WWE Hall of Famer George “the Animal” Steele has passed away at the age of 79.
“Steele was one of the wildest and most unpredictable Superstars in sports-entertainment history. Yet, despite his green tongue, hairy torso and insatiable appetite for turnbuckle pads, “The Animal” was a very well-educated man. Prior to breaking into sports-entertainment, Steele received his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University and became a high school teacher and wrestling coach in the Detroit area.
It was during his teaching stint that he began moonlighting in sports-entertainment, working in the Detroit-area promotions. Steele’s first WWE appearances took place in 1967, when he began a heated rivalry with WWE Champion Bruno Sammartino. For nearly 20 years, Steele was a reviled villain, managed by the likes of fellow WWE Hall of Famers The Grand Wizard, “Classy” Freddie Blassie, Capt. Lou Albano and Mr. Fuji. His classic main events against Sammartino, Pedro Morales and Bob Backlund saw him come close to winning the WWE Championship on many occasions.
In 1985, however, Steele was embraced by the WWE Universe and changed the course of his career. After The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff abandoned him during a match, Steele fell back under the tutelage of the then-beloved Albano. His transformation was remarkable, as one of the most hated men in the sport became one of its most loveable figures. Long after his in-ring retirement and WWE Hall of Fame induction, George “The Animal” Steele’s name still evoked terror for one generation of WWE fans and warm smiles for another.
WWE extends its condolences to Steele’s family, friends and fans.”
WWE Superstar Jimmy Uso Arrested, Involved in Alleged Altercation with Police
Uso, 33, and his wife, fellow WWE Superstar Naomi, who was driving, were pulled over near downtown Detroit for driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street.
According to our police sources, cops say their 2018 Dodge Journey reeked of booze and officers ordered Naomi out of the car.
Jimmy, despite commands to do otherwise, then exited the car took off his shirt and jacket and squared up like he wanted to fight, with one officer saying that he took out his taser “cause he was scared for his safety”.
Jimmy eventually calmed down and complied, was taken to jail and released once he posted bond.
Vince McMahon Sells $22 Million Worth of WWE Stock
According to recent SEC filings, McMahon recently sold 300,000 shares of WWE, valued at $74 a share, for an estimated $22 million, leaving McMahon with a hefty 3 million shares, for an estimated total well of $2 billion.
McMahon is clearly creating more financial cushion for his venture Alpha Entertainment, which owns the XFL, who recently announced the initial cities that will house XFL franchises that include Washington, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, New York, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay.
As WWE has always innovative with their content distribution, highlighted by the success of the WWE Network platform, it will be interesting to see how the XFL will be setup.
With the popularity of Twitch streams and the less popular Mixer streams introducing more forms of entertainment to the potential of online streaming, it will be interesting to see how the XFL will choose to broadcast, and on how many platforms once it launches.
XFL will have it’s fair share of competition, but McMahon seems to be financially arming the league for a more successful run than it had back in the early 2000s.
WWE Network Tops 2 Million Subscribers
WWE is celebrating a monumental WrestleMania 34, along with a huge milestone for their WWE Network.
WWE announced that the WWE Network has reached a record 2.12 million subscribers, 1.81 million of which are paid subscribers, up 9% from April 3rd, 2017.
Additionally, by generating $14.1M in revenue WrestleMania 34 was the highest grossing event in the history of New Orleans SuperDome, which packed 78,133 fans for the epic event.
“We expect to deliver record subscriber levels, revenue and Adjusted OIBDA in 2018,” said George Barrios, WWE Co-President. “WWE Network’s continued growth along with our massive reach across traditional television as well as digital and social platforms, reaffirms the effectiveness of our global, multi-platform content strategy.”
More can be found at their official website, but here are some notes:
- WrestleMania broke the record for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s highest grossing entertainment event at $14.1 million, as a sold-out crowd of 78,133 fans from all 50 states and 67 countries attended the event. As part of the week-long WrestleMania celebration, WWE hosts five consecutive nights of events at the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center
- WWE Network subscribers viewed 25.2 million hours during WrestleMania Week or 14 hours per subscriber during the week. This compares to 22.5 million hours last year, a 12% year-over-year increase
WWE 2018 Perspective
Q1 2018: Based upon preliminary data, WWE Network attracted an average of approximately 1.56 million paid subscribers over the first quarter 2018, representing a 5% increase from the first-quarter 2017 average. The first quarter 2018 average was in-line with guidance of approximately 1.53 million.3
During the first quarter 2018, the Company realized stronger than anticipated performance. As a result, the Company expects Q1 Adjusted OIBDA of at least $30 million (subject to the completion of its quarterly close process), exceeding its previous guidance of $23 million to $27 million.4
Q2 2018: If the acquisition and retention of subscribers driven by WrestleMania is comparable to the subscriber activity associated with the prior year event, average paid subscribers for the second quarter 2018 would be approximately 1.77 million, representing an increase of approximately 8% from the second quarter 2017.5 As future subscriber performance may differ from prior activity, this range is provided for perspective rather than as guidance.
2018: WWE management continues to expect the Company to achieve another year of record revenue and has raised its target for 2018 Adjusted OIBDA to at least $145 million (excluding stock-based compensation expense), which would be an all-time record, exceeding its previous guidance of at least $140 million
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