The Spotlight on WWE’s United Kingdom Championship Tournament 

Well the world of WWE never stops, that’s for sure. Following three straight days of programming on the USA Network, touted as “WWE Week” and capped off by the annual “Tribute To The Troops” special last night, WWE held a press conference live in London, England this morning. At that press conference, WWE COO, Paul Levesque (Triple H) announced that WWE would be crowning it’s first ever United Kingdom champion as a two day, 16 man tournament will be taking place between the weekend of January 14th and 15th. The tournament will air live on the WWE Network and take place at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England (Home of NXT Commissioner William Regal) and will feature the following 16 competitors Trent Seven, Jack Starz, Pete Dunne, Wolfgang, Roy Johnson, Sam Gradwell, James Drake, Jordan Devlin, Tyler Bate, Joseph Conners, Tyson T. Bone, HC Dyer, Dan Moloney, Chris Tyler, Saxon Huxley, Ringo Ryan, Tiger Ali and Tucker. It would appear that two of these men will be alternatives, though it was not announced who.  
Probably the coolest announcement, at least to me, was that former Ring of Honor Champion Nigel McGuiness would be brought in to co host the tournament and work with Michael Cole on calling the event. For those unfamiliar with Nigel’s story, he was seen as one of Ring Of Honor’s biggest stars having unbelievable matches with Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan) from 2005-2009. In September of 2009, it was announced that both McGuiness and Danielson would be leaving Ring of Honor as they had agreed, in principal, to a deal with WWE. The two had one last match against one another at Glory By Honor 8 on September 26th, 2009 before the two left for WWE, a show I attended live and was one of the most emotional shows I ever got to see live. In the end, Danielson would sign his deal with WWE but WWE never did offer the deal to McGuiness due to a biceps injury that came up during his medical pre screening. Thus, for me, it’s really great to see Nigel getting a shot to work for WWE in this capacity.  
No official press release has been released as of this writing as the press conference just ended a few hours ago but you can see video of the press conference including Levesque’s announcement as well as comments by Finn Balor, who attended the conference along with Leveque and William Regal on both WWE’s official facebook page and on their twitter @WWE.  
You have to give WWE credit for always looking for new and unique ways to offer something for everyone, particularly on the WWE Network. Last year the WWE launched the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic which aired on NXT and lead to WWE bringing in independent talent to compete in the tag team tournament, including current NXT Tag Team Champions, DIY! This past year has seen WWE launch the Cruiserweight Classic tournament featuring 32 of the best cruiserweights from around the world. This ended up leading to the return of the cruiserweight division on Raw and a show dedicated to the cruiserweights, 205 Live, that airs on the WWE Network live on Tuesday nights. At the end of the day, wrestling in the UK is a completely different style that really hasn’t ever fully been seen in WWE and so it will be nice to see WWE put a focus on this brand of wrestling and provide the platform for the UK’s wrestling scene through this tournament.  
There is no word as to what the future of the UK champion will be following this tournament but we will update that information as soon as we know anything. 

Birthday Mania Part 1- The Daily Spotlight for 10/28

Well I’m back…and I’m better than ever…

Ok I won’t give you my rendition of Eric Bischoff’s 2003 WWE theme but it really is great to be back with all of you on thedailysptolight.com.  I apologize for the brief hiatus but this has literally been one of the craziest and most fun months of my recent years.  For one, I’m now 30 which is scary as all hell but I will say that my loved ones totally stepped it up and really knocked it out of the park to make my birthday one for the ages.  I’ll be completey honest I was going through a stage where I was walking around with a massive chip on my shoulder, some wouldn’t have even been wrong to say that I had become quite the curmudgeon from time to time over the past year or so.  Thus, when my brithday was approaching this year I really didn’t want to acknowledge it.  Frankly, I contemplated changing my bday date on Facebook just so I wouldn’t need to go through all that trouble of trying to figure out who all of the people were who replied with the “Happy Birthday” formalized comment that facebook allows you to auto enter or “reply 1” to say happy birthday on the facebook app.  This was certainly not the way that I had always been about my birthday as for years I used to set up a week’s worth of different events from a pre party, to a family party to a best friends dinner leading up to a huge drunken blowoff that often ended with my friends and I being asked to leave the beer gardens, sometimes not even asked.  But this year birthday mania ceased to exist.
It all started when my buddy Joe had a 30th birthday party that his girlfriend and mother put together for him back in September.  There was a big barbecue filled with all of his closest friends and family.  He had family members at every turn, 30 year old decorations hung up all over the place, a table full of his closest childhood friends, a table full of his friends he had met through his wife and…me! I’ve always been a huge fan of nostalgia and this party was full of it.  It was also the first time that I ever considered doing something for my 30th.
Over the next week or two I tried to coordinate schedules and put feelers out there to people seeing if they’d come or where I could even have an event.  If I’m being completely honest, it was pretty darn stressful.  I realized pretty quickly that times had changed from the days where you’d be able to plan an event at a moment’s notice and everyone would be ready to party on a Friday afternoon.  Many of my friends and family moved far away and the one’s around here had families now or demanding jobs that just would not allow for them to be able to come hang out, not even for a 30th birthday (the mantra of avoid excuses had been all for naught!).  I eventually gave up figuring that it wasn’t worth it to have the event and understanding fully why joe’s party was planned by his mother and wife.
The week of my birthday I had made a plan with Eri, my mom, sister and Eri’s brother Deej to head on out to Aunt Bella’s for my birthday.  The place has always been a family favorite  it’s always good to get away with the family.  I knew this was going to be a tough year as it was also the first birthday without my father.  Each year I would always look forward to his midnight calls and his reflection about how old he and i were getting as we would both groan.  When the clock struck 12 at midnight, my phone exploded with text messages and phone calls from friends and family the like (many of whom did not even know of the tradition) as my mom and sister brought out a cake.  From there my phone was non stop as I was able to chat with people all day long and catch up with folks who called for my birthday.  Many know I’m an old school guy who appreciates a good phone call and this was just great.  When I got to work my boss was waiting there with a bag of sour patch kids ( my fav) and for the first time ever social media really came through.  I’ve been hard on the Facebook birthday shout out as it’s very impersonal and if someone sent me a birthday shoutout, I’d honestly not even read them all.  I’d even grown tired of the generic “thank you all for the birthday wishes” mandatory post that has to go out at the end of the day. But this year was different.  My buddies Steve, James, LP and, of course, Eri put out just incredible social media tributes and I got a lot of messages from people I had not seen in a long time but always wanted to reconnect with (one of which was a guy I knew in college, Mike, who served our country for many years and I always enjoyed his workout tips that he’d post for years as they really helped me when I dropped some 60 pounds back in 2008.  He left me a message and I was able to thank him for service, something that I felt good doing and it was something I wanted to do for a long time).  Dinner was also outstanding as we know the folks at Aunt Bellas well and they seemed as excited for my bday as I was quickly becoming. We had a great meal where I remember really picking mom’s brain about how much she remembered from giving birth to yours truly some 30 years ago.  When we got back home Mom revealed that for my birthday she had booked a trip for the five of us to go away for a weekend to the camelback lodge in the Poconos which longtime readers know I’ve always been fond of.  It was just an incredible day that reinvigorated my birthday spirit (I feel like Walter Hobbs after a month with Buddy The Elf).  So much so….
That I decided when I woke up Friday morning that, hell, with exactly one day of notice I would try to put together a last-minute birthday party for myself!  This was going to be like old times as I was going to invite all of my buddies and we were going to drink until they sent us home!  Not only that but I was going to ask that all of my friends converge out in Poughkeepsie (about 30 miles from me)! For about a year I had heard about this place called the Brickhouse Brewery and so due to my love of a good craft beer and my disregard for anyone’s convenience, we were on our way!   This was going to be awesome…Birthday Mania was truly running wild brother!  There was nothing that would slow me down baybay!! Well, not exactly…
To be continued tomorrow

The Spotlight NFL Picks Against The Spread-Week 1 Thursday Night Football

Dum Dum Dum Dum! Dum Dum Dum Dum Dum….
No? Alright sorry I was trying to do the football theme. I apologize as I can’t help but feel a little excited as tonight the NFL is back! For those of you who have not heard the big announcement over on the youtube channel earlier this morning, thedailyspotlight.com is going to really become your one stop source for all things NFL. Every week, we are going to bring you The Football Drive, a football car vlog, twice a week every week throughout the NFL season. The Football Drive will be presented every Thursday and Friday right here on thedailysptolight.com and on the official youtube page of the daily spotlight, which you can subscribe to right here. Thursday’s episode will focus on your best advice for an NFL survivor pool. Many people participate in these pools and they are a lot of fun. Then on Friday’s I’ll be back with the Football Drive looking at the top NFL Picks Against The Spread choosing 7 games every single week given to you absolutely free of charge. If you followed along last season you know that I take these very serious and had a pretty good winning percentage agaisnt the spread last year. That’s not all though, every week I’ll also be dropping columns right here on thedailyspotlight.com looking at each one pf the NFL primetime games against the spread, which is probably why you’re all hereright now. Lastly, in honor of NFL kickoff, I’ll be dropping NFL preview columns every day of the weekend predicting every one of the divisions. From who’s going to finish dead last, to your divsiion winners all the way up to the next Superbowl Champions. This is going to be a lot of fun and I want it to be as interactive as possible so if you have any questions related to all things NFL, feel free to drop them in the comments section below or over at Twitter @TommyOnTheSpot. Without any further ado, let’s get right into tonight’s game.
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Denver Broncos
Not everyday you see a team heading to Mile High and walking in as the favorite but that is the case of the reigning NFL MVP, Cam Newton and company tonight. I’ll be honest, when I first heard about Denver’s plan this offseason, to sign Mark Sanchez, I was mildly impressed. Look, these are the defending champs, they have the best defense in the league, they’re coached very well and have great veteran wide receivers to boot. All the Denver really needed was a veteran presence at quarterback and they’d like be right back there competing for a title next year. Then they inexplicably cut Sanchez and decided to go with a guy in Trevor Semian, who only has one NFL kneel to his credit. Now, rather than a game manager at quarterback, the Broncos have an inexperienced quarterback who will likely cost them games.  
On the other side of the ball we have Cam Newton coming off a career year and the Carolina Panthers who are out for revenge. The Panthers, admittedly are goign to struggle in their secondary without Josh Norman but their front seven is going to be coming for Semian all night long and will knock him off his game, especially early. The Panthers also get back their number one wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin who they were able to go 15-1 without him last year and his return should take a little bit of the pressure off Cam Newton to feel like he has to do it all.  
The Panthers won’t go 15-1 again this year, but they’ll get off to a good start tonight, take the Panthers and swallow the points.  
THE PICK: The Panthers (-3) 

The Spotlight On NXT Takeover Coming To Toronto

Last night, triple h tweeted the above and confirmed that the next NXT Takeover special will in fact be taking place on Saturday night November 19th from the Air Canada Centre the night before the WWE Survivor Series pay per view.

The Survivor series is the second longest running WWE annual pay per view, behind only WrestleMania, and will be the next cross branded WWE pay per view featuring superstars from both Raw and Smackdown Live.  Thus, it make sense for WWE to make the most out of one of the “Big Four” pay per views and turn it into a weekend, similar to what they’ve been doing the most recent years with Summerslam.  By putting NXT Takeover the night before Survivor Series, and presumably Raw from the same area the night after that, WWE will create a third vacation-destination weekend for its fans. WWE just sold out three nights at the Barclays Center with Takeover, Summerslam and Raw and ran several meet and greet opportunities for its fans throughout the New York City area.  The Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Raptors, can actually hold 2,000 more people than the Barclays Center can and so this will become the largest venue that NXT has ever run.

From here, the next logicial step would be for WWE to create that fourth destination weekend around the Royal Rumble, which takes place in Los Angeles, California, and put on the next NXT Takeover special the night before that show as well.  It has become a tradition, since 2013, that a member of the NXT roster compete in the Royal Rumble so perhaps they could even hold a battle royal on that takeover show to see who gets that opportunity, I realize we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

This is obviously great news for the NXT brand.  While some will say that by pairing the Takeover specials with the big four WWE pay per views and moving them to big venues, it takes a bit away from NXT’s appeal ( with the thought being that you’re not giving NXT as big of a spotlight as their own time of the month for their pay per views and that you’re taking NXT out of the more intimate setting that it was built on), I would tend to disagree.  I think it first and foremost shows how far the NXT brand has come in being able to have events take place in such big venues.  Also, this is great for the talent involved down in NXT to be able to complete on such a big stage as they prepare for their career in WWE somewhere down the road.  It’s also great for WWE because it makes the Survivor Series feel like a bigger deal, in that it will now have a whole weekend centered around it, which is should be due to its rich history.

In the end, it’s great for the fans who will have another place to go see a weekend filled with live events and continue to enjoy more content on the WWE network.  How do you feel about this announcement? Let me know over on twitter.com/tommyonthespot.  Keep checking out over here on thedailyspotlight.com for all of your wrestling news!

The Wrestling Drive- Previewing Summerslam Week

Hello everyone, hope everyone is doing well and welcome to the continued coverage of Summerslam week here on thedailyspotlight.com.  I have to throw out our youtube page as there will be a number of videos throughout the week including one of right now looking at how Summerslam has already started to take over the city of Brooklyn.  Click right here to subscribe to our youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy_gVqjuaWDp2QW6go6e0Xw!   the above video was uploaded on Monday morning really really gives a nice look not only into all of the happenings in WWE throughout the week but also touches on a few UFC tidbits and also talks about the television coverage on both the WWE network as well at network TV.  Below is a comprehensive list of all wrestling events going on throughout the week here in New York City.  There are also a number of really cool community outreach events that the WWE superstars are taking part in throughout the week, which you can read about here http://www.wwe.com/shows/summerslam/2016/article/wwe-takes-over-new-york-city-summerslam-week!   We are seeking live reports from all of the different shows so if you’re heading to the shows send an email to thedailyspotlight2@gmail.com and make sure to include your name and twitter handle so we can give credit.  Without any further ado check out the list of events takign place in New York City below.  Credit for contributions to the list: pwinsider.com.

WEDNESDAY 8/17

The Dudley Boyz signing
2-4 p.m.
Toys“R”Us Staten Island
2845 Richmond Ave.
Staten Island, N.Y. 10314

Eva Marie signing
5-7 p.m.
Toys“R”Us Flatbush
2875 Flatbush Ave.
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11234

THURSDAY 8/18

The Miz & Maryse signing
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Toys“R”Us Bay Parkway
8973-95 Bay Parkway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11214

Cesaro signing
2-4 p.m.
Toys“R”Us Middle Village
66-26 Metropolitan Ave.
Queens, N.Y. 11379

FREE- Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast- 2PM- 5PM at Carolines Broadway

Live simulcast of the Sam Roberts Wrestling podcast and the Sam Roberts show with guests Today Show’s Katie Linendoll, NXT Ring Announcer Kathy Kelly, Raw Superstars The Club & Kevin Owens and more to be announced

FRIDAY 8/19

FREE SIGNING:

Titus O’Neil signing
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Toys“R”Us Long Island City
3540 48th St.
Long Island City, N.Y. 11101

Finn Bálor signing
2-4 p.m.
Toys“R”Us Bronx
350 Baychester Ave.
Bronx, N.Y. 10475

WWE MEET & GREETS AT BARCLAYS’ CENTER:

AJ Styles – 1 PM

Kevin Owens – 1 PM

WWE Tag Team champions The New Day – 3:30 PM

Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady – 3:30 PM

7 PM – The Amazing Red and Brian XL’s House of Glory promotion in Jamaica, Queens at Club Amazura with their biggest show of their calendar year “High Intensity” featuring:

*House of Glory Tag Team champions Private Party vs. The Hardy Boyz

*House of Glory champion EC3 vs. TBA.

*Drew Galloway vs Chris Dickinson

*Mickie James vs Sonya Strong

*EA James vs Big Daddy Cruz
For more details, visit www.HOGWrestling.net

7PM- Jake “The Snake” Roberts- The Unspoken Word Tour- Grammercy Theatre

Tickets available at Ticketmaster.com

SATURDAY 8/20

FREE SIGNING:

Becky Lynch signing
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Toys“R”Us Rego Park
61-35 Junction Blvd.
Rego Park, N.Y. 11374

WWE MEET AND GREETS AT BARCLAYS CENTER:

Randy Orton at 10 AM

WWE Women’s champion Charlotte at 10 AM

WWE champion Dean Ambrose at 12:30 PM

Sasha Banks at 12 PM

Roman Reigns at 3 PM

Seth Rollins at 3 PM

3 PM EVOLVE in Brooklyn, NY at St. Finbar’s featuring:

*EVOLVE champion Timothy Thatcher defends vs. Drew Gulak.

*Cody Rhodes vs. Chris Hero.

*Tommy End vs. Matt Riddle.

*WWE Cruiserweight Classic Spotlight Match: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Cedric Alexander.

*Tommy End vs. Matt Riddle.

*Tony Nese vs. Peter Kaasa.

*Also appearing are Ethan Page and more.

Tickets are now on sale this link.

8 PM – WWE NXT Takeover: Brooklyn at the Barclays Center featuring:

*WWE NXT champion Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

*WWE NXT Women’s champion Asuka vs. Bayley.

*WWE NXT Tag Team champions The Revival vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa.

*No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries.

*Bobby Roode vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas.

*The debut of Ember Moon.

SUNDAY 8/21

10AM- Talk Is Jericho Live Podcast at Croline’s Broadway

Live 4 hour podcast at Caroline’s with Chris Jericho and Christain which includes a Q & A, photo ops and signings. VIP Breakfast available.

6 PM – WWE Summerslam PPV at Barclays Center

*WWE World champion Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler.

*Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton.

*Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins to crown the first WWE Universal champion.

*WWE United States champion Rusev vs. Roman Reigns.

*WWE Women’s champion Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte.

*AJ Styles vs. John Cena.

*WWE Intercontinental champion The Miz vs. Apollo Crews.

*WWE Tag Team champions New Day vs. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson.

*Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady.

MONDAY 8/22

7:30 PM Monday Night Raw at Barclays Center

I’ve done my best to denote all of the different free events taking place throughout the week including some meet and greets.  My suggestion would be that if you’re going to attend any of the free events, arrive early!  Free events are few and far between so you know people with be out in droves for these.

I’d also like to point out that I did not include ring Of Honor. They’re having a very big pay per view tomorrow night that should be great.  You can check out Death Before Dishonor 14 live from Las Vegas, Nevada tomorrow night at 9:00PM EST and also on pay per view.  For more information, check them out right here  http://www.rohwrestling.com/news/jay-lethal-defend-world-title-against-adam-cole-dbd