WWE Announces Return to China for September of 2019

WWE has announced a return to China, set to happen on September 21, 2019 This will be the fourth year that Vince McMahon’s company has toured the country and the top stars are coming along for the ride.

Roman Reigns, Charlotte Flair, Finn Bálor, Kofi Kingston, Shinsuke Nakamura and Kevin Owens are just a few of the Superstars booked for the tour. Boa and Xia Li, two Chinese stars currently training in WWE’s Performance Center, will also be involved.

Triple H spoke about the Shanghai tour, as well as WWE’s efforts to recruit talent from China.

“We are excited to once again bring WWE’s larger-than-life Superstars to our passionate fans in China,” said Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative. “With our WWE scouts in Shanghai seeing dozens of Chinese athletes and performers at casting calls, I am looking forward to the day when one of these people will reach the top and appear alongside global WWE Superstars such as Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins.”

WWE is indeed expanding its influence throughout the world and the best example of that is the company’s NXT UK brand. Speculation has run rampant among WWE fans that the company will continue to grow the NXT brand in other countries as well, like Japan and Mexico. China may also be on the company’s short list for NXT divisions as time goes on.

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Xavier Woods Comments on a New Day vs. Kenny Omega and Young Bucks Dream Match

A dream match between The New Day and members of The Elite has been discussed in pro wrestling circles for the past few years. Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks have crossed paths with The New Day on social media, as well as during the E3 video game conference in 2018.

But the two teams have never faced off in the ring. Now Xavier Woods is having a bit of fun with a fan’s tweet, teasing a dream match sometime down the road.

Of course this may, or may not, ever actually happen. Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E are all under contract with WWE. Omega and The Bucks are executive vice presidents of AEW. The Elite definitely has more freedom here but the same is not true of The New Day. WWE does not run cross-promoted events with other pro wrestling companies.

But anything is possible in 2019 and AEW’s existence proves that. Perhaps the day will come when The New Day will step into the ring against The Elite to finally give fans the match they’ve been dreaming about.

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‘Straight Up Steve Austin’ Set to Premiere in August on the USA Network

The USA Network has announced the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin in a new talk show. Straight Up Steve Austin is set to premiere on Monday, August 12 2019, following Monday Night Raw.

The network posted a press release on May 23, describing the format of the new show.

In each episode, Austin and a celebrity guest swap stories about their lives and careers during one-of-a-kind custom-tailored adventures in different cities across America. In this unique interview format, there’s no studio, no couch and no cue cards — just a straight-up good time and some good old-fashioned American fun. 

Steve Austin remans one of the most popular WWE legends of all time, but he has left the pro wrestling business behind. This was perhaps not what his fans expected, as many have hoped to see The Texas Rattlesnake back in Vince McMahon’s company at some point.

But Austin has remained content to stay on the outside and this new show is further proof of that. Of course it’s always possible that Stone Cold could show up on Raw to promote his latest project in the very near future.

The post ‘Straight Up Steve Austin’ Set to Premiere in August on the USA Network appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 260

Is Money in the Bank on the backburner now?
Photo Credit: WWE.com

It’s Twitter Request Line time, everyone! I take to Twitter to get questions about issues in wrestling, past and present, and answer them on here because 280 characters can’t restrain me, fool! If you don’t know already, follow me @tholzerman, and wait for the call on Wednesday to ask your questions. Hash-tag your questions #TweetBag, and look for the bag to drop Thursday afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers:

This question hearkens back to another question you had asked about the briefcase becoming oversaturated, and WWE course-correcting. I feel as if this is another move in course-correcting having Bayley cash in the same night she won and Brock Lesnar take his briefcase with him to his mud hut in somewhere in the black mining hills of Dakota. Lesnar, by definition, will cash in on a surprise given that his appearances are surprises anymore. Granted, not all surprises are objectively good, and I’ve made my thoughts clear on his briefcase win. Still, everyone knows Vince McMahon’s ideas rarely line up with too-online jerks like myself. So this is definitely his way of rehabbing it. Still, I’m not sure Money in the Bank was ever bigger than Survivor Series, except those weird years at the beginning of the decade when it was rumored WWE was going to phase the event out and CM Punk made MITB ’11, ahem, must see. WWE never offered travel packages for MITB, but recently, Survivor Series has been treated like any of the other Big Four.

Best: Andre the Giant, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Colony, Manami Toyota, Jushin Thunder Liger

Worst: Bad Ass Billy Gunn, Farooq Asad (pre-Nation, Sunny-managed), Giant Gonzalez, The KISS Demon, Deuce and Domino

The leftist in me says that the best way for him to die is via guillotine with all the other billionaires. The ironic wrestling fan in me wants to see him go taking a bump, like the most basic of bumps that causes some major trauma in him that ends up killing him. The former is quicker and cleaner, but at the result of a revolution that will redistribute wealth, while the latter can happen at any time, but will be more painful, so it’s really hard to say which will be more satisfying. Odds are, he’ll probably die peacefully with his grandchildren at his side and with a thousand thirsty sycophantic wrestling writers led at the vanguard by Justin LaBar and Ryan Satin to give him great hagiography for how he BUILT pro wrestling with his bare hands, which will be severely irritating. But whatever, I’m used to only getting sporadic wins. I’m a Philly sports fan.

I only really have two criteria. Is it memorable, and does it fit the character? Look at the Kanellis’ theme song as an example of a perfect theme in the modern age.

Is it memorable? It might be the only memorable thing about that act in WWE right now, which is partially WWE’s fault for dropping the ball and partially bad luck as it came right at the time when Mike was at a turning point in his opioid addiction. The opening shreddy noodle catches your attention, and then the big booming vocal intro burrows into your mind like a worm. Now, does it fit the character? Given that Mike is blindly dedicated to Maria here under the guise of love, I’d say the aggrandizing lyrics fit perfectly. Not that I’m SCREAMING to see more Mike Bennett on WWE TV, but the gimmick had a great hook, and if he was going to succeed anywhere, it was going to be in WWE. But that’s another question.

Normally, I would say that Blastoise’s heft and double water cannons would be too much for Gage, but MDK the man’s taken out bigger opponents, and he seems like the kind of guy who’s either too tough or too stupid to quit in a fight unless he was incapacitated, unconscious, or dead. So I’m still going for my man Nick Gage here, MDK Gang Affiliated.

The short answer is HELL NO.

The longer answer is that AEW has a chance to “break the wheel” so to speak. WWE’s oppressive schedule is obviously the paradigm which they should hope to break. Sure, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling stream all of their shows, but the former especially might have an argument for maybe not hitting every town and allowing people to engage it as a TV product (New Japan has TV in Japan, maybe porting that for America would help them not have as many shows as they do, but they’re actually the company whose load I’m least worried about). With billions backing it, and unlike ROH, billions that are interested in wrestling, AEW should probably just stick to television tapings and live shows for the big events to be streamed on the Bleacher Report app. It can be the big money promotion without having wrestlers run down by superfluous appearances that only serve an anachronistic belief that it’s not wrestling unless you get to see it live. It would also further a friendlier attitude to the indies by allowing them to fill the live wrestling gap, especially if they allow their wrestlers to be true independent contractors and selectively work dates they WANT to work rather than being mandated.

Well, if McMahon were booking the show, he’d have had NO CHANCE IN HELL of killing off Khal Drogo in season one, but assuming he only got to take over the show, only women would be able to fight women, the Night King would’ve survived the Battle of Winterfell and then traded victories with Arya Stark until an unsatisfying conclusion in the finale that left everyone dissatisfied, and Daenerys would have cut a scathing promo about how she HATED the people of King’s Landing before doing her dragon strafing of the city. Oh, and Euron Greyjoy would’ve been on the Iron Throne at the end and also he’d have been recast as Triple H.

The Heartbreaking Affidavit from Ashley Massaro’s Involvement in the Suit Against WWE

Massaro got a raw deal from WWE, especially when they went to Kuwait
Photo Credit: WWE.com

Ashley Massaro’s death was ruled a suicide, a bit of information that isn’t exactly surprising given how many people, wrestlers, football players, or otherwise, afflicted with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) befall the same fate. Although it is not surprising, it is devastating to see yet another person cut down far too early due to the effects of brain injuries to which people like Vince McMahon only pay lip service. Of course, Massaro’s CTE isn’t the only thing McMahon turned a blind eye to. Her sworn affidavit surrounding her involvement in the class action suit against WWE was released on Reddit and Twitter over the last few days, and it paints a harrowing picture if what she says in them is true (hint, I would say it’s 99.9999999999999999999999 percent likely to be true).

EXTREME CONTENT WARNING here as it is a dictation of Massaro graphically recounting her violent assault in Kuwait, but you can read it for yourself here. The quick and filthy recap is that Massaro felt what she thought was menstrual cramps while in the Kuwait stop on her WWE goodwill tour along with Ron Simmons, Maria Kanellis, Jimmy Hart, and Gary Hart. The military personnel insisted that she was just dehydrated, so they took her to a facility where a man claiming to be a doctor came in with an IV, but that IV was not for dehydration. The drug in it left Massaro paralyzed, and the faux-doctor took his liberties.

Afterwards, she confided in her coworkers and asked them not to tell anyone else that it happened, but someone obviously spilled the beans, as her ticket back to the states was “mysteriously” disappeared, and when she got back, the WWE doctor knew about what happened to her. To make things worse, the doctor then told McMahon, and then the chairman turned around and told Massaro to keep things quiet because “the incident would ruin the relationship between WWE and the US Military” and that “one bad incident” shouldn’t jeopardize the work WWE was doing. Massaro would also allege that WWE did not train its workers properly to deal with head trauma and that much like with her assault, McMahon just did not care.

So Massaro was holding a lot of internalized trauma at the time of her death. What she went through in WWE in addition to the magnifying effects of CTE on the mental health of those afflicted makes her story a tragedy. Massaro appears to have forgiven WWE or at least compartmentalized the bad with the good opportunities she thought the company gave her. In my opinion, it far from excuses WWE in its role in her decision to apparently take her own life. I am not an expert in the human psyche, but I do know that sometimes, regretful people oftentimes take blame in situations to make amends, even when they do not deserve said blame. The fact is, Massaro is not living on this earth anymore in large part to the indifference WWE showed to her suffering. McMahon, his daughter, Kevin Dunn, Paul Levesque, and anyone else in power then or now can do all the whitewashing they want, but it doesn’t bring Massaro back.