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April 8, 2021

Triple H Disputes Report About WWE NXT Talent Meeting

The original report stated that AEW was mentioned and how AEW came in and tried to bully them. However, a follow-up report retracted that, noting that the word “bully” was not mentioned at all. Triple H gave some details of the team meeting with NXT talent.

“If I wanted everybody to know what was in the meeting, I would have put out a memo, and you guys could have just got it from one of your sources firsthand and printed it,” Triple H said. “It was a conversation with our talent. That was exactly that. It was informational to tell them where we’re going. Meetings that we have all the time. Given COVID restrictions, we had a lot less than we normally would.

“As far as the content of the meeting that was reported by a lot of people and elsewhere, completely inaccurate. Never said. Never brought up. Nobody else was ever brought up. Wasn’t about other people. Wasn’t about other brands, or companies or anything else. It was a factual meeting to tell people where we’re going, where we’re headed and to motivate them going into the future. Nothing more, nothing less.”

April 5, 2021

Tito Ortiz Thanks Shane McMahon And Triple H For Opportunity At WWE PC

MMA legend Tito Ortiz is most known for his time inside the octagon, but the Hunting Beach Bad Boy has had a spell in the squared circle.

Aside from some brief appearances as a special guest referee in the mid-2000s, Ortiz’s professional wrestling tenure is most noteworthy for his involvement in TNA’s Aces and Eights storyline. Ortiz joined the infamous biker gang stable in late 2013, but abruptly left the group and the company when Bellator MMA pulled him off television.

While he hasn’t been involved in the pro wrestling world in nearly a decade, Ortiz might be looking to step back in. Speaking with SportsMattersTV, Ortiz discussed his time training at the WWE Performance Center last year.

“It’s kind of funny you say that because last year of February before this pandemic came about, I was actually at the WWE training facility and I was there for fourteen days,” Ortiz said. “I put in a lot of work and I learned a lot of stuff in a quick amount of time you know, I think we worked 13 days every day and I was learning stuff that guys were learning who been there eight or nine months that were just learning and coach is like you catch on really, really quick. That’s always been a commodity for me that I am able to learn quickly, I am a fast learner with everything I do.”

Ortiz mentioned how being in a wrestling ring again felt familiar to his TNA days, to which he says he looks back fondly on.

“It goes back to working hard, working for TNA was a blessing in disguise as I had an opportunity to sit down with Hulk Hogan, meet Hulk Hogan for who he truly is, a human being,” Ortiz said. “We got a lot of things in common in life, it was meant to be that we were meant to meet and a guy I look up to hugely Hogan and I got an opportunity through TNA.”

As for his future in pro wrestling, Ortiz did mention that he felt like he getting close to making WWE his new home before pandemic precautions were put in place.

“Once again, I got an opportunity to train at the WWE training facility and I loved it, I liked it I thought was great and I would fit in perfect,” Ortiz said. “The pandemic came about and everything got to a halt, a stop where there was no audience. I understand I don’t want to take someone’s job who’s trying to take care of their family. I dunno, we will see what happens in the future. Shane McMahon gave me the opportunity and I am very thankful of it and Triple H gave me the opportunity and I am very thankful of it. It was a great experience.

“It was something that the kid growing up was all I watched was WWF, which is WWE now, but as a kid that’s all I ever watched. I got an opportunity to do it and I was an MMA fighter because of professional wrestling, I was an amateur fighter because of professional wrestling and that was something I just made the best since to transition to something like that you know this pandemic came about just didn’t work well for me. It didn’t work well for them and it didn’t come into fruition, too bad we will see what happens in the future.”

G4 And WWE Partner For Video Game Competition Series Hosted By Xavier Woods

G4 and WWE announced they are partnering for a video game competition series hosted by Xavier Woods this fall.

Premiering on G4 this fall, The program will “pit some of the biggest content creators in gaming against each other, playing some of the most popular video games to settle scores…with scores.”

“Getting a shot to be a G4 cast member is incredible and humbling in itself, and I couldn’t be more excited for the chance to have my own show,” said Xavier Woods. “Not only will I host but I’ll also have a pivotal role to play as the top personalities in gaming try to settle their beef.”

“This partnership combines WWE’s sports entertainment and G4’s competitive entertainment to bring a truly unique offering only these brands can offer,” said Brian Terwilliger, VP of Programming and Creative Strategy for G4. “The format of the show, along with WWE Superstar Xavier Woods AKA Austin Creed’s electric presence on-screen, will make it appealing for gamers, WWE fans, and those new to both as well.”

“Xavier Woods has become a household name for WWE fans and gamers alike, and he is the perfect fit to headline our new series with G4,” said Jayar Donlan, WWE Executive Vice President, Advanced Media. “From console and mobile games to WWE’s successful UpUpDownDown YouTube channel, WWE’s influence on gaming is stronger than ever, and having our own gaming series on G4 is the next step in the evolution of the company’s gaming strategy.”

The announcement comes as G4 begins its Epic April celebration, a tradition started during its first run on-air in which the network unveils an absurd amount of talent and programming announcements, runs big giveaways, and pulls off more-than-a-few-calls-from-HR-inducing stunts. Another major G4 announcement will take place during WWE’s UUDD WrestleMania Gaming Event premiering Saturday April 10th at 11am ET on the UpUpDownDown YouTube Channel.

WWE will serve as an Executive Producer for the program. As part of the joint partnership, G4 and WWE will take the program to market together.

The network first aired from 2002-2014 and Woods had campaigned to be hired as one of the hosts; Woods was named as a co-host for the G4 Revival in November.

Titus O’Neil to receive 2020 Warrior Award at WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

From WWE.com:

WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil has been named the recipient of the 2020 Warrior Award. Named after WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior, The Warrior Award is presented to an individual who has exhibited unwavering strength and perseverance and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of The Ultimate Warrior. The news was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times.

The Warrior Award presentation will be part of the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, streaming tomorrow, Tuesday, April 6 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. ET exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and on WWE Network everywhere else.

Titus O’Neil is one of the most philanthropic Superstars in WWE history.  A fixture in the Tampa Bay community and passionate about giving back to families in need, O’Neil founded The Bullard Family Foundation, an organization that provides families and children in need with special moments, programs, and resources to help build character, develop relationships, and strengthen communities around them. In addition, O’Neil is an Ambassador for WWE, helping thousands of individuals through various nonprofits and WWE partners including Susan G. Komen, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Special Olympics. His passion for community and uplifting others inspired him to write his first book, “There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Kid: How I Went from Stereotype to Prototype,” in 2019. O’Neil is a Tampa Bay native and graduated from the University of Florida where he was a standout football player for the Gators.

April 4, 2021

Triple H Reflects On WWE NXT’s Wednesday Night Run Head-To-Head With AEW

Paul “Triple H” Levesque spoke with the media ahead of NXT “TakeOver: Stand And Deliver”. The first Tuesday after TakeOver will be the first episode of NXT on Tuesday nights full time on USA Network. Triple H was asked how he would rate NXT’s run on Wednesday nights on USA Network.

“Very successful. For me, we went from a very small platform of the [WWE] Network with a lot of buzz outside of it to jumping to USA from one hour to two hours from pre-tape to live to everything in between,” Triple H said. “Talent call-ups, and talent blooming, and injuries and pandemics, you name it. In the course of that period of time, I’m incredibly proud and happy with what we’ve done with the brand, and the the opportunity is right now.

“What we first did, it was about maintenance of a consistent time slot, day of the week and time so that people could find what they were used to finding, even in that smaller group. Now we’ve established a consistent viewership. The viewership over the the period of time, I think it’s 850,000 a week. Obviously, we just renewed a multi-year deal. The network is very happy. The ability to jump to Peacock and have more visibility for our larger tentpole events, our TakeOver’s, and be able to create more interest in the product in that manner, it’s all for the right reasons.

“The Tuesday lead in from Monday night at a promotion from Monday night to Tuesday is going to be great for us. It’s all good, and to be honest, if you would have asked me a year and a half or whatever it was, ‘Hey, how would you see this going?’ I would see it going about what it is now. The ability to establish a fan base and then decide the best place to put it but establishing that fan base in the consistent time slot was where it was at.

Triple H also addressed if there will be any significant changes to NXT with their move to Tuesday nights. He used the HBO show Game of Thrones to illustrate NXT’s approach in how they produce shows.

“As far as further changes, you make them every week. It’s constantly looking at what you do to try to fans the best possible shows,” Triple H explained. “Not just in that moment because that is — a funny thing, they don’t write Game of Thrones and go, ‘How do you give them the greatest episode possible every single week?’ You have to build to things. You have to build long term. You have to think long term. It’s going to ebb and flow in what the episodes themselves look like. It’s all about long term. It really is, and it’s hard for people to garner, but we’re on the exact path I would like to be on.”

April 3, 2021

WWE Studios To Partner Up With Game Show Network

WWE Studios is set to produce new content for the Game Show Network, according to Cablefax.

The deal is expected to showcase new game formats and WWE Superstars as hosts for upcoming shows.

Last October, The Miz revealed at a Virtual Equality Lounge interview that WWE Sutdios and MadRoe Productions (Miz and Maryse’s production company) were producing a new game show, Brawl In the Family.

“I’m so happy to be a part of a company like WWE because it allows myself, and my wife, to not only be in a WWE ring, but also it allows us to have shows, like Miz & Mrs,” Miz said. “You know, we’re developing a show right now, a game show with WWE Studios, called Brawl In the Family.”

“I’ll never forget my wife and I talking and we were like, ‘Man, we need to start getting more stuff out there.’ I feel like this is the time to really do something. My wife kept harping on it and harping on it, and we sat down one day and we just created a game show.”

April 1, 2021

AEW Dynamite Viewership Drops Again, NXT Sees Demo Increase

The  numbers are in for this week's Wednesday Night War.

This week is high for NXT and low for Dynamite, just as the Wednesday Night War is one week from its final head-to-head week of competition.

AEW Dynamite won the night with 700,000 viewers and finished 7th on cable, although it was down from last week’s 757,000.

NXT viewership also decreased this week, but ratings in the key demo increased. NXT averaged 654,000 viewers, which is slightly down from last week’s audience of 678,000 viewers.

Dynamite scored a .26 rating in people 18-49 demographic (from a .30 last week) while NXT scored a .21 rating in the 18-49 demo to rank at No. 12 for the night. NXT previously scored .14 in the 18-49 demo and was No. 29 last week.

Source: showbuzzdaily.com

March 30, 2021

WWE Renews NXT Deal With USA Network, Moves Show to Tuesday Nights

WWE and NBCUniversal have signed a new multi-year deal that will keep NXT on USA Network. In addition, NXT will be moving from Wednesday to Tuesday nights beginning April 13.

Speaking with Variety, WWE executive vice president of global talent strategy and development Paul Levesque said that the decision to initially have the show on Wednesdays was to keep things consistent with its original timeslot on WWE Network. But now that it is firmly established on cable, they feel moving it is less of an issue.

“We now feel like we’re in a good place where we can move that consistent fanbase over to Tuesdays,” Levesque said. “We believe they’ll follow us. That way we can grow the brand more given the lead in from ‘Monday Night Raw,’ which we’ve seen in the past.”

NXT is one of three weekly wrestling shows WWE currently has on the air. Along with NXT, there is “Monday Night Raw” on USA as well and “SmackDown Live” on Fox. NXT will continue to emanate from Capitol Wrestling Center in Orlando, Florida.

“We are incredibly proud of our three-decade partnership with WWE and in extending USA’s NXT deal, we are further establishing our portfolio as an unrivaled home for quality WWE content,” said Frances Berwick, chairman of entertainment networks for NBCUniversal. “By transitioning NXT to a Tuesday timeslot where WWE has performed well in the past, we are giving our passionate fanbase more of what they love with back-to-back nights of exhilarating, live programming.”

NXT will air its trademark TakeOver pay-per-view on April 7 and 8, with the first night airing on USA Network and the second airing on Peacock, with all WWE Network content recently moving over the NBCU streaming service. The transition to Tuesday nights will take place the following week, with episodes then available to stream on Peacock the next day.

“The ability for us to be on [Peacock], a bigger platform where so many more people have the opportunity to experience it and and to let it grow into something more, is very exciting,” Levesque continued. “And once you sample it, we believe that the product is something that people will stick with and become involved in.”

Per Nielsen totals, NXT averaged 847,000 total viewers per week in 2020. Special Tuesday episodes of NXT saw lifts around 30% in both the adults 18-49 and 25-54 demographics.

source: variety.com

William Shatner joins WWE Hall of Fame: 'I should have gone into wrestling as Captain Kirk'

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has a new hall of famer: William Shatner, who took part in WWE events when he wasn't patrolling the universe as Captain James T. Kirk of "Star Trek."

Shatner will be inducted into the celebrity wing in an April 6 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony that will stream on Peacock and held remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

This year's event, which kicks off a WrestleMania Week that builds to two nights of WrestleMania at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa (April 10-11, also on Peacock), combines the classes of 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic. Shatner is part of the 2020 group.

Actor and entrepreneur William Shatner will be inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6.

Shatner called the honor "fantastic" and showed impressive trash-talking skills when asked, in an interview, about a 1995 WWE appearance in which he monkey-flipped WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler.

"Jerry Lawler was nothing. Nothing! He was a little bird," boasted Shatner, who inducted Lawler into the hall in 2007.

Asked if he was larger than life, as many WWE superstars appear to be, Shatner at first responded literally. "I'm on a diet to correct that, but it doesn't work well," he joked.

He then feigned modesty before upshifting to full-on, tongue-in-cheek bravado – as a hall of famer is entitled. "I am not larger than life. I'm life itself. OK?"

Shatner, known for his spoken-word recitations of popular songs, interpreted WWE performers' entrance themes when he hosted "Monday Night Raw" in 2010.

New WWE Hall of Fame inductee William Shatner hosted "WWE RAW" in 2010.

He said the energetic vibe at WWE events is similar to a "Star Trek" convention.

"It's very much the same, the approbation, the joy," he says. "The enthusiasm the wrestling audience shows toward its favorite people is not dissimilar to the enthusiasm 'Star Trek' fans show."

Other new hall-of-fame honorees include nWo, an abbreviation for wrestling group New World Order (Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman), The Bella Twins, Kane, Rob Van Dam, The British Bulldog, JBL. Molly Holly, Eric Bischoff and the Great Khali.

Past inductees in the celebrity wing  include William “Refrigerator” Perry, Bob Eucker, Drew Carey, Mike Tyson, Mr. T, Kid Rock, Snoop Dogg, Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The hall of fame ceremony is part of a busy schedule for Shatner, who turned 90 on March 22. "Senior Moment," which co-stars Jean Smart and features Shatner as a former test pilot who loses his license after drag racing, opened last week, and he has a new album on the way and an upcoming podcast about space and technology.

A retired NASA pilot (William Shatner) who doesn't act his age falls for an ace strudel chef (Jean Smart) in the romantic comedy "Senior Moment."

Shatner, whose other credits include "T.J. Hooker" and "Boston Legal," along with time as a Priceline spokesman, revealed, tongue in cheek, how things might have gone differently after his original "Star Trek" run, which featured Kirk fighting Spock in "Amok Time," gladiators in "The Gamesters of Triskelion" and the reptilian Gorn in "Arena."

"I'm going to admit it now. I missed a career when 'Star Trek' was over," he said. "I should have gone into wrestling as Captain Kirk."

source:  usatoday.com

March 26, 2021

Peacock Purges Racist WWE Segments From Streaming Archive

As WWE Network is set to move exclusively to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service next month, the media company is removing objectionable material from the wrestling franchise’s archives.

WWE is shutting down WWE Network as a standalone service in the U.S. as of April 4, when customers will need to have a Peacock subscription to access the content. Ahead of the cutover, Peacock has been on-boarding WWE Network’s 17,000-plus-hour library of old programming — but some of WWE’s racist and controversial bits from years past are getting expunged in the transition.

Peacock began adding WWE Network content March 18, and fans have since noticed that some older content is missing.
Among the deleted scenes: A section of WWE’s “Survivor Series event from November 2005, in which chairman/showman Vince McMahon is shown backstage cheerfully greeting John Cena using the n-word within earshot of a confounded Booker T, who says, “Tell me he didn’t just say that.”

Also cut by Peacock is the WrestleMania 6 match from 1990 between the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Bad News Brown, in which Piper (a white performer) appeared in half-blackface to take on his Black opponent. NBCU’s edits to the WWE archive programming were first reported by PWInsider.
The content that is no longer available via Peacock has been previously available on the WWE Network platform. Since 2014, WWE Network has included this disclaimer on older material: “The following program is presented in its original form. It may contain some content that does not reflect WWE’s corporate views and may not be suitable for all viewers. WWE characters are fictitious and do not reflect the personal lives of the actors portraying them. Viewer discretion is advised.” The service also has allowed user to block access to selected programs using WWE Network’s parental-control settings.
Reps for NBCU and WWE declined to comment. The content in question is being removed for distribution on Peacock to conform with NBCU’s standards and practices policies, a source familiar with the situation told Variety.

As previously announced, under the companies’ multiyear deal, WWE Network content including all pay-per-view events will be available on Peacock Premium with ads, regularly priced at $4.99 per month (half the $9.99 monthly cost of WWE Network). WWE Network also will be available on the $9.99/month ad-free version of Peacock Premium. In addition, Peacock Premium with ads is included at no additional cost for Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour customers.

NBCU previously said it will be regularly adding WWE Network archive content to Peacock, aiming to have the full library including all PPV events available before SummerSlam 2021.

source:  variety.com

March 25, 2021

Rumor Mill - Triple H Returns To Work After Quarantining

Triple H has reportedly returned to work after recently going into quarantine following the latest COVID-19 outbreak in WWE NXT. It was reported on March 19 that Triple H had missed the March 15 RAW and then missed the March 17 NXT episode as he was under quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns. The report noted that Triple H’s situation was being kept secretive and that he was put into quarantine over concern that he may have been involved in the outbreak, but not that he actually had the coronavirus.

March 24, 2021

WWE And Gabe Sapolsky Dismissed From Samantha Tavel Lawsuit, Riddle Request Denied

A judge has dismissed WWE and Gabe Sapolsky from the lawsuit filed by Samantha Tavel, a.k.a. Candy Cartwright, against both parties and Matt Riddle. United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois Judge Manish S. Shah dismissed WWE and Sapolsky “without prejudice for lack of personal jurisdiction.” Riddle’s motion to dismiss was denied.

Tavel had filed a civil lawsuit against WWE, Sapolsky and Riddle last October seeking $10 million per defendant for various damages, emotional distress, attorney’s fees, and court costs. Tavel claimed that Riddle committed a series of assaults against her from 2017 through January 2020. She alleges that Riddle first sexually assaulted her in April of 2017 in a parking lot after an EVOLVE show. She claims that Riddle forced her to perform oral sex on him on a bus with other wrestlers after an EVOLVE show on May 19, 2018. 

Judge Shah ruled that Tavel failed to demonstrate specific personal jurisdiction lies over WWE. In a sworn affidavit, WWE stated that they had no involvement in the May 2018 wrestling event and didn’t even employ Riddle at that time.

“Tavel offers no evidence to rebut these facts, so I accept them as true, notwithstanding the complaint’s allegation that WWE controlled Evolve’s events,” Judge Shah wrote in the ruling. “To establish personal jurisdiction, Tavel needed to come forward with evidence to establish a prima facie case over WWE. Because WWE wasn’t involved in the May 2018 event around which Tavel’s injury occurred, her injury didn’t arise out of WWE’s Illinois-related activities. And though she vaguely refers to WWE’s holding events worldwide, and specifically in Illinois, she doesn’t explain when or how WWE held events in Illinois. WWE’s connection to Illinois is vaguely sketched, and its connection to the conduct alleged in Tavel’s suit is nonexistent.”

As for Sapolsky, the judge ruled that Tavel failed to meet her burden regarding Sapolsky. According to Sapolsky’s affidavit, Riddle and Tavel took different transportation after the May 2018 Evolve show to the next event in Michigan and he wasn’t in the minibus where the assault occurred.

“Tavel doesn’t rebut these facts either, so I take them as true,” Judge Shah stated. “Tavel hasn’t sufficiently established a connection between Sapolsky’s Illinois contacts and the claim at issue. She accuses Sapolsky of encouraging or assisting Riddle’s behavior. But Sapolsky didn’t know about the assault and wasn’t in the minibus where it happened. And there’s no allegation that Sapolsky encouraged Riddle’s behavior in the course of his contacts with Illinois. It’s unclear when or where that alleged encouragement occurred. Tavel argues only that Sapolsky was physically present in the state at the time of the assault. Of course, physical presence in the forum state is a ‘relevant contact.’ But when there’s no connection between the defendant’s contacts with the state and the underlying controversy, ‘specific jurisdiction is lacking regardless of the extent of the defendant’s unconnected activities in the State.’ Tavel hasn’t sufficiently linked Sapolsky’s activities in Illinois with the conduct underlying her suit.”

The court ruled that although Tavel’s allegations are contested, they are plausible “and they suffice to put Riddle on notice of the conduct he’s accused of.”

Riddle’s answer to the complaint is due on April 14, 2021, “and the parties shall file a joint status report on April 21, 2021, with a proposed discovery schedule.”

source: wrestlinginc.com

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