Wentz’s Blog: Predicting the Mid-Card Title Matches of Wrestlemania 31

In a piece I wrote yesterday, we took a look at what one might consider to be the top-tier matches of Wrestlemania 31.  Since that writing, the complexion of my predictions could change just a little bit given some of the rumors that are out there now.  I’ll take solace in the fact that they are just rumors, and we’ll trudge on.

Today, we’ll look at the secondary titles, all of which traditionally are on the line at Wrestlemania. With any hope, WWE will give us compelling stories for these champions to work with.  Admittedly, I’m not holding my breath on that fact, but none the less here are some of my thoughts regarding these titles.

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Former WWE Superstar Drew McIntyre Makes Appearance with TNA on European Tour

TNA is on their European tour right now, doing tapings and shows overseas.  In a surprise moment, Drew Galloway (f/k/a Drew McIntyre) appeared at the TNA tapings that took place in his home town of Glasgow, Scotland on Thursday.

There were a lot of rumors swirling that we would see Galloway at the initial New York City tapings when TNA joined Destination America.  It’s clear that didn’t play out then, but it did in his native Scotland.  It’s a great surprise for those fans, but horrible marketing that he wasn’t advertised for the show.

I’m not certain if it’s a long term arrangement or a one-off appearance.  One thing is for sure, Dixie Carter has been sure to post to social media, saying that more information “will be available as we have it.”  You can follow her tweet below to see a video of Drew’s return in Glasgow tonight.



READER POLL: Rate WWE Smackdown 01/29/15

Did you watch the LIVE edition of WWE Smackdown for Thursday, January 29th, 2015?  If so, please let us know what you thought of the show!


WWE Smackdown Live Coverage for 1/29/2015 – John Cena and Rusev in the Fast Lane, Roman Reigns’ First Live Show Since Winning Royal Rumble, Daniel Bryan vs. Kane in a Casket Match, and More

A special LIVE edition of Smackdown airs tonight on SyFy.  Raw on Monday got snowed out on Hartford, CT, but the WWE crew stayed there to bring us this live broadcast tonight.  Daniel Bryan will take on Kane in a casket match.  Will this put an end to their story once and for all so that Bryan can move on from feuding with the Director of Operations?  Also, John Cena and Rusev got into a verbal battle after Royal Rumble, and now they’re scheduled to face off at Fast Lane.  What do they have to say to each other?  And Roman Reigns, the controversial Royal Rumble winner, will appear before a live crowd for the first time.  How will they respond to him, and what does he have to say about the exchange between himself and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar, from Monday night’s studio version of Raw?

Show Open, Live from the XL Center in Hartford, CT

They run the opening video, then hype Roman Reigns facing Big Show and Daniel Bryan facing Kane in a casket match.  King says their rivalry will come to an end tonight.

Eden introduces Triple H to the ring.  Here he comes to his King of Kings theme.  Cole says that he is very interested to hear what Triple H has to say in the face of what happened at Royal Rumble.  They hype that we now know the main event of Wrestlemania.

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WWE Issues Formal Press Release Offering WWE Network Free for the Month of February

This morning, WWE issued a press release via their corporate website stating that they will give fans the opportunity to access WWE Network for free in the month of February.  The release is as follows:

STAMFORD, Conn., January 29, 2015 – Due to the tremendous response from fans to the free November promotion, WWE (NYSE: WWE) will again offer a free month of WWE Network to new subscribers during February in advance of its biggest event of the year, WrestleMania® 31 on Sunday, March 29. During the month of February, subscribers will have access to all of WWE Network’s programming including a live podcast hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin® this Monday, February 2 featuring Triple H® and the all-new, live pay-per-view event WWE FAST LANE™ on Sunday, February 22.

“Last November we offered a free month of WWE Network to new subscribers with great success, helping us reach the 1 million subscriber milestone,” said Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “We are excited to extend the same opportunity in February to those who have not yet subscribed so they can experience all that WWE Network offers right before WrestleMania.”

This past Tuesday, WWE announced that WWE Network had surpassed 1 million subscribers just 11 months after launch, making it the fastest-growing digital subscription service. These results were driven primarily by the successful free November promotion, the launch of the service in the UK and significant additions for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event.

Like other digital subscription services, such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, fans are able to sign up for WWE Network online by going to WWE.com and can watch WWE Network on their TVs through connected devices such as Sony PlayStation 3, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku streaming devices as well as Smart TVs including Sony and Samsung. The U.S. English language version of WWE Network is available direct to consumers in more than 170 countries and territories and recently launched in the UK and Ireland.

WWE Network’s one-of-a-kind programming includes all 12 WWE pay-per-view events LIVE at no additional charge plus groundbreaking original series, reality shows, documentaries, classic matches, exclusive coverage of special events and more than 2,000 titles in its video-on-demand library.

For a complete listing of WWE Network availability by country and device, please click here.

Think about what all you’re going to get in February on the Network as a new subscriber for free.  Steve Austin interviewing Triple H.  Fast Lane pay per view event.  NXT Special on February 11.  Then, if you stick around, you get Wrestlemania 31 and the Hall of Fame special for just $9.99.  I might have my misgivings about the Network and its lack of “now” content and such, but this is one hell of a bargain.  If you’re on the fence, I would strongly consider grabbing the free month if just for the test drive to decide if you want to keep it.


Wentz’s Blog: Predicting the Top Tier Matches of Wrestlemania 31

There’s been a lot of feedback on the Royal Rumble this year.  It is still a subject of conversation for podcasts and bloggers with a variety of arguments.  One thing for sure is that this has been the second year in a row where the winner has been rejected by a lot of live fans in the arena and those watching at home.

Last year, WWE saved their own bacon by making an on-the-fly change.  They managed to work Daniel Bryan – the fan favorite and preferred challenger – into the main event of Wrestlemania by creating a triple threat match.  Bryan overcame the odds by defeating Triple H then Randy Orton and Batista to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Will they go there again, somehow?  All the rumors right now say no, and WWE plans to stick to their guns with Roman Reigns challenging Brock Lesnar in a one-on-one matchup.  With all of the vibe that I sense when I read these rumors, I get the feeling that Vince McMahon is going to be stubborn about this and not make a change to placate the fans who don’t like the current title match.

This also might be Brock Lesnar’s last match in WWE if he decides to head back to the MMA world.  WWE could get into a “Goldberg vs. Lesnar” type situation again this year at Wrestlemania if that word gets out.  Fans aren’t high on Reigns being the man to challenge Lesnar, and if Lesnar’s on his way out the fans may turn on the match as a whole.  That will not be good for WWE at all.

WWE will have to count on a strong undercard for Wrestlemania to help support the title match, just in case.  Fan perception of the title match could strongly shift regardless of Lesnar’s status with the company with a good build.  They may not need to add that third man in to save the title match.

So what do the key players aside from this title match have in store for us?

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The WWE NXT Report: 01/28/15

It’s 1am on Thursday morning, and I am just sitting down for my weekly dose of NXT Action.  It’s the one hour of TV I can kick back and relax with, and not worry about anything.  I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode particularly.  I’m looking forward to watching Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens face to face.

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WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar’s Scheduled Appearances on the Road to Wrestlemania

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar’s schedule has been under fire from some wrestling fans during the fall.  He made no appearances from Night of Champions until the latter part of December, 2014.  At present, by reviewing the WWE website schedule of shows and the various arena web sites, these are the dates that Lesnar is slated to appear as we embark on the Road to Wrestlemania 31 in Santa Clara, CA.  As we now know, Lesnar will defend his title against Roman Reigns at that event.

  • January 29, 2015, XL Center, Hartford, CT – Lesnar is still scheduled for the re-scheduled Raw/Smackdown event.  Reports Monday said he flew home after the decision to cancel Raw was made.
  • February 2, 2015, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO – Lesnar is not listed to appear at Raw in Denver.
  • February 9, 2015, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH – Lesnar is scheduled to appear for Raw.
  • February 16, 2015, Amway Center, Orlando, FL – Lesnar is not scheduled to appear (this is the go-home show for the Fast Lane pay per view).
  • February 22, 2015, Fed Ex Forum, Memphis, TN – Lesnar is not advertised to appear on the WWE website, however he was visually in advertising for the event during the Royal Rumble pay per view.
  • February 23, 2015, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN – Lesnar is advertised to appear for Raw.
  • March 2, 2015, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ – Lesnar is not advertised to appear.
  • March 9, 2015, Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA – Lesnar is not advertised to appear on the WWE website, but Consol Energy Center has posted both to their Facebook page and their website that Lesnar is going to appear.
  • March 16, 2015, Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, IA – Lesnar is not scheduled to appear
  • March 23, 2015, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA – Lesnar is advertised to appear (this is the go-home show for Wrestlemania 31).
  • March 29, 2015, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA – Wrestlemania 31, where Lesnar is scheduled to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns
  • March 30, 2015, SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, CA – Lesnar is advertised to appear for Raw the night after Wrestlemania.

It appears that Lesnar will be at approximately half of the live Raw events leading up to Wrestlemania.  This is encouraging, given his status from Night of Champions until the build to the Royal Rumble event.   Of course as always, all cards are subject to change.


Former WWE Women’s Champion Beth Phoenix to Receive Frank Gotch Award, Induction into Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame

It was announced on January 27 that former WWE Women’s Champion Beth Phoenix will be inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame as a part of their class of 2015.

At the induction, Phoenix will be recognized with the Frank Gotch Award.  The award is presented “to a professional wrestler who brings positive recognition to professional wrestling through their work outside the ring.”  The award was established in 2000 and has been presented to others such as Jesse Ventura, Ted DiBiase, Mick Foley, Dan Severn, and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan.

Phoenix commented on her induction, saying  “The Frank Gotch Award has particular meaning for me because my dream was for my career to have a positive influence on those around me.  I am looking forward to coming to Waterloo to experience the Hall of Fame ceremony in person, spend time with old friend and meet new ones.”

She joins her husband, Adam “Edge” Copeland in the hall.  He headlined the 2013 Hall of Fame class and was presented with the Lou Thesz Award.

The annual George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend is scheduled to take place July 9-11 in Waterloo, Iowa. All-access passes to the induction weekend are available for $100. Passes can pre-ordered by contacting the Dan Gable Museum at dgmstaff@nwhof.org or by calling (319) 233-0745.