A very sad moment at the end of RAW last week for wrestling fans. Daniel Bryan (or Bryan Danielson) has officially retired for professional wrestling, citing a new test he took a week before RAW that essentially told him that his brain is not as healthy as he thought it was.
We all clung to the idea that this was going to be work, I did for sure. But about an hour in, seeing all the video packages they were doing for him, it hit me hard the realization that this is real. Originally I thought “Wow, what a swerve to get a Taker/Bryan match at Wrestlemania!” because I wanted to believe we’d see Daniel Bryan wrestle forever. Just like I hoped Edge would wrestle forever.
It’s a gigantic loss for WWE, he’s the biggest star they’ve had in years (and yes I’m counting John Cena in this), no one in the past decade has gotten over as much as Daniel Bryan did in 2013/2014. And with the way WWE books their talent, the majority of them with the painful 50/50 booking treatment, we may never see someone this over again. And that’s sad considering the talent currently in NXT right now.
In news that admittedly pisses me off, WWE released their quarterly earnings and it’s pretty good. Here’s what they posted:
* Revenue increased 18% to $166.2 million driving a $6.0 million increase in Adjusted OIBDA1 to $11.1 million
* WWE Network had 1.22 million ending paid subscribers, representing a 49% increase from the fourth quarter 2014; WWE Network hit an all-time high of 1.24 million average paid subscribers for the quarter
* WWE Network was recognized as the fifth largest direct-to-consumer (“OTT”) subscription service in the U.S. according to Parks Associates, ranking alongside Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and MLB.TV
* WWE was added to the S&P SmallCap 600 Index (effective January 20, 2016)
It’s annoying that they’ve done so well with a product that’s honestly been very lackluster last year. Granted the product now is doing okay on the main roster. I will argue until the end of time though that the majority of WWE Network subscribers are there for cheap PPVs and NXT. Maybe some of the side shows they’re doing, but it has little to do with the current main roster product.
As noted by Konnan on his MLW podcast, the possibility of Rey Mysterio making a WWE return is getting higher and higher. The fact of the matter is that AAA and Mysterio are having disputes over money, which is pretty much the same thing that happened with Alberto Del Rio and caused him to make a return even when it seemed like he was never going back.
Now Mysterio didn’t leave on terrible terms with WWE, he got shafted with injuries and the contract he signed prohibited him from leaving. So returning to WWE isn’t the realm out of possibility, in fact it makes sense for him to come back. He admits this as well, he could work a part-time schedule, as his body will likely not allow him to work a full-time schedule anymore. It would be great to have him back, considering you have a guy like Kalisto on the main roster who’s primed to be the next Mexican star like Mysterio was. You also have a guy like La Sombra down in developmental who could be on that pathway as well. So to have the last great Mexican star in WWE back in the company, it’d be a big help for these guys to get over and learn from him.
It’ll be sad though if this means we only get one season of him in Lucha Underground though.
After the show went off the air, a moment happened during the Daniel Bryan retirement celebration between Titus O’Neil and Vince McMahon that was caught on camera (extra video streamed online). As Vince walked back up the ramp, Titus appears to have grabbed him in what was meant to be a playful manner, but Vince ended up shoving him back. And not long after, Titus was suspended for 90 days, but has since been reduced to 60.
Now there’s two sides to this coin, one is that well…you don’t put your hands on the boss, especially with cameras on. I imagine this wouldn’t have been that big a deal if this was backstage, it seems to me like Vince and Titus probably have a friendship backstage, but this situation probably “embarrassed” Vince since it was on camera. The other side though is that it’s so clear how fucking petty Vince is. It’s not like Titus grabbed him by the collar and lifted him into the air, he playfully grabbed him, having a joke with Vince. But Vince being the “I’m better than all of you!” jackass he is, clearly took this as a “humiliation” on camera that he didn’t agree upon, cause it’s okay to shove his face into another man’s ass if he writes it like that, but you grab him playfully and it’s not written into the script, you’re fucked. We’ve always known Vince can be an old, petty prick and this just kind of furthers it.
Dave Batista even mentioned over Twitter than he told Titus he should be asking for his release, which seems odd. After all Titus is probably making a fair amount of money, so unless there’s work waiting for him outside of wrestling that’s equal or more to what he’s making, I wouldn’t be budging either.
This tweet was posted by @enuhito_eng who has been a pretty reliable source for Japanese wrestling news.
If this is true, then this last tour Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls will be doing in Pro Wrestling NOAH will indeed be their last and they will be going to NXT.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone keeping up with this particular tag team, as they’ve been talked about a lot over the past year or so as a tag team that WWE has been going after and a tag team that absolutely should be in WWE. With teams like Enzo/Cass and Gable/Jordan kicking ass in NXT, TMDK following suit seems like a perfect fit right now, WWE is dying to have some good tag teams.