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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – How to Make the New RAW & Smackdown Brand Extension Successful

NOTE FROM TITO: I’m monitoring the situation with Brock Lesnar, but I’m letting the situation play out. In case you haven’t heard yet, Lesnar has been alerted by UFC regarding a possible violation from a sample specimen taken on June 28th (Los Angeles Times/Wrestling Observer). Lesnar has already responded with “we will get to the bottom of this” to the Associated Press. Until more information is known, no comment… But damn, if true, the hammer will fall if WWE’s Wellness Policy missed something on their end and also Lesnar’s UFC 200 victory. STAY TUNED.

—————————–

Follow Mr. Tito on Twitter.com: @titowrestling

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. So, the Brand Extension train is coming and there’s nothing that I can do to stop it. For months now, I’ve tried to advise against it… (a) WWE Roster is too think and (b) Creative infrastructure cannot handle it. However, the WWE is beholden to the USA Networks and their absurd desire to host 5 hours of LIVE wrestling content on back-to-back days. Plus, I can only shout so loud with this column as many WWE lemmings are willing to jump off the cliff with this brand split idea.

But hey, I pride myself on writing a column that doesn’t just complain. I give ideas and advise wrestling promotions to the best of my abilities based on my many years as a wrestling fan and my actual experience working in a corporate setting.

Therefore, I will attempt to advise how to make the 2016 RAW/Smackdown Brand Extension successful… I’ll be honest and professional as possible, even though I’m completely repulsed by the idea that Stephanie McMahon remains on RAW… But I’ll keep the Stephanie bashing reserved and let you enjoy it in my last column. Again, if you want to remain a wrestling fan, you’ll have to endure the significant changes happening to RAW, Smackdown, and indirectly, NXT. Bigtime roll of the dice that if done correctly, could work… But the WWE cannot fumble the ball.

HOW TO MAKE THE WWE BRAND SPLIT OF 2016 SUCCESSFUL

Don’t Create a New World Title
Here’s my plan for the Titles on the RAW/Smackdown brand extension of 2016:
– Intercontinental Title – RAW Exclusive Singles Title
– United States Title – Smackdown Exclusive Singles Title
– *NEW* WWE Television Title – Must be defended on BOTH RAW and Smackdown each and every week – Champion is allowed to travel to each brand and returns to their drafted brand once title is lost. TV Title is also required to be defended on Pay Per Views. I would also recommend 10-15 minute time limits that are mentioned and sold.
– WWE Title, Women’s Title, and Tag Titles remain and champions are allowed to travel to each brand. When they lose their respective titles, they return to their drafted brand. Make the WWE Title special… Move it to the brand in need and make it feel *special* whenever the WWE Champion appears on a brand. In fact, I would use the WWE Title for dark matches following televised events to help pack in larger audiences for the show. Ditto for Women’s Title and Tag Titles. Champions appear on the brand with the wrestler(s) they are feuding with and move when needed.

WWE Title, Women’s, and Tag Titles do NOT have to be on every RAW/Smackdown show. Use the “30 Day Defense” rule. I would let the Intercontinental and United States Titles become the primary titles of each brand along with the Television Title. Protect the WWE Title and make it a special attraction for the WWE Network for its defense. WWE Champion doesn’t have to appear on every RAW/Smackdown show if the IC Title/United States Title are booked right. Ditto with having the Television Title appearing on both brands.

Raid NXT – But evolve the promotion into a Cruiserweight Promotion
Samoa Joe, Nakamura, American Alpha, Revival, Finn Balor, Bailey, and Asuka should be called up to the Main WWE roster. THEY ARE READY FOR THE BIG TIME. With that being said, the NXT roster is completely depleted… However, WWE is hosting the Cruiserweight Classic… The wrestling world is thick with smaller wrestlers who are incredibly talented as this CWC will prove. Hire them and let them be on the NXT brand once the talent raid happens. Hell, even create the NXT Cruiserweight Title.

Hire Kurt Angle as RAW General Manager
Angle is the PERFECT man for the job. We haven’t seen him in the WWE since 10 years ago and there is some legitimate tension that still exists from his exit that WWE could utilize. He’s an amazing speaker who has the talent to switch between heel and face to combat talent. But he could also talk down Stephanie McMahon, too. After all, they could actually play up their 2000 storyline romance to create some workplace sexual tension that could draw well. Angle is PERFECT to headline RAW as its General Manager (or COO?).

Keep Stephanie McMahon away from Male Wrestlers… But push her HARD against Females
Stephanie has given male wrestlers tons of damage over the years, particularly WWE Champions that the McMahons weren’t all the way sold on (Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, etc.). She has been able to talk them down and ZERO revenge happens. Yes, that is domestic violence… But female wrestlers can hit back. We saw that with Brie Bella but the WWE could do better with the babyface opponent. Bayley vs. Stephanie McMahon is PERFECT and it could easily rip pages out of Austin vs. Vince and get away with it. Better yet, the WWE could play up that Stephanie is CRAZY jealous over Bayley because (a) Stephanie’s daughters consider her a hero and (b) Triple H is proud of Bayley’s accomplishments. The heat is there and better yet, Stephanie can actually wrestle. Stephanie versus the Women’s Division creates a compelling storyline that is much needed for the 3 hour RAW.

Change the Production/Look of Smackdown
I have to credit Mr. Jason Powell from his appearance on the Jim Ross Podcast for this idea… If Smackdown just looked different from a production standpoint, such as different camera angles, lighting, stages, format, etc. Powell was suggesting even letting another producer run Smackdown but I doubt Kevin Dunn would give up his precious spot in that WWE Production Truck. However, Dunn himself can change things up for Smackdown’s production and push that Shane McMahon is in charge and making recommended changes.

Treat RAW/Smackdown like Sports Franchises
I suggested this in another column… NO 2017 Draft to reshuffle the deck. We’re DONE with that. What I recommend is that RAW and Smackdown are treated like professional sports franchises to perform the following:
(a) No more Drafts of existing wrestlers or reshuffling – RAW/Smackdown must trade with each other for changes.
(b) However – Have an annual “rookie” Draft of developmental wrestlers. WWE could play up wrestlers working their way up in developmental and hype the importance of each brand drafting first. Furthermore, RAW/Smackdown could trade draft picks for existing wrestlers…
(c) Bidding system for any free agents who are joining the main WWE rosters.
(d) Both have a Salary Cap/Fixed # Quota of Wrestlers that both Commissioners have to abide by and need to consider making “cuts” if they go over the Cap/Quota.
(e) Both have open Injury Lists and can place wrestlers on the Injured Reserve/Disabled List. When placing a wrestler on the DL, this allows RAW/Smackdown an open roster spot for considerations.

Non-Title Matches are BANNED
Either the Title is on the line or the champions don’t wrestle… Just place the damn titles on the line and use the simple mechanics of DISQUALIFICATIONS, COUNTOUTS, and TIME LIMITS to protect the champions. Remember – titles cannot change hands when those 3 events occur, except when specified. How do you think Ric Flair made fans believe that ANY wrestler could take his WCW World Title? He used that Disqualifications rule to his advantage to remain champion. If you don’t use one of the 3 methods, let the heels cheat to win. It builds heat.

Use Paul Heyman on a Creative Team
Stating the obvious. Heyman was the Creative Lead for Smackdown during 2002-2004. It is a FACT that Smackdown outdrew RAW regularly. Midcarders need this guy and guys like Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev, Jack Swagger, the Miz, etc. could use Heyman’s creativity to get their characters over.

RAW’s 3rd Hour becomes TV-14 or even TV-MA
How to you make RAW interesting for 3 hours? Make the 3rd hour, which airs from 10pm to 11pm, to fly off the handle! Let the language get rougher, let the violence increase, etc. WWE can more than advertise that the first 2 hours of RAW are “safe” but that it’s up to the parents’ discretion to let their kids watch hour #3 or not.

Hype matches ahead of time
Can’t say this enough… Announce at least 3 matches ahead of time for each show. Too much booking on the fly, or the appearance of, has eroded the credibility of WWE to appear like a valid sporting event.

Trademark Finishers & Submission Holds
Not a Brand Extension suggestion per say, but my usual recommendation… Why can’t every wrestler just do John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment to win a match? Ditto for the RKO or Pedigree? WWE needs to create a Trademark Office that allows wrestlers to “trademark” ONE unique finishing move and unique ONE submission hold. If, for example, Brock Lesnar did an RKO on Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2016, Lesnar would be disqualified. Automatic rule. It protects the finisher and eliminates the logic of “why isn’t the entire roster doing RKO finishers?”.

END Hell in a Cell, TLC, and Extreme Rules Pay Per Views
Just do it… Those gimmick Pay Per Views are STUPID. “Hey, it’s October, time to wrestle in a big freakin’ cage”. Better yet, TLC is completely redundant with Money in the Bank’s Pay Per View. Lots of WCW Pay Per View names to use, but also RAW/Smackdown brand specific names used from the past as well.

Put Sponsors on the Ring, Tights, etc., and make it brand specific.
Said it for years… WWE is missing out on a ton of advertising dollars by not placing ads on the ring, turnbuckles, posts, ring barriers, ring apron, and wrestler tights. I know that advertisers can cheap it up, but who cares what’s on the ring when someone gets bodyslammed on it?

Put wrestling veterans and former creative guys on the WWE Creative Team
Jim Ross, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Vince Russo, Dutch Mantel, Bruce Pritchard, Jim Cornette, Kevin Nash, and a whole list of wrestling veterans are out there and have in-ring knowledge to give. I’m NOT saying giving these guys full reign, but many of those guys know the business extremely well. Austin and Foley, in particular, are untapped as creative forces… Just listen to Austin’s Podcast and you’ll hear how intelligent he is about the business. Foley is a creative writer who has published a handful of books. WWE needs more WRESTING guys to get in the ear of Vince McMahon to help him produce a better WRESTLING product.

And finally…

Triple H & Vince McMahon – Limited Use on TV
Vince and Triple H are just too powerful in the WWE… Vince is CEO/Board Chairman, Triple H can wrestle just 1-2 times a year and yet he’s dominant. “Less is more” with both of those guys as they always suck the air out of the room upon arrival. The more important thing to perform while HHH is used less on television is continue his training as an executive. What he’s missing is the financial side of things. Much of HHH’s past before wrestling was bodybuilding and working in gyms. Could he fully comprehend changes in WWE’s Balance Sheet, Income Statement, or other key ratios? Does he know how to make projections for shareholders? Does he know how to manage wrestler salaries?

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LAST WORD: So there you go… Legitimate ideas to consider for the RAW/Smackdown brand extension. I still worry about the Roster and the Creative Infrastructure, but that’s just my opinion. I HOPE THAT I’M WRONG and that it’s a success. I’m still a pro wrestling fan and want to continue being a pro wrestling fan. I really dislike what might happen to the NXT brand which I’ve really enjoyed for the last year. I personally thought that WWE achieved legitimate success with the NXT brand and could have made that into the true #2 brand instead of splitting RAW and Smackdown again.

Again – I hope that I’m wrong about my RAW/Smackdown brand extension worries… But if I am, opportunity knocks for other promotions to rise up and strike. I’m afraid that ship has already sailed and the brand extension’s failure to make new stars could put nails in pro wrestling’s column.

I always laugh at the argument of the “Brand Extension creates new stars”. NO, Paul Heyman creates new stars. Aside from Batista and sort of with Randy Orton, what did RAW create again from 2002-2011? Lots of Rodney Mack, Snitsky, and Eugene wrestlers created… Umaga wasn’t bad, though, and is an example of a random tag wrestler getting an opportunity. When I keep mentioning the “Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002”, it’s very specific to producing the 2 biggest stars of today’s WWE, John Cena and Brock Lesnar, two “Paul Heyman Guys” from Smackdown 2002-2004. And Edge, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio Jr., and others saw serious growth during 2002-2004. And Heyman salvaged CM Punk when he was at Ohio Valley Wrestling.

Heyman is RIGHT THERE, WWE… He’s on your freakin’ roster. USE HIM!

SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!

Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK – How to Make the New RAW & Smackdown Brand Extension Successful

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Lesnar notified of potential doping violation

Source: ESPN.com

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Brock Lesnar of a potential doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition drug test administered June 28.

Lesnar, 39, returned to the Octagon for the first time since December 2011 to defeat Mark Hunt via decision. The pro wrestling star remains under contract with WWE and declined to say whether he would fight in a UFC match again.

Lesnar told The Associated Press in a statement, “we will get to the bottom of this.”

The UFC announced Lesnar’s potential violation on Friday. In a statement, the UFC said it was not informed of the potential violation until Thursday which explains why Lesnar was able to compete at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas.

“The UFC organization was notified today that [USADA] has informed Brock Lesnar of a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 28,” the statement said. “USADA received the testing results from the June 28 sample collection from the [World Anti-Doping Agency]-accredited UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory on the evening of July 14.”

Under the UFC’s anti-doping program, which is administered by USADA and went into effect in July 2015, results management and adjudication of the case falls to USADA, as well as the Nevada State Athletic Commission, due to the fact Lesnar’s fight took place in Las Vegas.

The NSAC is already involved in another case regarding UFC 200. Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who was removed from UFC 200 three days prior to the event due to a potential violation, is also facing discipline from the NSAC.

Lesnar (6-3) announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in 2015, but ultimately decided to return to the UFC for a “one-off,” to which WWE agreed.

Lesnar has not before tested positive for banned substances in his UFC career. It is also unknown at this time what the potential doping violation is for a banned substance or a banned methodology.

The AP also obtained copies of three letters from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to Lesnar, informing the fighter that he had passed tests on three samples submitted over a nine-day period in mid-June, mere days before the sample with the potential violation was collected.

It is standard procedure for USADA to not immediately divulge the cause of the potential doping violation.

Under the UFC’s program, any retired athlete who wishes to return to competition must first be subjected to a four-month testing window.

The UFC is able to grant exemptions to that requirement, however. Due to the unique circumstances of Lesnar’s return and his contract situation with the WWE, the UFC decided to waive that four-month window for the first time.

Despite receiving an exemption for the four-month requirement, Lesnar did submit eight tests to USADA, according to the agency’s website.

Hunt, 42, referenced that exemption numerous times leading up to the fight. In an interview with MMA Fighting on Friday, Hunt said he has asked UFC officials for half of Lesnar’s $2.5 million guaranteed purse or to be released from his contract effective immediately.

“The cheaters get a slap on the wrist and walk off,” Hunt told MMA Fighting. “What penalty or deterrent is there to make them think twice? Nothing. And the [Nevada Athletic Commission], why should these [expletive] get anything? They are not the ones who had to fight with Lesnar or lose [to him]. I lost.”

Hunt told MMA Fighting that he has yet to hear from UFC.

When asked about the topic of performance-enhancing drugs during a pre-fight international conference call, Lesnar responded, “I’m a white boy and I’m jacked. Deal with it.”

Source: ESPN.com

Originally posted here –

Lesnar notified of potential doping violation

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Update on Cameron’s Acting Career, WWE Pulls DVD from 2016 Calendar, SmackDown Top, WWE CWC Tickets

– Below are the top 10 moments from last night’s WWE RAW in Grand Rapids:

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– WWE has nixed the “OMG! ECW’s Top 50 Craziest Moments” DVD and Blu-ray from the 2016 calendar, according to WrestlingDVDNetwork.com. It may be released in the future but it was scheduled for this November and is being replaced another title that will be announced soon. The ECW set had been in the works since last fall and was set to feature new interviews with Taz, Tommy Dreamer and Joel Gertner, among others.

– WWE just released a limited number of extra seats for the next Cruiserweight Classic tapings on August 26th, seen below:

We just released a limited number of tix for the next #CWC on August 26. Head to https://t.co/ZfJSlZK0UF to get them before they are gone!

— WWE CWC (@WWE_CWC) July 15, 2016

– Cameron is staying busy with her post-WWE acting career. She tweeted the following this week:

Giving special thanks to my talent agents who have been holding it down #blessed ????????

— Ariane Andrew (@ArianeAndrew) July 15, 2016

Today is long but wouldn’t change it for the world! 2 auditions back to back, acting class for 4 hours and now off to a business meeting!

— Ariane Andrew (@ArianeAndrew) July 15, 2016

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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Update on Cameron's Acting Career, WWE Pulls DVD from 2016 Calendar, SmackDown Top, WWE CWC Tickets

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John Cena Working on a New Project, Athletes In WWE (Video), New DDP Promo

– Diamond Dallas Page is featured in this funny new promo for his “DDP Yoga 4 Mamas” workout:

[embedded content]

– WWE posted this video looking at various pro athletes showing up in the company:

From the #HBKLine to @RondaRousey at @WrestleMania, @WWE is ALWAYS intertwining with the world’s greatest athletes! https://t.co/3CE6ZjJG5N

— WWE (@WWE) July 14, 2016

– John Cena is getting dirty in the desert this week, apparently filming a new project. He tweeted the following comments after hosting the ESPY Awards and then a photo this morning:

Take time to contemplate failure, and enjoy success, but always move forward. From the stage, to the sand, a new day brings a new challenge

— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 14, 2016

What a difference a day makes! Headed back to the desert for another dirty day then fly to NYC for @WWE @TheGarden pic.twitter.com/UwBvH4aU90

— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 15, 2016

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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John Cena Working on a New Project, Athletes In WWE (Video), New DDP Promo

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Director of WWE Swerved Reveals There Was A "DO NOT SWERVE" List, Almost Blinding Kofi Kingston, More

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Ben Pluimer one of the co-executive producers and director of WWE Swerved which airs on the WWE Network recently took part in an Ask me anything on Reddit. He confirmed that there was intial backlash from WWE Superstars to the show when it first launched and there was aDO NOT SWERVE list.The backlash was real. When superstars heard about the prank show, we would have to sneak into venues through back doors so they didnt see us. They got to know some familiar faces and if they saw any of us, they would spread the word. Sometimes they

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Director of WWE Swerved Reveals There Was A "DO NOT SWERVE" List, Almost Blinding Kofi Kingston, More

Kevin Nash Says “There's Just Not A Lot Of Depth” On The WWE Roster Ahead Of The Brand Split

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WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash was recently interviewed by Sports Illustrateds Extra Mustard in which he talks about his blessing to The Club using the too sweet gesture, Roman Reigns and the current WWE roster not having enough depth going into the brand split.Giving his blessing to The Club to use the too sweet gestureIf youre over enough to use that and the people dont sh on you, youre over. I dont mind it at all. I just didnt like them bringing in Doc and Anderson, then having that six-man elimination match against Roman Reigns and The

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Kevin Nash Says “There's Just Not A Lot Of Depth” On The WWE Roster Ahead Of The Brand Split

TNA Impact Results For August 4th & TNA Xtravaganza PPV Results (SPOILERS)

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TNA held taped more episodes on Thursday night from Universal Orlando. They taped for One Night Only Xtravaganza PPV as well as matches for the August 4th edition of Impact Wrestling.One Night Only Xtravaganza PPV Results Night 1 Spoilers Suicide defeated David Starr Eddie Edwards defeated Caleb Konley Crazzy Steve defeated Zenshi Shynron Braxton Sutter earned a future X Division Title shot by defeating Crazzy Steve, DJZ, Chuck Taylor, Eddie Edwards, Suicide and Marshe Rockett in a Ladder Match Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett defeated BroMans in Ultimate X with an assist from Shane HelmsImpact Wrestling Tapings Airing August

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TNA Impact Results For August 4th & TNA Xtravaganza PPV Results (SPOILERS)

Spoilers: WWE Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinal Matches Set

Coming out of tonight’s second round WWE Cruiserweight Classic tapings at Full Sail University, we now know the quarterfinal matches:

* Gran Metalik vs. Akira Tozawa

* Rich Swann vs. TJ Perkins

* Noam Dar vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

* Kota Ibushi vs. Brian Kendrick

The quarterfinals will be taped on Friday, August 26th and then the series finale will take place on Wednesday, September 14th. That finale will air live on the WWE Network.

Spoilers from tonight’s tapings are at this link.

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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Spoilers: WWE Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinal Matches Set

WWE Splitting Up Tag Teams, ECW DVD Scrapped, John Cena Filming In The Desert (Photo)

WWE Tag Teams Splitting Up

F4Wonline.com is reporting that WWE has plans on breaking up a few tag teams during Tuesday night’s Draft. Historically breaking up tag teams at the draft has enabled the much stronger wrestler of the duo to on to have a successful singles career.

WWE Scrap Upcoming ECW DVD?

The planned “OMG! ECW’s Top 50 Craziest Moments” DVD which was scheduled for November and is set to be replaced by a new title.

The set had largely been filmed with interviews ready to feature from Taz, Tommy Dreamer, Joel Gertner and more…

John Cena Filming In The Desert

John Cena has been filming for his new project in the desert this week. He tweeted the following photo:

What a difference a day makes! Headed back to the desert for another dirty day then fly to NYC for @WWE @TheGarden pic.twitter.com/UwBvH4aU90

— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 15, 2016

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WWE Splitting Up Tag Teams, ECW DVD Scrapped, John Cena Filming In The Desert (Photo)

Ward-Townend on GGG-Brook bill

Last Updated: 15/07/16 4:07pm

Martin J Ward outpointed Ruddy Encarnacion in his most recent fight

Martin J Ward outpointed Ruddy Encarnacion in his most recent fight

Martin J Ward outpointed Ruddy Encarnacion in his most recent fight

Martin J Ward and Andy Townend will contest the vacant British super-featherweight title on the Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook bill.

Ward (14-0-2-KO7) will defend his unbeaten record against the dangerous Townend (16-3-0-KO11), who has not lost for more than two years and has twice stopped challengers for his English title.

The fight is the latest announced for the September 10 Sky Sports Box Office? card which features three world title contests and the latest step in Conor Benn’s professional career.

“This is another outstanding match-up on an already packed night of boxing,” promoter Eddie Hearn said.

Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin at their opening press conference

Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin at their opening press conference

Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin at their opening press conference

“Martin has done his apprenticeship and is now ready for the Lonsdale Belt against a very dangerous Andy Townend – it’s a real ‘pick em’ championship fight.”?

Ward said: “I can’t wait to finally get in the ring and fight for the British title. It’s the belt that all British fighters want to win and to fight for it on such a huge bill is great.

“Andy has been in great form and shown he has got power at the weight, but I believe I’ll have too much for him and it promises to be a great fight.”

London’s O2 Arena will host a bill topped by Brook’s challenge for Golovkin’s three middleweight titles.

Golovkin and Brook top the September 10 Sky Sports Box Office bill

Golovkin and Brook top the September 10 Sky Sports Box Office bill

Golovkin and Brook top the September 10 Sky Sports Box Office bill

Lee Haskins defends his IBF bantamweight belt against Stuart Hall, while? Charlie Edwards fights Johnriel Casimero for the IBF flyweight title.

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Ward-Townend on GGG-Brook bill