Posts Tagged ‘Monday Night Raw’

As exciting as the prospect of WWE’s utterly ludicrous Greatest Royal Rumble set for this Friday is, it is somewhat weighed down by the Greatest Elephant in the Room – chiefly, the absolute omission of women from the card.

During a time when a WrestleMania main event headlined by female talent looks more probable than ever, it’s somewhat mystifying that the company would choose to completely undermine their so-called ‘evolution’ by hosting a major event in a country where the women’s roster are not even permitted to compete.

But money talks, and a government-funded project of global soft-diplomacy is apparently worth more to WWE than what is, it seems, a quite transparent PR exercise designed to capitalise on a social movement.

Call us cynics.

To his credit, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque has at least stepped forth to address the understandable concern surrounding the gender discrimination inherent in hosting such a show. Speaking with The Independent, Trips acknowledged complaints, but noted that “every culture is different and just because you don’t agree with a certain aspect of it, doesn’t mean it’s not relevant.”

WWE’s Executive VP went on: “You can’t dictate to a country or a religion about how they handle things, but, having said that, WWE is at the forefront of a women’s evolution in the world and what you can’t do is affect change anywhere by staying away from it.

“While right now, women are not competing at the event, we have had discussions about that and we believe and hope that, in the next few years they will be. That is a significant cultural shift in Saudi Arabia.”

It’s very difficult to argue with anything The Game says, and he is absolutely right: it’s not necessarily our place to judge the relative merits of other cultures from without. However, it’s still not entirely clear why Vince and co. did not wait for the ‘cultural shift’ to transpire before getting into bed with their Saudi partners (incidentally, something else outlawed in the Kingdom). What’s that? How many million dollars? Oh.

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Brock Lesnar will receive a whopping $500,000 per match under the terms of his new WWE contract, according to a report in Dirty Sheets.

Instead of renewing his previous deal, the reigning Universal Champion is said to have negotiated an image rights package similar to the one he has in place with UFC. This means the company will pay him on a per appearance basis, as well as for use of his likeness in merchandise.

The report states that Lesnar will receive $100,000 for every appearance on television, and some $500,000 when he competes on pay-per-view. This is in addition to a fixed amount of $500,000 per year for image rights, which is to be paid in four instalments of $125,000 each quarter.

To boot, the Beast Incarnate is expected to rake in somewhere between $5m and $10m if, as expected, he returns to the Octagon later this year for his first MMA bout since 2016. He is apparently keen on fighting the winner of Stipe Miocic versus Daniel Cormier in December.

All of that is to say that Paul Heyman’s client probably won’t be worrying about going into overdraft any time soon.

The Rock has revealed that he was offered the opportunity to team with Ronda Rousey in her maiden WWE match at WrestleMania 34 earlier this month.

While on promotional duty for Rampage, The Great One told KISS FM UK last week that he had held discussions with the chairman of the board about competing at the event on 8 April. However, he was ultimately unable to formally commit to the idea due to scheduling conflicts.

“Vince McMahon and I were talking about two months ago trying to figure out what I was going to do if I went back to WrestleMania,” explained the eight-time WWE Champion. “He pitched me this really great idea that I’d get involved in a tag match with Ronda Rousey who is of course incredible and I’m very proud of her. We couldn’t make it work this time because I was in Shanghai. But who knows down the line?”

While Rock’s absence may have had an affect on last-minute Network subscriptions, the same can’t be said about the quality of the bout itself. Kurt Angle appeared alongside Rousey in his place, and the duo put on arguably the best match of the evening opposite Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

Still, it’s good to know that he hasn’t completely closed the door on a return to the ring in the future.

Ronda Rousey is looking to have Paul Heyman represent her in the WWE storylines, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

It was noted that Rousey will likely not become a Paul Heyman Girl due to internal company politics as the pairing would not fit the big picture narrative on why Rousey was signed. The idea is for Rousey to be the babyface antagonist to Stephanie McMahon and Heyman’s role is seen as more of a heel, even though WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar ended up being a babyface with Heyman representing him, which was not how they intended for things to turn out. Some do feel that the WWE fan base will eventually turn on Rousey.

Rousey is also in WWE because the outside world will see her as the biggest star in the company, and because she’s had strong drawing power with female fans. The Observer noted that the limited data they have shows RAW viewership with men is way up when Rousey is on but female viewership is not.

Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter

The 50-man Greatest Royal Rumble special is scheduled to air on April 27 at the King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In addition to the battle royal, every major title is scheduled to be on the line, with the exception of the women’s championships. Undertaker is also scheduled to compete against Rusev in a Casket Match, and John Cena is scheduled to compete against Triple H. The winner of the Greatest Royal Rumble will receive a trophy.

The tickets were originally scheduled to go on sale a month ago, but were delayed. According to the The Wrestling Observer, the process of ticket sales and seating has been a disaster.

In an attempt to sell out the stadium, which has reportedly never been done before with other sports, WWE is selling tickets between $2.70-$5.30 USD. There is also a VIP low-level seating area that is selling at about $80 USD, but these seats are only allowed for Saudi General Sports Authority President Turki Al-Asheikh and his colleagues.

In addition, there are only two ticket options: one for bachelor men, and another for families. For the family option, it must include a female attending. The bachelor tickets are at the top of the stadium and are sold out, leaving only the family option. As a result, irate fans have emailed WWE with their frustrations. There is a possibility for more singles tickets to be released before the event occurs.

A fan on Twitter recently vented his frustration on the seating arrangement. He stated that he booked single tickets, but there was a rearrangement in the seating positions. Now, his old seats are in the families section, which he is not allowed to enter. He did not receive any email to clarify what happened to his booking, or where his new seats are going to be.

The Greatest Royal Rumble event is scheduled to air live at 7:00 pm in Saudi Arabia on April 27, which is 12:00 noon US Eastern Time. As always, we will have live coverage of the event.

Source: F4WOnline

WWE officials decided on John Cena vs. The Undertaker for WrestleMania 34 several months back and at some point realized that The Dead Man couldn’t do any kind of lengthy match, which is why they ended up having Taker defeat Cena in just 2 minutes and 46 seconds, according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Taker’s health going into the match was the catalyst for the odd build to the match, which never saw Taker appear on WWE TV to accept the challenge. WWE wanted everyone to know Taker would be in New Orleans to face Cena but they wanted to downplay the idea that it was one of the biggest matches on the show as people would expect it to be if there was a normal build that you might see for other matches.

Taker underwent hip replacement surgery shortly after the loss to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 in 2017. We’ve heard no updates on how he’s doing following the quick match against Cena but it will be interesting to see if he’s able to work a longer match against Chris Jericho later this month. Taker is set to compete against Jericho in a Casket Match at the April 27th WWE Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. There’s also no word yet on when we might see Taker back in action after the big event in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter

This week on Episode 43 of his Triple Threat Podcast, “The Franchise” Shane Douglas weighed in on the much discussed decision to have Braun Strowman’s mystery partner at WrestleMania be a child. In the following excerpt from the episode, Shane compares the decision for Braun and Nicholas winning to Vince Russo booking David Arquette’s WCW World Title victory in the year 2000. The full episode can be downloaded at this link.

Shane Douglas on Braun Strowman and Nicholas’ title win at WrestleMania:

“My understanding and from the guys in my entourage (that attended WrestleMania) were saying that the audience kind of died after that match and you could kind of felt the energy leave the room. But we’ve heard for eighteen years that Vince Russo is the worst thing ever to wrestling because he put the belt on David Arquette. As much as I disagree with that decision that was better than putting a belt on a ten year old kid. My thought as soon as I heard this was what about Cesaro and Sheamus? They’ve got to go out and do a job to one guy that has a ten year old kid as his sidekick. The only way that could have worked and this may sound terrible but if you think it through it is the only way that could have worked and that is if they had a kid that was a Make-A-Wish kid or a kid that had been sick or something and you bring him in and do something to pop the crowd. It would have still been up-roared by wrestling purists but you would have seen some kind of some light at the end of the tunnel with it.

“Vince Russo has been vilified for eighteen years over the David Arquette thing and now we have this. But to be fair and let’s throw some stuff in there from WrestleMania weekend. There was a show that shall go unnamed (but you can find it I’m sure if you looked) where they had The Invisible Man come out and win a battle royal. I go back to Bill Watts and I tell Bill Watts specifically about that and his mouth dropped open when I said it. To me, it reeks of and it seems that nobody has respect for the industry or their own work in the industry anymore.

“If everything is a spoof and everything is a Saturday Night Live skit where does it end? You mentioned in your lead in that Vince Russo has been vilified in this industry to this day and look at the feedback you guys got off of the interview you had with David Arquette. To me, that is so much more plausible as implausible and that was so much more plausible than having a ten year old kid come out of the audience and win the World Tag Team Titles. It speaks to all of what is wrong with our business today and this is what everybody hears me say in any interview and that this is the difference of sports entertainment to professional wrestling. There is a very stark difference. Nothing against the kid and I am happy that he lived a dream that he will have the rest of his life and remember forever but that is not what WrestleMania is supposed to be about and that is not what the product is supposed to be about.

“It just underscores to me just how far off the track our industry has gone. After eighteen years of vilification of Vince Russo of that (David Arquette) decision we now get this. In light of and at the same time we get The Invisible Man winning battle royals, we get freeze-frames, we get pretend hand grenades and all of this crazy stuff that has nothing to do with wrestling.”