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Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk Jr. Receive Emotional Tributes on WWE ‘Friday Night SmackDown’

Courtesy/WWE Smackdown

At the beginning of Friday Night SmackDown, the WWE paid tribute to both Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk Jr. by conducting a minute of silence accompanied by its traditional 10-bell salute for those who passed away.

The WWE universe has been rocked by their deaths this week. First, wrestling legend Terry Funk Jr. passed away on Wednesday at 79, followed by the shocking news of beloved WWE pro wrestler, Bray Wyatt (aka Windham Rotunda), who died suddenly on Thursday at 36.

During the 10-bell salute, emotions were raw on the faces of many WWE superstars including: Braun Strowman, Triple H, Cody Rhodes, Bobby Lashley and former WWE star, Erick Rowan, all of whom bowed their heads while remembering the pair.

Photo: WWE

WWE Commentator Michael Cole addressed viewers at home on just how the show would touch upon the lives of Wyatt and Funk Jr: ‘Tonight on Friday Night SmackDown, we will honor their legacy and celebrate their lives. The lives of two incredible men who have touched all of us, with their passion, their creativity and their spirit.’

Things turned highly-emotional when ‘SmackDown’ ran a video tribute to Wyatt.  Afterwards, the camera panned to an empty wooden chair on the ramp, which Wyatt was renowned for sitting in. Then, in the most touching moment, the fans in attendance began to sing a heartbreaking rendition of Wyatt’s theme song, ‘He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands.”

Later in the evening, Cody Rhodes came to the ring to honor Terry Funk Jr. For Rhodes’ father, WWE Hall-of-Famer, Dusty Rhodes, became very good friends with Terry during their time on earth. Cody then announced “SmackDown” will be holding a “Terry Funk Hardcore Match” later in the show to commemorate the fallen legend.  In addition, a separate tribute for Funk featuring his career highlights was also shown.

Following SmackDown, in an emblematic moment, several of the WWE superstars got tattoos honoring Wyatt with his symbol. Getting inked were Braun Strowman, Karrion Kross, Shotzi, and more as a remembrance to their former colleague.  Many shared their tats on their Instagram profiles.

Photo: KKrossIG

Bray Wyatt leaves behind his wife, former WWE ring announcer ‘JoJo’ Offerman and his four children. Two with Offerman and two with ex-wife Samantha Rotunda. The talented WWE superstar reportedly died from an unexpected heart attack, following being ill for quite some time.

What did you think about how the WWE paid tribute to the late Bray Wyatt and Terry Funk Jr. on Friday Night SmackDown? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Lovely tribute.


Ryan Seacrest on the Key to Success for His ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Hosting Gig: “You Just Don’t Mess With It”

Over the weekend, Ryan Seacrest talked about becoming the new host of the legendary game show, Wheel of Fortune.  The current season is Pat Sajak’s last, so following that, Seacrest will step in to the spotlight for season 42.

When speaking to PEOPLE about how he plans on handling the hosting chores and what might he make different, Ryan shared, “You don’t mess with it, just don’t mess with it. Just get out of the way, say ‘Good evening’ and let’s play.”

As to his excitement for when the gig is finally his, Seacrest added, “I think I have so much adrenaline rushing through my body. Excitement is the word because it’s such a phenomenal show I’ve been a fan. I grew up watching the show. and I can’t wait to take over after the legendary Pat Sajak.”

Ryan’s new gig comes after he left Live with Kelly and Ryan back in April of this year.  He was with the syndicated morning talker for almost six years. Seacrest’s departure paved the way for Kelly’s husband and former All My Children co-star, Mark Consuelos to take over Ryan’s spot in the co-host seat.

However, Ryan has no regret on that decision, sharing, “It was a good time to go, and then fortunately a couple of weeks later, this other great opportunity came to fruition. I’m a kid in a candy store.”

Photo: JPI

Seacrest also was ecstatic for the welcome news that saw Wheel of Fortune staple, Vanna White, sign a new contract to remain with the show.  Ryan shared: “Vanna has been such a staple on that show and in our living rooms for so many years. I have been very excited to work with her, but now that it’s official, I can say, ‘Congratulations Vanna! I can’t wait.'”

Looking forward to Ryan spinning the wheel on the popular syndicated game show next season? Will you miss Pat Sajak? Glad Vanna is joining Ryan and remaining with ‘Wheel’? Comment below.

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WGA and AMPTP Reach Tentative Deal to End Writers Strike

Looks like we are close, very close, to the writing teams at your favorite soap operas returning to their jobs with news on Sunday that finally the WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative deal. What remains is the fine print, and having the WGA vote to ratify their contracts.

This is welcome news to the television, streaming and motion picture industry that after five months of a strike has put the 2023-2024 TV season in deep water.

In a statement, the Writers Guild shared, “We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA (Minimum Basic Agreement), which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language. We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”

As the deal goes through its final stages, the writers are still technically on strike, but picketing outside studios and shows has now been suspended.

Photo: ABC

Among the writers’ demands that they fought for are: higher residuals from streaming shows, minimum staff sizes to prevent the use of “mini rooms” and protections from the use of AI.  The hope within the entertainment industry is that the new deal for the WGA will move along a new contract for SAG-AFTRA (actors) with the AMPTP.  As of Monday, SAG-AFTRA is still on strike.

Photo: JPI

As for your favorite soap operas, during the strikes, the shows were written by non-union writers or “fi-core” writers who gave up their union benefits in order to continue working.

The next steps in process will see the WGA negotiating committee vote on “whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval,” tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.  Another vote by the board and council could lift the strike “restraining order”and allow scribes to “return to work during the ratification vote”.

So, are you happy to know that the writing teams from your favorite soaps are about to return to work and helm the scripts and the vision of the shows? Comment below.

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Hayley Erin Talks On Her Second Chance to Return to The Young and the Restless

Hayley Erin began her soap opera career on The Young and the Restless at 14 in the role of Abby Newman.  She later went on to score a Daytime Emmy for her performances as Kiki Jerome on General Hospital – a role she last played from 2015-2018, and with a return appearance in 2019.

Now, Erin is coming home again to her original soap stomping grounds in Genoa City when she debuts in October as a new character, Newman Media businesswoman, Claire Grace.

Y&R viewers recall the last time Erin was on Y&R as Victor (Eric Braeden) and Ashley’s (Eileen Davidson) daughter (2009-2010), but that role is currently played by Melissa Ordway. As Erin noted in a discussion with Soap Opera Digest, that only in soap operas can something like this happen for an actress!

Photo: JPI

Hayley expressed: “I love the rules, or lack of rules, in the soap universe. I had never expected to come back, and I didn’t think it would happen, but I had hoped! I always thought, ‘Maybe they’d let me.’ And I’m really happy that the soap opera universe is so fluid and these kinds of things can happen.”

As to her new Y&R role, Erin is very excited to jump in to the skin of the character,  expressing: “What I love about Claire is that she is a fantastic businesswoman, which is something so different than what I’ve gotten to play before. She’s smart and driven, and a lot more put together than I am!”

So, who do you think Claire will be involved with in the romance department on The Young and the Restless, when Hayley Erin beings her second run on the CBS daytime drama series? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Peter Reckell returns for a second visit with Michael Fairman following the wrap-up of his recent run as Bo Brady on Days of our Lives.Leave A Comment

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Airdate: 7-24- 2023