Wrestling Globe Newsletter for 2-12 (2010)

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WRESTLING GLOBE NEWSLETTER
Friday February 12, 2010
 
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Wrestling Globe Newsletter by Mike Aldren – All the latest professional wrestling news, gossip and occasional opinion direct to your mailbox.
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WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

2/11 Superstars TV results: Jack Swagger over Santino Marella, Christian over Zack Ryder, and Dolph Ziggler over JTG.

2/11 Smackdown house show results from Quito, Ecuador: Matt Hardy & John Morrison over The Hart Dynasty; Goldust over Zack Ryder; Michelle McCool over Beth Phoenix; Kane over Drew McIntyre via count out; Christian over Ezekiel Jackson; CM Punk over R-Truth; and The Undertaker & Rey Mysterio over Batista & Chris Jericho. The show drew around 10,000 people.

Smackdown TV tonight has Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk; Drew McIntyre vs.
Kane; Michelle McCool & Layla vs. Mickie James in a handicap match; Matt Hardy & Great Khali vs. The Hart Dynasty; John Morrison vs. R-Truth; and The Undertaker vs. Chris Jericho.

The Smackdown crew are touring South America this weekend with a show tonight in Guayaquil Ecuador, Saturday in Costa Rica, and Sunday in Mexico. We’re looking for reader reports to you2us@wrestlingglobe.com.
We are also looking for reports from the Raw shows this weekend starting tonight at Michigan State University, Saturday night in Madison, WI, and Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia at Wachovia Center. The tour is headlined by John Cena vs. Sheamus and DX vs. Legacy.

Raw TV is live Monday from Des Moines and Smackdown TV is taped Tuesday in Kansas City.

***

WWE’s fourth quarter report came in with revenues of $117.3 million, down from $125.4 million the same quarter last year, and profits of
$11.2 million down from $13.6 million.

The results included a charge of $6.4 million of bad debt associated with the write-down from a prior business partner which was offset by
$5.8 million of tax credits. The results also included a $6.4 million advance related to a contract with a book publisher. Adjusted operating income increased 9 percent to $18.4 million and Adjusted EBITDA increased 7 percent to $21.9 million from $16.9 million and $20.5 million, respectively, in the prior year quarter.

TV and live event revenue increased 10 percent to $7.5 million–mostly due to an increased number of events and favorable changes in foreign exchange rates as well $1.1 million from WGN for the TV rights to Superstars. Digital Media took in $300,000 less, WWE Studios did $200,000 down from $4.8 million in the prior year quarter, and consumer products was way down–$22.7 million from $33.3 million.

Of the $117.3 million revenues; $79.5 million came from North America;
$26.7 million came from Europe, Africa and the Middle East; $7 million came from Asia; and $4.1 million came from Latin America.

Average live event attendance in North America decreased from 6,900 to 6,600 as they ran more events.

Pay-per-view revenue showed a slight increase to $16.3 million from
$15.9 million. The spin here compared to the prior year quarter is that they ditched their worst peforming PPV’s–No Mercy, Cyber Sunday, and Armageddon–and brought in the gimmick events–Hell In A Cell, TLC and Bragging Rights which all out performed their counterparts in terms of buys. Survivor Series, historically the fourth biggest annual event of the year was down 84,000 buys from 2008.

The consumer product break downs showed virtually no change on the magazine front, but they lost revenue big time on home video and licensing–mostly from the $6.4 million advance to a book publisher.
WWE.com and WWEShop revenues were virtually the same as the last prior year quarter. WWEShop averaged 123,000 orders with an average spend of $53.43. WWE Studios only showed revenues of $200,000 because they have yet to record earnings for 12 Rounds and The Marine 2.

Total revenue for the 12-month period December 31, 2008 to December 31,
2009 was $475.2 million. Profit increased from $45.4 million to $50.3 million due to smarter spending controls and a 10 percent reduction in staff.

The WWE stock closed yesterday down 19 cents at $16.07.

***

There were several interesting notes out of Thursday’s investor conference call.

Vince McMahon announced the company was moving forward “at a fast pace”
on forming a WWE television network. He said the network would take advantage of WWE’s extensive video library and anticipated it would be operational within 18 months. When asked about existing programming on other networks he said it’s a possibility that they could be moved to the new network. He did say he is thrilled with Raw on USA Network and hopes the show remains there for years to come. “We are unique in that what’s good for the WWE is good for all our television partners as far as promotion and things of that nature,” he said. “The new network could tie in and be adjacent to some of those shows and quite frankly our own network can enhance Raw and Smackdown. It would really be a win-win across the board for our television partners, as well as for us.”

McMahon also announced that the Survivor Series has been dropped as an annual event. He said this after somebody called in and brought up the decline in PPV buys for the event over the last couple of years. He said Survivor Series worked years ago but now feels the concept of elimination matches is obsolete. As noted, Survivor Series was historically the fourth biggest annual event of the year, and was the second oldest event in company history, dating back to Thanksgiving night of 1987.

Regarding the new toy deal with Mattel, COO Donna Goldsmith said early sales data suggests they are already vastly outpacing the same period last year. She also talked up the new deal with Vivendi Entertainment for DVD distribution in North America saying they are looking to exploit the rentals market. She said she has a meeting coming up with Red Box to discuss business opportunities. Red Box specializes in the vending of rental DVDs via self-service kiosks.

Surprisingly there was no mention of the new NXT show on SyFy nor did anyone on the call bring up Shane and Linda McMahon leaving the company.

***

Jenny Quinn who was Jenny Cash in developmental is gone from the
company. Quinn, 26, is a former Playboy model they hired in 2008 but had
been sidelined for most of last year after she tore her ACL. Coming from
the modeling world is always a tough deal because of the hazing that
comes from being an outsider but also the negative perception that you
want to use wrestling as a stepping stone to do others things. When you
look at the current roster it’s pretty telling. More than 20 of the 30
women under contract didn’t have any formal training or work
independents coming in. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, because in
the past top Diva’s like Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson came from
fitness modeling. Internally it’s not considered an issue these days,
especially since Undertaker and Michelle McCool got together, and nobody
in power really says anything negative unless of course a girl gains
weight as evidenced by current storylines.

Bryan Danielson is now Daniel Bryan in developmental, I assume so WWE
can own the name. People at the FCW tapings last night thought Savannah
made a mistake with announcing his name, but apparently not. He is
billed from his home town of Aberdeen, Washington.

Richie Steamboat, son of The Dragon, made his FCW debut last night.

Channel 9 news in Tampa covered the funeral of Jack Brisco at
http://tinyurl.com/ybx8c7z. Notable attendees included Terry Funk, Jim
Ross [who looked well and spoke eloquently], Pat Paterson, Edge, Mike
Graham [who was wearing a T-Shirt], Dusty Rhodes, Michael Hayes, Afa,
Buddy Colt, Chavo Guerrero, Sr, Hector Guerrero, George Scott, Dan
Spivey, Lanny Poffo, Haku, John Laurinaitis, Steve Keirn, Tom Prichard,
Norman Smiley, a few developmental wrestlers from FCW, and many more.

Jim Ross noted on his Twitter that back in the early 70s when he was a
referee, he officiated a Jack Brisco title defence against Danny Hodge.
Ross said the match went the 60-minute time limit and he didn’t hear
either one speak a word to one another for the whole match.

There were lot’s of “Who Dat” chants during Tuesday’s Smackdown taping
in Baton Rouge. We’ve had a few emails on this. The “Who Dat” chants
were first popularized by The Junkyard Dog at the New Orleans Municipal
Auditorium in 1980. Most people believe Mid-South Wrestling fans picked
it up from the Saints games, but it was actually the other way around.
The chants also date back to high school football and basketball games
in the 1970s.

Since they are dropping Survivor Series as an annual event there is a
new WWE survey asking fans about concept PPVs. The options include a
King of the Ring tournament, a legends show bringing back names from the
past, a show where the main events are street fights, and also the WCW
concept of War Games and Battle Bowl. The later is interesting. I
vaguely recall the previous versions of Battle Bowl at Starrcade in 1991
and 1992 and there was a stand alone PPV in 1993 where forty wrestlers
were chosen at random to form ten pairs of tag teams. Each pair competed
in a match, and the winning team advanced to Battlebowl [basically a
battle royal] for the World heavyweight title. Of course, the talent
depth back then was far deeper. There were some great combinations like
Cactus Jack/Vader, Ricky Steamboat/Steve Regal and Ric Flair/Steve
Austin. However, the long term effect of the PPV was non-existent unless
you count a weak Ron Simmons heel turn.

Jim Barnett [not that one], the manager for Rob Simmons’ Connecticut
Senate campaign is now going after Linda McMahon for steroid testing.
Barnett released a statement this morning in response to Linda going on
MSNBC and defending WWE’s Wellness Program. He said: “This morning on
national television, Linda McMahon was called to account for the culture
of drugs, steroids and death through which she made the hundreds of
millions of dollars that are financing her U.S. Senate campaign. McMahon
recited her usual propaganda, but far from aggressively cleaning up her
company, it was Linda McMahon who eliminated WWE’s drug and steroid
testing program for a decade until just recently. Far from
comprehensive, the program she defends now is regarded as a joke by
leading experts and the U.S. Congress who only last year completed one
investigation and requested another. And to this day, wrestlers in their
30s and 40s are dying because of the unconscionable industry practices
she has promoted and allowed to continue nearly unabated.” Hilariously,
because they are the one’s who always bring this stuff up, the Simmons
campaign also ripped Linda for spending more time discussing wrestling
on MSNBC than she did talking about political issues.

Basil V. DeVito, Jr. was just elected to WWE’s Board of Directors. He
has been with the company nearly 25 years and most recently served as
Senior Advisor of Business Strategies, helping to obtain placement for
WWE television programming in North America. He also served as Chief
Operating Officer from January 1997 through June 1998 and was President
of the ill-fated XFL football league.

WWE The Music Volume 10 debuted at No. 94 on the album charts selling
5,988 units. Volume 9 last year debuted at No. 11 selling 25,000 units
although this year they pushed downloads on Amazon.com rather than CD
sales.

Chris Jericho’s fourth Fozzy album, Chasing The Grail, didn’t crack the
Top 200 selling just 2,200 units in it’s first week.

The theme music for the new NXT show is a track called Wild and Young by
American Bang.

Mickie James will make her concert debut on February 22 in Nashville at
the Third Annual W.O. Music School’s Dustin Wells Gift of Music concert.
The ticket-only event takes place at the Wildhorse Saloon featuring some
of country music’s biggest stars including Rascal Flatts, Kellie
Pickler, Jason Michael Carroll, Keith Anderson and Little Big Town.

The Smackdown crew out in Ecuador right now are said to be loving the
country. Kids are mobbing them to an overwhelming degree every where
they go.

TNA WRESTLING NEWS

2/11 Impact TV results from Orlando, FL: The Pope over Orlando Jordan in
an Eight Card Stud tournament qualifying match; Matt Morgan over Suicide
in the final Eight Card Stud Qualifying match; Doug Williams over
Amazing Red to retain the X-Division title; TBP over Angelina Love &
Tara in a handicap match; and Mr. Anderson & Kurt Angle over Desmond
Wolfe & Hernandez.

2/11 house show results from Charlottesville, VA: Generation Me over
Lethal Consequences; Homicide over Jesse Neal; Tara & Angelina Love over
The Beautiful People; Jeff Jarrett over Daniels; Kurt Angle & Beer Money
over Desmond Wolfe & The British Invasion; and AJ Styles over The Pope.
The show drew around 500-600 people. Generation Me-Lethal Consequences
was said to be match of the night. Don West was behind the merchandise
stand doing his “insane deals” with a headset microphone over the PA
system. People were disappointed with some teases–like playing Sting’s
entrance music for no reason and Jeremy Borash naming Hogan, Flair and
Jeff Hardy–who weren’t at the show.

TNA run tonight in Norfolk with Ric Flair managiong AJ Styles vs. Kurt
Angle; The Beautiful People vs. Tara & Angelina Love; The Pope vs.
Daniels; Lethal Consequences vs. Generation Me; plus Jeff Jarrett, Beer
Money, Desmond Wolfe, Homicide, The British Invasion, and Jesse Neal.

Sunday is the Against all Odds PPV back in Orlando and the television
tapings are Monday and Tuesday also in Orlando.

Against All Odds has AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe for the TNA heavyweight
title with Eric Bischoff as special referee; The Nasty Boys vs. Team 3D
for the tag titles; and an 8-man tournament to determine the No 1
contender for the heavyweight title at April’s Lockdown PPV. The winner
of Pope-Wolfe and Hernandez-Matt Morgan faces the winner of Abyss-Foley
and Anderson-Angle.

***

TNA has a press conference scheduled for Monday at 2:30pm at the Impact
Zone at Universal Orlando where they will likely announce they are
moving to Monday nights on Spike.

No update on Awesome Kong other than a definite decision on her future
won’t be made until the television tapings next week. She requested her
release at the last tapings following the altercation with Bubba the
Love Sponge.

Bobby Lashley wrote on his website that he will address his future in
wrestling at a later date.

Dixie Carter tweeted that a UK PPV announcement is forthcoming. I
wouldn’t expect the announcement before Sunday as they want UK fans to
buy the show on the Video Vault website. She also encouraged fans to
complain to TNA’s UK television partner Bravo if they are unhappy. That
doesn’t sound good. Ironically they have doubled ratings for Impact in
the UK. The January 3 airing did 57,000 viewers but the most up-to-date
data shows the January 16 and 30 shows both did 103,000 viewers. It
should be noted though that UK ratings are far from accurate. Out of the
estimated 25 million households only 5,100 have BARB boxes–which
measure the ratings. Each BARB household represents about 5,000
households. That could just mean that the households with boxes watching
Impact has increased from 10 to 20. [Thanks to Ian Hamilton]

Scott Hall did an interview with www.InYourHeadOnline.com. He said Hogan
and Bischoff called him to come back, and he did, because he was tired
of hearing about young guys complain about not getting a push. He said
he doesn’t have a computer any more because he doesn’t like to read the
negative stuff because it hurts his feelings. Seriously, he is such a
worker. He wasn’t sure about his role on Sunday but thinks he’s doing a
run-in. When asked about writing a book he said he is “waiting for a
good ending” before he does. He said his memory isn’t great so would
need somebody with knowledge to sit down with him and help him put
everything in order. He put over Sid Eudy saying they are good friends
describing him as the hottest free agent in wrestling. He said Sid has
always kept in good physical shape and is ready to go at a moments
notice. When asked about not wrestling at Genesis he said he pulled his
groin and that he didn’t want to half ass his return.

Frank Trigg, Wes Sims and another MMA fighter are talking about coming
in. Trigg was just released from his UFC contract and has made some TNA
appearances in the past. He last appeared at the 2008 No Surrender PPV
against AJ Styles in what was billed as an MMA match under amateur
wrestling rules. The finish was a no contest due to an unintentional low
blow. Anyway, the Impact Zone hated the match and chants of “This is
bulls–t”, “We want wrestling”, and “Fire Russo” ensued. This was also
the infamous PPV match where they lost the live video feed for several
seconds then came back to a porn channel for a few more seconds until
somebody eventually pressed the right button.

The Miami Herald has a story on Vince Russo and his new book at
http://tinyurl.com/yd6rozw. He said when he writes television he doesn’t
have any favorites: “That’s why at the end of the day you can’t be
friends with them outside of work. It’s no different than managing a
baseball team. Basically, I’m handed a roster, and I have 50 names of
guys and gals on that roster, and my job is to get every single one of
those pieces of talent over. That’s my job. Put them in storylines.
Enhance their characters. Put them on television. In that world, there
are no favorites. You have to treat everybody the same, and I really
feel — if I’ve done anything good in this business — I’ve been able to
maintain that over the past 14 years or so.” He added: “What you’re
dealing with in the wrestling business — and this is really where the
problem occurs — the biggest issue I’m dealing with when it comes to
talent is paranoia. The wrestling business was really built as these
guys are independent contractors. So basically the way the business was
set up 50 years ago was every man for himself. As independent
contractors, each one was working for a spot. You still have that today,
and that’s the mentality you have today. There’s no team environment, no
matter what anyone tells you. Everybody’s trying to get their spot. So
with that comes the paranoia — the looking over my shoulder, the how is
this guy going to screw me, how is the writer going to screw me. That’s
the biggest hurdle in working with talent.”

Brian Fritz posted part one of a very good Q&A with Mick Foley at
http://tinyurl.com/yjecjcc. On Russo as a writer, he said: “I think
Vince Russo is always open to suggestions and I can say this because I
didn’t criticize him in my book after he was gone. So I’m not being
hypocritical when I say I always thought he was a great idea man. I
think for a few years he probably missed the restraint that Vince
[McMahon] put on him. I think even Vince Russo would probably agree that
him being world champion was possibly not the best idea in the world.
But he’s a very creative guy. He loves to write. He loves to make
characters and I think people who, you know the people who chant ‘Fire
Russo’ really have no idea how large of a contribution he made to the
wrestling product that they sometimes seem to like. I’m talking about
the wrestling product overall as in this generation of wrestling. I
think he was one of the key guys right up there with the top on-air
talents.”

Awesome Kong is running a contest on her Twitter where she’s giving away
two iPods. To enter, follow Awesome Kong at
http://twitter.com/awesomekong and send her your best Valentine’s Day
pick up line. The best pickup line will be selected by Kong. The contest
deadline is Midnight on Valentine’s Day.

OTHER WRESTLING NEWS

Sandy Scott is not doing very well. He underwent surgery last year to
combat pancreatic cancer but the cancer has now spread. Scott wrestled
for the old Mid-Atlantic Wrestling territory as one half of the Flying
Scotts with brother George. He was also an official for Jim Crockett
Promotions, WCW and Smoky Mountain Wrestling.

Mick Foley is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday to benefit the Pro
Wrestling Hall of Fame located in Schenectady, New York. The actual
fundraiser takes place at the Regency House Hotel in Pompton Plains, New
Jersey, and includes a dinner to honor Chief Jay Strongbow. Guests
include Howard Finkel, Dawn Marie, JJ Dillon, Johnny Rodz, Doink the
Clown, former WWF refs Dick Worhley, Tom Savoldi and Billy Caputo, Irish
Terry Gunn, Angelo Savoldi, 95, the oldest known living pro wrestler,
and many more. Tickets for the dinner are still available for $60 by
calling 973-897-5033 or you can go to www.pwhf.org for more information.

Monthly wrestling returns to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Valentine’s
Day with Greg Price’ NWA: New Beginnings. The show takes place at the
Hilton University Place Hotel. The double main event is Blue Demon Jr.,
the current NWA champ vs. TBA and Adam Pearce vs. Phil Shatter. More
info www.nwalegends.com/nb.

Tully Blanchard will be a guest on FOX Charlotte’s Got Game Saturday at
10:30pm talking about Sunday’s New Beginnings show.

Ringside Rap with Rich Tate, Les Thatcher, and Mike Sempervive, featured
a tribute to Jack Brisco, which included appearances by Harley Race,
Danny Hodge, Dory Funk, Buddy Colt, Jim Ross, J.J. Dillon, Steve Keirn,
Jody Hamilton, and Mr. Wrestling 2. You can listen to the show at
http://tinyurl.com/ybw6q85.

Ring of Honor announced a TV deal with Dahlia TV in Italy to air it’s
HDNet-produced show in the country.

ROH has it’s Eighth Anniversary Show on Saturday in New York City at the
Manhattan Center. Complete line up: ROH champ Austin Aries vs. Tyler
Black; Jay & Mark Briscoe vs. The Dark City Fight Club for the tag
titles; Roderick Strong vs. Brian Kendrick; El Generico vs. Davey
Richards; Colt Cabana vs. Kevin Steen; Necro Butcher & Eddie Kingston
vs. Erick Stevens & Joey Ryan; Kenny King vs. Rasche Brown vs. Delirious
vs. Steve Corino; plus Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli in tag team.
More info at www.rohwrestling.com.

ISPW will be holding a fantasy training camp on March 27 at the 3-2
Count Athletic Training Facility in Freehold, NJ, with Dutch Mantell,
Bill DeMott, Samu, and Vito. For further information on the camp go to
www.ISPWLive.com.

The Fight Network in Canada is now airing CMLL shows on Mondays at 11pm.

Former TNA announcer Lauren Brooke is signing autographs this weekend at
the Portland Golf Show.

There is a story on Jenna Moresca at http://tinyurl.com/yhbkplq talking
about her time working for TNA.

Today’s Diva of the Day is Mercedes Martinez at
http://www.thewrestlingpress.com/DailyDiva.

WRESTLING GLOBE MAILBAG

Funk’s Corner – Breakfast with WWE Hall of Fame Inductee, the “Million
Dollar Man, Ted Dibiase and Family

Monday night on Raw, one of my early students of professional wrestling,
“The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase was announced as the first inductee
to the WrestleMania 26 Hall of Fame.

After the loss of his father, Iron Mike Dibiase of a heart attack in the
ring in Lubbock, Texas, Ted Dibiase said to me, “If this business was
good enough for my mom and dad, It is good enough for me. This is what I
want to do.” (Ted’s mother was one of the most beautiful Ladies in the
wrestling business, Helen Hilde. Iron Mike Dibiase, Amateur wrestler
from University of Nebraska, was one of the toughest men in the
business)

Now as an inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame, The Million Dollar Man, Ted
Dibiase earns recognition as one of professional wrestling’s all time
great wrestlers and box office attractions.

Watching the special on Ted Dibiase brought back memories of Amarillo,
Texas and the Amarillo Territory.

A wrestling enemy who was a friend of mine was Ted’s Father, Iron Mike
Dibiase. I had watched my father Dory Funk Sr. wrestle Iron Mike in a
famous three hour and ten minute match in Amarillo, Texas. Iron Mike was
the man I worked with in the finals of a tournament in Amarillo to earn
the right to wrestle Lou Thesz early in my career. At the time Iron Mike
was my best friend, even though publicly we were never seen together.

Breaking the kay-fabe Rules

It was 8:00 am, early for wrestlers who worked late and usually were in
bed at this time. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, sausage, grits,
biscuits, gravy and hot coffee. The guests in my home were Iron Mike
Dibiase, his beautiful wife and former lady wrestler, Helen (Hilde)
Dibiase, and their young children, Teddy and little John Dibiase. The
conversation was warm and friendly and we were enjoying the comradeship.

We were, “breaking kay-fabe,” and enjoying ourselves immensely,
especially young Teddy who was only 11 years old at the time and his
little brother John. What happened next was a real nightmare!

For the rest of the story visit http://www.dory-funk.com.

Dory Funk Jr.

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