Origins Of Zeb Colter, Wrestlemania XXX In New Orleans, New WWE Title Belt Unveiled, Ryback’s Push Over?, WWE Targeting A-Lister To Induct Bruno, Popular WWE Star Jobbed Out Because Of Heat With Vince McMahon, Swagger Arrested For DUI & Marijuana, Jacobs To WWE?

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, February 16, 2013 to Friday, February 22, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

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

WWE News

- Word going around is The Rock is in the preliminary plans for Wrestlemania 30 next year. If true, it will be his fourth straight Wrestlemania after returning as the host of Wrestlemania XXVII and competing in Wrestlemania XXVIII and Wrestlemania 29. This only adds to speculation that Monday’s “special announcement” will be the revealing of the show’s location, which is believed to be New Orleans. Rock, Vince McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and John Cena will be on hand for the announcement.

- Believe it or not, Christian is said to be medically cleared to compete. However, no date has been set for his return.

- Titus O’Neil was auctioned off Friday night for a date as part of the Tampa Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s 1st Annual “Death by Chocolate” event.

- In addition to signing autographs, Zack Ryder worked Friday night’s WWE NXT show in Fort Pierce, Florida. He joined NXT Tag Team Champions Adrian Neville & Oliver Grey to beat The Wyatt Family.

- Evan Bourne closed his week with the following Tweet:

- We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, citing a report from Bloomberg, that Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. has acquired WWE Games from THQ. GMA News is reporting that Japanese developer Yukes Co. as well as former THQ employees will be retained by the new deal, entering into new agreements with Take-Two Interactive to develop new WWE games and content. There is no word as of this writing when the new WWE game will be released and what new direction will be taken. Until a direction is decided, we will be filing WWE video game news in the WWE ’14 category.

- 15,669 was the announced attendance for WWE Elimination Chamber from the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. The show was a legitimate sellout.

- WWE changed the start time for the Monday Night Raw the week before Wrestlemania 29 (on 4/1) from the Verizon Center in Washington, DC from 7:30 PM EST to 6:30 PM EST. This isn’t surprising as they’ll shoot footage to include on Smackdown as there won’t be a Tuesday night taping.

- The Rock will defend the WWE Championship against John Cena at Wrestlemania 29. The match was officially announced after Rock beat CM Punk at Elimination Chamber.

- Speaking of Rock, his mother was in attendance at the pay-per-view on Sunday night.

- Jack Swagger won the Elimination Chamber Match and will challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. Barring a title change, that match would be Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio.

- We heard on Saturday that the talk coming out of last week’s television tapings was for Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter to eventually feud with Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. There was also talk about the origins of the Zeb Colter character played by Dutch Mantel. We are able to say with 100% certainly the character was inspired by the RJ Brewer character from Lucha Libre USA. For those that don’t remember, Brewer and Lucha Libre USA were featured on ABC’s Nightline a couple weeks ago. Vince McMahon was said to be livid/jealous that a small company was able to get that type of mainstream media attention for one of their characters. Vince demanded that WWE come up with someone in a similar role, putting Triple H in charge of deciding how to handle it. Hunter came up with the idea of having it be a manger doing the gimmick, picked Dutch Mantel to play it and decided to put him with Swagger since Swagger has always had the all American gimmick.

- The Times-Picayune has confirmed that Wrestlemania 30 will take place from the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 6, 2014.

WWE will make an official announcement at a press conference with city officials at noon on Monday.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued the following prepared statement:

“We are proud to have played host to some of the greatest sports and entertainment events in the world over the past two years, and hosting WrestleMania is a great way to continue this unprecedented streak,” Landrieu said. “We look forward to hosting WWE and its global fan base as they celebrate this historic milestone at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.”

Vince McMahon, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, WWE Champion The Rock and John Cena will be on hand for Monday’s press conference.  We’ll have the live stream here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Josh Mathews interviewed D.J. Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki of “GI Joe: Retaliation” live at WWE Elimination Chamber Sunday night. Adrianne shouted out her cousin Benjamin Boone. Boone is actually an independent wrestler based out of Ohio.

- For those that missed Monday’s WWE press conference to announce that Wrestlemania XXX will take place from the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 6, 2014, below are the highlights:

  • Superdome general manager Alan Freeman revealed they originally bid on Wrestlemania in 2009 but were able to secure Wrestlemania XXX during a presentation 15 months ago.
  • Stephanie McMahon claimed they had 9.5 million Web impressions following Drew Brees Tweeting the Wrestlemania location rumor.
  • In addition to John Cena and WWE Champion The Rock, Big Show, Mark Henry, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, Layla, R-Truth, Brodus Clay, Cameron, Naomi and The Great Khali appeared.
  • Triple H was advertised but didn’t speak or appear on-camera.

After the press conference, WWE issued the following release:

NEW ORLEANS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, the New Orleans Saints, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and WWE® are proud to announce that New Orleans will host WrestleMania XXX on Sunday, April 6, 2014.

Mayor Landrieu, New Orleans Saints Owner and Vice Chairman Rita Benson LeBlanc, President of New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Stephen Perry, CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero, General Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and New Orleans Arena Alan Freeman and General Manager of the New Orleans Morial Convention Center Bob Johnson joined WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, WWE Executive Vice President of Creative Stephanie McMahon and WWE Senior Vice President of Special Events John P. Saboor at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in making the announcement. WWE Superstars Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson, John Cena®, Alberto Del Rio®, Big Show®, Mark Henry®, Brodus Clay™, The Great Khali® and WWE Divas Layla®, Cameron™ and Naomi™ also made special guest appearances.

“On behalf of our great city, we thank WWE for bringing their largest annual celebration to New Orleans in 2014,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “We are proud to have played host to some of the greatest sports and entertainment events in the world over the past two years, and hosting WrestleMania is a great way to continue this unprecedented streak. We look forward to hosting WWE and its global fan base as they celebrate this historic milestone at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.”

“WWE thanks the city of New Orleans and the Saints for welcoming our biggest celebration of the year for the first time to The Big Easy,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. “We can’t think of a better city or a more legendary venue than the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to host the 30th annual WrestleMania. Let the good times roll.”

WrestleMania is more than just a one day event, it’s a week-long celebration. In addition to WrestleMania XXX, other activities will include: WrestleMania Axxess – WWE’s four-day interactive fan festival at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center; the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony; Monday Night Raw®; WrestleMania Reading Challenge Finals; Be a STAR™ anti-bullying rallies; hospital visits and other pro-social activities designed to give back to the host community. The pay-per-view event will be televised to more than 100 countries. Last year, WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami generated more than $100 million in economic impact for Miami and Miami-Dade County, a new record for WrestleMania. This year, WrestleMania XXIX takes place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sunday, April 7.

- We’re told Alberto Del Rio “got ripped” backstage for the botched finish to the World Heavyweight Championship match against Big Show. It’s unlikely this will have any long-term ramifications but it didn’t go unnoticed.

- Vince McMahon was pleased how the Elimination Chamber match came off and was said to be particularly pleased with Chris Jericho who “didn’t miss a beat.”

- The idea is still to push The Shield as a dominant trio and they were praised for their work in the 6 man tag team match against John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback. Ideas are being thrown around to get the tag titles on them, however, nothing is set in stone.

- The Rock was hurting following his match for the WWE title against CM Punk when the Spanish announce table didn’t break after taking the Rock Bottom. He was upset the table didn’t break and even checked it out when the pay-per-view went off the air. We’re told he was not seriously injured.

- Jim Ross checks in with his thoughts on WWE Elimination Chamber at this link.

- The Rock and CM Punk enjoyed an exchange on Twitter:

- Paul Heyman wrote the following on Twitter:

- John Cena will face CM Punk on next week’s WWE Raw. The winner will challenge The Rock for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29.

- R-Truth returned to WWE on this week’s Raw, making the save on Kofi Kingston who was beaten up by Damien Sandow prior to their match. Truth has been off television since suffering a lacerated knee at WWE TLC in December.

- WWE unveiled a new WWE Championship title belt on this week’s episode of Raw. The Rock revealed the new title in the closing segment of the show. John Cena came out but was taken out by CM Punk with the old “spinner” belt that Rock had told a staffer to take to the back.

Below are images of the new belt:

WWE has used the “spinner” belt design since April 11, 2005.

Richard Reacts: So when is John Cena turning heel?  I said there were two things I would have to see to believe and a new WWE title belt was one of those things.  WWE has talked for years about replacing the “spinner” belt design but Vince McMahon has always pushed back due to how well replicas sold.  I’m still too surprised to even give my thoughts but a change was long overdo.

- In addition to the number one contender match we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, another item advertised for next week’s WWE Raw is that Vince McMahon will “fight” Paul Heyman. The angle was setup as a response to the stipulation Heyman agreed to on last week’s show. Next week’s WWE Raw will take place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- After this week’s WWE Raw went off the air, Cody Rhodes came out to get a look at the new WWE Championship title belt (photos here). The Rock got on the mic and teased Cody for his mustache and asked the audience if he should give Rhodes a Rock Bottom. Cody got on the mic but ended up getting the Rock Bottom to end the show.

- The brahma bull side plates are removable from the new WWE Championship title belt.

- The Rock wouldn’t commit to wrestling at Wrestlemania XXX in comments following Monday’s press conference to announce the show from the Superdome in New Orleans. When asked if he would “definitely” have a match at Wrestlemania XXX next year, Rock responded by saying, “I can’t tell you that.”

- R-Truth wrote the following on Twitter regarding his return to WWE Raw:

- The new “assistant managing supervisor” of Vickie Guerrero, Brad Maddox, wrote the following on Twitter:

- Wade Barrett is one of many WWE stars now doing DDP Yoga.

- Santino Marella, who is currently out with an injury, was backstage at this week’s WWE Raw and participated in a segment that aired on the WWE App with Matt Striker. In the segment, Santino presented Striker with the new Very Best of WCW Nitro volume 2 DVD as “presents day” rather than President’s Day.

- Lilian Garcia wrote the following on Twitter:

- Lucha Libre USA’s RJ Brewer has responded to Jack Swagger’s new gimmick with Zeb Colter as his mouthpiece. As we confirmed here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, Vince McMahon ordered that WWE come up with their own rendition of Brewer’s character after the mainstream success it received. Vince was said to be angry and jealous that a Lucha Libre USA character could get so much press attention and put Triple H in charge of packaging a similar gimmick. The following is from Brewer’s Facebook:

This will be the only time I respond to the questions I have received regarding WWE “stealing my stuff.” I have been wrestling for Lucha Libre USA for almost 3 years and have been using that platform to speak against illegal immigration from the start. I have been featured on CNN, Fox News, The Geraldo Rivera Morning Show, front page of the LA Times, front page of the BBC, and most recently, ABC… Nightline. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone else took advantage of my press and success. For me to complain would say I am against capitalism, and that is not true in the least. The reason I have done what I have done is because this is not some silly wrestling storyline, this is real. My feelings are magnified for the camera and the live audience, but what I say comes from the bottom of my heart. This is why I was invited to the Sheriff Joe Arpaio walk, and asked to be a guest speaker at Rusell Pearce’s (author of SB 1070) fundraiser. They say the most sincere form of flattery is imitation. I say imitation is suicide, because to try to be what someone else really is, is only killing who you are. Our audience is Latino, our wrestlers are Latino and that is why RJ Brewer is so effective. I don’t need a mouthpiece. I don’t need a machine behind me. I don’t need human growth hormone and/or to be protected by a phony drug test only to be thrown out like yesterday’s garbage when I am finished. RJ Brewer will always be 100% real, no matter how hard someone tries to diminish that. All I need are my views and a platform to spread them, and so far, that has worked just fine. Lucha Libre USA goes on tour this spring, stay tuned for dates and stay tuned for a documentary to be filmed about “Latin America’s Favorite Enemy.” Last year, an average of 3000 fans came out each night to watch us, and this year should be even better. Thank you.

You can watch the Nightline piece on RJ Brewer at this link.  This was said to be the clip that enraged Vince McMahon and sparked his directive to create a similar character.

- While Triple H ended up securing Bruno Sammartino for the WWE Hall of Fame, he’s now turned his attention to securing a deal for someone to induct him. Bruno has stated publicly he would like to be inducted by someone like Dominic DeNucci or Larry Zbyszko, however, admitted he was leaving it up to WWE and they were looking outside the organization. We’re told the name atop WWE’s list to do the honors is Arnold Schwarzenegger. WWE has contacted “The Governor,” however, he has been a bit reluctant so far. Schwarzenegger’s latest movie isn’t doing well and his team is trying to figure out his next move. What’s interesting is that in dealing with Bruno, Triple H dangled the carrot of WWE Studios possibly financing the movie about Bruno’s life, which in the end really helped with getting Bruno interested in working with WWE again and ultimately getting a deal done. Now, Hunter is hoping for similar results with Schwarzenegger. A source with knowledge of the negotiations says WWE has had preliminary talks with Schwarzenegger’s people about trying to land him to star in a WWE Studios production. Triple H is hoping that the possibility of WWE financing a film could be enough to get Schwarzenegger to induct Bruno into the Hall of Fame.

- WWE has a great article online over on dot com detailing the development of their new WWE title belt. Paul Teutul Sr. and his team over at Orange County Choppers helped place the W. The decision to make a new title belt was made a year and a half ago and more than $50,000 went into the preparation and production of it. According to the article, the creative team struggled with Internet leaks, impractical ideas and a proposed WrestleMania XXVIII unveiling that didn’t come true. You can read the full article at this link.

- WWE is taking full advantage of the buzz surrounding their new title belt and just sent out an email blast to let the Universe know it’s on sell. For $449.99 you can buy a replica of the new title belt unveiled on this week’s Raw. Click here to shop now.

- The Rock posted a photo on Twitter with the new WWE Championship belt. You can view it below: 

  - Chris Jericho put The Shield over in a new post on Twitter:

- Below is a photo of David Otunga in “The Call.” The film, starring Halle Berry is due out in theaters March 15th:

- Jim Ross posted his thoughts on this week’s WWE Raw in a new blog on his official website. Click here to read it.

Paul Joseph Watson on Alex Jones’ InfoWars.com accuses WWE of demonizing Tea Party Americans as racists and slams the “state of the union” segment with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter on this week’s Raw. The author mentions the remark on commentary that Swagger and Colter received “fan mail” from Alex Jones, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and asserts the angle is based on the McMahon family’s affiliation with the Republican establishment. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Santino Marella wrote the following on Twitter:

- John Cena claimed at the Wrestlemania XXX press conference he wasn’t even sure he was going to work Wrestlemania 29.

- Steve Austin revealed in an interview promoting “The Package” release on DVD that the window on WWE Tough Enough has closed and that WWE really dropped the ball with the reality series. The Package, starring Austin and Dolph Lundgren, is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray and DVD combo pack.

- Last week’s Smackdown did a 1.96 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 2,680,000 viewers on SyFy. The audience was the lowest of the early year.

If mainstream media attention is what WWE is going for with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter well main stream attention is what they got. The right-leaning Fox News Channel featured the a critical segment in reaction to what was on this week’s Raw. They actually concluded by questioning whether or not Ann Coulter could take legal action for the play on her name.

- WWE responded to a report by The Hollywood Reporter with the following statement:

“WWE has a long history of creating fictional characters that serve as either protagonists or antagonists, no different than other television shows or feature films,” said Brian Flinn, WWE’s senior vp marketing and communications. “To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines. “WWE is creating drama centered on a topical subject that has varying points of view to develop a rivalry between two characters,” he adds. “This storyline in no way represents WWE’s political point of view. One should not confuse WWE’s storytelling with what WWE stands for, similar to other entertainment companies such as Warner Bros., Universal Studios or Viacom.”

Not only does this criticism prove the mainstream media has nothing better to do than analyze a scripted television show but it highlights their lack of research. Linda McMahon ran twice as the Republican nominee for Connecticut state Senate and Vince McMahon was a donor to a Mitt Romney (the Republican Presidential nominee) super PAC.

- WWE issued the following press release on Tuesday:

Hollywood, CA AND Stamford, Conn. – February 19, 2013 – Paramount Pictures and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a promotional partnership to support Paramount’s upcoming feature film releases, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION and PAIN & GAIN. The cross-platform partnership includes integration opportunities on WWE programming at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event as well as appearances by film star and WWE Champion Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson on Monday Night Raw® and WrestleMania® 29. In addition to storyline integration on its TV broadcasts, WWE will utilize all of its assets, including live events, digital and social media to promote the films and engage millions of fans each week. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION is a co-presenting partner of Elimination Chamber with integration during the pay-per-view as well as storyline integration with stars D.J. Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki on Monday Night Raw on USA Network, leading up to the film’s release on March 29. In the sequel to the 2009 release of G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, which grossed more than $300 million worldwide, the G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra, they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence. Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) and Skydance Productions present in association with Hasbro. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION stars D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Elodie Yung, Channing Tatum with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson. Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Brian Goldner. Based on Hasbro’s G.I. Joe® characters. Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and directed by Jon M. Chu. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION is in theaters everywhere March 29. PAIN & GAIN will have a major presence at WrestleMania 29 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, April 7, and at WrestleMania Axxess, a four-day interactive WWE fan experience at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 7. From acclaimed director Michael Bay comes PAIN & GAIN, a new action comedy starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie, based on the unbelievable true story of three personal trainers in 1990s Miami, who, in pursuit of the American Dream, get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong. Ed Harris, Tony Shalhoub, Rob Corddry, Rebel Wilson and Bar Paly also star. Produced by Donald De Line, Michael Bay and Ian Bryce. Based on the Magazine Articles by Pete Collins. Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Directed by Michael Bay. PAIN & GAIN opens in theaters everywhere April 26.

- Bruno Sammartino is scheduled for three upcoming WWE appearances as part of his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame over Wrestlemania 29 weekend. Sammartino will appear at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday from Madison Square Garden in New York City, at the pay-per-view itself from Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday and Monday Night Raw from the IZOD Center. – Devin Cutting is circulating the updated WWE NXT taping schedule from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Below is a look at scheduled tapings through August:

  • February 21, 2013
  • March 14, 2013
  • April 11, 2013
  • May 2, 2013
  • June 20, 2013
  • July 11, 2013
  • August 1, 2013
  • August 22, 2013

We’ll have full taping results available for each show here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- After this week’s Smackdown taping, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio beat Big Show in a dark match main event street fight. The finish saw Del Rio put Show through a table to get the pinfall victory.

- WWE Champion The Rock isn’t scheduled for next week’s WWE Raw in Dallas. Instead, Brock Lesnar is being advertised as the current plan is to rotate their appearances in the shows leading up to Wrestlemania 29. Rock wrote the following on Twitter:

Rock will be shooting his new reality show “The Hero” that will air on TNT.

- WWE has repackaged developmental Diva Davina Rose and changed her name to Bayley. You can view her NXT profile at this link.

- WWE has signed Kendra Smith (pictured above) to a developmental contract. She has uploaded video of her training on her official website which gives a lot of information about her. Check it out at this link.

- If you’re wondering why Kofi Kingston has been booked to look so weak lately, it’s not by accident. We’re told Kofi has heat from Vince McMahon due to an undisclosed issue and is the reason for Damien Sandow’s attack on Raw and jobs to Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes and Jack Swagger.

- To update on The Shield possibly holding the WWE Tag Team Championship, the thinking after this week’s Raw was for the belts to rotate in a demolition gimmick where they can be defended by any combination of three.

- We’re told WWE also made side plates for CM Punk and John Cena to be used on the new WWE Championship belt. This was done so they could control leaks and no one would know when they were unveiling the belt on television. Punk’s plates have his lightning bolt fist. As for the internal reaction to the belt, the company sees it as “very marketable” and we’re told that Mattel had a part in its development.

- This week’s WWE Raw was widely viewed as a throwaway show that would bank off the fallout from Elimination Chamber. Basically the idea was to setup things for next week even though neither The Rock nor Chris Jericho are scheduled. In addition to the Vince McMahon/Paul Heyman fight and number one contender match between John Cena and CM Punk, Brock Lesnar is officially advertised.

- The USA Network will air a one-hour special of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 from 10-11 PM/9-10 CT. The 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 6, 2013 from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Current inductees include Bruno Sammartino, Mick Foley, Trish Stratus and Bob Backlund.

- Take-Two Interactive has officially acquired the exclusive rights to the WWE video game license from THQ. While Take-Two is expected to retain key THQ and Yuke Co. employees, there will be at least one significant change. ESPN is reporting that Take-Two will publish the WWE game under their 2K Sports franchise.

“We looked at a lot of different leaders in the industry and talked to all of the big guys, and for us, we had been with THQ for so many years, it was nice to finally go out and date a few other companies and see what kind of thought process they had about the video game industry going forward,” Collins told ESPN Tuesday in an exclusive interview. “As we look at the next-gen systems coming out, whether that’s this holiday or next holiday, we want to make sure we align our property with who we thought would be a leader going forward on these next-gen systems.”

WWE ’14 will now be released as WWE 2K14 this fall. Click here for coverage by ESPN.

- Dot com has a new article on 2K Sports acquiring the WWE video game license now online. There isn’t much new from what we’ve already reported although they do still refer to the next game as WWE ’14 and not WWE 2K14 as noted in the ESPN report. 2K’s COO David Ismailer is quoted in their piece.

“The WWE series is a great addition to our stable of triple-A titles, and we’re very happy with this exclusive agreement with our new partners,” said David Ismailer, Chief Operating Officer for 2K. “We look forward to capturing the excitement of WWE and marrying it with the same commitment to authenticity and entertainment that we give to our NBA 2K and MLB 2K franchises.”

Click here to read the article on dot com in its entirety.

- TMZ is reporting that Jack Swagger  was arrested Tuesday night in Mississippi for allegedly driving under the influence with marijuana in his vehicle. Swagger was leaving this week’s Smackdown taping from the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi when he was stopped by police for speeding. The officer determined Swagger was driving under the influence and searched his vehicle. Marijuana was found and he was arrested by local sheriff’s deputies but later released on his own recognizance. He’s been charged with three misdemeanors – driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and speeding. TMZ obtained the following statement from WWE:

“Mr. Swagger is responsible for his own personal actions.”

The gossip publication also released his mugshot: Jacob Hager Mugshot Richard Reacts: This is probably one of the most irresponsible arrests in WWE history.  He’s been off television for 6 months and not only does he have Vince McMahon’s confidence but a title match at Wrestlemania.  Sources have always claimed Swagger had a tendency to develop an attitude/ego problem but this takes the cake.  Wow.

- The reactions are beginning to pour in regarding the arrest of Jack Swagger for DUI and marijuana possession. Everyone seems to be genuinely dumbfounded how he could allow for this to happen after winning the Elimination Chamber match just three days ago.

The timing of the arrest is particularly harmful as WWE received a large amount of mainstream media attention from the Swagger/Zeb Colter segment from this week’s Raw. One of the things Vince McMahon was hoping to accomplish with the gimmick was the mainstream media attention that RJ Brewer attracted with his similar gimmick in Lucha Libre USA.

WWE was also in the middle of beginning Swagger’s program against World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio.

As for Swagger’s future in the company the only thing WWE is offering up at this time is the statement they gave to TMZ.com.

That statement is as follows:

“Mr. Swagger is responsible for his own personal actions.”

WWE had no further comment when reached by WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- This week’s episode of WWE Raw did an average viewership of 4,662,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the breakdown by hour:

  • Hour one – 4,818,000 viewers
  • Hour two – 4,674,000 viewers
  • Hour three – 4,493,000 viewers

The show ended up with a 3.30 cable rating.

- Just to clear up any misinformation out there, alcohol was not a factor in the arrest of Jack Swagger. While he was charged with DUI, marijuana possession and speeding, the DUI charge was not for the consumption of alcohol. TMZ updated their report to also confirm this.

- Jerry Lawler did a local media interview with WMC-TV Channel 14 where he discussed his road to recovery after suffering a heart attack last year. Lawler says his girlfriend tells him he’s depressed because he’s still not cleared to wrestle. While he admitted he doesn’t feel depressed, he’s not cleared to wrestle because he’s taking blood thinners and the risk of him getting cut is too great.

- Tickets for the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are sold out. I just tried a search and was unable to retrieve any results at Ticketmaster. It’s expected that additional tickets will be available as more inductees are announced. Already confirmed are Mick Foley, Bob Backlund, Trish Stratus and Bruno Sammartino. The 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 6, 2013 from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

- We’re told Jack Swagger smoking marijuana is not news to the WWE office. Sources indicate Swagger has tested positive for grass before and had the fine deducted from his downside guarantee. He even had push once derailed due to positive tests that also carried behavioral issues.

Under the WWE Wellness Policy (section 15B), a positive test for marijuana carries a $2500 fine but no suspension, strike or public acknowledgement. Perhaps what will come back to haunt Swagger is the timing of his most recent arrest. According to the arrest report, Swagger was arrested just over an hour after this week’s Smackdown taping had ended.

In the case of “regrettable” Tweets, he posted the following the night before winning the WWE Elimination Chamber match:

On the same night, his wife, Catalina Hager, Tweeted the following:

While the proclamation of “partying” might not have meant much at the time, it appears to be pretty damning in light of his arrest for driving under the influence in possession of marijuana. – On February 4, 2013, Jimmy Jacobs Tweeted the following:

 

We’re told this was done to get people talking about Jacobs and the possibility of him having a WWE contract. Jacobs has reportedly been offered a developmental deal, however, has not signed. The offer surprised Jacobs as he hasn’t met with anyone in WWE for over three months. One observer says it’s likely Jacobs’ friends from Ring of Honor put in a good word for him and reminded the office with footage.

- Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin will be named an honorary World Heavyweight Champion by WWE prior to the main event of Sunday’s Smackdown live event in College Station. KBTX.com has more at this link.

- WWE has announced a May 5th live event from the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

- WWE is advertising The Rock for Extreme Rules on May 19, 2013. A presale to obtain tickets begins  Friday at 10 AM. The following is from the company’s official Facebook page:

WWE returns to St. Louis on Sunday, May 19 at 6:30pm when EXTREME RULES is broadcast to the world from St. Louis’ Scottrade Center for the first time ever! See WWE Champion The Rock, John Cena, CM Punk, St. Louis’ own Randy Orton, The Celtic Warrior Sheamus and many more! Get your tickets using the password EXTREME starting tomorrow at 10:00am!

- Jack Swagger could mail in or pay his fines online if he doesn’t contest the speeding ticket and a marijuana possession he was issued in Gulfport on Tuesday. However, he is required to appear before a judge on the charge of driving under the influence. All three are misdemeanor charges. The Sun Herald has a new article online detailing his plea date of March 12, 2013, featuring quotes from yours truly. You can read it at this link.

- Santino Marella wrote the following on Twitter regarding his neck injury:

- John Laurinaitis appeared at Thursday’s WWE Raw live event in Doha, Qatar. You can view a photo at this link.

- Sheamus showed off his plates for the new WWE Championship title belt in this Tweet:

- Darren Young suffered a knee injury during the 30-man Royal Rumble match and it is significant. While we can’t confirm what exactly happened, he’s expected out for eight months. Young wrote the following on Twitter:

- WWE developmental Diva Alisha Ceraso has left the company’s developmental system to return to the office. Ceraso, a former fitness model, worked in the office before attempting a run as a talent in October.

- The Rock’s latest movie, Snitch, hits theaters on Friday. Time reviewed the flick at this link.

- Forbes has a new interview on with Steve Austin. Click here to read it.

- John Laurinaitis returned to WWE at Thursday’s WWE Raw live event in Qatar prior to Tensai vs. Michael McGillicutty. Big Johnny came out and announced a dance-off. McGillicutty refused to participate which resulted in Tensai beating him up and getting the win.

- WWE is moving forward with the Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter storyline as the company has invited political commentator Glenn Beck to Monday’s WWE Raw.

The company sent out the following press release on Friday:

STAMFORD, CONN. — WWE has extended an invitation to talk show host and political commentator, Glenn Beck to appear live this Monday on Raw, in response to a segment that aired on TheBlaze TV yesterday. In the segment, Beck references WWE as “stupid wrestling people,” when criticizing a recent WWE storyline involving WWE characters Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio®, Jack Swagger® and Zeb Colter®. WWE is giving Beck the opportunity to address our 14 million weekly viewers and our global fan base, as he believes we are offending our “conservative” fans with this storyline.

Similar to other television shows and feature films, WWE is in the entertainment business, creating fictional characters that serve as protagonists or antagonists. To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines. WWE is creating a rivalry centered on a topical subject that has varying points of view. This storyline was developed to build the Mexican American character Del Rio into a hero given WWE’s large Latino base, which represents 20 percent of our audience.

Link to Glenn Beck WWE Segment:

http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/02/20/wwe-creates-controversial-tea-party-wrestler/?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2013-02-20_201024&utm_content=54524200&utm_term=_201024_201032

- The Miz is scheduled to appear as a guest on “Conan” next Wednesday to promote The Marine 3: Homefront and Wrestlemania 29. The show airs weeknights at 11/10c on TBS. Click here for more information.

- Wade Barrett is scheduled to appear at the premiere of the WWE Studios film “Dead Man Down” next Tuesday in Los Angeles. The film comes out March 8, 2013.

- WWE will run a live event from the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia on May 5, 2013. Tickets for the show go on sale March 9, 2013.

-Maryse announced on Twitter today that she is now engaged to The Miz. The tweets are below:

 

- Greg Marasciulo, known as Trent Barreta during his time with WWE, discussed his position in WWE, his injury, and his release in a recent interview with Newsday. Click here to read it.

- WWE announced on Friday they have declared their quarterly dividend. Below is the official release:

WWE® Declares Quarterly Dividend

STAMFORD, Conn.– WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced that its Board of Directors today declared the Company’s regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A and B shares of common stock. The record date for the dividend will be March 15, 2013, and the payment date will be March 25, 2013.

- The company also announced their annual shareholders meeting for April 26, 2013. Below is the release on that:

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. : WWE® Annual Shareholders Meeting to be held on April 26, 2013

WWE (NYSE: WWE) will hold its 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholders at 10 a.m. EST on Friday, April 26th, 2013 at the Company’s headquarters. For those who wish to attend and have admission tickets, registration will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. ET.

The record date for voting at the meeting has been set as the close of business on Monday, March 4, 2013. The meeting will be limited to stockholders (or their authorized representative) having evidence of their WWE® stock ownership as of such date. Attendees are asked to obtain an admission ticket in advance by providing proof of their ownership to:

WWE, Inc.
1241 E. Main Street
Stamford, CT 06902
Attention: Corporate Secretary

- Diamond Dallas Page posted the following on Twitter:

- Linda McMahon has a blog entry available here on HuffingtonPost.com.

- According to Jim Ross on Twitter, a deal is in the works to bring WWE NXT to national television in the United States. The company’s developmental programming already airs internationally and on Hulu Plus.

- You can view Maryse’s engagement ring at this link.

- Jack Swagger faces the following fines from his arrest on Tuesday night:

  • $188 for speeding
  • $437 for possession of marijuana
  • $1,300 for Driving Under the Influence if it’s his first offense

Swagger can pay the speeding and marijuana fines via check or online but must appear before a judge on the DUI charge. He could also lose his driver’s license for 90 days.  All three are misdemeanor charges.

Swagger’s plea date is March 12, 2013.

TNA News

- TNA Wrestling announced on Saturday that dates for upcoming One Night Only pay-per-views from Universal Studios in Orlando, FL have changed. The new dates are as follows:

Sunday, March 17
1st Show: Doors open: 12PM – Show starts: 1PM
2nd Show: Doors open: 6PM – Show starts: 7PM

Monday, March 18
1st Show: Doors open: 12PM – Show starts: 1PM
2nd Show: Doors open: 6PM – Show starts 7PM

Tuesday, March 19
1st Show: Doors open: 12PM – Show starts: 1PM
2nd Show: Doors open: 6PM – Show starts: 7PM

The official information is located at this link.

- The Gut Check Challenge, which was suspended due to voting issues, is set for relaunch next month.

- We noted last week that Kurt Angle was scheduled to work Jared Hartsog, a former collegiate wrestler, at Sunday’s TNA Wrestling live event in Morgantown, West Virginia. This isn’t accurate as here’s the scoop. Angle was actually paid $2200 last week to appear at Superior Ford Lincoln Mercury of Morgantown, WV.  As part of the appearance, he wrestled Jared Hartsog “Greco-Roman style” in front of about 200 people. One observer said Angle never really got into his character but was good. The promotional appearance was also used to promote Sunday’s live event in the city.  You can view photos of Angle signing autographs at this link.

- PerthNow out of Australia is reporting that TNA Wrestling is considering bringing their Boot Camp competition/reality television series to Australia.

The reality show, which awards the winner a TNA developmental contract, recently wrapped its first season as British Boot Camp in the United Kingdom.

“Without a doubt it’d be the chance of a lifetime. We work so hard here in Western Australia. For years it felt like we were a whole world away from the heights of pro-wrestling, but this would bring it right to our doorstep,” Dave Farlie, head trainer of Perth’s Dynamite Factory, told PerthNow.

Click here for coverage by PerthNow.

- TNA Wrestling will host the March 28th Impact taping from the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The company announced the Mayor will hold a special event next Tuesday with Matt Morgan to celebrate tickets going on sale.

Below is the press release:

JONESBORO TO HOST FIRST LIVE TV TAPING IN MORE THAN A DECADE WITH “IMPACT WRESTLING” COMING TO THE ASU CONVOCATION CENTER MARCH 28

“THE IMMORTAL” HULK HOGAN and “THE ICON” STING return to JONESBORO

The Mayor to hold a special event Tuesday, Feb. 26 at Comfort Suites, 3404 Access Road, with IMPACT WRESTLING SUPERSTAR MATT MORGAN

TNA’s IMPACT WRESTLING, as seen on SPIKE TV, will host the first live TV taping in more than a decade in Jonesboro, AR on March 28. Mayor Harold Perrin is holding a special event on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the Comfort Suites, 3404 Access Road, Jonesboro, AR 72401, at 6 p.m. with IMPACT WRESTLING Superstar Matt Morgan. “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan and “The Icon” Sting will be back in action making history at the ASU Convocation Center starting at 7 p.m. Tickets for live TV taping go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 26 at the box office, www.tickets.astate.edu and at 870-972-ASU1.

Mayor Perrin is so excited about TNA IMPACT WRESTLING coming to Jonesboro. He is encouraging families to join in his excitement by offering a great deal on a family 4 pack, 4 tickets for $40.

“The City Of Jonesboro has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to showcase our wonderful City to the World! This area is rich in wrestling history, and it is exciting to bring Hulk Hogan and the live IMPACT WRESTLING television show to Jonesboro,” stated Mayor Perrin.

The public is welcome to join the event on Tuesday, Feb. 26 as the mayor welcomes TNA IMPACT WRESTLING to the city.

“We are over the top to be going on the road,” said Matt Morgan. “The mood in the locker room is electric. Jonesboro is a wrestling town, and we are going to give them a show like they have never seen.”

- TNA Wrestling is publicizing the fact that Mickie James has released the single “Somebody’s Gonna Pay” from her upcoming album. The company notes that Trish Stratus and Magnus appear in the music video that was shot by Blake Judd. Click here for more.

- The latest episode of TNA Spin Cycle is online at this link.

- My friend Anthony Byrge attended last Saturday’s TNA Wrestling live event in Beckley, West Virginia. Anthony noted that Jeff and Karen Jarrett were at the show and provided a full recap with photos at this link.

- Good news for TNA’s Director Talent Bookings & Travel, Bob Ryder, as he Tweeted the following:

- If you missed this week’s Impact Wrestling, results can be seen here, more matches were announced for TNA Lockdown. The match card is below:

Steel Cage Match for the TNA World Title
- Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Bully Ray

Steel Cage Match
- Kurt Angle vs. Wes Brisco

Lethal Lockdown Steel Cage Match
- Aces & 8s (Devon, ?, ?, ?) vs. Team TNA (Sting, ?, ?, ?)

TNA Lockdown will be live on March 10, 2013 from The Alamadome in San Antonio, Texas.

- King Mo was knocked out by Emanuel Newton on the Bellator Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinals on Thursday night. The fight was over in the first round as Newton caught Mo with a spinning back fist.  Here’s his reaction:

 

- For those that missed it, Taryn Terrell was featured as a ring girl. Below is a photo:

- TNA Wrestling will run a live event in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday, April 6, 2013 over Wrestlemania 29 weekend. The event was originally scheduled to take place in Rahway but the venue was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. TNA will also run on April 5th in Westbury, New York.

- TNA Lockdown will be headlined by Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray for the TNA Championship in a steel cage match. The match was setup last month but can be officially announced after the airing of this week’s Impact Wrestling.

- Velvet Sky is the new TNA Knockout Champion following this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling. Sky won the title when the match was taped on January 27th. Sky Tweeted the following:

- TNA Wrestling’s “Basebrawl” shows look to continue as they’ve announced they’ll run a live event from the Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, West Virginia on June 14, 2013. This is a minor league baseball field and the home of the West Virginia Power.

- TNA will run a live event Friday night from the Fillmore Theater in Detroit, Michigan. The venue is setup for small concerts with a stage in front and small balcony for second tier seating. There are some questions how a wrestling show will translate without the crowd all around the ring. Making matters worse, the show has seen a poor advance with ticket sales.

- Jeff Hardy returns to Impact Wrestling next week. Click here for the show’s official preview.

- This week’s episode of Impact Wrestling did a 1.02 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 1,352,000 viewers on Spike TV.

Ask WNW

What is your opinion on Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 29?

A lot of people were surprised, even disgusted at Jack Swagger going over in the Elimination Chamber match at the pay-per-view on Sunday. Many of these people are the same people that will complain there isn’t enough opportunities for new talent and the main event scene is always dominated by the same people. I think we have to be careful about this and if Swagger can get over, he can benefit greatly from the attention the part-timers are going to bring to the show. I am concerned about the ability of Del Rio vs. Swagger to draw, however, the pay-per-view is going to be sold on The Rock vs. John Cena and Brock Lesnar’s match.

Has Jack Swagger talked with Kurt Angle about using the Ankle Lock for his finisher? Given their amateur backgrounds, I find it interesting that Swagger would use that move. Or is it an homage to Angle?

Kurt Angle actually accused Jack Swagger of stealing the move from him. Randy Orton, who was also accused by Angle [for stealing moves], explained that Ken Shamrock used the ankle lock before Angle.

When will Undertaker be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?

The Undertaker will be a major draw for the WWE Hall of Fame one day. He will be inducted when his in-ring career is over but WWE has benefited greatly by holding off on inducting him as he’s gone on to have some great Wrestlemania bouts. Will he work this year? This is the question that we are all waiting for an answer one-way or the other.

What do you think would be bigger, a John Cena heel turn or Cena going over The Rock at Wrestlemania? If Cena were to go over The Rock at Wrestlemania, should he even turn heel?

A John Cena heel turn is something I’ve said “I’ll believe it when I see it.” My outcome for Cena vs. Rock II is Cena has to go over not only to avenge his loss from last year but to capture the red hot torch from The Rock. However, Rock is in the preliminary plans for Wrestlemania next year and there is even talk of him working SummerSlam so I wouldn’t be 100% opposed to him going over although there would be a situation with the WWE title.

Is Ryback’s push over?

No, Ryback is still perceived as a main event talent in WWE, however, he is taking a backseat during Wrestlemania season. Wrestlemania 29 is being built around The Rock, Brock Lesnar and John Cena, obviously this could also include Triple H (Lesnar’s possible opponent) and CM Punk (something I’ll talk about in a minute) but other than that, the programs are secondary. I’ve been a loud critic of the booking of Ryback but he continues to fail up. I had serious questions about pushing him as the next Goldberg, mowing through enhancement workers only to never give him a clean victory in the top of the card. It appears WWE feels Ryback going under won’t hurt him and he is more over now than ever. The booking goes against logic but there’s no doubting that Ryback is over.

Is it a foregone conclusion that Undertaker will not work Wrestlemania 29? What happens with CM Punk?

We’ve been reporting for weeks that Undertaker was considering sitting this year’s Wrestlemania out over money, not injury like everyone wants to speculate. While Undertaker isn’t 100% (and probably won’t be), he would be willing to work if he got desirable financial compensation. The fact that CM Punk (the talked about opponent for Undertaker) is still involved in John Cena vs. Rock tells me they are considering putting Punk in Cena vs. Rock as a triple threat if they can’t come to terms with Undertaker. The stipulation to the match on next week’s Raw gives them another week but it’s looking more and more like Undertaker won’t work Wrestlemania 29. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion as Undertaker met with Vince McMahon and Triple H in Nashville about Wrestlemania last week.

What are your thoughts on the new WWE Championship title belt (high resolution photo here)?

Let me start by saying I’m shocked; I heard rumors prior to Royal Rumble the company was thinking about having The Rock debut their new WWE title belt, however, I’d given up. It was talked about so much for so long, I conceited to the attitude of I’ll believe it when I see it. I didn’t care how many people talked about it, I wanted tangible proof of a new belt. Here we are as the new title has officially been introduced. So now as my surprise dies down I’ll admit I like the new title belt. The strap is a mix of tradition and contemporary styles and looks great. I love the negative reactions, with some people slamming the belt with every opportunity. These are the same people that have moaned and groaned for eight years about the “spinner” belt design. A change was long overdue and I’m thrilled with the new belt. We have photos here and here.

Do you think the IWC have ruined wrestling for themselves? I understand that everyone has their opinion and are entitled to it, however, it just seems to me that people always complain about something whether someone isn’t getting pushed, the new title belt, or creative directions yet they keep tuning in the next week. What do you think?

The Internet Wrestling Community, or IWC, is one of the most passionate fan bases on the face of the earth. People that eat, breath and sleep quality pro wrestling and appreciate the art of the business. The IWC does not care to speak out when things drift too far to the mainstream and are always looking to offer a critical eye. I consider myself a member of the IWC and am thankful for my fellow IWCers that bring their passion to this business and this website. However, there are members of the IWC that are impossible to please as there are sects within any group or fan base that are impossible to please. By large, people don’t like change and even fear the unknown or untested. This can explain some of the reactions to the new WWE title belt. The very people that called for the change are the people criticizing it. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The solution from some of these people seems to be to return to the old “winged-Eagle” belt but again, I think this has more to do with the fact that people don’t like change.

Linda McMahon ran for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. Does it seem unusual that Vince McMahon is having Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter be stereotypical characters that basically follow the same political platform that his wife used?

We detailed the origins of the Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter team here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium. Basically Vince was upset at the mainstream media attention that Lucha Libre USA’s RJ Brewer received and told Triple H to help WWE create something similar. Dutch Mantel was brought in and created as a play at conservative commentator Ann Coulter. I am absolutely flabbergasted that media organizations like FOX News are covering this as controversy. It’s a fictitious scripted wrestling angle. Vince isn’t trying to influence US politics (they already tried and failed); he’s trying to get attention on a repackaged Jack Swagger. Vince has accomplished the goal of getting the mainstream media to pay attention but it may not be the kind of attention they were looking for as they already issued a statement in attempt to quell critics.

When is Dolph Ziggler going to “cash in” his Money in the Bank briefcase? Doesn’t he only have until Wrestlemania to do so?

Following the storyline, Dolph Ziggler has a full 365 days to “cash in” the Money in the Briefcase from the day that he won it. Ziggler won the briefcase at Money in the Bank 2012 on July 15, 2012 so he still has a little less than five months to follow the storyline. As for when it will happen, I don’t think anyone knows. It was brought up several times prior to pay-per-views late last year but obviously didn’t happen.

Have you heard anything backstage about Sin Cara’s status? Could he be on his way out? If so, do you think WWE dropped the ball with Sin Cara?

Sin Cara is safe for now but there is no question he’s had a disappointing run in WWE. Coming in as a very successful star from Mexico, Triple H hoped Sin Cara could end up as the replacement of Rey Mysterio. Unfortunately, Cara has struggled to adapt to the WWE style, been hampered with injuries and even failed a Wellness test. I do not think WWE dropped the ball with him as I put the problems directly on the shoulders of Sin Cara. He had WWE pushing his debut, Hunter as a vocal supporter backstage yet still found a way to fail a Wellness test. He’s flashed his greatness  but has struggled more often than not. I also think it highlights WWE has undervalued Rey Mysterio. While plagued with problems of his own, you can’t just create another guy as talented as Mysterio.

How much do WWE championship belts cost?

WWE reported on dot com that the new WWE title belt cost more than $50,000 to create and develop.  Obviously replicas are cheaper as you can purchase one for $449.99.

Considering all of the attention Jack Swagger received from the mainstream media earlier this week, do you think WWE has any choice but to terminate his contract per the conditions of the WWE Wellness Policy?

Jack Swagger is in a world of trouble after having one of the dumbest arrests in WWE history. Here’s a guy that has an opportunity most only dream of and rather than focusing on taking full advantage of it, he’s out breaking the law with reckless behavior. The arrest was so shocking there was a point I even questioned its legitimacy, however, this is completely legitimate. Word is that Vince McMahon is livid and I personally don’t see how Swagger gets out of this with his job. I’m sure some serious meetings are taking place about what to do next. The fact Swagger was scripted into this week’s Smackdown gives the company some time to determine what to do.  I’m not reporting WWE is going to fire him but rather speculating that Swagger has done himself no favors.  Swagger’s first main event push was scrapped due to behavioral/attitude problems and it doesn’t get much more arrogant than what he did a mere hour and a half after this week’s Smackdown taping.

Given all that Triple H has accomplished since he’s been given increased responsibility do you think WWE will be in good hands once he takes over?

I’ve been a big fan of many of Triple H’s recent decisions. The more power and responsibility that Vince McMahon gives him, the more he uses it to pull off impressive results. Securing Bruno Sammartino for the WWE Hall of Fame is only the start of it. Hunter has greatly improved things in developmental and is focused on making significant changes that will only help the company moving forward. Vince knew what he was doing when he picked Hunter as his successor and I don’t expect WWE to miss a beat.

Will there be an episode of Smackdown on the Friday prior to Wrestlemania 29?

WWE will tape material for the 4/5 episode of Smackdown on Monday from the Raw taping in Washington DC. The show will also feature live look-ins from Wrestlemania Fan Axxess in New Jersey. There will not be a full Smackdown taping on the Tuesday after Raw, as is the case during a normal week.

Do you agree that gimmick matches need color to bring the extra element of realism?

Steel cage matches in particular are difficult to get over without the use of color (or blood for those that don’t understand the terminology); however, I completely understand and agree with the banishment of blading. The primitive practice puts everyone involved at risk for infectious disease and isn’t something that should be encouraged. Gimmick matches are useful when utilized properly but they aren’t something WWE (or any organization) should emphasize.

In the past we’ve all heard about profiling of celebrities, do you think police are profiling WWE talent knowing they have a history of drug and alcohol abuse or are the talent to be blamed for their own actions?

I do not believe police are profiling WWE stars. If someone is following the law it doesn’t matter if they are profiled or not, they would have nothing to worry about. Jack Swagger’s arrest was because he was being an idiot, speeding while under the influence and in possession of marijuana. It was nearly midnight [when he was arrested] so it’s unlikely the officer that pulled him over was even able to see who was driving the vehicle. This entire situation blows my mind. Why would someone that is in line for a main event match at Wrestlemania with a possible 7-figure earning potential right in front of them do something so stupid?

Do you think it’s safe to say that Jack Swagger’s push will end after the news of his arrest? What happens to the World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 29?

Vince McMahon and Triple H held a meeting on Thursday to discuss the booking of Jack Swagger’s character. I don’t know what happened but WWE is in a bad spot as this week’s Smackdown was taped prior to the arrest. Therefore WWE is following through with what was already taped and can make adjustments beginning next week. The company took a step forward with the Swagger/Zeb Colter storyline Thursday night but they may have done that just to help promote Smackdown. At this point we have to see what direction they take on Raw before we know anything about the future of Swagger’s push and title match at Wrestlemania.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss John Laurinaitis on TV but what happened to him given the fact the last I heard was he would be back at some point?

John Laurinaitis took time off to have shoulder surgery and has been back as a producer. He made his return in front of an audience at Thursday’s WWE Raw live event in Doha, Qatar. We have a photo you can view at this link.

What happened to Kenn Doane (Kenny from Spirit Squad)? I’d say he was the most talented of the 5, and even had a push after the “Squad” split. Then he was gone. Was it attitude? Performance? Or did he rub Vince the wrong way?

Kenn Doane was the most talented in-ring competitor of the Spirit Squad, which is clearly saying something given the fact it’s the same faction that included Dolph Ziggler, however, a big ego and bad attitude took him down to irrelevance. He’s still only 26-years-old but rather than humbling himself and trying to work his way back to WWE, he’s used social media as a way to bury John Cena – the current face of WWE. What one thinks of Cena is completely irrelevant. Doane is just like Teddy Hart, all the talent in the world but not enough common sense to play the game of politics.

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