TJR Thursday News (02/11): WWE Issues Statement About Titus O'Neil's Suspension, Racism Allegations & Much More

World Wrestling Entertainment has changed the length of Former Tag Team Champion Titus O’Neil’s suspension from 90 days to 60 days. This is reported by the New York Post. Although the suspension is 30 days shorter, he will still be missing out on WrestleMania 32 which is usually where WWE wrestlers receive their biggest pay bonus of the year.

Titus O’Neil tugged at Vince McMahon’s arm in a playful manner following Daniel Bryan’s continued retirement celebration on the WWE Network this past Monday. McMahon was furious by this, and by the time O’Neil showed up for Smackdown’s taping on Tuesday he was notified of his suspension, PWInsider reports. I covered this story for TJRWrestling yesterday. You can read some more details and my thoughts on the matter right here.

The New York Post article discussing this incident between Vince McMahon and Titus O’Neil is titled “Fans call Vince McMahon racist for suspending black wrestler.” The article also includes many messages from fans that complain the suspension was racially motivated. WWE responded to the New York Post by saying, “The suspension of Titus O’Neil had nothing to do with race and everything to do with unprofessional conduct.” WWE also mentioned that O’Neil “acknowledged the gravity of his mistake” in a text message. O’Neil’s text read, “I feel like sh** now so if you have to let me go, I understand. Stupid mistake.”

O’Neil’s first public comments after his WWE suspension came by way of his Instagram account where he said this:

In Other News

– Kevin Owens pitched hard to be The Undertaker’s WrestleMania 32 opponent, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports. Although Owens tried his best, the idea was ultimately turned down. Let the guessing game as to who’s going to face The Undertaker continue. As previously reported, The Undertaker vs. Braun Strowman has likely been scratched and is no longer in place for WrestleMania. The talk within WWE is that Undertaker’s opponent will be someone unexpected. We shall see!

– Although Strowman won’t be facing The Undertaker, the current plan is for him to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and will receive a major push from the company after that. This is according to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Plans are for Strowman to eventually go on to face Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and a potentially have a PPV match with Brock Lesnar.

– WWE NXT regulars Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are still not officially signed to deals, according to PWInsider Elite. The feelings within WWE is that they’ll be signed eventually since they’ve used Gargano and Ciampa frequently and are happy with their work. However, for now, the two will still be working independent shows and help out at NXT when they are needed.

NXT - Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa

– WWE reported a strong showing for the WWE Network in their fourth-quarter 2015 financial report. It was announced that the WWE network had 1.22 million paid subscribers. This subscriber count is up an incredible 49% from 2014’s fourth quarter. WWE also announced that their network reached a record high for the quarter of 1.24 million paid subscribers. You click click here to read the WWE’s press release in its entirety.

Good for the WWE Network. I enjoy the network a lot so I’m happy it’s showing strong numbers.

Read Our Stuff

Heather Hickey reviewed Brock Lesnar’s book “Death Clutch.” It’s Heather’s first in a series of TJRWrestling Book Club Reviews she’ll be doing. Check it out, it’s a fun review of a book that’s not so fun. The next book on her list is “The Hard Core Truth” by Bob Holly with Ross Williams.

The first ever TJRWrestling shirts have been released! They are available for purchase at Prowrestlingtees.com/tjrwrestling. It’s a great way to show your support for the site. If you pick one up, throw a picture of yourself wearing it John Canton’s way and I’ll include it in my next daily news update on Wednesday (February 17).

That’s all for now. Wayne Tomkins will be here for tomorrow’s TJR News Update. Thanks for reading and as always leave any of your thoughts in the comment section below.