WWE Adds 33,000 Network Subscribers, Loses 1 Ricardo Rodriguez

by: Mitch Nickelson

While I am quite the wrestling nerd, I am also a nerd in another field…economics. It’s not too often that the worlds of Vince McMahon and Ludwig Von Mises overlap, but it does happen about four times a year. What are this glorious event called? Say it with me now…

WWE Quarterly Earning Results Press Release and Conference Call!

I said that alone, right?

Anyway, today was the day that McMahon and company reported the financial mumbo-jumbo (that’s the official economics term) to all of those tycoons on Wall Street trying to make it rich off of the pro-wrestling stock exchange. How did the company fare? Here are some highlights, thanks to SEScoops.com

– WWE Network had 700,000 subscribers as of June 30th, a net addition of 33,000 subscribers. They gained 161,000 new subscribers and lost 128,000 during the second quarter .

– WWE Network will be introducing a new payment plan structure later this year. You can still pay $9.99/mo with 6-month commitment, or pay $19.99 month-to-month at $19.99. The monthly plan is still an excellent value for fans who want to buy pay-per-views ala carte without a 6-month commitment.

While the company is in no danger of going under, investors are seeing lackluster results from a massive push to launch the WWE Network. Titan Towers is still making buckets of money off of the 700,000 subscribers, but that seems like quite a let-down to the 1-2 million signups that were foolishly predicted earlier in the year. Who exactly is missing the mark so badly in the offices of WWE?

As the numbers seem more and more blasé, WWE has been slashing unnecessary costs to the bone. Both Fandango and Bad News Barrett have lost their extremely large props in an effort to save transportation costs. Two out of 3MB have been handed their pink slips as well. Sadly, another beloved Superstar was let go over the past day…

That’s right, Ricardo Rodriguez. The man who hit the big-time as Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer. Surely, they’ve taken too big of a risk if Ricardo has gotten the ax? Who’s next, Vince? Will you give Emma the boot (again)? Is Slater Gator safe? (THEY BETTER BE!) Will Jerry Lawler face your wrath? (Actually, I might not mind that one.)

The rumor is that up to 10% of WWE’s staff could get fired in the wake of these numbers. While that’s never good for anyone to lose their job, the WWE has simply taken a business risk and is feeling the tumult of being ahead of the curve. The WWE Network absolutely is the right direction from a financial standpoint and I hope they don’t quit on it. This is forward-thinking and my humble guess is that it will prove to be a bedrock in the future.

                                                                                                                                                      

I hope I didn’t lose everyone after Von Mises. I realize Austrian Economics and turnbuckles don’t typically go hand-in-hand. Do you think the stalling WWE Network is a good business decision like I do? Comment below or banter with me on twitter @MitchNickelson. Thanks again for reading, folks.

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Is WWE Interested In TNA’s Tape Library?

by: Mitch Nickelson

The back and forth debate about whether or not Spike TV has officially ended  negotiations with Dixie Carter’s little wrasslin’ company, TNA, rages on. TMZ originally freported on Sunday night that Spike TV has said definitively that they will not renew Impact Wrestling when their contract expires in October. Either TNA management is delusional or they can spot tough negotiation tactics when they see it, because Dixie sent out this tweet on Monday…

Is this a false hope? Probably not. TNA might not be the ratings guarantee that WWE is, but it still is weekly live programming that draws about a million viewers, even on a bad night. Also, if TNA cannot come to terms with Spike then surely they can find a home on another channel. Their audience would go with them. I find it hard to believe that no cable channel would want that.

But say they do go under…that leaves their more than ten years of footage up for grabs. What would happen to all of that wrestling video? The ideal situation for we the fans is for WWE to purchase it. Not only would that be a great addition to their already loaded WWE Network on-demand library, but documentaries of some of our favorite superstars could tell a complete story. Guys like Kurt Angle, Christian, and Sting would have a proper video done on their careers.

What would something like this cost the WWE? According to rajah.com

The going rate for tape libraries is approximately $500 per hour of footage. TNA has approximately 1,000 hours of Impact Wrestling footage, so an offer of $500,000 is what they would likely receive.

So, $500 buys WWE an hour of footage. If TNA unfortunately meets its fate, and if the WWE decides to pass on their library, I’m pooling together with about four other people to buy a really good hour of TNA programming. Preferably an hour of some of the early X-Division stuff. I always liked me some Low Ki.

                                                                                                                                                        

If you could buy an hour of TNA programming, what would it be? Comment below or follow me on twitter @MitchNickelson and let me know.

I’ll be watching WWE Main Event tonight and doing my weekly review for TJRWrestling.com, so look for that over the next day. Thanks again for reading.

Buff Bagwell Is Going To Do An Adult Movie


by: Mitch Nickelson

While information is swirling around the wrestling world about TNA’s status with Spike TV (and it’s not looking good), I feel that the world of wrestling fandom is missing out on a much larger story…a much “Buff”-er story, if you will. Here’s is an excerpt from rajah.com

Former WCW star Buff Bagwell is going to be starring in a porn movie, according to TMZ.com.

While I realize that the PG format of this wrestling news and opinions blog is in jeopardy right now, it’s my obligation to keep my readers in the know. So if you’re offended by the content, or the thought of Buff Bagwell in the buff, then I apologize.

You might be asking yourself at this point, “…but wait, isn’t Buff married?” Good question, reader with more than an ounce of morals. Yes, Buff is, in fact, married. Surely his wife is even the slightest bit unsettled at Marcus Bagwell’s new career path, right? Well, the news article clarifies that issue for us…

Bagwell’s wife Judy joined him for the meeting with Vivid, with Hirsch calling a Buff Bagwell adult movie an “absolute blockbuster.”

Aside from this new career move, TMZ says Bagwell has gotten ‘intimate’ with the women he’s paid to ‘spend time with’ as part of his role as a gigolo, which his wife is apparently fine with.

Well, okay then.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like to think that former 6-time WCW Tag Team Champions (twice with The Patriot!) would stay just a little more true to their wedding vows. I’d also like to think that their wives would have enough sense to be against life decisions like this. Well, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised, he has been a part of some show on Showtime called Gigolos for some time now.

                                                                                                                                                  

I probably should’ve blogged about Spike potentially cancelling TNA today, shouldn’t I? I’ll try to offer my thoughts on that in the coming days when things become less rumor and speculation and the facts surface a little clearer. In the meantime, keep checking back here as well as following me @MitchNickelson on Twitter. After reading about Buff Bagwell’s hijinks, make sure to read an extra chapter out of your Bible tonight. We’ll all need it.

Daniel Bryan Subdues Burglar With Rear Naked Choke

by: Mitch Nickelson

As if anyone needed another reason to like Daniel Bryan, the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion appears to fight crime when he’s not in the squared circle. According to TMZ.com

Daniel and his wife Brie Bella had just come home Thursday night when they saw 2 men on their way out of their house. The burglars dropped the stuff they were stealing and hightailed it down the street.

D.B. gave chase … the bad guys had a big head start but the champ caught up with one of them and locked him in a rear naked choke for 5 minutes until cops arrived.

Daniel’s feat is all the more impressive because the guy he caught is facing kidnapping charges in another case.

Bryan, who has been off WWE program due to neck and shoulder surgeries, is proving to be quite the Batman. The two culprits were likely Triple H fans, believing the kayfabe that Mr. Danielson is merely a B+ player. (Actually, Bryan remarked that he wasn’t recognized and the man he subdued likely wasn’t a wrestling fan.)

Mrs. Yes!, Brie Bella, recovered a bracelet that was sure to have been stolen if the culprits were successful. The bracelet belonged to Daniel’s dad, who died just a few short months ago.

The neighborhood where the Bryan’s (or Danielson’s, if we’re going with real names) live has been subjected to a rash of burglaries, so many of the Arizona locales were already on the lookout for suspicious activity. Daniel commented that he felt slightly ashamed for taking down the intruder as an armed assailant could have turned the situation deadly. No personal belongings are worth one’s life.

Watch their full press interview with local television media, which is below. Sitting with them is their dog, Jonesie. Their dog was in the house during the home invasion. Brie found the dog hiding in their bathroom. It was shivering from tense nerves of the situation and apparently wet itself.

Thank God that no one was hurt during this altercation, even the intruder. The other thief was able to escape and it still at large.
                                                                                                                                             

What a crazy news update, right? Hopefully the wrestling world gets back to more lighthearted fun and spandex. In the meantime, keep up with lots of wrestling news and articles by checking back to here daily. Also, follow me on twitter @MitchNickelson. and you won’t miss any of my writings on here or on TJRWrestling.com.

My Brother, My Enemy

by: Rosie Piper

“What CM Punk fails to understand is The Shield cannot be conquered because The Shield cannot be divided.” -Dean Ambrose

“As it pertains to The Shield and this so-called weak link, it’s pretty obvious…there is none.” -Roman Reigns

“We walk in together, we walk out together.” -Dean Ambrose

“We hang out all the time so we do get sick of each other but that’s how brothers are.” -Seth Rollins

We’ve heard all the talk about how Rollins is a traitor. The crowds constantly chant “You sold out!” whenever Rollins steps into the squared circle. If you check out Rollins’ Twitter account, you’ll see numerous comments from those who are angered and saddened by his apparent betrayal. Rollins himself stated that he was the one who held the Shield together and he was the one to destroy it. By all accounts, he’s the bad guy in this situation.

But who is the real villain here?

I propose to you this man instead: Roman Reigns.

Reigns? Why Reigns? Before you grab your pitchforks and torches, hear me out. Right before Seth’s betrayal, Roman took the mic and emotionally declared, “The men standing in this ring are brothers.” After Roman and Dean were unceremoniously beaten in the ring with a metal chair, one would’ve expected the two to band together to get revenge. Instead, Ambrose declared all-out war against Rollins while Reigns decided to focus on a title shot, seemingly forgetting that while one “brother” slipped away, the other was still right there ready to stand by his side.

Reigns Cena

For a man who had loudly proclaimed the unity of his group on multiple occasions, this response seemed awfully surprising. Why wouldn’t he join Ambrose in making Rollins pay for his duplicity? Why would he, for all intents and purposes, appear totally content with his current situation as a singles contender? Why do you never see him engaging in battle with Rollins, either physical or verbal? Why does he totally ignore the fact that he was a “brother” to Dean Ambrose, and instead lets him receive continued abuse from the Authority while not lifting even a finger to help?

Seth delivered the Judas Kiss via a cold, hard, metal chair. He was open about it, and continues to tell the world why he did what he did. Roman, however, delivered the kiss of betrayal in an even more sinister way. He’s content to distance himself from his identity as the Powerhouse of the Shield; the only reminder that he was one part of the Hounds of Justice is his entrance music. Looking at him now, you’d be hard pressed to think on his “brothers” comment without wondering how sincere he was.

To me, it looks like Reigns was just waiting on his opening to leave, and once Rollins made his move, Reigns was free. He didn’t care that Seth was gone, and he didn’t care that Dean was left behind. That makes him the real villain in this drama.

AMBROSE!!!!

By: Al N Jaxson

It’s your boy Al here. Hope you guys are loving my and Mitch’s blog. We kinda like wrestling a lil’ bit.

Anyways, how about that Dean Ambrose, huh? I’ve gotta say, WWE would have a bigger gap to fill without Ambrose than they have with Punk gone. Ambrose is the best guy in the business right now and that’s saying a lot with the amount of talent WWE has right now. Seth Rollins is certainly coming out on his own nicely. Rollins has all the tools and is well on his way to becoming a Hall of Fame talent. Yes, he’s that good. Certainly Roman Reigns is not to be taken lightly, but what makes Dean Ambrose the breakout star of the Shield? His charisma and crazy unpredictability make him a “loose cannon,” a term used to describe the late Brian Pillman.

When Dean Ambrose is on the Titantron or giving a promo, you have no choice but to have your eyes glued to the screen. Just like Ric Flair, The Rock, or Rowdy Roddy Piper, when they talk, are you gonna get up and go grab a Pepsi out of the fridge? Absolutely not. He commands attention.

Ambrose’s ring skills are second to none as well. He can put on a match with the best in the business. No one takes a beating like Ambrose does. The assault he took from Kane, Seth Rollins, and Randy Orton on Raw a couple weeks ago was brutal, and Ambrose made it look that way. It’s called selling, folks. We all know wrestling isn’t real and that’s the fun of it. It’s an art. How much better is a Stone Cold Stunner if the one taking the Stunner makes it look amazing? We’ve all seen the stunners that Vince McMahon took — not pretty. The Rock knew how to make a Stunner look beautiful. Look at Scott Hall vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin and Wrestlemania 18: Hall doesn’t just take Austin’s Stunner, he explodes from it! Flying in the air. Now that’s art, folks. If you can make it look real, then you’re a great wrestler. Dean Ambrose had me believing that he was straight up getting the crap kicked out of him. Awesomeness.

So, now we have a feud we can really sink our teeth into and enjoy. Rollins vs Ambrose. It’s a great time to be a wrestling fan. Mitch and Al are loving it right now, y’all. Let me know what you think of Mr. Ambrose with a comment down below. Later, y’all!

Rybaxel To Split Up? (A Nation In Mourning)

by: Mitch Nickelson

Any reader who follows my writing regularly knows just how much I mark out for Rybaxel. The Big Guy, Ryback, and The Ax Man, Curtis Axel, have been a couple of bully meat-heads trying their best to gain ground in the sometimes competitive WWE tag-team division.

Creative even seems to be positioning them to possibly challenge The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Summerslam. After a win over the team of Kofi Kingston and Big E on Monday Night’s Raw, announcers mentioned that they might expect a shot in the near future. Ryback then defeated one-half of the champs, Jey Uso, in a singles match the next night on Main Event. Fans who live in the Rybaxel Universe are realizing that gold might be just around the corner. Well, we were until this sad piece of news was reported on yesterday at rajah.com

It is being said that WWE is considering splitting up the team of Ryback and Curtis Axel in the near future. There is no exact timetable on when, but the plan at this point definitely seems to be to end the team.

Well, that sucks. Will they quietly disband or will the team end in a blaze of glory?

To be honest, I realize they aren’t marquee players like the Wyatt Family. Fans have been lukewarm to these guys for awhile with the exception of the occasional “Feed Me More” and “Goldberg” chants. And while I think they’re the bee’s knees, I realize that they’re probably heel placeholders to fill the void that Harper and Rowan have left now that their feud with the Usos is over. Rybaxel will probably tango with the Champs only until The Ascension moves up to the main roster from NXT. My only hope is that they get a Summerslam match out of it in the meantime.

The thought of this stellar team being no more might be enough to warrant sackcloth and ashes for millions. But for now, let’s all just remember the good times…


                                                                                                                                               

Thanks for reading! I hope you love The Ax Man and The Big Guy as much as I do, haha. Remember to follow @MitchNickelson on twitter.

Ravishing Rick Rude: Simply Ravishing

By Al N Jaxson

Four-time WCW Heavyweight Champion, WWE Intercontinental Champion, and WCW United States Champion, and yet Rude still hasn’t gotten the respect and acclaim he so richly deserves. Rick Rude was, simply put, one of the most entertaining guys, both on the microphone and in the ring. If you were in a match with Ravishing Rick Rude, you were going to look like a million bucks.

Rude started his wrestling career in 1982 with Vancouver’s NWA: All Star Wrestling under his birth name Rick Rood. It wasn’t long before he moved on to Georgia Championship Wrestling then on to WCW in 1983. It didn’t take long for Rude to make a name for himself with Jim Crokett Promotions before jumping up north to Vince McMahon’s WWF, aligning himself with Bobby “the Brain” Heenan’s Heenan Family.

It was this time in Rude’s career that he had some of the most incredible feuds with Hall of Famers like “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. The Jake Roberts/Rick Rude feud would start by Rick Rude hitting on Roberts’ wife in the crowd one night. She turned him down for a kiss, so Rude grabbed her by the wrist, angry, as Jake The Snake came out and rescued his wife from Rude. The two would end their feud at the 1988 Survivor Series with Jake Roberts getting the win.

After the Jake The Snake feud, Rick Rude would battle another Superstar: The Ultimate Warrior. Their epic posedown at the 1989 Royal Rumble is something every wrestling fan my age (I’m 29 ,folks) should remember. The Warrior may have won the posedown, but Rude attacked him with a metal bar so HA! Rude would go on to win the Intercontinental Championship from Warrior at Wrestlemania V. Rude would have a brief feud with Roddy Piper before returning to his feud with Ultimate Warrior at Summerslam 1990 for the WWF Championship. Rick Rude lost that match and left the WWF. I must say that I really wish Rick Rude would have won that match. In my opinion, he certainly would’ve been a more worthy champion at the time.

After leaving the WWF, Rick Rude went back to Ted Turner’s WCW in 1991 and joined Paul E. Dangerously’s (aka Paul Heyman) Dangerous Alliance. You’ve gotta think that Rude teaming with Heenan and Heyman did absolutely nothing but help Rick’s career. Rick would defeat Sting to claim the WCW Heavyweight Championship in 1991. Rude then went on to have feuds with Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair. Rude feuded with Shane Douglas in ECW briefly in 1997 before returning to WWE to be a founding member of D-Generation X with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, acting as the “Insurance Policy” of the group. At this time, Rude was not in full contract with WWE, so he would soon negotiate a deal with Eric Bischoff’s WCW. Rude was rumored to have been in the locker room at the Montreal Screwjob and was angered at what happened so that may have played a part in him leaving WWE.

Rude went on to Nitro, and is the only guy in history to be on Raw and Nitro on the same night. Pretty cool, huh? He joined the NWO with his lifelong friend Curt Hennig but eventually succumbed to injuries. In 1999, sadly, Rude would pass away due to heart failure.

Rick Rude was, by far, one of the true legends of the sport of Professional Wrestling.. Anyone’s list of “All Time Greats” would have to include Rude. His mic skills and in-ring skills were second to none. Study his career if you haven’t. Watch his promos. Get your money’s worth of the WWE Network! He’s worth it. He was just flat out simply “Ravishing.”

WWE Confuses Rey Mysterio For Sin Cara

by: Mitch Nickelson

Tonight on the WWE Network, Wrestlemania Rewind (an exceptionally good show) will focus on pro-wrestling’s ultimate underdog, Rey Mysterio. Rey has a storied career that begins about two decades ago. He was one of the triumphs of WCW’s innovative cruiserweight division and would experience even greater success in WWE. Rey was the winner of the 2006 Royal Rumble and has become a three-time world champion. He is in the latter stages of a Hall of Fame career. He is beloved by the WWE Universe and is an instantly recognizable crowd-favorite.

Well, maybe not so recognizable to individual(s) who run WWE Network’s facebook page. Earlier today, they posted this image to promote tonight’s show…

Rey Mysterio IS Sin Cara

WWE clearly posted a picture of Sin Cara instead of Rey Mysterio. Did they not know the difference between the two? Yes, the two are both smaller, masked, Mexican-ish wrestlers, but any WWE fan has no trouble distinguishing between them. Does this give credence to accusations of racism (or mask-ism) in the Vince McMahon’s company?

Or just maybe, WWE has trouble confusing ALL minorities with each other. Everyone assumes that Rey Mysterio was confused for Sin Cara. But did WWE in fact confuse Mysterio, the really small high-flyer, for Titus O’Neil, the much bigger (and slightly darker toned) brawler?

Personally, I don’t consider this racist, just a little careless. WWE might have even of done this on purpose just to get a rise out of Internet commentators like myself who will pick this one careless post apart over and over again. Indirectly, the news of Rey’s episode of Wrestlemania Rewind gets advertised to a far bigger audience than if they didn’t screw up in the first place. Ask yourself, would you have known about Rey’s show tonight if I hadn’t ranted about their error? Well played, WWE.
                                                                                                                                                   

Don’t forget to follow me @MitchNickelson on Twitter. I try to post new content almost daily and that’s the best place to not miss anything. Yesterday, a big piece on all of Damien Sandow’s comedy segments that I’ve written was posted up at TJRWrestling.com. It’s called “When Life Gives Damien Sandow Lemons” and I really enjoyed writing it.

Main Event is on the WWE Network tonight (right before the Rey Mysterio special), so I’ll be writing my weekly review for that. I’ll post the link on my twitter tomorrow, so look for it. Thanks again for reading!

Lana’s Controversial Statements At Battleground Are Good For America

by: Mitch Nickelson

Everybody’s favorite Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, made waves with his appearance at last night’s Battleground event. Well, Rusev didn’t necessary make the waves, but rather his manager, Lana. The Ravishing Russian defended the Motherland and said that Russia was not to blame for “current events.” She also dedicated Rusev’s match to the man who makes fools out all of us Americans, Vladimir Putin.

All of this pro-Russian sentiment by Rusev and Lana has been going on for months. It’s made Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter into American heroes and is one of the best things going for WWE right now. But as far as last night’s shenanigans were concerned, many major news outlets were not so impressed. New York Daily News, The Washington Post, and the UK Daily Mail were just a few of the myriad of news outlets that blasted the WWE. Many consider the “current events” comment to be a tasteless reference to the commercial airliner that was shot out of the sky in Ukraine last week. Almost 300 people died from the incident. Did WWE go too far this time? The WWE issued this response…

“Last night’s segment during WWE’s Battleground event was in no way referring to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. The storyline with characters Rusev and Lana has been a part of WWE programming for more than 3 months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended.”

BAT14_Photo102

Personally, I didn’t find the antics to be that worthy of all this backlash. They did push boundaries and no matter what WWE corporate is saying now, the remarks that Lana said yesterday were received by the audience as a reference to the downed plane. WWE knew that full and well before she said it. But the subtle reference addressed the real-life international tensions with Russia, something that would be a gigantic elephant in the room if they didn’t. And if Americans (and the rest of the international community) are actually ticked off with Putin’s country, I’m all for having a TV villain that our anger can be directed at. The WWE Universe has loved chanting for the “Real American” Jack Swagger. Let Rusev be the Putin-punching bag and the chants of “U.S.A.” will only get louder.

Let’s go Swagger. Let’s go America. And kudos to Rusev and Lana… those two helped stoked the fires of patriotism.
                                                                                                                                           

Follow me on twitter @MitchNickelson. Want more Mitch? Head on over to TJRWrestling.com and read my brand spankin’ new article about all of the goofy gimmicks that Damien Sandow has been doing. I find him hilarious, but his lack of competitive direction boggles my mind. Thanks for reading. Share and comment if you feel like it.