PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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-Roman Reigns was booed and heckled last night by the Raw fans in Chicago. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he described why fans should cheer him. “We’re gonna lock horns and we’re gonna go at it. You’re gonna see some awesome stuff and some great athleticism. Heavy-hitting, hard action: That’s what I do. It’s gonna be a strong-style match, and that’s the way I go at it. I bring the big fight. And if you are into that, please, by all means, come have fun with me.” I’m not sure he’s helping his cause by telling the savvy fans who boo him in part because of his in-ring limitations and seemingly being completely unself-aware of such that he wrestles “strong-style.” FULL STORY LINK. [-WK]
-Last night at the end of Raw, Michael Cole plugged Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Brock Lesnar, and Undertaker for Raw next week. WWE’s website also lists Steve Austin, although he’s actually only doing the podcast, not anything on Raw. In fact, on Twitter he wrote: “I’m doing the podcast. I was never scheduled to do Raw. Once again, bad information.” In this case, bad information was on WWE’s end. [-WK]
-A.J. Lee has launched a clothing line for charity, PAWS in Chicago. DETAILS HERE.
-WWE.com features a story on Lana and Rusev getting engaged, with comments from them HERE.
-WWE will be featured on ESPN SportsCenter once a week, starting tonight with Seth Rollins being interviewed by Jonathan Coachman. WWE is hyping this on their Twitter account.
-The Global Force Wrestling website has an article up promoting Jeff Hardy’s new CD (LINK). Jeff does not work for GFW. This reminds me of when Vincent K. McMahon was featuring wrestlers from all over the country on his national cable show who didn’t wrestle for him. Some promoters saw it as him doing them a favor by giving publicity to the stars from elsewhere, but he featured primarily wrestlers he was targeting to eventually bring in when he expanded nationally into their territory. This isn’t that on that scale. I think it’s more Jeff Jarrett just wanting to be nice and make friends in general. Plus, as he shops his TV show around to different cable networks, it doesn’t hurt to have any public branding featuring a star the caliber of Hardy. He, of course, will be available to work GFW events over time, too, even if now he is primarily a TNA contracted talent. [-WK]
-When PWTorch.com launched in 1999, the main news article format was “Torch Today” with morning, afternoon, and evening editions. One of the favorite items we’d run regularly was “Obscure Wrestling Reference.” This was before social media and the Internet making pro wrestling mainstream references more common. That said, if you hear an obscure wrestling reference on your local radio show or in your local newspaper or on a favorite non-wrestling website you visit, send it our way at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We’ll toss it into this Torch Today mix here! [-WK]
-At our sister website, PWPodcasts.com, we have a detailed recap up from the latest edition of Colt Cabana’s “The Art of Wrestling” podcast where he interviewed ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta. Excerpt of our reporter Chris Davidson’s summary: “Cappetta talked about ‘walking on eggshells’ early in WWF, and that he asked Vince McMahon, Sr. for a raise, which was terrifying. Cappetta talked about Gorilla Monsoon bringing him in to do ring announcing. Cappetta discussed working house shows because having the same announcer as TV made them feel more important, and despite never being mentioned on air, people recognizing him on the street after just a few weeks with WWF.” Capetta talked about Michael Buffer during the Nitro era displacing him, and how he was the only ring announcer to work for the AWA, NWA, and the WWF at the same time in the 1980s. Check out the full detailed report here. [-WK]
-Taz interviewed Todd Grisham last week. We have a detailed rundown of that from Sean Sumey here. I loved this story by Todd, and then Taz had a tremendous response. “Todd tells a funny story about a female fan screaming for him at a WWE show. Todd was surprised that she was so excited to see him. Todd went over and she asked him if he could get John Cena’s autograph for her. Taz said that when he was trying to get booked pre-ECW, he was going all over. Magnum TA was booking for the NWA and left a voicemail on Taz machine. Taz calls him back. Magnum thanks him for calling back and asks him if he had Mondo Clean’s phone number.” [-WK]
-Raw is not faring well in our poll. Nearly two-thirds are giving it a thumbs down, and a full 40 percent are calling it “dreadful.” I’m at a point where I’m hoping shows like last night’s end up drawing an even lower rating because it might be what it takes for big changes to be made. Now I’m beginning to wonder if Vince McMahon is capable of the major changes necessary to spark the product. He and his corporate inner-circle have become more concerned with pushing the corporate brand than actual wrestlers, and it’s sad to watch. [-WK]
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[PWTorch staff regularly contribute to Torch Today including Wade Keller, James Caldwell, Pat McNeill, Greg Parks, and Sean Radican.]