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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Wrestling

Ronda Rousey signs with WWE as full-time wrestler

Ronda Rousey WWE

All those rumors you heard about Ronda Rousey potentially joining the WWE finally came true.

Rousey appeared at the WWE’s Royal Rumble on Sunday night in Philadelphia, entering the ring after Asuka won the event. She confronted Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair, and then pointed to the WrestleMania sign as if to hint at a match at the major event in April.

Here’s video of her entrance to the event:

Rousey, the former Olympian and UFC women’s bantamweight champion, was long rumored to be joining the WWE. After starting her MMA career 12-0, Rousey shockingly lost to Holly Holm in 2015 and then later to Amanda Nunes at the end of 2016. She mostly avoided the spotlight after that, with reports creeping up here and there tying Rousey to the WWE.

The 30-year-old isn’t just joining the WWE temporarily or on a one-time basis. She agreed to a full-time deal with WWE and told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that this is her top priority.

“This is my life now. First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt,” Rousey told ESPN’s Shelburne . “When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much.'”

The WWE appears to be building towards having Rousey make her first appearance in the ring at WrestleMania on April 8.

Vince McMahon reportedly launching another pro football league

Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon and his investment company have teased a “major sports announcement” that is coming on Thursday afternoon, and all indications are that the WWE founder is launching another professional football league.

Rumors have been swirling for quite some time that McMahon could bring back the XFL, and the speculation grew even more last month when he sold $100 million of his WWE stock. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the rumors are true.

When the XFL was announced in 2001, play began shortly thereafter. However, PWInsider.com is reporting that McMahon’s new pro football league will not begin play until 2020, as McMahon wants to make sure there is a “proper foundation” in place this time around.

The XFL lasted just one season, with the WWE and its TV partner NBC losing an estimated $35 million each. NFL TV ratings declined this past season and the league has dealt with multiple PR issues, so perhaps McMahon feels there is another window of opportunity.

We have already heard one scorned former NFL player say he would be interested in playing for McMahon’s league, but it remains to be seen how cases like that would be handled. In all likelihood, McMahon will try to take everything fans have complained about with the NFL — national anthem protests, strict rules with tackling, etc. — and use that to market his league.

WWE fires Enzo Amore in wake of rape accusation

Enzo Amore

Enzo Amore no longer has a contract with WWE, as the organization announced on Tuesday that he has been released in the wake of a sexual assault allegation that surfaced this week.

A woman came forward on Twitter Monday and said Amore, whose real is Eric Arndt, raped her in October with the help of two accomplices. She shared disturbing details of the alleged incident and claimed she spent 45 days in a mental hospital because of it.

“OKAY..it’s been long enough & I have been so so scared to share this. I was raped in mid October by the WWE Enzo Amore (also known as Eric Arden) & Tyler Grosso & TOOPOOR let it happen as accomplices,” the woman wrote. “I was in a mental hospital for 45 days after it. They ARE NOT good people.”

WWE suspended Amore on Monday, and the Phoenix Police Department confirmed that a report was filed and an investigation is underway. Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that the bulk of the investigation was complete and police were just waiting on lab results. It’s unclear if WWE received the results of the lab work or more information about the investigation before making the decision to part ways with Arndt.

Arndt, who has been with WWE since 2012, was the Cruiserweight champion prior to being fired.

WWE suspends Enzo Amore for alleged sexual assault

Enzo Amore

WWE superstar Enzo Amore has been suspended for an alleged sexual assault last October.

In a statement issued Monday afternoon, WWE announced that Amore, whose real name is Eric Arndt, was suspended indefinitely for the alleged incident.

“WWE has zero tolerance for matters involving sexual harassment or sexual assault,” the statement read, via Tim Fiorvanti of ESPN. “Until this matter is resolved, Eric Arndt (aka Enzo Amore) has been suspended.”

On Monday, the Cruiserweight champion was accused by an unnamed woman of raping her last October in Phoenix. Per Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, Phoenix police are investigating, though the bulk of that investigation is complete, with only lab results yet to come.

WWE Superstar Roman Reigns, famous actors implicated in steroids ring

Roman Reigns

WWE Superstar Roman Reigns and famous actors Mark Wahlberg and Josh Duhamel are accused of being involved in a steroids ring.

The accusations of Reigns, Wahlberg and Duhamel’s ties to a steroids ring were revealed by Richard Rodriguez, the owner of Miami-based Wellness Fitness Nutrition and Iron Addicts gym, who is in jail for dealing steroids. His business was raided by the DEA last February. You can read the entire complaint against him here.

Filmmaker Jon Bravo is making a film about the gym/steroids ring and interviewed Rodriguez. He posted the audio of an interview with Rodriguez on YouTube on Jan. 11. In that interview, Rodriguez names Reigns Wahlberg and Duhamel as his clients.

In the interview, Rodriguez says the reason for naming names and talking is because he is trying to clear his name and make people aware of what’s out there. He claims Reigns was introduced to him by an informant.

Reigns, 32, is the current Intercontinental Champion in WWE. He was suspended by WWE for a month in 2016 for a wellness policy violation.

Could Vince McMahon try to buy the Panthers?

Vince McMahon

Rumors have been swirling that Vince McMahon has plans to get back into the professional football industry, but could he be thinking about becoming part of the NFL rather than relaunching his own football league?

Former WWE commentator Jonathan “The Coach” Coachman, who was an analyst for the XFL during its one season of existence, told TMZ recently that he believes McMahon making a bid to buy the Carolina Panthers is a possibility.

“Let’s remember where Vince’s home base is — North Carolina,” Coachman said. “He has a restaurant in North Carolina. Triple H’s (McMahon’s son in law) bachelor party was in Raleigh, North Carolina. … Vince has legitimate money. He’s a billionaire. He can come up with the funds, and he’s also at the age where the other owners would respect that.”

Coachman thinks buying the Panthers is a “second possibility” for McMahon, as he also believes the idea of an XFL return is realistic.

All the signs we have seen over the past week indicate that McMahon is up to something. With the Panthers suddenly for sale, it would not be a surprise if he made a play for the franchise.

Vince McMahon selling $100 million of WWE stock to potentially bring back XFL

Vince McMahon

All signs continue to point to Vince McMahon thinking about bringing back the XFL, only there’s one catch.

Last week, a report circulated saying that McMahon was looking to bring back the XFL and that he would potentially make the announcement next month.

A WWE spokesperson even confirmed last week that McMahon was interested in professional football.

Now comes word that McMahon filed to sell 3.34 million shares of WWE stock, which would generate around $100 million. McMahon also filed for five trademarks related to the XFL, as the previous ones were abandoned. Here’s the catch, though: McMahon filed the trademarks through a new company he formed called Alpha Entertainment. This company would be separate from WWE.

The WWE previously joined with TV partner NBC to run the XFL back in 2001. The league lasted just one season, with both the WWE and NBC reportedly losing around $35 million each.

Perhaps McMahon feels that with TV ratings declining and the NFL dealing with multiple PR issues, there is a good window of opportunity to bring his product back.