Thursday 1/7 Torch Today – Taz on the Livecast, Reigns downplays tonight’s SD move to USA, Reigns & Bellas on GMA, Heyman teases Brock Lesnar’s Raw role, NXT & Impact tapings tonight, Punk’s potential UFC foe speaks out, Rock’s huge week continues, Linda McMahon’s new company, Detroit Lions pick faves

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

TORCH TODAY – Thursday, January 7, 2016

– PWTORCH LIVECAST ALERT: Wade Keller’s first Interview Thursday guest of 2016 will be Taz! Call in/listen live at 5:00 p.m. EST at PWTorchLivecast.com.

– The first weekly Smackdown episode on USA Network airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. EST. Included is Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens for the IC Title, Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch for the Divas Title, and the Smackdown announce debut of Mauro Ranallo. (Non-Spoiler Match Line-up)

– WWE World Hvt. champion Roman Reigns talked to the Associated Press, as published by ABC News, about the move to USA Network. Reigns downplayed the move from a wrestler perspective, saying “not too much has changed for us.” Reigns and the Bella Twins are scheduled to appear on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the 8:00 a.m. hour on Thursday morning.

– WWE returns to Full Sail University on Thursday for the first NXT TV taping of 2016. The advertised talent roster includes NXT champion Finn Balor, NXT Women’s champion Bayley, NXT tag champions Dash & Dawson, Samoa Joe, and Apollo Crews.

– TNA returns to Bethlehem, Pa. for Night 3 of 5 of their TV/PPV taping series on Thursday night. Included is a big TNA Title match of Ethan Carter III vs. Matt Hardy in a re-match from the TNA Title Finals. Plus, more of Kurt Angle’s farewell tour.

(PWTorch Reader Alert: We’re looking for results/reports sent to pwtorch@gmail.com if you attend a show.)

Paul Heyman talked to Fox Sports about Brock Lesnar returning to WWE TV this Monday on Raw. Heyman hinted at Lesnar getting involved in the Royal Rumble.  “I have no problem showing up any given Monday and demonstrating to the WWE Universe how a proper promo is performed but when Brock Lesnar comes along with me, you know something substantive is going to be said and perhaps something impactful is going to happen,” Heyman said.

– To recap the latest from “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson’s huge week … Rock won a People’s Choice Award for Best Premium Cable Actor (HBO’s “Ballers”), Rock is scheduled to present an award at the Golden Globes awards show on Sunday, and Rock announced a premiere date of May 2016 for his new HBO series, “Rock and a Hard Place.” CNN picked up on Rock’s big run, previewing dates from WrestleMania 32 in April all the way to movie releases in 2018.

EXCLUSIVE: Our @SevenBucksProd is proud to partner with @HBO Documentary Films & @44_Blue to bring you "ROCK AND A HARD PLACE". A look at one of the most hard core and successful boot camp prisons in the world (an astonishing 9% recidivism rate, while the national prison rate is 70+%). The moment I stepped inside, spent time with and spoke to these incarcerated young men, I felt in my heart the world should see their struggle and hopefully witness their triumph. I was arrested multiple times starting at the age of 13yrs old. I was once in their shoes, but I changed and I know some of these young men can too. It's a powerful documentary that'll hit you to the core. Can't wait for you to see it. COMING THIS MAY. #SevenBucksProds #44Blue #HBODocumentaryFilms #RockAndAHardPlace

A photo posted by therock (@therock) on

Mickey Gall, the MMA fighter who wants to fight C.M. Punk in Punk’s debut UFC fight, talked more about why he thinks they’re a good match-up in a new interview. “That’s the only guy in the UFC for me right now, you know? They needed to find a light record. He couldn’t fight some 9-1 guy. So I go in there, I got a win. He’s 0-0. I’m 1-0. That’s a light record,” Gall told MMAFighting, as reported by the Washington Post. “The commission will approve that. I can fight that dude and make the most of that opportunity.” (More Perspective on this story at MMATorch.com)

– Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon has launched a new company called “Women’s Leadership Live,” which will focus on leadership conferences geared toward women. The first event is scheduled for May in Irving, Texas.

“I have long had a passion for exposing young women to leadership opportunities,” McMahon said to Connecticut reporters. “The ‘Women Can Have It All’ series at Sacred Heart University has been a great way for college students to hear how prominent executives forged their careers, overcame the challenges they faced and found balance in their personal and professional lives. No one has all the answers, but I find all people – especially women – learn from the experiences of others.” (Full Story at CTPost.com)

– ESPN reported on several members of the Detroit Lions NFL team picking their favorite pro wrestlers growing up. Most were split between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock. X-Pac even got a vote. Calvin Johnson, the star WR who stunned fans and fantasy football owners by talking about retirement on Wednesday, picked Sting. (Full Article at ESPN.com)

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