WWE Financial Review


Recently, WWE’s  2017 Q2 Financial Report was released. While it would seem that this quarter was strong, compared to years before, it’s taken some bigger spots to average out WWE’s books. Some of these trends should be worrying to WWE.

The following is a continued strategic analysis of the World Wrestling Entertainment Corporation (WWE). The following is profile information on the organization.

  • Company Name – World Wrestling Entertainment, an integrated media organization recognized as a leader in global entertainment.
  • The Company has four principal divisions within the organizational structure. Media 2. Live Entertainment 3. Products 4. Studios
  • The company Headquarters is in Samford, Conn.
  • Statement of Purpose, the WWE consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay per view, digital media, and publications platforms.
  • With 115 Wrestlers, 28 Broadcast Personalities, 12 Ambassadors, 16 on the Board, 14 Senior Leaders, the company employees thousands to support these personalities and its programs on a global front. With offices in Ct, Mexico City, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, NY, LA, London, Munich, and Tokyo.
  • Financials for year end 2015
  • 659 Million in Revenue, a 21% growth in Revenue
  • 5 Billion Market Cap
  • 36 Million Dividend Payout
  • 2016 Q2 Financial Reporting shows revenue increased 32% (13% excluding the timing impact of WrestleMania1) to a record $199.0 million as WWE’s Live Event and Network segments achieved their highest quarterly revenue in Company history.
  • OIBDA2of $7.5 million was in line with the Company’s guidance
  • WWE Network reached a record of 1.52 million average paid subscribers over the second quarter 2016, which represented a 25% increase from the second quarter 2015
  • SmackDown transitioned to a live format on USA Network. Since July 25, WWE’s flagship programs, Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, have and will continue to feature unique talent and storylines
  • Through the first six months of the year, digital engagement metrics continued to grow with video views up over 100% to nearly 8 billion and social media engagements up 39% to 570 million versus the prior year
  • Stock Exchange – NY Shock Exchange tag WWE and as of 12:46 pm 10/3/16 the stock was trading at $20.92.
  • The Chairman & CEO of the WWE is Vincent K. McMahon.

McMahon, a visionary promoter and recognized presence as a broadcast leader, joined his father’s company, Capital Wrestling in 1972. Ten Years later he bought the company from his father, established the WWE and took it to the National Market through a newly formed cable network division that started with pay per view and strategically grew to a monthly subscription format.

McMahon’s strategy for the company was to leverage the new technologies of pay per view and closed-circuit television. He used this strategy for the first WrestleMania in 1985. By using these platforms, he has established and built not only a brand that people would watch in syndication but he also built the WWE into a brand that people would pay to watch. This strategy proved to be successful and by the year 2000 more than a million fans purchased WrestleMania X6. For the year 2000, this event was the most watched combat sport event in pay per view history. The strategy and brand loyalty continued and by 2014 the WWE launched its first ever 24/7 direct to consumer network in the United States. As McMahon’s direct to consumer strategy continues to grow the WWE events are continuing to show record-breaking attendance.

This year, WrestleMania 32 set a new attendance record of 101,763 fans. All their formats for Direct to Consumer are showing signs of success for the company. From its live events at its core to its television programming 52 weeks a year, to its newest monthly subscription, the WWE’s syndication strategy is working. The Company has created a brand, like no other in the entertainment industry, and with that brand has created great brand loyalty. They have rewarded that loyalty with continued enhanced ways to view their programming.

In looking at the financials for the WWE their OBIBDA was 35.1 million. They have 80 million in cash on hand and 190 million in available credit. Their current EPS is fluctuating between $20 and $21 / share on the NY stock exchange. Their Debt to Assets on their 2016 Q2 report shows Liabilities at 180.1 million and total Assets at 396.1 million. Important to note in looking at the entertainment industry is the payments related to the Company’s television rights agreements as well as payouts of management incentive compensation which can have a direct impact on cash flow and liquidity. This is not unusual for sports entertainment personalities. In the National Baseball League, they put a cap on salaries so no one team can have a competitive advantage in the sport. With the WWE there is no cap on salaries for the wrestlers with regards to competitors so they must not over extend their cash flow by over paying more popular personalities in their employ to avoid any negative cash flow or liquidity.

NXT has formed an alliance with the WWE and is to them as AAA is to the NBL. They are a feeder for them. The only other competition is the Ring of Honor. This wrestling company was purchased in 2011 by the parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting Group. The SBG is the largest television station operator owning 156 stations in 80 markets as well as 4 radio stations and the Ring of Honor Wrestling. Although the ROH was never a strong competition to the WWE, with this new parent company it has the potential to have a real presence if the SBG parent company chooses to focus on this small new division of its company. It is currently holding live events and pay per view events. SBG had 2 Billion in revenue in 2015 from its media group. They list out their TV channels, FOX, CBS, ABC, and others on their balance sheet but ROH is not listed. They could be lumped into their other assets line which is minimal compared to their TV channels income. Their stock was listed at $28.88 / share. They have 422 million in operating income and list Revenue in excess of 2 billion. The only thing found on ROH in the financial report was a national contract with Destination America to broadcast 26 weeks of wrestling. This parent company is clearly focused on their TV channels.

If they should put some focused effort on the ROH division they could make it more of a competitor to the WWE, cutting into their share of the market. They seem to be the only threat to the WWE in the national market place today. Their corporate Head Quarters is in Baltimore, MD. Their parent company is financially strong but is not diverse. They have a TV and Radio stage for the ROH. They know how to create on air personalities but they are not in the sporting entertainment field in any of their portfolios except for ROH. Certainly, a company that the WWE should keep an eye on.
Identification of Company Sources of Competitive Advantage VIRO Criteria.

In the WWE 2016 Q2 financial report it lists 1.2 million as cash used for capital expenditures as its cash flow source. Additionally, it lists purchase of property and equipment source, purchase of corporate air craft, as 8.8 million as a negative drain on cash flow. So they spent more than they had cash on hand by 7.6 million. In terms of VIRO, or the firm’s strategy. The value of the firm’s ability to exploit an opportunity is high due to its positive cash flow as well as a currently available credit line of 199 million. Now being a monopoly with a unique product form could make them blind to a competitor until it is too late. Take Blockbuster as an example. The all American way to rent a movie seen on every corner across America was taken down by a concept of direct to consumers with net flicks. They stole a huge market share and Blockbuster started closing stores as it rental boxes in supermarkets was too little too late for consumers.

The WWE needs to take a lesson from Blockbuster and be sure to be mindful of the competition out there. Rarity is strong as there are few people in control of the resources of the company. Those few have to make smart decisions on capital investments in salaries as well as luxury items like the airplane listed on the cash flow 2016 Q2 report. Imitability is strong as building a brand of solid characters and stories takes a special talent of writers to create the characters and talent to fit the roles. The company appears to be well organized in four key divisions. In conclusion, in terms of VRIO, the WWE corporate structure and strategies, as well as controls, seems to be solid.

The WWE brand is solid in the entertainment industry. They have very little competition in wrestling entertainment and none that currently leverages the syndication and monthly subscriptions that the WWE offers to its customers. The largest competitors in the National Market are ROH ( Ring of Honor) and NXT. The WWE has embraced the NXT and is using them as a feeder for its future personalities/performers. The writers at the WWE are world-class in their ability to create meaningful story lines behind the performers to make them part of the WEE Brand and leverage the personalities/talent coming up through the NXT to create new story lines. The Ring of Honor wrestling group based in Baltimore, MD with David Smith as CEO was not a threat to the WWE until they were bought out by the Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG). The Sinclair Group is the largest owners of TV stations owning the likes of Fox, CBS, and ABC and others as well as 4 radio stations. The Ring of Honor has financial backing and TV and radio presence and is on the Pay per view front with the WWE.

They have not done any monthly subscriptions but this could be part of their future strategies for growth and if it is then the WWE needs to keep an eye on the ROH as they could become a stronger competitor in the future. Another privately held company to watch is the UFC. The UFC has personalities and are leveraging the pay per view networking for their events and do have live events as well. They are modeling themselves after the WWE. Now their mixed martial arts offering is a different sport from wrestling so although not a direct competitor in the same entertainment offering, the UFC could take some of their market share in the monthly subscription if the UCF offers this form and continues to grow its personalities. The consumers may decide to have one monthly subscription yearly and flip-flop between the two sports.

I would recommend that the WWE continue to connect with their consumers. I would recommend they add two things to their strategy to continue to retain and grow their consumer base. First I would recommend that they leverage mobile devices through the WWE AP and continue to develop this AP as a means to not only watch broadcasts on the go but also to connect with their customers through live blogs and live streaming interactive events. They need to create a FaceBook merged with Twiter type platform for WWE where the customers can share photos and interact with the stars of the WWE. My second recommendation would be to grow their international subscriptions. Current U.S. subscription revenue is 940 million and the international is only at 277 million. Part of their international growth strategy should include the enhancements to the WWE AP as well as advertising to increase their international subscriber base.

They need to keep an eye on ROH as their parent company could decide to invest in their wrestling division to make it a stronger competitor to the WWE. They have been the parent company for several years and perhaps have not focused on the division for growth. In 2015 they signed a contract for 26 TV shows for the ROH. They seem to be using their core business and contacts to leverage the new wrestling arm to SEG but have yet to try more than pay per view & live events with this division. The ROH does not have the brand recognition or following that the WWE has. Customer loyalty can change with the right introduction of a new product from but in the case of the WWE, they seem to still have a loyal and dedicated following for their personalities and their sport that appears to continue to grow year over year. That kind of customer base is hard to penetrate as long as the WWE continues to provide quality programming to its customers.

3 Ways To Amplify The Women’s Revolution

Sasha Banks, Bayley, and (c) Charlotte Flair

(c)WWE

The Diva’s Revolution officially kicked off in 2015 but don’t let anyone fool you. The real Women’s Revolution is here in 2017! This year we’ve seen historic highlights such as:

  • The first ever Women’s Money In The Bank match
  • The Mae Young Classic featuring 32 of the best independent women’s wrestlers in the world.
  • Alexa Bliss crossing over from Smackdown Live to Raw and became the first Women’s Champion on both brands.
  • We’ve witnessed a Raw Main Event match in Los Angeles featuring a gauntlet match.
  • Most impressively though, we’ve seen Women’s NXT Champion, Asuka, break the record for the longest undefeated streak in WWE.

Where does that take us and what can WWE do to make an already strong women’s division even stronger? Here are my 3 ways to amplify the women’s division.

The Roster

Before I get to my 3 ways to lift the women’s division, let’s take a look at who exactly we’re dealing with. Since the Brand Split in April 2016 we’ve seen Raw and Smackdown Live build new stars in the women’s division. Little Miss Bliss and Naomi are currently holding their respective brand titles. We’ve seen some amazing feuds between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Bayley, Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss and Naomi, etc. etc. The list goes on. What did you notice in my previous sentence? That’s right. Lack of diversity. WWE has tons of talent to work with in the women’s division, yet they don’t expand on it. Why is that? Most of the blame falls on WWE splitting up the division on RAW and Smackdown Live. When you break down the women’s roster in WWE currently it looks like this.

Alexa Bliss         Emma               Becky Lynch    Naomi          Paige*

Alicia Fox          Mickie James    Carmella          Natalya         Summer Rae*

Bayley               Nia Jax              Charlotte         Tamina

Dana Brooke     Sasha Banks      Lana                Nikki Bella*

*Currently injured or on leave

We have 15 active women on the WWE roster. 18 if we include Nikki Bella, Paige, and Summer Rae. As it breaks down right now we have 8 on RAW and 7 on Smackdown Live. With a roster that light things can get stale after a while. So that’s why…

WWE Unifies The Women’s Division

By unifying the women you instantly introduce countless new story lines. You get a chance to explore throughout the roster and see what you really have. As I stated earlier, seeing the same 2 matches week after week gets stale. With a unified roster that issue gets resolved instantly. The division would be exclusive to RAW in efforts to help with the dreaded 3rd hour. Most weeks we get that halfway hangover where things just take a bit of a dive before the climactic main event of the night. Take this time to show off the division. Having 4 matches a week on RAW along with bringing out the superstar’s personalities is something I as a fan have been screaming for. This is how you build bonds with superstars. The fans need to get to know these people. Have a reason to root for them besides just who’s a face and who’s a heel. WWE tries to expand on this via social media but it still doesn’t hit home the same way. Now you may be wondering how we determine the new WWE Women’s Champion, right? Taking a page from the Mae Young Classic, RAW will host a single elimination bracket style tournament for the brand new WWE Women’s Championship belt. The current RAW and Smackdown Live champions will be granted top seed in their bracket. The matches would take place on RAW for 3 weeks and the Championship Match would take place at Survivor Series.

WWE Adds The Women’s Tag Team Championship

Once the Women’s Championship tournament concludes, we’ll shift focus to the newest belts in the business. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship! Adding tag team belts to the division brings much more credibility and diversity. This allows for factions and alliances to actually matter in WWE besides the typical heel vs face matches. Giving the division tag team belts is the perfect under card belt. It allows WWE to try new angles and give some superstars the chance they weren’t receiving before in their singles run. You’re in denial if you don’t want to see Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax (Team Rude) taking on Charlotte and Becky Lynch.

Asuka holding her Women's NXT Title Belt

(c)WWE

WWE’s First Women’s Royal Rumble and Asuka Makes Her Main Roster Debut

The final and perhaps biggest push to bring the division to the next level is by finally pulling off the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match in 2018. A field of 20 will take to the ring and battle it out to be the number one contender at Wrestlemania for the WWE Women’s Championship. As we’ve seen already, the women have headlined a PPV (Hell in a Cell), continue having headlining matches on RAW and SDL, and taken part in the first Women’s Money In The Bank ladder match. It’s now time to bring it all together for this massive rumble match which all culminates to the 20th entry of the rumble. Asuka! Can you make a bigger statement than that? I think not! What better place for the reigning NXT Champion to make her main roster debut and send the WWE women’s division to main event levels.

Interview w/ Marcus Gibbs

Interview w/ Marcus Gibbs

Join us as we sit down and chop it up with booker/wrestler Marcus Gibbs from the XW-2000 promotion. Listen in for a unique perspective from the mind of a booker and how that impacts his career both inside and outside of the ring as well as his opinion on the current state of Wrestling.

Kevin Owens: The Face of America

Kevin Owens is doing so good

(c) http://supreme-leader-rollins.tumblr.com/

What you’re going to learn quickly about me as a wrestling fan is I tend to swarm to the underdogs and to the odd ball characters. Growing up as a kid I was absolutely entranced by Sting and Eddie Guerrero. One man who became more of a symbol rather than a wrestler and a small scrappy wrestler who fought until his heart literally gave out. I love characters and there is no character that I love right now more than Kevin Owens.

Kevin Owens by no means should be as good of a wrestler as he is right now. He’s cowardly, brash, turns on everyone, is not the right shape of a wrestler, and is constantly victimizing himself when he’s not brutalizing an opponent.

And I love every single moment of it. Kevin Owens is everything that makes a great heel in my opinion. He is Kevin Owens both in the ring and on twitter, he never drops the Owens character. He is always in kayfabe ( an industry term for the reality of all of the performances during your favorite wrestling program.)

Kevin is on all the time even when he doesn’t talk. Just flip to any promo and look at his face, even if he’s in the background. I guarantee he is more entertaining than who’s speaking. All eyes are on Kevin even when the most electrifying wrestler on the show is in the ring!

Kevin Owens disgusted at Shinsuke Nakamura

http://junkhost.com/2017/05/the-best-and-worst-of-wwe-smackdown-live-53017-dressed-to-kill/

But anyone can make a smarmy face, be sarcastic, and win the crowd over. What did it for me was Kevin’s “final” match with Sami Zayn at Battleground. Within that 20 minute match, both men were able to tell the long history between the two up until that bout.

Sami and Kevin were best friends on the indie circuit. Kevin is literally the first person Sami embraces in NXT when Sami won the coveted title. But that same night Kevin betrayed Sami, just like he always does. Rewatching everything with Sami and Jericho it becomes abundantly clear what kind of character Kevin is.

He’s a scared little boy.

He uses his family as both his drive and excuse to turn on his friends become all of these champions but in all honesty, he’s scared. He’s scared of someone getting close to him. He’s afraid that if he lets his guard down maybe someone will do this to him. A kind of karma or worse compromise what he’s been building for his family. As well as in an ironic turn of events he’s abandoned the family he loves so much to chase these titles for them!

It’s apparent in his 2016 Battleground match, that he feels nothing but remorse and regret. That he has to bury what he’s feeling for his best friend and brother Sami, while he’s continuously slapping Sammi in the face.

The moment that solidified Kevin in my eyes a wonderful character was in a simple sentence he said, “Don’t make me do this, stay down!” In one simple sentence of anguish during a grueling match, Kevin cemented himself as my favorite current wrestler.

Kevin repeated this same feeling when he turned on his best friend, Chris Jericho.

Chris and Kevin had been the main reason to watch RAW for most of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. They had fun banter together, they made fun of everyone, and had an amazing bromance including a shark cage! Fans of Jericho could easily say his most recent run was his best and a big part of that is because of Jeri-KO. But like with Sami, Kevin follows a formula. Someone got too close and cost him the “source” of what was feeding his family by feeding his title to Goldberg.

At the celebration of their friendship, there would be no banter and only one list, with one name, Chris Jericho.

Kevin cemented his brutal attack and heart-wrenching decision with a reluctant and poisonous,“I hate you!” Right before slamming Y2J’s head into his new Jeritron model. Kevin would eventually lose his Universal title and go after his best friend Chris Jericho’s United States title. The title would change hands between the two of them before Kevin got rid of Chris “for good”.

The fact that Kevin feels constant remorse that you can visually see it tearing him up inside, is gut wrenching and makes him so fascinating to me. Add the fact that Kevin Owens embraces the US Title like an old lover, and his title reign reveals even more about him. It may be the last memory he has of his best friend Chris Jericho and maybe the last piece of his humanity.

Champ KO laughing at announce table

https://tenor.com/view/kevin-owens-laughing-lol-lmao-gif-8632136

 

My Hero in Pink: Part 2

Bret Hart with Intercontinental Title

(c) WWE

The phrase “Never meet your heroes” has been around for a long time. It implies that meeting them might be a letdown when you realize that they’re just a normal person. I understand the logic behind that concept, but I don’t agree with it. I met one of my childhood heroes, if only for a brief second, and it only made me admire him more. I got to take a picture with Bret Hart, shake his hand, look him right in the eye, and say, “thank you.” I know that’s hardly a meeting, but sometimes that small exchange is enough to make a person lose the admiration they once had for someone. Not me though. On that day, Bret “The Hitman” Hart met and surpassed all my expectations. It was a surreal moment for sure. While standing there,  I realized how much I respected this man, and how strong he had to have been to endure through the ordeals the end of his career came with. Bret Hart doesn’t know who I am. He probably doesn’t even remember being in my small town, but for me, it’s a moment I’ll always remember. The day I met my hero.

I’ve always believed that a true hero is someone who manages to stay strong in the face adversity. The end of Bret Hart’s career was filled with both adversity and tragedy. The fact that he managed to keep it together, and tried to pick up the pieces, is admirable. Part 1 of my story ended right before the main event of Survivor Series 1997. Unbeknownst to Bret, the fans, and most of his employees, Vince McMahon had orchestrated a plan to ensure that Hart, who had just signed a deal with WCW, would not leave the ring as WWF Champion. There have been two schools of thinking ever since the incident took place. On one side, you have the people who say McMahon had no choice but to protect his company and all his employees. That Vince would’ve done that to anyone. On the other side, you have people who say that Vince McMahon is an evil individual. An individual who stabbed his most loyal employee in the back, after he was the one who asked him to sign with WCW to relieve some of the “financial stress” the WWF was under. Obviously, I fall into the latter category. Regardless of which side you’re on, we can all agree that the Montreal Screw Job was the turning point for both the WWF and Bret Hart.

Before the match started, Bret was on top of the world. He was defending the WWF Championship one last time, in his home country, and he wasn’t scheduled to lose it. In a sense, Bret was going to have the perfect ending to his WWF career. Then, he’d move on to WCW and start collecting a huge pay day. Sadly, not everything went according to plan. We’ll never know how the match was supposed to end, but what transpired is an incident that still gets talked about today, 20 years later. We all know the story. If you don’t, long story short, Shawn Michaels locks Bret Hart in the Sharpshooter submission, Vince McMahon comes down to ringside and calls for the bell. Your new WWF Champion, Shawn Michaels. The live audience couldn’t believe it, the fans at home couldn’t believe it, and most of all, Bret Hart couldn’t believe it. A man, and a company, that he had shed blood, sweat, and tears for had double crossed him. There would be no fairy tale ending. In fact, Bret Hart’s life and career would begin to spiral downward after this match.

Bret Hart tapping to Shawn Michaels

(c) WWE

Not only had Bret basically been exiled to WCW, but it seemed as though his departure sparked a shift in momentum between the two promotions. Before the Screw Job, WCW was positioned atop the wrestling world. They had the hottest entity in all of pro wrestling, the NWO, and after the way, Bret’s WWF run ended many believed his arrival in WCW would mean big business for the company. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way. Almost immediately after Bret walks out of the WWF, the pendulum begins swinging the other way. Seemingly over night, the NWO gets too big and too stale, Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon becomes the hottest rivalry in all of pro wrestling, and oh yeah, we find out that “Bret screwed Bret.” When you take everything into consideration, Bret Hart gets a raw deal here (no pun intended). When WCW was beating WWF in the ratings, it was viewed as Bret’s fault because he was WWF’s top star. When Bret decides to leave for WCW (as a favor to McMahon) he’s looked at as a traitor. Ultimately, he’s the one who gets betrayed. The betrayal somehow does nothing for him, but leads to the creation of the Mr. McMahon character, which in turn leads to the full blown start of the “Attitude Era.” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Attitude Era wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Bret Hart. Whether it was making Steve Austin a star, or inadvertently creating the evil Mr. McMahon, Bret was crucial. If only he could’ve had the same effect on WCW.

Immediately after the Screw Job, I felt confused. The next day, confusion turned into hope. Hope that somehow Bret would show up on Monday Night Raw and confront both Shawn Michales and Vince McMahon. I couldn’t wait for 9 o’clock to roll around. When it finally did, I was disappointed. Not only would Bret not be there, but Shawn Michaels and DX would proceed to make a mockery of the whole situation. By the end of the show, it became quite apparent, even to an 8-year-old me, that Bret Hart would not be returning to the WWF. I honestly can’t recall how I found out the details of the Screw Job, or that Bret was headed to WCW. That kind of information wasn’t as available back then, and especially to a kid. When I learned that Bret would be arriving in WCW though, I was ecstatic. I felt like Bret would pick up right where he’d left off in WWF. Unfortunately for everyone, that wasn’t the case. Whether it was WCW’s fault or Bret’s fault, the whole ordeal seemed doomed from the start.

Before his WCW run was abruptly ended by injury, Bret had managed to win the U.S. Title and World Heavyweight Title, but his character was struggling. His love for pro wrestling was gone, and it showed on screen. I tried to stay loyal to my favorite of all time. I bought a WCW Bret Hart action figure, I started watching Nitro and WCW pay-per-views, but it wasn’t the same anymore. WCW clearly didn’t know what they had on their hands. They never knew what to do with Bret Hart. As bad as his professional life had become, the real blow to Bret and the rest of the Hart Family came on May 23rd, 1999, when Owen Hart tragically fell to his death during his entrance at the WWF pay-per-view, Over The Edge. I remember not believing it when Jim Ross broke the news. It seemed impossible to fathom. Just a couple of years ago, the Hart Foundation was on top of the WWF world. Now Bret, Jim Neidhart, and The British Bulldog were all gone. While Brian Pillman, and Owen Hart, were both dead. A horrible day for all wrestling fans, especially any fans of the Hart Family.

After Owen’s death, things just got worse for Bret. He was forced to retire from wrestling in late 2000, after suffering a severe concussion, caused by a reckless kick to the head by Bill Goldberg. I remember not understanding why Bret wasn’t wrestling. I remember being frustrated with him and WCW for that. When the news finally came that he wouldn’t wrestle again, I was heart broken, but I was just a fan. Bret had to deal with the abrupt retirement head on. One minute you’re a star athlete, the next you’re not allowed to compete anymore. What an unceremonious end to one of the greatest careers ever. In 2002, Bret began taking losses in his personal life. He and first wife Julie, officially divorced that year. He lost his brother-in-law, and one of his closest friends, the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, to a heart attack. He also suffered a stroke in 2002.

Then, in early 2003, Bret lost another close friend suddenly, when “Mr. Perfect” Kurt Henning, died of a drug overdose. I can’t imagine dealing with just one of those situations, let alone dealing with them occurring that close proximity. That’s where my current respect for Bret Hart comes from. Sure, when I was a child, I admired Bret Hart the wrestler, but as an adult, I admire Bret Hart the man. I admire the ability to keep picking yourself up after every blow life throws at you. I admire the courage it took to stand alone against WWE for so many years. I understood when he finally buried the hatchet with Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and WWE. He couldn’t let them, or that one incident dictate the way he lived the rest of his life. Bret gets a little older every year and resembles my childhood hero a bit less every year too. None of that matters though. The memories will never fade. Every time I see the color pink, I can’t help but think of “The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be,” Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Forever my hero, my hero in pink.

Wesley shaking Bret Hart's hand

My Hero in Pink

 

 

 

Heels of Wrestling Episode 9: How Orton Met Jinder

Episode 9: How Orton Met Jinder

Welcome back Heels! Our weekly review who has us looking iffy at Battleground, predictions for Raw’s Summer Slam show and words about WWE’s new favorite father.

As always, like, share, and leave a comment or argue with me below. Then make sure to subscribe to our channels @Baselinetimes and @TheHoWPod on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

WWE Battleground Predictions 2017

(c) WWE.com

It’s PPV time in WWE, and below we have the full match card with our predictions for WWE Battleground

WWE Championship — Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Randy Orton (Punjabi Prison Match)

John Cena vs. Rusev (Flag Match)

United States Championship — AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) vs. The New Day

Women’s Championship No. 1 Contendership — Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Lana vs. Tamina Snuka (Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match)

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis w/ Maria Kanellis

Breezango vs. TBA

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English (Kickoff Show)

Predictions:

Bobby Nagel: Aiden English, Mike Kanellis, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, New Day, AJ Styles, Rusev, Jinder Mahal

Adam Gregory: Tye Dillinger, Mike Kanellis, Shinsuke Nakamura, Natalya, New Day, John Cena, Jinder Mahal

Wesley Avendano: Tye Dillinger, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, Charlotte Flair, New Day, John Cena, Jinder Mahal

Markus Murden: Tye Dillinger, Mike Kanellis, Shinsuke Nakamura, Charlotte Flair, The Usos, AJ Styles, John Cena, Jinder Mahal

Justin Velez: Aiden English, Mike Kanellis, Baron Corbin, Tamina, The Usos, AJ Styles, John Cena, Jinder Mahal

 

Heels Of Wrestling Episode 8: Interview w/ Dustin Briggs

Interview w/ Dustin Briggs

Welcome back, Heels! This week we have an interview with Dustin Briggs, a wrestler from Pensacola, FL. He wrestlers for XW-2000 gym and promotions.

Dustin can be followed @theDustinBriggs on FB, Instagram, and Twitter. Watch out for XW-2000’s Facebook page, soon to launch, for events and schedules.

As always, like, share, and leave a comment or argue with me below. Then make sure to subscribe to our channels @Baselinetimes and @TheHoWPod on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Heels of Wrestling Episode 7: Great Balls of Fire 2017

Episode 7: Great Balls of Fire 2017

The Heels dig deeper into Great Balls of Fire and we talk about where we hope Raw heads after the PPV. Special Guest Mitch Hasttel of Hasttel Toys hops in the ring as well!

As always, like, share, and leave a comment or argue with me below. Then make sure to subscribe to our channels @Baselinetimes and @TheHoWPod on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Heels Of Wrestling Episode 6: Hasttel Toy

Episode 6: Hasttel Toy (w/ Mitch Hasttel)

Special Guest Interview with Mitch Hasttel of Hasttel Toy. We ask Mitch how he got into the Hasbro toy business, his favorite wrestlers, and more!

Follow @Hastteltoy on Instagram to see all his fantastic memorabilia.

As always, like, share, and leave a comment or argue with me below. Then make sure to subscribe to our channels @Baselinetimes and @TheHoWPod on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.