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October 1, 2023

Jim Ross On Why Triple H’s Creative Involvement Is A Good Thing for WWE

In the latest episode of Grilling JR (via Wrestling Inc), Jim Ross spoke about Triple H being involved behind the scenes in WWE and why it can only help the company.

He said: “The more you can get Triple H involved on a decision-making scenario, the better off you are. He’s just got a great feel for the business. He’s a student of the game, literally, more than just a nickname. I didn’t see a bad thing about it. My situation was just very arduous. It was no secret that Vince wanted to go younger, different look, different sound, and that would eliminate JR. I guess, if you’re a performer or a talent, you gotta expect that this is going to happen [at] some point in time. I have great respect for Triple H. Then, now, forever as the expression goes. We have a lot in common. We both love wrestling. We both love pro wrestling. I don’t remember having too many bad days with Triple H. We communicated well… And I understood too that he was kind of hamstrung on what he could do in my regard because the influencer was Vince, and Vince wanted a change. And he was hell-bent on getting his change at that announce position.“

September 25, 2023

Triple H's 2018 'Global Localization' Vision Now A WWE Trademark Initiative

On September 18, WWE submitted a trademark application for the phrase 'Global Localization' to the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The application reveals WWE's intention to utilize the term within the scope of 'entertainment services.'

Accompanying the application was the following description:

Entertainment services, namely, a show about professional wrestling; entertainment services, namely, the production and exhibition of professional wrestling events rendered live and through broadcast media including television and radio, and via the internet or commercial online service;

providing wrestling news and information via a global computer network; providing information in the fields of sports and entertainment via an online community portal; providing a website in the field of sports entertainment; fan club services, namely, organizing and staging events with wrestling fan club members; providing online newsletters in the field of sports entertainment; online journals, namely, blogs in the fields of sports entertainment; Entertainment services in the nature of development and creation of multimedia entertainment content.

The term 'Global Localization' was originally coined by Triple H in 2018 to outline his concept of creating international WWE hubs that would serve as talent pipelines for the US-based NXT brand

September 21, 2023

WWE’s ‘Smackdown’ to Move from Fox to USA Network in New Rights Deal

WWE’s “SmackDown” is officially set to return to USA Network in a new five-year rights deal.

The weekly show currently airs on Fox but will move to its new network home in October 2024 when the Fox deal expires. “Smackdown” originally began airing on Fox in 2019 as part of a five-year deal between the network and WWE. It had previously aired on USA Network from 2016-2019 and had a number of network homes before that, including Syfy, The CW, UPN, and MyNetworkTV.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources say the new deal is worth roughly $1.4 billion, up from the $1 billion Fox paid in 2019. As part of the new deal for “Smackdown,” WWE will produce four primetime specials per year for NBC, marking the first time that WWE will air in primetime on the network. It is unknown at this time exactly what form those primetime specials will take, i.e. if they will feature live wrestling or if they will be more documentary-focused like WWE’s programming on A&E. According to an individual with knowledge of the deal, the exact nature of the specials is still being determined.

“NBCUniversal has been a tremendous partner of WWE for decades,” said WWE president Nick Khan. “We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing ‘SmackDown’ to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.”

The rights deals for both “Smackdown” and “Monday Night Raw” were due to expire in the next year. While “Smackdown’s” future has been determined, there is no word yet on where “Raw” will land. It currently also airs on USA Network, as does WWE’s NXT. Sources say that there has been serious interest from a number of top platforms but no deal has been made at the time of this publishing. Neither of the other two shows is expected to continue to on USA Network, according to sources.

“It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership” said Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment. “With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to superserve this passionate fanbase.”

Since 2021, NBCUniversal’s Peacock has been the exclusive streaming home of the WWE Network. That includes the company’s expansive library of wrestling shows as well as the home for annual events like WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble, Summer Slam, and more.

WWE was recently sold to Endeavor, which merged WWE with the UFC to form a new company dubbed TKO Group. Vince McMahon, former CEO of WWE, has assumed the role of executive chairman of TKO Group. Under the terms of the deal, McMahon — who was WWE’s controlling shareholder — will own 16.4% of the economic interests in TKO (and 16.4% of the voting power in the new entity). McMahon stepped down as WWE’s chief executive in 2022 amid an investigation by the company’s board into alleged hush-money payments to women who accused him of sexual misconduct. McMahon returned to the company in January 2023 as executive chairman to head up efforts to sell WWE.

source:  variety.com

September 20, 2023

Details Behind Vince McMahon's WWE Ouster And Return

Last year, allegations of sexual misconduct and hush money payments forced Vince McMahon to step down from his role as WWE CEO. Though he retired for a time, it would be short-lived. McMahon was able to reinstate himself to the board earlier this year, though he remains under investigation by federal officials. A new story by the LA Times, in which the publication spoke to an "individual close to the board," features new insight into the company's internal investigation into McMahon and more.

According to the LA Times report, McMahon initially told the board he wouldn't stand in the way of their investigation into his actions. Additionally, McMahon reportedly agreed to step down from the board voluntarily, with some reluctance, while also claiming that each of the described encounters had been consensual and the payoffs had only been a matter of "protecting the company against potential litigation."

However, by December, McMahon had seemingly changed his mind about stepping to the side. McMahon sent a pair of letters to the company's board, informing them of his intent to return to shepherd a sale. Though the company's board, which at the time featured Stephanie McMahon and her husband Paul "Triple H" Levesque, voted unanimously against McMahon's return, the 78-year-old was able to use his voting power as a majority stockholder to replace two members and get himself back on the board.

The report indicates that McMahon viewed the internal investigation as being disloyal, and two more board members resigned in the aftermath of McMahon's return. Since then, McMahon was true to his word on setting the company up for a sale, with WWE and UFC merging into TKO Group Holdings, made official earlier this month. Under the new corporate infrastructure, McMahon remains in power, serving as the Executive Chairman.

September 19, 2023

WWE CCO Triple H Makes Cameo On Showtime's Business Drama 'Billions'

The latest Season 7 episode of Showtime's hit business drama "Billions" featured a cameo from none other than WWE's Chief Content Officer Triple H. One scene shows Chuck Rhoades, portrayed by Paul Giamatti, walking into an empty "WWE Raw" arena at Barclays Center alongside "The Game." Rhoades asked Triple H if it feels different walking to the ring as a businessman as opposed to a performer.

Triple H responded, "Man, I still feel every bump. Whether you're giving them, whether you're taking them, whether you're scripting them... Look, you could do it. When this crowd comes alive, you come alive. There is nothing else like this."

Rhoades expressed that he needed to turn one guy heel and one guy babyface in one move. Triple H then explained how he could pull it off in wrestling terms.

"Double turn. Tough to pull off, but, when it's done right, one of my personal favorites," Triple H said. "You need to let the heel come in and get the heat from the crowd. Then your babyface comes and gets the pop."

XFL, USFL begin talks to merge leagues

And then there was one. Spring league, that is.

The XFL and USFL are merging, per multiple reports. The deal isn’t done, but it’s close.

Obviously, there will be many questions. Who owns the equity? Who televises the games?

How many teams will be in the combined league? Will they play in home markets or hubs?

Who will run the combined league? Which executives will stay, which ones will go?

Most importantly, what will it be called?

The XFL? The USFL? The USXFL? The SUXFL? (I like the last one.)

In 2023, both leagues competed, with a few weeks of overlap. The XFL started one week after the Super Bowl, and the USFL started in April.

The XFL, the 2023 season represented the third crack at making it go. The USFL returned after multiple decades of going dark in 2022.

September 12, 2023

Endeavor Announces Close of UFC® And WWE® Transaction To Create TKO Group Holdings, A Premium Sports And Entertainment Company

Endeavor Announces Close of UFC® and WWE® Transaction to Create TKO Group Holdings, a Premium Sports and Entertainment Company

New Company to Begin Trading Today, September 12, on the New York Stock Exchange Under “TKO” Ticker Symbol

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. & STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EDR) (“Endeavor”) and World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (previously NYSE: WWE) (“WWE”) today announced the close of their previously announced agreement and the launch of TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TKO) (“TKO”).

TKO brings together UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, and WWE, an integrated media organization and the recognized global leader in sports entertainment, to create a new premium sports and entertainment company serving more than one billion young and diverse fans1, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events. Through this combination, TKO will leverage Endeavor’s expertise in areas including domestic and international media rights, ticket sales and yield optimization, event operations, global partnerships, licensing, and premium hospitality to drive revenue growth.

“The creation of TKO marks an exciting new chapter for UFC and WWE as leaders in global sports and entertainment,” said Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor and TKO. “Given their continued connectivity to the Endeavor network, we are confident in our ability to accelerate their respective growth and unlock long-term sustainable value for shareholders. With UFC and WWE under one roof, we will provide unrivaled experiences for more than a billion passionate fans worldwide.”

“This is the culmination of a decades-long partnership between Endeavor and WWE across strategic initiatives including talent representation and media rights. Given our collaborative, trusted relationship and Endeavor’s incredible track record of success growing UFC, we believe WWE is optimally positioned for future growth and success as part of TKO,” said Vince McMahon, Executive Chairman of TKO. “Our focus remains on delivering for our fans across the globe as we take the business to the next level alongside UFC and Endeavor.”

TKO will begin trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TKO,” with Endeavor holding a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders holding a 49% interest in the new company, on a fully diluted basis.

As previously announced, TKO is led by:

Ariel Emanuel, Chief Executive Officer, who continues as Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor;

Mark Shapiro, President and Chief Operating Officer, who continues as President and Chief Operating Officer of Endeavor;

Andrew Schleimer, Chief Financial Officer; and

Seth Krauss, Chief Legal Officer, who continues as Chief Legal Officer of Endeavor.

Dana White is now Chief Executive Officer of UFC and Lawrence Epstein remains Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of UFC. Nick Khan continues at WWE in the role of President.

The Board of Directors of TKO is led by Vince McMahon as Executive Chairman of the Board and consists of 11 members, including Mr. Emanuel, Mr. Shapiro, and Mr. Khan, in addition to the following directors:

Peter C.B. Bynoe, Senior Advisor at DLA Piper LLP;

Egon P. Durban, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Silver Lake;

Steven R. Koonin, Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Hawks, LLC;

Jonathan A. Kraft, President of the Kraft Group LLC;

Sonya E. Medina, President and Chief Executive Officer of Reach Resilience;

Nancy R. Tellem, Executive Chairperson and Chief Media Officer of Eko; and

Carrie Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer and a board member of Opendoor Technologies Inc.

September 11, 2023

End Of An Era

Tonight's WWE Raw will be the last WWE show under the full majority control of Vince McMahon. End of an era.

September 7, 2023

UFC And WWE To Close Merger Next Week, Make NYSE Debut As TKO Group

UFC parent Endeavor Group and World Wrestling Entertainment said today they expect to close the planned merger of UFC and WWE on September 12. That’s on the earlier end of expectations as Endeavor said in August it expected the deal to close in mid-to-late September.

Endeavor and WWE announced a deal last spring for the Ari Emanuel-led company to take control of WWE and merge it into a new, stand-alone entity with UFC. The professional wrestling and mixed martial arts powerhouse will be called TKO Group Holdings and trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Valued at $21 billion, TKO will be a subsidiary of Endeavor, with 51% control. WWE (Raw, SmackDown) will control 49%.

Emanuel will be CEO. continue as president of UFCVince McMahon, WWE’s longtime leader, executive chairman and major shareholder, who orchestrated the deal with Endeavor, was set as executive chair of the new company’s board.

In early August, WWE announced federal law enforcement agents had executed a search warrant and served a federal grand jury subpoena on McMahon although no charges had been brought. WWE CEO Nick Khan also said then that McMahon was on a medical leave of absence until further notice following spinal surgery. launched an internal probe of McMahon in 2022 to investigate allegations of payments to women, which it found had totaled close to $20 million and that caused it to revise several quarterly financial statements. The probe wrapped up last November and McMahon paid the company $17.4 million for costs incurred.

source:  deadline.com

September 3, 2023

CM Punk fired from AEW after altercation with Jack Perry

AEW has released an announcement effective immediately about the termination of CM Punk from AEW. This comes following controversial situations involving Jack Perry, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and others.

You can read the full announcement below.

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has terminated the wrestler and employment agreements between Philip Brooks (CM Punk) and AEW with cause, effective immediately. The termination was confirmed today by Tony Khan, CEO, General Manager and Head of Creative of AEW.

The termination follows a weeklong internal investigation of an incident occurring backstage at AEW – All In London on Sunday, August 27. Following the investigation, the AEW Discipline Committee met and later convented with outside legal counsel before making a unanimous recommendation to Khan that CM Punk be terminated with cause.

Khan offered the following statement:

“Phil played an important role within AEW and I thank him for his contributions. The termination of his AEW contracts with cause is ultimately my decision, and mine alone. Of course, I wish I didn’t have to share this news, which may come as a disappointment to many of our fans. Nevertheless, I am making the decision in the best interests of the many amazing people who make AEW possible every week – our talent, staff, venue operators and many others whose efforts are unsung but essential to bringing our fans great shows on television and at arenas and stadiums throughout the world.”

Tensions erupted between CM Punk and Jack Perry backstage at All Elite Wrestling's All In London event on Sunday, August 27, just before Punk's scheduled bout with Samoa Joe. While conflicting stories exist about the specific details of the clash, it's confirmed that both wrestlers had been temporarily suspended as AEW looks into the incident which now seems to have concluded.

The dispute was fueled by Jack Perry's comment, "It's real glass, go cry me a river," which he made during his Zero Hour match against HOOK. Perry pointed to a limousine's windscreen that he would later be slammed through. This jab was directed at CM Punk and pertained to a previous argument the two had about glass during an AEW Collision taping earlier in the summer. Perry reportedly felt that insiders close to Punk, who leaked the argument, aimed to publicly humiliate him.

Souece: WrestlingNewsSource.Com

August 28, 2023

NFL partners with WWE on officially licensed championship belts

A WWE championship belt featuring your team’s name and logo can be yours, if you’ve got nothing better to spend $550 on.

The NFL and WWE announced today that they’ve partnered on a multi-year licensing deal to sell NFL-inspired WWE title belts featuring the official colors, names, logos and branding of all 32 NFL teams.

The belts are already for sale through the NFL’s and WWE’s merchandising sites. The price is $549.99.

This deal is the first-ever licensing agreement between the NFL and the WWE.

source:  nbcsports.com

August 24, 2023

WWE Star Bray Wyatt Dead At 36

WWE superstar Bray Wyatt, whose real name is Windham Rotunda, has died, WWE Chief Content Officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque announced on social media Thursday. Wyatt was 36.

"Just received a call from WWE Hall of Famer Mike Rotunda who informed us of the tragic news that our WWE family member for life Windham Rotunda - also known as Bray Wyatt - unexpectedly passed earlier today," Levesque wrote on X, the company formerly known as Twitter. "Our thoughts are with his family and we ask that everyone respect their privacy at this time."

The news of Wyatt’s death was a shocking and devastating revelation as a report surfaced earlier this month that the former champion was nearing a return to the ring after battling a "life-threatening illness."

Earlier in the year, Wyatt got COVID that exacerbated a heart issue. He suffered a heart attack. Pro wrestlers and fans sent their condolences across social media.

Back in October, Wyatt had made a return to the WWE in one of the most mysterious build-ups the company had done in a while. A white rabbit, mystery QR codes and other messages appeared on WWE programming leading up to Wyatt’s eventual return at Extreme Rules. The hints pointed toward his return about 15 months since he was released in July 2021.

Wyatt’s "Fiend" character was among the favorite programs that WWE ran in recent years. WWE was able to make the character thrive through the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and he was put into epic feuds with John Cena and Randy Orton.

Wyatt’s cult leader character was also well-received when it began in 2013. However, Wyatt was released on July 31, 2021. His release marked the end of a 12-year run at WWE.

After his return on the premium live event, Wyatt cut a heartfelt promo thanking fans for welcoming him back and helping him through the tough times after his release.

"I am incredibly grateful. I’m really, really nervous to be here. I never thought this would happen," Wyatt said. "This right here, this is just me OK? This is a version of me I never got to introduce to you guys before. This is just me being me – genuine me – for the first time."

Wyatt explained at the time that over the last year, he lost a lot of friends and things in his life.

"I lost my career. I lost my self-confidence. I lost two people who were very, very close to me. I lost my way," he said. "And I got to a point where I thought that everything that I’ve ever done here or otherwise, it was all meaningless. Nothing I’ve ever did has ever mattered to anyone. And I was wrong.

"Once I was done feeling sorry for myself, I decided to go out in the world again and see … people everywhere that would say, ‘Thank you Bray, man. When you coming back home?’ And then every once in a while there would be someone I would meet that would be truly remarkable, and you know who you are. But these people they would come to me. They would come to me, and they would say, ‘Bray, I just wanted to thank you, man, because I was in a time of need, and I lost people that were close to me, and I lost my self-confidence, and I felt weak, and I felt vulnerable, and in this weakened state I found your words, Bray. I found your words, and I just wanted to thank you, man. You saved my life, Bray.’

"The truth is, I don’t think about stuff like that. And the thing about that is, is that I can sit here right now today, and I can look all of you in the eyes, and I can say you were there when I was weak, when I was vulnerable, when I was down, and I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you, you all saved my life.’"

Wyatt feuded with LA Knight, which culminated in a Pitch Black match at Royal Rumble. He was set to start a program with Bobby Lashley before he reportedly fell ill.

He was angled for a September return before his unexpected death, according to Fightful Select.

Wyatt had two daughters with his ex-wife and a son and daughter with former WWE announcer JoJo Offerman. His father, Mike Rotunda, was known in the WWE as Irwin R. Schyster (IRS).

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