WWE Invests In Tout

If you were watching Raw this weekend and thought it was odd that they were touting a new video service other than YouTube, you weren’t alone. It was such an awkward plug that wasn’t explained (kind of like their storylines), but TechCruch has the scoop.

Tout, the service that lets you post real-time status updates, and another spin-out from SRI, the research institute that birthed Apple’s Siri, is announcing today that it has closed $13.4 million in Series B funding. The investor line-up in this one is interesting, as it includes WWE – yes, that’s “World Wrestling Entertainment!” Others in the round included 819 Capital and individual investors Gordon Crawford, Stan Shuman and Jack Schneider from Allen & Co. The round follows Tout’s $2 million Series A in December 2010, which saw investment from Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Horizons Ventures, and Seavest Ventures.

I believe Dana White has used it before, but the biggest celebrity user has to be Shaq O’Neal. You may remember when he announced his retirement, he did it through his Tout account.

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WrestleMania – The forgotten gems!

We all know about Bret vs. Austin, we’ve all talked at length about the HBK vs. ‘Taker series and we’ve all read all there is to read about the HBK/Razor Ladder match….

but what about the forgotten gems? The matches that maybe weren’t classics, but were really really enjoyable and have gotten lost in the forest of epic WrestleMania matches and moments. These are some matches that I know I look back at fondly:

WrestleMania 9:
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Headshrinkers
Big jacked up All American butting heads with savage Samoans – that’s Pro Wrestling to me. These two teams are right up there with my all time favourites and this was somewhat of a dream match for me, even as an 8 year old. Both teams brought their A games with Rick & Scott throwing the big bumping ‘Shrinkers all over the ring and eating some hefty offense themselves. A picture perfect Frankensteiner finish closed the book on this one.

WrestleMania 10:
Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna
When people think of Bret matches at Mania 10, this usually isn’t the one that comes to mind. However that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a hell of a match. Yoko was at his peak as a star here, a mountain of a man that nobody could overcome. He ran through Bret (with some help) in Vegas the year before and they told the story of Bret as the huge underdog well. Incredible psychology, and great work from both men.

WrestleMania 11:
Yokozuna & Owen Hart vs. The Smoking Gunns
In case you didn’t guess, I’m a big fan of Yoko. This was his big return after a long absence. I remember freaking out when Owen introduced him as his mystery partner, I thought Billy & Bart would be DONE FOR. But what makes this match so much fun is how much of a fight they put up. Ultimately it wasn’t enough though as the massive Yoko (he was really packing extra weight at this point) was just too much for them. The finish was hilarious as Owen took a limp, squished, dead to the world Billy Gunn and put him in an unnecessary Sharpshooter while posing.
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WWE Elimination Chamber 2011 Preview

Tonight’s Elimination Chamber continues a trend a number of fans don’t enjoy seeing — slowing down the build to WrestleMania.

Remember the years when you would have an idea who’s going to be fighting at WrestleMania right after the Royal Rumble? This year, we still don’t know what the main event is going to be.

This year, like the past few previous years, we don’t even know who the champion is going to be on the last Pay Per View before the grand-daddy of them all.

However, like cynical people, we do know that either Randy Orton or John Cena is going to be in the Main Event match at WrestleMania. But which one?

The Elimination Chamber gives 12 men a chance to be in the big WM Main Event match. Six on the Raw side, fighting for the top contender spot against The Miz or (gulp) Jerry Lawler, and six… no wait… five… no, it should be six… on the Smackdown side fighting for a chance to face top contender Alberto Del Rio. Or as some people would like to call him… “Who?”

Let’s go over the show match by match, with the order I’m guessing they’re going to run.

Match #1 — RAW Elimination Chamber match — John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk vs. John Morrison vs. R-Truth. The winner receives a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XXVII against either The Miz or Jerry Lawler. Yes, Jerry Lawler. You know, the color guy. Yeah, him.

So what is the Elimination Chamber? On the WWE website it states:

In each bout, six Superstars will enter this heinous structure – which is composed of two miles of chain and 10 tons of unforgiving steel – but only one can emerge with a lustrous World Title in their possession.

Rules:
1. Two Superstars will start the match while the remaining four are enclosed in glass pods.
2. At designated times, a pod will open at random, enabling a Superstar to enter the match. This will continue until all the competitors have been released.
3. A man is eliminated via pinfall or submission only.
4. The last man standing is the winner.

So why should this match go first? It’s got the biggest draws in Cena and Orton, but it’s also the match that means the least. All you’re gonna get here is a title shot.

We have ongoing feuds in this match, including Orton / Cena vs. CM Punk, John Morrison vs. Sheamus, and R-Truth vs. his annunciation. Of course Punk is going to have his New Nexus outside the ring cheering him and possibly slipping him a weapon or two or three. Sheamus is going to have to deal with the lingering shadow of Triple H, the man he put on the disabled list last year who’s primed for a return.

WHO SHOULD WIN
John Morrison. Hear me out. This man has been getting an ungodly push of late, with his acrobatics in the Royal Rumble, and his multiple wins over Sheamus. Sorry, King Sheamus. If Miz wins his match against Jerry Lawler, we get Miz vs. Morrison, where the Megalomaniacs Collide! And with Miz vs. Morrison, The Miz has won almost every single match between the two. At least all the matches I’ve seen between the two, either TV, PPV, or live.

WHO WILL WIN
John Cena. It looks like the WWE has decided to move on from the Cena vs. Nexus route, and instead feeding Randy Orton to CM Punk and the Nexus for WrestleMania. Just how many title shots is Randy Orton going to get, anyway? Plus with a feud between Cena and The Rock coming up, there’s a chance Rocky is going to swerve everybody at Mania and end up helping Cena win the title. Anybody else see that coming?

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2010 WWE Bragging Rights Preview

For the second year, the WWE releases a Pay Per View to sell a video game as Bragging Rights 2010 hits tonight.

In actuality, tonight’s card has potential. It’s too bad it’s the night after UFC 121.

We’ve got The Undertaker fresh from challenging Brock Lesnar to challenging his brother Kane for the World Heavyweight Championship match… in which you need to be buried alive to lose… more on that later.

The main event match between RAW and Smackdown superstars have the two teams fighting over a miniature Stanley Cup… and nothing else.

And then WWE Champion Randy Orton defends against Wade Barrett, who has John Cena in his corner. And if Cena doesn’t do what Barrett tells him to do, he’s out of NXT. Oh, and fired as well. Don’t ask me, ask the mystery RAW GM.

Let’s run down the show, which consists entirely of Smackdown vs. RAW matches so we can determine whom the better pre-booked brand is!

1. Goldust (with Aksana) (representing RAW) vs. Ted DiBiase (with Maryse) (representing RAW) — Okay, so I lied. The first match, is between two Raw superstars, with Goldust… wait a minute. Goldust? Facing off against Ted DiBiase? Million Dollar Belt in the picture? Is it 1991 all over again?

WHO SHOULD WIN: Ted DiBiase. No matter how good Goldust has been looking lately, especially with his fiancee Aksana at his side, didn’t that happen 11 years ago with Marlena and a cigar? Sure, it was nifty that Goldust stole the Million Dollar Belt as he enjoys his gold, but if they’re looking to do something with DiBiase, he needs to move on. I can see the WWE losing interest in Goldust in about two weeks.

WHO WILL WIN: I’m a big Goldust fan. I’m glad that Dustin Rhodes is looking great, moving fast, and has a charismatic blonde at his side. And the crowd is reacting well to him. But… doesn’t it feel like a skipping record? Ergo, DiBiase should and will win.

2. US Champion Daniel Bryan (representing RAW) vs. Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler (representing Smackdown) — Okay, here’s an idea. Instead of promoting this match a week before the Pay Per View, how about we build it up for a few months, and then have this match to UNITE the two titles? I know, dumb idea. But still, when typing in the names above, I accidentally wrote “Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan).

WHO SHOULD WIN: Daniel Bryan. The guy has a much brighter future as Dolph Ziggler, even though Ziggler is tall and blonde. He still needs big wins.

WHO WILL WIN: Dolph Ziggler. Why? He’s got a storyline behind him. Not only will Vickie Guerrero try to get him to lose, having NXT rookie Kaitlyn save him and giving him the win. Also, last time we saw Dolph he was tapping madly to the LeBell Lock before running away. Ergo, he needs to get whatever heat he may have back.

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WWE Preparing A Raid of Ring of Honor Talents

Alright…

I have not been able to confirm this from ANYBODY in WWE management yet and have only sourced it from TWO people. So if this does not come to fruition, then I wholeheartedly apologize but I feel this is important enough to put up right away.

Editor’s note: Mike Johnson from PWInsider.com did a story on this as well.

Apparently somebody within the upper levels of WWE management is VERY pissed about Ring of Honor moving their HD-Net television series to Monday Nights. Now keep in mind, ROH on HDNet is NOT a direct competitor to WWE Raw; their show comes on one hour earlier at 8PM Eastern. However for some reason or another, individuals who shall remain nameless see this as some kind of challenge or something. I really can’t speak for anybody, but something has certainly struck a nerve.

As a result, it has come to my attention that the eyes of WWE heirarchy are now focused on Ring of Honor more than ever before. There are talents that ROH spotlights that WWE has their eye on bringing in as part of their developmental program and as showcasing them as possible future WWE superstars. WWE has already attained a measure of success with one of ROH’s top guys; CM Punk, and has a number of ROH alumni come through the doors in the past several years (many of which went right back out the door). There has been talk amongst some of the people involved in talent relations (figure it out) about possibly raiding Ring of Honor and crippling them.
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Quick Raw Thoughts

This was one of my favourite WWE TV shows in years! Every single segment entertained me in one way or another. There was good wrestling, GREAT comedy and a hot ass crowd.

The opening was better than every other “guy interupts guy” interview segments in the last while. Everyone’s mic work was real good or whacky (KNOCK IT OFF GUYZ! – Adamle). Cody vs. Punk was a hell of a match. Cody bumped like a mother and leaned right into all Punk’s stuff like a champ. Punk was crisper than ever too. It was great.

You can’t go wrong with three Santino segments.

Sydal got the best match out of Kane in YEARS. And for all his trouble he got dropped by the big goof on his moonsault and landed on his face. How Kane fails to catch someone 1/3 his size is beyond me. But still, a cool match.

Cryme Time vs. Miz/Morrison was a damn miracle match. They had the building rocking towards the end. JTG and Shad have improved a ton to the point where JTG is a very good tag wrestler with awesome selling and Shad is able to pull off his big man moves and be a great HOUSE OF FIYAAH. Oh and the video hyping this was greatness.

Dave’s plowing young Kelly. Good times.

Charlie Haas as Mr. Perfect was GLORIOUS.

The main event was great. I guess the “all 6 man Raw main events are excellent” rule applies to 3 on 2 matches also. The heat towards the end was nuts.