Thursday 1/14 Torch Today – Ranallo talks WWE transition, NXT road trip begins, does Bayley want to join main roster?, WWE stars in India, Angle to Bellator Fanfest, Sunny selling WWE HOF ring – maybe?, WWE planning 2016 overhaul, Batista, Stephanie; Video – PWG DVD Preview!

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


TORCH TODAY – Thursday, January 14, 2016

– Tonight’s WWE Smackdown has three big matches, including a U.S. Title re-match between Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio following Kalisto’s title win Monday night on Raw. Plus, The Dudleys vs. The Wyatts in a Tables match and a main event of Dean Ambrose & Neville vs. Kevin Owens & Sheamus. (SPOILER Results) (Non-Spoiler Match Listing)

– Smackdown’s new lead announcer, Mauro Ranallo, talked to Fox Sports about his first week on the job last week. Ranallo said some people might not like his involvement in WWE, but if you do watch Smackdown, “you’re going to get the most prepared and the most passionate broadcast that I’m capable of giving you.”

Ranallo also talked about balancing his broadcasting approach to what WWE is looking for: “I’ve had to learn some of the subtleties and the nuances of the sport, but I’m not going to change my style. That’s what they wanted and I do work in boxing, kickboxing, and MMA and I think one of my abilities is that I’m very emotionally invested in these sports. … They wanted me to be Mauro Ranallo, championship boxing commentator with a WWE tweak and working with Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton, I’m in a perfect place.”

– WWE’s NXT brand kicks off a Midwest tour Thursday night in Milwaukee at Turner Hall, where ROH runs. NXT Women’s champion Bayley talked to the Green Bay Press Gazette about the show. Included was a question about whether she is hesitant to join the main roster, addressing the rumor about whether she would prefer to stay on NXT.

“I’m not hesitant. It’s just that I’m very proud of NXT, and I’m so happy that I’m able to be a part of it,” Bayley said. “I watched NXT grow from 12 people to me winning the championship in front of 16,000 people. I love NXT because I obviously have an attachment to it, but I want to get up there (main roster) because that’s what I’ve wanted since I was 11.”

– Half of the WWE roster is in India preparing for a big two-show tour this weekend. Top champions Roman Reigns and Charlotte were part of a press conference with the India media on Thursday to promote the tour. Also joining them were Indian wrestlers now in NXT, Lovepreet Sangha and Satender Dagar.

– WWE is planning a website overhaul, as well as WWE Network expansion in India, China, and South America in 2016, according to a new profile of Stephanie McMahon published by Variety. Stephanie was included in Variety’s list of “Top 20 Digital Entertainment Executives to Watch in 2016.”

– Bellator MMA announced Kurt Angle for their next big Fanfest on Thursday, February 18 in Houston prior to the Bellator 149 fight card on Feb. 19 at Toyota Center. Angle, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, and more stars are scheduled for the event at Dave & Busters off I-10 Freeway. (Event Info)

– Today’s “unique story” is Tammy Sytch (Sunny) selling her 2011 WWE Hall of Fame ring. TMZ reports that Sytch opened a bid at $3,000 for the HOF ring as part of her attempt to “get back on track” by “letting go of the past.”

TMZ included a screenshot of the eBay listing. However, the item cannot be found on eBay and no item was listed under the account on Wednesday night. Sytch did acknowledge the story in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, though, while also defending her decision to sell the ring by revealing Jimmy Hart’s personal business.

– The script is complete for “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” which will feature Dave Bautista reprising his role as Drax. The movie is scheduled for release in May 2017. (Entertainment Weekly Report)

– Video of the Day: Pro Wrestling Guerrilla rolled out a new DVD preview for Night 1 of All-Star Weekend from the end of 2015. Included is a look at the big return of Adam Cole to PWG.

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