SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
TORCH TODAY – Sunday, March 20, 2016
– WrestleMania is now two weeks ago. This line-up is something else. But, barring a major angle before WrestleMania, it looks like WWE will simply push through with the build-up, get to WM32, and then unleash their gameplan to exceed low expectations. It’s becoming an annual occurrence where people are walking in the building expecting some sort of major surprise (Rock/Rousey) or major development (Rollins MITB cash-in). That idea of “what will WWE come up with to surprise me?” is propping up WrestleMania two years in a row.
– Meanwhile, there’s “UR Fight” on Internet PPV tonight featuring Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio in a 2/3 Falls match. Jim Ross has commentary on a show featuring wrestling, MMA, and boxing that has a chance to exceed low expectations or be a trainwreck stunt show. It’s $11.99 on the Fite TV App. (Ross’s latest blog can be read HERE at jrsbarbq.com)
– At MMATorch.com: Full Coverage of UFC Fight Night 85 featuring Brock Lesnar’s old nemesis, Frank Mir, in action.
– At PWTorchLivecast.com: On-demand access to three interviews this week, including ROH top prospect Lio Rush, former WWE writer Matt McCarthy, and retiring newspaper columnist Mike Mooneyham on “Saturday Morning Wrestling.” (Mooneyham’s latest weekly column on Charlie Fulton can be read HERE)
– At PWPodcasts.com: Full recaps of the latest “Stone Cold” Steve Austin podcast with Wade Keller, “Cheap Heat” on Grantland Sports, Lio Rush’s interview with Pat McNeill on the Livecast, and Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling.”
– Sami Zayn was given a big send-off at Saturday’s NXT event in Florida. Zayn, who wraps up his NXT run against Shinsuke Nakamura at the “Takeover” special on April 1, is now officially part of the main WWE roster.
— Wayne Mason (@waynemason) March 20, 2016
– Mick Foley is the latest wrestler to announce he is donating his brain to CTE research following his death. Foley has a long history of concussions from his hardcore wrestling style and repeated chair shots to the head.
– Stephanie McMahon’s hyped appearance on Rachael Ray’s cooking show this past Friday focused on WrestleMania 32, playing a villain on WWE TV, and her family with Triple H. In Stephanie’s way of telling people to “get with the program,” she relayed a story about a business associate not believing she was the same person on Raw who was hugging children at the hospital earlier in the day. Footage of the interview ran on WWE’s website, where they continue to expose their product as a put-on in the name of wooing sponsors by acknowledging it is a live performance and making it seem like WWE is run by “nice, friendly people.” (VIP’er Kylin contributed)
– WWE announced Friday a collaboration with a gaming outlet called “SMOSH Games” tied in with WrestleMania. A video featuring Xavier Woods, Sasha Banks, Big E., The Miz, and Neville introducing the collaboration can be found HERE.
– Princess Kimber Lee retained the CHIKARA Grand Title over Heidi Lovelace as part of a CHIKARA doubleheader Saturday in North Carolina. (Full Results)
– Lucha Underground is starting the big promotional push for Rey Mysterio’s in-ring debut on the next LU episode airing this Wednesday (March 23) on El Rey Network. We’ll have a detailed preview on Wednesday.
– Lucha Libre was featured on Friday’s episode of “Grimm” on NBC. The episode titled “Silence of the Slams” took the show into a mystical world of lucha libre, complete with an appearance by Chavo Guerrero. (Thanks to James in Dallas)
– The Hornet, an independent wrestler working at Santino’s Battle Arts Academy in Canada, was hand-picked to travel to India to work with Ricardo Rodriguez at Great Khali’s upstart wrestling school. (SuperLuchas)
– Former WWE star Yoshi Tatsu is now taking wrestling bookings through Bill Behrens at SBIBookings. Tatsu, who recovered from a major neck injury in 2015, is traveling back-and-forth from Japan and the U.S., where he is based in the Los Angeles area.
Former WWE star Ken Doane (Kenny Dykstra) is also available for bookings through Bill Behrens. Doane is based on Boston.
– How’s your bracket? Texas school Stephen F. Austin shredded many brackets on Friday, then invited “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to their next NCAA tournament game Sunday in New York. Austin acknowledged the invite, but had to turn down because he’s in Los Angeles right now. (CBS Sports)
– Donald Trump’s polarizing U.S. presidential campaign drew the latest WWE-related comment from fellow Republican candidate John Kasich, the governor of Ohio. Kasich was quoted by ABC News: “You know, he’s not running for the presidency of WWE, he’s running for president of the United States.”
– Wrestling artist Rob Schamberger’s latest paintings feature Kevin Owens and former Divas champion Paige.