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Sunday, February 23, 2014

News and Notes

Courtesy Wrestling On Line Network

- WWE today unveiled the WWE Network programming lineup which kicks off on
Monday, February 24, at 9PM EST. The first live show on the Network will
be the RAW pre-show starting at 7:30PM EST on launch day, followed by a
post-RAW show titled RAW Backstage Pass at 11:05PM EST. These will be
weekly shows. Smackdown will also get the same treatment, with a 30 minute
pre-show starting Friday, February 28 at 7:30PM EST and then the Smackdown
Backstage Pass follows at 10PM EST after Smackdown is over. WrestleMania
Rewind will premiere on Tuesday, February 25 at 9PM EST followed by WWE
Countdown at 10PM EST. These will also be weekly shows. A one hour special
titled This Is NXT premieres on launch day at 11AM EST, giving everyone a
behind-the-scenes look at the next generation of WWE Superstars and Divas.
This will serve as preview for the first ever live in-ring event on the
WWE Network, the NXT ArRival, airing live on Thursday, February 27 at 8PM
EST. Before ArRival kicks off, a 30 minute pre-show will air live. NXT
will also have a weekly show every Thursday at 9PM EST starting on March
6, at 9PM EST. WWE Superstars will be airing on the WWE Network starting
February 27 at 10PM EST with a new show every Thursday and another new
show titled Beyond The Ring, featuring action from WWE, WCW, AWA, and ECW
kicks off on Saturday, March 1 at 8PM EST. Rounding up the new shows are
Best of RAW and Best of Smackdown, with Best of RAW starting on Thursday,
February 27 at 4:30PM EST and Best of Smackdown kicking off on Saturday,
March 1 at 1PM EST. The WWE Legends House premieres on Thursday, April 10
at 8PM EST and will air every Thursday. Legends House has Superstars such
as Roddy Piper, Jim Duggan, Hillbilly Jim, Tony Atlas, and others living
in a house together. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air in full
on the Network on Saturday, April 5 at 9PM EST followed by the first ever
pay-per-view on the Network, WrestleMania XXX, on Sunday, April 6 at 7PM

- In a statement issued to from DISH Network’s
Corporate Communications office, the company has confirmed that they will
not offer WWE pay-per-views however will consider the value of the PPV
shows on an event by event basis. “WWE has chosen to launch a 24/7 online
network, without its TV partners, that includes all of its pay-per-view
events. As WWE enters the increasingly fragmented media world by
themselves, DISH will continue to consider the value of WWE pay-per-view
on an event by event basis,” the statement says. “DISH continues to
provide a variety of WWE programming, including WWE Raw on USA, WWE
Smackdown on Syfy, WWE Main Event on Ion and WWE Total Divas on E!. At
this time, WWE pay-per-view events are not available on DISH.” DISH
becomes the first PPV provider to dump WWE shows due to the WWE Network.
DirecTV threatened to do the same in January but has confirmed that it
will carry the Elimination Chamber, the last PPV-only show that will air
before the Network launches. Upcoming WWE pay-per-views will be available
on the WWE Network as part of the $9.99 package and will also be airing on
the traditional pay-per-view format for the usual price of $54.95.

- In reaction to DISH Network’s decision to dump the Elimination Chamber
pay-per-view from its schedule and basically the rest of the WWE
pay-per-views, WWE issued a statement on their own. "WWE is pleased that
the majority of our cable and satellite Pay-Per-View distributors are
giving our fans an option to purchase traditional Pay-Per-Views as we
prepare to launch WWE Network on Monday, February 24. Unfortunately, DISH
will not be doing so. We hope DISH will reconsider for this Sunday’s
Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View event and especially for WrestleMania
30,” the statement read. WrestleMania 30 will undoubtedly be a major,
major loss in revenue for both WWE and DISH if the provider decides not to
carry it as well. DISH said that it will consider carrying WWE shows on an
event-by-event basis.

- WWE announced its fourth quarter results ending December 31, 2013,
before the market opened today, with revenues totaling $118.4 million as
compared to $115.1 million in the prior year quarter. The company had an
operating loss of $12.2 million compared to an income of $2.6 million in
the prior year quarter. Net loss was $7.9 million compared to an income of
$0.6 million. The decline and loss were majorly due to a heavy investment
in staff, talent, and marketing initiatives to launch the WWE Network.
“During the past year, we laid the foundation for future growth and
enhanced our brand strength,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer. “We have now announced the renewal of our television
distribution agreement in the U.K., are continuing the negotiations
regarding our domestic content, and are poised to launch our global WWE
Network in the next few days. With preparations for WrestleMania 30 fully
underway, we look forward to celebrating our enduring legacy and ushering
in a new era as we blaze new trails in the media industry.” You can read
the full press release at

- The Hell In A Cell pay-per-view was the most successful in the last
quarter while Battleground was the biggest loser out of the four
pay-per-views which WWE offered between October and December. The first
Battleground did 114,000 buys, followed by Hell In A Cell with 228,000
buys, up from the 199,000 the show did the previous year. The Survivor
Series was down from 208,000 buys of the 2012 edition to just 177,000 in
2013 while TLC did 181,000 buys, an increase of just 6,000 buys over the
previous year. Survivor Series is the worst of the original top four
pay-per-views when it comes to buys and is no longer a draw as in previous

- During the conference call held earlier today to discuss the quarter
earnings results, Vince McMahon made the first public comment about CM
Punk since Punk walked out of the company several weeks ago. When McMahon
was asked about the upcoming WrestleMania and a status update on CM Punk
by one of the callers who managed to get through. McMahon said that this
year’s WrestleMania will be big both storyline-wise and talent-wise and as
far as CM Punk goes, the Chairman and CEO said, “He’s taking a sabbatical,
let's just put it that way." WWE has avoided talking about CM Punk since
he quit almost a month ago and Punk himself has not used his Twitter
account since January 27, where he thanked his fans for all the support.
WWE has denied releasing him last week and Punk remains on the WWE.COM
website and his merchandise is still selling on

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