Posts Tagged ‘Pro Wrestling’

Triple H might’ve just killed the longstanding “sports entertainment” mantra spewed by WWE.

The company’s official Twitter account joined a bandwagon trend doing the rounds that sees organisations describe themselves in just one word. That might’ve stumped ex-boss Vince McMahon, because which word would he choose? “Sports” or “Entertainment”?

Hunter didn’t need any of that: ‘The Game’ picked “wrestling“.

It didn’t take long for comments to come pouring in from fans overjoyed to see WWE embrace professional wrestling after decades of kinda/sorta pretending that they do something different to everyone else in the industry. This, if you believe the fanbase, is a giant leap forwards from Trips.

It’s certainly eye-catching, because WWE previously shied away from using terms like “wrestling”, “pro wrestling” and even “wrestler” to describe its own product. Triple H, a man often viewed as a traditionalist who adores the medium, apparently wants those days to end.

This tweet piggybacks on workers calling themselves wrestlers and commentators using the word “wrestling” on major programming like Raw and SmackDown recently. So, it seems Vinnie Mac’s staunch refusal to embrace wrestling in favour of “sports entertainment” has ended.

Ronda Rousey recently spoke with Kurt Angle on The Kurt Angle Show about her transition from MMA to Pro Wrestling, and how wrestling’s predetermined nature helps keep Rousey’s mind at ease.

During the conversation, Rousey talked about how she’s not afraid of injuries in pro wrestling, as “injuries happen in everything.” She felt that the transition from MMA to wrestling was much easier, saying that there was “a lot less pressure.”

“Pre-determined winner,” Angle responded. “That’s got to help a lot,” his co-host continued.

“It really does help a lot,” Rousey said of pro wrestling, “and I don’t think pro wrestlers understand how much that it helps because a lot of times I’ll hear people be so offended that like, ‘How dare you call this fake! There’s no fake way to go through a table,’” Rousey continued, “or ‘This injury is real.’ And I’m like, ‘You guys, it’s not like the physical toll that makes something real.’”

“The injuries don’t enter into your mind,” Rousey said of her time in MMA. “It’s the anxiety and uncertainty of the result,” that makes the situation real, as opposed to the predetermined outcome of a pro-wrestling match.

Rousey’s focus on the result over the physical toll certainly helped her in the worlds of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and The UFC. The UFC Hall of Famer was a one-time Women’s Bantamweight Champion, as well as a bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

“Imagine if you didn’t win that gold medal, Kurt, and what that would have done to you for the rest of your life,” Rousey continued, “That is what makes it real to me.”

“Injuries, I don’t care. People get injured all the time playing ‘Pirates of Penzance,’” Rousey said, emphasizing the theatrical nature of her current profession, while also acknowledging the dangers of everyday life. “There’s a lot of difficult, physical things out there that the realism to me is that extreme anxiety.”

Pro Wrestling Illustrated has today revealed Bianca Belair has topped this year’s PWI Women’s Top 150.

PWI’s Kristin Ashly announced this news on Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast, with Bianca coming out at #1 for the period that ran from 1 October 2020 through to 30 September 2021.

The EST had a 12 months, becoming a huge player in WWE, complete with winning the 2021 women’s Royal Rumble, then defeating Sasha Banks to become the SmackDown Women’s Champion in the main event of WrestleMania 37’s first night.

In addition to revealing Belair as #1 on the PWI Women’s Top 150, we now also know who PWI ranked as the top ten females of this past year:

1) Bianca Belair

2) Utami Hayashishita

3) Deonna Purrazzo

4) Dr. Britt Baker, DMD

5) Thunder Rosa

6) Sasha Banks

7) Syuri

8) Io Shirai

9) Tam Nakano

10) Raquel Gonzalez

Pro Wrestling Illustrated first started running its women’s award in 2008, although this year marks the first time that PWI has ranked the top 150 females in the industry. This award began life as the PWI Female 50, before then becoming the PWI Women’s 100 in 2018.

In topping the PWI charts, Bianca Belair follows in the footsteps of Awesome Kong, Mickie James, Michelle McCool, Madison Eagles, Gail Kim, Cheerleader Melissa, Paige, Nikki Bella, Charlotte, Asuka, Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and, most recently, Bayley.

Former NWA and WCW wrestler Nikita Koloff recently sat down for an interview with Wrestling Inc.’s Drew Rice. During the interview Koloff shared his thoughts on the current state of professional wrestling.

“[There is a reason] why the product looks like it does today versus what many, many, many of the fans of the ‘80s and early ‘90s have told me is the golden age of wrestling,” noted Koloff. “And what they’ve done, because of writers, who write matches and write interviews, they set [up]… what wasn’t so much a decline as it was a transition in the business, from taking creative control from the wrestler. Where I had the ability to go in the ring and tell a story spontaneously in the ring, that if the fan wasn’t buying into it, I could change it up in a second in the ring and do something different. So, I learned that pretty quick.”

Koloff elaborated on how the lack of independence for wrestlers has a drastic impact on their matches. Wrestling legend Gerald Brisco also recently shared similar sentiments when discussing the modern product.

“Even when you watch fan reaction back then, that’s the difference of why the fans even reacted differently back then versus now. Because now [wrestling] is so exposed, right? Everybody knows the match is written out and they go in and perform it. And again, taking nothing away from their athletic ability, but if the fan is not buying into the match, you’re still gong through all the spots and the whole deal. Whether they’re buying into it or not.

“And that’s the main difference why the product looks like it does today versus the product back then. I think, personally, it mainly has to do with no more ring psychology. That art has died.”

Koloff went on to discuss how modern wrestlers are not taught enough about in-ring psychology as much as they are taught about physical wrestling ability. Koloff says in-ring psychology is not prioritized when learning how to wrestle in the present day. In the past Dustin Rhodes has also talked about how difficult it can be to learn in-ring psychology.

“[Wrestlers] do get trained, but they get trained on the mechanics of wrestling,” explained Koloff. “And in many cases, at least back in the day, I don’t know about now, I’m not familiar with who all the writers are and all of that [are]. But back in the day many of [the wrestlers] had never wrestled a day in their life, so how would they know the psychology of wrestling? They never wrestled!

“The guys today are athletic enough to go out and perform the mechanics, but all they have to do is follow the script. So, it has nothing to do with them not learning psychology. They are not given the opportunity, from what I can tell, to go out and utilize psychology in telling a story. They just go out and tell a story that has been written for them.”

Current WWE authority figure Adam Pearce claims he has “zero interest” in becoming a full-time wrestler ever again.

Pearce, who acts as a soft-GM on both Raw and SmackDown, told the PWI Podcast that he’ll likely never step foot inside the ring for another series of matches. Why? Well, Adam is “having the time of [his] life” on WWE programming right now, and enjoys “clanging swords” with guys like Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and Randy Orton in promo segments.

The WWE man reaffirmed his disinterest for actively wrestling again later in the pod by saying he actually has “less than zero” zest for lacing up a pair of boots; some might not know that Pearce is a five-time NWA World Champion and wrestled extensively from 1996-2014 before becoming a WWE trainer and producer.

Pearce also teased a match with Reigns at January’s Royal Rumble before revealing that Kevin Owens would replace him in the Universal Title picture.

That ruse was as close as Adam will get to actually wrestling in 2021 and beyond. He described his current role as the “icing on the cake” for his career.

Cody and Brandi Rhodes made the announcement late last year that the couple was expecting their first child. Brandi, who was involved in an AEW storyline with Jade Cargill, had to step away from her onscreen role.

Cody Rhodes appeared on The Buzz on Newsday and was asked about their child becoming a wrestler.

“It’s a great industry,” Cody said. “It’s finally thriving again. I’m so proud of being a pro wrestler. I’ll definitely be bringing he or she, whenever I’m told or whenever Brandi lets me know, I’ll bring them around it. The sky’s the limit for a baby Rhodes, that’s for sure.”

His only strategy, in Cody’s opinion, is to do what his father, the late Dusty Rhodes, did for him and that is to take his child to shows at a young age.

“My dad was really good, he just brought me around it. If I liked it, I liked it, and if I didn’t, he wouldn’t bring me around it [the wrestling business]. I think we’ll apply the same thing.”

Cody further reminisced about how his father took him to shows, saying Dusty was old school and didn’t “smarten up” Cody on the goings-on backstage. He recalled of times when he would feel upset with the guys who busted open his dad. With regards to his own child, Cody said he will “probably try to smarten that kid up, or maybe I won’t just to see if I can have the same amount of fun he [Dusty] did.”

Hopefully by the time Cody and Brandi’s child will be coming around, attendance for shows will resume and things will look more normal. Cody was also asked about AEW touring again soon, to which he replied, “the safest way to do it is slow and steady so we can secure this for our future.”

AEW currently has no immediate plans to leave Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, where they are at a 20% capacity rate. WWE wants to bring in fans for WrestleMania, but there’s no word on when touring will begin again for them, either. After vaccine distribution becomes more available, time will tell when more fans will be able to return to shows.

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon has come through with a significant critique on his current talent roster.

According to a new report from Fightful Select, when asked about the controversial Hell In A Cell pay-per-view main event and how Vince feels about his product, the big man insinuated that “some on the roster are ‘too pro wrestling.'”

McMahon has always been quick to emphasise that he promotes a Sports Entertainment product, not a traditional professional wrestling show, so perhaps this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Either way though, he’s the one responsible for building, development, and sculpting those on his modern roster, so this is probably his own fault, right?

If Seth Rollins is “too pro wrestling” and not “Sports Entertainment” enough, doesn’t the blame lie with the man on top? It’d actually be a valid criticism coming from anyone else but in this case, the buck stops with the Chairman.

Fightful’s source also called the much-maligned Fiend/Rollins clash “an embarrassment,” saying “this might be the worst WWE have ever insulted the fans’ intelligence.” Other sources believe that the finish to said match was nothing short of a “disaster.”



Wrestling Inc. was on hand for the Double Or NothingTicket Announcement Party at the MGM Grand Splash Pool in Las Vegas, Nevada tonight. After the event, Cody, Brandi Rhodes and Nick Jackson spoke to members of the media. During the scrum, Cody was asked if he would be using WCW as an inspiration for AEW.

“It sounds super romantic when you think about it,” Cody said. “Dusty Rhodes feuded with Vince McMahon, and he lost, and here is his youngest son who is going to go and try to cut Vince’s head off.”

Cody said while the storyline of recreating WCW and avenging his father “sounds super Game of Thrones,” the thought is in the back of his mind.

“In the back of my mind, when it’s just me, I think about it a lot,” Cody admitted. “But then I have these guys with me who have different visions. You can’t turn the clock on old wrestling. WCW was friggin’ awesome. What AEW is going to be is a whole separate animal.”

While AEW will be its own animal, Cody and Nick Jackson admitted that they plan to use elements of WCW and other old school wrestling, while blending it with today’s wrestling. Cody reiterated that he wants AEW to have more of a sports feel to it.

“I said tonight, we’re going to try and keep it very sports-centric,” Cody said. “Tony [Khan], his background is in sports. To me, I still get goosebumps when I hear someone like Ric Flair say ‘the sport of professional wrestling.’ We get that it’s entertainment. I understand the suspension of disbelief. But guys are trying to beat the other guys in many different ways, and women try to beat the other women in many different ways. [It’s] a very sports-centric presentation that we’re going for.

“We’ve talked about something like a ranking system,” Cody continued. “We’ve talked about a deep analytical level of something that’s as specific of how many times an individual has lost to a certain maneuver. Things that fans can really lock in to.”

Over the past 30 years, WWE has transferred a territorial promotion into a global enterprise. Over WrestleMania 34 Week, Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon spoke at the yearly Business Partner Summit to discuss the evolution of WWE from then to now. McMahon commented on how the company is able to touch every part of the world via digital and social media, and how the company has become a media powerhouse.

Stephanie explained how her father, Vince McMahon, started with a brand, and took that vision to transform shows inside a smoke-filled armory into a stadium with smoke from the pyrotechnic display at WrestleMania.

Although eight out of 10 adults recognize the term WrestleMania and nine out of 10 adults recognize the term “WWE,” it was not as popular in the 1980s. As a result, Vince McMahon made the decision to rebrand the company to a more expansive term than “pro wrestling.”

“Advertisers either had an adverse reaction to the words ‘professional wrestling,’ or they simply didn’t understand what it was,” said Stephanie. “So, how could we create a term or a label that potential partners could understand? How could we describe the WWE was based on larger-than-life characters enthralled in relatable storylines? That was when we coined the term ‘sports entertainment’.”

Now, television audiences can see the ripple effect when viewing other companies such as ESPN, as well as performances at the Super Bowl, World Cup, and news sites coining the term “infotainment.” Stephanie adds that the greatest asset of the WWE is the company’s “ability to reimagine storytelling… whether it was capturing the all-American fervor of the 80s, the spirit of the antihero in the 90s, or the rise of the underdog in the 2000s.” WWE’s storytelling, according to Thom Loverro of The Washington Times, birthed the “entire reality television industry – scripted dramatic conflict posing as reality.”

Stephanie went on to explain the advent of the PG era, which started in 2008.

“10 years ago, WWE once again reimagined our content and made the strategic decision to become more family-friendly, to grow our multi-generational audience and attract more blue-chip partners,” said Stephanie. “Looking around the room here today, it’s easy to see that this strategy worked.”

Now, according to Stephanie, WWE’s goal is to position the company alongside fortune 500 companies, be a part of pop culture, and enhance and expand their partnerships.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s oldest daughter hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a wrestler one day.

Simone Garcia Johnson, who was born to Johnson and his ex-wife (and current manager and business partner) Dany Garcia, spoke about her love of wrestling and career aspirations in an interview with Mia Galuppo of the Hollywood Reporter. She was recently selected as the 2018 Golden Globe Ambassador, a title formerly known as Miss Golden Globe.

“It’s a sport that is unlike anything else in the world. There’s just a certain amount of passion that every move and match requires, and that’s so admirable,” the 16-year-old said. “It’s definitely something I’ve thought about and want to pursue.”

While Simone’s father has successfully transitioned from the WWE into acting, it’s not something she’s interested in pursuing.

“As much as I love and admire the film industry, I don’t see myself pursuing a career in it at the moment,” she said. “I plan to study business in college – NYU, hopefully – and after graduating, I want to pursue wrestling and eventually transition into talent management.”