LATEST NEWS & RUMOURS
*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL**Daily News by Amo*05 January 2020
*PRO WRESTLING CENTRAL**Daily News by Amo*04 January 2020
The New Year's edition of WWE SmackDown on FOX drew an average of 1.915 million overnight viewers, according to Showbuzz Daily. The show drew an average 0.5 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.
This is down from last week's overnight viewership for the Christmas SmackDown, which was an average of 3.336 million viewers, and down from last week's final SmackDown viewership of 3.303 million viewers. The final rating in the key demo for last week was a 0.96.
SmackDown topped the night in the 18-49 demographic, the 18-34 demographic, and the 25-54 demo. SmackDown ranked #8 for the night in viewership on network TV.
LUKE HARPER TRIBUTE
Every WWE show opened this week with a graphic in memory of Lee - WWE NXT, NXT UK, RAW, Main Event, and tonight's SmackDown will likely open with the same. WWE also released a video of RAW Superstars and officials paying tribute to Lee. The former Bludgeon Brother passed away last Saturday at the age of 41 due to a non-COVID lung issue.
KAIRI SANE'S WWE-STARDOM DEBACLE
Stardom reportedly wants Kairi Sane to appear at their major show that is scheduled for March 3 from Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan.
One of the ideas for the big Stardom event in March is to bring back stars from the past, most notably Sane, who is still under contract to WWE, but back living in Japan with her husband.
It was noted by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Sane went to the WWE office in Japan for help in getting approval for the Stardom appearance, but she "got nowhere."
Sane moved back to Japan in the summer to be with her husband. It was reported then that she would likely be working as a WWE Ambassador in that country, and Sane said herself that she planned to "train and support" WWE from there.
Sane worked for Stardom from 2011-2017 when she signed with WWE. She held numerous titles while with the promotion, including the Wonder of Stardom Title and the World of Stardom Title.
WWE REJECTED BRODIE LEE GIMMICK IDEA
On a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho, Chris Jericho paid tribute to Brodie Lee by bringing on many guests to remember Lee. One of his guests included WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson who was a producer in WWE while Lee was with The Wyatt Family. Anderson praised Lee for being a wrestler that always willing to put the babyfaces over and for always accepting criticism.
"Chris, as you know, when you're in six-man's or in tags, somebody, especially on the heel side, has got to be the bumping guy," Anderson noted. "He's got to be the flow guy to make everything work, and at 6'5" 275 lbs., he's as much a monster as Big Red (Erick Rowan) or certainly Bray Wyatt. The thing that I figured out pretty quickly with his was his first goal was to make sure the babyfaces got what they needed from him.
"His offense was incredible, but the fact is he took a hell of an ass whipping, and for a guy that size, in today's mentality, not a lot of guys are willing to go out and get their ass kicked properly. It's like, 'I'm too big for that.' He never felt like he was too big for anything. Every single night, first thing he would say coming back through the curtain, 'Whatcha got Dubs? Whatcha got?' He was wanting criticism, and that's the kind of guys that get better, the ones that really want to know, and they want to know the truth."ADVERTISING
It has been accepted by many fans that Lee's time in AEW is the best of his career. Jericho asked what was holding Lee back in WWE. Anderson said that the fact that Lee, who is from the New York area, did not speak with a southern accent was holding him back, and Anderson revealed a character idea he had that was rejected by creative.
"I heard one time he was told that he doesn't sound like a hillbilly, and that's what's holding him back," Anderson revealed. "'He's too intelligent when he speaks.' I had a character for him that would have been awesome, as frightening as anybody has been. What about the guy that looks like that, especially when he wore the dirty, dingy white 'wife-beater', and it was even a little muddy even on some nights.
"What if you got a shot from somebody in a tree or something, and you're shooting into a window and you got a single light bulb and it really looks like a primitive, almost I'm expecting the camera to pan down like you got some guy tied up and you're torturing them or something. What if that guy is sitting with a computer, and he's rattling away. And you made that guy The Unabomber.
"He's brilliant. He's making stuff. He's going over the injuries. He somehow got ahold of all the records of all the crew with their injuries. What is he going to attack next, kind of game planning. His voice is eloquent. You make him a genius. How scary would that guy have been? Well, when I tried to lay that out to creative, they looked at me like I got six heads as you can imagine."
Anderson admitted that he does not want to call Lee "Luke Harper". He explained what made Lee great in WWE, but he said his time in AEW showed what he could do, and that's how he wants to remember Lee.
"He kind of let the world know what he was capable of as Luke Harper and what he brought to The Wyatt Family, much less when they brought the big guy Braun Strowman in," Anderson said. "Those qualities that we have been talking about, he had to do more so to get that guy over, and it was just incredible to the lengths he would go through like when they were working with The Shield or yourself, make sure there's a fair split on offense, and that's what the guy excelled at doing.
"Here's why I call him Brodie Lee. Here, he got to show what he was capable of. He came out dressed nice. When they beat the crap out of Cody, and myself and Dustin and all those guys. Brandi got choked out. That day, that was carnage. That was where you do what you're capable of. 6'5" 275 is a big man. He's a big man in our business, and he's a big man in any profession, but when you can move like that and he had the offense on top of that plus he had the thought process to cheat.
"You got a dangerous combination, and the fact that he was allowed to talk and express what he wanted to do and dress the way he wanted. He still for that beard. He still got that wild hair due, and you know it's a façade to what's deep down in there is what I got from it. Well, this guy is dressed to the nine's, but you know there's a monster down there, and that's the ones that really scare you I think."
Many people in the wrestling industry have shared their stories about Lee, and the one thing that is in common about everyone's memories of Lee is how much of a family man he is. Anderson recalled Lee going as far as driving 500 miles instead of flying to be with his family in the morning.
"Chris Jericho is pretty close to who he really is," Anderson stated. "The Rock, really close to who he really is. [Steve] Austin, [Ric] Flair, [Hulk] Hogan, all those guys that really got over, big time, are pretty close to that character, except for Brodie, and I'll tell you who Brodie was. Many nights, I would come out of the building and after either having their dark match on the last day of a loop or whatever the case may be, but I would be walking across the parking lot.
"Some nights, I would be heading to SmackDown, and if he was on RAW, he would be heading home. I go, 'You got an early flight in the morning?' He would go, 'No, I'm driving.' I go, 'How far is that?' [He'd go,] 'Oh, it's about 490.' And I would go, 'Brodie, Jesus Christ. The flight that you got in the morning would probably get you home about the same time.' He said, 'No, if I get the jump right now, I can have breakfast with the family.' So he was going to drive 500 miles to get there two hours earlier to have breakfast.
"That's who he was. That's what he'll always be to me because he wasn't being braggadocios about it, or he didn't have his chest out. He just, 'Hey, I'd rather sit in a car all night and be home two hours early to get to be with my family.'"
Jericho asked Anderson what Lee's potential in AEW would have been. He talked about how huge of a babyface he could have become in the future.
"Unlimited," Anderson answered. "[Jericho asks if he was World Champion material] Why not? I think this company would have let him take it as far as he could have. Imagine a year down the road or a year and half down the road, after slaughtering just about everybody, this guy does the right thing by the right guy, and now he switches teams. My God, what a babyface he would have been."
Credit to Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
ALL RED EVERYTHING
Eva Marie is apparently getting closer to a WWE TV return.
After months of rumors and speculation, Eva at one point was internally scheduled to appear on Monday's Legends Night of RAW, according to Fightful Select. There's no word on if Eva will still be appearing on Monday's show, but she has not been advertised in the Legends Night promos.
Furthermore, it was noted that Marie was backstage at the December 14 RAW taping from Tropicana Field, and was dressed to do promos. There's also no word on when these promos will air.
It was first reported back in mid-October that Marie was set to return to WWE, possibly as soon as the 2020 WWE Draft edition of RAW on October 12, but that obviously never happened. Marie has been seen several times at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, beginning in September. Another report noted that Marie came to terms on a return contract during the week of September 20. There's been no concrete word on plans for Eva's WWE TV return, but it was reported in early December that she was listed as a member of WWE's internal roster, despite not being officially assigned to a brand. There's been some speculation on if Eva is returning to wrestle, for some other kind of on-air role, or perhaps as something like a WWE Ambassador, but the fact that she was listed on the internal roster indicates that she's returning for some kind of TV role, possibly as a competitor.
Eva first joined WWE in 2013 for Total Divas and the Divas Search, but left the company in August 2017 to focus on other interests outside of the company. She has done some acting and reality TV work since leaving WWE, and has also launched her own fashion brands, among other projects. She also launched a podcast in 2018, The Natalie Eva Marie Show. Marie has stayed away from pro wrestling for the most part, and has talked about having "unfinished business" in WWE, calling the company home.
As there has been since the return rumors first started up in the fall, there continues to be a lot of fan chatter on social media about Eva returning to WWE. Despite how her first run went, it looks like many fans are interested in Eva coming back.
MICK FOLEY TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley has tested positive for COVID-19.
Foley took to Twitter tonight and announced that he came down with the coronavirus after a recent virtual signing. He's been under quarantine in a hotel room for the past 18 days.
"I tested positive for COVID following a December virtual signing, and have been isolating in a hotel room for the past 18 days. Please continue to take this virus seriously - mask up, social distance, look out for one another. Wishing all of you a happy, healthy new year," Foley wrote.
Foley noted in his video that he participated in a virtual signing back on Saturday, December 18. He said there were two other people in the room with him, who both had their masks on, but Foley took his off to help with the signing. One of the men in the room experienced symptoms later that night, and reported them to Foley. Foley added that he waited the 5 days before getting tested, and has been in the hotel ever since.
Foley said his symptoms from COVID-19 include body aches, loss of smell, affected hearing, and being easily fatigued. He said one of the worst parts is missing out on holidays with his family, including Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Foley asked people to take the coronavirus very serious. He admitted that he could've done better as far as following COVID-19 guidelines goes, especially after being so adamant about people wearing their masks.
Foley also revealed that he's dramatically cut back on work during the pandemic as in the past 11 months he's worked just 2 reality TV shows, 4 virtual signings, 2 personal appearances, and the WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view for The Undertaker's "Final Farewell" segment. He noted that in those 11 months he's had 12 coronavirus tests.
Foley's positive COVID-19 diagnosis is likely why WWE has not announced him for Monday's Legends Night edition of RAW.
This is the second time Foley has self-quarantined since the pandemic hit. We noted back in April how Foley announced that he would be sending free videos to fans as a way to help spread positive energy during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Foley noted then that he was in self-isolation and wouldn't be able to reunite with his family for a few weeks due to COVID-19 concerns.
Stay tuned for updates on Foley.
X PAC TALKS ABOUT PAY
Sean "X-Pac" Waltman recently held a "Ask X-Pac" episode on his podcast X-Pac 12360 where fans got to ask the WWE Hall of Famer whatever questions they wanted. One question that he was asked was why he left WWE for WCW.
"The money was bad at the time, but I really think if I was creatively satisfied, I would have stayed," Waltman revealed. "I wouldn't even think about leaving. I would have tried to keep asking for a raise. I never even thought about leaving when creative was good, even when money was tough or bad. It was bad at one point.
"There was a point where we used to get draws on the road and a draw is a cash advance. When business got bad, $200 was the limit you could get and sometimes, if you didn't get the $200 draw, you might have got $150 on your check. So, yeah, it was tough like that, especially on the Florida runs."
Waltman also explained his relationship with Vince McMahon. He discussed how he was always able to talk to Vince, but he admitted that there was some intimidation when talking to him as well.
"I mean, I'm not in Vince's head. So, this is the way it seemed to me," Waltman prefaced. "He saw the value in me at the level he was using me at. Some of that had to do with my outside the ring antics, my substance issues, and different things like that. If it wasn't for being kind of connected, the whole Kliq thing, may or may not have to put up with a lot of that from me to be honest with you. Then again, other people had just as much bad problems as I did or worse. They were used just fine, creatively.
"It definitely took from me to leave and make my own way somewhere else to get Vince to look at me in the light that I so desperately wanted. My good relationship with Vince, he was always open and willing to talk to me, but I was really intimidated at one point for quite a long time. It all worked out in your head like, 'Okay, this is what I'm going to do when I get in there'. Then, once you get in there, that sh-t's out the f--king window. I even told him one time, 'I come in here and once I get in here, there's this power dynamic thing'."
Touching more on The Kliq, Waltman talked about if he was in contact with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall or if he made the WCW deal with Eric Bischoff. He talked about his contract situation at the time and how he was supposed to debut earlier than when he did.
"I tell the story quite a bit, but I'll touch on it again. I was the first one," Waltman noted. "I was supposed to be the first one to go, but I let my contract roll over and Barry Bloom handled all of that. I didn't talk to Eric until I was supposed to debut at Sturgis. I got there, and WWF just sent the release for Linda's office and they didn't like the wording of it. So, I didn't debut. It was a little bit later and they never changed the wording. Finally, WCW just kind of said, 'Okay'."
Waltman also compared his relationship with Bischoff and McMahon. He stated that his relationship with Bischoff was "standoffish", but he noted that they had a friendly relationship but not like the one he had with McMahon.
"I had this energy I got from Eric when I was there. It was a little but standoffish," Waltman described. "It's not like we didn't get along, but always had that in the back of my mind. It wasn't like with Vince, but it was a little weird."
Credit to X-Pac 12360 with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.