The Spotlight On The Week Ahead For WWE 2/8-2/14

Happy Monday everyone!  With the football season officially behind us and baseball season still a few months away, it’s time to shift our focus entirely on a whole different season, wrestlemania season of course!  With a little under 8 weeks away until the biggest Wrestlemania of all time, things are guaranteed to be kicked into high gear before too long.  With that said, let’s take a look at what lies in the week ahead for WWE.

Raw Comes To Yes Country-  WWE Monday Night Raw will emanate live from Seattle, Washington tonight.  As many of you know by now Daniel Bryan released a tweet earlier today confirming that due to medical issues he is going to be coming to Raw tonight in Seattle to announce his retirement from wrestling.  While it’s to see that Bryan is being forced to stop wrestling, something that he loves to do, it is in a way nice that he is being afforded to opportunity to speak in Seattle, just a short drive away from Bryan’s hometown of Aberdeen.  It was on an episode of Raw back in December of 2013 where the fans in Seattle, during a segment designed to showcase the importance of a title unification match between Randy Orton & John Cena, chanted Bryan’s name relentlessly.  This was something that Bryan credited with the birth of the yes movement on his DVD that was released just last year.  For those of you thinking that this is just storyline, ESPN’s Jonathan Coachman has since confirmed that this is not at all storyline and that Bryan would be appearing on Sportscenter tomorrow night to discuss his retirement further.  It should be an emotional Raw to say the least.
Time For Us To Ride Along Once Again- Following Monday Night Raw, the second episode of Ride Along will take place on the WWE Network.  This week’s episode will follow along both King Barrett & Sheamus as well as the trio of Renee Young, Summer Rae and R Truth.  I was able to check out the first episode featuring the New Day and Miz/Ziggler and thought it was actually a lot of fun.  The show doesn’t last more than 20 and is an easy watch.  It’s gives you that “fly on the wall” atmosphere as you watch the superstars on their traveling adventures.
A Beast Of A Smackdown-  Don’t forget about Smackdown.  WWE’s Thursday night program has really picked up some steam in recent weeks since coming over to the USA Network.  Smackdown has definitely been getting more of a focus recently and new lead play by play man Mauro Ranallo has been a welcome addition to the booth.  This week’s Smackdown should be no different as Brock Lesnar makes his first appearance on Smackdown since, I believe, the end of his first run in WWE back in 2004.  On top of that the rematch between Chris Jericho and AJ Styles, which has really been building over the next few weeks, is advertised for Smackdown.
Fourth Quarter Earnings Call- On top of all of this, there will be a fourth quarter earning call on Thursday morning with Vince McMahon and George Barrios.  I’m not sure that I will be able to sit in on the live call, which i did for quarter three, but I will have coverage on Thursday regardless. This particular call will cover the fourth quarter on 2015, basically from October thru December.  These calls are always interesting because it is usually a forum for McMahon to talk about a variety of upcoming business ventures for WWE, as well as the current state of the business.  This is also the chance for everyone to get updated on the current number of subscribers to the WWE network and plans for the network moving forward.
Closing Thoughts-
Obviously with the news breaking of Daniel Bryan officially announcing his retirement from WWE, this has shook the entire week for WWE and taken a much deserved focus.  I have a number of personal stories from either watching Daniel Bryan as a fan or the number of times I got to meet Bryan over the years that I will share when I feel the time is right.
Aside from all of that, this week WWE will released their annual DVD/ Blu Ray compilation focusing on the Best Matches and Moments from Raw and Smackdown tomorrow.  That blu Ray is always fun but obviously loses a little steam with all episodes of Raw and Smackdown now being up on the network.  Total Divas also continues tomorrow night and this season has actually been a lot of fun.  If you’re a fan of Daniel Bryan, you can follow along a lot of what he’s been going through by watching Total Divas.  If you do check that out let me know what you think.  Also as stated above, Daniel Bryan will be on Sportscenter tomorrow night with the coach.  It promises to be one hell of a week in WWE and we’ve got you covered from start to finish so keep it locked in to thedailyspotligh

The Spotlight On Wrestling Podcasts- The Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast with Daniel Bryan 

  
Hello everyone and thank you for checking out this week’s spotlight on wrestling podcasts where today we’ll take a look at a podcast that actually aired this morning and I was able to listen to it on the way to work, Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast with Daniel Bryan. I was going to hold this off until I finished Bryan’s book and release the review during my planned Daniel Bryan weekend (8/7-8/9) but I figured since it was timely and topical, I would release it today. The past week has actually been pretty tough to be a wrestling fan with all of the awful comments made by Hulk Hogan being released, as Hogan was one of the faces of WWE history. Well, over the past week, one of the few bright spots has been that Daniel Bryan has been making the rounds across media outlets around the world to promote the release of his new book, which was released just last Tuesday. Bryan has a likability to him that can’t be taught and I’ve gone out of my way to listen to a number of his appearances from Cheap Heat to Boomer and Carton in the morning to Busted Open Radio on sirius xm radio. Thus, this morning, i was really happy to see Daniel Bryan’s name pop up on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast. I’ve been a fan of Sam’s podcast since it started, subscribing on itunes along the way. I like Sam’s podcast because he seems like a true fan and often has some cool stories during his “state of wrestling” portion of the program including different wrestling road trips he takes. While Sam is a fan, he’s able to get pretty big names on his podcast and manages to have a good rapport with his guests while not shying away from the “hard-hitting” questions. Let’s get into some of the highlights from the show. 
 Highlights:

  

Daniel Bryan’s Plans for the Intercontinental Title: For me one of the big things i got out of the podcast was hearing that Bryan actually wanted the intercontinental title for quite some time. His plan for the title was that it would be defended every week but it would only be defended on smackdown and pay per views. His idea was that it would give people a reason to tune into Smackdown and give the intercontinental title the profile that it deserves. He went on to say that he much preferred the brand split, feeling that if it wasn’t for the two separate world titles, he would have never had the chance to be world champion. Bryan also went on to state that he felt that the separate brands really do a good job in allowing guys to be featured that may otherwise get lost in the shuffle despite their talent such a Cesaro and Heath Slater.  

  

The Future For Daniel Bryan: Bryan was very honest during this interview, flat out saying that he had a concussion and while he’s been cleared by his own doctor, he’s waiting on WWE’s doctors to clear him. Sam asked a good question to Bryan in asking if he planned on wrestling until he could no longer do so. Bryan responded that Brie’s plan has always been to have her first child by the age of 32-33 (she’s 31 now) and that he expects that she will likely be ready to have the couple’s first child when her contract with WWE is up. Bryan went on to say that he’s ready to be a father and, while he didn’t say that he was going to stop wrestling once he became a father, he did note that when Ted Dibiase Jr had a child, he continued on the road and Bryan noticed how miserable Ted looked. Sam and Bryan then both agreed that it becomes harder to deal with some of the hardships associated with being a wrestler (the travel, the politics, etc) when you know you can be at home being a father.    

The Summerslam Match that never was?– One of the things that I found pretty interesting was when Bryan talked about his Summerslam 2012 match that was set up between he and Charlie Sheen. He explained how at the time Bryan was a heel but he was getting cheered against everyone other than CM Punk, who he had already wrestled a few times. Thus, WWE didn’t really know what else to do with Bryan as a heel. He went on to explain that he wanted the match to happen so bad because he felt that if it happened the idea was for Bryan to be the heel and for Sheen to be the face but Bryan had no doubt that Sheen was going to be booed out of the building had the match happened. Of course, from all of this, we got Team Hell No, so it wasn’t all a waste,  

Closing Thoughts:

  

In the end, I really enjoyed this interview. I felt Sam did a good job in really going out of his way not to ask the same questions that everyone else did about Bryan’s book (even citing an article out there listing 10 things learned from Bryan’s book and then asking questions based only off of those 10 things because they really didn’t know too much about Bryan or WWE). Other topics covered in the over 30 minute interview included Bryan’s thoughts on his time in the original NXT, the struggles of avoiding overexposure when you’re featured on 12 segments in one week of television, why he feels that WWE doesn’t view him as marketable even to this day and whether or not he and Sheamus will ever get their WrestleMania match. The main thing I noticed form this discussion, and other appearance from Bryan throughout the week, is just how positive Bryan is despite the tough times he’s gone through over the past couple of years. 

If you’re interested in hearing Daniel Bryan’s full appearance on the Sam Robert’s Wrestling Podcast, as well as Sam’s past podcasts, you can do so by clicking here http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/sam-roberts-wrestling-podcast . I’d love to know your thoughts on the show and as always some of your wrestling podcast suggestions for me to review right here. Until next time, take care.