This Week in ‘E – Turning a Profit

Opening Witty Banter
Welcome back one and all to week two of This Week in ‘E. The crew from Stamford is coming off a big time No Way Out pay per view. Looking at the results and fan reactions it looks like it was a successful and entertaining show, with a couple of surprises added in for good measure. One thing’s for sure, the Road to WrestleMania just got a little clearer. We are now about a month and a half away from the biggest wrestling event of the year, which should theoretically mean that WWE will be at their creative peak for the next six weeks as they prepare for the big dance.

As for me, I’ll be your navigation guide for all things related to WWE as things heat up.

The Big Story
There was no big, earth-shattering story coming out of WWE-land this week, but perhaps the biggest news was that yes, WWE is still making money and is quite profitable.

On February 12, WWE released their fourth quarter earnings and it turns out people still like WWE and the company is still making a boatload of money. I’m not going to get into all the gory financial details but apparently posted revenue of $132.6 million for this three-month quarter. This was also the final quarter in the fiscal year and released their year-end total, to the tune of a whopping $485.7 million. Apparently that’s a record for WWE. Those figures compare to the $107.6 million for the fourth quarter last year and $415.3 million for all of last year.

Folks, that is some serious bank. Knock WWE all you want, but they are still THE flagship in the professional wrestling business, and I emphasis business there. The company made that much money in a year mired by death, scandals, steroids and a plague of injuries. Their live event gate was also up from last year, although some of that can be attributed to the removal of dismal ECW-only house shows that didn’t draw well in 2006. Their WWE 24/7 OnDemand service is slowly growing as well, and should see even more increase throughout this year. And I can’t forget to mention the success of various DVD releases, especially John Cena’s “My Life” compilation. Whether we like to admit or not, John Cena draws people in and moves merchandise like crazy. Also other acts like DeGeneration X, The Hardy Boyz and Rey Mysterio are huge merchandise sellers and contribute to WWE’s moneymaking ways. Kudos to everyone at WWE for this success.

Everything Else Fit For Print
Fayette County, Georgia, investigators sent out a press release stating that the Chris Benoit case is officially closed. Their statement says “After careful examination of all evidence collected by investigators, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office concludes that between Friday, June 22, 2007 and Sunday, June 24, 2007, Christopher Benoit took the lives of his wife, Nancy, and their son, Daniel, before ending his own life.”

Well it’s good to see that the investigation is officially closed after six months of turmoil. There’s a bunch of litigation still floating around in regards to other aspects regarding the Benoit tragedy, but I’m glad at least one part of the mess is finally cleaned up.

A few months back WWE sent out letters to all their current and former performers allowing them the chance to enroll in drug or alcohol rehabilitation treatment if they so chose, with WWE completely footing the bill. Well according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Scott Hall and Ron Simmons have all taken them up on their offer, and the three men are all currently enrolled in the same rehab facility.

Both Hall and Roberts’ drug and alcohol problems have been well documented over the years so it’s good that they are serious about getting some good treatment. Roberts especially has apparently turned over a new leaf and posted comments regarding his stay on his MySpace page. I find it hard to fathom that Jake “The Snake” has a MySpace but here’s proof and a glowing testimonial from Roberts. As for Simmons, I guess I hadn’t noticed his weekly “Damn” segment had gone missing on Ron, but best of luck to him as he tries to kick what I’m sure is a wicked alcohol problem.

In slightly related news, WWE developmental talent Ted DiBiase, Jr. was recently busted down in Florida for a DUI. He’s apparently out of jail and back in action already. WWE didn’t find out about until it posted in the local media.

This isn’t really big news but I thought it tied into the previous news bit. Here’s hoping everything turns out alright for young Mr. DiBiase. DUI’s aren’t anything to joke about and it’s good nothing serious happened while he was behind the wheel. I’m sure his old man had a thing or two to say Junior in regards to this little incident.

In the other big story of the week, WWE’s action figure license with Jakks Pacific will expire in 2009. Mattel will then take over the WWE license starting in 2010 for a five-year deal. Jakks meanwhile has signed a deal with TNA Wrestling that will also start in 2010.

The ramifications of this deal won’t be felt for a quite a while yet, but it’s worth noting now. The action figure line is a big seller for WWE and it should be interesting to see how things change with a new partnership. Pulse Wrestling’s PK is an expert in this regard and I’m sure he will have a more knowledgeable perspective on this story in his next edition of “You Don’t Know Jakks.”

Variety.com is reporting that WWE Films’ newest movie will be called “12 Rounds” and will star John Cena. Shooting starts on February 25 in New Orleans and will be directed by Renny Harlin. The film will be released to theatres in 2009 by 20th Century Fox, as opposed to a rumored direct-to-DVD release. The film follows Cena is a cop who gets into a 12 round “battle of wits” against some bad guy to save his girlfriend.

Sounds like a pretty paint-by-numbers film much “The Marine,” but it should do as well or if not better as Cena’s previous effort. The guy’s over, and women and children love him. He’s got a built in fanbase and is charismatic enough that it should be a success for him and the company.

Stephanie McMahon and Triple H are pregnant with her second kid.

In all seriousness, good for them. In all joking, I really hope it’s a boy. I want to see “Quadruple H” beat his old man at WrestleMania 50 or something. Or maybe he’ll be able to screw a Hart family member out of the WWE Championship. Or maybe he’ll be the one who will finally retire Ric Flair. Or maybe…the jokes are endless.

RAW’s On Tonight!
With the final pay per view before WrestleMania in the books, things on RAW should really start getting good. The only announced match is a Hornswoggle-Mr. McMahon steel cage match that I’m sure will just be riveting. Also, Santino Marella gave Maria an ultimatum – either Playboy or Santino. Considering Maria’s already done the posing I think we all know the answer to that one, but it should provide for some good Santino wackiness~! Also expect so No Way Out fall out as Triple H is set for a WWE Championship at WrestleMania and John Cena will be looking for some revenge against Randy Orton.

On Last Week’s Episode…
R. Phillip Provencio and Hepple bring down the SmackDown! love.

Other Guys Who Write Good Stuff
VS makes its long-awaited return, with yours truly in hosting duties.

Scott Keith rants on some old-school World Championship Wrestling.

In Case You Didn’t Spend the $40
No Way Out was last night, and from the sounds of it, it was a pretty decent show. Steve Murray (hey, welcome back!) was here for IP’s real-time coverage.

Here’s the quick ‘n’ dirty results:
Chavo Guerrero beat CM Punk clean as a whistle in an ECW Championship match.

Undertaker won the SmackDown!/ECW Elimination Chamber match.
~ Batista pinned Big Daddy V
~ Undertaker submitted Great Khali
~ Finlay pinned MvP
~ Undertaker pinned Finlay
~ Undertaker pinned Batista

Ric Flair made Mr. Kennedy submit to the figure four.

Edge pinned Rey Mysterio in a World Championship match.

The Big Show returned, looking about 100 lbs. lighter. He attacked Rey Mysterio which caused boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. to jump in the ring and brawl with Show. Apparently Mayweather legit busted Show’s nose during the melee. It looks to be hype for a big WrestleMania confrontation.

John Cena beat Randy Orton by disqualification in a WWE Championship match. Orton got himself intentionally disqualified by hitting the referee.

Triple H won the RAW Elimination Chamber match.
~ Chris Jericho pinned JBL
~ Jericho pinned Umaga
~ Jeff Hardy pinned Jericho
~ Triple H pinned Shawn Michaels
~ Triple H pinned Hardy

IP Staff Roundtable Results for the Royal Rumble
I’m taking over the reigns from my man Vinny T. in regards to PPV roundtable results for our staff writers. Click here for the predictions of the staff. Now let’s see how they fared after last night’s show.

Roundtable Champion: Six Way Tie For First!

Andrew Wheeler
WWE No Way Out (2.17.08): 5-1
Total: 72-30

Brad Curran
WWE No Way Out (2.17.08): 5-1
Total: 11-2

Danny Cox
WWE No Way Out (2.17.08): 5-1
Total: 129-105

Iain Burnside
WWE No Way Out (2.17.08): 5-1
Total: 113-56

Paul Beasley
WWE No Way Out (2.17.08): 5-1
Total: 30-15

Paul Marshall
WWE No Way Out (2.17.08): 5-1
Total: 40-22

Matthew Michaels
WWE No Way Out (2.17.08): 4-2
Total: 107-90

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