Posts Tagged ‘Monday Night Raw’

Comments made by Stephanie McMahon – seemingly relating to a possible sale of WWE – have caught the headlines this week.

The company’s Chief Brand Officer is quoted as saying in Bloomberg Businessweek that her family – who have dominated the wrestling industry for decades – have “certainly thought about” interest from media giants like Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Verizon.

Several outlets have taken her remarks as a sign her father, the current Chief Executive Officer, is now open to offers. The 72-year-old has recently began diversifying his own business interests with the proposed relaunch of XFL, a football league whose original run ended in 2001.

But it seems more likely that Stephanie was referring to the potential for collaboration with different content providers. WWE has been slowly moving away from traditional platforms over recent years, having scrapped one-off pay-per-views in favour of a subscription-based online streaming service.

And the company is clearly eager to explore new ways to reach its fanbase, a large (though dwindling) section of whom are drawn from the tech-savvy 18 to 34 demographic. Last month, for example, saw the launch of the intergender tag team tournament Mixed Match Challenge, an event streamed exclusively on Facebook.

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WWE Superstar Elias joined E & C’s Pod of Awesomeness this week to talk with Edge and Christian about a number of pro wrestling topics, including how he came up with the “Walk with Elias” catchphrase and how he connected it to “WWE.”

“The ‘walk with Elias” thing– it all started with The Drifter in NXT,” Elias said. “So, it’s all kind of evolved, right? The Drifter was this guy where I’d put a guitar on my shoulder and walk from town to town, find my way however I can, whether it’s hitchhiking, on a bus, walking, whatever I’ve gotta do. So it just became a question, ‘Who wants to walk with The Drifter? Who wants to go with me on this journey?'”

With groundwork already there, once Elias hit the main roster, Vince McMahon made the name switch to simply Elias. While backstage with John Cena, Elias said he kept hearing Cena talk about the WWE and it just clicked with his catchphrase.

“When I got to the main roster, Vince [McMahon] said ‘Let’s drop The Drifter stuff. You’re gonna be Elias and that’s it,'” Elias recalled. “So, ‘walk with Elias’ was the next question, right? And it just so happened to perfectly work out, ‘WWE’ and ‘walk with Elias’ are right in line there. I remember I said it backstage to John Cena. He was going off about the WWE Universe and the WWE this and that, and I said ‘Hey John, do you know WWE stands for? It stands for walk with Elias.’ He said, ‘My head just exploded in ten different ways, man. That is great!’ He said, ‘You got to make a thing out of that.'”

It didn’t take long for Elias to give it a try out in front of a live audience and it worked immediately with the crowd.

“So, sure enough, the next week or whatever I said it against John [Cena], I believe in a promo on Christmas Day, no less,” Elias said. “It seemed like right away the fans really reacted to it and the next week I started asking them, ‘What does WWE stand for?’ and they’ll fire back.”

You check out Elias’ full interview by clicking here. You can also find it on iTunes here.

WWE are now deeply entrenched in WrestleMania season, and while most of this year’s card still looks uncertain, one bout is guaranteed: the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

The match has become an annual staple since debuting at ‘Mania 30, and is now entering its fifth year. It’s usually treated as an afterthought, though. Victory in the Andre (which is often relegated to the Kickoff Show) did little for the likes of Cesaro and Big Show, but the bout’s lowly status could be about to change, according to PWInsider.

Apparently, WWE plan on giving the Battle Royal a significant spotlight at WrestleMania 34. This is primarily to hype the upcoming Andre the Giant HBO Sports documentary, which will premiere the Tuesday after ‘Mania. The company reportedly feel that if the doc draws a good rating, it could lead to more collaboration with the network and American sports pundit Bill Simmons, who is the man behind it.

Rob Gronkowski’s interference in last year’s ATG Battle Royal drew plenty of attention, but as usual, winning the match did little for Mojo Rawley. Will its increased focus yield bigger rewards for WrestleMania 34’s victor? Our fingers are crossed.

According to reports from PWInsider.com, fallen giant Big Cass has recently been spotted training in the WWE Performance Center, suggesting he’s ahead of the expected schedule for his return.

The supposed seven-foot tall superstar suffered a nasty ACL tear during a match with former tag-partner Enzo Amore last August. After the bout, WWE’s Dr. Chris Robinson revealed that Cass – who was in the midst of a minor singles push – would miss up to nine months of action following knee surgery.

Apparently, the big unit was seen walking unaided down in Florida, and was said to be in cracking shape. By no means is this to say that he is medically cleared to return to the ring, but it’s looking promising for the New York colossus. Such a speedy recovery from an injury so severe will come as a huge boost.

As yet, there’s still no timetable for a potential return, and he could well be on the shelf (let’s hope it’s reinforced) for the remainder of his initial prognosis. That would mean a mid-May return, but assuming he is healing more quickly than expected, a comeback in the immediate aftermath of WrestleMania is on the cards. Right in the middle of a Superstar Shake-up. Ideal, really.

Those who’ve tuned into WWE 205 Live over the past few weeks will have noticed a clear shift away from the ‘Raw Lite’ format that had defined the show since its inception, and towards a style more in line with 2016’s Cruiserweight Classic, with in-ring action given a stronger focus.

According to PWInsider, these changes are down to a significant backstage power shift. Vince McMahon has reportedly stepped away from producing the show, handing over the reins to Triple H, who has installed Drake Maverick as General Manager, and started a 16-man tournament to crown a new Cruiserweight Champion at WrestleMania 34.

As per PWI, WWE had spent the past few months discussing 205’s failure, with Enzo Amore brought in to transition towards a more character-driven show. This failed, and WWE have now shifted to the Cruiserweight Classic’s blueprint, with the show eschewing overlong talking segments and Raw/SmackDown-style dramatics.

205’s new form is reportedly what WWE had originally planned for the show before McMahon became personally involved. He stepped aside in mid-January, and Triple H will now attempt to salvage the brand by presenting strong, athletic characters in exciting matches.

Ronda Rousey hasn’t been seen in WWE since surprising the crowd in January at Royal Rumble in Philadelphia, but fans won’t have to wait too much longer for her next appearance.

On Monday night, Raw general manager Kurt Angle announced that the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion will sign her contract with the brand during WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on Feb. 25.

The pay-per-view could also set up Rousey’s storyline for WrestleMania 34 on April 8. MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer reported WWE is trying to put together a tag-team match that would pit Rousey and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.

Stephanie McMahon recently spoke with The Times of India at this link. Below are highlights:

WWE working with Make-A-Wish:

“WWE is the most unique form of content in the world, we are a global media company and I think as long as long as we are fulfilling our mission of putting smiles on people’s faces world over, I think that is our greatest gift. To be able to help a child who is sick, make them forget that they are sick, even for a couple of hours watching the show and give that gift to their parents, to see that joy on their child’s face and even not so serious, just someone who is having a really hard day and can escape into the story telling and fun of WWE.”

WWE staying relevant with storytelling and staying on top with audience interaction:

“The real reason why WWE remains so relevant and continues to grow over the past 50 years, is we are all about storytelling – no different than a famous Opera, play, book or a Sitcom. It is protagonist vs antagonist with conflict resolution; the only difference is our conflict are settled inside a 20×20 foot ring with some of the great live action you can see in sports and entertainment. And when you have that connection with the audience, when audience is part of the show influencing the storytelling and you have larger than life, still relatable characters, the audience has the opportunity to engage and live their fantasy through these characters which is no different than any other form of media and that really is the secret to or our success.”

Triple H being responsible for the women’s revolution after WWE fans called for more athleticism, better character development and better storylines:

“In terms of WWE, Paul Leveque (Triple H) started recruiting elite athletes from all over the world, both male and female and he started training them the same way as men, he the same opportunity to tell stories in the ring, the same as men and what resulted was a huge ground swell of our audience chanting for our women and chanting women’s wrestling and ‘This is Wrestling’ and it really gave rise to the voice of our audience and they knew they could impact the content of our show.”

Source: Times of India