PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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TORCH TODAY – Thursday, February 18, 2016
– One week ago, WWE reported Full-Year 2015 financials, then released their 10-K annual report. There were numerous business items to pull out from the report, which we’ve covered in the Earnings tag HERE.
Another interesting item is WWE now has its largest workforce in company history, mainly in support of WWE Network. WWE noted that as of February 2016, WWE had 840 employees, an increase of nearly 80 employees from February 2015. The progression of WWE’s workforce has been interesting since the Network launched.
February 2013 – WWE had 721 employees one year before the Network launched.
February 2014 – WWE had 762 employees when the Network launched two years ago.
February 2015 – WWE had 761 employees one year into the Network.
February 2016 – WWE jumped to 840 employees two years after the Network launched, which also means more expenses in support of the Network.
– At MMATorch.com: UFC scrapped plans for B.J. Penn’s return after sexual assault allegations surfaced. (Full Report)
– Chris Jericho is advertised for WWE events after WrestleMania. WWE sent out a pre-sale alert for the April 12 Smackdown TV taping in San Diego that includes Jericho, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Bray Wyatt.
– Zack Ryder is the subject of a Newsday feature on the “Perfect Workout.” Included are video clips of Ryder’s work out routine. WWE’s fitness investment, Tapout, is featured prominently in the video series. (Watch the Workouts at Newsday.com)
– A.J. Styles’s non-WWE merchandise will be off the market Friday. Pro Wrestling Tees noted that Friday is the last day to get items from Styles’s t-shirt collection.
– Kurt Angle is returning to the U.K. next weekend. Angle is scheduled for the London Film & Comic Con on February 27 and 28. (Event Info)
– Tommy Dreamer talked to U.K.-based Total Wrestling Magazine ahead of an upcoming U.K. independent tour. Dreamer talked about trying to fit the Mick Foley/Terry Funk from 20 years ago in ECW working with today’s younger generation of wrestlers.
– 2K Sports officially announced plans for the “WWE 2K16” video game to be released March 11 on the Windows PC system. The game will mirror the versions for the PS4 and Xbox One. Details on the Downloadable Content included in the PC version can be found at 2K.com.
– 2K Sports also announced an update for Season 2 of the “WWE Supercard” mobile game. New features include “Team Ring Domination,” Team People’s Champion, and Chat toasts. The game is available for free download in the App Store, Amazon Appstore, and Google Play Store. (More Info on the update at 2K.com)
– A “Go Fund Me” campaign has launched to help cover funeral costs for the mother of “Blue Meanie” Brian Heffron. “Mama Meanie,” as she was affectionately known to Heffron’s Twitter followers, died on February 11 after a lengthy illness.
Sean Hoff, a friend of Heffron’s, established the fund with a goal of $8,500. As of Wednesday night, the campaign had raised close to half that amount within two days. (More information at GoFundMe.com. Follow Blue Meanie on Twitter @BlueMeanieBWO)
– WWE is planning to re-launch DVD sales in Spain throughout 2016. Included will be a Spanish-language option, reports SoloWrestling.com.
– A seven-year-old boy fighting cancer, Gabriel, is reaching out to “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson hoping to meet him. After going through cancer treatments, Gabriel’s mom gave him some inspiration by noting Rock’s head is shaved like his. Gabriel made a poster hoping to reach Rock, which was picked up by the local NBC TV station in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (Thanks to Lou)
– TMZ caught up with Edge (Adam Copeland) to discuss Daniel Bryan’s retirement. Copeland also discussed his own retirement from neck injuries resulting from a history of ladder matches. “I fell off ladders a lot and that took a toll on the neck,” Copeland said.
– Injured WWE star Cesaro was interviewed by Gulf News promoting WWE’s post-WrestleMania tour of the Middle East in April. Cesaro wrapped up a promotional tour and talked about D-Bryan’s retirement, too.
– A teaser trailer has been released for WWE’s forthcoming Eric Bischoff DVD release, featuring soundbytes from former WCW wrestlers. The DVD is scheduled for release in June. (WrestlingDVDNetwork.com)
– Canadian independent wrestler Hannibal is campaigning to be Roy Jones, Jr.’s boxing opponent on the “UR Fight” PPV scheduled for March 20 in Phoenix. This is the PPV with Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio, Ken Shamrock, and others.