----Mike Aldren with WGN.
WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
2/10 Superstars TV results: Natalya over Alicia Fox; Great Khali over the Usos; Tyler Reks over Curt Hawkins; and Jack Swagger over Trent Barreta.
Smackdown TV tonight has the main event of Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World title with Vickie Guerrero as special referee; plus Eve Torres vs. Layla in a non-title match; Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match; Rey Mysterio vs. Wade Barrett; Justin Gabriel vs. Vladimir Kozlov; Chris Masters vs. Drew McIntyre; JTG vs. Kane; and interaction with the Green Bay Packers.
The WWE schedule this weekend is as follows. The Raw crew runs tonight in Vancouver, BC (Agrodome) headlined by The Miz vs. Randy Orton, Saturday night in Victoria (Memorial Centre), Sunday afternoon in Bakersfield, CA (Rabobank Arena), and Raw TV is live Monday from Anaheim (Honda Center) which is the go-home show for the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Mr. McMahon will be announcing the guest host of Wrestlemania and Eve Torres defends the Divas Championship against Natalya. The Smackdown crew runs Saturday night in Lubbock, TX (City Bank Coliseum) headlined by Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Kane & Alberto Del Rio, Sunday afternoon in Canyon, TX (West Texas A & M University), and the TV taping is Tuesday in San Diego (Valley View Casino Center) which will be the 600th episode of Smackdown. We're looking for reader reports from all these shows to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WWE posted it's 2010 fourth quarter (http://tinyurl.com/6gtljgd) and full year financial results on Thursday. Fourth quarter revenue was $122.5 million compared to $117.3 million for the same quarter of 2009, with profits of $8.1 million (0.11 per share) compared to $11.2 million (0.15 per share). Full year revenue was $477.7 million compared to $475.2 million in 2009, with profits increasing from $50.3 million to $53.5 million.
During an investors conference call Vince McMahon pushed record operating EBITDA, but admitted poor declines in most areas of WWE's business model, including live events (2% decline in revenue and 16% decline in attendance), pay-per-view (15% decline in revenue and 23% decline in total buys), and home video (44% decline in revenue due to reduced sell through rates and lowered revenue from International licensing). On a positive note, toy merchandise was outpacing 2009 by 113% for the full year, and 162% for the quarter. This was reflected in licensing revenue of $12.3 million vs. $8.0 million in the prior year quarter, one of the few winning segments, primarily due to higher toy sales under Mattel, along with television rights fees of $35.7 million vs. $30.4 million in the prior year quarter, due to renewal of key agreements and deals with new partners in Russia and Brazil.
Vince spent much of the call pushing the developmental of new talent. "I believe that we turned the corner in terms of our talent development, it’s far more extensive than it’s ever been, far more focused than it’s ever been and I believe that this year, certainly at WrestleMania, you’d be seeing a lot of the older talents but mixed with newer ones," he said. "We have individuals who have never appeared WrestleMania before in main events. So again, I think we’re poised very well for the future and even the near future in terms of our new characters, our new talent getting over as we call it, in the general public."
When an investor questioned declining live event revenue during the last quarter, Vince blamed natural disasters, not Earthquake and Typhoon, but the volcano ash in Europe and recent snowstorms on the home front. This covers two maybe three events that were postponed or canceled. And the volcano issue was actually last April. Vince added that more international events than ever before are scheduled this year. He said: "I’m bullish that our live events are, as you mentioned before about our talent, our new talent initiatives in those, they are quote unquote getting over and the public is accepting them and very much as interested in them. So the idea is to brush those new colors up with some of the older talent and get the bloom off the rose." Vince later noted that he views The Miz, Randy Orton, and Alberto Del Rio as future box office draws that could eventually be on the same level as John Cena. He was weary about mentioning other names because he knows talent listen to these calls and didn't want a political situation.
In terms of developing the proposed WWE TV Network, Vince said the company is talking with a number of carriers, including Time Warner, Verizon, Comcast, and DIRECTV. "We’re going forward with that, we feel very, very good in early indications from everyone. It’s a great idea and everyone seems to be looking at a lot of revenue from it," he said.
Nothing else of real note was brought up during the call. The company only took questions from selected investors and analysts, so, not surprisingly, no questions about the mysterious resignation of COO Donna Goldsmith.
The stock price closed Thursday down 29 cents to $12.13 on the NYSE.
IGN.com has a short story on Triple H at http://tinyurl.com/5td269o. He says his return to television is coming "soon" and hinted at coming back in time for Wrestlemania. When asked about Tough Enough, a concept he hated years ago because he felt it exposed the business, he said: "I always enjoyed that show and thought it was a good way for people, who didn't necessarily watch our product, to get immersed in our world and see what we do. And it showed it from a different vantage point. I think a lot of people at the time – and I used to hear it all the time – they'd tell me 'I didn't know that what you did was so hard.' I think it's a really unique reality show that you can put on, and hopefully, with the way it's being done now with USA and Shed Media, it's going to be bigger than it ever was."
The "real" story of Aaron Rodgers and his WWE title belt is at http://tinyurl.com/5rpmpvh. The story claims that Rodgers' belt didn't come from Ric Flair, but an intern at The Score in Chicago who purchased it from the WWE Shop website recently for $375.
The Miami Herald at http://tinyurl.com/622gxhd talked to Eve Torres about becoming Divas champ for a second time and Wrestlemania coming to the city in 2012.
Bret Hart is interviewed in the new issue of Wrestling Press Magazine at www.thewrestlingpress.com. Good read. He talks extensively about making peace with Vince McMahon and his reasoning for going back to work for the company. "In the end it’s simply said – you must forgive and forget. Owen’s widow is very unhappy that I went back but I don’t know what she expects. What does she want me to do, sit around and be angry until I’m dead? I think there is a lot to be said for making peace and I want to set an example for other people in other situations... I don’t know many 53 year olds that are winning the United States title and being in one of the main events at Wrestlemania with my limitations." Bret also talks about the Hall of Fame saying that he hopes Owen and the Dynamite Kid are inducted sooner rather than later.
Triple H is pictured in an upcoming issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine. There is also a story on the Road Warriors.
The company announced June dates in Spain at the Olympic Pavilion in Badalona and the Vistalegre Palace in Madrid which is a 15,000 capacity bullfighting ring. Tickets go on sale on 2/24.
Superstars last night did a 0.7 rating and 605,000 viewers.
The press conference that EMLL had scheduled today regarding Mistico's future was postponed.
Dustin Rhodes was backstage at television this past week. He's still a long way away from returning post shoulder surgery.
TOTAL NONSTOP ACTION WRESTLING
2/10 Impact TV results from Orlando, FL: Brother Devon, Rob Van Dam & Samoa Joe over Bully Ray, Matt Hardy & The Pope in a six-man tables match; Rosita, Sarita, Madison Rayne & Tara over Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Mickie James & Winter; Mr. Anderson over Matt Morgan to retain the TNA title; Robbie E. over Brian Kendrick & Suicide in a three-way; and Kurt Angle & AJ Styles over Jeff Jarrett & Jeff Hardy.
TNA runs tonight in Elmira, New York (First Arena) headlined by Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy ahead of Sunday's pay-per-view in Orlando.
Sunday is Against All Odds from Orlando with Mr. Anderson vs. Jeff Hardy in a ladder match for the TNA title; Jeff Jarrett vs. Kurt Angle for custody of Kurt's children vs. walking Karen down the aisle on the 3/3 episode of Impact; Matt Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam; The Pope vs. Samoa Joe; and Bully Ray vs. Devon & friends in a street fight.
The company has relented this year on it's long standing policy that none of it's talent be close to Wrestlemania activities. Several talents were initially pulled and later reinstated for bookings at the WrestleReunion convention in Atlanta on 4/2. Scott Steiner, Tommy Dreamer, Christy Hemme, Winter, and more names TBA are scheduled for the convention which is headlined by Bruno Sammartino at the Downtown Marriott. More info at www.wrestlereunion.com.
Impact last night did a 1.2 rating and 1.65 million viewers. The show is really starting to draw some solid consistent numbers.
After watching the show last night, Chris Jericho wrote on Twitter: "After 10 yrs TNA talent still have an inferiority complex. If u don't think that u work for the BEST COMPANY EVER then nobody else will! As a performer u hav to act and project that where u work is the pinnacle of competition! If not then the whole place just seems second rate."
The company's official Facebook page recently surpassed a milestone 500,000 fans.
Tara turned 40 on Thursday.
OTHER WRESTLING NEWS
TNA agent Al Snow will be hosting some psychology and methodology classes at OVW in Louisville. The classes will be held Thursday nights from 3/1 and is for anyone who has already learned the fundamentals and has some type of in-ring experience. More info at www.ovwrestling.com.
Stan Hansen and Teddy Long have been added to the line up for the NWA Legends fanfest in Atlanta. More info at www.nwalegends.com.
Hulk Hogan's Pastamania and the XFL made MSN Money's list of 14 lowbrow ideas that failed. Story is at http://tinyurl.com/5tuuo3v.
Scott Hall remembers the late Curt Hennig at http://tinyurl.com/6cla8kb. Hennig passed 8 years ago this past week.
FOX News has a story on Dwayne Johnson helping Hugh Jackson to gain muscle for his next movie at http://tinyurl.com/5r7txtn.
Former WWE writers Court Bauer, Alex Greenfield, and Chris DeJoseph are working together on a MMA reality series called "Ungloved" which features Frank Shamrock trying to get MMA legalized in New York.
I Believe In Wrestling runs Saturday night at the Orlando Rec Complex (Next to the old Amway Arena) with Sean Waltman and Scott Hall. For more info, call (407) 334-2200 or visit http://www.ibelieveinwrestling.com.
Today's Babe of the Day is Gail Kim at http://thewrestlingpress.com/?page_id=298.