Wednesday 2/10 Torch Today – WWE’s roster depth to be challenged this week, Ross begins new TV announcing era, WWE Network vs. HBO NOW subs, Marshawn & D-Bryan, Linda McMahon visits Texas, Roddy talks Bryan, The Miz at celeb poker tournament, Hogan’s “second chance” campaign, Dory Funk, Video – U.S. Title DVD trailer

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Daniel Bryan (art credit Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

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

TORCH TODAY – Wednesday, February 10, 2016

– WWE’s roster depth is about to be challenged with a four-show tour of Germany kicking off today, followed by the other crew in California this weekend. WWE needs stars to help sell the product when Ric Flair, who is currently the manager for Divas champion Charlotte, is the headliner for Germany. WWE is two months away from WrestleMania, and they really need to start building momentum, not just for the sake of Mania, but for after Mania when they could use an influx of new talent to give the roster a boost.

– WWE reports Fourth Quarter and year-end 2015 earnings on Thursday. Included will be the latest WWE Network subscriber count. Along those lines, Time Warner released a Network subscriber count of 800,000 for their “HBO NOW” service. Time Warner is having to deal with the same uphill battle as WWE Network trying to reach benchmarks in a shifting media landscape.

NetHBOUPDATE: WWE acknowledged HBO NOW in their earnings presentation on Thursday. A research report from Parks Associates placed WWE Network as the #5 Over-the-Top video service, with HBO NOW at #6. WWE Network trails Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, and MLB.TV.

Fox Sports noted a tough two-day stretch for Seattle sports fans. Seahawks star RB Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement on Sunday during the Super Bowl, then Daniel Bryan announcing his retirement Monday night on Raw in his home market of Seattle. But, the Seahawks got more attention on post-Super Bowl Raw than the actual Super Bowl winners, the Denver Broncos.

– Former WWE announcer Jim Ross started a new era of his career traveling to Los Angeles to tape his first set of New Japan episodes for AXS TV with co-host Josh Barnett. The new episodes premiere March 4.

– Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon was in North Texas on Wednesday. Linda was not there to promote WrestleMania, but to promote her new women’s leadership business, which kicks off with a weekend conference in Irving, Tex. in May. (Dallas Business Journal Report)

– ROH TV champion Roderick Strong talked to Chris Featherstone of the “Pancakes & Powerslams Show” about Daniel Bryan’s retirement and their wars in Ring of Honor during the first-half of Bryan’s career.

“That was one of the best things working with Bryan. He could paint a picture really well, and know the next one before he was even done with the first one. We kind of had a vision and it played out the way we wanted it to. I was just nervous. That’s why you do it; to get those nerves, and to overcome them. That was the biggest feeling that I had, because I knew I was going for so long, and I knew I was in there with someone so good, I felt like I could keep up,” Strong said of working with Bryan.

– WWE star The Miz is scheduled for a celebrity poker tournament at a Grammys weekend gala hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs, reports Variety.

Hulk Hogan and 1-800-LoanMart officially announced a new “creative collaboration” that will see Hogan featured in TV and radio ads starting this week. The idea is to link Hogan to giving people a “second chance” at being successful.

“This series of commercials highlights our ability to give people a second chance with their finances. We believe Hulk Hogan is the perfect spokesperson to deliver this message in an uplifting and positive manner,” said CEO Hugo Dooner in a press release.

– Wrestling legend Dory Funk, Jr. has a new online presence putting all of his media together at Dory-Funk.com/BT-20.html.

– The first trailer is out for WWE’s forthcoming U.S. Title DVD, scheduled for release in April. The trailer mainly focuses on the legendary stars who held the title pre-WWE. (Trailer via WrestlingDVDNetwork.com)

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