Monday 4/25 Torch Today – Raw TV Rating predicament, UFC-McGregor, heavy “Camp WWE” promotion, new WWE merch for Nakamura & Styles & co., Rock beginning movie transition, Scott Hall DVD info, Santana’s big weekend, Linda suggests GOP “collusion,” WWNLive’s Florida return dates, NJPW vs. NOAH card, Video – WWNLive Freebie

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Scott Hall (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

TORCH TODAY – Monday, April 25, 2016

– What TV rating should WWE expect for this week’s Raw leading into the Payback PPV – above or below last week’s 2.3? You have to look at how the majority of the audience – casual/irregular viewers – is receiving the show right now. Last week’s show ended on a flat note, complete with third hour viewership falling below 3.0 million viewers for the first time this year. Nothing was advertised in advance until the less-watched Smackdown for Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows’s debut. The issue is casual viewers have no idea who they are, or what their connection is to A.J. Styles. Just something about fuzzy memories in a promotion called New Japan they have no connection to because WWE has spent 15 years since WCW went out of business telling their viewers that there is only one wrestling promotion that exists.

WWE is trying to introduce so many new characters after WrestleMania that casual viewers seem to be lost right now. Tonight, it looks like WWE will try to “stabilize” things by bringing back The Cloud Hanging Over The Show, The Authority, to confront Shane McMahon. The mainstream viewer needs something compelling to sink their teeth into and get behind. If there is a lack of communication of who the new players are in the mix, or why they are worth caring about, viewers are going to keep tuning out, which has been the case since WrestleMania.

At MMATorch.com: Coverage of the bizarre UFC-Conor McGregor story centered on whether he will or will not fight at UFC 200.

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– WWE is starting heavy promotion for their new “Camp WWE” series premiering next Sunday, May 1 on WWE Network. The show will be released in the on-demand video library. From the mind of Seth Green, the animated series features WWE wrestlers and legends set in a juvenile camp owned by Mr. McMahon.

WWE released a cast list that shows 20+ stars in animated form, the opening title sequence, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the series.

The Rock is starting to transition movie roles. That includes his physical appearance. Rock is going from a leaner physical appearance for his “Baywatch” movie role that was on-display at WrestleMania to a “bigger, lethal” appearance for the “Fast 8” movie shoot. Rock said he’s in the final weeks of shooting Baywatch before transitioning to Fast in four weeks.

– Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon is trying to get the word out about her new women’s leadership company by using her U.S. Senate runs to get on television during political season. Appearing on Fox Business to discuss the 2016 U.S. presidential race, Linda used the buzzword word “collusion” to describe fellow Republican party candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich trying to take down front-runner Donald Trump. Notably, Linda and Vince McMahon were the top individual donors to Trump’s foundation over the past ten years.

– WWE is promoting a host of new merchandise items aimed at big-spending hardcore fans. Included are new t-shirts for A.J. Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, new NXT champion Samoa Joe, and Sami Zayn. Included is a coupon code “SAVE 25” to get 25 percent off orders.

– The DVD cover has been released for Scott Hall’s Razor Ramon-inspired home video release set for July. The compilation includes a documentary, about 30 matches, interviews, and extras. (Full Product Info via WrestlingDVDNetwork.com)

– Independent women’s wrestler Santana Garrett had a busy weekend. According to Al Haft of Florida Wrestling, Santana became the first EDBD champion on Saturday, winning a title tournament at the “Earthday Birthday” event in Orlando. On Sunday, she won the Belleview Pro Wrestling Hvt. Title.

Santana is heading back to Japan to defend the Wonder of Stardom Title. After touring Japan, she travels to Europe to wrestle in England, Spain, and France. This summer, she tours the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and finishes in South America wrestling in Chile for Hugo Savinovich’s Wrestling Superstar promotion. Follow Santana’s journeys @SantanaGarrett and on Instagram. Booking inquiries can be sent to SantanaGarrettBookings@gmail.com.

New Japan announced the line-up for their next NJPW vs. NOAH “Lion’s Gate Project” mixing younger and veteran wrestlers. Included are Naomichi Marufuji and Go Shiozaki mixing with New Japan’s undercard wrestlers. Plus, a main event featuring New Japan vets Tenzan, Kojima, Yuji Nagata, and Nakanishi against NOAH’s four-man unit.

Plus, more news & notes from NJPW, the NOAH Global Tag League, and other promotions via PuroresuSpirit.net.

– WWNLive announced their return to Florida on June 10 in Ybor City and June 11 in Orlando for EVOLVE 62 & 63. Included will be a WWNLive Seminar on June 10.

Video of the Day: WWNLive released a new “freebie match” of Drew Gulak vs. T.J. Perkins from EVOLVE 40 during last year’s WrestleMania Weekend in California.

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