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November 16, 2023

Big 12, WWE pairing hands title belt to conference championship MVP

WWE and the Big 12 have formed a new partnership around the Big 12 championship game that will include a custom-made championship title belt going to the game's most outstanding player.

The new pact will include blended Big 12-WWE logos on the field at AT&T Stadium, a new Big 12 merchandise line and WWE superstars presenting the most outstanding player belt and participating in events around the title game, which takes place Dec. 2.

The partnership with WWE adds to the Big 12's push to modernize and connect with a younger audience. Hip-hop star Nelly will perform at halftime.

"WWE is a global brand that connects with a wide array of audiences," Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark said in a statement. "With this partnership, we will integrate WWE and its brand power into one of the conference's biggest moments, further strengthening the bridge between sports and entertainment throughout the Big 12."

Yormark has spent much of his career working in the sports entertainment world, coming to the Big 12 from Jay-Z's Roc Nation, where he served as CEO and president of business operations and strategy.

WWE has taken a more active role in college football in recent years. The promotion's name, image and likeness program, "Next In Line," has included football players and other college athletes and put some on track for professional wrestling careers. WWE also finalized licensing agreements with all 14 SEC programs to create championship belts with each school's logo on the side plates.

November 13, 2023

2023 WWE Tribute To The Troops

Tribute To The Troops To Take Place In Providence, Rhode Island At Amica Mutual Pavilion

STAMFORD, Conn., November 13, 2023 – WWE®, part of TKO Group Holdings (NYSE: TKO), today announced that the 21st annual Tribute to the Troops will air Friday, December 8 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The event will take place in Providence, R.I. at Amica Mutual Pavilion. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com.

Since its inception in 2003, WWE’s Tribute to the Troops has honored our U.S. service members, veterans and their families for their continued sacrifice and commitment to our country, and is widely considered one of television’s most patriotic and heartwarming shows of the year.

WWE has a multi-decade commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces, which includes visiting nearly 400 military installations throughout the world, offering all U.S. military personnel free tickets to WWE live events, and has partnered with military organizations, such as Hire Heroes USA. WWE currently supports the USO and tells stories of heroism and valor of our nation’s bravest through the company’s partnership with National Medal of Honor Museum to make an impact in the community.

November 10, 2023

Paul Levesque On WWE’s Merger With Endeavor: ‘I Can’t Tell You How Excited I Am’

Front row at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater last night for the Callum Walsh-Ismael Villarreal boxing match were UFC CEO Dana White, WWE President Nick Khan, and WWE Head of Creative Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

The fight aired on UFC Fight Pass, which is investing more resources into its boxing and building around potential cornerstones like Walsh. A highly touted super welterweight prospect, Walsh (9-0) won a closely contested bout by unanimous decision, earning Levesque’s respect with his performance.
“It’s the first time I had the chance to see him fight live,” said Levesque, who spoke with Sports Illustrated while ringside. “He’s so well-rounded. I think this kid has it on all levels.”
Levesque marveled at the ten-round performance of the 22-year-old Walsh, who extended his undefeated streak with the victory.
“No matter what the genre, when you reach the next level, there are nerves and second-guessing that come at this level–and maybe a part of you that doesn’t believe in your hype,” said Levesque. “When you get to a certain level, a lot of it is a head game. To see how poised he is at this level, it’s awesome to see.”
Levesque is in the midst of a superb run of storytelling in WWE, especially since the company’s merger with Endeavor, which is also the parent company of the UFC. An old-school booker willing to embrace wrestling’s modern aspects, Levesque is molding Raw and SmackDown back into must-see products. Raw has been especially strong, with seemingly minute details–like advertised matches taking place–allowing multiple talents to have significant storylines.
Endeavor CEO has tasked Levesque to oversee all of WWE’s creative, a role he relishes.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” said Levesque. “Working with Endeavor, it’s next level. The flywheel for all the things they touch–if you were trying to build that on your own, it’s taking you a decade. For us, now, it fast tracks everything we’re doing.
“Endeavor, UFC, they’re the best in the business at what they do. They put things on a different level of professionalism, and we fit right into that. The future is so bright because of the opportunities Endeavor is going to provide for us and the synergies that are there. We’re going to take this to a whole new level.”

source:  si.com

November 9, 2023

Vince McMahon Puts More Than 8 Million Shares Of Class A TKO Stock Up For Sale

Vince McMahon is getting ready to sell a significant chunk of his ownership in the company, even ceding some of it to board members Ari Emanuel and Mark Shapiro.

According to a new announcement from TKO, McMahon is selling 8.4 million shares of his Class A stock in the company, roughly 30% of his stake in the company, which Brandon Thurston says is worth roughly $700 million at the stock's closing price. TKO will buy $100 million worth of the stock, while Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel will purchase $1 million worth of the stock, and Endeavor president Mark Shapiro will purchase 850k of the stock. The remaining stock, worth roughly $598 million at closing price, will be sold to the public.

On Tuesday, McMahon was listed by the company as a possible liability in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. This comes less than two months since TKO filed that all 28.84 million shares of McMahon's Class A stock in the newly minted company were listed for sale, which led to speculation that the company was looking for a way to excise the controversial executive, especially since McMahon was served with a subpoena for a Federal Grand Jury, as well as a search warrant.

November 7, 2023

The CW Network To Become The Exclusive Broadcast Home To WWE NXT

NXT Makes Broadcast Television Debut with Five-Year Deal Beginning October 2024
Network to Air Live Events Featuring WWE’s Next Generation of Superstars 52 Weeks a Year

November 7, 2023 (Burbank, CA & Stamford, Conn.) – The CW Network will become the official broadcast home to WWE NXT in October 2024. The five-year agreement marks the first time in its 13-year history that WWE NXT – which showcases WWE’s hottest up-and-coming Superstars – will air on a broadcast television network. WWE NXT will debut on The CW Network in October 2024 and air 52 live weekly events throughout the season.

“We are thrilled to welcome the WWE brand into the CW Sports portfolio as they play an integral role in our mission to bring live sporting events to the network year-round,” said Dennis Miller, President, The CW Network. “WWE NXT is a perfect fit for The CW thanks to its dynamic young talent featuring the hottest rising stars in the sport and exhilarating, unpredictable weekly events. The passion and engagement of WWE’s fanbase is unmatched, and we are eager to grow that audience as WWE NXT’s new home on broadcast television.”

“The CW has made impressive moves over the past year with its live sports programming schedule,” said Nick Khan, WWE President. “It’s a truly exciting opportunity to expand NXT’s audience by bringing the show to broadcast television for the first time in NXT’s history.”

Launched by WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE NXT has aired weekly since 2012 and features the brightest young talent in sports entertainment. Nearly 90% of the participants in last year’s WrestleMania were developed under the NXT banner. Led by WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, NXT is popular with younger audiences, ranking No. 1 in cable primetime on Tuesday nights last quarter among adults 18-49 and 18-34. Year to date, NXT’s average viewership is up 30% among adults 18-49. WWE Superstars, such as Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, have come up through NXT.

WWE NXT joins a growing roster of live sports on The CW Network, including ACC football and basketball games airing every Saturday throughout the season and LIV Golf. The CW is also the new home of the Emmy-award winning weekly studio series “Inside the NFL” and will broadcast NASCAR Xfinity Series beginning in 2025. The network will soon offer more than 500 hours of sports programming year-round.

October 31, 2023

IMPACT Will Rebrand As TNA Wrestling In Jan 2024

TORONTO | CHICAGO – October 21, 2023 – Anthem Sports & Entertainment, a global, multi-platform media company, announced today that its professional wrestling company, IMPACT Wrestling, is returning to its iconic Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling name, at “Hard To Kill,” its first pay-per-view event of 2024, which will originate for the first time ever from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

TNA will launch 2024 with Hard To Kill on Saturday, January 13, with a second night of action-packed professional wrestling – the “Snake Eyes Extravaganza Show” – at The Palms on Sunday, January 14. The Snake Eyes Extravaganza Show will be taped to air on the company’s flagship weekly TV show, Impact!, airing every Thursday night on AXS TV (8 p.m. EST).

“We still hear the ‘TNA’ chants wherever we go,” said IMPACT Wrestling President Scott D’Amore. “Fans have longed for TNA Wrestling, so that’s what we’re bringing back in 2024: TNA Wrestling, we’re back!”

October 25, 2023

Happy 20th Anniversary Paul and Stephanie

October 25, 2003

October 16, 2023

Giant WWE Championship Belt Sculpture Already Awing Passersby

A giant, 7-foot-tall pre-cast concrete monument resembling the real-life championship belt worn by wrestlers in WWE is nearing completion in front of the offices of the wrestling company on Washington Boulevard.

By Friday, the main frame of the belt was already installed, as were decorations meant to mimic the bejeweled facade of the WWE Championship, currently held by wrestler Roman Reigns.

October 13, 2023

Triple H and Vince McMahon Have More Defined Roles in WWE

Per Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, Paul “Triple H” Levesque is in full control of WWE creative.

When WWE merged with Endeavor last month, Paul “Triple H” Levesque did not receive a seat on the Board of Directors, a position he had held prior in WWE.

Yet that has not represented a loss of power.

In fact, the opposite has occurred.

If you have noticed a change in WWE programming, you are not alone. Levesque, who is WWE’s Head of Creative, has overseen all of the creative on SmackDown and Raw since the merger, which is precisely what his job description entails.

The difference is that Vince McMahon, who is synonymous with all things WWE, is no longer directly involved in dictating the weekly creative in the same manner he once did. McMahon remained the title of Executive Chairman in WWE, but he no longer possesses majority control of the company. That has allowed for change in the new regime, particularly in the creative department.

Multiple contacts within the WWE and UFC have confirmed that Ari Emanuel, who wields power as the Endeavor CEO, is behind the change. Emanuel has long been a firm believer that, in order for an organization to be as effective as possible, people need to do the job they are assigned. In this case, that approach has empowered Levesque to exert his full influence in the company’s creative sphere.

Not all is lost for McMahon. As Executive Chairman, his focus is elsewhere, particularly in overseeing a lucrative new media rights deal for Raw and the NXT brand. But it is a fascinating time for McMahon.

No longer the be-all, end-all of WWE, McMahon possesses an iron-clad contract that protects him financially–yet not politically. Will he view this as a loss of leverage? His response will be a very telling action.

source:  si.com

October 11, 2023

WWE NXT Viewership Triumphs Over AEW Dynamite in Tuesday Showdown

On October 10th, AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT clashed, with the former airing a special Title Tuesday edition featuring multiple title shifts and Adam Copeland's debut match against Luchasaurus. This came as Major League Baseball playoffs were scheduled on TBS for October 11th.

On the other hand, WWE NXT promised fans a star-studded evening with the likes of John Cena, Cody Rhodes, Asuka, and Paul Heyman in attendance. Fans also anticipated appearances from NXT Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, North American Champion Dominik Mysterio, and possibly, The Undertaker, following circulating rumors of his presence.

Before the showdown, reports mentioned Triple H and Shawn Michaels aiming to highlight the dominance of NXT over AEW. Tony Khan, on the other hand, had a sharp retort, labeling the NXT heads as "bald a**holes."

According to Wrestlenomics' Brandon Thurston, WWE NXT garnered an impressive 921,000 average viewers and a 0.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic. AEW Dynamite, in comparison, achieved an average of 609,000 viewers and a 0.26 rating in the crucial demographic.

Interestingly, while NXT dominated in viewership during the October 3rd episode, AEW Dynamite led in the key demographic against the October 4th NXT episode.

October 10, 2023

Rumor Mill - Triple H And Vince McMahon's Roles In WWE Creative

Rumors began to emerge yesterday suggesting that Paul "Triple H" Levesque is fully in control of WWE creative following the formation of TKO Group Holdings. In this scenario, it was said that Vince McMahon still retains his position on the board, but is no longer submitting last-minute creative changes to "WWE Raw" and "WWE SmackDown." On today's "Wrestling Observer Radio," journalist Dave Meltzer shared what he's heard regarding the creative situation in WWE.

McMahon has reportedly "backed off" of the company's creative. However, that is only for the time being, and McMahon still retains the power to change things if he desires. As of now, though, the creative direction is said to be almost entirely set by Levesque. Meltzer stated he was unsure why exactly McMahon seems to have chosen to take a step back willingly, as he has expressed no desire to do that in the past. In fact, McMahon pushed hard to return to the company in the wake of his retirement last year, and for a period of time was said to be making a number of creative changes to WWE shows.

While the details are not yet clear, McMahon is currently under investigation by the federal government. The investigation is likely diving into alleged "hush money" payments made by McMahon to several women previously employed by WWE. Several months after news of the scandal first broke, McMahon stepped down as WWE CEO, and soon after announced his retirement. Early this year, however, McMahon would shockingly re-appoint himself to the board, quickly changing the rules to allow himself to become the company's Executive Chairman. McMahon then presided over the merger between WWE and UFC under the umbrella of Endeavor, which was finalized last month.

October 6, 2023

Details Of Vince McMahon's Agreement To Pay Legal Fees For WWE Stockholder Lawsuit

For over a year now, former WWE owner Vince McMahon has been embroiled in a scandal revolving around hush money payments over alleged sexual misconduct. According to a recent SEC filing, McMahon agreed to pay $2 million to the plaintiffs in a stockholder lawsuit that originated back in January, meant to cover legal fees. That sum is in addition to the $17.4 million that McMahon was forced to pay back to the company to cover the cost of the investigation into his actions, which was one of the points of the lawsuit. The larger sum was ordered by the court back in March, while the $2 million amount was agreed to in May.

The suit, filed by WWE stockholders Carole Casale and Chrystal Lavalle in January, also sought to address McMahon's changing of the company's bylaws, allowing him to appoint himself back to the Board of Directors after stepping down in 2022. Once the nature of the lawsuit became clear, McMahon reverted the bylaws to the previous iteration, rendering that aspect of the lawsuit no longer relevant.

This isn't the end of the road for McMahon in terms of legal trouble. It was reported that McMahon had been served with a federal search warrant as well as a subpoena from a Grand Jury in July.

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