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TORCH TODAY – Friday, February 5, 2016
– THE EVENTS CENTER: Another packed weekend kicks off Friday with A.J. Styles’s final independent date, NXT is on the road in Nashville and at home in Lakeland, Fla., the main WWE roster kicks off a weekend tour in Calgary, and more independent promotions are in action. (Full Events Center Preview) (Reports Wanted to firstname.lastname@example.org)
– A.J. Styles cleared up the name WWE is going with for his submission finishing move.
It's Calf Crusher, although we could go with the Calf Cuddler…lol. https://t.co/7v1fsgzrY2
— AJStyles.Org (@AJStylesOrg) February 5, 2016
– C.M. Punk will be sitting back and watching this weekend when his potential debut UFC opponent Mickey Gall faces Mike Jackson at UFC’s Fight Night on Saturday. Punk talked to Fox Sports about almost expecting trash-talk from Gall if he wins, but he’s taking a business-like approach to his first fight.
“It’s not personal unless he makes it personal. It’s not personal for me, it’s just business. I’m going to punch him in the face and I’m going to choke him and I’ve got no prediction whether it happens in the first, second or third (round) but it will happen within that 15 minutes,” Punk said. “I just do better in high-pressure situations and it’s weird for me to comment on it because I can’t understand people being freaked out by that. Just because that’s been my life. I don’t see the big deal in it, but it might wind up being a factor. They talk about first fight jitters or Octagon shock or whatever they want to call it — that might happen to me. It might happen to them 10 fold. We’ll see.”
– The wrestling references during SportsCenter highlights will have to come from elsewhere after Robert Flores announced his exit from ESPN on Friday. Flores, a noted wrestling fan from Texas, is rumored to be joining MLB Network, per Houston Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman in a January report. Flores wrote in a farewell blog that he “wanted more security, more creativity.” He closed with a tip of the cap to how WWE sends off talent: “My new employers should be announcing something next month. I wish ESPN all the best in their future endeavors.”
– Long-time NBA star Vince Carter was at this week’s Smackdown in Memphis. WWE released a video interview with Carter talking about WWE tag champions New Day.
– Also on WWE’s website, Alex Riley talked about his new attitude returning from WWE from injury. Riley discussed his injury situation, his contract expiring and deciding to re-sign, and this new run being a make-or-break situation for his career.
“I always say that for eight years, I was both Kevin Kiley and Alex Riley while I was in WWE. It became very obvious to me along the way that they couldn’t coexist in this world. Either Alex Riley would survive and take his rightful place in the company, or Kevin Kiley would be back in a suit and tie, selling medical devices,” he said.
– Rolling Stone profiled Chikara as it begins its 16th season. Mike Quackenbush talked about the inspiration for what he wanted to create at the beginning of the promotion. “We wanted to make something different from what we were seeing. It just felt monotonous. Everyone was making the same flavor of wrestling,” Quackenbush told reporter Aaron Oster for RollingStone.com. “I think we were kind of bored. At the end of the Nineties, during the [WWE’s] Attitude Era, there was a thought that all characters needed to be written with shades of gray. But clear heroes and villains appeal to me. At a young age, I didn’t watch wrestling, but I did read X-Men, I read the Justice League. I wanted to make something like that.”
– U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s involvement with WWE will become a bigger story as the election season rolls on. Inside Edition looked back to Trump’s on-air feud with Vince McMahon that culminated at WrestleMania 23 almost ten years ago.
Included in the match was Bobby Lashley, who discussed what it was like working with Trump. “He wanted to play a more active role, him taking down Vince, that was him having fun,” Lashley said. “He wanted to be a part of it.” (Report at Yahoo.com)
VIP tickets include the event, priority seating, a photo-op with Steiner, autographs, and more perks. (Full Info at InsideTheropes.co.uk)
– E! released a batch of quotes from the stars of their shows offering their Super Bowl predictions. Brie Bella of Total Divas is picking Carolina to beat Denver, Kelly Kelly (Barbie Blank) of “WAGS” predicted the Broncos by four points, and Paige said, “I just want to propose to (Panthers QB) Cam Newton.”
– CBC in Canada released a 14-minute short-form documentary on Calgary as told through the eyes of Bret Hart. Hart recorded the interview a few weeks ago, prior to his cancer announcement. The feature is part of CBC’s “Crossroads” series documenting the city of Calgary.