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WWE Cruiserweight Classic First Round Shows Impressive Promise

Anthony DiMoro

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WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic aired the first round of it’s tournament on the ‘WWE Network’ on Wednesday and left quite the impression.

After a handful of 1st round matchups one can already tell that the CWC has a lot of potential to be something special and yet another draw for the ‘WWE Network. The show looks and feels different from any other WWE production such as RAW, SmackDown and NXT.

CWC’s purple and silver ring color scheme, unique lighting and different style superstar entrances make the CWC stand out as it’s own entity. It helps separate the show from any other and gives CWC it’s own personality.

And while WWE’s main shows, RAW, SmackDown & NXT, have 3-man commentating teams the CWC sticks with the traditional 2-man team. With Mauro Ranallo and fan-favorite Daniel Bryan, CWC’s commentators add to the show instead of distracting the viewer from the on-screen content. Bryan stands out and seems like a natural for future commentating gigs and both commentators have solid chemistry and avoid the cliche heel/face roles of commentators.

As for the in-ring content itself, it’s exciting. Void of dirty tactics, excessive talking or tired angles, CWC is great due to it’s simplistic approach; put 2 competitors in the ring and sound the bell. The fans aren’t told who to root for or boo, CWC presents each superstar in a very straightfoward manner allowing the fans to decide who they want to back when the bell rings.

In a way, it’s similar to NXT in that it focuses almost entirely on in-ring action and prides itself on a high-quality in-ring product, steering away from the over-saturation of gimmicks and comedy that often times turn fans away.

This is a show for pro-wrestling fans.

While many of the CWC superstars may be brand new names to anyone watching or anyone in attendance, these superstars are quickly making a name for themselves in the WWE arena.

Cedric Alexander is one superstar in particular who came in to the tournament rather unknown to the WWE Universe but left the first round both victorious and with the crowd behind him.

Kota Ibushi came out to a solid reaction as he is one of a handful of competitors in the tournament that fans are likely to have heard of or have seen perform in the past. Ibushi lived up to the hype and seemed like a natural draw for the WWE Universe and that says a lot for him and other CWC superstars who can do the same.

Getting over in CWC will require elite in-ring performances and an ability to connect with the crowd despite a heavy reliance on promos and video-packages. This challenges the cream of the CWC to rise to the top and creates an incredible talent resource for WWE.

Daniel Bryan recently spoke with The Fan Garage and was asked about the possibility of a Cruiserweight title returning to WWE:

“You know that’s a fascinating question because so many of the top guys now would be considered Cruiserweights back when WCW had the first Cruiserweight matches those many years ago. The Cruiserweight Championship I remember was for 225 lbs and under (102 kgs) and the Cruiserweight Classic is 205 lbs and under.

“But if you look at the WWE roster today, everybody is a bit smaller because now, fans want more action which requires more mobility, which requires you to be a bit lighter.

“One of the things that I think we will see is that some of these guys who are say only 160 lbs., which might be 75 kgs, they are amazing and people want to see them. So, I wouldn’t be surprised, especially with the brand extension set to come, that the WWE does restart the Cruiserweight Championship.”

As for the CWC, it offers an exciting Wednesday viewing option and when Smackdown debuts on Tuesday nights, WWE will be providing fans a week full of great content with RAW, SmackDown, NXT and CWC, most of which airing on consecutive days.

Here are the rest of the CWC results from Wednesday night:

  • Gran Metalik defeated Alejandro Saez
  • HoHo Lun defeated Ariya Davairi
  • Cedric Alexander defeated Clement Petiot
  • Kota Ibushi defeated Sean Maluta

 

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media. Anthony DiMoro is a Contributor for 'Forbes' where he talks Sports, SEO, Social Media and Internet Marketing. Anthony also hosts the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast' and is a Contributor to the Huffington Post where he covers sports

Pro Wrestling

WWE Superstar Jimmy Uso Arrested, Involved in Alleged Altercation with Police

Anthony DiMoro

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WWE superstar and one half of tag team ‘The Usos’, Jimmy Uso, was recently in Detroit, Michigan for disorderly conduct and obstruction, according to TMZ.

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.

 

 

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Vince McMahon Sells $22 Million Worth of WWE Stock

Anthony DiMoro

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WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon continues to sell off shares of WWE as he prepares for the re-launch of his football league, the XFL, in 2020.

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.

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WWE Network Tops 2 Million Subscribers

Anthony DiMoro

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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 Milestones

  • 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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