Brock Lesnar won the WWE title for the first time in more than ten years, in the most one-sided title change of any length in company history, beating John Cena at SummerSlam on 8/17 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The match consisted of Lesnar destroying Cena from the opening bell, throwing him around at will, including delivering 15 different released German suplexes, a few of which saw Cena land badly on his already damaged neck. Lesnar laughed at the little offense Cena mustered, kicked out of his Attitude Adjustment, and finished the match by simply powering out of his STF, and getting on top for vicious ground and pound, and delivering an F-5 for the pin. Cena was kept off Raw the next day to sell the beating.
As far as one-sided savage beatings that a territory’s top babyface would take, the only person I can think of who did that on occasion would have been Jerry Lawler in Memphis, who in trying to establish a new top heel to draw, would work a match similar to this (usually much shorter) in a first meeting. I can recall him doing so for the debuting Kimala and the original Lord Humongous (Mike Stark). In the case of Kimala, the Lawler vs. Kimala run was a big success. In the case of Humongous, I don’t recall how successful it was, but guaranteed it did work and was more successful than had the first match been a traditional back-and-forth match where he put the big newcomer over clean. But as a weekly headliner, Lawler lost all the time so those were the rare extreme measures, done with a heel they were going to run with for weeks on end, and who was debuting on top and had no history with that gimmick (both Kimala and Humongous had worked the territory before, Stark without the mask had even had a run on top as a face with a heel Lawler years earlier). Since Lawler in both cases was winning out in the end, it did help business, got a longer run of singles matches than usual out of it, and Lawler wasn’t hurt at all in the long run for it.
Of stars at the level of Cena, during their run as the top face, I can’t think of any other modern examples. Dusty Rhodes never did it. Hulk Hogan never did it. Bill Goldberg never did it. HHH never did it. Shawn Michaels never did it. Bruno Sammartino never did it. Giant Baba never did it. Jumbo Tsuruta never did it. Mitsuharu Misawa or Kenta Kobashi never did it. No world champion tippy top star babyface in the history of the Capital Sports promotion ever put their heel opponent over in this way.
While it didn’t have nearly the excitement of a usual WWE main event, the stiffness and the ability of the match to take one out of the “expected” pro wrestling zone was more reminiscent of a Japanese match, and because that never happens in WWE (Lesnar vs. Cena in 2012 was the closest to it), it made it one of the most memorable matches in recent memory. While not quite as brutal as their 2012 match, this was close to that level with Lesnar delivering hard knees to the body like one would in a real MMA fight.
The idea was to get Lesnar over as strong as possible as a monster, to make him break out of the pack. That was accomplished. The idea was also to get Cena over for not quitting in that situation and for taking the beating. In the Staples Center, it didn’t work, as fans cheered Lesnar and even after, booed Cena and sang “Na na na na, good bye,” thinking the beating meant he would be taking time off.
Cena didn’t appear before the crowd the next night for Raw in Las Vegas. He didn’t appear on television, but did appear before the live crowd at Smackdown in Phoenix the next night.
Surprisingly, given how the match was laid out, Lesnar vs. Cena for the title will headline Night of Champions, which this year is an event more important than SummerSlam, because the first six-month network subscriptions are expiring on 9/2.
The first big hook event for renewals of the most hardcore of fans, the first group of subscribers, is the PPV on 9/21 from Nashville. The problem is the lack of depth of true headliners, which is more a function of WWE’s booking that mostly makes mid-carders, so when the headline situation needs something new, there are few options.
This leaves only four viable headliners who could have faced Lesnar. There is Dean Ambrose, who is in a different program and while he may have great potential and will probably be the next Punk, he’s not ready in their eyes for that spot. And his movie shooting schedule may not allow it. There is Batista, who is supposed to return, and I don’t think has ever worked a program with Lesnar on the big stage (they worked back in OVW), but Batista didn’t get over as a singles headliner on his last run, although the circumstances are completely different now. But still, if they were to go to that, Batista needs to return, make a face turn (he sort of left as one with the blow up of HHH and his quitting, but it was more ambiguous) and build it, and this month would be too soon unless there was no other option. There is Roman Reigns, who most likely they are going to keep out of the title picture until he wins it at WrestleMania, since he is the chosen one and this is his period to rise. Having him lose a title match now would be counterproductive. And his winning this early, not at Mania, a month after Lesnar has won the title won’t maximize the impact of his win.
The other opponent is Cena. But in theory, while the match was super compelling and much discussed when it was over because it was different, it also felt like the single worst layout of a match to build a rematch. This was a match where the loser has to disappear for a while and comeback with a make over, having a come to Jesus meeting or something to reinvent himself and explain why things will be different next time.
All of a sudden what seemed like a brilliant and gutsy scenario to get people talking now comes across as a shock for the sake of talk, but making no sense for the direction they are going in. If you use logic of building fights, which WWE is in control of, and apply it to boxing or MMA or kickboxing, or tennis, or football, or basketball or baseball and you are trying to build a big rating for a game the very next month or for a PPV, do you book a 35-34 game that comes down to the wire, or a 72-0 game where the home doesn’t get a first down and the visitors laugh them off the field? Indeed, this is very close to the scenario Vince McMahon talked about as to why UFC would never have staying power, when he saw Rampage Jackson destroy Chuck Liddell, and felt all the work in building Liddell was then wasted because he was done as an attraction (Cena isn’t done, and Liddell wasn’t done either).
If you are UFC and you can control the outcome to build a rematch, do you book a close fight, or a one-sided slaughter where it’s the most popular fighter who sells more merchandise than every other fighter in the company combined loses and gets finished, without winning a minute, let alone a round, and then you still try to draw with an immediate rematch?
So SummerSlam was a super effective build for Lesnar as a top heel star. But it was more like a build for Lesnar to be a super strong heel and needing a new babyface to be the one to chase. Without that person in the picture (well, that person is in theory Reigns but for it to work, Lesnar has to keep doing that to everyone until he faces Reigns), they don’t have the follow-up for this month.
As far as the WrestleMania build, I see these viable choices.
Choice A, which seems the most logical, is Lesnar beats Cena again, with Cena being competitive and another heel screws him and Cena goes into a program with that heel, Lesnar beats another top face in January and then loses to Reigns at WrestleMania.
Choice B, is that Cena gets his win back with a slip on a banana peel finish in a match he gets completely destroyed in, but he’s beaten so badly that Seth Rollins cashes in that night. Cena and Rollins can battle for a few shows, and eventually Reigns beats Rollins (or even Cena) at WrestleMania.
That way you don’t have the situation where the championship is on hiatus, off house shows and television for a long period of time and on every PPV.
They could always negotiate with Lesnar and make him an offer to do one match per month. Lesnar isn’t getting younger and socking away more money in his tenure in the business isn’t something I can see him wildly protesting. The idea of him doing a full road schedule may not happen because his need for more money given the deal he has wouldn’t be there. But once a month between now and Mania where he’s guaranteed to headline every major show and have a career run as a monster hardly sounds like something he’d reject without thinking. Dwayne Johnson had a far busier schedule and when he agreed to the deal for the championship, he did appear on every PPV during that period. It would simply be a business decision, whether the two sides could come to a financial agreement.
At press time, that is the only match announced for Night of Champions, although one can sketch out a lineup somewhat based on television. If the concept is every title is at stake, the IC title match looks to be new champion Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz, perhaps in a stipulation match given it’s the third title match and fourth match overall in a short period of time. The U.S. title match is Sheamus vs. Cesaro, a virtual lock. Dating back to 8/17 at the 2K presentation, both were there and constantly talked about wanting to work a program with each other. The Divas title match would either be new champion Paige against A.J. Lee in a rematch, or perhaps a three-way involving Natalya, who beat Paige in non-title matches on both Raw and Smackdown, due to Lee’s distraction. In the tag team scene, Stardust & Goldust, who appeared to be going nowhere, suddenly beat the Usos on Raw in a non-title match, and followed it with a win over Luke Harper & Erick Rowan on Smackdown. There also could be a multiple team scenario with various other teams such as Harper & Rowan, Big Show & Mark Henry, and perhaps Ryback & Curtis Axel and/or Titus O’Neil & Heath Slater.
Henry also could work as a single against Rusev, which seems more likely. Due to a lack of depth on top, they still seem to be going with Reigns vs. Randy Orton, which would likely need some stipulations added. If Dean Ambrose is back, he’d surely face Seth Rollins. If not, that match would be brought back on the PPV after his return. Jack Swagger is building a program with Bo Dallas, but that is as likely just something for television as building a PPV match.
SummerSlam drew a sellout crowd of just over 14,000 to the Staples Center (announced at 17,357). The show sold out months ago, virtually as soon as tickets were put on sale.
It was a very good show, with no bad matches and you can make an argument that there were three great matches. The main event was really the talk of the show.
But the dynamic is different, as the big three shows of the year now are designed to be major movers in selling new network subscriptions. So it won’t be until November when we can really see if this show was successful in its business goals.
The show featured mostly heel wins, and two other title changes, both surprises, as Ziggler beat The Miz for the IC title and Paige beat A.J. Lee to regain the Divas title. The big angle, hardly unexpected, was Nikki Bella turning on her sister and helping Stephanie beat Brie. The turn got a huge babyface pop. Based on the crowd reaction, they all saw it coming and wanted to see it.
The tradition of SummerSlam in Los Angeles, which dated back to 2009, ended this year. It was very different from prior years in the sense that there were less activities publicized around town, no parties with celebrities and such. They had the 2K video game reveal and panel shows with Hogan, Austin and Michaels & HHH in the relatively small Nokia Theater next to Staples Center. There was no Fan Axxess this year which also meant that none of the NXT talent was brought in. Next year’s show will be in New Jersey/New York as they pushed on the show. The buildings I heard over the weekend were either the Barclays Center in Brooklyn or the Izod Center, although given it’s the summer, there is also talk of trying MetLife Stadium. The impression I was given is that it’s just too expensive to run Madison Square Garden for a major show these days as compared to the other arenas in the market and it doesn’t matter which one you run in because they are all selling out first day tickets are put on sale.
They officially did the logo switch to the logo that was first introduced in December at the WrestleMania 31 press conference in San Jose, with the idea of the Internet technology logo for a company changing its business model to be largely about selling subscriptions to the network. The new logo on a flag is visible from the highway when you drive past the WWE headquarters in Stamford, as is a flag that reads “$9.99.”
As far as the network in Canada goes, on Rogers cable as a TV product, you can order it by the month, meaning if you’ve got that system, a TV PPV is $12.99 a show, not to mention that all they hear on TV is $9.99 and they have to pay more. Funny thing is, the TV version is already far more successful than the streaming version, even with only about 40 hours of archived content compared to 2,000 hours for the streaming version. What’s also notable there is in Canada a lot of movie theaters air WWE PPVs for $18 each, and the picture and sound are better in the theater, but one ticket for $18 vs. whole family at $12.99 looks to make it tough on the theater business when the rollout goes national. As it turned out, even before it went national, Cineplex, the chain that has broadcasted all WWE PPVs for years, has just dropped every show for the rest of the year throughout Canada, except for Survivor Series. This hurts n most provinces who are not yet getting the network, although those parts of Canada can still order the show as a PPV until Rogers makes deals with the other cable companies to broadcast the network as a television channel. No deals are yet in place but they are working hard to close them. These orders the day of SummerSlam on Rogers will count as network subscribers and not as Canadian PPV buyers.
The Canadian television experiment at this point looks to have been a huge success. SummerSlam buys at $12.99 in Canada were said to be far above projections. There is some question as to how many people will maintain the service, but it also may be an experiment about the viability of the network today. While we had tons of complaints about people having streaming issues for SummerSlam, Canadians who watched it on television had no issues at all. Given how ROH did roughly six times as many buys for a weaker show through television PPV vs. Internet PPV for far stronger lineups, the issue may not be the price as much as people not yet ready to make the move to purchase PPV’s on the Internet. My feeling is that’s a mentality that will change, and probably in just a few years and that ultimately the WWE Network will be successful. But for 2014, in the U.S. market, it may be time to investigate the viability of a television version. Rogers’ projection for WWE Network orders for the first month was topped two days after the service was introduced.
Sting and Hulk Hogan at the 2K launch were both pushing for matches at Mania. Hogan was pushing for something with Austin or Cena. He was pretty negative regarding his few matches in TNA due to how bad his back was doing. He said his back was better but he’s now battling arthritis in his extremities that runs in the family. You always say never say never in wrestling, but Austin doesn’t appear to want to do another match. Hogan brought up how much longer his main event run was but you could tell it was more trying to somehow build a match. Whether Hogan can pass a physical would be the question. He’s Hogan and his first match in WWE in years will at a Mania will get over if it’s carefully done. If Cena has nothing better going on , it can be pushed as a once in a lifetime dream match even at Hogan’s age. I’m expecting Sting to work one match at Mania. He said if he could script it out, it would be one last match, with Undertaker at Mania. He’s pushing this one hard and vocally and did so at a WWE panel so they can’t be negative about it since Sting was in the office and talked plans with everyone. It probably depends on Undertaker’s ability to do another match. Sting also talked about maybe facing Cena or HHH. Sting said that he was “very close” to signing, but was very confidently saying we’ll see him again, but wouldn’t say when, but he shouldn’t wrestle until Mania. Sting was flown to Stamford, CT and met Vince McMahon maybe for the first time (he said that he might have met Vince at a NATPE convention for a brief second but he’s not sure) face-to-face (they’ve talked on the phone in negotiations for years). He was shown around to tons of employees and shown how the operation works and they don’t do that unless they are pretty sure they’ve got a deal.
Bryan has been doing almost nothing but rehab on a daily basis. He joked and said that he actually feels fine, but his right arm has almost no strength, which is the troubling issue. He was going to undergo surgery on 8/19, near his elbow as they believe there’s a nerve issue there which isn’t allowing the arm to regain strength. But then this past week, they postponed it and wanted to do more testing and see if they can fix the problem without surgery. He’s pretty frustrated because he wants to be wrestling. He’s been told that after surgery, he would probably be able to return in three months, so maybe as early as the end of November. But by delaying the surgery, they delay the return. He goes to two different physical therapy sessions, as well as gets acupuncture treatment and goes to an Active Release Technique class. Bryan was actually told in 2013 that he was going to need neck surgery because of his wear and tear. It was not a question of if but when. He didn’t tone down his style as best we can tell, particularly doing the missile dropkicks and diving head-butts. He was hoping to go as long as he could without needing the surgery and is now happy he made it through WrestleMania. He also said that he thinks Yuji Nagata is the best wrestler he was ever in the ring with, said one of the best matches of his career that was never taped was with Minoru Suzuki, and thinks Shinsuke Nakamura is the best wrestler in the world, and when he said this, was only through day one or two of the G-1 tournament. He also noted in an interview with us at how crazy it was that the band of thieves who broke into his house were caught last week, figuring that after the one guy he tackled was caught and they knew the police were after them after so many burglaries and you’d think they’d lay low for a few weeks.
Bryan also told IGN.com about the angle with him having an affair with his physical therapist: “Yeah, to me, it’s groan-worthy (notable he would say that, whether he felt it or not because the company doesn’t really like people who say stuff like that and writers have been known to get reprisals from top talent who criticize them publicly). Don’t think it added anything to the story. It was just like, `Ugh.’ But they do what they do, and you just gotta roll with the punches. It’s funny, because I feel sometimes you just have to overcome these things more so than anything else. Like, Brie and Stephanie have to overcome that flaw. To me, that was a flaw in the story. The story was so good, and then here’s this flaw in it. But its’ whatever. It doesn’t hurt my feelings or anything. It’s entertainment, it’s not real.”
Kurt Angle made inquiries recently about coming in and was pretty much blown off. Mark Madden reported, and we were able to confirm with a couple of sources, that Angle spoke to HHH and was pretty much blown off. Angle then called Vince McMahon, but McMahon, playing good cop/bad cop, said that HHH makes the talent decisions. Madden reported that HHH wasn’t happy that Angle tried to go over his head. Angle pushed the idea of returning on a schedule similar to what Michaels worked his last several years, where he’d come in for specific shows and work very limited house show dates. Angle, 45 had told Madden that he felt he could do at most eight dates per month. Vince still seems pretty adamant about it not being worth the risk, saying in the past that absolutely nothing is worth putting the company in the position where an Olympic hero dies on their watch, because of the negative news stories that would follow. The fact Angle, whose contract expires in one month, is approaching WWE probably says something about the Jarrett promotion in the sense that with Angle’s contract expiring with TNA, Angle would seem to make the most sense as the “foundation” star for Jarrett if he had something, and there’s really no other foundation star out there. Angle has claimed TNA has offered him a new deal and he turned it down because he wanted to end his career in WWE and felt this next contract would be his last one. If Angle had a chance to come back, and there were no indications McMahon had changed his mind, they weren’t helped by the reports from various WWE talent that were on a flight with him that he was passed out. Angle claimed he was just sleeping on the plane, and has claimed to be clean after going through rehab several months ago. But in the last year, between the rehab and two knee injuries, he’s had a lot of down time.
A press release for season three of Total Divas, which starts on 9/7 in the Sunday at 9 p.m. time slot, gives some hints at the direction. Bryan and Brie Bella have their honeymoon, and then his injury is worked into the storyline. Not sure if they’ll address his father passing away just as their honeymoon ended. Brie considers getting pregnant. Nikki goes back into a funk when Cena again insists that he doesn’t want any children. Natalya and T.J. do couples therapy. Every season they are the ones chosen for the marital problems storyline. Trinity and Ariane split up in storyline. Eva Marie faces issues as her father doesn’t approve of her husband, and then her father ends up suffering from cancer. Ariane and Vinnie stay together and there are hints at an engagement. Summer Rae was gone for some of the filming doing “The Marine,” so Mendes will have the lead heel spot this season. In the storyline, Mendes returns to WWE after 18 months being gone to wreak havoc on everyone. I believe they were finishing up filming for the series this past week at SummerSlam, with a second wedding ceremony for Eva Marie and Jonathan, which was filmed in Los Angeles I believe. They actually had the secret wedding but since it wasn’t filmed the season builds up to their wedding and issues between her father and Jonathan leading up to it. They like to end the season with a wedding, and at this point, they’ll probably be pressuring Vinnie and Ariane since they’ve got Natalya, Eva Marie, Brie Bella and Trinity so far, and Nikki is with Cena who doesn’t want to get married. We heard reports that Bunim-Murray wanted the twins to be at odds with each other. As far as whether they wanted it and WWE wrote the angle or WWE had the angle and they wanted it anyway, that I don’t know. Season three will have the back story of Trinity and Ariane splitting up.
Ambrose will likely be off for several weeks, as he’s got a starring role in a new WWE/Lionsgate action movie called “Lockdown.” It’s part of the six picture deal between the two companies. Ambrose will be billed by his real name in the movie, Jonathan Good. Production starts later this month. Stephen Reynolds, who has worked on “Tomb Raider: Ascension,” will be the director. Nathan Brooks and Bobby Lee Darby (“See No Evil 2") will be writers. Ambrose stars as a police officer who ends up trapped in his own precinct and hunted after by crooked police who are attempting to recover incriminating evidence against both them and their friends. They did an angle on Raw on 8/18 where Rollins and Kane double-teamed him with Rollins coming off the announcers table with a curb stomp, sending him through cinder blocks. They said Ambrose was injured but then disappeared without getting treatment.
The company did a multimillion dollar advertising campaign for the WWE Network based around SummerSlam, feeling this is the time, like WrestleMania, where they can expand the subscriber base.
Vince McMahon, HHH and Stephanie all did very visible Ice Bucket challenges this past week. Stephanie challenged every member of the San Francisco 49ers (tie-in since Mania is at Levi’s Stadium), every member of the cast of Total Divas and every member of the WWE Universe. She had Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir and Shayna Baszler (The Four Horsewomen) backstage to dump a garbage can filled with water loaded with a full cooler of ice over her head shortly after her match with Brie Bella.
They held an event at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on 8/16 for the roster reveal for the 2K 15 video game. Austin & Renee Young hosted. It was the first time Austin ever did something like that. Unlike last year, when it was at night, it was done first thing in the morning so nobody would spend the day drinking before hand, which led to all the issues last year and led to a Ric Flair return not happening and Jim Ross’ long tenure with the company ending. On the panel were Reigns, Cesaro, Sheamus, Cena, Hogan and Sting. It was heavily scripted, as far as Austin & Young’s role. Unlike last year, they largely stuck to the script, so nobody got in any trouble. It was also early in the morning and not at night, so none of the panelists had time to spend the afternoon at the bar. Sting was introduced as the franchise of WCW. But they did a fan Q&A which allowed guys to speak off the cuff and Cesaro was the star with his quick-witted arrogant answers to everything in character. Reigns also showed a lot more when it comes to playing off people and things than he shows on TV, and he had some good comebacks when Austin was jabbing him. I was impressed with both. Hogan and Sting were both pushing hard for matches at Mania. They also did the roster reveal. What’s notable is that there was no rhyme or reason in the roster announcements given they didn’t announce Flair, Booker, Nash, Natalya but did announce Tyson Kidd and Gabriel. They also announced Punk’s name, which got a big pop and announced Mysterio. They ran past Mysterio’s name quickly but did announce it. They didn’t announce Del Rio’s name either, but that was understandable. These rosters were done a long time ago, and Punk has dual roles, since there is a major career feud storyline for both HHH vs. Michaels and Cena vs. Punk. Those announced were Wyatt, Cesaro, Hogan (both as old school Hogan and as heel Hollywood Hulk Hogan of the NWO), Cena, Reigns, Sting (both the early 90s version and the late 90s version), Jericho, Ziggler, Fandango, Sheamus, Show, Sandow, Lesnar, Punk, HHH, Michaels, Goldust, Ambrose, Batista, Usos, A.J. Lee, Big E, Swagger, Kidd, Darren Young, Mysterio, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, O’Neil, The Rock, Rollins, Kingston, R-Truth, Gabriel, Orton, Naomi, Bryan, Xavier Woods, Miz, Snuka, RVD, Austin, Rowan, Harper and Undertaker. Those not announced were Flair, Nash, Del Rio, Barrett, Booker T, Cameron, Cody Rhodes, Axel, Kane, Henry, Summer Rae, Marella and Ryback.
At the Nokia Plaza in Los Angeles, there was a billboard for the panel with photos of everyone on the 2K panel. Sting’s Crow look face was superimposed on the body of a much younger bodybuilder whose body looked very different from how Sting’s looked even in his own bodybuilder days. So that explains them looking for a bodybuilder of similar size to Sting when they did their $200,000+ commercial and production for the announcement), Dwayne Johnston said, while promoting “Hercules” in Mexico City, that he will be in a new DC Comics movie but hasn’t decided on whether he’ll play Shazam or Black Adam. It may be Black Adam since he said that was one of his favorite DC Comics characters.
Don Pardo, the legendary voice who did the opening introductions for “Saturday Night Live” since the beginning of time, passed away in his sleep on 8/18 at the age of 96. During the 80s, Pardo also did the introductions for “Saturday Night’s Main Event.”
Jericho’s third autobiography will be out on 10/6, so he’ll be making the rounds promoting the book shortly after he leaves, which will be after Night of Champions.
John Layfield and Michael Cole will be starting a syndicated radio show on more than 500 stations shortly.
Dana Warrior, the wife of the late Ultimate Warrior, was mad at Hogan this past week. Hogan did a Grantland podcast promoting SummerSlam and told a story that he and Warrior traveled together in the WCW days for several days because Warrior didn’t want to go home. That story doesn’t sound right because Hogan and Warrior weren’t on good terms in the WCW days (their real problems came during the deposition in Warrior’s lawsuit against WWF for the “Rise and Fall of the Ultimate Warrior” DVD when Hogan called Warrior a flash in the pan as far as being a star and was critical of his working ability). Dana was already with him by that point and took it like Hogan was saying he was hanging with him and avoiding going home to her. If the story was true, it may have been in the WWF days, when the two were closer. She wrote, “I’ve been really quiet since the passing of my husband and the father of my girls. Someone sent me what Mr. Bollea had to say in a video interview with Grantland yesterday and I would just like to ask him to stop. He is the only person in the WWE Universe who did not give a call or send a card. My girls asked why he didn’t check on us like everyone else and I explained simply there isn’t a camera at our mailbox or in the house when we receive our calls. I would ask respectfully, Mr. Bollea, for you to understand my girls hurt and just let some time pass before you say anything more.”
Show, who is under a performers contract through 2018, at which time he’d be 46, is saying that he’s the lightest he has been in 15 years for this latest return.
Marella is already talking about possibly coming out of retirement. He said he’s got a lot of neck problems and his stenosis has increased to the point he needs to get it taken care of. He said the severity of his spinal stenosis is such that he can’t do any physical contact right now. But he said that if he gets double fusion surgery in his neck, he may be able to return.
There was a screw-up on 8/15 in the Canadian airing of Smackdown on Sportsnet 360. Somebody accidentally put the wrong segment in and while the entire show from Seattle aired until the main event, when it came time for the main event segment, they aired a match from some time back of Del Rio, who had just been fired, against Reigns.
The company filmed segments this past week in Los Angeles of Torito and Hornswoggle, who are now being paired up as friends and tag team partners for comedy purposes (since they wanted Hornswoggle as a babyface on TV for the release of “The Leprechaun” movie) double dating Layla and Summer Rae. Not sure when or where these will air.
They also filmed additional segments in Las Vegas with Lesnar for future shows since he’s not scheduled to appear on TV next week in Anaheim.
One of our readers who subscribed to the network, and then his credit card expired, called customer service to renew. He was told to just start up a new subscription as his old subscription was closed after the card expired and he didn’t respond to e-mails letting him know. When asked about the four months left, he was told, “Don’t worry bout that. When people cancel or stop paying, we just close their account and don’t charge them anything.” He questioned that, saying he didn’t want to get a surprise bill after subscribing. He was told the company policy at this point was not to enforce the six month agreement (not wanting to get a negative reaction from consumers on the network most likely) but they “just hoped people didn’t know they could cancel at anytime.”
Henry Cejudo, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling, confirmed to MMA Junkie that he was close to signing with WWE but chose UFC. “It was something that was actually in the works,” he said. “One of their talent scouts (Gerald Brisco) saw me, met me,and wanted to bring me in for an audition or whatnot.” He also said, “I’ve always watched WWE ever since I was a little kid. But MMA right now is my No. 1 priority. Maybe WWE in the future, but as of now, I’m sticking straight to the UFC and my fighting career. It might be worth trying it out some day, but as of right now, I solely train and think about MMA.” Before Cejudo signed with UFC, to debut on 8/30 in Sacramento against Scott Jorgensen, he was scheduled to come to SummerSlam and meet with the higher-ups. He had been pitched with the idea of becoming the company’s much-sought after top Latino babyface and told they would groom him to be the new Rey Mysterio. Cejudo may be a super wrestler, and blow away everyone on the roster in that regard, but this quest to be the next Rey Mysterio is going to end up as successful as the old quest to find the new JYD in Mid South.
Jeff Cobb, who wrestled in the 2004 Olympics representing Guam, and is the best athlete of the Northern California independent wrestlers, has a WWE tryout scheduled at the next camp over the first week of September. From what people who know him say, he’ll kill it at the athletic agility and conditioning drills and he can work. His negative is that he’s probably 5-foot-9 and is past 30.