It’s a pleasure to be back for Monday News Update, after a 2-week hiatus. I got to enjoy some Florida sun, and a heckuva crazy chain of events trying to get home. Not that it crossed my mind at the time, but it certainly gives me an appreciation for all the garbage pro wrestlers must tolerate while traveling. The airline we dealt with was refreshingly customer service-oriented, but the string of issues we experienced were just random and out of their control. Not to mention, we arrived on the heels of an ice storm. I kissed our door when we got home!
Brock Lesnar Stepping Back Into The Octagon?
Rumors surfaced this week that Brock Lesnar is considering UFC again, while still under a part-time contract with WWE. UFC Prez Dana White gave a non-answer in an interview with Ariel Helwani (basically, if he wants to announce something, he will, so f*ck off) and Jim Ross had this to say in his blog:
“Why would anyone leave the protected, show biz world of WWE where Brock's working a part time gig for BIG money to risk his health and legacy to step back into the Octagon? Again, if I'm Lesnar I'm taking all of the WWE money that I can count (and saving it) plus I'd even be willing to work more RAW TV dates to better promote and monetize the reason that WWE hired Lesnar in the first place, to sell PPV's.
The question is can Brock or WWE ever fully monetize their arrangement to the fullest extent with Lesnar only working a handful of dates a year? I've got mixed emotions regarding that one but for each party's sake, I hope that they do. Paul Heyman is a marvelous representative for Lesnar but no one, not even WWE's most talented talker, can carry the entire load with the PPV customers that only see Lesnar a handful of times a year.
Lesnar is not the Undertaker and Brock doesn't have 'The Streak' going for him at WrestleMania. Big difference."
I apologize for the long quote, but Ross really packed a lot of educated opinion into this blog entry (if you go to the link above, you can also read his insights into the UFC announcing, which I found very interesting).
But JR isn’t negating the rumor that Brock is considering UFC; he is simply giving his opinion on whether it would be a good idea. I think he makes an excellent point that Lesnar would be foolish to risk his body with MMA-style fighting, when he has a contract in play for good money (and protected ring work) in WWE. I also appreciated JR’s take on this part-time gig being limited in its impact – both on fans and PPV buy rates, the latter being the reason Lesnar gets paid the big bucks for so few appearances. It’s one thing to have Brock on the card, but another to have him present for the build to the match, which not even the microphone assassin Paul Heyman can compensate for.
I hope the rumor’s not true, and I am giddy with anticipation for Brock’s next appearance on Raw. It’s got to be soon, right? Please let them start a proper build to WrestleMania XXX (I don’t read the rumors/spoilers that are already rampant online), and please throw the Vanilla Gorilla into the Royal Rumble!
Old News, But News Nonetheless
Speaking of intense guys with huge lats, Batista is scheduled to appear at the January 21 edition of Raw, and stay on for up to 2 years for one last run with the company (WrestlingInc). What I’m sure was originally meant to be a surprise return exploded all over the internet a couple of weeks ago, and so WWE is now advertising the return date and hyping Batista’s career with promo videos.
From what I’ve been reading online, fans’ reactions seem to range from “[shrug] Whatever” to “[crouching with legs spread apart, firing an imaginary gun] YEAAAAAH!!!! [insert fireworks]”. When it comes to watching Batista wrestle a full match again, I am leaning towards the shrugging side of the spectrum. But in terms of seeing him come out, particularly at the Rumble, I may involuntarily stand up and get a little antsy about it…but no imaginary guns! I’ll leave that to Brock Lesnar guy, who’s name I’ve totally been waiting to drop! He tickled the shit out of my funny bone when Lesnar returned to WWE back in April 2012:
My friend Rocky and I immediately picked up on him and laughed our asses off at his enthusiasm. Then one of us discovered him on twitter (@BrockLesnarGuy, NATURALLY) which made us even happier. Can you imagine my delight when I got to my seat at this year’s Night of Champions in Detroit, then looked across the way to see none other than Brock Lesnar Guy standing there? Being the classy broad that I am, of course I yelled over to him and he graciously posed for me:
Shit, we were talking about Batista, weren’t we? Yeah, he’s coming back.
Now You Have My Attention, WWE Network
After years of promos, promises, and sliding dates (insert joke about my college years), the WWE Network story has taken a more believable turn, I think. I can’t find the source on PWInsider, but WrestlingInc reports on WWE’s announcement planned for January 8th in Las Vegas:
“Talk is that WWE will do the network in a way similar to the new venture by UFC and will be streamed online as opposed to being carried by traditional carriers. If WWE does in fact decide to do this, they would able to cut out large fees that they would have to pay the cable/satellite companies. Another plus to streaming the Network online would be that WWE will have complete control of the project as opposed to having to fight with carriers for positioning on their boxes.”
Happy happy joy joy jumpy claps YES! I do not own a cable box, and so I was none too pleased by all the talk of moving much of their programming (including Pay-Per-Views) to the WWE Network. Wrestling was the only reason we still had a cable box, as we could pay for just basic cable and get The Score network which broadcast Raw and Smackdown. As soon as our awful cable company (Rogers in Canada) moved The Score out of its basic cable package, it was bye-bye Rogers because THEY BASICALLY SUCK AND RENEE PAQUETTE WAS GONE FROM THE SCORE ANYWAYS AND IS NOW RENEE YOUNG AND I SAW HER FIRST YES I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO WATCHED AND I LAY CLAIM TO RECOGNIZING THAT SHE WAS GOOD AT HER JOB AND CUTE (actually, she is much, much better on Raw and NXT than she was on The Score and I am a terrible Canadian for saying it, now I must go drink a pint of maple syrup to atone).
I hope they do the Network online.
Expect a Different Kind of Raw Tonight
The WWE live-event Holiday Tour has taken its aggressive itinerary all across WWF old-school territory, pulling into a small arena in Toronto tonight - which coincides with the live broadcast of Raw. Scheduled on the tour are John Cena, Randy Orton, The Big Show, Kane, Rey Mysterio, Alberto Del Rio, The Real Americans, and The Rhodes Brothers (WrestlingInc). Which means tonight’s Raw will obviously not have those guys on it, and instead we’ll get Bad News Barrett telling The Wyatts that “Bad news… you’re in Richmond, Virginia tonight!” OUCH. That came out of nowhere, Wade. Ease up on the bad news.
Have a great week, and I’ll see you on Thursday with my weekly column!