– According to F4W, with WWE’s creative team working on storyline plans for early 2011, one top feud that’s being discussed is Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett. Barrett is said to be “super over” with WWE management and the Nexus leader has been pushed as the RAW brand’s top heel, a spot that was held by Sheamus earlier this year. Barrett has followed in the foot steps of Sheamus, getting over and generating a ton of heat after top programs with John Cena and Randy Orton.
As reported here earlier in the week, there are plans for Barrett to continue feuding with John Cena until the end of the year and then move on to a WrestleMania feud with The Undertaker, providing the Dead Man is healthy. Internally, Barrett and Sheamus are now considered worthy challengers of Randy Orton and John Cena, an accomplishment WWE is quite pleased with.
– WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin appeared on the Wresting Voice podcast this week and spoke about a number of topics. Here are some highlights of what Austin said about:
Hosting RAW In December: “I heard those rumors. I started hearing them last night and I started hearing them this morning on the computer. Man, I haven’t heard anything about that. I’m getting ready to leave to film a movie in a week. When I get done with that, I’ll be in Texas. Then, I’m coming back to work on another movie. If I’m supposed to be in Albany in December, I was figuring to be in Texas. Nobody has told me anything.”
The Rock’s Movie Career: “I think I’m about as separated from wrestling as I can get. It seems like I’ve been away forever. I’ll make an appearance every now and then to promote something on Raw, but I think I’m about as far as away from it as I can get. That said, I love the wrestling business and I love my fans, but I’m not in the mix anymore.”
Undertaker & Lesnar’s Confrontation: “It looked like they were attempting something. My opinion, when I look at the UFC and WWE, trying to mix those two is like oil and water. I don’t see anything happening out of it.”
– A “rogue” version of Tuesday’s NXT show has leaked online – and WWE officials are said to be furious about it. The leaked episode features WWE’s production channel instead of the “announcer’s commentary” from announcers Josh Matthews and Michael Cole. The producer, believed to be Kevin Dunn, can be heard giving cues to people, using foul language and revealing intimate details as to how the WWE product is put together behind the scenes.
A similar situation happened several years ago, when a video leaked online of The Undertaker and Paul Bearer rehearsing Paul Bearer being “buried alive” in concrete at the 2004 Great American Bash. The video exposed a side of the business that WWE works very hard to protect.
The rogue version of Tuesday’s NXT broadcast has hit various video sharing websites, including YouTube, but the videos are quickly taken down at WWE’s request.
– As part of its Third Quarter 2010 financial results that were released on Thursday morning, WWE released the official pay-per-view buyrates and revenues for the quarter–and no surprise here, they’re down from last year.
WWE’s 3 pay-per-view events from July-September generated $13.6M which is down 6.2% from $14.5M in same quarter in 2009. PPV buys were down an alarming 16% from the same quarter last year.
Here is the breakdown:
Money in the Bank (July) did 165,000 buys, down from the 267,000 buys that Night of Champions drew in July 2009.
SummerSlam (August) did 350,000 buys, down from the 369,000 buys that SummerSlam 2009 drew.
Night of Champions (September) did a 165,000 buys, down from the 169,000 buys earned by the Breaking Point in September 2009.
It’s worth noting that WWE raised the price of pay-per-view events by $5 this year .. One could make the argument that the company would have likely sold more PPV events had the price remained lower, but PPV buyrates and overall PPV revenue are down either way.
– Linda McMahon’s campaign issued the following to her mailing list:
It has been my honor and pleasure to have had the opportunity to run for the United States Senate here in Connecticut.
I couldn’t have done it without you. Your faith and trust in me during the past 13 months has meant so very much.
I have thoroughly enjoyed traveling around our beautiful state from the northwest corner, to the quiet corner down along the shoreline and into Fairfield county with points in between. We racked up 52,000 miles on the campaign vehicle but the journey has been a joy.
I am also very proud of the campaign that we have run. Our ground game was tremendous: hardworking volunteers like you knocked on 100,000 doors, made more than 400,000 phone calls and proudly placed countless yard signs in front of your homes and businesses.
My campaign’s focus was on economic recovery and job creation, and today, that same focus must remain the top priority of our newly elected officials. Let us all make sure they have our support for the good of our state and our country.
The United States is the best place to live in and I truly believe we as American’s have a strength and resolve that will pull us through these next few unpredictable years. We must look ahead and bring ourselves to remember as President Ronald Reagan once said, “If you’re afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.”
Thank you all for your heartfelt support and encouragement. Sincerely,
– Cardinals’ 1B Albert Pujols told reporters Thursday in the Dominican Republic that he is hoping to spend the rest of his career in St. Louis. Albert has mentioned this before, but it’s more pertinent now because he is entering the final year of his current contract. The slugger finished with yet another impressive display of numbers in 2010, including a .312/.414/.596 batting line, and will probably be asking for a record-breaking extension if negotiations do take place this winter.
– The Red Sox have exercised DH David Ortiz’s $12.5M option for 2011. Ortiz was hoping to negotiate a multi-year contract, but GM Theo Epstein is smarter than that. The 34-year-old batted .270/.370/.529 with 32 homers, 102 RBI and an 899 OPS this season. If he could repeat those numbers around a healthier supporting cast in 2011, the Red Sox would be thrilled.
– The Blue Jays have acquired C Miguel Olivo from the Rockies for a PTBNL. FOXSports.com’s Tracy Ringolsby said Wednesday that the Rockies declined Olivo’s option for 2011, making him a free agent–that report was apparently incorrect. Olivo will head up to Toronto, where he should split time with youngster J.P Arencibia for at least the first half of the 2011 season. Arencibia is poised to take over by late July.
– Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Marlins are offering 2B Dan Uggla a 4-year contract extension, but that the second baseman seeks a5 -year deal. Heyman writes that Uggla would earn $8M in the first year of the proposed contract, only a slight raise from the $7.8M salary he earned in 2010. Unless the contract is heavily-backloaded, the Marlins will have to do better than that.
– Dodgers’ OF Scott Podsednik declined his $2M option for 2011 and elected to become a free agent. The Dodgers exercised the mutual option on Tuesday, but Podsednik would rather take his chances in the free agent waters. He will not receive a buyout. The 34-year-old outfielder batted .297/.342/.382 with six homers, 51 RBI and 35 stolen bases between the Royals and Dodgers this season.
– The Braves have claimed OF Joe Mather off waivers from the Cardinals. Mather spent most of the season with Triple-A Memphis, but batted .217 with four doubles and three RBI in 60 at-bats with big club. The 28-year-old has now been given the chance to win the backup job at first base. He’s capable of playing outfield and even third base, and it sounds like he might land a super-utility job on Atlanta’s MLB roster next season.
– C Guillermo Quiroz and OF Ryan Langerhans have filed for free agency.
– According to Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, the Mets will interview Wally Backman Saturday for their managerial opening. New GM Sandy Alderson is going to fly out to San Diego for a face-to-face chat with Backman, so it sounds serious. Some reporters close to the team have considered Backman a longshot because of his personal issues, but he’s most definitely in the running. The Mets are expected to interview several other candidates for the vacancy this winter.
– According to NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora, Bills’ OLB Shawne Merriman is headed to Buffalo to report to the team. This is good news for both parties, as the linebacker would have faced discipline from the league if he did not report before Tuesday. Merriman won’t play in Week 9 against Chicago, but should be available for the team’s eight remaining games.
– According to ESPN.com’s John Clayton, Colts’ WR Anthony Gonzalez (left PCL)’s left knee injury is to the PCL after taking a “cheap shot” from Texans’ SS Bernard Pollard Monday night. ESPN agrees with the Indianapolis Star’s speculation that Gonzalez will miss significant time, perhaps the rest of the season, with the injury. A PCL injury and subsequent complications to his right knee in 2009 kept Gonzalez out 15 games. Expect WR Austin Collie to play the slot in Week 9, with WR Blair White staying in the fourth receiver role.
– Titans’ WR Randy Moss reportedly told Vikings’ owner Zigy Wilf and several other team executives “in no uncertain terms” that Brad Childress was not a good coach and needed to be fired. The incident took place in the visitor’s locker room after last week’s loss at New England and just before Moss’ rambling post-game praise of the Pats. Since Moss was placed on waivers, Wilf has met with several key veterans to discuss Childress among other topics. Moss’ attitude was a major problem in his month with the Vikings, but he was right about Childress’ coaching ability. Childress also made a mistake in not checking with the owner before he made up his mind to dump Moss. Chilly’s job security is in serious jeopardy come season’s end.
– Vikings’ coach Brad Childress said Thursday that there’s still no timetable for WR Sidney Rice (hip) to return to game action. Chilly said Rice “most probably” won’t play Sunday. “My offensive coordinator’s tempted to want to (play him). But we’re erring on the side of caution, at least for this week.” Rice’s hip is fully healed and he’s “cleared completely” for practice going forward. At this point, he’s concentrating on getting into football shape and having the muscle tightness subside.
– Brian Allee-Walsh of NewOrleans.com reports that Saints’ RB Pierre Thomas was nearly traded to the Patriots leading up to the October 19 deadline. The Saints were targeting a cornerback, possibly Darius Butler in return, but talks stopped when the Patriots asked for a draft pick to be thrown in. Thomas is unlikely to get the long-term extension he’s been asking for.
– Raiders’ coach Tom Cable acknowledged Thursday that WR Chaz Schilens (knee)’s August knee surgery wasn’t just a simple scope as the head coach originally led us to believe. “I think the procedure that was done was not something real minor or anything like that. It was fairly extensive, so it takes time.” Proof that head coaches will lie and mislead about the health of their players and the timetables for their return to action. Schilens is getting closer, but he’s still not practicing.
– The Stars have signed G Jack Campbell to a 3-year/entry level contract. Campbell was the 11th overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. He is currently playing for the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL where he is 6-5-1 with a .882 SV% and a 3.81 GAA. Campbell led the Americans to the World Junior Hockey Championship last season as well as the Under-18 team. He will likely backstop the US once again this year when the tournament starts on December 26 in Buffalo. Campbell is a high-potential player but he will need more than a few years to become relevant in the NHL.
– In a piece of old news, the Flames have signed D Mark Giordano to a 5-year/$20.1M extension. The deal is reportedly worth $4.02M annually, a sizable raise over the $1.075M he’s making in 2010-11. Giordano broke out last season with 11 goals and 30 points in 82 games. He could reach the 40-point marker this season.
– In a piece of old news, the California State Athletic Commission has suspended 13 fighters for various injuries sustained during this Saturday’s UFC 121 event inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, namely Brock Lesnar. He will be forced to remain inactive maximum of 180 days due to the facial laceration below his eye that he suffered in his loss to Cain Velasquez. The controversial wrestler can return to action after just 60 days with clearance from a ophthalmologist.