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, December 3, 2011 to Friday, December 9, 2011 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!
– In WWE’s monthly business figures, available here, the company has revealed preliminary buyrate numbers for Hell in a Cell and Vengeance. The shows totaled 302,000 buys, averaging 151,000 buys a piece. The domestic/international split was estimated at 82,000 buys domestic and 69,000 buys international. The final numbers for both shows will be released by WWE next year when they reveal their quarterly earnings.
– Daniel Bryan has been nominated by PETA for the “Most Animal-Friendly Athlete” in the 6th annual Libby Awards. Bryan joins Chase Utley, Jake Shields and Willis McGahee as nominees. You can vote for Bryan at this link.
– Wrestling News World reader Tim sent word that Skip Sheffield returned to WWE at tonight’s Raw house show from the Bank Atlantic Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Sheffield beat Alex Riley. Sheffield has been off WWE television for over a year after he suffered a broken ankle at a WWE Raw house show in Honolulu, Hawaii back in August 2010. There were other complications with the injury and by Sheffield’s own admission, it was “much more” than a broken ankle and leg.
– Former Miss USA and WWE Tough Enough contestant Rima Fakih was arrested early Saturday morning on charges of Driving Under the Influence in Michigan. Fakih blew a .20 BAC on a breathalyzer test, which is more than twice the .08 legal limit in the state of Michigan. According to a report by WXYZ out of Michigan, Fakih at first denied on her Facebook and Twitter accounts she was arrested but later removed the posts.
– Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald has a write-up online of Saturday’s WWE Raw house show in Sunrise, Florida at this link.
– WYFYY 4 out of Greenville, South Carolina has an article online highlighting a charity show that will feature a match between Gunner of TNA and former WWE talent Luke Gallows. The article looks at the fact that a local Sheriff will participate in the show and also inaccurately lists Gallows as a “WWE star.” You can read it at this link.
– The Great Khali regrets his recent acting gigs in film and TV in India. The former World Heavyweight Champion says he feels completely cheated because of people he trusted and regrets doing the films entitled “Kushti” and “Rama The Saviour.” He also said he was “very sad” about his inclusion on “Bigg Boss 4.” However, he isn’t giving up and wants to continue acting in Bollywood. You can read more from Khali in an article by Prachi Kadam out of Mumbai at this link.
– The Great Khali helped launch WWE ’12 at the Oberoi Mall in Mumbai, India recently. Khali entered the mall to his theme music. You can view photos from the appearance at this link.
– Jim Ross is scheduled to evaluate talent in Florida Championship Wrestling this week.
– Speaking of Florida Championship Wrestling, WWE is in the process of evaluating several performers for call-ups. Damien Sandow, formerly known as Idol Stevens, was on the road with the Smackdown crew this weekend.
– WWE has registered the trademark for The Rock’s latest catch phrase – “Boots to Asses.” Expect to see more merchandise with the phrase leading into Wrestlemania XXVIII next year. WWE has also filed the trademark for “WWE Showdown.” No word on plans for the usage.
– There is concern amongst WWE officials regarding a Twitter account operating under the name “CrankyVince.” The account holder posts in-character Tweets as Vince McMahon in an attempt to parody him. While things like this are to be expected, the account holder has actually gotten so personal it has some people in the company worried. Vince is said to be “more confused than anything else” but Stephanie is startled by the whole thing. I’m told there have been “numerous occasions” where the things posted by “CrankyVince” have been very accurate as to what Vince McMahon is either doing right then or has done recently. There have also been Tweets by “CrankyVince” that have been very personal in nature. Stephanie is concerned her father has a stalker although Vince has tried his best to laugh it off. The Twitter account has been mentioned in recent executive meetings and the company has been trying to figure out who it is for the last several weeks. At this point, they are convinced it’s someone in the office but have not been able to pinpoint the culprit. It’s been a major topic of discussion amongst office employees as well as people trying to figure out who is behind “CrankyVince.” Stephanie McMahon has already put the word out that if they find out who is doing it, the person will be fired immediately. Some in the office think people there would be too scared to pull a stunt like this and feel it’s one of the wrestlers who wouldn’t be as scared. The account has provided many with laughs but there has actually been a lot of time spent worrying about it. The concern has grown as it’s become clear that “CrankyVince” is very plugged into what Vince is doing, revealing things meant to be private. As of this writing, the account continues to function without limits.
– Maria Menounos noted on Twitter that she has begun training for her match on WWE Tribute to the Troops show later this month. She has been interacting with those in the business, informing them she has already worked on the basics such as executing a hip toss and an arm drag. Menounos will work a match on the special that will air on NBC on Saturday, December 17, 2011. A two-hour version of the show will air next Tuesday on the USA Network.
– WWE Elimination Chamber 2012 will take place on Sunday, February 19, 2012 from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale on Saturday, December 17, 2011 and will be priced at $20, $40, $70, $90 and $250. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
– Lilian Garcia is returning to the ring as Smackdown’s ring announcer. WWE announced moments ago on their official website after a more than two-year hiatus, she will join the brand for the first time. Lilian worked for WWE as a ring announcer from August 1999 until September 2009. No word on the status of the current Smackdown ring announcer Tony Chimmel.
– Embedded in the video below is the cryptic video that was plugged on tonight’s Raw Supershow. The cryptic video is still promoting the January 2, 2012 edition of the show:
– WWE announced on tonight’s edition of Raw Supershow the WWE Network will feature live in-ring action, classic footage and reality shows. WWE Legend’s House was confirmed as the name of one of the reality shows. The preview WWE sent out about the show is as follows:
A reality series featuring many of your favorite WWE Legends, all forced to live under one roof. See what happens when the most colorful and combustive personalities in WWE history shack up, break bread, and bruise egos.
Other names considered for the show included WWE House of Fame, WWE Old Timer Acres, WWE Retired and Rowdy Roommates and WWE Old School Yard.
– The Miz, John Cena, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry and WWE Champion CM Punk have been announced as the candidates for the WWE “Superstar of the Year” for next week’s 2011 Slammy Awards. You can vote note at this link.
– TMZ has an article online on Kharma’s engagement ring. The ring is a diamond inside a wrestling ring. The publication reports she is scheduled to get married in June. You can read the article at this link. Kharma is currently on maternity leave from WWE.
– Former WWE Diva Serena Deeb has opened up about her drinking problem. She wrote the following on Twitter:
Today I am incredibly proud, as it marks one full year I have gone without drinking alcohol. A year ago I looked myself in the mirror & reevaluated my priorities. I decided to make serious changes. I have always wanted to be a role model & help others around me because I believe that makes the world a better place. I hope this message can inspire & encourage whoever reads it. Oftentimes when people approach change, it can be overwhelming. One week is hard, one year is even harder and ‘forever’ almost sounds impossible. From my personal account, I think it’s helpful to take things one day at a time & to constantly remind yourself of the bigger picture. We all have changes that we want to implement. A new year approaching is the perfect opportunity. Don’t limit yourself & the potential that you have to live a better life. Change is never easy BUT with a challenge, you build a stronger character. Self confidence & a strong will are very empowering. Take small steps & don’t look back- “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Serena was released from WWE in August 2010 because of drunk behavior in front of fans on the road. She established a lot of respect amongst many for be willing to shave her head in the Straight Edge Society gimmick with CM Punk.
– WWE has added a video interview with Lilian Garcia where she discusses her return to WWE as Smackdown’s ring announcer. “I am back baby!” Garcia proclaimed in the interview conducted backstage at last night’s Raw Supershow in Tampa, Florida. Garcia discussed what she’s been doing the past two years and what ultimately made her decision to return to the ring. You can watch the interview at this link.
– Wrestling News World reader Jimmy Davis sent word that Big Show appeared on the 2011 American Country Awards last night in Las Vegas. Show chokeslammed host Trace Adkins through a table during a segment introducing The Pawn Stars.
– Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald has a new article online where he interviewed fans at Saturday’s WWE Raw house show in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday. Click here to read it.
– While every indication was Maryse was leaving pro wrestling to try opportunities outside the business, Maryland Championship Wrestling is advertising her for “Holiday Hell” on December 30th. Click here for full show details.
– Embedded in the videos below is footage of Big Show at last night’s American Country Awards in Las Vegas. In the first interview, Show reveals Vince McMahon came up with his ring name:
– Kelly Kelly is scheduled to be a guest on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show on Friday.
– WWE has already opened a Twitter account for the upcoming reality show entitled “WWE Legend’s House” on the forthcoming WWE Network. The account is located at this link.
– A lot of people are happy to see Lilian Garcia back on the road with WWE. She’s well-respected and has many friends in the business. I still haven’t heard what the plan is for Tony Chimel. As of this writing, his profile remains on the official WWE website.
– CM Punk wrote on Twitter he was getting x-rays done today and boasted about the fact it would be a “dirt sheet headline.” Also just to play along, Punk plans to jump into a volcano because hot lava doesn’t stop him.
– I’m told WWE has been losing interest in the Mexican market, which not too long ago had been declared a major priority by Vince McMahon. At the time it was “very important” for the WWE Championship to be on Alberto Del Rio and for Sin Cara be brought back to television despite problems. John Laurinaitis had also been instructed to sign more Mexican workers because Vince was on a big Mexico kick. One source with knowledge of McMahon’s thinking says, like he often does, almost on a whim, he’s “moved on” and “lost interest.” Not only is Del Rio’s push going to be noticeably scaled back but Laurinaitis has been told to hold off on signing more Mexican talent. The guys currently on television are not in jeopardy by any means and Hunico is still scheduled for a halfhearted push before the company inevitably pulls the plug, however, there is still a situation with Averno. Averno has been sitting in Mexico since May wondering if/when WWE is going to bring him to the United States. The company has changed their mind on him repeatedly and he’s been left in a “holding pattern.” One observer put it bluntly – “it’s got to suck to be him.”
– The Rock posted that his “Boots to Asses” shirt is “the #1 selling shirt in the WWE Universe” on his official Facebook account today. Soon after, CM Punk retweeted the following tweet on his Twitter account:
The Rock comes up with another lie..Claiming his shirt is the most sold in WWE. We all know it’s the @CMPunk T-Shirt, that’s most sold.
As of writing, the top selling shirts on WWEShop.com are as follows:
1. CM Punk “Best In The World” shirt
2. John Cena “Persevere” shirt
3. Randy Orton “Apex Predator” shirt
4. The Rock “Team Bring It USA” shirt
5. John Cena “Rise Above Hate” shirt
6. The Rock “Boots To Asses” shirt
– The rumor coming out of last night’s Raw Supershow is the cryptic “lookwithin2012” video that aired on last night’s show is for the return of Chris Jericho to WWE on Monday, January 2, 2012. The video is part of a series of cryptic videos that have aired on WWE programming over the last several weeks. The only other name linked to the videos has been The Undertaker. I initially reported the videos were meant for Jericho but that it could have changed to Undertaker. Now it looks like things have been reverted back to their initial intention or rumors regarding Undertaker were sent out as a smoke screen. However, I will caution this has clearly changed and probably will again.
– There is a new video making rounds online that appears to be a WWE produced piece to promote an upcoming edition of Raw Supershow. I’ve seen reports out there it is for next week but those reports are incorrect. The video promotes Raw “Live Next Monday at 9/8 C” when next Monday’s Raw begins an hour earlier with the 2011 Slammy Awards. At the :30 mark of the video, there’s a strong Chris Jericho tease with the cryptic video. You can watch the video in question embedded below:
As I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the latest plan is to re-debut Jericho under the cryptic videos. He’s scheduled to come back on January 2, 2012 although that is always subject to change until it actually happens. It should also be noted I cannot confirm how legitimate this video is, however, if it’s a fraud, whoever made it has ninja YouTube skills and is invited to help me out with the official WrestlingNewsWorld.com YouTube Channel.
– Sean “X-Pac” Waltman wrote the following on Twitter:
I did a 2 hour interview at RAW yesterday for a 15 episode series focusing on the Monday Night Wars to air on the new WWE Network.
– Embedded in the video below is Kharma’s engagement ring featured on TMZ TV. (Thanks to WNW reader Mathew Lisett for sending this in.)
– Wrestling News World reader Dustin Jacobs sent word Kelly Kelly has launched an official website at http://www.wwedivakellykelly.com.
– Arda Ocal has more with Mick Foley embedded in the video below:
– WWE will tape their annual Tribute to the Troops special on Sunday at 8 PM EST from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The air times for the show are as follows:
* Tuesday from 8-10 PM on the USA Network
* Saturday from 9-10 PM on NBC
– The Miz did an interview with The Fayetteville Observer to promote the taping at this link.
– Tony Chimel has been reassigned in WWE and will remain with the company despite being replaced on this week’s Smackdown by the returning Lilian Garcia. Chimel more or less fell into the role as Smackdown’s ring announcer when Justin Roberts was moved to Raw when Garcia originally left the company in 2009. WWE searched hard for the next Lilian Garcia but never found one.
– Vince McMahon is said to be high up on The Bella Twins and feels they are easy to book in effective storylines because the fact they are twins.
– You can view video of Big Show putting country music singer Trace Adkins through a table this Monday embedded below:
– Kelly Kelly is scheduled to judge an ugly sweater contest on Friday in Tampa, Florida. The St. Petersburg Times has a short Q&A only with Kelly at this link.
– Vince McMahon, Kofi Kingston and The Bella Twins were in Afghanistan this week visiting with troops of the United States military. A camera crew was with them and footage was shot for next week’s Tribute to the Troops special. Due to the visit, all four of them were not at this week’s television tapings. McMahon’s normal duties were handled by Triple H and this is also why we didn’t see the return of Air Boom.
– The official Conan website has posted the following clip from The Miz‘s appearance on Conan O’Brien’s show last night, in which a created Conan wrestler on WWE ’12 is shown. On a funny note, it seems as if Conan’s moveset included Sheamus‘ Brogue Kick:
– TMZ has photos of Vince McMahon, The Bella Twins and Kofi Kingston in Afghanistan. You can check out the feature at this link.
– The Virginian-Pilot has a new article online to promote Monday’s WWE Raw Supershow in Norfolk, Virginia. The piece features quotes from The Miz and can be read at this link.
– The following came across the wire today:
LONDON, Dec 09, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — WWE and MNC Sports today announced a six-month television distribution deal that will bring WWE’s flagship weekly TV show WWE Raw(R) and WWE Specials such as WWE TLC, WrestleMania and Royal Rumble to Indonesia.
WWE RAW will premiere on MNC Sports this Saturday December 10th at 10pm, bringing one of the most watched sports entertainment programs across the globe into more than 900,000 households each week on the largest Pay TV operator in Indonesia.
The WWE Specials will also air on MNC Sports with the first, WWE TLC, airing at 11pm on January 1st 2012.
“WWE is the biggest brand in sports entertainment and we are very pleased to be the broadcast partner responsible for bringing Raw and WWE Specials to Indonesia,” commented Handhi S. Kentjono, Vice President of Directors for MNC SkyVision.
Senior Vice President & Managing Director of WWE International, Dominic Hayes added, “WWE continues to build partnerships with the biggest and best broadcasters across the globe. This deal with MNC SkyVision will allow WWE to once again deliver quality programming to our ever increasing audience in Southeast Asia.”
Click here to read the article on MarketWatch.com.
– WWE taped a heel turn for Kaitlyn at Tuesday’s Smackdown taping in Jacksonville, Florida. After the Divas tag match in which she tagged with AJ, she turned and aligned with Beth Phoenix & Natalya. The segment was cut from the international airing of the show.
Embedded in the video below is the taped segment that was nixed:
– After being missing from television for over a month, I can confirm that Jack Korpela has left WWE. Korpela, who originally replaced Todd Grisham on WWE NXT, had been replaced in recent weeks by Matt Striker. WWE has removed his profile from their official website.
TNA Impact Wrestling News
“If I walk away at the end of my career, I hope people will say, ‘Well, at least she tried to do things differently,’ ” Carter told the publication. “ ‘At least she tried to change the way wrestling is perceived.’ ”
Below is an excerpt of a Q & A that is included in the piece:
You didn’t originally come to Nashville for a career in professional wrestling, right?
Like a bad country song, I packed up a U-Haul and moved to Nashville to be in the music business and started my own company. I was here in the ’90s when things were on fire. Music is still with us. My CEO is a former Sony executive. And we have a lot of other people on board who have music in their background.
How has TNA been able to keep up with WWE?
I don’t care who you are, competition makes you better. There’s a reason there’s a Lowe’s across the street from every Home Depot and a CVS across the street from every Walgreens. I think we’ve made WWE better, just as they’ve improved us.
Isn’t this a tough time to be in the broadcast entertainment industry?
It’s a challenging time for the television industry as advertising dollars are dwindling. But it’s the best time to focus on fans. I try to be out in the crowds shaking hands, hugging people and holding babies and saying, “Thank you for being here.” We’ve grown this company one fan at a time. I’ve been there as a small-business startup. I know what it’s like. But we just happened to beat the odds.
What’s one of TNA’s ongoing challenges?
When a company first starts out, you have to do whatever you can to get into the business. Then, once you’re established, you spend a lot of time getting out of all the bad contracts that got you into the business. Deals with companies, bad partnerships or licensing deals. We’re still working through some of those now that we’ve found our footing.
Did the recession hit professional wrestling?
We went from double-digit growth for a couple years to single-digit growth. I call that a major victory. But the biggest challenge we had during the recession was so many of our partners were going out of business. Our TV partner in Africa went out of business. Our DVD partner in the United Kingdom went out of business. Our Australian DVD partner went out of business. Weeks after our video game publisher, Midway Games, put out our video game, they filed for bankruptcy. (The game still sold 1.5 million units.) After the recession, we just worked hard to plug all the holes fast.
Click here to read the full article.
– In an update to former WWE Superstar Chris Masters attempting to join Impact Wrestling, he posted the following today on his Twitter account: “Ill be taking part in a TNA project in India later this month”
– Jay Lethal wrote the following on Twitter:
Today just Proved that more people recognize me from family feud, than my 6+ year run in TNA.
Jeff Jarrett called the statement “moronic” as TNA employee Bob Ryder reminded Lethal it was a TNA-themed week of Family Feud.
– TNA Impact Wrestling has revealed their taping schedule for next month from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Confirmed dates include January 9th, January 10th, January 11th, January 16th and January 17th. We’ll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
– TNA Champion Bobby Roode, TNA TV Champion Robbie E and Abyss are featured in a commercial to promote Spike TV’s Video Game Awards. You can watch the commercial embedded in the video below:
– TNA Impact Wrestling uploaded the following video of Dixie Carter talking about TNA Champion Bobby Roode:
– As I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com last month, Sarita took a nasty bump at a CMLL show in Mexico City on November 22nd that left her hospitalized. While she ended up being fine, I have obtained video footage of the spill. You can watch the failed spot embedded in the video below:
– Examiner.com has a new interview online with James Storm. In it, he discusses his latest concussion and the side effects that have came along with it. He also discloses information about his availability for his scheduled match against Kurt Angle at TNA Final Resolution on Sunday. Below are the highlights of the interview:
On working last month concussed: “I was never really concerned, as long as I wasn’t in any real physicality. Before I even did anything, I talked with Dixie Carter and the doctors. We understood the seriousness of my concussion. I saw how people read reports from live events and thought I actually wrestled in a match. I wouldn’t call it wrestling. I just walked out and super kicked a guy. We all made sure there was no further damage to my health. TNA was very protective of my health.”
When the injury happened: “I think it actually happened in a match against Roode when I lost the title to him. I think it was the superplex off the top rope. I watched the match a couple of times now and I remember being foggy after that move.”
How many concussions he’s suffered: “I have had 3 in the 15 years that I’ve been wrestling. The first two were in the early part of TNA. I think I was worried about telling people. I was worried that I might lose my spot in the company”.
Side effects from most-recent injury: “There was a lot of fogginess. It really felt like muddy water. I was real sensitive to light. My balance was off a bit. I couldn’t really read or watch TV. I wasn’t even able to play video games. I couldn’t concentrate. I had to sit in a dark room for the first two days because the light hurt my eyes and my head. I had to watch TV with my sunglasses on. It was pretty scary. For two weeks the fogginess kept going on. I couldn’t go outside without sunglasses because the sunlight would give me an instant headache. It was pretty scary.”
Status for TNA Final Resolution: “I went back last Sunday, took another test, didn’t do quite as well as the doctors would have liked. They said I did good, but they still wanted to be careful with me. I’m actually going back today to see if I get cleared.”
Click here to read the full interview.
– Robbie T and Anarquia are scheduled to work tonight’s Ohio Valley Wrestling show in New Albany, Indiana. You can view the promotional poster for the show at this link. Expect to see a lot of TNA talent on OVW shows going forward with OVW being the official developmental territory of TNA Impact Wrestling.
– The Skinny out of the United Kingdom has a new article online featuring quotes from Ric Flair. While Flair did the interview to promote TNA’s 2012 European tour with shows in the UK and beyond, he had at least one very interesting thing to say. Below is an excerpt:
“To be honest I have no plans on retiring from the industry anytime soon. I feel that I still have so much to give to TNA. If the time ever comes that I cannot contribute anything to the company that is when I would have to consider my position within TNA. I am privileged that I have a limited schedule in TNA so my time in many respects is my own. Just now I like to spend time with my family and love to do some fishing. When I retire I’ll be doing more of the same.”
Flair also talks about his storied career and puts over his co-workers in TNA. You can read the full article at this link.
– Wrestling News World reader Allen Mahaffey sent word that TNA Impact Wrestling is returning to my hometown of Beckley, West Virginia on February 18, 2012. Click here for local event information.
– Embedded in the video below is the Before the Bell preview for TNA Final Resolution:
– I’m told TNA Impact Wrestling’s deal with Jakks Pacific to produce action figures has not turned out as well as officials from both companies originally anticipated. One source close to TNA tells me sales have “been awful” and has resulted in fewer and fewer stores stocking the action figures. Another point of concern in TNA is an anticipated decline in advertisement revenue from television because of UFC leaving Spike TV next year. A lot of the commercials that air during the Thursday night 9-11 PM timeslot for Impact Wrestling are not specifically purchased for Impact, but part of ad bundles that Spike sells for UFC programming. UFC sponsors are offered a discounted rate for a bundle of ads on both UFC and TNA programming. However, with UFC leaving, it’s going to be tougher than ever for Spike to attract advertisers. This could also put strain on TNA’s relationship with Spike TV, with even more emphasis put on their ratings.
– James Storm recently took part in an interview with About.com and discussed a number of topics, including his health after his concussion and whether or not he’d be able to compete at the upcoming Final Resolution pay-per-view. When asked if he’d be available and who he’d face, Storm responded:
“It’s funny because I’m supposed to go out and give Kurt Angle, who gave me this concussion, an answer on this week’s IMPACT. However, I actually go back this Tuesday to take another test because I didn’t pass my last one. They did say that it is looking really good and that I should be alright on Tuesday.”
When asked about the lack of emphasis of tag teams in both TNA and WWE, Storm responded:
“It needs to be more, I don’t want to say characters that people need to relate to, but in wrestling that is what it is. You need to have your wrestlers be relatable to the audience. I think that was good about both me and Chris and also me and Robert is that we were all relatable to the audience. I know in WWE, they take two guys and kind of just throw them together. You need time to build chemistry and a relationship with each other and also the audience. Right now, I don’t see that with either company. But we are also working on that now. They have Matt Morgan and Crimson as the tag team champions and also Mexican America. Hopefully, the Machineguns will come back and that will add another big piece to our tag team division.
Click here to read the full interview.
– The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from James Storm where he talks about winning the TNA Championship, losing it and his latest concussion. You can read it at this link.
– TNA Impact Wrestling has announced the following upcoming house shows:
* Columbia, South Carolina on Thursday, February 2, 2012
* Florence, South Carolina on Friday, February 3, 2012
* Concord, North Carolina on Saturday, February 4, 2012
* Corbin, Kentucky on Friday, March 9, 2012
* Pikeville, Kentucky on Saturday, March 10, 2012
– TNA Impact Wrestling issued the following press release:
TNA IMPACT WRESTLING has signed a two-year deal with Challenge TV, keeping the UK’s highest-rated wrestling show on free television until the end of 2013. TNA IMPACT WRESTLING will continue to be broadcast every Sunday night at 9pm on Challenge, just three days after it airs in the United States. TNA’s monthly PPV events – including Lockdown, Final Resolution and Bound For Glory – and spin-off show TNA Xplosion will still be shown on Wednesdays at 10pm.
Challenge TV is broadcast throughout the UK and Ireland and can be found on Freeview channel 46, Sky channel 125 and Virgin Media channel 139.
A delighted Dixie Carter, President of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING, said: “Our first year on Challenge TV has seen us double our viewership in the UK and Ireland – and we are really looking forward to another two years of even greater success.
“Our wonderful fans have made us the most-watched wrestling programme in the UK and we’re pleased this new agreement also gives them the security of knowing they can always watch us on the same channel every week – Challenge TV.
“We cannot wait to celebrate with our fans in person in Nottingham, Manchester and London on the TNA MAXIMUM IMPACT Tour from January 26-28!”
Barbara Gibbon, Challenge’s Head of Channel, added: “We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to consolidate our relationship with the TNA team.
“Over the past year these programmes have become an important destination point in the Challenge schedule because they are much loved by its many fans.”
Fans can catch the stars of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING – including Sting, Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, Mr. Anderson, AJ Styles, Velvet Sky and Mickie James – as part of the 2012 MAXIMUM IMPACT IV Tour of the UK.
Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena, the Manchester Evening News Arena and London’s Wembley Arena will host live events from January 26-28.
Tickets for the shows are on sale now and can be bought from www.gigsandtours.com / 0844 811 0051 or www.ticketmaster.co.uk / 0844 826 2826.
– The TNA Impact Wrestling cruise to the Bahamas departs today from Port Canaveral, Florida and lasts for three nights. I haven’t heard how tickets sold but if you’re on that ship, send us a report.
– TNA TV Champion Robbie E was married last Saturday in New Jersey.
– Brooke Tessmacher was in a car accident on Sunday afternoon. She is fine and dispelled any speculation that it was due to drinking and driving on her Twitter page. Speaking of Brooke, she is working on her reality show pilot in Dallas this weekend and is booked for the Impact Wrestling television tapings on Monday and Tuesday. Also, Impact Wrestling has made her theme music available for download at this link.
Jack Swagger is a very unique talent in terms of the way he’s been pushed. The WWE office was very high up on him coming out of developmental as they pushed him on ECW to the top of the brand as ECW Champion. In 2010, he became Mr. Money in the Bank after winning the bout at Wrestlemania XXVI and ended up winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Swagger appeared to be the next mega-star to be churned out of the WWE machine, however, there ended up being an issue with his behavior backstage and it resulted in a humbling that has lasted throughout the year. Every time I think Swagger is going to be built back up, he’s buried again. Swagger was unable to establish himself as a top star during his run on top and as a result, finds himself in a mid-card enhancement role. I haven’t heard the future creative plans for his character but this is why it’s absolutely crucial that a worker take full advantage of a run on top.
Given all the build for Brodus Clay, could he be the one to end the reign of Mark Henry and become the next World Heavyweight Champion?
WWE has big plans for Brodus Clay if he ever makes it to television. Clay has seen his re-debut pushed back for several weeks now although the company is still planning a huge push for him. I don’t think it’s likely he’ll be the worker to stop Mark Henry because Henry is a Smackdown worker and Clay is being pushed for Raw. It will be interesting to see who will be the worker to stop Henry as it will give whoever does it a huge rub.
I feel like turning Bobby Roode heel was a huge mistake. He was a brilliant babyface and James Storm would have made the better heel. What are your thoughts?
I completely agree the Bobby Roode heel turn on TNA television has been a failure to this point. The company built Roode for months only to have him go under to Kurt Angle at Bound For Glory. In a move no one saw coming, James Storm ended up beating Kurt Angle for the title in a less-than-stellar match on free television the next week. The company ended up turning Roode heel and getting the belt on him only for people like Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan to smirk about how they outsmarted everyone. Fans weren’t “outsmarted,” they were thrown off because the storyline was so poorly booked. While Hogan and Bischoff will boast the Internet fans criticize because they “don’t see the full picture,” I argue Hogan and Bischoff have no idea what they are doing. I’m told the duo actually wants the title back on Jeff Hardy which I believe is a huge risk given his past behavior.
What’s the latest with the WrestlingNewsWorld.com iPhone App?
Our iPhone App has been down since the launch of the new design as we wait for our developer to finish updating the code. The top two posts on the application will load the new mobile site in a fully functional manner until the update comes out.
What are the plans for next year’s Royal Rumble match? I hear Randy Orton is the favorite.
WWE creative has started to pitch plans for the 2012 Royal Rumble match; however, no winner has been finalized. There is a debate every year whether or not the match should be used to elevate a younger worker or help re-build an already established worker. There is already a unique situation for next year’s match as Daniel Bryan is still scheduled to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXVIII. While I have maintained I’ll “believe that when I see it,” there is going to be an interesting scenario with the title shots usually being determined at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber respectively.
Who is your pick for Superstar of the Year? My pick is Alberto Del Rio.
The Slammy Awards are kayfabed but CM Punk is my runaway pick for Superstar of the Year. Punk clearly established himself as a main event talent in 2011 and revitalized the entire WWE fanbase this summer. Alberto Del Rio has had a great year as well but he never got the big title defense win he needed to get established.
Kevin Nash looked awful in his match against Santino Marella. With Triple H banged up, how are these two going to have an entertaining ladder match?
While I’ll at least give it to Kevin that he looked in shape, it’s going to be a challenge to hold an entertaining ladder match with Triple H. I have been a loud opponent to Nash getting a singles match because of his age and the fact he’s way past his prime. In most cases a gimmick match helps workers that are banged up but the ladder match stipulation is different because it involves climbing.
When will Daniel Bryan win the World Heavyweight Championship?
I have no confidence in WWE’s ability to book Daniel Bryan as a legitimate main event talent. It was very surprising to me that he went over at Money in the Bank in July but the company hasn’t booked him like an up and coming “megastar.” There have been shades of confidence but just as soon as it looks like he’s about to break out, he taps to Alberto Del Rio. It’s a vicious cycle and I hope Bryan is booked in a favorable role but I’m not holding my breath.
What is the latest on Layla’s injury and her return?
Layla appeared at a Florida Championship Wrestling show last month and did the WWE.com Live Raw chat on November 21st. Her knee injury was serious as she had a torn ACL and MCL that required surgery to repair, however, she should be close to returning.
What’s the latest update on the return of Kane? Will he come back wearing the mask?
I reported here on Richard’s Backstage Blog early in November there were discussions taking place to bring back Kane. The first plan was for Survivor Series then there were ideas for Royal Rumble. WWE has since launched a video campaign to bring him back but have not advertised a return date. With the video campaign already airing, it appears Kane will return before Royal Rumble 2012 next year. As for the mask, I don’t understand why the mask would be a focal point of the return videos if they didn’t plan on doing something with it. WWE has wanted to put the mask back on Kane for a few years now so I would say it’s likely but not confirmed.
Rumors aside, who do you think is returning to WWE on January 2, 2012 in the cryptic videos?
I believe WWE launched the video campaign with their options open. They have been negotiating with Chris Jericho for several months but it has come down to Jericho’s desire to return to the ring. With The Undertaker already under a WWE contract and in the preliminary plans for Wrestlemania XXVIII, it gave them a very realistic option to use it for him if things didn’t work out with Jericho. While I know you said rumors aside, the only two names linked to the videos have been Jericho and The Undertaker. As I mentioned in yesterday’s YouTube Report, WWE launched a cryptic video campaign to bring The Undertaker back for Wrestlemania XXVII this year, however, fans began to speculate the videos had to do with Sting. WWE reached out to Sting about coming to the company and working Wrestlemania in Atlanta and by Sting’s own admission, he was close to a deal.
I feel CM Punk was brilliant when WWE “loosed the chains” on his character and incorporated his real-life personality with his gimmick. However, I feel his star has faded a little. While he’s still great, I feel he reached a level this summer he’s going to have a hard time topping. What are your thoughts?
CM Punk surged to the top of WWE this summer with a gimmick that was very entertaining and had everyone guessing what was kayfabe and what was legitimate. Punk got complete freedom in his gimmick and said a lot of controversial things that are ordinarily considered taboo in WWE. While I agree Punk is no longer surging, he’s leveled off as a main event level superstar. Some workers peak only to get lost back in the mid-card (Jack Swagger being a great example), however, Punk’s elevation stuck him right behind John Cena and Randy Orton.
Generally speaking, how do you obtain your information?
Due to the nature of the pro wrestling business, a large portion of my information is obtained by anonymous sources that operate through my writing. I have success in breaking the top stories in the business because of the three R’s – relationships, resources and research. I have developed great trustworthy relationships over the years, I’m always looking to maximize my resources by making myself available and I do my research when breaking news. I do not have an ego that I “deserve” your respect but I want to earn it through hard work and dedication.
What the latest update on John Morrison?
John Morrison’s WWE contract expired on November 29, 2011 and he did not have 90-day non-compete clause attached to his contract. Morrison is free to go wherever he wants and I heard months ago he was interested in going to TNA Impact Wrestling with Melina. Morrison has been silent on Twitter since his WWE departure. His last Tweet, “humble pie tastes like crap.”
How close is Andy Leavine to getting called up to the main WWE roster?
Andy Leavine has been a work in progress since winning WWE Tough Enough. Jim Ross wrote on Twitter today his debut on WWE television isn’t imminent and he still has a lot of work to do. JR is more than qualified to make this statement because his position in WWE is to scout talent and he was recently evaluating developmental names in Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa.
Why did Gail Kim leave WWE?
Gail Kim was unhappy and frustrated with the way WWE pushes their Divas. She made a scene with her WWE departure, eliminating herself from a Divas battle royal and got heat for it from John Laurinaitis. Gail’s three-year WWE contract she signed in 2008 was up in August and she knew she had an opportunity with TNA Impact Wrestling without a 90-day non-compete clause. Gail left TNA in 2008 because of a better financial offer from WWE.
What’s the status of Wade Barrett?
WWE is rebuilding Wade Barrett’s character and is currently programming him with Randy Orton on Smackdown. Barrett was close to becoming a main event name as the leader of the Nexus and is getting another huge opportunity.
Do you think MVP will ever return to the WWE?
It wouldn’t be out of the question for MVP to return to WWE. He requested his release last year in order to pursue opportunities internationally, mainly in Japan. I do not think he left on bad terms; however, remember his release was odd in that WWE announced it before his final TV appearance on Smackdown had aired.
Isn’t it going to be hard to book an entertaining TLC match while sticking to the WWE PG guidelines?
Gimmick matches such as TLC matches or anything hardcore are more difficult to book when trying to get around WWE PG. The biggest adjustment for me has been getting used to cage matches and Hell in a Cell bouts without color. However, it can be done and I like the fact that the gimmick is limited to a couple matches on the card.
I heard that Rob Van Dam was seriously considering going back to WWE. Is that true?
I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that Rob Van Dam was extremely frustrated with his spot in TNA Impact Wrestling. However, RVD is still under contract with them and he’d have to get out of his deal before a WWE return could be discussed.
With Ric Flair praising the Knockouts and how they bring in the ratings, will Vince McMahon take this as a sign that the Divas shouldn’t just be used as time for a bathroom break?
I highly doubt Vince McMahon is paying attention to anything Ric Flair is saying or TNA is doing. WWE pushes their Divas differently than a lot of people think they should, however, they have their reasons for doing so. Since Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff joined TNA in 2010, the Knockouts haven’t been booked near as effectively as they were in the years prior. TNA is still far away from the stellar pay-per-view matches between Awesome Kong and Gail Kim that were stealing the show.
Who comes up with a worker’s finisher?
A worker has to come up with their own finisher in WWE or TNA. I’m currently reading Chris Jericho’s “Undisputed” (I know I’m late) and early on, he talks about the differences in working for WCW as opposed to WWE. In WCW, there were no agents to help put together matches and it was up to the workers to get together and plan their matches. Obviously that is different from WWE in which the call goes from creative to the agents to the workers. Jericho also highlights how everything changed in terms of storyline direction and worker freedom with the hiring of head Raw creative team writer Brian Gewirtz.