Monday Torch Today – Importance of Raw, TLC sales pitch, new BG episode post-Raw, current WWE champion wrestles for another promotion, Rhino part of important event, Corino talks neck surgery, Santana surpasses Nikki, Eugene’s wife advances to Mrs. America, New Japan’s Tokyo Dome Schedule, more

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


TORCH TODAY – Monday, December 7, 2015

– Tonight’s Raw walks into an interesting situation where the TLC PPV main event features a cold heel champion, Sheamus, and a polarizing babyface challenger, Roman Reigns. The mixture has now required Sheamus to be surrounded by other mid-carders in the League of Nations. And, Reigns to be surrounded by Dean Ambrose, plus The Usos, to try to increase interest in the Reigns vs. Sheamus feud. All this while The Authority hovers over the proceedings.

It’s also an interesting situation where WWE is not exactly “selling PPVs” anymore. There are still enough PPV customers who have to be convinced to make a one-time purchase. However, the marketing strategy has shifted to make sure TLC has enough for people to retain their subscription, and then build on that basic marketing principle to try to entice prospective or lapsed customers watching Raw to subscribe to the Network. It’s where TLC – with a soft main event – becomes part of a package deal to watch TLC, plus this show, that show, and this other show. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin might not be getting back in the ring, but his visual podcast is now a vital part of PPV – now Network – business.

– WWE NETWORK HIGHLIGHTS: The Raw pre-game show airs at 7;30 p.m. EST. After Raw goes off the air, the Network picks up with a new episode of “Breaking Ground.”

Rhino is taking part in a significant benefit show on Tuesday night. Rhino headlines a wrestling show at Best Middle School in Dearborn Heights, Mich. that will benefit the local VFW post that is reportedly “in financial distress.” Zach Gowen is also on the card. (More Info via local News Report)

– NWA Women’s champion Santana Garrett has now been Women’s champion for more than 300 days, surpassing former WWE Divas champion Nikki Bella’s recent record for lengthiest female title reign.

Next up for Santana is defending the SHINE Women’s Title at SHINE 31 this Friday, December 11 in Ybor City, Florida on Internet PPV. Santana also defends the NWA Women’s Title next Sunday, Dec. 13 in Chile as part of a big international tour.

– Former WWE star Eugene (Nick Dinsmore)’s wife, Stephanie, won the 2016 Mrs. South Dakota beauty pageant over the weekend. She advances to the Mrs. America pageant in April. Stephanie is a TV personality and announcer for Eugene’s upstart Midwest All Pro promotion. The next show is January 22 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

– ROH announcer Steve Corino updated his health following neck surgery in an interview on Live Audio Wrestling last night.

New Japan has released the full schedule of events for their Tokyo Dome Show weekend. Included is a live wrestling show on Sunday, January 3 before the big Wrestle Kingdom 10 event on Jan. 4.

– And, finally, current WWE U.S. champion Alberto Del Rio took a trip to Puerto Rico over the weekend to wrestle at WWC’s big “Lockout” show. Del Rio is still finishing out non-WWE bookings (except for AAA). During the match, a masked man (purported to be a fan) nailed Del Rio with forearms, causing a rush of WWC personnel to hit the ringside area.

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