Hello and welcome to the Friday Update, straight from the news desk. I'm your humble correspondent, H. E. Pennypacker. There's plenty to talk about for your wrestling weekend as it heads into the rollicking romp known as St. Patrick's Day, so sip your green beer slowly as you feast on the rumor buffet.
We begin your dose of news with a (formerly) internal discussion of the top 5 stars in the WWE after WrestleMania season. According to reports, five individuals on the current roster were selected as the five people who would be pushed after the biggest PPV of the year. Those names are, in order: John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Sheamus and Roman Reigns. Assuming that the breakup of The Shield would be a major agent facilitating Reigns's push, it's pretty clear that not too many heels will be receiving mega-boosts after the big dance. It also means that Roman will have major bragging advantages when he encounters Luther at the Reigns family reunion picnic/square dance.
Super Cena vs. Daniel Bryan at the top of the pecking order brings up what promises to be one of the more interesting conundrums for the WWE in the year 2014. As the WWE continues to begin and end with Cena, how can the new "Yes! Movement" coexist and cohabit in the same space with both men benefitting equally? This is particularly critical since the separated major titles have now been unified, thus not allowing for the easy move of simply having one in the chase for the World while the other carries the Heavyweight, or vice versa. Time well tell how the company handles their top guys heading out of WM XXX, but it should make for some interesting television indeed.
As to the rest of the list, it's interesting to see that while Reigns is represented, big name acquisition and Royal Rumble winner Batista is not. Whether that is due to planning or the fans' overwhelmingly negative response to Big Dave is a question for someone else, but it does appear that the winds of change are consistently blowing through Titan Tower. But perhaps not as much as your average fan might hope. Sheamus's presence on the list likely goes a long way to indicate that being in the good graces of Triple H will do far more for your career in the WWE than a lot of other factors might. But you knew that already, right? He IS facing off against the buzziest talent in the company in a few short weeks. (INC)
The sixth name on the list, of course, should be obvious:
Meanwhile, in the all important area of merchandising the results are interesting as well. A recent list confirms that the aforementioned Cena and Bryan currently run one and two in arena merchandise sales, followed by the MIA CM Punk, Batista, Sheamus, Hulk Hogan, Randy Orton, and Brock Lesnar. It's an interesting mix of A-listers and part-timers that mirrors the dichotomy of the current state of the WWE as a whole.
In case you're curious, the wwe.com merchandise seller list is different, but not that much. Cena, Punk and Bryan remain the top three, but they are followed by Hogan, The Shield, and Steve Austin. Rounding out that list are Lesnar, The Undertaker, and Orton. Despite the overwhelming amount of Cesaro merchandise I've been ordering, it appears I'll need a little help to break the big time. (Or perhaps the appearance of Cesaro tennis socks in the shop.)
Not on either list would be Sin Cara or, even more importantly, Rey Mysterio, both of whom had been considered very good merchandise movers in general. In the case of Sin Cara, the kerfuffle over the original's ignominious departure and subsequent name battle have rendered the character idea all but on life support. In the case of Mysterio, injuries and lack of television time may have finally caught up with him after all this time. You might not have to be a full-time active wrestler to move shirts and oven mitts, but it helps if you're appearing at all. (Rajah)
For FNU's part, we humbly suggest the shop might move more merch by dusting off this gem:
If you are a stockholder in the WWE, yesterday was a good day for you. With discussion of who may or may not be interested in purchasing the WWE's television rights ongoing, just about everyone has been rumored to be airing wrestling shortly, from Turner to Fox to Oprah's network. (Okay, maybe not that last one, but it might mean Dr. Phil guest hosting Raw and therefore you can count me in.) When speculation arose that AMC, home of the best non-wrestling show on TV, might be interested, the stock reflected this, hitting a high of $31.98 before closing at $29.75. Perhaps that debut season of Breaking Barrett might come to pass after all. (NoDQ)
It appears that the latest induction into the WWE Hall of Fame will be Puerto Rican wrestling legend Carlos Colon, Sr. Recent reports indicate that the announcement regarding Colon was to be made on Monday's Raw, but for whatever reason it did not occur and will now happen this evening on SmackDown. Colon's accomplishments as a performer and booker speak for themselves, and in addition to his domination of the WWC, he also captured gold in the NWA and had a cup of coffee in the WWF as well. He also sustained over 70 scars on his forehead from his brutal bouts, so if he and Dusty Rhodes were ever to bump into each other you might need a CSI team.
Colon's contributions to wrestling are enormous, and so his spot in the Hall is well deserved. Regarding his inductors, the obvious (and correct) choice seems to be his sons, ex-WWE hand Carlito and current Matador Primo, as well as nephew Epico. No word on if El Torito will also be there. (Rajah)
For a little sampling of what the HOF-bound Colon was all about, try this:
Having seen that Steve Austin is one name that still equals big dollars to World Wrestling Entertainment (a fact that was patently obvious when he was tapped to celebrate the launching of the Network), current speculation persists that the WWE want Austin involved in some way during WrestleMania. It's long been theorized that Austin might have one more match left in him, but this role would be a non-physical one, although the exact details are reportedly still being worked out. WWE apparently wants one more cash cow on hand to join the weekend, joining already booked legends Hogan (hosting), Warrior (being inducted), and Taker (keeping the streak rolling along).
Austin has previously been on record saying he would be happy to come back for the right angle, but with his recent podcast success joining some of his other projects outside of the ring, he's got a full schedule and it seems a little late in the game for an angle to be created out of nowhere at this point. That being said, it IS the WWE we're speaking of, and who really needs an excuse for Austin to whip out some Stunners and have a beer bash? No word on whether Austin will be there, but FNU will keep you posted. And that's the bottom line. (INC)
Is the Big Red Machine close to calling it quits? It may be a distinct possibility. According to recent reports, Kane has been telling those close to him that he'd be willing to retire in the near future. He has apparently started an insurance company called The Jacobs Agency out of Knoxville, Tennessee, which actually might be a past wrestling angle. He also has been into the political scene very heavily over the last couple of years, doing interviews and supporting Libertarian candidates. Kane's new role as on-screen authority figure may back up his post-wrestling plans, but he's been back to wrestling fairly regularly the last couple of weeks. I'll save the comments on how ironic it would be to discuss your house fire with Kane. Or maybe I won't. No word on if Katie Vick possessed life insurance. (Rajah)
Friday News Update already has the songs picked out for the party:
Finally, with St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, FNU would be foolish not to include news about Ken Shamrock. When last we left good old Kenny, he was haranguing about his time in the WWF and serving as a bodyguard for 50 Cent. Now that we're back, we find that Kenny is still doing both of those things. In a recent interview, Shamrock had plenty of interesting things to say regarding the CM Punk situation, the most notable being that Punk is a "spoiled brat" for walking out on the company. As to the speculation that Punk might be interested in participating in UFC action, Shamrock felt he had no chance.
Shamrock went on to say that the big reason the WWE has not been interested in doing any further business with him is due to the fact that Triple H had to put him over several times during the Attitude Era and still holds a grudge regarding it. Unfortunately for Ken, regardless of how you feel about the validity of what he's saying (and some of it does make sense) it's hard to get past all the crazy to find it. I will tell you that his arguments sound much more sane when viewed through the prism of Jameson's Irish Whiskey. Beannachtam na Feile Padraig! (Torch)
Or FNU will just let Brad Pitt explain it:
As always, thanks for taking the time to read the dirt of the day. That clears the news desk for this weekend. We leave you with a reminder to kill two birds with one stone and watch The Walking Dead Sunday as well as the Talking Dead after-show that will feature Punk's first post-WWE media appearance. Who knows, it might be the new residence of the rest of the WWE. As for this weekend's festivities, Friday News Update wishes you an awesome and festive weekend and closes with a toast.
"Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth, drove all the snakes from Ireland, here's a toasting to his health. But not too many toastings, lest you lose yourself and then forget the good Saint Patrick and see all those snakes again." Enjoy and be safe!