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Friday, May 4, 2012

WWE Pro Wrestling News: The Rock, Antonio Cesaro, WWE Shareholder’s Meeting, WWE Network


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G'day Australian pro wrestling - sports entertainment fans. Here's your long awaited news report. There's new wrestling talent, the annual shareholder's meeting, WWE Network news and much more.

- The Rock posted a shout out to WWE’s corporate and production employees on Twitter this weekend:

“To all @WWE corporate & production employees: THANK YOU. #ThatsAll”

- As seen on Friday’s SmackDown, Antonio Cesaro made his WWE TV debut in a “tryout match” against Tyson Kidd. Cesaro was introduced by his new lady friend Aksana before the match. The stipulation was that if John Laurinaitis liked what he saw, he would offer Cesaro a contract. Cesaro defeated Kidd in about three minutes and WWE’s website indicates that he is now part of the SmackDown roster.

- As noted before, WWE held the annual shareholder’s meeting on Friday morning at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT. Here are some more highlights:

* A shareholder asked if it was time to drop the price of pay-per-views due to a drop in buyrates and Vince said no. Another shareholder asked about WWE offering all pay-per-view events as a package like other sports. Vince said it was a possibility but they have to see whether or not the PPV’s will be includes as a part of the WWE Network and if so, how that changes their plans.

* A shareholder asked if pay-per-view events would be shown on the Network. Vince said they were formulating that and it all depended on pricing.

* Announcements will be coming “very shortly” about the future of NXT and Superstars distribution. WWE has used the shows in contract negotiations for the Network. They have strategically held back on bringing the shows back to TV.

* Vince was asked about concern over WrestleMania 29 and the chance that it will be held in 40 degree with a possibility of now. Vince mentioned fans going to MLB and NFL events outdoors, dressing appropriately and said the same will happen at WrestleMania. He added that if it snows, it will be a lot of fun.

* WWE Classics On Demand will most likely be dropped when the Network launches.

* Regarding the Network launching, Vince admitted he did not have an answer but said an announcement is forthcoming. He said they are taking their time so they can keep options open.

- Here are some more highlights from WWE’s shareholders meeting on Friday morning from WWE headquarters in Stamford, CT:

* Triple H addressed the WWE developmental rumors and said the future has always been about making the best developmental territory possible. They are making plans to expand developmental but it’s doing what it’s designed to do – create and cultivate new talents.

* Vince McMahon said WWE content on TV will remain PG but movies will allow for content with stronger ratings. Vince talked about being proud of the Be A Star anti-bullying campaign. Vince said fighting bullying is something he really believes in and something that will be a huge initiative for WWE in the years to come.

* Vince was asked about a physical WWE Hall of Fame and said it’s still located in his head. Vince said they are not in a physical brick & mortar business but the entertainment business and added that Hall of Fames don’t make money usually. One day WWE will probably build something for the Hall of Fame but Vince said it needs to be in the right environment. (Credit: Pro Wrestling Torch, Wrestling Observer, WrestleZone, Wikipedia, WWE)

Vince McMahon comments on first quarter financial report...

WWE revealed its first quarter financial results on Thursday. The company reported revenues totaling 123.1 million compared to 119.9 million in the same quarter last year. Operating income is 16.0 million, up from 13.2 million in the prior year quarter.

“In the first quarter, EBITDA grew 19%, reflecting increased profits across all our businesses," Vince McMahon stated in a press release. "Our results were highlighted by the strong performance of our live events as we entered a new market in the Middle East. We are very pleased that our positive first quarter execution continued in April with the successful staging of WrestleMania, which is expected to deliver nearly 1.3 million pay-per-view buys globally.

"Through the first quarter, we made important progress on our key strategic initiatives, developing our foundation for creating and distributing new content, and building on our tremendous brand strength, especially in social media. Looking ahead, we are confident that we will leverage the broad appeal of our content to transform our business and drive long-term earnings growth."

WWE grabs solid gains in first quarter - 4th May 2012...

Thursday was a good day to be in the wrestling game, but ugly for local companies reporting earnings for their utilities, information technology research, food distribution and insurance operations.

Shares in Stamford-based WWE Inc. surged 13.52 percent to $8.90 after the entertainment company reported net income topped $15.3 million, or 20 cents a share for the first quarter. For the same period a year ago, WWE earned $8.6 million, or 11 cents a share.

The mean expectation from analysts was 5 cents a share, according to Bloomberg News.

During a conference call with analysts, executives of WWE cited improved revenues from live events and lower losses from its movie business as key drivers for this quarter's success.

In past years, WWE's profits have been hampered by losses from movies it made, but the company said WWE Studio's net profit loss was $1 million in this quarter, compared with $3.6 million a year ago. Live events contributed $7.4 million in profits to the company. The company also reported strong growth of its digital platform, which contributed $2.1 million to its bottom line in the quarter.

"Our results were highlighted by the strong performance of our live events as we entered a new market in the Middle East," WWE chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon said in a news release. "We are very pleased that our positive first-quarter execution continued in April with the successful staging of WrestleMania, which is expected to deliver nearly 1.3 million pay-per-view buys globally. Looking ahead, we are confident that we will leverage the broad appeal of our content to transform our business and drive long-term earnings growth."

WWE in ring for French film - 1st May 2012...

Dramedy 'Queen of the Ring' could be remade...

WWE Studios has partnered with Kare Prods. on the French dramedy "Les Reines du ring" (Queen of the Ring), which Warner Bros. Entertainment France will distribute.

Nathalie Baye, Andre Dussollier and Marilou Berry star in the film currently lensing under the direction of Jean-Marc Rudnicki.

Project revolves around a mother looking to strengthen her bond with her estranged son who is a WWE fan and trains to become one of WWE's female wrestlers, known as divas.

Film incorporates WWE trademarks, footage, consumer products and cameos by some of WWE's biggest stars, including CM Punk, the Miz and Eve, who recently shot their appearances for the film while on tour in France.

As part of its involvement, WWE Studios will receive an in-association credit on the pic and first-look rights to distribute the film in the U.S. and Canada. It also gets the rights to remake the film in English.

Thomas Langmann ("The Artist") is producing the film through his Paris-based La Petite Reine banner, with Antoine Rein and Fabrice Goldstein.

Other upcoming films for WWE Studios include the IM Global co-production "Dead Man Down," with Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Noomi Rapace and Dominic Cooper; the horror thriller "No One Lives," starring Luke Evans and WWE's Brodus Clay, which was co-produced with Pathe Films; cult hit "The Day," a pickup from the Toronto Intl. Film Festival that stars Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore and Ashley Bell; and "Barricade," with Eric McCormack. (Variety)

John Cena Talks Miz in Marine 3 - 5th May 2012...

IGN spoke with John Cena about never taking time off and The Miz taking over for Randy Orton in the third Marine installment.

Less than a week out from his brutal match with Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules, I had a chance to talk briefly with John Cena about WWE storylines that make it seem like he's going to take some time off and the casting of The Miz as the lead in the upcoming third installment of the Marine movie franchise.

After his match with Lesnar last Sunday, and even a few years back during the Nexus storyline, it seemed like Cena was headed home for a break. But those breaks never happened and he was seen on TV the very next night or week. Is "the road" Cena's permanent home? "Yes," Cena said, "and I'm okay with that. It's certainly not a life for most people, and so when people look at you they think 'Well, how can he do that?' But if you commit to it and say this is where I am, then you can do it. And I'm just one of those folks that belongs on the road. It's where I truly feel safe. It's where I want to be. When I'm home I can only be there so long before I want to head back out. So that's me right now. As I get older I'm sure I'll want to slow down, but right now I wouldn't want to be in any other place." Cena also said that, while he never gets to spend a lot of time in the cities he visits, he prefers it that way. He likes the "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style."

"A guy had asked me today if I was interested in doing things like Expendables 2 and movies like that," Cena continued. "More action moves. And I said that it really comes down to how many tour dates I'd have to sacrifice. It would be really cool to make a lot more movies, but when they say you have to take six months off and miss all those events? That doesn't work for me. I really like being in, say, Huntsville tomorrow night. And then Knoxville after that. And then Chattanooga. Then Raleigh. It's how I plan my life now. I guess Red from Shawshank would say I'm institutionalized."

With Randy Orton dropping out of the third Marine film due to controversy, the WWE turned to The Miz to take over the lead role. I asked Cena what he thought of the casting. "You know what? I think it's going to be great," he said. "The franchise stands alone. I actually thought Ted DiBiase did a really good job in Marine 2. I know it was a straight to DVD movie but I thought, with their budget, they did as good, if not better, than what we did in the first Marine. And their budget was maybe twenty percent of ours. So I'm actually looking forward to seeing what Miz brings. You know Teddy was really good and being that subtle, All-American dude who, when it was called for, could blow everything up. Miz is not very subtle. So I'm actually very interested to see how it all works out. (IGN)


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