SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TORCH TODAY – Thursday, February 25, 2016
– Jim Ross, who has several irons in the fire, is scheduled for the Livecast today with Wade Keller at 5:00 p.m. EST at PWTorchLivecast.com.
– At MMATorch.com: Full Coverage of the crazy press conference between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz promoting their UFC 196 fight.
– Shane McMahon’s return is the story that keeps on giving. It was so unexpected until we heard information Monday afternoon that he was returning, the actual Raw angle was so convoluted yet captivating, and the match announcement of Shane vs. The Undertaker was so desperate that it’s fueled a full week of speculation that WWE won’t actually go through with it. Lost in the shuffle of the story is one significant weakness two-and-a-half years in the making, which was discussed by Wade Keller and Bruce Mitchell on a special Wednesday night Bruce Mitchell Audio for VIP members. Essentially, Shane big-footed the entire babyface roster by being the first character to truly get Stephanie McMahon to back down. After weeks and months of babyfaces being put in their place like schoolchildren, Shane showed up and over-ruled the top heel character. Not only is Shane currently positioned for Undertaker’s annual WrestleMania match, but he was positioned to swoop in as the top face on the roster in one segment. Shane’s arrival, in general, was a breath of fresh of air on a stale show, which WWE actually acknowledged within their own stale show, but when you unravel The Return, it’s counter-productive until WWE addresses some of the Week 1 issues.
– The New York Post covered Shane McMahon’s return to WWE, focusing on speculation about Shane’s potential re-involvement in the company. The notable item was a response from a WWE spokesman who downplayed Shane’s return as him merely “playing a character on a TV show.”
– Meanwhile, John Cena, who was thought to be a candidate to face Undertaker at WrestleMania if recovered from injury, tweeted a message to his followers not to give up you do not achieve a goal.
As the week and month come to an end, don't be defeated if you set a goal and didn't achieve it. Regroup, refocus, and restart #Nevergiveup
— John Cena (@JohnCena) February 25, 2016
– WWE has confirmed that Extreme Rules, not Payback, will be held at the Prudential Center in New Jersey on Sunday, May 22. WWE originally advertised Payback, but as we noted earlier this week in Torch Today, Ticketmaster was listing it as Extreme Rules. WWE has yet to announce where Payback is taking place.
– “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was the subject of a story by Kenny Herzog for Rolling Stone magazine examining Austin’s place in today’s pro wrestling landscape after retirement, getting out alive, and having a story to tell the next group of wrestlers.
“When (Randy) Savage died, that was hard on me,” Austin said. “I didn’t even hardly know Randy, but I just turned 51 this past December, and he was 58 when he died. I’m like, ‘Hey man, just because I’m in that line of work, do I have an expiration date? Am I supposed to go?’ I always wonder, but I don’t harbor it… If we could all get together – wherever you go, when you get on the other side – and pass on the message to these young bucks and buckettes: ‘Here’s what happened and here’s what went down, and you should stay away from it.'”
– The weekend after WrestleMania, WWE’s NXT brand is touring the Carolinas. On Thursday, WWE announced the April 9 event in Charleston, S.C. will be held at the Charleston Area Convention Center, with a pre-sale beginning Thursday morning using the code “WWENXT.” (Thanks to Justin James)
– Former NXT wrestler Bull Dempsey (now Bull James) is scheduled for a wrestling clinic on Saturday, March 12 at the Grand Slam Wrestling show in Moosic, Pa. (Event Info)
– Canadian Wrestling’s Elite continues its week-long tour tonight, Friday, and Saturday. Announced for Friday is Colt Cabana vs. Chase Owens. (Tour Info)
– WWE Divas champion Charlotte talked around a question of whether her dad, Ric Flair, is over-shadowing him in an interview with The Tennessean promoting Monday’s Raw in Nashville.
“No one will ever replace Ric Flair,” said Charlotte when asked if she’s living in Flair’s shadow because of his legendary status. “I just want my dad to be proud of me, so every time I get the opportunity to step on-stage with him, I just want to know that I’ve prepared for that moment and that I’m doing a good job. He’s the greatest of all time in my eyes, and just like any kid, I want to make my dad proud. I know what he means to this business and now I have to deliver as well.”
– SI.com reporter Justin Barrasso’s weekly wrestling-themed column includes quotes from “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Joey Ryan, and 2016 WWE HOF inductee The Godfather, who noted in October 2015 that he did not think he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame because WWE would have to run his R-Rated “Godfather” footage from the Attitude Era.
Duggan had an interesting quote on the locker room environment today vs. the past that captures Vince McMahon’s desire for control. “Vince couldn’t control (the locker room) back then,” said Duggan. “Nowadays, the kids are much more professional. They also don’t work the schedule we used to, but you look at the roster back then, and everybody was a character. Everyone was a unique guy and lived a unique life, and the kids seem much more normal now. But I don’t think Vince ever really controlled it, and that’s why so many guys would go off. There is a high divorce rate, a high drug and alcoholism rate, and a high death rate. You never knew what was going to happen on the road.”
– Great Khali ran an injury angle at the first “Great Khali Wrestling Show” Wednesday in India. The local news covered it like a legitimate injury to Khali, who was hospitalized. Pictures indicate a heel group called the “Foreign Fighters” attacked Khali with chairs and Khali was carried out of the ring by assistants.
– New Japan and NOAH held their co-promoted “Lion’s Gate” show Thursday in Tokyo featuring up-and-coming stars mixed with veterans, like Yuji Nagata in the main event. (Full Resulta via PuroresuSpirit.net)
– New trailers are out for the “Nine Legends” movie featuring Chris Jericho and Dynamite Kid. The movie is available for $5 at NineLegendsFilm.com.
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