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 Daniel Bryan’s Retirement

Well the above tweet really says it all, Daniel Bryan has officially announced that he is retiring from in ring action.  Bryan (34) has been out of action since a smackdown taping last April 14th in which he suffered a concussion, shortly after winning the intercontinental title at Wrestlemania.  Bryan had been hoping to gain medical clearance from the official WWE doctor, Dr. Joseph Maroon but had been unable to do so, despite gaining medical clearance from the doctor who worked at last year’s Superbowl.

While it is no doubt heartbreaking to long time fans of Bryan’s work (and I’m at the top of that list), WWE has to be commended here for taking concussions so seriously.  Bryan has been a part of WWE since 2009 and went on to win the World Heavyweight Title in 2011 and winning the WWE world heavyweight championship on 3 separate occasions, the last of which was in grand fashion at Wrestlemania 30.  As big of a fan as I am of Bryan the in ring performer, i’m a bigger fan of Bryan the person and his health and well being have to come first.

This tweet was released a little over an hour ago and I’ve already received a number of text messages from friends asking if this is storyline.  I suppose it’s possible being as Bryan teased a retirement announcement prior to announcing his return to the Royal Rumble back in 2015.  That said, I’d be pretty surprised to see that this is a storyline and I beleive it’s pretty legitimate.  Raw emanates from Seattle, Washington tonight, just a short distance from Bryan’s hometown in Aberdeen.

We’ll have a definitive update as more information is released and full coverage of Raw as well.

The Spotlight On The Week Ahead For WWE- 1/18-1/24

It’s a new week and with that, another packed week for WWE.  Let’s get right into some of the highlights that you can expect to see and look forward to this week in World Wrestling Entertainment.

Raw Invades Columbus- The week starts later on tonight as WWE Raw emanates live from Columbus, Ohio. This will be the final stop on the road to the 2016 Royal Rumble (other than Smackdown) and so it will likely be a stacked show designed to introduce a number of the competitors in the Rumble match itself, as there are only 13 superstars officially announced for the match according to WWE.com.  It’s been announced that Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman will appear on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel which should be interesting considering that both men are in this year’s Rumble.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see the McMahons further stack the odds against Roman Reigns, maybe make him the number one entrant in the Rumble?  Again only speculation.

Legends With The Road Dogg- Following Monday Night Raw (the premier spot for new Network programming), the latest episode of Legends with JBL will air on the WWE Network featuring a sit down discussion with The Road Dogg.  If you haven’t seen the first couple episodes of the Legends series, I’ve felt that they were quite enjoyable, featuring discussions with Eric Bischoff about the Monday Night War and about the Undertaker with Triple H, Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels.  Like Austin, JBL does a good job of keeping the discussion light hearted enough to where the subject lets their guard down and so he’s able to ask some tough questions.  If you check out Legends let me know what you think.

Total Divas Season 5- Total Divas returns to the E! Network tomorrow night for the premiere of Season 5.  There are some changes to the cast as Trinity (Naomi) is no longer a permanent cast member on the show and instead has been replaced by Rosa Mendes, who was a full time cast member for Season 3 but took off last season.  Her return to the show is likely due to her new relationship and progressions she’s made with that ( I don’t want to give away any spoilers if you don’t follow Mendes on twitter).  Also this season, former Tough Enough contestant Amanda Saccamano joins the cast of Total Divas as she begins training with WWE.  As always The Bellas, Eva Marie, Paige, Natalya and Alicia Fox will all be returning to the show.  Say what you will about Total Divas, I will always be greatful to the show for turning my girlfriend from a casual fan into someone who follows the business regularly and looks forward to attending WrestleMania each year.  Aside from that Total Divas also does a good job in following the personal lives of some of my favorite superstars such as Daniel Bryan, Tyson Kidd, John Cena and Jimmy Uso (The Usos really benefited for there exposure on the show) so I find that, coupled with the behind the scenes aspects of the show to be quite enjoyable.

– The Royal Rumble- Of course this all leads up to next Sunday night, the 29th annual WWE Royal Rumble will take place live from Orlando, Florida.  I was closer than close to attending this show live but starting a new job and already taking off so much because of my father, I decided against it.  That said, it should be a fun weekend for all of those who are attending and I’d love to hear about your experiences.  The WWE big four events continue to become a vacation destination and an all encompassing experience for all wrestling fans in attendance.  I know there’s an NXT TV Taping in town, a few Evolve shows (featuring NXT talents) and a Jim Ross one man show, to name a few.  As for the Royal Rumble itself, this year seems to be one of the most anticipated Rumbles in quite some time with the Rumble being for the actual World Title and with so many names being rumored to returning or debuting as surprise entrants in the Rumble.  I also expect that there will be a number of title matches on the show.  Already announced is a Last Man Standing Match for the intercontinental title between Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose.  From there, Becky Lynch has issued a challenge to Charlotte for the Divas Championship and I expect that to be added to the show as well as they continue their great feud.  I also wouldn’t be shocked to see a US Title match between Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio to be added as well as a Tag Title Match with the New Day and the Usos.  The Rumble remains my favorite show of the year.

– Contest Time-  Alright I had mentioned this last week and so I figure I’ll reveal our first ever contest here on the daily spotlight.  Next Sunday, in honor of the Royal Rumble, we’re going to be giving away the brand new Sasha Banks figure as a part of the Mattel Basics Series 59 that won’t be released to stores until March of this year! Here’s what you have to do to enter into the contest.  Subscribe to thedailyspotlight.com which you can easily do to the left on the desktop site and by scrolling down below the posts on the mobile version of the site.  You do not need a wordpress site to subscribe, you can do so with any email address.  From there follow along with the dailyspotlight.com @Daily_Spotlight.  That’s it!  Once you subscribe to the site and follow us on twitter, you’re entered to win the first ever Sasha Banks figure brand new in box!  We’ll be doing the random draw on Sunday afternoon prior to the AFC Championship Game at 2:00 PM EST.  Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to inquire in the comments section below, on twitter or on our official email at dailyspotlight2@gmail.com!  If all goes well, we’ll do more contests and giveaways in the future!

That’s going to do it for now but be sure to subscribe to make sure you’re entered into our contest! Until next time, take care!

The Spotlight On Cesaro’s Injury

The hits just keep on coming for the walking wounded superstars of WWE.  It was announced today through an exclusive interview with WWE.com that Cesaro would be out of action for 4-6 months following a torn rotator cuff.  Cesaro explained that his injury actually occurred over two months ago but that he didn’t think it was too bad until recently.  An MRI was done for precautionary measures and it that’s when the tear was identified.

Cesaro noted that he was actually already having the surgery done this afternoon.  It’s a really tough break for one of the most consistent performers in WWE.  Cesaro was really picking up momentum with the “Cesaro Section” movement which was something that started pretty organically a few months ago in Nashville, Tennessee (Ironically enough the place of Monday Night Raw tonight).  Aside from that Cesaro was having some of the best matches in WWE over the past three years or so, most recently a number of Raw main events against John Cena.

Cesaro’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for WWE, who is already without Seth Rollins (Torn ACL/MCL) and Randy Orton (dislocated shoulder).  F4wonline.com reported last night that Cesaro was supposed to have been in the traditional survivor series match that aired during the pre show but was replaced by Titus O’Neil once his injury was discovered.  Once we hear any update on Cesaro’s health and possible return date, we’ll have that for you right here on thedailyspotlight.com .

To read the full interview with Cesaro about his health, you can do some right here http://www.wwe.com/inside/cesaro-injured-interview-28238589

The Spotlight On WWE Week On The USA Network

Hey guys normally in this slot, I would do a spotlight on the week ahead for WWE but I thought it would fun to preview WWE week on the USA Network that will be premiering next month.  WWE sent out a press release late last week announcing that WWE week will launch on the USA Network beginning Sunday, December 20th. Let’s get into some of the highlights of what you can expect to see on WWE Week.

Highlights:

Santa’s Little Helper- We mentioned on our “The Week Ahead For WWE” piece last Monday, that the latest WWE Studios release was going to be released this past Tuesday, November 17th. Well now Santa’s Little Helper will air on the USA Network from 8-10PM on Sunday night December 20th. Santa’s Little Helper is actually the third Christmas film released by WWE Films and stars Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, WWE Diva Paige & former 90210 star, Annalyn McCord. I’m always a fan of Christmas flicks and I can tell you that you can absolutely expect a review on Santa’s Little Helper once it airs on the USA Network.

The Slammys Are Back- Sadly the Slammys won’t be a black tie affair nor will Todd Pettengill be hosting the show but the Slammys will return to Monday Night Raw on 12/21. The Slammys are always a good time. I remember back in 2009 they actually started the build to the Wrestlemania rematch between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker at the Slammys. Most of the old Slammy Awards Shows are available in the on demand section of the WWE Network if you’re looking to get excited for this year’s big show. Once the ballots are released, we’ll be back with our picks here on the site.

Live Smackdown- WWE Week will continue with a live Smackdown on December 22nd and it will take place on the USA Network, not the SYFY network. I always enjoy when Smackdown goes live and will be tuning in that night for sure. Smackdown will officially premiere on the USA Network regularly beginning on January 5th and so I’m sure this will be a good promotional tool for the show. Even though Smackdown being on Thursday spaces out the WWE television programming throughout the week, I would love to have back to back live WWE programming. I just feel like anything can happen when you’re live.

Tribute To The Troops- The annual WWE week concludes with the traditional Tribute to the Troops special that WWE has been doing over the last decade plus. This year WWE will be heading to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. They will also have the band Train on hand to perform for the troops. I can’t say enough about how cool I think it is that WWE continues to bring their product to the men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. You don’t see the NBA, NFL or any other sports and/or entity bringing their product directly to our troops. To me this is the single most important event of the year for WWE and there’s something about this special that I find synonymous with the holidays.

Closing Thoughts

Obviously this will be a pretty big week of programming for WWE as they close out the year. Pretty much right after this week, it’ll be time to prepare for the Royal Rumble.  I should also add that WWE superstars and divas will be appearing live during USA’s daytime programming from 11AM-3PM Monday thru Friday. My word of advice would be that, l if you’re only interested in the WWE programming, DVR the block of programming and fast forward through it all so that you can catch the interviews with WWE superstars and divas.  That’s going to do it for me today but I’ve attached the official press release below if you would like to check it out for yourself.

“WWE® WEEK” TO KICK OFF DECEMBER 20TH ON USA NETWORK, FEATURING THE 2015 WWE SLAMMY AWARDS AND WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS®

NEW YORK and STAMFORD, Conn., – November 19, 2015 – USA Network and WWE will kick off the holiday season with an action-packed “WWE Week.”  The week begins Sunday, December 20 with SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER, followed by MONDAY NIGHT RAW®; the 2015 WWE SLAMMY AWARDS on Monday, December 21; a live SMACKDOWN® on Tuesday, December 22; and a two-hour WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS special on Wednesday, December 23. The week will also include a daytime roadblock featuring interviews with WWE Superstars and Divas.

On Sunday, December 20, from 8pm-10pm ET, USA will air SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER, an original comedy from WWE Studios and 20th Century Fox.  The film follows a fast-talking businessman who is given the opportunity of a lifetime to become Santa Claus’ second-in-command.  SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER is directed by Gil Junger and produced by Richard Lowell and features WWE Superstar The Miz® and WWE Diva Paige®.  AnnaLynne McCord (“90210,” “American Heiress”) and Eric Keenleyside (“Godzilla,” “The Interpreter”) star.

On Monday, December 21, from 8-11pm ET, USA will air MONDAY NIGHT RAW, live from Minneapolis, MN, featuring the annual fan-voted SLAMMY AWARDS, the WWE’s biggest awards event of the year, honoring the best of the year with its own golden statue.  On Tuesday, December 22 from 8-10pm ET, USA will air SMACKDOWN live from Des Moines, Iowa. Both RAW and SMACKDOWN  will showcase a star-studded cast of WWE Superstars and Divas, and deliver a shot of adrenaline to viewers with over-the-top action, feats of athleticism and high- octane drama.

On Wednesday, December 23, from 8-10pm ET, USA will air the 13th annual holiday special, WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS.  In the tradition of Bob Hope, WWE brings together the best of sports entertainment and pop culture with celebrity appearances and performances from music’s most popular acts — performed for our servicemen and women, to honor their commitment and dedication to our country. This year, Grammy Award-winning rock band Train will perform.  WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS has become a holiday tradition and is considered TV’s most patriotic and heartwarming show of the year.  It will chronicle WWE’s visit to Florida’s Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena for military personnel and their families stationed at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Naval Station Mayport and Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.  While in town, WWE Superstars and Divas will spend the day giving back to those who serve and their families with visits to each base, a Be a STAR anti-bullying rally, and military outreach.

WWE also takes over USA DAYTIME from 11am-3pm Monday, December 21 – Friday, December 25, as host Cat Greenleaf conducts interviews from her iconic stoop with WWE Superstars and Divas.

MONDAY NIGHT RAW on USA is the most-watched, regularly scheduled, year-round program on cable, with a live three-hour block every Monday night, 52 weeks a year.  RAW has been a cable mainstay for more than 20 years and is consistently a top ten show on television. The three-hour block on USA averages 1.9MM P18-49, 2.0MM P25-54 and 4.3MM total viewers P2+.  RAW and SMACKDOWN have reached 48.2 Million viewers in 2015.

With more than 800 original episodes, SMACKDOWN is the second longest-running weekly episodic program in U.S. television history, only behind MONDAY NIGHT RAW. Over the past 15 years, SMACKDOWN has been broadcast from 170 different venues, in 148 cities, in seven different countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Japan, Italy and Mexico.

Follow the social conversation with #Troops on @WWE @TRIBUTETOTROOPS @USA_NETWORK.