TORCH TODAY – Wednesday, February 17, 2016
– Credit WWE for trying to make Fast Lane feel like something other than the inevitable will happen – Roman Reigns winning the #1 contender match. But, is giving the audience false hope of Dean Ambrose or Brock Lesnar winning only going to make the audience more resentful of Reigns winning to advance to WrestleMania? International oddsmakers are not taking the bait, as Reigns has strengthened in the favorite position to win the #1 contender match. Ambrose vs. Lesnar one-on-one at Mania seems like a nice consolation prize after their heated segments the past three weeks on Raw.
– At MMATorch.com: MMA fighter Wanderlei Silva received a three-year suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission.
– New Smackdown announcer Mauro Ranallo says he left Tuesday night’s Smackdown taping due to illness. Michael Cole has the call Thursday night leading into Fast Lane.
I appreciate the concern. I was sent home from Smackdown taping suffering from the flu. Still in bed but getting better. THANKS!
— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) February 17, 2016
– Two interesting WWE business items seem to be moving in the opposite direction. With the rise of App/Mobile gaming, it’s interesting that “WWE 2K16” will be released on the PC on March 11, reports PC Gamer. Meanwhile, WWE is shortening their supply of DVD products with the market moving toward digital downloads, reports WrestlingDVDNews.com. This follows WWE’s Home Entertainment business segment cut in half in 2015, only drawing $13.4 million, compared to $27.3 million in 2014.
– Former WWE star Chris Nowinski, now a concussion researcher and advocate, talked to Fox Sports about Daniel Bryan’s retirement and changes in how WWE wrestlers report concussions instead of trying to hide them. The issue brought up by reporter Alex Marvez is whether Nowinski’s independence as a concussion researcher is affected by WWE/Triple H donating $1.2 million to the Sports Legacy Institute. Nowinski disagreed, saying he’s seen for himself an “improved concussion culture” in WWE. “Superstars are more likely to report concussions. That’s big,” said Nowinski, who noted he talks regularly with Hunter and WWE’s medical staff about the topic. (Full Interview at FoxSports.com)
– Marvel Studios announced Wednesday they have begun principal photography for “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” which features Dave Bautista in his role of Drax. The movie is being filmed in Atlanta and is scheduled for release in May 2017. (Full Press Release)
– The big TNA item of the day is Rolling Stone releasing a wrestling-centric interview with “Smashing Pumpkin” lead singer Billy Corgan, who contributes to TNA Creative.
– Ring of Honor has rolled out three new dates on the other side of WrestleMania. ROH will return to San Antonio on April 23 after touring Dallas on April 1. Then, April 30 in West Warwick, Rhode Island. After the ROH vs. New Japan tour in May, ROH returns to Milwaukee on June 12. Tickets for all three shows go on-sale this week.
– Independent wrestler Joey Ryan talked about deciding to join Lucha Underground for Season 2 after initially balking at the show despite being taped in his home area of Southern California.
“My perception changed in between Season 1 and Season 2,” Joey told Donald Wood of Ring Rust Radio. “They had approached me about joining Season 1, but I had some reservations given the fact that the product was unknown. I have seen companies with similar model plans come before like Wrestling Society X. So a lot of things did look similar at the time and the contract terms I was a little unsure about. I passed on the first season, but the second season they approached me with another idea. This was after I talked to some of my friends like Brian Cage, Jack Evans, and Ricochet. They told me my reservations were unfounded, and it’s not the same thing I would have dealt with before. They are a straight-up company and not trying to restrict you or hold anyone back. They are trying to put out a great product and the product itself is really great. They really connected with the wrestling audience, so I was all gung-ho about them wanting me for Season 2.”
– Ahead of Canadian Wrestling’s Elite (CWE) kicking off a big tour this weekend, Colt Cabana talked about his “Canadian Loop” with Marty DeRosa.