Welcome to your Friday Headlines, straight from the news desk. I'm your humble correspondent, Troy McClure.
Leading off the top of your weekend wrestling news coverage is some information regarding the WWE's shift to more PG-rated content. Corporate sponsorships have always been a major part of WWE's financial umbrella, which is evident to anyone watching each week as the announcers coincidentally have Domino's pizza delivered to their desk, eat Hardee's brand hamburgers in backstage segments, or use authentic Preparation H. Okay, I might have made one of those up. Would have made an EXCELLENT finisher for Mr. Helmsley, however.
In 2008, back in the dark, archaic days when blood was spilled, epithets were hurled, and women (and Rico) routinely appeared in scantily-clad attire, corporate sponsorships was a measly $7.4 million. Now that World Wrestling Entertainment has dialed back the carnage and immorality, their corporate sponsorship numbers have jumped all the way to a reported $20 million this calendar year. That frees the WWE to continue to shill more swag than any show this side of The Celebrity Apprentice. (INC)
When asked for comment, WWE released this handy promotional video:
Continuing the trend of scouring closets for skeletons and rarely-used As Seen on TV items, there is a recently leaked memo making the rounds from several years ago which reveals some interesting directives from Vince & Stephanie McMahon, as well as producer Kevin Dunn.
As per the memo, if you're wondering why WrestleMania is no longer the "Granddaddy of Them All," it's because the phrase is old and dated. Thursday Headlines has no problem with the banning of that phrase, as it's sort of bizarre anyway, but why stop there? No more veterans; they are experienced rookies. No more knowledge; it's accrued experience. And no more slobberknockers, as if involves, well, slobbering AND knocking, two hush-hush activities, don't you know?
Further instructions include a moratorium on the use of the word "choke" as a finisher. (Discussion of anal bleeding (what?!?) is just dandy.) Kevin Dunn has issues with the phrase "titles changing hands." Thursday Headlines can only assume poor wrestling fans everywhere were disillusioned when they discovered that everyone involved kept their actual hands despite the use of this phrase. Your reporter humbly submits that "stole away like a thief in the night," "got his/her comeuppance," and "that maneuver was dynamite!" might also be problematic. And heaven knows a "Vintage!" move might suggest alcoholism. For further, previously discussed commentary on Mr. Dunn, enjoy.
As for current heel power broker Stephanie, her issues concern announcers saying "the referee didn't see it" in reference to a heel performing subterfuge in the ring, as it treats the fans like they are in grade school. Well, we wouldn't want that to happen. We've clearly moved on to middle school with her alternatives, "the referee's vision was impaired/blocked." One can only hope Roget was working overtime that week.
No more "hate", no more "five-star match", no more "match of the year." This is beginning to get a bit John Lennon-y, isn't it? While Thursday Headlines appreciates WWE's neverending desire to help you make your decisions based on words you assign a random meaning to, one wonders if this isn't a bit insane. I'm starting to understand Mick Foley's revelations about WWE's "production" even more. Parents, don't let your children grow up to be "athletes engaged in a predetermined contest." (INC)
Pretty sure you can't do this anymore, either:
In this week's news from over the hill, WWE insiders describe themselves as having a "decent chance" of signing current TNA superstar and wrestling legend Sting when his current contract expires. WWE has made overtures to Sting in the past, but have never actually come to terms with getting him into their promotion. With the idea that Hulk Hogan will be returning to the WWE in time for WrestleMania XXX apparently in jeopardy, one could imagine without difficulty the desire to bring in a big name from wrestling's past.
While this move would be historic, it would have been a lot more newsworthy oh, say, ten years ago. Signing Sting to a legends deal and allowing him to move merchandise and Blu-Rays for you certainly makes sense, and there's no question he belongs in WWE's Hall of Fame due to his contributions outside the organization. Hasn't really made TNA any more watchable, though. (Rajah)
The WWE is also apparently surprised that one Brie Bella is not over with the wrestling community in general. This despite the best efforts of WWE to position her as such, such as her "face"-type role in Total Divas, the revelation that she is the actual real-life future Mrs. Bryan Danielson, and having her get abused by Tamina Snuka on this past week's Raw. (Rajah)
As evidence of why fans might be having issues with blindly following Brie as a fan fave, it might be the last several years of this:
Thursday Headlines hardly knew ye, Gail Kim.
Finally, if you've taken the development of some smaller and "outside the box" wrestlers (not an actual box, sorry!) in the WWE to herald a long-awaited and overdue shift in their collective mentality, well...think again. Recent word from the rumor mill is that WWE brass feels they have enough "smaller guys" and are once again only in the market for "bigger guys" unless the talent is good enough. Because what I've been missing from my weekly DVR is more Mason Ryan.
In addition, talent from independent promotions is challenging, because they've already acquired "bad habits" and may not be happy taking entry level payola from WWE. Plus, brace yourselves dear readers, but if they leave the WWE they might still draw money elsewhere. What's next, I ask you? WWE is clearly looking to push their brand-new, whizbang Performance Center as the only consistent feeder for talent. Apparently, some things HAVEN'T changed from 2008. Or 1992. Or ever. (NoDQ)
Friday Headlines leaves you with a partial list of what might happen should WWE break this long-standing tradition:
That clears the news desk for this Friday, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to thank you for taking time to read the dirt of the day. As always, chime into the conversation roiling in the depths below or fire off conspiracy theories and Steely Dan references to @DharmanRockwell or via email at email@example.com. Have a great weekend and I'll see you Tuesday!