Friday Torch Today – Livecast Alert, huge night of wrestling, Tanahashi vs. Styles on U.S. TV, update on Ross’s book release, JR pens Taker article for Fox Sports, Backlund talks HOF speech, ROH Champ considering WWE?, Daivari talks failed Creative pitch, WWE awards FSU scholarships

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Undertaker (artist Travis Beaven © PWTorch)


TORCH TODAY – Friday, November 20

– LIVECAST ALET: Join Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant of the East Coast Cast at 7:00 p.m. EST for the Friday PWTorch Livecast wrap-up at

– It’s a big weekend in pro wrestling. After finishing the European Tour, WWE’s main roster gets a breather before Survivor Series, while the NXT brand is in Florida. Also on Friday, Ric Flair & Ricky Steamboat are at the Norfolk Scope, Ring of Honor is in Nashville, and Justin Credible is retiring at PWS. (Full Weekend Events Center) (Reports Wanted to

– This week’s New Japan show on AXS TV features Tanahashi vs. A.J. Styles for the IWGP World Hvt. Title. The episode airs at 8:00 p.m. EST leading into an AXS Fight Night MMA card.

– WWE NETWORK HIGHLIGHTS: This week’s WWE Superstars episode is early-released at 3:00 p.m. EST before airing in its regular timeslot of 8:00 p.m.  WWE is also re-airing “Undertaker Week” content throughout the day.

Jim Ross says he is targeting next holiday season to release his autobiography. “The writing of my autobiography is certainly a process and we hope to have it finished by the holidays of 2016, but we aren’t going to compromise quality and accuracy to meet a commercial, self-imposed deadline,” Ross told Downtown Magazine in New York City. Ross covered a wide range of subjects in the interview at

– Ross also wrote an in-depth article for on The Undertaker’s 25-year anniversary in WWF/E. Ross described working with Taker behind-the-scenes and on TV. JR concluded: “From my perspective, Mark Calaway has replaced Andre The Giant and all other WWE superstars as the greatest tenured performer of all-time.”

Bob Backlund talked to reporter John Corrigan at about his new book, “Backlund,” his WWWF/F/E run, writing his own Hall of Fame speech, reconciling with WWE through Triple H, and the Mr. Backlund character changing the life of Bob Backlund by giving him confidence to speak publicly.

“It was a fantastic night,” Backlund said of his HOF induction. “You know, they wanted to write a speech for me, and I said if you do that, it will be a disaster. (laughs) I have to speak from my heart. I didn’t know one word I was going to say ten seconds before I started saying it. It was like a wrestling match: start out a little slow, and then build.”

– Promoting ROH’s Nashville show, ROH World champion Jay Lethal talked to the Nashville Scene about being the only World champion in the U.S. at the moment. Notably, Lethal said he has not experienced racism in pro wrestling. He was also asked whether he would be okay if his career highlight was top champ in ROH without venturing to WWE.

“I’m going to say that, for most professional wrestlers around my age and from my generation, the reason we got into wrestling was due to a love that was created in part by being fans of the WWE as kids,” Lethal said. “To say that I wouldn’t want to work there would be a misstatement, because it is the company that started my love for professional wrestling, so I do have to say that it would be cool to wrestle for the WWE. But on the other side of that token, I wouldn’t feel like, ‘Man, I really missed out on something big.'”

Shawn Daivari was interviewed for Sports Illustrated about his run in WWE and how things changed for him personally after 9/11. Daivari also revealed insight on WWE roster members treating his tag partner, Muhammad Hassan, “like crap,” and treating him “like gold” because wrestlers feared Hassan taking their spot, while Daivari was not a threat.

Daivari also revealed a storyline pitch from Stephanie McMahon after their terrorism angle was dropped in July 2005 following an attack in London. “Stephanie came up to me and was like, ‘We’ve got an idea for you for like next week. We want you to debut as a character named George W. Bush, and we want you to wear Red, White, and Blue trunks, and be like a super American patriot,'” Daivari told interviewer Chris Featherstone. “I replied, ‘I would love to kind of do my own thing, but that is a terrible idea. I don’t know who came up with it, or whose idea was it to come up with the name George W. Bush, and take me from the hottest heel to wearing red, white, and blue, and what the purpose is or the explanation for it. But, I really, really, feel strongly against it.”

– WWE announced four $10,000 scholarships to Full Sail University students for their work “shadowing professional WWE staff and crew during the production of NXT events at Full Sail University.” WWE has now awarded $180,000 in scholarships to FSU students.

“WWE and Full Sail University have established a partnership built on our mutual desire to nurture and build the next generation of entertainment and media professionals,” said Triple H in a press release. “We wish all of today’s scholarship recipients continued success.”


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