Forbes has accumulated a ton of behind the scenes WWE news. This article sheds light of possible plan changes for WrestleMania 32, Brock Lesnar’s new contract, WWE NXT being the next big touring show, Steve Austin’s retirement, several former WWE stars filing a lawsuit, and how the WWEshop.com sales are going up despite falling ratings.
John Cena To Face Roman Reigns At WrestleMania 32?
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com), many of the top WrestleMania match plans have changed, a result of Rollins’ injury, breaking news on The Rock’s status as well as a little creative indecision.
We noted before via PWInsider that John Cena vs. The Undertaker is one of the planned main events for WWE’s WrestleMania 32 next year. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports this week that Cena vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title was planned, at least before Seth Rollins got injured. This goes with the report that Reigns was set to win the title from Rollins at Survivor Series or soon after.
The Observer reports that Rollins was set to face Triple H at WrestleMania 32. The Rock vs. Triple H had been planned but the Rollins match was just recently chosen as WWE creative were told that both Rock and Ronda Rousey wouldn’t be available to wrestle next year.”
Brock Lesnar’s WWE Deal Renegotiated
From 2012-2014, you could bank on seeing Brock Lesnar on WWE programming just a handful of times each year, but you may have noticed that “The Beast” has been around a lot more in 2015.
And there’s a very logical reason for that, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc):
In regards to Brock Lesnar’s most recent WWE contract that included extra dates and more money, apparently they have re-negotiated to add even more new dates and more money.”
WWE NXT Expected To Become A Touring Brand
Back in the days of the brand split, the WWE had an internal competition between its two biggest brands, Raw and SmackDown, until the brand split officially ended in 2011.
Now, it appears as if the WWE is set to kick off another battle of the brands, but according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t SEScoops), it will be a different brand competing against the main roster superstars this time around:
If Triple H and others have their way, NXT will become a full-blown touring brand by the end of 2017, which means a lot of expanding and growth planned for NXT next year. There is reportedly talk of WWN helping to fill some of the void that is created when NXT does go on the road full-time. The idea is that NXT talents who aren’t perceived to be ready for touring can take bookings with WWN in Florida while WWE helps with some of the costs.”
Steve Austin Not Wrestling Again
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin has said countless times that he doesn’t see himself ever wrestling again, but maybe if he says it just one more time, people will start to believe him.
On his latest podcast, Austin said that he “doesn’t need to wrestle anymore,” implying yet again that he’s already competed in the last match of his career:
“…I’m not willing to do anything that my heart’s not set on. I love my fans, I love the WWE fans, I love wrestling fans, I love wrestling… I just don’t need to wrestle anymore.”
Contract Details Revealed For Several Former WWE Wrestlers
Several former WWE stars filed lawsuits against the WWE earlier this year, with the widow of former King of the Ring winner Mabel (also known as Viscera and Big Daddy V) filing a wrongful death lawsuit while three lesser known WWE stars filed concussion-related lawsuits, which are still pending.
Now, Chris Harringston of Indeed Wrestling, who last month posted Hulk Hogan’s insane 1998 WCW contract, has revealed contract details for the four superstars involved in those aforementioned lawsuits, and here are the key takeaways:
- Of the eight years that he spent in WWE between 1994 and 2008, only once did Mabel (real name Nelson Frazier Jr.) make more than $178,000.
- First-year downside guarantee for Matthew R. Weise (a.k.a. Luther Reigns): $75,000
- Downside guarantee for Ryan Sakoda: $52,000
- Downside guarantee for Russell McCullough: $60,000
WWE Shop Sales Up Significantly
WWE’s Shop website processed 1,500 orders per day in September 2015, up 61% from 933 per day in September 2014, 567 per day in 2013 and 666 per day in 2012. The increase is due to mobile phone orders.”
Despite TV viewership taking an enormous drop throughout 2015, that still hasn’t prevented fans from buying a ton of merchandise, as the aforementioned statistics show that daily WWE Shop orders for September nearly doubled over the last three years. The increase is being attributed to cell phone orders, but can also be taken as a sign that the WWE’s business isn’t nearly as bad as many think it is.