World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. : Maria Menounos to Induct Bob Backlund into WWE® Hall of Fame
WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today that Extra Host Maria Menounos will induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 6, 2013 as part of WrestleMania® Week.
Maria Menounos competed at WrestleMania 28 in Miami, FL on April 1, 2012. She will induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall Of Fame Class of 2013 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 6, 2013. (Photo: Business Wire)
Menounos has made multiple appearances on WWE programming dating back to 2009 when she made her in-ring debut and co-hosted Monday Night Raw with Nancy O’Dell. In 2011, Menounos appeared at WWE Tribute to the Troops where she teamed with Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox to defeat the team of The Bella Twins and WWE Divas Natalya and Beth Phoenix. Menounos continued her feud after Phoenix and Eve Torres interrupted an interview segment with Kelly Kelly on Extra. This led to a tag team match at WrestleMania 28 where she teamed with Kelly Kelly to defeat Torres and Phoenix.
Menounos, a lifelong WWE fan, idolized Backlund while growing up and met him through partner Keven Undergaro, who as Head Writer of MTV’s Singled Out, cast Backlund to guest star alongside Jenny McCarthy and Chris Hardwick. Menounos then worked with Backlund on the comedy feature, In the Land of Merry Misfits, and the two have been close ever since. Backlund was present at Menounos Miss Massachusetts USA competition and ran alongside her at the Nike Celebrity Road Race.
“It is an honor to induct my good friend Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame,” said Maria Menounos. “Watching him carry the title for a since unmatched five years and then stage such an incredible comeback with a reinvented persona puts him in a class all his own. Add in his incredible work ethic and high moral caliber, and you have everything that defines the word champion. And astonishingly, he can still wrestle with guys a third his age! He’s my hero and my friend. I can’t wait for the ceremony on April 6.”
“I am truly humbled to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame,” said Bob Backlund. “Maria has been a friend for years and I can’t think of someone I would rather have induct me at Madison Square Garden.”
A one-hour Hall of Fame special will air on Tuesday, April 9 at 10:00 p.m. ET on USA Network. WrestleMania 29 airs live on pay-per-view Sunday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
We noted before that former WWE Diva Eve Torres was at NXT earlier this week meeting with some of the developmental talents. Eve commented via Twitter:
“Had a chance to meet some new WWE Diva “prospects” yesterday. Great group of beautiful, athletic, talented women. Future’s looking bright!”
It turns out Eve was there to meet with 10 Diva prospects who were wrapping up a month long training program. These are the women WWE found through the reported “Diva search” in Los Angeles and other major cities last month. It appears most of them were recruited through modeling agencies. Besides meeting with Eve Torres, we know the prospects worked with NXT trainers Sara Del Rey, Bill DeMott and either Ricky Steamboat or Dusty Rhodes.
One model, Olivia Karpinski, interacted with Eve on Twitter and told a fan that she was cut but that 5 other women made it through the camp.
We know few details about some of the prospects:
* Olivia Karpinski – print & commercial model, fitness coach, did not make it through the camp
* Natalie Eva Marie – actress, model, 2012 Powertec Fashion Model winner
* Aimee Fogelman – model
* Joseann Offerman – singer & model
* Maysa Quy – IFBB Pro Bombshell Athlete
* Jenn Sterger – model, actress, TV host
* CJ Perry – Red Bull spokesmodel
* Courtney Camero – “Jaguar” from VH1?s For the Love of Ray-J 2
Here is a photo of the prospects with Eve and Del Rey, from Karpinski’s Instagram:
A fan on Twitter asked former WWE talent Kharma if we will get to hear her “cackling laugh” once again now that The Bella Twins have returned to WWE.
Kharma replied with a “perhaps.”
Crossing my fingers now!
Credit – F4WOnline
The Bella Twins returning to WWE goes back 6 or 7 weeks when officials decided they wanted more women on TV and wanted to beef the Divas division up. At first, the plan was to call up some of the Divas from NXT but that idea was nixed. Then officials decided they wanted to bring back some of the WWE Divas who had left the company recently.
It’s said that some of the Divas who recently left the company were offered more money than they were making before. Apparently some of the other Divas haven’t accepted offers yet but are in talks and may be waiting on better offers. The Bella Twins reportedly accepted WWE’s first offer.
No word yet on which former Divas are in talks to return.
In the spring of 2011, Kia Stevens, famously known as Awesome Kong, burst onto the WWE scene by decimating members of the Divas division. Then, almost as suddenly as she first appeared, the internationally-acclaimed grappler took a leave of absence, with her affiliation with the sports-entertainment organization ultimately ceasing last summer. Speaking to Wrestling101.com, Stevens recalled her brief stint in WWE.
Weeks before her debut at Extreme Rules, where she attacked the departing Michelle McCool, vignettes aired on WWE programming with Stevens, whose face was concealed by shadows and her signature braids, dismembering female dolls while cackling maniacally. She says of the creative process behind the vignettes, “They let me know the idea that they were going with so I went in and we shot it, we had a great time and they used some of my ideas and they actually used the first idea, which was in the first vignette where I flicked the doll so that was awesome. I was actually included a lot in the creative process leading up to my debut which I didn’t expect to be so that was a big surprise and very exciting.”
Stevens continued to attack different Divas on both Raw andSmackDown in the following weeks, but soon took a leave of absence without having an actual match. Stevens reveals who she wanted to square off against.
“After seeing how excited people were over the feud between Gail and I, my next goal was to build up to a great feud with Beth Phoenix,” Stevens said. “Fans were already excited for that match and it hadn’t even happened yet; it hadn’t even been alluded to. I always say and I still say, as long as Beth and I are still breathing it still may happen, so fans don’t lose hope. There were also lots of people that wanted to see me get my revenge on the Bella Twins but they have ended up leaving as well.”
Following the departures of Stevens and other notable female wrestlers over the past two years, the Divas division is currently in a state of flux. Regarding this, Stevens says, “Even with the men’s roster there are periods in wrestling in general that we have fluctuation of talent and I’m not saying anything bad about the roster right now but yes they did lose a big person that the fans were invested in which was Beth Phoenix, but also the likes of Kelly Kelly, Michelle McCool and Eve Torres. They do have girls that have come back from injury like Layla and Tamina, and AJ Lee exploded on the scene so that’s a great thing, there are still exciting people there to do stuff. One monkey doesn’t stop a show, with me leaving it was exciting for me to be there, but because I left it doesn’t mean I won’t come back, you never know what is going to happen in wrestling.”
Stevens continues to compete independently after parting ways with WWE last summer and does not rule out a possible return.
“People leave and people come back, I left you never know I may be back,” said Stevens. “Look at Ryback he was in WWE once before and now he’s back and wants people to feed him more, it’s exciting! My god daughter goes crazy when he comes on the television, it’s insane so I have to mimic him sometimes.”
“I watched an Ultimate Warrior DVD the other day and he came back about five or six times, so you never know in this business.”
Stevens also discusses her entry into the professional wrestling industry, her memorable time in TNA Wrestling, working independents and more. The full interview is available here.
WWE Hall of Famer “Mean” Gene Okerlund announced on Twitter that he will be appearing on next week’s old school themed RAW:
“Have some patience with me, still learning this Twitter thing. See you all next Monday in Buffalo for some old school RAW. GO”
Promoting his latest movie The Package, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was asked about the status of Tough Enough.
“I think that window is closed,” remarked Austin. He also added that WWE “dropped the ball with Tough Enough.”
The audio interview is available at KISW.com.
Tonight’s WWE RAW takes place from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California and will be the final RAW before next Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Confirmed for tonight’s show is an appearance by The Rock to hype his Rumble match against WWE Champion CM Punk. Ric Flair is also booked for tonight’s show, likely to continue his program with The Miz. WWE is still advertising Eve Torres for tonight’s show but she likely won’t be appearing.
WWE is focusing on the following points for tonight’s go-home show:
* What will Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow have in store for Kane and Daniel Bryan?
* Who will The Miz use the Figure Four on next, on his way to Antonio Cesaro?
* Will Alberto Del Rio continue to rub his World Title win in Big Show’s face?
* Will CM Punk weaken The Rock before their battle at Royal Rumble?
Sources have confirmed that WWE released TAC (Brandon Carter) from his developmental deal.
The release wasn’t a surprise among some as Carter went on Twitter late last year and made some controversial tweets about how he wasn’t afraid of being fired and how he would go to TNA.
Tonight’s WWE RAW will be the 20th Anniversary show and will take place from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Confirmed for tonight’s show is The Rock’s Rock Concert segment, Kaitlyn vs. Eve Torres for the WWE Divas Title and the return of Dr. Shelby to evaluate Kane and Daniel Bryan.
Other familiar faces are expected to return, at least a few. A Ric Flair confrontation with CM Punk was planned as of a week ago. We also know that Jim Ross will be returning. WWE will be announcing Mick Foley’s Hall of Fame induction tonight but it remains to be seen if he will appear live or not.
* What will The Rock have to say about CM Punk in his Rock Concert?
* What does Dr. Shelby think about Team Hell No?
* Will Eve and Kaitlyn finally get to go one-on-one for the title?
* What is in store for the 12-time World Champion John Cena in 2013?
* What’s next for WWE Champion CM Punk?
A source confirms that we will indeed be seeing more than just a few familiar WWE faces in this year’s 30-man Royal Rumble main event. It was recently rumored that WWE was planning to bring back some midcard talents and some of those same names were on a list for surprise Rumble entrants.
Tommy Dreamer’s name was brought up in a recent WWE creative meeting about a surprise entrant in this year’s 30-man Royal Rumble match. This would not be shocking as Dreamer’s recent appearance on RAW garnered him great reviews backstage and he was extremely over with the crowd
Tonight’s WWE RAW is the taped show from Saturday night in Washington, DC and has a Champion’s Choice theme. Full spoilers and the match listing can be found elsewhere on the site. The main event of tonight’s show will be Ryback vs. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns in a handicap match. There will also be a New Years Eve toast with AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler.
WWE is focusing on the following points for tonight’s show:
* What will AJ and Ziggler have to say with their toast?
* Are CM Punk’s days as WWE Champion numbered?
* Is Sheamus poised to recapture the World Title?
* Does Kaitlyn deserve another match with Divas Champion Eve Torres?
* Besides new Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett, who else will close out 2012 with a bang?
The following matches were taped last night in Washington, DC to air on Monday’s RAW. The theme will be Champion’s Choice where champions get to pick their challengers.
* Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz and John Cena
* Antonio Cesaro will defend the United States Title against an opponent that he chooses
* Kane and Daniel Bryan will defend the Tag Team Titles against opponents that they choose
* Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
* Eve Torres will defend the Divas Title against an opponent that she chooses
* Big Show will defend the World Heavyweight Title against an opponent that he chooses
* Kofi Kingston will defend the Intercontinental Title against an opponent that he chooses
* Ryback vs. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in a handicap match
There will also be MizTV with special guest John Cena and a New Years Eve toast between AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler.
WWE taped the 2012 Tribute to The Troops on Saturdsay night in Norfolk, Virginia. The special will air December 19th on the USA Network and December 22nd on NBC.
Here are some reactions from the WWE Superstars and Divas:
John Cena: “Wonderful weekend at Naval Station Norfolk. Thanks to all involved. Steel horse headed to Newark for @WWE #Raw”
Zack Ryder: “Tonight we filmed Tribute to the Troops! #TTTT It was SSSIIICCCKKK!”
Lilian Garcia: “Backstage in Norfolk, VA 4 the @WWE #TTTT show! Sooo excited to have sang the anthem 4 such brave men&women in our armed forces! #Honored”
Eve Torres: “Had such a fun time at #tributetothetroops! It was an honor to spend the weekend with the men and women that serve our great nation.”
Rosa Mendes: “At Tribute To The #Troops, Kid Rock is singing his heart out! Loving it! Don’t miss it, it airs Wednesday December 19 at 9pm ET on the USA Network”
kofi Kingston: “Tribute to the Troops was great tonight. You’ll enjoy it when it airs. Eyes now set on Newark. #RAW”
WWE Tribute to the Troops spoilers from tonight’s tapings in Norfolk, Virginia:
* Lillian Garcia opened the show with the National Anthem
* Kid Rock did a set of 5 songs.
* Michael Cole and JBL are the announce team and Justin Roberts is the ring announcer.
* Sheamus and Randy Orton team up against Dolph Ziggler and The Big Show. Orton and Sheamus are the winners. Randy hits RKO on Big Show followed by a Brogue Kick from Sheamus.
* Ryback vs. Alberto Del Rio is up next. Ryback wins via disqualification with interference from Ricardo Rodriguez. Ryback hits Shellshocked on both.
* Kane, Daniel Bryan and R-Truth vs Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. Team Hell No and R-Truth win when R-Truth hit his finisher on Heath Slater.
* Miz TV with the The Muppets is next. The Miz wants to know if Kermit truly loves Ms. Piggy. Damien Sandow interrupts and Miz challenges him.
* The Miz vs. Damien Sandow. Miz wins with roll up.
* Layla vs. Eve Torres non title match. Layla wins with her kick to the head.
* Primo, Epico, Tensai and David Otunga vs. Brodus Clay, Sin Cara, The Great Khali and Hornswoggle. The faces win with Hornswoggle’s tadpole splash.
* Flo-Rida next with 4 songs.
* John Cena vs. Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match for the main event. Cena wins with the Attitude Adjustment.
* At the conclusion, all the Superstars came on stage while Cena thanked the Military for their service. Santa Claus came out in a sleigh with Superstars dressed as reindeer. The Usos, Zack Ryder, PTP, Santino Marella, Justin Gabriel and Yoshi Tatsu were reindeer. I think Mick Foley was Santa but I couldn’t tell from where I was seated. Triple H was present but only made an appearance at the conclusion. I saw John Laurinaitis, Dean Malenko, Road Dogg, Micheal Hayes during the conclusion as well. Other superstars at the conclusion were AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, Ted DiBiase, Alicia Fox and others.