Posts Tagged ‘Rumors’

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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The WWE is attempting to sign Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to a contract, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports.

Meltzer claims WWE “is willing to offer a similar style deal to Gronkowski that they offered to Ronda Rousey.”

Rousey made her debut at the Royal Rumble in January and announced that she signed a full-time contract with the wrestling promotion. Her contract does appear to be flexible, as she has not appeared on WWE television since the Rumble. She is, however, scheduled to appear during the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event on Feb. 25.

The news comes with Gronkowski’s NFL future up in the air. He would not commit to returning to the league in 2018 after New England’s Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is not the first time the former Super Bowl champion’s name has appeared in rumors related to the franchise. Mojo Rawley, a current WWE superstar, recently told TMZ, “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” the Patriots superstar would consider a career in professional wrestling.

It appears Gronk may have more than one important decision to make this summer.

There is a path for Tim Lincecum to go back to where it all began, but it’s far from a lock.

A day after throwing a showcase in front of major-league scouts, San Francisco Giants general manager Bobby Evans is saying the team is interested in potentially signing the Freak. The circumstances just have to be right, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“It’s up to the competition of what clubs are bidding on him, and I can’t speak to that yet,” Evans said. “It’s early. We obviously are all rooting for Timmy. Selfishly, anything he does, we would love for it to be in a Giants uniform, but sometimes opportunities on the business side dictate otherwise. But we’re always rooting for him.”

The Giants were rumored to be one of the teams attending the showcase. Lincecum, for his part, impressed with his stuff.

“He looked strong. His fastball (velocity) was good,” Evans said, according to ESPN. “His breaking stuff had some good depth to it. Obviously, he looks like he’s in great shape. Clearly, he’d worked really hard to get to this point. His opportunities will come for him. Let’s see how it plays out. We’re very hopeful for him whether it’s with us or somebody else.”

Evans’ stance is non-committal, but there appears to be a chance Lincecum goes back to the organization where he has spent the bulk of his career.

Lincecum, 33, didn’t pitch in 2017, and struggled extensively through nine starts with the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. The two-time Cy Young Award winner spent nine seasons with the Giants, going 108-83 with a 3.61 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 1,704 strikeouts over 1,643 2/3 innings.

Basketball Hall of Famer Dan Issel has been named president of “NBA 2 Louisville,” an investment group seeking to bring an expansion team to Kentucky’s largest city.

“Commissioner (Adam) Silver said the NBA would be flattered that Louisville wanted a team,” Issel said, according to the Courier Journal’s Tim Sullivan. “He said right now there is no timetable for expansion. That will be their stance until they start accepting applications … if and when they accept applications, we want to be on the top of the pile.”

The NBA has not prioritized expansion, but there could be a market opening with Seattle filing NHL expansion papers this week after plans for a retrofitted arena were approved. The Pacific Northwest metropolis has been a candidate to bring a pro basketball team back since the Sonics left to become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

Louisville has long been a college basketball hotbed thanks to the success of the Cardinals‘ program, prior to recent turmoil. Issel was a college standout at Kentucky and a star – and later coach of – the Denver Nuggets.

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.

Peyton Manning could be at the center of a bidding war between ESPN and FOX this offseason, as the two networks are reportedly looking to hire a marquee name as a game analyst for their respective prime-time football properties.

Both networks have Manning at the top of their lists, sources told Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.

ESPN needs a replacement for Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football after he left the booth to become head coach of the Oakland Raiders, and FOX recently picked up the rights to Thursday Night Football in a multibillion-dollar deal.

Manning has reportedly been approached multiple times by different networks in regard to a TV analyst role, but he’s been reluctant thus far.

One source told Marchand that ESPN is willing to “back up the truck” for Manning’s services. Gruden was reportedly ESPN’s highest-paid personality at more than $6.5 million per year.

It’s unclear whether the network would retain Sean McDonough as the play-by-play announcer partnered with Manning.

ESPN reportedly views Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss, Charles Woodson, and Kurt Warner as fallback options. Hasselbeck and McDonough recently called the Pro Bowl as a broadcast team.

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.