Luke Harper Wins Intercontinental Championship from Dolph Ziggler on Raw

A surprise title change took place on tonight’s episode of Raw, as Luke Harper defeated Dolph Ziggler with plenty of help from The Authority to capture the Intercontinental Championship.

The switch makes perfect sense in the way it played out. The Authority beat down Ziggler before the opening bell rang, helping Harper win the strap. It adds fuel to the fire for Ziggler and likely means bigger things are coming for him.

Jim Ross to Announce GFW’s Presentation of New Japan’s Annual Tokyo Dome Show

Global Force Wrestling teased a huge announcement coming this morning and, quite unlike TNA, they delivered in spades. The company will be handling the United States and Canada presentation of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual Tokyo Dome Show, Wrestle Kingdom, and the lead announcer will be one of the all-time greats, Jim Ross.

GFW and Jim Ross announced the news in a statement released Tuesday morning. The event will air live on pay-per-view in the US and Canada on January 4, 2015 at 2:00 am EST. The show will re-air at 7pm EST.

No mention has been made yet of a broadcast partner for Ross but you can be sure that it won’t be difficult to find a good color commentator that wants to call some excellent wrestling with – at least in my opinion – the greatest pro wrestling broadcaster of all time.

The card is headlined by an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada, along with an appearance by The Bullet Club.

WWE Announces Workout DVDs featuring Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

AuthorityDVDsWWE will release a workout DVD series featuring Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. In an email sent out today, the company announced that we can all “Train with Authority.” Get it?

The set includes two DVDs. The first is the “Power Series,” featuring six workouts and 100 minutes of exercises with The Game. The second is hosted by Stephanie McMahon and titled “Fit Series,” which offers five workouts and a four week workout calendar. Available now for pre-order, the DVDs will release on Tuesday, December 2nd in the United States.

The full breakdown from WWEShop for each DVD is after the jump.

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WWE and Alberto Del Rio Reach “Mutual Understanding”

del rio
WWE quietly announced today that the company has come to a “mutual understanding” with Alberto Del Rio regarding his future booking opportunities and, of course, wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Del Rio also announced the agreement on Twitter. There has been much talk of his move to AAA, which will likely come sooner than later now that he and WWE have come to an understanding.

(Image via PWMania)

Grumpy Cat Will Appear on Next Week’s Raw

grumpy_cat_christmas_a_sGrumpy Cat, the internet-famous cat who has been exploited by its owners for all the cash they can squeeze out of its frowny face, will appear on next Monday’s Raw, the go-home show to Survivor Series. It’s all part of a promotional tie-in with the Lifetime movie, “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.”

While mainstream publicity is obviously the desire of WWE with this move, it’s sure to annoy the diehard fans who have already been forced to sit through painful segments on Raw featuring Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb and Jerry Springer in recent weeks.

On the other hand, all press is good press and these one-off segments are a great time for a bathroom break.

(Image via Lifetime)

CM Punk Returning to WWE… 2K15 Video Game

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Shameless headline attention grab aside, CM Punk will be featured in WWE 2K15’s “2K Showcase” mode, which highlights the “significant historical feuds” of Shawn Michaels v. Triple H and John Cena v. Punk.

LOLs at Punk being prominently featured in the game despite no longer being with the company notwithstanding, this sort of thing is what happens when production cycles begin months ahead of when a game releases. There really is nothing that can be done about it at this juncture and it’s happened before when wrestlers get future endeavored or leave for TNA. Obviously those situations aren’t as notable, but the minions still chanting “CM Punk” at every turn will at least get to see their savior back in a WWE ring this October, albeit a virtual one.

(Image via Polygon)

Eight Matches Official for WWE SummerSlam

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Several new matches were added to the SummerSlam card over the last few days, bringing the match count for WWE’s second-biggest show of the year to eight. Here’s the current lineup, which shakes out almost exactly as I expected.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Brock Lesnar v. John Cena

Roman Reigns v. Randy Orton

Brie Bella v. Stephanie McMahon

Chris Jericho v. Bray Wyatt

Flag Match
Jack Swagger v. Rusev

Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins
(Stipulation to be announced)

Divas Championship Match
AJ Lee v. Paige

Intercontinental Championship Match
Dolph Ziggler v. The Miz

Dixie Carter Says Spike TV Negotiations Are “Ongoing”

In a tweet this afternoon, Dixie Carter says TNA’s negotiations with Spike TV are ongoing.

Dixie Carter has been known to stretch the truth and not live up to expectations in the past, so take this with a grain of salt. The flip side, of course, is that TMZ may not be correct in their original report. Spike TV may have told Carter they do not intend to renew the Impact Wrestling deal as it currently stands, meaning a ratings boost or lower dollar figure could possibly sway them.

WWE Announces Prince Devitt Signing; Will Report to NXT

devittWWE has announced the signing of Fergal Devitt, which has been rumored for months. Devitt will report to the WWE Performance Center today and will begin in NXT.

Devitt has competed in several promotions, including New England Championship Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and – most notably – New Japan Pro Wrestling. He is a three-time former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and a six-time former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. He also won Best of the Super Juniors in 2010 and 2013 and was ranked 38th in the PWI 500 in 2013.

For those unfamiliar with Prince Devitt, below are some clips of his in-ring work and famed entrances and attire.

(Image via Bleacher Report)

Report: Spike TV Will Not Renew Impact Wrestling

impact
TMZ is reporting that Spike TV will not renew its deal with TNA and will no longer air Impact Wrestling when the current contract expires. According to their sources, the deal will run out in October, with no clear indication as to when the final episode of Impact Wrestling will air on Spike.

The news is obviously a huge blow to TNA and could not have come at a worse time. The figure WWE got for its television rights from NBC Universal was well below expectations, meaning TNA would almost certainly have to settle for a lesser deal than its current figure with Spike TV if it finds a new television partner.

This is a wake up call for TNA. The company’s only hope is to keep improving – the show has been better in recent weeks – until time runs out in October, with the idea that another network – large or small – will come calling, knowing that a viewership of one million a week is hard to find on cable. The only problem will be finding that network.

AMC recently agreed to a deal with Billy Corgan for a wrestling program. Spike and its parent network, Viacom, are out of play. NBC and Universal aren’t a fit since they have the rights to WWE. FOX and ABC could be interested, since they were in the hunt for WWE rights, but Raw and Smackdown bring in higher viewership numbers – and, by extension, advertising dollars – than Impact Wrestling.

TNA has time to figure something out but in the world of television, where deals are struck sometimes years in advance for new programming, it’ll be hard to find a solution in just a few months.