Who Created The Shield, Kurt Angle To HoF, What Ryback Did That Infuriated Vince McMahon & Changed Payback Main Event, Top WWE Star Pulled From Upcoming Shows, TNA’s Big Free Agent Signing Revealed, Major WWE Star Gets Heat For Breaking Kayfabe On TV, SummerSlam & WMXXX Matches With Brock Lesnar

Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure.

This week’s edition covers news from Saturday, June 1, 2013 to Friday, June 7, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!

Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW

WWE News

- Ric Flair signed autographs at Wrestle Jam in Ringgold, Georgia on Friday night. Apparently there was some concern about his health as his left ankle was visibly swollen. He participated in an angle at the end of the show, delivering a low blow Johnny Rokk to end the show. Flair’s girlfriend, FiFi The Maid, was on the show with him. The Nature Boy was pulled from a scheduled appearance on WWE Monday Night Raw in March due to a blood clot in his leg. No word if the swelling Friday night was connected with that.

- IGN has a new Q&A online with Randy Orton to promote the release of “12 Rounds: Reloaded” on Tuesday. In it, Orton is asked about the forthcoming debut of Bray Wyatt and Curtis Axel. Below is an excerpt:

Well, I’m used to calling him “Husky,” but Bray’s vignettes are awesome. And the other two guys down there in FCW, who are part of his team, are talented. That little group there looks great. I have no idea what we’re in for but those vignettes have everyone’s heads turning backstage. And wrestling is in Bray’s blood. He’s the son of Mike Rotunda – I.R.S.

But Curtis Axel is third generation too. And so I think there’s been a lot of pressure on Joe [Hennig] just being the son of “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. I mean, how can there not be a lot of pressure? No disrespect to my father, but Mr. Perfect was around a little more and maybe had more of a following. So people might be more aware of who his father was and because of that I think he has a lot more to live up to. And that whole “Michael McGillicutty” thing? That was just career suicide. But he made it through that. And I think anyone who can make it through having a name like “McGillicutty” for however many years he had it is a survivor. The fact that he made it through shows you that the kid’s got some staying power. And now with Paul Heyman in his back pocket? He’s golden. Give him a couple weeks, a couple months, and he’ll make a big impact.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Derrick Bateman said prior to his WWE release he was in a bad place mentally and physically and needed a break.

- Ryback has a message for John Cena in the latest episode of “Backstage Fallout” Smackdown. You can watch it now online at this link.

- Dot com has a kayfabe article on Big Show’s absence from WWE television. Below is a quote from the piece:

“I have an ironclad contract!” he screamed through the phone. “I’ll take time off any time I want to, for as long as I want to! I don’t care if Booker doesn’t like it. I’m a giant! I don’t do what other people tell me to do. They do what I tell them to do. ‘Ironclad’ means I answer to no one. That includes Booker, and anyone else in WWE management.”

Show is actually off the road dealing with a shoulder injury. Click here for coverage by dot com.

- If you missed our live report, World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler is back on the road with WWE and appeared at Saturday night’s live event in Bethlehem, PA. Ziggler came out with Big E Langston (with AJ Lee) for his bout against Alberto Del Rio. While he hasn’t been cleared for in-ring competition, he did cut a promo.  He is advertised for Sunday’s show in Poughkeepsie, NY and this week’s TV tapings.

- WWE is testing out a revamped heel gimmick for Hunico by aligning him with Brad Maddox. The company is doing something similar by aligning Tamina Snuka with Vickie Guerrero. No word if this will make it to television but Hunico has been out with a torn ACL.

- Phil Strum of the Poughkeepsie Journal has a detailed Q&A online with WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose. Below are the highlights:

First meeting Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns:

The three of us met for the first time in Tampa in Florida Championship Wrestling or developmental. We all had the attitude that we wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. So that was the first time. I had met Seth once or twice before. We had crossed paths a couple of times, but nothing more than a handshake and a hello. The first time we sat down and talked and worked together was Florida and that was opponents. I was also across the ring from Roman Reigns many times. We were never on the same side. Then we started The Shield and we had a natural chemistry. We’re only three guys, but that’s the perfect number because it’s a numbers advantage, but we’re not coming out with a whole parade of hangers-on. There’s no loose fat hanging off that has to get trimmed. We’re many moving parts and every moving part has its job. We’re in sync. Each of us brings something completely different to the table. We’re apples and oranges and bananas if you try and compare each one of us to the other.

Who came up with The Shield:

I can tell you it’s been an ever-evolving process. I don’t think we knew where we wanted to go. Every week, it’s been a new idea. An on-the-fly idea. Coming out of the crowd was not a pre-planned, premeditated idea that someone came up with in a meeting room. Everything has kind of organically evolved. Instead of coming through the entrance way, we wanted to make a statement to people that what you see is not like every other WWE superstar, every other normal wrestler. It was done to separate ourselves. We’re not like everyone in the back. We’re completely different and more dangerous and something you’ve got to keep your eyes on.

Everything from the moves we do to the things we wear to the things we say, all of them have been on the fly. We’re making it up as we go along. If something feels natural, we do it. If somebody says a good line, it’s like, hey I like that line, let’s go with it. Or someone does a good move, hey I like that move, let’s do that again. It’s been an on-the job process. You’re watching it unfold with your eyes as much as we are and I think that’s one of the exciting things for the fans.

Being in the ring with Undertaker:

Being across from The Undertaker is a very surreal experience. It felt like it must have been a dream. On the other other hand, this is a window that’s only open for who knows how long and how quickly it’s going to close. You better take advantage of it. I’m not intimidated by any scenario, whether it’s The Undertaker or John Cena or anybody. We’re going to do this. At this level, it’s kind of like the fight or flight kind of thing. All of us are kind of put in a position where you don’t get intimidated by the magnitude or the pressure of it. You don’t feel it. You feel the aura of The Undertaker. He has a presence. This is the most legendary guy you’re standing across the ring from and as big of an opponent as you can get. It’s like winning the lottery and I’m not about to not cash my lottery ticket in. You have ice water running through your veins. You’re out of your mind. It’s funny. The music’s playing. The pyro’s going off. It’s The Undertaker’s music. But once the bell rings and you make physical contact, it starts to work and the world shrinks down to a 20-by-20 ring and it’s any other match really and you have to stay on your game once the bell rings.

What goes into his approach cutting promos:

Cutting a promo has always come very naturally and it’s nothing I ever had to work on. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t have a particular process. You have to not be afraid to be yourself and let go and tap into how you really feel. You need to let loose. If you can do that, you can show people a different side of your personality. Get in front of the camera and be free. I enjoy being in front of the camera and I use it as an outlet. In real life, I’m a pretty private person. I’m not a flashy, attention-seeking, kind of guy. When the red light goes on, you have an opportunity to be whatever you want and let loose and use it as an outlet. I’m able to take a lot of aggression off my choice. I guess my best advice would be to just cut loose and not be afraid to just let your real self come out from inside.

If you get intimidated by the camera, that shows through. Just enjoy cutting it loose. Guys today, a lot of them only learned one way to do it. They came up in developmental or whatever and are told what to say and that’s the only way they know how to do it. I didn’t come up that way, fortunately. I don’t want anybody to tell me what to say. When you put words in my mouth, I don’t like that. With a promo, you have an opportunity to sell tickets and sell pay-per-views and create interest. Every single time, the camera’s on you, you have a chance to expand your bank account and puts (butts) in the seats and help your performance. It’s all a big part of a masterpiece of an angle or a story that climaxes in a match. It all ties together. The things aren’t separate for me. Say you have a year-long feud that has three matches and 20 promos. It’s all one big work of art that ties in together. You think ahead of what’s going to happen in the ring. It all ties in together. It’s one big puzzle with a bunch of different pieces.

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- 660 News All News Radio, owned by Rogers Communications, has a quote from Bret Hart where he reveals frustration that his brother, Owen, hasn’t been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

“You know, it’s time to remember what he was. He was a great wrestler, and WWE fans around the world remember Owen, everyday. And, they ask me, everyday. It’s kind of childish,” says Hart.

Click here for their brief article.

- There were some WWE Hall of Famer sightings at live events over the weekend. The following photos are from Twitter:

Backlund was also at the WWE live event in Poughkeepsie on Sunday.

- WWE has announced a live event on Friday, July 26, 2013 from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Tickets go on sale on June 15, 2013.

- As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, the WWE Payback main event between Ryback and John Cena was changed from an Ambulance Match to a Three Stages of Hell Match to help protect the loser. However, there’s a bit more to it.

We’re told Vince McMahon was irate over Ryback’s promo that opened the May 20th episode of WWE Monday Night Raw in which he proclaimed to take the entire audience to the morgue with John Cena. Apparently what Ryback delivered wasn’t too far off from what was scripted and either something slipped through the cracks or seeing it on screen felt different than what Vince envisioned. Either way, Vince was “flipping out” about his top heel basically saying he was going to murder the fans.

After the Chris Benoit tragedy, WWE has become more sensitive about language or threats being too violent in nature. Vince didn’t like the idea of an ambulance gimmick being positioned or associated with the idea of killing your opponent as opposed to the idea that you’ve injured them and they need medical attention.

So Vince began souring on the Ambulance Match at the top of the 5/20 show. The next day, Vince expressed that he didn’t think the gimmick got over and they needed to switch the stipulation for the pay-per-view. We’re told the writers warned him it would would be hard to push the ambulance so hard right out of the gate to not deliver on it at all. This is what led to the Three Stages of Hell Match with the ambulance still being part of it (the bout will be an Ambulance Match for the third and final fall, if “necessary”).

In fact, the only reason the ambulance stipulation was even thought up was because it protected the loser from not being pinned. It was Triple H that suggested the Three Stages of Hell stipulation.

- Samuray Del Sol finished up with EVOLVE at the promotion’s “Evolve 22″ iPPV on Sunday night. Del Sol has signed his developmental contract with WWE and is expected to report to Florida soon. Del Sol was defeated by Open the Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano at Sunday’s show.

- Last week’s WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,410,000 viewers on SyFy.

- The latest WWE Studios straight-to-DVD movie “12 Rounds 2: Reloaded” starring Randy Orton will be released in stores nationwide on Tuesday. Below is a synopsis of the film courtesy of Amazon:

WWE superstar Randy Orton slams action into overdrive in this pulse-pounding thrill ride filled with gripping suspense! Paramedic Nick Malloy (Orton) is plunged into a deadly game of cat and mouse when he receives a terrifying phone call from a vengeful psychopath (Brian Markinson) connected to his past. The maniac threatens to unleash a murder spree unless Nick can complete a series of 12 challenges without involving the cops or missing a single deadline. With no time to spare – and his own wife’s life on the line – Nick must piece together cryptic clues and hunt down the killer before it’s too late!

- Bob Backlund, who was at WWE live events this weekend, is at this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Backlund was spotted interacting with fans and signing autographs. The new WWE Hall of Famer joined Ryback in visiting Connecticut Children’s Medical Center on Monday.

- Kofi Kingston had surgery on his left elbow last week to remove bone chips. The surgery was performed by Dr. Jeffrey Dugas in Birmingham, Alabama. The following is an excerpt from dot com’s update on him:

“Kofi underwent left elbow arthroscopy last week with Dr. Dugas in Birmingham, Alabama,” said Amann.

“At that time, he was found to have two large bone chips about the size of a marble in his elbow joint. Those were removed. He’s in a sling. He’s starting physical therapy and doing very well.”

Click here for coverage by dot com.

- World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler didn’t return on WWE Monday Night Raw as advertised. Michael Cole said on commentary that Ziggler wasn’t there and is still recovering from his concussion. Ziggler was at live events in Bethlehem (results) and Poughkeepsie (results) over the weekend.

- Triple H said in a backstage segment with Stephanie McMahon before “leaving” this week’s Raw that he’ll be at next week’s show, in the ring to face Curtis Axel. Next week’s WWE Raw will take place from The Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia.

- CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho for WWE Payback was “made official” with a “contract signing” between Paul Heyman and Jericho on this week’s Monday Night Raw.

- We heard there were major show re-writes for this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw with Vince McMahon and Triple H working late into Monday evening. We should have more later.

- The official theme song for WWE Payback is “Another Way Out” by Hollywood Undead.

- Nicole Tranquillo, the artist that does Kaitlyn’s new theme music, “Higher,” was a contestant on Season 6 of American Idol. You can check out here profile at this link.

- The latest vignette for Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family is now online at this link.

- Chris Jericho had high praise for Daniel Bryan after a strong performance on Monday’s Raw. His tweet is below:

- The latest commercial for “Total Divas” on E! is now online at this link.

- Stephanie McMahon Tweeted the following kayfabe Tweet after her appearance on Raw:

- Daniel Bryan’s left elbow was cut open after being put through a table by Ryback on this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw.

- World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler was featured on the WWE App during Raw. You can watch his promo at this link.

- As of this week’s WWE Raw, the company was at least thinking of starting again on The Usos. You can watch a promo they cut backstage at Raw, saying they are ready for The Shield at this link.

- Jack Swagger wasn’t at WWE Monday Night Raw again this week and has been removed from all shows until the June 29th live event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Last week, Swagger was on vacation. Now, he prepares for DUI trial on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 from his February arrest. Zeb Colter continues to travel with WWE and cut a promo on the WWE App that aired during Raw.

- WWE issued the following press release on Tuesday:

STAMFORD, Conn. and HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., June 4, 2013 – WWE® (NYSE:WWE) and Kmart today announced their first-ever exclusive children’s apparel line called “Never Give Up by John Cena™”, which will debut this fall in Kmart stores nationwide as well as on Kmart.com and ShopYourWay.com. Customers can purchase merchandise, including shirts, hoodies, pants, shorts, outerwear, headwear and accessories all inspired by WWE Superstar and current WWE Champion John Cena.

“I am excited to announce WWE’s relationship with Kmart and bring the Never Give Up by John Cena collection to all of our young fans,” said Cena. “For the first time ever, young shoppers will be able to go to Kmart and find a new line of apparel that expresses my lifestyle and my never give up attitude.”

Kmart apparel continues to build a powerful portfolio of brands and align with celebrities such as Cena to attract a young, cross-cultural customer.

“The Never Give Up by John Cena apparel line is a lifestyle brand that appeals to those who not only like his style, but are drawn to the positive message he offers,” said Cheryl Olinger, VP/GMM of Kid’s Apparel, Kmart. “Kmart will have the exclusive opportunity to provide merchandise previously available only at WWE events. We believe the line will resonate with many of our current, younger customers while allowing us to reach a segment of John’s fan base that may not have shopped at Kmart before.”

“WWE is thrilled to team up with one of the country’s leading retailers and offer millions of fans a full apparel collection inspired by John Cena,” said Casey Collins, Executive Vice President of Consumer Products, WWE. “His global appeal fits perfectly with Kmart’s new group of entertainment-driven fashion lines.”

WWE Champion John Cena Tweeted the following:

- Are you scared of Bray Wyatt? This question is posed in the latest episode of “Backstage Fallout” Raw, which is now online at this link.

- ROH Wrestling’s Prince Nana worked a tryout match prior to this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw in Hartford, Connecticut and indicated he could get another look at Tuesday’s Smackdown taping in Long Island, New York.

The following is from his Twitter:

- The word backstage at this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw was that World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler passed an iMPACT concussion test and will be able to return to the ring. While no return match has been officially announced, he’s expected to be able to compete at WWE Payback in a couple of weeks. World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler was featured on the WWE App during Raw. You can watch his promo at this link.

Backstage news from WWE Monday Night Raw in Hartford…

- As we reported on Monday night here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the entire script for this week’s WWE Raw was gutted and completely re-written just hours before the show went live. Vince McMahon felt the original script was boring and non-eventual.  The company was very concerned about outside competition, going up against the NBA Playoff Game 7 between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat.

- Ryback caught some heat backstage for breaking kayfabe by saying that Kofi Kingston had surgery on Thursday when Smackdown didn’t air until Friday. We’re also told he complained on Daniel Bryan, saying he worked stiff. Triple H reportedly laughed at the comment as Bryan received very high marks. One observer says Ryback is on a big ego trip and this isn’t the first time that he’s ran his mouth or messed up his lines.

- Speaking of Daniel Bryan, Vince McMahon praised him for working “two great matches” and carrying Ryback in his best match to date. Vince has given the green light to push Bryan and there’s talk about a summer program with Dolph Ziggler.

- Vince McMahon was back on his tag team kick this week, which explains the booking of The Usos. The problem is The Usos are not seen as being on the same level as The Shield, given the top names they’ve already beaten.

- This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,680,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the hourly breakdown:

Hour one – 3,620,000 viewers
Hour two – 3,620,000 viewers
Hour three – 3,800,000 viewers

Raw ended up with an abysmal 2.6 cable rating.  The show was up against stiff competition as the NBA Playoff Game 7 between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers did an average viewing audience of 11,570,000 viewers on TNT.

- WWE was filming for the new “Total Divas” reality series at this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. The series will premiere on E! next month.

- Jim Ross has a new blog online where he gives his thoughts on this week’s Raw. In it, he gives credit where credit is due as he puts over Daniel Bryan. Below is an excerpt:

@WWEDanielBryan was the star of RAW.

This is not the first time I’ve written this. No matter the role or task at hand, Bryan delivers. He’s as good as anyone in the business right now, for my money. Anyone who has had training from such men as Billy Robinson, William Regal, Shawn Michaels, and Robby Brookside and who has Bryan’s desire and professionalism can’t be any thing but good.

Bryan stole the show from 5 other very talented performers in the 6 man tag and Bryan had one of Ryback’s best bouts ever.

Click here to read JR’s latest in its entirety.

- WWE has announced that Wade Barrett will defend his Intercontinental Championship against The Miz & Fandango in a Triple Threat match at WWE Payback.

- Tyson Kidd wrote on Twitter that he’s likely out another “few months” with his knee injury.

- Mick Foley and his family were at this week’s Smackdown taping in Long Island. Here’s a photo from his daughter’s Twitter:

- Could Randy Orton finally be turning heel? Read the Smackdown taping results to see how this week’s show ends.

- Jack Swagger, who is off WWE TV pending his DUI trial, posted the following on Twitter:

- Congratulations are in order for Scotty 2 Hotty who graduated from Lake Technical Center’s Fire Academy on Tuesday night. The following photo is from Twitter:

- Rosa Mendes, who has been off the road since being sent home from WWE’s European tour, is currently being advertised for a WWE Appearance on Monday, July 22, 2013. Below are official details on the appearance:

Mon Jul. 22, 2013 – 11:00 am
Fry’s Electronics Store, located at 12707 N. Mopac Exp., Austin, TX, United States

CLEAR, the provider of 4G internet for less, invites you to come meet WWE Superstar Mark Henry and WWE Diva Rosa Mendes as they appear starting at 11 a.m. at Fry’s Electronics Store, located at 12707 N. Mopac Exp., Austin, TX 78727.
Open to the first 300 attendees. One autograph per person. Wristband policy in effect. Wristbands will be distributed to the first 300 attendees. Space is limited. Arrive early. Talent and event are subject to change.

- Video of World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler at Sunday’s WWE live event in Poughkeepsie, New York is online at this link.

- It was announced at this week’s Smackdown taping that the secret admirer of WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn will be announced on next week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.

- WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund was at this week’s Smackdown taping in Long Island. Backlund was at WWE live events last weekend and Raw on Monday. We’ve already noted that WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley was at Smackdown with his family. Click here for a photo of Foley’s kids.

- WWE has a new article here on dot com listing the “10 Greatest Wrestlers to Never Wrestle in WWE.” The list is topped by Sting, here it is in its entirety:

#1 Sting
#2 Abdullah the Butcher
#3 The Great Muta
#4 New Jack
#5 Vampiro
#6 Nikita Koloff
#7 The Sinister Minister
#8 The Midnight Express
#9 Akira Hokuto
#10 Magnum TA

- While still ten months away, there’s plenty of chatter going on regarding main event matches for Wrestlemania XXX next year in New Orleans.

With The Rock still claiming he could be finished, the current penciled in main event is Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker. We’re told both Brock and Undertaker are pushing for it. Meanwhile, CM Punk really wants to face Brock at Wrestlemania, in hopes he’ll end up in one of the top two matches on the card.

WWE now wants to do Punk vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam, a plan that Punk isn’t happy about. We’re told he’s pitching other ideas because he doesn’t want to rush into a program with Brock. While the company wants to head that direction, it’s undecided who would work the program as a heel. One observer commented how it would be silly to turn Lesnar for SummerSlam only to have to turn him back for a match against Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

The most logical play would be to turn Punk back babyface, which is more likely if they do the program with Lesnar.

- WWE issued the following press release on Wednesday:

June 5, 2013, London – WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced that it will be returning to Shanghai, China on Friday, August 2, 2013 at the Oriental Sports Center. Tickets are available via www.Ticket2010.com.

Fans attending WWE LIVE® will be able to see all their favorite Superstars and Divas in action including WWE Champion John Cena®, Ryback™, Kane®, Daniel Bryan™, Kofi Kingston™, Natalya™ and many more*.

“We are extremely delighted to be back in Shanghai and offer the ‘WWE LIVE’ experience to Chinese fans for the first time,” said Sweesin Wu, WWE’s Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific. “We look forward to showcasing our unique brand of family-friendly entertainment that only WWE can deliver.”

WWE opened an office in Shanghai in 2007 and took part in Expo 2010 Shanghai at the Mercedes Benz Arena giving fans a first look at the WWE live event experience. Last August WWE debuted WWE SmackDown® at the Oriental Sports Center.

*Lineup subject to change, see www.wwe.cn or http://weibo.com/u/2479110454 for details.

- The Miz talked about working with Ric Flair in a new interview with Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald. Below is an excerpt:

“It was amazing working with Ric Flair,” Miz said.

“Any time you get to work with someone you grew up watching and idolizing. It’s surreal. It’s not supposed to happen, but it happened to me. It has been incredible. The figure-four leg lock has worked out magnificently for me, so thank you to the ‘Nature Boy’, Woo!”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- WWE has signed Ryan Drago to a developmental contract. Drago has been training at Harley Race’s World League Wrestling. Click here for more information.

- Richie Steamboat continues to deal with issues regarding his back and is set to undergo surgery by Dr. Joseph Maroon in Pittsburgh.

- Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart is at the WWE NXT facilities in Tampa training with his daughter, Natalya, as they film for “Total Divas.” Below is a photo Tweeted by Natalya:

- WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett is currently doing media work for WWE in Japan. The following is from his Twitter:

- Tamina Snuka was banged up in her match against Natalya taped for this week’s episode of WWE Superstars on Monday. Apparently there was some concern that she suffered a concussion, however, we do not have a definitive word as of press time.

- Jack Swagger is currently dealing with a legitimate right hand injury that required him to get stitches. We ran the photo here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, while also noting that he isn’t advertised for a WWE show until a June 29th live event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Here’s what Zeb Colter, Swagger’s manager, wrote on Twitter:

- The real-life relationships of Nikki Bella & John Cena and Brie Bella & Daniel Bryan will be featured on the “Total Divas” reality show that premieres next month on E!

- Jim Ross has added a new date to his upcoming overseas tour, holding an event on August 28th in Glasgow, Scotland.

- Bret Hart is featured on the latest episode of WWE Inbox at this link.

- World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler is being advertised for a match against Alberto Del Rio at Saturday’s WWE live event in Johnson City, Tennessee.  If accurate, this will be his first match back since suffering a concussion at the May 7, 2013 Smackdown taping off an errant kick from Jack Swagger.

- FutureShop.ca has the pre-order listing online for WWE 2K14, giving the first look at features of the game. You can check it out at this link.

- WWE will be trying out 15-20 men from mainstream sports at a tryout camp in Tampa this weekend. Jim Ross is in Tampa and will be serving as a consultant for the camp.

- The Fayetteville Observer has a new article online featuring quotes from AJ Lee to promote Sunday’s show from the Crown Coliseum. In it, she gives advice to young aspiring wrestlers.

Know that it’s not going to happen at once. You have to experience this on your own and be very strong in every aspect – especially mentally. You should also know exactly who you are and never waiver from that. Don’t be afraid to take risks. You may fall flat, but if you play it safe, you’ll just be one of many.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Season three of Steve Austin’s “Redneck Island” on CMT did an average viewing audience of 1,020,000 viewers.

- RVAMag has a detailed Q&A online with Daniel Bryan to promote Monday’s WWE Raw in Richmond, Virginia. Below is an excerpt:

So to start, what is going on with the beard-off since Josh Reddick (Oakland Athletics’ outfielder) trimmed his beard?

Oh my gosh! Yeah, I have no idea. I don’t know why he did it. I just can’t believe it. One of the guys who runs the YouTube stuff for WWE is the one who actually told me about it. I came back from a match and he said, “Congratulations!” I was like, “Uh, what are you talking about. I just did like a three minute match out there.” He said, “No, you won the beard-off. Josh Reddick just shaved his beard.” I’m still growing my beard, so if he wants to try and catch up, I’m more than willing to keep it up. Up to him.

What are your opinions on The Shield since you & Kane have worked with them more than anyone on the roster, really?

I think The Shield has done a fantastic job. It’s very difficult to come into the WWE, be put in the main spot, and to hold up your end of the deal. Those guys really have. I think it’s because Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins spent years in the indies before getting here. Then Roman Reigns, who had very limited experience before coming to WWE, has really stepped up and done a great job. I have nothing but respect for those guys and they’ve done amazingly so far. More than half the time, they go out there and steal the show.

To change gears for a second, you were famously touted as a vegan athlete for the longest time, but I understand you had to give it up, right?

Yeah, I developed a really bad soy intolerance, where it was making me really sick. Right now, I stick with a mostly vegetarian diet. Sometimes I’ll eat a little meat here and there just out of convenience more than anything else. I still eat mostly vegan and if it’s not mostly vegan, it’s vegetarian. When I’m at home, it’s not a problem at all. It’s just when you’re on the road so much. Finding vegan food without soy in it and still being able to get your protein and that sort of thing that you need as an athlete is very, very difficult. I’ve been fortunate because there’s a company called Vega who does vegan protein shakes and that sort of thing. They’ve sent me free vegan protein and all that kind of stuff, and their products are amazing. They don’t have soy in it, so that’s been fantastic, but finding real food besides that has been very, very difficult. Sometimes I have to eat some eggs or eat a little bit of meat just to get by, you know?

Now I know The Ryback rides with you, which leads to some hilarious moments. I just can’t imagine the two of you riding together honestly.

Actually, The Ryback stopped riding with me! It’s unfortunate, but I don’t think it’s because of the constant hazing I’ve given him. We had fun together and it went both ways really, but he prefers to ride by himself. He has a very specific schedule that he likes to keep. It’s hard because when you’re riding with someone, your schedules have to coincide or else it just doesn’t work. I’m somebody who likes to go to bed early and wake up early. A lot of guys like to stay up later, wake up later, and get their stuff done. Different people require different riding partners really.

With you both being on the road so much, how in the world does “dating” really work out?

It’s been harder, actually, now that they’ve been filming this reality show because Brie has to go do certain things for the show, you know what I mean? Before Brie came back, I’d be on the road and come back and we’d have our time at home just together just completely by ourselves before I would go back on the road. Now, it’s a little more interesting because she’s on the road sometimes with me, sometimes on a different brand or something like that, but we’ll see each other more on the road and we get less quality alone time at home. So it’s an ever-evolving situation.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The Rock’s new reality series, ‘The Hero,” got off to a strong start by drawing more than 1.5 million viewers for the 8 PM premiere on Thursday night. The following press release was issued by TNT:

‘The Hero’ Draws More Than 1.5 Million Viewers for 8PM Premiere

TNT’s exciting new competition series The Hero, starring Dwayne Johnson, got off to a strong start Thursday night, drawing more than 2.1 million viewers in Live + Same Day delivery for its 8 p.m. premiere and 10 p.m. encore. In the demos, the premiere and encore garnered more than 1.1 million adults 18-49 and adults 25-54.

The Hero’s 8 p.m. premiere averaged more than 1.5 million viewers to rank as one of basic cable’s Top 10 unscripted series launches so far this year. Among key adult demos, the premiere telecast scored 855,000 adults 18-49, up a remarkable +94% over TNT’s year-to-date average for the timeslot (excluding sports). It also garnered 832,000 adults 25-54, outperforming TNT’s timeslot average by +45%. With a projected median age of 39, the audience for The Hero’s premiere telecast is TNT’s youngest ever for an original series launch.

- On this week’s Smackdown, it was revealed that Triple H will face Curtis Axel. In addition, World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler (who is now medically cleared to compete) will return, and Kaitlyn‘s “secret admirer” will be revealed.

- This week’s episode of “Backstage Fallout” Smackdown is now available at this link.

TNA News

- This week’s Impact Wrestling simply performed horribly in the ratings. The show only garnered a 0.83 cable rating to go with its average viewership of 1,016,000 viewers on Spike TV. The number was the lowest in three years, dating back to Impact’s experimental run on Monday nights. The show was up against stiff competition with Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs game – Pacers at Heat – drawing 8,500,000 viewers and the History Channel drawing 4,800,000 in the same timeslot. To TNA’s credit, this was the first week back in the 9 PM/8 CT timeslot.  However, there has to be a lot of disappointment headed into Slammiversary on Sunday.

- Hulk Hogan is still scheduled to appear at the Slammiversary Fan InterAction event on Saturday in Boston prior to the pay-per-view on Sunday, TMZ is reporting. He won’t miss the pay-per-view either. Hogan badly burned his hand on Sunday after a radiator exploded and has been undergoing daily medical treatment. You can view photos at this link.

- Bill Goldberg has made it more than clear on Twitter that he’s not TNA’s big free agent signing. I’ll have more on the signing later.

- Christopher Daniels has been on a media blitz to promote TNA Slammiversary XI. You can listen to three interviews at the following links – Mike and Billy Show, LAW Radio and 5 For Foley.

- Marvel.com has an interview with TNA X Division Champion Kenny King online at this link.

- TNA Champion Bully Ray continued the rhetoric of wanting to face Hulk Hogan in Hogan’s final match in the Slammiversary Q&A on Saturday night. When asked if he could face anyone, he said Terry Funk and that if he could add anyone to Aces and Eights it would be Crimson.

- The official Slammiversary music video for Sting vs. Bully Ray is online at this link.

- Jeremy Borash says it was Shark Boy that named TNA Slammiversary. The following is from JB’s Twitter:

- Velvet Sky is the June Knockout of the Month. TNA posted several photos of her and more at this link.

- The following Tweets are from the verified account of Dixie Carter:

- We still haven’t heard any definitive word on the “big free agent” signing although I did mention a couple of names in the latest issue if the Powerslam Newsletter.  It’s unknown if the name will be revealed on Slammiversary but there haven’t been any surprises spotted backstage.

- Also, we haven’t been able to confirm the second inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame. From top to bottom the feeling is Jeff Jarrett is the most deserving inductee but most thought that last year when Sting was announced. While the feeling seems to be Jarrett would be the “right” inductee, some have suggested it will be a performer that has more current appeal to the TNA audience.

- Chris Sabin beat Kenny King & Suicide to win the X-Division Championship at TNA Slammiversary. Sabin was busted open hardway, bleeding as he celebrated the win after the match.

- Abyss beat Devon at Slammiversary XI to win the TNA Television Championship. Abyss “replaced” Joseph Park who “failed to show up” to challenge for the title.

- Dixie Carter announced that Kurt Angle will be the second inductee to enter the TNA Hall of Fame at Bound for Glory 2013. Angle joins Sting, who was inducted last year. TNA Bound for Glory 2013 will take place Sunday, October 20, 2013 from the Viejas Arena in San Diego, California. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Kurt Angle’s 2013 TNA Hall of Fame inductee video is now online at this link.

- Gunner & James Storm beat Hernandez & Chavo Guerrero, Bad Influence and Bobby Roode & Austin Aries to win the TNA Tag Team Championship at Slammiversary XI.

The match was an Elimination Match as eliminations were as follows:

Bad Influence was eliminated when Daniels hit Chavo with the title
Chavo & Hernandez were eliminated when Austin Aries pinned Chavo
Roode & Aries were eliminated when Aries tapped out in the Gun Rack by Gunner

- Sting was helped to the back after TNA Slammiversary went off the air. Footage is available at this link.

- Jay Bradley beat Sam Shaw in the Gut Check Tournament final at TNA Slammiversary to earn a spot in the Bound for Glory series.

- ESPN’s Robert Flores was at TNA Slammiversary on Sunday and watched the main event with Dixie Carter. Below is a photo:

What Dixie Carter Thought of the PPV

Speaking of Carter, here’s what she thought of the company’s pay-per-view effort:

- Chris Sabin was busted open hardway in the show opening TNA X Division Championship match. Sabin was victories over Kenny King and Suicide to win the title. Dixie Carter Tweeted the following photo:

Below is a photo of Kurt Angle and Dixie Carter backstage at the pay-per-view:

- Jeff Jarrett wrote the following on Twitter regarding Kurt Angle being inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame:

Angle, in a classy move, thanked Jarrett in his acceptance promo at Slammiversary.

- AJ Styles debuted new entrance music at TNA Slammiversary on Sunday. The song is called “Evil Ways” (Justice Mix) by Blues Saraceno. You can listen now at this link.

- Impact Wrestling will no longer air live from the venues but on tape delay instead. The reason this is being done is so they can begin taping at 7 PM EDT and have everyone out by 11. With the show airing at 9 PM on Spike TV, it would be too late to begin the second show after the first is finished. The next Impact taping will take place Thursday from the The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.  We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Chef Robert Irvine was backstage at Slammiversary to watch his wife, Gail Kim, perform in the “Last Knockout Standing Match” against Taryn Terrell. Irvine Tweeted the following:

- James Storm worked the TNA Tag Team Championship Match at Slammiversary at about 75% and was in a considerable amount of pain afterwards. Storm wrote the following on Twitter:

- The following is from this week’s official Impact Wrestling preview (read here):

- Chris Sabin capped off his amazing comeback at Slammiversary, winning The Ultimate X Match to once again become the X Division Champion! After the win, Hulk Hogan told Sabin that like last year, the X Division Champion will get a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at the upcoming Destination X event! Austin Aries made history last year – will Sabin follow the same path? Tune into IMPACT to see the new X Division Champion!

No word one when Destination X will take place or where it will air.

- TNA Wrestling has reportedly parted ways with Todd Keneley due to the company’s desire to return to the two man announce team of Mike Tenay and Taz. As of now, his final appearance was at Slammiversary. Keneley parted on good terms but was not under contract and was working per shots.  He was informed of the decision at last Sunday’s pay-per-view.

- Former UFC star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has signed a multi-year contract with Spike TV, Bellator MMA and TNA Wrestling.  Here’s the official press release:

QUINTON “RAMPAGE” JACKSON JOINS FORCES WITH BELLATOR MMA, TNA WRESTLING AND SPIKE TV FOR LANDMARK PARTNERSHIP

Los Angeles, CA – June 4, 2013 – Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the mixed martial arts icon and action-movie star has agreed to a monumental, multi-year partnership with Spike TV, Bellator MMA, and TNA Wrestling it was jointly announced today by Kevin Kay, Spike TV President, Bjorn Rebney, Bellator CEO, and Dixie Carter, TNA Wrestling President.

The landmark partnership includes Jackson competing in Bellator MMA, along with joining the superstars of TNA’s “Impact Wrestling,” which includes fellow Bellator fighter “King Mo” Lawal.

Spike TV will also create a special reality series featuring Rampage that will lead into his debut with Bellator, along with other entertainment initiatives.

“Rampage is a true superstar both inside and outside the MMA cage” Bellator CEO & Chairman Bjorn Rebney said. “The partnership that we’ve created with Quinton is unlike anything that’s ever been done in the sports & entertainment arena and Rampage is the perfect athlete/entertainer to carry it off.”

“Rampage is one of the best known MMA fighters competing today,” said Carter. “He is a true cross-over star and his talent, big personality and popularity among a wide range of fans make him an extraordinary fit for our company,”

“We are thrilled to create this opportunity for one of the greatest athletes and personalities in MMA,” said Kevin Kay, Spike TV President. “Rampage is a proven ratings driver who brings incredible star power to both Bellator and TNA.”

Jackson (32-11) joins Bellator as a former Pride and UFC champion, having last fought on Spike TV in September 2007, in a fight vs. Dan Henderson that drew nearly 6 million viewers, making it one of the most watched fights in the sport’s history. In 2009, Jackson served as a coach on Spike’s “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights,” the highest-rated season by far in franchise history, delivering over 3 million viewers per week. Rampage joins a Bellator Light Heavyweight division that features “King Mo,” Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Emanuel Newton, Attila Vegh and Vladimir Matyushenko.
The charismatic fighter from Memphis, TN began his professional MMA career in 1999 and established his legacy across the globe through epic battles with MMA titans including Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, Jon Jones and Dan Henderson among others.

Jackson starred in the 2010 blockbuster film, “The A-Team,” as “B.A. Baracus,” the character made famous by Mr. T in the television series. Jackson’s other film credits include “Confessions of a Pit Fighter,” “Fire With Fire,” “Never Surrender,” and “Miss March.”

More information regarding this signing will be made available at Wednesday’s press conference. Details on the press conference will be released shortly.

While I can’t confirm, this appears to be the “big free agent signing” that Dixie Carter has been teasing. The following is from her Twitter account:

- Dixie Carter says Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will be at this week’s Impact Wrestling taping from The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia. The following is from her verified Twitter account:

- TNA Wrestling has made some modifications to their Wrestler Roster over on ImpactWrestling.com. Here are the moves with some explanation:

TNA Stars Removed

Alex Silva, Douglas Williams, Jesse Sorensen and Todd Keneley

TNA Stars Added

Jay Bradley

We do not know Silva’s status but Williams is now a trainer at Ohio Valley Wrestling, Sorensen has an office job following his neck injury and Keneley has departed.

- Todd Keneley wrote the following on Twitter regarding his departure from TNA Wrestling:

- TNA parting ways with Todd Keneley surprised a lot of people as he had a lot of support from co-workers and wrestlers. Matt Morgan wrote on Twitter that he loved when Keneley called his matches and Mike Tenay said he was “really fun” to work with.

- TMZ has picked up on the Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell Last Knockout Standing match from Slammiversary XI on Sunday. They show photos of the legitimate bruises she suffered from bumps she took in the match. You can check out their coverage at this link. Video from the match has surfaced at this link.

- Spike TV, TNA Wrestling and Bellator MMA held a media conference call on Wednesday to announce the signing of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Below is complete coverage from the call:

David Schwartz opens the call by reading a prepared statement. He says a transcript of the call will be available after the call. He hands the call over to Spike TV President Kevin Kay. He says they are joining forces with one of the biggest stars in MMA and a movie star in Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Kay puts over Jackson’s success on Spike TV [with UFC] and says he’ll be fighting with Bellator and wrestling with TNA Wrestling. Spike will also be producing a 4-part reality series on the endeavor. He’ll also be appearing on “Guy’s Choice” on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 and they’re currently pitching scripts involving him to Paramount Pictures.

Dixie Carter comes on the call and puts over Quinton Jackson. She questions if he can dominate TNA like he dominated MMA and calls him a tremendous talent with a big personality. Carter says his talent and personality is the “perfect fit” for them at Impact. She said he is “very serious” about his commitment to their product. She says 2013 is a big strategic growth year for TNA and this relationship works perfectly for them. TNA will be working close with Spike, Bellator and Paramount as they build Rampage. Carter confirms Jackson will be appearing on this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling on Spike TV.

She introduces Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. He says a little over four years ago he was putting the finishing touches on a business plan on a MMA company on how he felt a MMA company should be run. Rebney said he had borrowed every dime he could possibly borrow and it was his partnerships with Kevin Kay and Dixie Carter that has allowed him to be sitting next to Quinton Jackson today. Rebney, like Kay and Carter, put over the 6 million viewers his fight in 2007 drew on the network.

Jackson said in past relationships with past partners, he didn’t feel appreciated. He said he has always want to be a pro wrestler and that’s why he used to fight the way he did with slams and powerslams. Jackson said he can do this [in regards to pro wrestling] and put over the acting possibilities. He said this new deal has some “so excited” and it’s hard to explain the way he even feels right now. Kay, Carter and Rebney agree they are happy to have him.

The line was then opened for questions.

Bjorn Rebney said in terms of when the fights are going to occur and who the competition is going to be, he’s re-energized. He said he’s one of the most explosive fighter to ever step foot in the cage or in a ring. He’ll be sitting down with Jackson, Dixie Carter and Kevin Kay in determining when he’s ready for competition. Rebney said they spent months putting all the pieces together in making this deal work. What would he be wanting to do and what would re-energize him. He said if he’s excited about it, they have a winner on their hands.

Jackson was asked about Mixed Martial Arts. He said a lot of fans might criticize him for leaving UFC but that’s ignorance for not understanding the deal they gave him. Jackson said when other fighters see the deal they gave him, they’re going to want to come over. Jackson said when his knees get back to 100%, he’ll fight anyone. He said it’s no secret that he lost three fights in a row. He said his last fight, against Glover Teixeira, he shouldn’t have been fighting and really wanted out of his contract. Jackson said he met Bjorn after the fight. Jackson said Bellator gets fighters sponsors and movies, they don’t get mad about it. Rampage said they “bought him a nice car” and he’s happy. He’s confident the competition is going to come over and Bjorn knows he’s rehabbing his knee.

Rampage said in the UFC doesn’t care about their fighters and that Bjorn cares more about the long-term. Before, he was talking about retiring but now he’s got 4-5 years left. He said Bjorn wants him to get healthy. He isn’t running yet but he is lifting and is thinking about going heavyweight. Jackson said he’s done a lot in this sport and a lot of fans forget he’s the first ever unified champ. He just wants to entertain the fans. Jackson said they have the best wrestlers in TNA and he wants to go show them what he can do. People don’t know about his love for pro wrestling. He put over the fact they have Hulk Hogan and Sting.

When asked about Bellator tournaments, Rampage said the reason he chose to go to Bellator (Bellator didn’t approach him), because of the tournaments. He said that’s what caught his eye and he likes watching them. Jackson said a lot of fighters are fighting not to lose and it makes for a boring fight. He said Bellator has Spike pushing them and it’s Spike that made the UFC what it is. He said Bellator is going to be the big show soon because of the tournaments.

Jackson was asked about the free agent process because it sounds like he got a great deal. Jackson said he had “like every show” come at him. He considered boxing but he stepped back and was in no rush. Rampage said he kept his eye on Bellator because he dealt with Spike before and had a good experience. Jackson said a lot of fans don’t understand UFC. He said a lot of big name fighters that retired broke. He said it’s OK to retire and get a gym but you shouldn’t have to get a gym. Jackson wanted a future after he got done fighting and Bellator understands that. Jackson said he could be one of “those old dudes” like Hogan and Sting. He said he’s making more money than he was over there.

Could he be ready for season 9 in the fall or are they looking at 2014? Rampage said his knee is getting better and it’s actually surprised him how good it’s doing.

Regarding Jackson’s statement about going heavyweight, he said he has enough time to get in shape and lose weight and do it. Bellator will let him know and they’ll give him a couple months to get ready. He said he’s a big guy anyway and a lot of small heavyweights do good. He’ll fight whoever, he’s never been a guy that turns down fights.

Bjorn was asked about King Mo and Jackson in TNA and if he’s had other fighters approach him about going over there. He said he has but you have to have a pro wrestling background, the ability and the time to learn all the facets of it. Rebney says he and Dixie have sat down and talked about a lot of different guys but Rampage is completely different. He can’t wait to see Mo and Rampage together on Impact. Bjorn said their dynamic is different and it’s building up Mo and Jackson and it’s not about building up the Bellator brand. He said they do it a different way.

Jackson said the reason why PRIDE was so big in Japan was because they mixed in pro wrestling. He said what Bellator and TNA are doing has proved to work.

Bjorn put over the fighters Bellator has built out and said now there are two players in UFC and Bellator. He said there are going to be situations where talent go to UFC and talent from UFC go to Bellator.

About UFC draining his love for the sport, Rampage said the only thing that he can go into is when he did the movie “The A Team.” But he’s signed a non-disclosure agreement and he can’t talk about it without UFC trying to sue him.

Regarding a timetable when he wants to fight next, he said he feels he’ll be good to go in a couple of months. He said he needs three or four months. Rampage said he’s got a place in Mexico. He hates nightclubs and he just wants to train in Mexico.

Bjorn said Cheick Kongo has not signed with Bellator despite rumors. Some announcements are going to be coming out soon.

With Impact moving back to 9 PM EDT, do they know when Bellator will be airing live and when the new night will be. Kay said they’re still evaluating and Impact was better in its old timeslot.

Dixie was asked if Jackson will be involved in Aces and Eights, we’ll have to stay tuned and find out. Dixie said they have three ways in getting talent – from WWE, a free agent or from developmental. Jackson is going to be coming in on Thursday but he’s got a lot of training to do. He’s got a lot of training to do.

Jackson, when asked if the fans will now embrace him, said he came to UFC as an outsider. People that really know him know he was a very fan-friendly guy until he came to UFC. He said you can’t punish all the fans for a few negative people. He’s hoping to get to know these fans and he’s assuming most are the same.

Jackson said he’s going to train for both wrestling and MMA. He said when he’s not training for a fight, he’ll be training for pro wrestling in his downtime. Rampage said by doing pro wrestling too, he’ll look sexier for the ladies.

He compared his relationship with UFC to an old girlfriend. He talked about the highs and lows but said after he did the A Team movie it was like he cheated on them. Here, he doesn’t see anyway he could cheat on Bellator. Rampage said he was super happy when he went to UFC and did a lot of favors for them. He said fighting Keith Jardine was a favor and what if he lost, what would happen to his title shot? Jackson said he’s tongue kissing right now with Bellator.

Jackson said a lot of people misunderstand because he did a movie he wasn’t focused on fighting. He said he’s meant to entertain people. He comes from the PRIDE generation where it’s entertainment first. He knows realistically he won’t win all his fights on Bellator but he’s going to entertain.

What’s the timeline for Rampage on the wrestling side of things and what have they learned from the Mo experience? Dixie Carter said Mo’s injury took him a little longer to comeback than anticipated. She said it worked out for him to go right into the tournament but he’s training hard and she’s getting good reports right away.

Dixie says he’ll start in wrestling right away whether it be where his training is setup in southern California or OVW.

When asked about the big pro wrestling memories, he talked about growing up in Memphis and attending matches. He talked about being an Undertaker fan growing up. He mentioned Jerry Lawler, Jeff Jarrett and said he’s always been a Sting and Hogan fan. He dressed as Ultimate Warrior on Halloween. He can’t wait to get into the ring. This deal allows for him to be a “big kid” year round.

Is looking forward to coming to Impact, meet the guys and the writers. He said he’s a fan and wants to get some pictures for his Instagram.

Jackson said he’s talked with Mo and it only made since with both of them having wrestling backgrounds, going to TNA. He said they’ve actually talked about tagging together in Impact. Jackson said he thought he was going to have to “whip up” on Mo at one point but he can only take him for periods of time. Rampage said if they put them together as a tag team, they may end up best friends.

When asked about a fight with Mo, Rampage said who knows. He’s fought friends before.

He was asked if there’s a time period to this deal, a specific number of fights and appearances. Rampage says he needs to ask his manager that. He said once everyone sees what happens, they’re going to understand why he left UFC.

Jackson said he’s talked with Paramount about an MMA movie. He also said he’s wrote two movies and he likes them a lot, one of them a “fun MMA movie.”

Dixie said she’s seen Rampage power bomb and slam people and that he’s a gifted athlete. She thinks he’s going to be great. Dixie talked about Kurt Angle making the transition. She can’t put a time on it but knows he’s anxious to get in the ring.

A caller mentioned previous TNA deals with Adam Jones and Bobby Lashley and Dixie said what would be better for MMA is for it to be more entertaining. She said that’s what makes this deal make since. She admits the deal with Jones wasn’t what she hoped it would be because the Titans shut them down. Carter said Jones bought a ring and was serious about it but they got a lot of exposure. Dixie said Lashley never got the chance to work in a two-sport capacity and Mo and Rampage are the first time they’ve done this.

Rampage was asked about the pressure coming into Bellator as well as the high standard that TNA has set with pro wrestling. Jackson questioned what’s so bad about losing if they entertain the fans? He said it’s still fun for him to be able to entertain the fans and he’s making a living doing what he loves to do. Jackson said doing pro wrestling is a dream come true and he’s not going to let pressure stop him. In a follow-up Jackson was told by a caller it seemed like he was saying losses don’t matter but the caller brought up past losses and said they did effect him. Jackson seemed to take offense and put it back to him wanting to entertain the fans.

Jackson said this deal he signed is his pension and he’s not going to wait around for a union that may never happen.

- Jim Ross weighed in on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson signing with TNA Wrestling on the Q&A section of his official website. Below are his comments:

“Hope it works for all involved but training a 35 year old to be a pro wrestler isn’t easy and takes a full time effort. Best of luck nonetheless.”

Click here for more Q&As by Jim Ross.

- Taryn Terrell is featured in a new “Inside Impact” clip, commenting after her war versus Gail Kim at Slammiversary. You can watch it at this link

- TNA Wrestling announced the following live event:

IMPACT WRESTLING returns to the Shenandoah County Fair in Woodstock, VA on Saturday, August 31. Tickets are on sale now online at http://www.shencofair.com and charge by phone at 540-459-7300. Current World Heavyweight Champion BULLY RAY leads the list of IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars, along with JAMES STORM, CHRISTOPHER DANIELS and KAZARIAN, BOBBY ROODE, VELVET SKY and many more!

- Referee Earl Hebner suffered a knee injury during Bully Ray vs. Sting at TNA Slammiversary last Sunday.

- Speaking of Slammiversary, the show drew 3,800 fans from the Agganis Arena at Boston University in Boston, MA.

- Taryn Terrell continues to receive a lot of praise following her bout at Slammiversary. Eric Bischoff wrote the following on Twitter:

- It turns out TNA Wrestling actually released Doug Williams. Williams, 40, had been working as a trainer at Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky and said some have speculated he was cut due to his age.

- TMZ covered Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s new deal with Spike TV, Bellator and TNA Wrestling. They published a statement from UFC President Dana White:

“Good for him. I couldn’t be happier for him. I hope he is happy. And good luck to him.”

Jackson said in a media conference call on Wednesday that he had a falling out with UFC after he did the movie “The A Team” in 2010, however, due to a non-disclosure agreement, he couldn’t go into specifics. Jackson said he was unaware of the terms of his contract.

- Kurt Angle’s appearance on “The Steve Austin Show” with Steve Austin is now online at this link.

- On the heels of Thursday’s Ask WNW, Sting told the VOC Nation Radio Network he would still like to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania and that he has always does an annual contract with TNA Wrestling.

He confirmed what we’ve already reported in that WWE contacted him about a program in 2011 but a deal obviously wasn’t reached. Sting said he felt like his induction into the TNA Hall of Fame last year was the company putting him “out to pasture.” He said creatively TNA needs to get James Storm and Samoa Joe going again.

You can listen to the interview at this link.

- Jay Bradley speaks on his win at Slammiversary and the Bound for Glory Series at this link.

- We noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Alex Silva had been removed from the Wrestler Roster page on ImpactWrestling.com. While we still don’t know his status, he wrote the following on Twitter:

- TNA Wrestling has announced a “Basebrawl” live event from the Consol Energy Park in Washington, Pennsylvania on July 13th, 2013.

- Impact Wrestling posted footage of Rampage Jackson’s debut from this week at this link.

- Jesse Sorensen plans to resume his bodybuilding career with his first show taking place in October in Tampa. He still isn’t ruling out a return to the ring and would like to work before the end of the year. Sorensen hasn’t wrestled since suffering a broken neck in February 2012.

- Chris Sabin was actually advised not to return to the ring following his second torn ACL, however, he obviously decided he wasn’t going to let the injury end his career.

- Jeff Hardy was legitimately banged up from the ladder match on this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling. He might have hurt his hip although the severity is still unknown. Jeff is scheduled to face TNA Champion Bully Ray on the weekend loop so we’ll see if there’s anything more to it.

- Hulk Hogan wrote on Twitter that TNA Wrestling is trying to put together a tour of Australia. The following is from his verified Twitter:

- Former TNA referee Mark “Slick” Johnson and Sonny Siaki were backstage visiting at this week’s Impact Wrestling tapings in Georgia.

- Tickets for TNA Bound for Glory officially went on sale on Friday. You can search for tickets at this link. TNA Bound for Glory 2013 will take place from the Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl San Diego State University in San Diego, CA on Sunday, October 20, 2013. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- This week’s Impact Wrestling viewership rises after last week’s horrible number. This week scores an average viewing audience of 1,100,000 viewers. The show scored a 0.91 cable rating. The show increase will be explained by the hype of Slammiversary‘s aftermath and Rampage Jackson first appearance on the show.

Ask WNW

Was TNA’s decision to put Kurt Angle in their Hall of Fame yet another attempt to keep him from going to WWE, like it was with Sting?

Kurt Angle’s induction into the TNA Hall of Fame means a lot to him and I think that emotion shined through in his acceptance promo at Slammiversary. Absolutely the honor will play into Angle’s decision when his TNA contract is up but it will ultimately come down to money and desire. Angle has repeatedly said he’s a TNA guy but isn’t ruling out WWE. Why does he say that? Because it provides him with more leverage for contract negotiations. The induction certainly doesn’t hurt things if Kurt ends up on the fence but TNA will have to be competitive in terms of the dollar amount they offer him.  Let’s also not forget it will depend WWE’s interest and how much they would be willing to pay him.

Doesn’t Jeff Jarrett deserve an induction into the TNA Hall of Fame?

The overwhelming majority of TNA wrestlers feel Jeff Jarrett should have been the inaugural inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame but he’s been snubbed two years in a row. Jarrett wasn’t even at Slammiversary on Sunday night. As I reported prior to the PPV, while the feeling was Jarrett was the “right” inductee, some felt it would be an active performer with more current appeal to the TNA audience.  The latter was true with the aforementioned Angle being the second inductee.

Why is Zack Ryder continuously put under in his matches?

Zack Ryder is currently working in WWE as an enhancement talent, better known as a jobber. This is what happens with talent there are not creative plans for and they need someone to come in and “do the honors” to make the other guy look good.

When is Ric Flair going to re-sign with WWE?

There have not been any new developments recently in Ric Flair re-signing with WWE. The feeling seems to be they’ll bring him in on a per shot when they want to use him. Flair is still making regular independent appearances, signing autographs with limited physical involvement. You can read about an appearance he made on Friday night at this link.

How, if at all, does WWE monitor the signs that fans bring to televised events? I saw a sign on Raw this week that read, “Bring back TV-14.” Surely this isn’t something WWE want fans at home to see?

The signs brought to WWE shows are monitored by the venue’s event staff, WWE production and the cameramen. Some venues are stricter than others in inspecting signs at the door but if production sees something in the crowd they don’t want on TV, they’ll take it away. The cameramen are the best in the business at keeping the cameras off stuff they don’t want shown, which was evident on last week’s Raw in Calgary when a fight broke out in the crowd.

Why did Curtis Axel win his match against John Cena by count out? I thought there wasn’t any count outs in a no disqualification match?

The match was a no disqualification match not a no count out match, a count out is not the same as a DQ. Let’s go to Twitter for some referee reaction:

You’ve stated that Ryback hasn’t beaten anybody other than jobbers, however, he has pinfall victories over Antonio Cesaro while United States Champion, Daniel Bryan, Kane, The Miz and Kofi Kingston. Doesn’t that make him a viable contender?

No, Ryback isn’t a viable contender for the WWE title and has lost clean against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series, to The Shield at WWE TLC, Punk again on 1/7 WWE Raw, eliminated by John Cena at Royal Rumble, The Shield again at Elimination Chamber and Mark Henry at Wrestlemania. While he technically “beat” John Cena at Extreme Rules, it was ruled a no contest. As for your logic about who he has beat, let’s take a look at their respective records.

Antonio Cesaro was pinned clean by Santino Marella, Justin Gabriel and R-Truth while he was WWE United States Champion. Daniel Bryan was pinned clean this year by Damien Sandow, Mark Henry and Big E Langston. Kane, which is one of Ryback’s most credible wins, has done clean jobs to Dean Ambrose and Jack Swagger in singles competition. The Miz has done clean jobs to the aforementioned Cesaro and Wade Barrett. And finally, Kofi was jobbed out at beginning of the year and did clean jobs to Cody Rhodes and Fandango. Under your logic, anyone that gets a win is a viable WWE title contender. Does this mean Michael Cole (1-0 at Wrestlemania) is a viable contender for the WWE Title? The fact of the matter is Ryback has been booked horribly with no confidence. He has a great look but hasn’t shown anything in terms of being a future headliner. I will say that Daniel Bryan made him look the best he’s looked on this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw. Ryback should have never been a face and the Goldberg type push was in error.

On Raw I heard the referee say “30 seconds” during a match and after exactly 30 seconds, the show went to break. Is this how it works with everyone and everything, and do the wrestlers depend on the ref a good amount?

The referees operate as liaisons between production and the wrestlers. They wear earpieces so they can communicate messages from the back like what you heard on this week’s Raw. This is essential to keep the show on time and running at the correct pace. Remember, everything is scripted and it’s very important there be communication between production and what is happening in the ring.

Would you agree having a mouthpiece is crucial for particular superstars to get heat or to get over? I believe Alberto Del Rio would not be over with the crowd if it wasn’t for Ricardo Rodriguez’s introduction and Curtis Axel would not have any heat if it wasn’t for Paul Heyman.

Mouthpieces are important for workers that can’t talk, however, they aren’t needed in every situation. Chris Jericho doesn’t need a mouthpiece and can get over on his own. CM Punk doesn’t need a mouthpiece but Paul Heyman does nothing but enhance his gimmick. Then you look at a worker like Jack Swagger and he wouldn’t be anywhere without the stellar mic work of Zeb Colter. It’s really a case by case situation. They are crucial in certain situations and an added bonus in others. Ryback would benefit tremendously with a mouthpiece, The Shield is fine without one.

Was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson the “big free agent signing” that Dixie Carter was hyping on Twitter?

Yes, I can now confirm the “big free agent signing” that Dixie Carter was hyping was in fact Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. The IWC is already killing this because “he’s not a wrestler,” etc., etc. However, I’m going to defend Dixie on this one. What were people expecting? Steve Austin? Dave Batista? Rampage isn’t a wrestler but he’s a big name and someone that people have interest in. He’s a bigger name than a lot of the wrestlers people were mentioning such as Shelton Benjamin or John Morrison and should help Spike, Bellator and of course TNA Wrestling. Spike TV is hosting a media conference call today to announce the signing and we’ll have full coverage from it.

Are these count out wins actually TAINTING the introduction of Curtis Axel to WWE? People know these are not real wins by pinfall/submission, even if they are against top stars. I’d rather he beat jobbers cleanly and show his talents then get questionable/count out wins.

I actually like the fact that Curtis Axel can claim he’s undefeated so he can write stuff like this on Twitter:

This is planting the seed for him to be a very recognizable heel and this is what being a heel is all about. Mowing through enhancement talent is only going to make the crowd chant “Goldberg.” I actually thought Axel looked good in the ring against John Cena on Raw this past Monday night and let’s not forget what he’s done on Smackdown against Sin Cara.

Will Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk be a transitional bout?

By transitional bout I take it you mean start a feud outside of these two and that is certainly a possibility. We heard WWE was considering a Jericho vs. Curtis Axel program before CM Punk’s return was announced. The wheels of that program were put into motion on this week’s Smackdown, however, we’re just going to have to wait and see how it happens. A Jericho vs. Punk bout is fantastic and I will be excited to see it.

Do you think it’s time for WWE to pull the trigger and push Daniel Bryan as a top babyface considering how over he is with the audience?

I have two words for all my fellow Daniel Bryan fans – it’s happening. Yes, it’s happening and Vince McMahon has given Daniel Bryan, the best in-ring worker in WWE, the green light. Despite Monday’s lackluster viewership, Bryan gained even more support for his “MVP” performance on WWE Raw. I don’t know if it’ll be as a babyface or a heel but Bryan can work as either. He has more than earned a top spot and I hope they go with it at full force. If one person reading does not feel Bryan can handle a main event push, I’d love to know why. The biggest concern about Bryan was “his personality,” and he’s already got over two completely opposite gimmicks without having to lean on his stellar in-ring work.

Will Rampage Jackson actually be wrestling in TNA Wrestling?

The plan is for Rampage Jackson to wrestle on TNA shows, in addition to fighting for Bellator, appearing on a reality series for Spike TV and doing movies with Paramount Pictures. Jackson has a great agent because this is an unreal deal where he admitted, he is making more money than he was in UFC. I agree with what Jim Ross said in that training to be a pro wrestler at 35 isn’t easy and takes full time effort. However, he is a stellar athlete and if he focuses, he has the tools to be successful. Jackson has a ton of personality, which is something that should bode well for him in TNA, however, we’ll have to wait and see. As I discussed on Wednesday, I’m actually higher up on this deal than I would have been if TNA signed another WWE re-tread. Sure, there’s going to be a learning curve but Jackson is a much bigger splash than someone that’s left WWE and bounced around the indies.

I just read the article on WWE.com about the 10 greatest wrestlers to never wrestle in WWE. Some of the names surprised me but do you think that by WWE putting Sting #1 on the list that is planting the seed for him to FINALLY sign with WWE to face Undertaker?

For those that didn’t see the article on dot com, we have the full list available at this link. From the best of my knowledge, Sting is under a new one-year contract with TNA Wrestling, as he’s signed one year contracts several years in a row to keep his options open. He was as close as he’s ever been to signing with WWE a couple of years ago to work a Wrestlemania program against Undertaker but his loyalty to TNA and Dixie Carter won out. I’m not ruling out the possibility of Sting coming to WWE for one run but I’m not counting on it either. The list on dot com was done for one reason – website hits. WWE has the unique ability to feature top stars from TNA on their website because they own so much of Sting’s career in their tape library. Could you imagine if TNA had the ability to use John Cena’s likeness?

Why has WWE started using Triple H’s real name, “Paul,” interlaced with his stage name?

WWE uses Triple H’s real name, Paul, from time-to-time to add realism to the situation. When Stephanie McMahon called him “Paul” on Raw, it was done to try and make it look more realistic. It’s funny because a lot of the boys call him Hunter behind-the-scenes.

How do you see WWE booking Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as the WWE Tag Team Champions?

A potential match against The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship was teased on Raw but this presents a huge problem. The Usos aren’t on the same level as The Shield and the only way to make fans believe the Shield actually has a chance at losing is to program them with upper-midcard to main event talent. The Shield are in action in the top of the card on this week’s episode of Smackdown. WWE has had plenty of time to think about booking Rollins & Reigns as tag champs as they’ve talked about it since the beginning of March. The best way to get the belts off The Shield will be to tease dissension within the group like what we saw when WWE broke up Evolution.

I feel like Punk vs. Jericho at Payback makes no sense. WWE has to know Chicago will pop big-time for Punk, and there’s no basis for a face vs. face match. This is screaming for a swerve with Heyman replacing Punk with Curtis Axel. If anything, it seems like the best way to bring Punk back would be to have him attempt to save Jericho from a post-match attack, perhaps including the Wyatt Family to draw them major heat for going after Jericho and Punk. What do you think?

The best way to book CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho at WWE Payback is to not book Punk at all but rather have Curtis Axel “replace” him in Chicago. This would draw an enormous heel reaction, however, it would come with a big risk. People would be “up in arms” over the company advertising Punk, only to end up not delivering. You talked about the match being babyface vs. babyface but in Chicago, Punk will be babyface and Jericho will be heel. There is more to the program but the match should be a good one. With that being said, I expect WWE to deliver Punk but I also expect there to be more to it.

Why does Alberto Del Rio come out to the ring in luxury cars anymore?

Alberto Del Rio said it was because he ran over Santa Claus. In reality, the car thing was part of his heel gimmick and when they turned him babyface, they dropped it. Del Rio once commented that it was awkward leaving the arena in a rented Honda Civic after the cars he used to drive out to the ring.

Do you believe The Rock is legitimately contemplating being finished in the ring?

I believe The Rock when he says he’s thinking about hanging it up for good. He came back and worked his commitment and helped the business. It’s better with him around than not but the injury at Wrestlemania 29 does put things in prospective. I can tell you that movie studios do not want him wrestling because a major injury could throw a serious wrench in filming plans. They really bit the bullet by getting him ready to film “Hercules,” which is currently taking place in Budapest. However, The Rock does love this business and as with anyone that really loves this business, the itch doesn’t seem to ever completely go away.

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