Top WWE Star Cleared To Return; Pitched For World Title Feud, The Shield Comes To Raw, WWE Talent & Crew Told A Major Name Is Being Released, Who Vince McMahon Wants To Push, Problems Backstage At Smackdown, TNA Dropping PPVs

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, November 24, 2012 to Friday, November 30, 2012 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

- The band Damn It To Hell says they aren’t doing the theme song for the new NXT faction. Here’s what they wrote on Facebook:

Just to clear up any rumors, we are not doing a theme song for WWE. Although that would be cool, it is not true. Happy Thanksgiving!

We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that band would be working with Jim Johnston to record “I’m Telling You” as the theme song of Seth Rollins, Romain Reigns and Dean Ambrose. No word if plans changed or if the band is posturing.

- WWE will release “The Top 100 Moments of Monday Night Raw” on DVD on December 11, 2012.

- Freemantle Media Enterprises will take over the WWE DVD distribution rights from Silvervision in the United Kingdom.

- The Raw crew will tour Australia in July 2013 with five stops in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Tickets will be available starting Wednesday, November 28 at 9:00am local time on http://Ticketek.com.

- SoulTrain.com has a Q&A online with R-Truth. Below is an excerpt:

Background in dance:

My background in dance pretty much sets the pace for me, and I don’t have to explain what it is because it’s real. You can’t make that up. You can try to create it through character, but that’s not the realest thing. It’s just in me. My dance background helped me tremendously. Dancing is like second nature to me.

Making music:

I’ve been wrestling and making music for a long time. I’ve been around the right people in the entertainment business who know what it takes in several different areas to make things happen. I’m passionate about both of them, so I try to be an artist when I’m doing both. In many ways professional wrestling is a dance. I guess it depends on how you look at it. When I’m in the ring I’ve got a million people watching me weekly, looking for me to present something memorable to them. I try to do that in the studio as well.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Michael Hayes is now in charge of booking WWE live events. John Laurinaitis used to do it as one of his responsibilities as the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations. Talent Relations is now run by Triple H and former LPGA golfer Jane Geddes.

- Vince McMahon, The Miz, R-Truth, Layla and Eve Torres visited sailors on the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier on Sunday. The ship is currently somewhere in the Arabian Sea.

- Tickets for the annual WWE Tribute to the Troops taping will be distributed at the beginning of December to active-duty personnel and their families who are stationed at Naval Station Norfolk, Naval Air Station Oceana, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek/Fort Story, Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and Naval Weapons Station Yorktown. WWE will tape the special rom the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday, December 9, 2012. Click here for more.

We’re told Mark Henry is officially cleared to return to the ring. The plan as of last week was to hold him back until the conclusion of the World Heavyweight Championship program between Big Show and Sheamus. One plan pitched recently had Sheamus regaining the title at WWE TLC next month and going on to defend it at Royal Rumble against Mark Henry. Although we’re told there are some in the company that feel Big Show is doing a great job and that Sheamus isn’t the right guy to carry Smackdown. The people that believe this feel Show should keep the title until someone else can be groomed. The problem is Triple H is still very high up on Sheamus and doesn’t want to give up on him yet. With so much invested in Sheamus, nobody really wants to “go to bat” for keeping the title on Show. Further complicating the matter, there’s nobody really ready to fill in for Sheamus although some have pushed to give the spot to Daniel Bryan.

- Titus O’Neil was put on commentary during Ryback vs. Darren Young on last week’s Smackdown because of his work on WWE Raw. For those that missed it, O’Neil’s work on commentary during Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio vs. Team Hell No was raved about with Paul Heyman even calling it a rare breakthrough moment. O’Neil didn’t receive equal praise for his work on Smackdown.

- The Rock announced on his Twitter that he just finished shooting Fast and Furious 6 in the United Kingdom.

- Speaking of Rock, his tentative Royal Rumble opponent, CM Punk, has eclipsed the 371-day WWE title reign of “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Monday marks day 372 as champion and given the fact WWE mentioned it in their preview, expect it to be brought up on this week’s Raw.

- Chris Jericho premieres as the host of SyFy’s new reality series called Robot Combat League on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 10 pm ET/PT on SyFy. The show reinvents gladiatorial combat for the 21st century. In the official press release for the show, Jericho is referred to as “the widely popular WWE wrestler and multifaceted performer.” Click here for the official press release.

- We noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com those that were eligible to obtain tickets to WWE Tribute to the Troops 2012. NavyTimes.com has more details you can read at this link.

- WWE will return to the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Friday, March 1, 2013 for a live event. There is an online presale to obtain tickets scheduled for December 14, 2012.

- We have launched two new pages where you can track upcoming WWE Raw and Smackdown taping dates and locations. Click the respective link to check each out. Also check out our new Videos of Wrestling section.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry on his official website. In it, he compares Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to Roddy Piper, CM Punk and The Rock respectively. You can read an excerpt below:

Apparently the three men in black, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns will be interviewed by @MichaelCole tonight on Raw. I hope that we get some revealing info but not too much as I feel these three can be significant contributors on RAW but I also feel that this info needs to come over time especially with WWE doing tons of episodic TV. As a fan, I don’t need every question answered tonight and, hopefully, their comments will elict even more interest/questions.

Count on this…no matter what the three, NXT talents have to say, it will be dissected and thoroughly analyzed. In today’s social media crazed, info heavy world of sports entertainment, everything is under a microscope and there are more ‘experts’ sounding off than ever before. Don’t take that as a knock and if you do…Lighten Up Francis.

Ambrose has a little Roddy Piper and Brian Pillman traits in him or so it seems to me. His FCW/NXT bout a few months ago with @RealKingRegal was stellar. I called it with Dusty Rhodes and we had a blast. Ambrose is a blue chip stock and is arguably the most ‘unpredictable’ of the three. Perhaps ‘complex’ is an adequate word to describe Ambrose at this point in time.

Rollins reminds me of @CMPunk in some areas of Rollins’ game or at least the formative CM Punk of a few years ago. I perceive that as a good thing. Rollins is an Iowa kid who has a sound, skill set, confidence, toughness and is the current NXT Champion. He has a natural swagger and wrestles with a chip on his shoulder which I embrace.

Reigns is a former Georgia Tech nose tackle and has reshaped his body from 300+ to 260ish and is of Samoan decent, father is WWE HOFer Sika, and at times has reminded me of @TheRock when I first inked ‘The Great One’ to his WWE contract. In that I mean the obvious heritage matter but also the physical frame, intellect, and overall, natural athleticism. We can only hope that Roman Reigns can approach The Rock’s accomplishments inside the squared circle some day. Only time will tell if that lofty goal can be reached but Reigns can be special. Watch someone interpret what I just said as being that JR is predicting Roman to be the next Rock. Hey, I wish.

These three young men have made a viable impact thus far in their WWE journey and I’m hopeful that their aggression and the controversy that they have created continues on RAW. I’ll be curious to see how patient the WWE Universe will be in each man’s development as these three move forward in what is a deliberate, time consuming process to reach the top of the card and, more importantly, to stay there.

It will also be interesting to see how much ownership Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns take of their TV personas and how much they are each willing to invest daily to get better. Each must improve in all phases of the game but I’m of the belief that each can be “significant players” aka main eventers in time.

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

- As noted multiple times, Vince McMahon is currently on a tour overseas visiting with members of the United States military. He, along with The Miz, R-Truth, Layla and Eve Torres aren’t at this week’s WWE Raw. While I haven’t heard for sure, McMahon is usually replaced by Triple H in terms of who “calls the shots” backstage.

- WWE Champion CM Punk will defend the belt against Ryback in a TLC Match at WWE TLC next month. The bout was officially announced on this week’s WWE Raw. WWE TLC 2012 will take place from the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Sunday, December 16, 2012.

- Kofi Kingston will defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Wade Barrett at WWE TLC next month.

- Michael Cole confirmed on this week’s WWE Raw that Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are now known collectively as The Shield. If you missed The Shield’s interview with Cole on Raw, you can watch it at this link. Furthermore, Jim Ross offered his analysis of the faction at this link.

- A meeting was held at the November 15th NXT taping where some of the future plans for WWE developmental were explained to the wrestlers and crew. We’re told everyone was praised for the progress in smoothly transitioning the developmental television programming from Florida Championship Wrestling to NXT, but it was stressed that everyone remain patient in regards to the developmental live events, which are still handled by the FCW staff under the NXT name. The events are often held in front of almost non-existent audiences in near empty buildings, which has frustrated a lot of people. After the meeting some of the wrestlers asked “point blank” if the FCW staff would be involved when the transition is complete and they were told “straight up “that Steve Keirn is being fired and FCW is losing its WWE affiliation once the pieces are in place for WWE to handle everything in house with a new office in Orlando. It didn’t take long for word to travel amongst the other wrestlers that the office had acknowledged Keirn would be getting let go sometime next year. Most of them had already suspected it, but were surprised the company had been honest. There was a lot of relief amongst the guys who wish they could be learning their craft in front of at least a couple hundred people when they do the live events instead of the 20-30 people that have been in attendance for some of the recent FCW house shows that have been run under the NXT banner.

- Robert Griffin III’s cameo on this week’s WWE Raw was covered by NBC News at this link.

- We’ve been tracking the Twittersphere following this week’s WWE Raw and found the following Tweets worth noting:

John Cena on kissing AJ Lee:

Mick Foley on Dean Ambrose:

Jim Ross on Wade Barrett:

- Last week’s Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,572,000 viewers on SyFy.

- WWE has announced a live event from the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky on February 10, 2013.

- WWE will release “The JBL Show” on YouTube on Tuesday. We’ll post the embed code when/if it’s available.

- Speaking of which, John Layfield is seven weeks away from his next mountain climb. This time he’ll head to South America to climb Mt. Aconcagua as part of his Seven Summits campaign.

- The “security guards” that attempted to escort Ryback out of the ring on this week’s WWE Raw were Byron Wilcott, Blake Wilder, Haniel T, Oren Hawxhurst and Matt Lancie.

- The first downloadable characters for WWE ’13 will be released on December 4th.

- The WWE Studios film “Leprechaun: Origins” starring Hornswoggle is due out on Blu-Ray and DVD in March 2013.

- The Rock is being advertised for the January 28th WWE Raw taping in Las Vegas and February 18th Raw taping in Lafayette, Louisiana. With The Rock confirmed to work Wrestlemania 29, expect several Raw appearances in the buildup.

- We noted earlier that last week’s Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,572,000 viewers. The rating came in at a 1.81 cable rating on SyFy.

- WWE Champion CM Punk has been working through a knee injury. He had some fun on Twitter on Monday when he Tweeted he had a scoop for the dirt sheets in that he was undergoing x-rays.

It’s not believed to be anything serious as Punk is booked for WWE TLC and obviously worked this week’s WWE Raw.

9:04 PM EST Update: The x-rays had nothing to do with his hurt knee as Punk Tweeted the following:

- Dot com has a new Q&A online with Cody Rhodes. As is anything with the official website, there is plenty of kayfabe stuff included but below is a relevant excerpt:

WWE.COM: Can you talk a little about the injury? You Tweeted that you tore your trap and your deltoid and that you separated your shoulder. Can you talk about the seriousness of such injuries?

CODY RHODES: Well, honestly, the best way I’ve heard the injury described, is that I dodged a bullet. The trap tear is a grade two (on a scale of one to three), but I don’t need surgery — the tears will heal themselves over time with proper physical therapy. The separated shoulder is an old injury from amateur wrestling, and it’s basically the area that could have been considerably worse. I could have landed on my neck, but I turned just in time to land on my shoulder. The separated shoulder is where the most pain is and it’s the AC joint, but like I said, I dodged a bullet — no surgery.

WWE.COM: How soon did you know you were in trouble, and what was going through your head at the time? Do you remember anything in the ring or backstage after it happened?

RHODES: I thought I broke my arm, and I was in a very bad position in the ring. You know, ring awareness is something I’ve always been fond of — having ring awareness, having mat awareness. Always knowing where I am at all times. Especially in a tag team situation, knowing if I’m on my side of the ring. I wasn’t. I was in enemy territory and Daniel Bryan had me wide open.

Actually, everything after Kane dropped me, I don’t remember. I remember hitting the mat one more time, and then I thought that I immediately tagged out, but watching back, there’s a whole period of a minute, a minute-and-a-half, where I faked out Daniel Bryan, who missed a headbutt and I just laid there. I didn’t know that — I thought I was much more cognizant than I was, but watching back I didn’t know that I was on the apron, I didn’t know that the doctor was tugging at my boots.

I just was contemplating in my head — the only thing I remember thinking was if I could get in there and kick [Daniel Bryan], then tag Damien real quick and tag out, that I could offer something still. Damien looked at me one time after I said, “tag me in,” after I got my bearings a little bit, but he certainly had no intentions of tagging me in, at great cost to himself. So I owe Damien Sandow a lot.

You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

- Santino Marella beat Luke Hawx in a dark match prior to this week’s Smackdown taping. After the show, Sheamus beat World Heavyweight Champion Big Show when Show got himself disqualified in the dark match main event.

- There was a delay at this week’s Smackdown taping in Bossier City, Louisiana where the fire alarm at the CenturyLink Center went off. The taping was delayed 15 minutes which happened after doors already opened late for the show.

- WWE has announced they’ll tape Smackdown on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 from the Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas.

- CM Punk vs. Ryback and John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler with The Miz as special guest referee are two matches on the booking sheets for WWE Raw holiday live events. This means there are at least preliminary plans to continue both programs past WWE TLC.

- Vickie Guerrero will accompany Tamina Snuka at WWE Raw live events this weekend.

- Randy Orton may not have been featured on this week’s WWE television but Alberto Del Rio is now calling himself the New Apex Predator. The following is from Del Rio’s Twitter:

- Jim Ross will be featured on an upcoming episode of Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures on the Outdoor Channel.

- In addition to the fire alarm going off, there was a power outage at this week’s Smackdown taping from the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, Louisiana.

- We’re told this week’s WWE Raw was written over the weekend and there weren’t any major changes the day of the show. One “major thing” that backfired was the company’s estimation of how the Rawactive poll would go. One observer commented how anyone thought Kane would get more Twitter votes than Daniel Bryan [for CM Punk's opponent] shows their disconnect with the audience. Despite Kane being the on-air winner of the poll, Bryan clearly won the voting and they ended up making a joke out of the Rawactive concept.

- There were a lot of people raving about the work of Antonio Cesaro for his match against Sheamus. We’re told WWE wants more out of Sheamus and they want him to prove his worth. In booking him in matches with guys like Damien Sandow and Cesaro, the company wants him to know there are other workers capable of taking his spot. Cesaro not only has support of WWE Champion CM Punk but Vince McMahon is high up on him as well.

- WWE is slowly moving forward with plans for Alberto Del Rio and Rosa Mendes as we first reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium.

- As for The Shield, there has been a lot of talk about putting another NXT guy with them because they want Roman Reigns to be the leader but feel he’s too green to even work a five-minute match and do not want Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose to go under at this point. We don’t know a lot in terms of the future of the angle other than they still look to be involved with CM Punk.

- This week’s WWE Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,920,000 viewers on the USA Network. The show saw a dramatic decrease in viewers from hour one to hour three, below is the breakdown:

  • Hour one: 4,147,000 viewers
  • Hour two: 4,126,000 viewers
  • Hour three: 3,488,00 viewers

The show ended up doing a 2.7 cable rating.

- Next week’s WWE Main Event will be headlined by WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston. WWE will tape the show next Tuesday from the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, SC.

- The Miz is scheduled to appear on “Extra” on Thursday with Maria Menounos.

- The fire alarm and power outage weren’t the only things to go wrong at this week’s Smackdown taping as the sprinkler system malfunctioned and flooded parts of the backstage area. Things were quite chaotic right after WWE Main Event was finished, with workers scrambling to keep personal possessions dry. Triple H was in charge and tried to direct traffic in the mess.

- DvidsHub.net has an article on Vince McMahon, The Miz, R-Truth, Eve Torres and Layla visiting the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis last Saturday.  Vince McMahon offered a comment on the experience:

“We’ve been to Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan so many times,” said McMahon, CEO and chairman of the WWE. “We wanted to do something different this year and this is awesome.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- WWE is interested in Ring of Honor’s Mike Bennett. We haven’t heard if a deal has been offered but the company has apparently already tried him out. Bennett is also known for dating former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis.

- WWE Studios has unveiled their 2013 movie release schedule. It is as follows:

  • “No One Lives” out in January 2013 with Brodus Clay in a supporting role
  • “Dead Man Down” with Wade Barrett in a supporting role.
  • “Marine 3: Homefront” starring The Miz
  • “12 Rounds 2: Reloaded” starring Randy Orton
  • “The Hive” starring Halle Berry with David Otunga in a supporting role.
  • “Leprechaun: Origins” starring Hornswoggle

The Scooby-Doo film isn’t due out until 2014. Some of the above films will have theatrical releases.

- Do you want a free copy of WWE ’13? Steven Diggs is running a giveaway here on Examiner.com.

- Former WWE diva Maria Kanellis and Mike Bennett announced their engagement on Wednesday night. Maria Tweeted a photo of the ring you can view below:

This comes after we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that WWE has interest in Bennett.

- I’ll admit I tried to stay away from this one but it doesn’t seem to be going away. Matt Hardy said in a radio interview earlier this week a Hard Boyz reunion in WWE was a “very strong possibility” next year. We didn’t run the sound bite because the last we heard Jeff Hardy was close to re-signing with TNA Wrestling but you can listen for yourself at this link.

- WWE Raw is not returning to a two-hour format despite an error on Comcast’s guide, listing next week’s show in its old 9-11 PM timeslot. As things currently stand, the show will continue to air three hours.

- Dolph Ziggler visited Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, LA this week. Dot com uploaded photos at this link.

- The inaugural WWE Tough Enough trophy originally awarded to Maven Huffman has been sold. TMZ reported Thursday the trophy was being stored in a storage unit in Virginia where payment was stopped. As a result, the unit was overlocked and the contents were eventually auctioned off for $100. When the person that bought the contents discovered the trophy they tried to contact Maven to return it. They didn’t hear back so sold it on eBay to a wrestling fan in Northern California for $600.

- We’ve been covering the problems at the WWE television tapings this past Tuesday night all week. The biggest problem happened backstage in one of the dressing rooms when the sprinkler system was triggered and chaos followed. The incident happened after the company had finished filming WWE Main Event. Head Raw writer and on-air personality Dave Kapoor (a/k/a Ranjin Singh) was filming a backstage segment when a light triggered the sprinkler system. Once triggered, everyone was scrambling to save their electronics and keep the water contained to the one dressing room. Triple H was in Gorilla running the show when he left to try and direct traffic around the commotion. Other than Kapoor being soaked, minimal personal property damage was suffered. JBL recapped the entire scene on his Facebook page at this link. You can also view photos from the taping of the first ever JBL Show at this link. The show is scheduled to premiere on dot com on Friday as was pushed back.

- CableFAX has tabbed Stephanie McMahon as one of the most powerful women in cable. They will be honoring everyone on their list with a breakfast on December 5, 2012 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. You can view the full list at this link.

- Lex Luger as penned an autobiography with <>John D. Hollis. The booked, titled Wrestling with the Devil: The True Story of a World Champion Professional Wrestler – His Reign, Ruin, and Redemption, will be released on April 2, 2013 by Tyndale Momentum.

- WWE announced here on dot com that Buddy Roberts has died. He was 65. Roberts was one-third of the Fabulous Freebirds along with Michael “P.S.” Hayes and Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy.

- WWE will run NXT Wrestling live events outside of the state of Florida beginning in March 2013 as they have announced dates in Georgia. Two dates announced include 3/8 in Valdosta and 3/9 in Perry. The company’s developmental program will be continuing to undergo changes as we noted of significant ones here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium. You can view all upcoming NXT Wrestling live event dates at this link.

- Full Sail University announced on Thursday that Kevin Nash, Wade Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns will all appear at next week’s WWE NXT taping on Thursday, December 6, 2012. For details on the taping as well ticket information, click here.

- WWE announced a live event for Sunday, February 24, 2013 from the Reed Arena at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

- An ex-campaign worker for the Linda McMahon for Senate campaign reached out to WrestlingNewsWorld.com on Thursday morning and claimed they have still not been paid for their services. The worker concluded their message to us by saying, “This is ridiculous!”

- Chris Jericho told the Staffordshire Newsletter out of the United Kingdom he’s not quite finished with wrestling just yet. You can read the interview at this link.

- Jim Ross remembers Buddy Roberts in a new blog post at this link.

- The first episode of “The JBL Show” which is set to premiere Friday will feature John Layfield, Michael Cole and John Cena.

- WWE developmental worker Thomas Latimer (a/k/a Kenneth Cameron) was arrested on Thanksgiving in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and disorderly intoxication. He was released from jail on $5100 bond. Below are the arrest details:

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Cameron was known for being a member of the popular tag team The Ascension in FCW/NXT, however, has apparently been let go as his profile has been removed from the official WWE developmental website. You can still view his profile through its original link.

- Kevin Nash wrote the following on Twitter:

As reported earlier here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Nash will appear with The Shield at next week’s WWE NXT taping from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.

- To follow-up on our earlier report about John Morrison inquiring about a potential WWE return, we’re told he would have been willing to sign on for a year (while he only wanted 6 months) but Vince McMahon wasn’t willing to go any lower than a two year deal. I’m told Vince is “going out of his way” to try and educate the locker room that he’s still the boss as he feels caving to the many demands of CM Punk has caused more guys to try and “play hardball.” The thinking is because of this, demands are being made now that would have never been made in the past because guys would have been too scared to even try it. Back to Morrison, one of the reasons he’s interested in returning is that he and Melina appear to be on the outs and if they split, he’s more comfortable with the idea of going back to WWE. I’m told WWE has no interest in Melina at this point and Morrison has been reluctant to return without her. If they split, that’s obviously no longer an issue.

- Tickets will be available to active-duty service members for the 2012 Tribute to the Troops show beginning on Monday. Click here to make sure you are eligible then call (757) 462-5337 to secure complimentary tickets to the taping that will take place Sunday, December 9, 2012 from The Scope Arena in Norfolk, VA.

- For those dying to know the whereabouts of Sakamoto, he has been demoted back to NXT Wrestling in Tampa. You can view his profile at this link.

- WWE CFO George Barrios is scheduled to participate in the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference this Monday at 9am ET in New York, NY.

- Episode one of The JBL & Cole Show is online at this link.

- WWE has announced a live event from the War Memorial Arena at the Oncenter in Syracuse, New York on March 3, 2013.

TNA News

- The Staten Island Advance has a nice story online on Hulk Hogan helping out victims of Hurricane Sandy. The family lost all their wrestling memorabilia, which included autographed Hogan merchandise. By way of Hogan’s new beach store, the family was able to contact Hogan and he sent them new memorabilia. You can read the article at this link.

- Dixie Carter noted on her Twitter account that an announcement regarding the location of TNA Lockdown 2013 will be made on this week’s Impact Wrestling. Below is the Tweet:

TNA Lockdown usually takes place in April. We’ll have full coverage of the announcement here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Last week’s Impact Wrestling only did a 0.8 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 1,187,000 viewers on Spike TV. No need to worry as the show not only aired from tape but had lowered expectations due to the fact it was Thanksgiving night.

- TNA Wrestling announced on their official website that they partnered up with MDI Entertainment, LLC, which is related to Scientific Games Corporation, to offer lottery games that will feature some of the biggest names in the company. The statement reveals that some of the stars can be used in television and radio commercials as well as being available for personal appearances. Below is the official statement:

MDI Entertainment, LLC, a subsidiary of Scientific Games Corporation (Nasdaq: SGMS), has signed an agreement with TNA Entertainment, LLC, dba IMPACT WRESTLING, to offer lotteries branded instant games featuring some of the biggest names and most recognizable imagery in professional wrestling today. The agreement makes the names and likenesses of more than a dozen wrestling superstars, as well as the logos, marks and artwork of IMPACT WRESTLING, available to lotteries worldwide. Stars like Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Sting, Jeff Hardy, Matt Morgan and Bobby Roode are included, and can be used on instant tickets and promotional materials, as well as in television and radio commercials. They also are available for personal appearances and public service announcements to promote the good causes lottery games support.

“We are extremely pleased to have secured this license, and to be able to give lotteries so many noteworthy options to promote games associated with it,” said Steve Saferin, President, Properties Group and Chief Creative Officer for Scientific Games. “In addition to providing the biggest names in wrestling today, IMPACT WRESTLING is offering extraordinary marketing support and incredible prize opportunities. This gives lotteries a chance to reach and inspire wrestling fans – including the often elusive 18-34 age group – in very powerful ways.”

IMPACT WRESTLING President Dixie Carter stated, “Working with MDI provides a new marketing platform for IMPACT WRESTLING to connect with our fans through the state lottery programs. Our fans avidly invest in our superstars as they appear on SPIKE TV every Thursday and travel the country on the IMPACT WRESTLING LIVE WORLD TOUR.”

IMPACT WRESTLING will work with MDI and lotteries to create 2nd Chance prizes that can include merchandise and trips where winners will be treated to a live taping of the IMPACT WRESTLING television show, a backstage tour and a chance to meet wrestling talent. “IMPACT WRESTLING” is a weekly, two-hour show appearing during prime time on SPIKE TV.
A “Contract-for-a-Day” prize also can be created, in which the winner will be given the trip, plus an on-camera cameo role to be included in an IMPACT WRESTLING pay-per-view live show.

About Scientific Games

Scientific Games Corporation is a global leader in providing customized, end-to-end gaming solutions to lottery and gaming organizations worldwide. Scientific Games’ integrated array of products and services includes instant lottery games, lottery gaming systems, terminals and services, and internet applications, as well as server-based interactive gaming terminals and associated gaming control systems. For more information, visit www.scientificgames.com

- TNA Turning Point 2012 did an estimated 11,000 buys earlier this month. The show was headlined by Jeff Hardy defending the TNA Championship against Austin Aries. You can still read our results from the show at this link.

- We reported in October here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Velvet Sky was “close” to signing a new contract with TNA Wrestling. Word going around is the deal is done and her return to television is imminent.

- TNA Wrestling will run live events this weekend in Minnesota and North Dakota. For more on the shows, click here.

- The status of Ric Flair in TNA Wrestling has been up in the air for the entire summer and fall as the company did not have the legend appear on television.  They didn’t even mention him.  While TNA never confirmed the departure, we know Ric’s contract did expire in September.  We also know that Ric wants to return to <b>WWE</b> as his daughter has a developmental contract with the company.  We finally see some forward progression in the Ric story as TNA finally removed Ric Flair’s profile from their official website.  It looks to be that we won’t see the Nature Boy on TNA television anytime in the future.  Check out TNA’s full roster page here.  To find the latest information about Ric Flair, click here.

- It was announced on this week’s live episode of Impact Wrestling that next year’s TNA Lockdown pay-per-view will take place from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The show, which features all steel cage bouts, will take place on Sunday, March 10, 2013 (which is a month up from when it has traditionally taken place). We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

New matches were announced during and after this week’s Impact Wrestling. The new matches are as follows:

Singles Match
- Bully Ray vs. Austin Aries

World Tag Team Championship Match
- Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez (c)

The other matches for TNA Final Resolution are below:

World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy (c)

Singles Match
- Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles

Knockouts Championship Match
- Mickie James vs. Tara (c)

TNA Final Resolution 2012 will take place Sunday, December 9, 2012 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

Samoa Joe beat Kid Kash via a rear naked choke in a match taped for Xplosion at this week’s Impact taping.

- Eric the Actor, who appeared on episodes of TNA Today, announced on Thursday’s episode of The Howard Stern Show he has quit the gig. He claimed he was tired of the abuse via email and Twitter from wrestling fans.

- TNA Champion Jeff Hardy will appear on “Ink Master” next Tuesday at 9 PM on Spike TV. One of the contestants on the show will actually tattoo Hardy. Hardy’s wife, Beth, wrote the following about the pre-taped appearance:

- Bob Ryder, TNA’s Director of Talent Bookings and Travel, has been cleared to return to work full time on December 12th. Ryder has dealt with a myriad of health issues and as one of the innovators of pro wrestling journalism, we wish him well in his recovery.

- Following TNA’s announcement on Thursday that Lockdown will be held in March of next year rather than April, a lot has been speculated about the company’s future on pay-per-view. Dixie Carter has publicly said TNA was looking to reduce the number of pay-per-views they did each year. In May 2012, Carter said (comments here) she doesn’t feel the company needs 12 pay-per-views a year and that they were negotiating their pay-per-view contracts. When asked about the ideal number of shows, she said six to eight was a possibility. The general assumption is with Lockdown being moved up that shows are going to be nixed in favor of the new format. The move didn’t happen this year as TNA was already locked into contracts with cable and satellite providers.

- TNA Champion Jeff Hardy did an interview with the Valley City Times Record out of North Dakota to promote this weekend’s live events. Below is an excerpt:

“Even Bound for Glory will go down in my history books as one of my favorite matches of all time. I won the TNA world title against him [Austin Aries] and thought we’d have good chemistry, but I never thought it would be that special.”

“This probably is the most important world title I’ve ever had just because I have been through such dark periods of my life. To be able to come back and succeed just feels really good.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The hearing scheduled for Friday over litigation between Scott Steiner and TNA Wrestling was canceled on Thursday. One would think a settlement has been reached although there is no update as of this writing.

- The following matches have been announced for next week’s live episode of Impact Wrestling

  • TNA Champion Jeff Hardy, James Storm & AJ Styles vs. Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels & Kazarian
  • TNA TV Champion Samoa Joe vs. Devon
  • D.O.C. vs. Kurt Angle
We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- This week’s Impact Wrestling did a 1.02 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 1,304,000 viewers on Spike TV.

Ask WNW

Do all full time WWE stars have the same downside guarantee or are they negotiable?

Downside guarantees vary from worker to worker. The more valuable the worker is to WWE, the more downside money they are paid. Downside guarantees are negotiated before contracts are signed. Without going into exact figures (I don’t have them), John Cena is making significantly more than Roman Reigns. For those unaware what the term downside means, it’s money a worker gets no matter what for as long as they are under a WWE performer’s contract unless they are suspended.

Is it possible to have the Legacy reunite? This could accomplish Randy Orton’s heel turn and possibly see Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase as Tag Team Champions.

Anything is possible but there is no way this wouldn’t be a step back for all three. Legacy was created to give DiBiase and Rhodes momentum as future stars. Neither has reached their potential like  many had hoped, however, I don’t see the reformation of their former stable. DiBiase has had his fair share of setbacks and as I type this Rhodes is out with an injury. Rhodes is three years younger than DiBiase at 27 so the more urgent situation would be that of Ted DiBiase and I think he’s still further behind Rhodes.

Are the “Backstage Fallout” Youtube shows scripted?

Yes, the “Backstage Fallout” YouTube shows that air after Raw and Smackdown are scripted. These are WWE’s attempt at TMZ-like content that make the viewer believe they are getting behind-the-scenes reactions.

Do you think we will ever see Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania end? If so do you think it would be John Cena because he’s “the guy”. Kind of like a passing of the torch?

This is a topic for discussion that has been ongoing for the last couple of years. I can’t really say “yes” or “no” because it all depends on the situation, Undertaker’s compliance and the right opponent. I feel Undertaker has more than earned the right to retire at Wrestlemania although there is no doubting it would be a huge boost to the career of anyone that ended it. The sticking point for me is who is there on the WWE roster capable of such a feat? I’ve seen the arguments [for people like Sheamus or Dolph Ziggler] and I’m not convinced. You mentioned John Cena but what does “ending the streak” do for someone that’s already the guy?

You all reported on Monday Vince McMahon wasn’t at this week’s WWE Raw and Triple H likely filled in for him. Was it just me or was this week’s show better?

This week’s show had a different feel to it. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or if Hunter had an “on night” calling the shots but this week’s Raw was a stronger effort than we have seen in recent weeks. The show was wrestling-heavy and had a good flow throughout. Unfortunately we’re going to be subjected to CM Punk vs. Ryback again with the same quandary in that Punk has to remain strong for The Rock without completely burying Ryback.

It felt like the results of this week’s Rawactive poll were fixed. These results point to that. What are your thoughts?

I was surprised Kane was “voted in” as the opponent to face CM Punk, especially because Daniel Bryan vs. Punk is the epitome of awesomeness but clearly there were other plans. Given the fact it’s Twitter hashtags and there isn’t a clear systematic form of voting, I wouldn’t put it past WWE to rig the poll. In the past when WWE has done voting the vote counts have been legitimate but the company usually skews the results where the outcomes are obvious.

Is Ryback finally over to the point in which Vince McMahon had hoped for?

Despite horrendous booking for two pay-per-view main events, Ryback appears to be more over as a WWE babyface than ever. I can’t explain it other than the exposure has served him well and the company has benefitted from his tremendous look. Other than that we haven’t seen much in terms of in-ring or mic abilities.

I know it’s a storyline but the John Cena and AJ Lee scandal makes no sense… When Vickie Guerrero was General Manager of Smackdown wasn’t she shoving her tongue down Edge’s throat and even when she was GM of Raw she was doing the same with Dolph Ziggler? Has WWE just forgotten about that? Wouldn’t Vickie be in trouble too? To me it makes no sense…

WWE has a convenient way of forgetting the past to make storylines fit into what they want to do. I’m sure someone brought it up to Vince McMahon and his reaction was probably something along the lines of “no one remembers that.” Vince counts on his audience to have a short memory so they can do what they want to do. The entire Cena/AJ “scandal” started as a rib on Cena for his real-life affairs that were close to being brought up in his divorce proceedings.

When a wrestler has an injury during a televised match (e.g. Cody Rhodes), how is the decision made to continue the match? In Cody’s case, how is the decision made “on the fly” to continue the match, but without tagging Cody back in?

Injuries happen and that is one of the reasons for referees being involved in matches. In the case of Cody Rhodes, he was visibly injured and Damien Sandow didn’t tag him back in. When an injury occurs during a singles match, it is common for the workers to “go-home quick” which is an alternative finish that goes directly to the end of the match so the injured worker can receive medical attention. If the injury is serious, the referee will stop the match and immediately signal to the back medical assistance is needed. All and all it’s up to the workers and referees to communicate what is going on in the ring and make the decision on the fly.

What’s up with Randy Orton? Why was he not featured on WWE television this week?

Randy Orton is advertised for this Saturday’s WWE Smackdown live event in Columbia, South Carolina. We haven’t heard why he didn’t work this week’s TVs but I did notice he was not included in the list of official advertised talent as of Tuesday afternoon. There is no reason to speculate further and if there is anything to it, we’ll pass it along.

I have a question about The Shield. Do you think they will go far or will they be split up into singles competitors?

I saw three stars in the first Shield interview segment on this week’s WWE Raw. I want to be careful because looks can be deceiving, but these guys are the “cream of the crop” of WWE’s deep developmental system. We already know Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have amazing in-ring talent and while I haven’t see a lot of Roman Reigns’ work, he’s got the look. No one knows how successful The Shield will be but these guys provide reassurance the company has no shortage of future talent.

With two screwy finishes to the last two WWE pay-per-view main events involving Ryback, how are they going to book the match at WWE TLC?

I’ve been a very vocal critic of the way the last two WWE pay-per-view main events have been booked. There is really no reason for me to say it again but Ryback needed a victory to establish himself as a viable main eventer. WWE will have their third straight month of a match impossible to book with Punk needing to go over and Ryback needing to look strong. Despite the booking, Ryback is more over now than he’s been but it’s playing with fire.

Who is the new announcer on Impact Wrestling?

The new person at announce is Todd Keneley. He worked his way up doing work on the independent scene and did some MMA commentary. Most notably, he was the ring announcer for Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling that aired on CMT in 2008. He played football at USC where he graduated. You can follow him on Twitter at this link.

Did anything ever come of CM Punk striking that fan in Sacramento last month?

WWE handled the situation and as far as I know, no litigation has been filed to this date. Many wondered if CM Punk would get in trouble for getting physical with a fan but I was told Vince McMahon blamed event staff and security for being out of position and looked at it as Punk defending himself. This is an incident WWE swept under the rug as they do their best to shy away from any type of negative publicity.

You’ve written previously that the WWE Network could be available internationally before it was available in the United States. What would it take for this to happen?

A source close to the WWE Network told me that clearances were easier to come by in the United Kingdom and overseas than they were in the United States. This was before Vince McMahon said earlier this month they were moving forward with plans for the WWE Network as a premium channel. I haven’t heard an update from my initial update as the company has remained mum regarding the network as they do not t want anything out until clearance deals are signed.

What are your opinions on having The Undertaker return full time to face the “Next Generation” of up-and-coming stars, as a “talent booster” such as Kane was in recent years? (Minus the jobbing.)

Undertaker doesn’t have but a couple matches left in him. His body is banged up to the point where he knows he has to carefully plan when he works a match. There’s no chance of him returning full-time in a wrestling capacity due to the miles on his body. Things are, however, looking much more promising [than they were a just a couple weeks ago] in terms  of him actually working Wrestlemania 29 next year.

Does WWE make up names for the referees? I was looking online and the real name of Scott Armstrong is Joseph Scott James.

Scott Armstrong is the son of WWE Hall of Famer “Bullet” Bob Armstrong and is the real-life brother of Road Dogg. He began his wrestling career in 1983 in the NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions under the name Scott Armstrong. He also wrestled as Dixie Dy-no-mite in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Following his in-ring career he pursed a career as a pro wrestling referee. His current stint in WWE is his second as he was released in February 2010 but hired a year later when his father was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Not all referees have ring names but Scott Armstrong working as Scott James would be like Hulk Hogan running TNA as Terry Bollea.

I’m curious if you have any knowledge if part of CM Punk’s negotiations last summer with the new contract had anything to do with this long title run. Was this something he had as part of his demands? It just seems strange that he went from almost not re-signing to now having the longest (or he will soon) title reign in the modern era.

CM Punk wanted a firm commitment from WWE that he would be a main eventer. His position of negotiation greatly improved after he delivered one of the best worked shoot promos in the history of the wrestling business on June 27, 2011. His stock skyrocketed and he was able to get Vince McMahon to “cave” on several aspects, including getting the theme music of his choosing. As far as his title reign, it’s something that has continued out of circumstance not obligation. To re-live the Punk promo (like I just did), you can watch it at this link.

What is your opinion on TNA booking Lockdown in a 65,000 seat stadium?

I certainly do not expect TNA Wrestling to fill the Alamodome but I’m sure they will try their best to promote Lockdown to the best of their ability. The goal within the company is to make pay-per-views more meaningful by reducing their number and increasing the build. Whether or not the changes result in larger attendance and more buys remain to be seen. For those interested in a “did you know” bit, WWE held Royal Rumble 1997 from the Alamodome and did an announced attendance of 60,525.

What has Sheamus done/not done to cause WWE to lose faith in him?

I was told this week Sheamus is being tested and hasn’t done anything wrong. WWE wants him to “stay hungry” and know there are others vying for his spot in the company. Sheamus is seen as a guy that always works hard and he has the favor of Triple H.

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