "messing around" so much.

Rumor Mill - Backstage Talk On Vince McMahon Suspending Titus O'Neil To Send A Message To The WWE Roster


As noted, Titus O'Neil was suspended for 90 days due to unprofessional conduct this week. The suspension happened because Titus grabbed Vince McMahon at the end of the Daniel Bryan retirement celebration on the WWE Network after Monday's RAW went off the air.

Bryan Alvarez noted on Wrestling Observer Live today that Vince suspended Titus to send a message to the locker room, that they need to stop "messing around" and be professionals. Word is that there have been several talents who have "been riding the line" in terms of following the company rules lately.

Vince wants WWE to be a professional organization and it was explained to Alvarez by a source that while Titus was just messing around with Vince, it was "one messing around too many" and Titus was used to make an example, and was the fall-guy.

WWE officials do like Titus and with John Cena out, he is their number one guy for work in the community. They broke The Prime Time Players up so Titus could be pushed as a singles star. While it wasn't acknowledged on TV, Titus went undefeated for almost three months until the loss to Adam Rose on Monday. No word yet on how the suspension will hurt any future push.

Titus O'Neil Suspension Sends Strange Message To WWE Talent

CM Punk to Undergo Surgery, UFC Debut Fight Delayed Yet Again


According to MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, CM Punk will be undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back, and subsequently his UFC debut fight against Mickey Gall will be delayed.

Punk had the following to say to Helwani, noting that his back has always been something that bothered him, likely stemming from his pro wrestling days:

“It got bad enough to the point where I couldn’t do anything the week before I went to train with the New Jersey Devils last month. One day I could manage, the next day I couldn’t. I’ve been in agony for almost a month. Chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, cryotherapy, nothing worked,” Punk told MMA Fighting.

Titus O’Neil Suspended By WWE For Unprofessional Conduct; Likely To Miss WrestleMania 32


WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil was sent home from last night’s WWE Smackdown tapings shortly after arriving. It’s being said that he has been suspended for unprofessional conduct.

His unprofessional conduct allegedly occurred during the end of the Monday Night RAW taping in Seattle, WA. After RAW had stopped going live on the USA Network the feed kicked over live to the WWE Network to continue coverage of Daniel Bryan’s retirement. During the live streaming WWE Network portion of Bryan’s retirement the WWE locker room came out to greet him at the top of the ramp. Included in the group of Superstars at the top of the ramp was the Chairman of the Board Vince McMahon.

Once Bryan had passed his fellow Superstars at the top of the ramp they began to return to the back. While this was going on Titus O’Neil grabbed Vince by the arm in what is being described as a “playful, physical way.” Vince responded in kind by shoving O’Neil away from him and playfully threw his arms up and laughed at Titus.

It’s being said that McMahon was angry that he was grabbed by Titus the way he was and that is what led to Titus’ suspension. As soon as O’Neil arrived at Smackdown he was told that he was going home. The word going around is that the suspension could be for up to 90 days. That would put Titus out of action for WrestleMania 32.

There has got to be more to this story...

Total Divas Recap 02/09/16

Daniel Bryan Talks Retirement, Explains His Injuries, Reveals How Many Concussions He’s Had, Talks Medical Testing & More


The following is a recap of ESPN's WWE Off The Top Rope segment, featuring special guest Daniel Bryan.

Jonathan Coachman starts the show by playing highlights of Daniel Bryan’s retirement speech from WWE RAW, then welcomes Bryan to the show. Coach asks how difficult it was for Bryan to make his speech in his hometown, and Bryan talks about trying not to cry and getting emotional in front of his family.

Coach asks about his injuries and Bryan says they have ten documented concussions, but it’s impossible to define each one. Coach then asks about how Bryan found out about his career being over, and Bryan says he went to New York for some EEG tests, and this one measured electrical brain activity while doing reflex testing. Bryan says it’s a newer form of the test, but he wanted evidence to support his petition to come back to wrestling. Bryan says his other EEG and MRI test were great, but this one showed he had some slowing, and evidence of “a small or subacute or chronic lesions” in the area of his brain that causes seizures. Bryan says he has had post-concussion seizures that he hid and it was unknown why, but now they found out something to link the symptoms. Bryan says he’s learned that you need to report concussions, and you need to heal your brain before returning to a contact sport like wrestling or football. He says it’s about the responsibility you have to yourself and your family.

Coach then asks about the YES chant, and Bryan says it caught on, but Bryan started it to be annoying. He says it looks great when people in the arena do it, and it really propelled his career forward. Coach talks about last night’s speech and the locker room being their for him, and Bryan says the coolest thing about last night was he could feel the reaction when he closed his eyes, and it was unbelievable.

Coach asks how Bryan made it to the top despite his size, and Bryan says he likens it to a writer, and he can’t explain it, but the audience connected with him. Bryan says he is very fortunate, then Coach asks about his favorite moment. Bryan says he mentioned it last night, but the Seattle Slammy Awards show where the fans hijacked the show and his father seeing him wrestle again was his favorite.

Coach asks if Bryan thought about what’s next, and Bryan laughs and says he’s had time to think, but he’s not sure. He says he wants to do something to help people and the world, and he might get involved with concussion awareness. He says working with WWE allowed him to do some great charitable things, and mentions Connor’s Cure, and says he wants to help with stuff like and just needs to figure out what’s next.

Coach asks how Bryan would like to be remembered, and Bryan says he doesn’t necessarily need to be remembered himself, but he wants people to remember the experience of just going to the show together. Bryan tells a funny story about his family going to a show and the Ultimate Warrior pantsing Rick Rude, and says that is still a great story in his family. He says it means a lot for a family that isn’t a wrestling fan family, and he hopes everyone remembers good times about going to wrestling shows.

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.

February 8, 2016

CHIKARA Owner At The WWE PC


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.

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