Welcome to your Friday Update, straight from the news desk. I'm your humble correspondent, Dick Datchery. Plenty to discuss from the rumor mill heading into the last weekend before Christmas, and we'll start with the news that the WWE is apparently contemplating a logo change. World Wrestling Entertainment is reported to have narrowed down their search to 15 prospective logos, one of which will be selected to take over for the current one in the (presumably) near future.
All of the logos being discussed are supposedly much different from the current one, for those of you who care about such things. This information comes as no surprise to those of us who have long realized that WWE favors style over substance, and spends its time worrying more about cosmetic changes to the corporate marketing icon than actual in-ring action. That said, as long as the new logo doesn't contain any Triple H references or Ed Hardy designs, Friday News Update is on board. (Rajah)
As for our suggestion, we submit that Ouroboros is pretty cool. We'd also submit to replace WWE's current opening montage with this:
The second-generation slump continues. On the heels of Ted DiBiase's release comes the news that NXT wrestler Richie Steamboat has also been released. Steamboat, son of legend Ricky, had been sidelined for more than a year with an ongoing back issue. Richie had been with the WWE's various farm systems since 2009, and was an FCW Grand Champion. He's also a dead ringer for his dad. Steamboat teamed with current Shieldster Seth Rollins for a spell, and also had a notable feud with another recent release (and FNU fave) Chris Hero.
Rumors have abounded (as they always seem to at this time of year) that WWE might be ramping up the releases to make room for new talent, so this may be part of that effort. Certainly Richie's lengthy injured spell must have planted serious questions in the minds of WWE brass. Hopefully Steamboat can recover from said injuries to make an impact at some point soon. (INC)
In honor of his efforts, FNU presents this:
Friday News Update has been watching closely the developments on the other side of the wrestling pond, where TNA mainstay AJ Styles apparently made the decision to say "thanks, but no thanks" to the organization's reported lowball offer. Further details have emerged regarding this, and they paint a pretty poor picture of how Dixie Carter's promotion values their talent. AJ was reportedly making in the neighborhood of $350,000 a year when his current deal expired, and TNA's initial offer to him cut that number nearly in half, clocking in at $200,000. In addition, it is conjectured that the lowball deal wasn't even guaranteed, and that Styles's actual salary could potentially be less if the company cut back on its live events, which given their tenuous financial situation is pretty damn likely in 2014. In essence, a "per appearance" deal.
FNU has held throughout this entire affair that TNA simply could not afford to let one of their few big stars take a walk over money, particularly as they have shown a propensity to spend it on far less worthy causes in the past, and it would appear that the organization may have finally come to their senses. The latest reports indicate that TNA has come around to give AJ the financial recompense he's looking for, and it's rumored to be only a matter of time until he re-signs on the dotted line for them. For AJ's part, it's speculated that he would never attract the interest of WWE, and meeting his financial demands should cure any potential burned bridges quite nicely. Because you can always buy new bridges. (Rajah)
It may be that Cuba Gooding, Jr. put it best:
As seen in yesterday's Update by my esteemed colleague, Mr. Thomas Briggs (who, it shall be noted, it would be totally permissible to bombard with declarations of how I need to appear on his podcast, but I digress), many big names of the past have been linked to potential WrestleMania appearances. This is not a shock to anyone who's been tuning in to the WWE's seminal event since Liberace was line dancing. An additional name can be added to those reported, as WWE is reportedly interested in bringing back Mr. Monday Night himself, Rob Van Dam, for another go-round. Van Dam, of course, had a well-received and successful run from June through the beginning of October.
RVD has always been a free spirit, and seemingly has several ventures in a constant state of flux outside of the wrestling business. Much like perennial performer Chris Jericho, WWE would be wise to welcome him back with open arms whenever the schedule permits. Current reports indicate that there are no plans to have Van Dam at WrestleMania, but that should he decide to be available, they can work something out to have him appear on the card in some capacity. RVD himself addressed his timetable for a return to wrestling just a while ago, so it could be that no news is good news. For our part, we'd suggest not to expect the Van Daminator at the big dance. After all, it's on April 6th, not 4/20. (Rajah)
The Wyatt Family has been the talk of the town for quite a while now, and rightfully so. Their delightfully creepy Duck-Dynasty-meets-Jim-Jones-Cult gimmick is over like nothing else, and that was before head honcho Bray started walking like a spider. Now comes discussion that this rise to the top may very well bring some gold with it, as the team of Erick Rowan and Luke Harper are predicted to possibly be heading into the Royal Rumble as Tag Team Champions. Stories have circulated for quite some time that the Wyatt duo would wear championship belts prior to WrestleMania XXX, and those tales are lent credence by the idea that eventually current champions The Rhodes Brothers will end up splitsville and kick off the feud they've been itching to have with each other for a long time.
These latest whispers point to the idea that perhaps the original timetable has been bumped up, and the Wyatts will end up being champions going into the Royal Rumble (or winning it at said event), so as to build them even bigger in time for the company's most important pay-per-view of the year. Rowan and Harper make a formidable duo, and what's not known about them allows their image to get even more impressive as time goes on. They've also both shown a great deal of improvement in the ring since their debut on WWE TV, and it would be natural to place the straps on them in short order. We'll see if it works out that way. (INC)
Since nary a week goes by that CM Punk doesn't find himself in some sort of hot water, Friday News Update presents the latest shenanigans he's been engaged in. As mentioned in Friday's article, WWE had issues with some meaningless backstage blowup between Punk's off-stage consort AJ Lee and something called an Access Hollywood co-host, Michelle Beadle. What exactly was said and how it was said involves drama not seen outside of a Total Divas script, but it caused a great deal of backstage hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth and led many to speculate that Lee might lose her Divas title at TLC as a result.
Now comes an even bigger travesty as word has it WWE officials are also upset with Punk. Don't worry, it's not because he badgered some semi-celebrity, thus potentially preventing WWE from finding another mug to plaster all over their flyers. No, it's because he tweeted about hockey! For shame! Backstage folks reportedly are miffed at Punk because he utilized his Twitter feed (as entertaining as you'd imagine, incidentally) to tweet about hockey rather than TLC or other WWE-related items. Punk, a huge hockey fan (as evidenced by his frequent donning of Blackhawks attire) should be able to tweet about anything he wants. It shows human emotion and gets people invested in him. It's ridiculous alleged "offenses" like this that make World Wrestling Entertainment look sophomoric and silly. (Rajah)
It's not like Punk sent out something like this, which is way more offensive:
Preliminary Survivor Series buyrate numbers are in, and it's once again not very good news for the WWE. The promotion has reported approximately 179,000 buys for the Series, which places it above Battleground in total buys but below Hell in a Cell. It would also make it the worst performing Survivor Series of the last four years by a longshot. Survivor Series drew well over 250,000 buys two years ago with the return of The Rock, and still managed a perfectly acceptable 208,000 buys for Punk/Cena/Ryback just one year ago. This year's PPV (and you're forgiven if you've already forgotten) was headlined with Randy Orton vs. The Big Show, following the confusing left turn made by creative after booking faux finishes for Daniel Bryan's title chase for the previous four or five events.
Further issues may have been caused by the delay in setting up midcard matches (which has plagued the WWE booking committee of late) and the dearth of traditional Survivor Series matches present on the card. While awaiting the final numbers, this has to be seen as confirmation that even seminal events that fans look forward to will suffer when not presented well. While it's a bit presumptuous to blame results on any one wrestler, clearly this main event didn't do much for anyone. It's difficult to imagine that the WWE brass are surprised by that obvious fact, but there you are. One can only hope that creative gets it together for the stretch run. (Torch)
How best to combat these sagging numbers? Call a meeting, naturally:
Finally, FNU presents another closing segment of Wrestler vs. Musician. It's a true conflict of styles this week, as in one corner we present a gentleman so tough that he wore both a hat and sunglasses down to fight, Mr. Hughes:
In the other corner, a gentleman so badass that his music is synonymous with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Mr. Mister:
Whether you take those broken wings and learn to fly again is entirely up to you, dear reader. As always, thank you for taking the time to read the dirt of the day. Feel free to chime into the conversation roiling in the depths below or fire off charades techniques or eggnog recipes to me via Twitter @DharmanRockwell or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and I'll see you on Tuesday!