Posts Tagged ‘WWE Brand Extension’

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Alexa Bliss will compete inside a WWE ring for the first time since October 2018 this weekend (27 January), having announced her official participation in the second women’s Royal Rumble during last night’s Raw.

The former Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champion broke the news during her new Moment Of Bliss segment. A big brawl featuring some of the match’s other participants broke out before dissipating, and with Alexa left alone on the ramp, she announced she’d be competing.

Lacey Evans would then interrupt and run down the women’s division, though Bliss’ imminent return is the bigger story here.

While Alexa technically took part in a couple of house show matches last October, she took no bumps. This means that her last true match was versus Ronda Rousey at September 2018’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view.

Bliss has been slotted into a variety of different non-wrestling roles since then, as her concussion issues refused to clear. Recent weeks brought talk that she’d resumed training at the Performance Center, however, and she has now been cleared to resume her true career.

A welcome addition to the women’s Royal Rumble, and it’ll be great to see Bliss competing again.

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The WWE women’s division had a momentous 2018, with such feats as the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match last January, four different matches at WrestleMania where women were featured performers, and their grandest feat yet – the first-ever, all-women’s PPV, WWE Evolution this past October. Stephanie McMahon has been an outspoken proponent of the progressing women’s division and believes they’re receiving appropriate recognition for their success.

Stephanie recently sat down with Variety for an interview and among the topics discussed, Stephanie would acknowledge Ronda Rousey’s impact on WWE’s ever-changing women’s division before turning the attention to events that happened prior to Rousey ever signing. Stephanie recounted WWE’s tour of Abu Dhabi in late 2017, where Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss would become the first two women to compete in a match in Abu Dhabi.

“Ronda wanted to be a part of this change, and it happened actually before she came on board,” Stephanie said. “Which was something that disappointed her to a certain level, and on the other level, she was excited to come be a part of it, and she certainly helped raise the bar. But there’s a really important story that I think needs to be told, and that is just the power of this movement and what it really means, and the power of digital and social media, and the power of your voices; The power of all our voices.

“So, just over a year ago, in Abu Dhabi, our women were allowed to perform for the first time,” Stephanie continued. “And they had to be completely covered except for their heads and their hands. And during the match, a chant broke out, both men and women, chanting this is hope. This is hope in Abu Dhabi during a WWE women’s championship match. And our performers in the ring said they saw tears in the eyes of little girls in the front row. And that’s what this movement is really about. It’s about giving that share of voice and making change.”

With Rousey’s unparalleled popularity, the legitimacy added with her Ultimate Fighting background, the growing women’s division that continues blossoming new opportunities, including the upcoming WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship belts, and even reports from The Observer that women may potentially headline WrestleMania this year, the future seems bright for the women of WWE. Stephanie explained to Variety just how much of a wave WWE has made, mentioning that Evoltuionhad trended #1 over the final game of the World Series and Sunday Night NFL Football.

“We did sign Ronda Rousey and then we, also, in October, had our first-ever all-women’s PPV live streaming event called, Evolution,” Stephanie said. “Just to give you some perspective, it was available on WWE Network, which as of Q3 had over 1.6 million, and it trended #1 world-wide for over 2 hours during the last game of the World Series and NFL Sunday Night Football, and that’s because of our fan base and our women that kill it, by the way! And it’s not giving them this opportunity because they’re women, it’s giving them this opportunity because they’re the best and they deserve this spot.”

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As previously noted, Finn Balor was in London, visiting WWE’s new UK Performance Center, and while he was there, he took the time for an interview with Inside The Ropes. Among the topics discussed, Balor went into detail about his LGBTQ-inclusive entrance at WrestleMania 34, and explained how difficult it had been getting his idea approved. Balor later mentions how he’s grateful the entrance was delayed because it ended up being prolonged until WrestleMania season.

As you can see in the tweet below, Balor’s entrance at WrestleMania was plentiful with rainbows, an adopted symbol of the LGBTQ community. Balor entered the arena from the stage as numerous member of the LGBTQ community cheered alongside him. Balor explained that this representation was something he had wanted to do for a long time, however, getting it approved from WWEmanagement was a drawn-out process that hadn’t gained any traction until Stephanie McMahon heard about the idea.

“That was something I honestly believed in for a very long time,” Balor began, “and I had pitched, and pitched, and pitched to a lot of different departments in WWE and it had been shot down, and shot down, and shot down, and it wasn’t until Stephanie [McMahon] got wind of the idea that it all started to fall in to place. It’s easier for a message to come down the line of command than it is to go up the line of command.”

Balor believes that things ultimately worked out for the better, because instead of the entrance premiering somewhere like RAW or a house show, he was able to present it on the grandest platform WWE has to offer – WrestleMania.

“That was something I’ve believed in for a very long time,” Balor explained. “And obviously, the way it worked out, it was perfect timing that it just happened to be the biggest match of my career that I got to launch it. I think it was meant to be, I’m a big believer in the universe and everything kinda working out exactly the way the way it was supposed to be. I’m sure if I had that idea like a year before, it would have been on RAW or a house show, or something, and me doing it at WrestleMania is even cooler.”

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The Brothers of Destruction were one of the most dominant forces in WWE history, and Kane and The Undertakerremain active to this day. Kane was recently a guest on The Steve Austin Show and he discussed his working relationship with The Deadman.

Now that Glenn Jacobs is mayor of Knox County in Tennessee, he has more time to be retrospective about his career as The Big Red Machine. He explained that when he was in developmental, he felt nervous about the character. His mind was put at ease when he was convinced that The Undertaker would do whatever it took to make the character work.

“Again, going back to what Dutch Mantell told me. At the time I was working for Jerry Lawler in the USWA. I was still under contract with the WWF, but they weren’t doing anything with me so they farmed me out with Jerry Lawler. I am talking with Dutch Mantell and he is telling me that the Kane character is going to be successful because Mark [Undertaker] Calloway is going to make it successful,” Jacobs said. “That is exactly what happened. He was always a huge advocate of mine. In fact, the first match against The Undertaker was actually in Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He and Shawn Michaels came down and did a show I think was called ‘Super Brawl’ with Jim Cornette.”

At the time of Kane’s debut, big men dominated the wrestling industry. Jacobs said The Undertaker knew it would be a great advantage for him to work a program with someone like him. He also said The Undertaker played a huge part in helping him improve his in-ring performance.

“As you say, he is a big guy that I think he felt that he could draw money with me. The thing about being a big guy in our business is again, you don’t have to take as many bumps but anything you do has to look extremely believable because everything is exaggerated when it you are bigger. People expect that. So that is sort of the drawback of it. Yes, you have to know how to be vulnerable and sell the right way and all of those things but I was very fortunate because Mark was behind the whole thing,” Jacobs said. “He was tremendously helpful. In fact, it is one of those things where you would have egos once in a while where someone wouldn’t want to do something where they need to do and basically I would tell them, look, you can either do this or we can talk to Undertaker about it and eventually they did. Mark also understood that success in this business when you are in this business it is like a dance and it takes two people to succeed.”

Jacobs said he is proud of everything he has done with The Undertaker. With the months-long buildup to the debut of his character, there was a lot of pressure to make sure it didn’t flop. Jacobs said it was The Undertaker who was responsible for his success as Kane.

“He was always all about it and as much as anything the table that was set for me I am going to go in there with The Undertaker. Paul Bearer had been talking about Kane months before he came out, all this stuff that was set up where Kane was going to be successful,” he said. “I was fortunate to be the guy that was in that position and to go in there with The Undertaker. The first Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, which had never happened before and I was involved with that. It was one of those things where I couldn’t have written anything better than that.”

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Toni Storm spoke with the Hindustan Times about winning NXT UK Women’s Championship, the NXT TakeOver: Blackpool crowd, and who on the main roster she has her eyes set on. Here are some of the highlights:

Winning the NXT UK Women’s Championship:

“I have been a champion all over the world and that comes with a certain level of pressure. Now, with me winning the WWE UK women’s title, the pressure will be at a whole different level. But, I am ready for the challenge and I have worked hard for this moment. I want to face the best talent and I want to be the champion for a very long time.”

The NXT TakeOver: Blackpool crowd:

“That was probably one of the hottest crowd that I have seen in a show. From the beginning of the match, they were really into the action and the atmosphere was absolutely incredible.”

Who she wants to face on the main roster:

“I would love to be in the ring with Ronda [Rousey], Sasha [Banks] and Becky [Lynch]. Becky said once that she would like to face me and that is a match I would love to have.”

Storm also discussed more about defending her title. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

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The Revival reportedly wanted to request their release from WWE before their match on this past Monday’s RAW, however Vince McMahon and Triple H had been preoccupied throughout the day with preparing RAW‘s Braun Strowman segment. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawsonended up waiting until after their match was finished to discuss the subject, according to Dave Meltzer on the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio.

Meltzer is also reporting that The Revival’s contracts don’t expire until April of 2020. As we previously reported, the team has not received their release. The Revival continue to work WWE live events, competing in a triple threat tag team match Friday night in San Antonio, Texas that has been praised by wrestlers and fans in attendance. Sasha Banks took to Twitter to congratulate the team on their entertaining match, inciting an interesting exchange that we reported on here, which ended with Sasha posting a GIF that read, “take me with you.”

Meltzer also mentioned how Dash Wilder’s trademarking of #FTR on January 1 was no coincidence, so they have been thinking about leaving the company for awhile. Wilder & Dawson claim #FTR refers to “Forever The Revival,” but the hashtag was actually first used by The Young Bucks when they feuded with The Revival over Twitter in 2017. The Bucks said it stood for, “Fix The Revival” or even, “f–k The Revival” at times.

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One of the biggest differences in pro wrestling today than during the 1980s and 1990s is the difference in characters. The Golden Age of Wrestling and the New Generation had many over-the-top characters like Earthquake or Doink the Clown in addition to flamboyant personalities like “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels.

Sheamus is someone who longs for those old days and misses the characters in wrestling. He talked with solowrestling.com about how pro wrestling has evolved over the years and moved away from these eccentric personalities.

“Today a very different product is offered,” said Sheamus. “I think we’re missing some characters. Yes, I believe it. I think we are leaving the creation of characters a little abandoned. Any important series like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead base their product around the characters and their background. I think the athletes and wrestlers that we have today are the best in the history of the business, although in turn I think the business has changed to what people want to see.”

WWE still has some characters but they aren’t highlighted as much as they were in the past. Sheamus pointed outfellow countryman Finn Balor as someone with a unique character that is often forgotten about.

“Then you see Finn Bálor with his alter ego from The Demon, you also have the Bludgeon Brothers – there are a lot of characters, but I think they should be reinforced a bit more,” stated Sheamus. “Perhaps one of the most popular characters that WWE has right now is the prodigy of NXT, The Velveteen Dream. He is a 23-year-old star, talented and with an arrogant character who is destined to do great things in the future.”

Sheamus declares himself to be a big fan of “The Dream”, and insists on re-introducing flashy characters on television drastically.

“I do not mean characters like The Berzerker or Papa Shango,” said Sheamus. “I do not mean unrealistic characters. I mean things about which people can feel identified. But that’s one thing that talent should do itself, and it’s taking the opportunity to show fans a personal side. Although I reiterate again, we have never had as many talented stars as we have today.”

For the past five years or so, WWE has trended more towards a “reality era” in part due to the influence of social media and the internet. Real-life personalities are moving to the forefront, but Sheamus thinks there is still a place for flashy characters in today’s wrestling.

Sheamus was then asked about his favorite wrestling characters and it would be hard to find many fans who disagree with him.

“As for personality, without a doubt my favorite of all time is Macho Man Randy Savage,” stated Sheamus.

“As for character, there is no doubt that the greatest of all time is The Undertaker, right? Look at all the time he has spent in the business and everything he has achieved. He is one of the greatest in history and I will remember him forever.”