CM Punk Starts Feud With Chris Brown, Wade Barrett Injured, Wrestlemania XXVIII Main Events Set, Vince McMahon Pulls The Plug On WWE Star’s Push Due To Behavioral Issues, WWE Reports $8.6 Million Loss, Ric Flair No-Shows TNA Show, How Russo’s TNA Departure Played Out Behind-The-Scenes Including His Shocking Ultimatum, Ask WNW Archive & All The Big News From This Past Week

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 18, 2012 to Friday, February 24, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

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

WWE News

Jim Ross has a new blog entry available on his official website. Below is an excerpt:

Will Goldust wrestle his brother Cody Rhodes any time soon? Beats me but I’d say unlikely. Not saying that it wouldn’t be an interesting bout but I don’t see it occurring any time soon.

Next Wednesday night I will join my friend and the voice of the Boston Celtics, @SeanGrandePBP, in OKC when the Celts play the @okcthunder in NBA action. I will likely do a quarter of color commentary for the game and will keep you informed as to how you can hear it on the Boston Celtics Radio Network.

Click here to read the latest from JR in its entirety.

- Our old pal Devin Cutting wrote the following summary for last night’s edition of WWE Vintage Collection:

Trish Stratus vs. Lita
WWE Raw – December 6th, 2004

Dusty Rhodes & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Million Dollar Man & Virgil
WWF Live Event – November 24th, 1990 – New York City

The Midnight Express vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
WCW Worldwide – July 11th, 1987

Cage Match
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels

WWF TV Taping – December 1st, 1993

- Peter Rosenberg from Hot 97 has a new interview online with Triple H from Thursday’s Wrestlemania XXIX press conference. You can watch it embedded in the video below:

- Chris Hero has changed his Twitter handle to Kassius Ohno. He worked Thursday’s Florida Championship Wrestling show in Tampa, losing to Xavier Woods. (Thanks to WNW reader Patrick Peralta for sending this in.)

- WWE issued the following:

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb 17, 2012 — WWE will hold its 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders at 10 a.m. ET on Friday, April 27th, 2012, at the Company headquarters. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. ET.

The record date for voting at the meeting was set as the close of business on March 2, 2012. The meeting will be limited to stockholders (or their authorized representative) having evidence of their WWE(R) stock ownership. Attendees are asked to obtain an admission ticket in advance by providing proof of their ownership to:

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

- The company has also declared the quarterly dividend on their stock:

STAMFORD, Conn., Feb 17, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — 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, 2012, and the payment date will be March 26, 2012.

- Fox 6 out of Milwaukee has a nice story on WWE Champion CM Punk surprising a fan suffering from brain cancer. You can check out the feature at this link.

- WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix discusses the Pin-Up Strong movement in this article by Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald.

- There have been unconfirmed reports that Rey Mysterio is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I haven’t heard if there are plans for him to make a surprise return as he’s been targeting Wrestlemania XXVIII as his return from his latest knee injury.

- WWE returns to my home state of West Virginia on May 6, 2012 as they’ll run at the Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia.

- WWE Champion CM Punk was on “Real Milwaukee” to promote tonight’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. You can watch the appearance embedded in the video below:

- The USA Network will be airing their special of the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Monday, April 2, 2012 at 8 PM EST.

- WWE will hold another three-hour Raw Supershow on Monday, April 23, 2012 on the USA Network.

- The latest episode of “Foreign Exchange” with Santino Marella is embedded in the video below:  

- More interviews from last Thursday’s Wrestlemania XXIX press conference in New Jersey have surfaced online. In the video embedded below, Triple H, John Cena and Sheamus are interviewed. The only somewhat newsworthy note is Cena teases a possible rematch with The Rock:

- Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis recently said she feels the gimmick featuring the flatulence of Natalya is disrespectful to her and her family.  Below is her quote: 

“I think that it’s a complete disrespect to a girl (Neidhart) with talent to give her a gimmick that’s a farting gimmick. How disrespectful can you be? She’s a Neidhart, come on! She’s incredible in the ring. It’s disrespectful to her, disrespectful to her family and I cannot even believe that they went there. I think it really says something to how WWE feels about their Women’s Division.”

You can listen to the interview at this link (go to the 67 minute mark).

- WWE developmental worker Bo Rotunda (real name Taylor Rotunda) was arrested early Sunday morning in Florida and charged with driving under the influence. According to the arrest report, Rotunda blew a .166 and .178 in administered BAC tests.  Both are more than double the legal limit in the state of Florida of .08. Rotunda was arrested at 2:36 AM, booked at 6:06 AM and released on $500 surety bond at 12:58 PM.

- WWE has a new article online on the injury status of Randy Orton. While dot com can never be taken too seriously, they are reporting Orton’s condition will be re-evaluated on February 27, 2012. Orton suffered a concussion during his singles match with Big Show on last week’s Raw Supershow. Due to the injury, Orton was removed from the Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match and replaced by Santino Marella. Click here for coverage by WWE.com.

- The official WWE YouTube channel has posted the following post-match interview with Chris Jericho after he was unable to continue competing in the Raw Elimination Chamber match (full results here):

- The UK Sun has a new piece online today featuring quotes from Dave Batista. In it, he echos his disdain for WWE PG, giving it as the primary reason for his departure. Below is an excerpt:

“The reason I left was the PG direction the company took, it got too corny for me. I was a hug fan of the edgy era of DX, Stone Cold Steve Austin and those guys. The change in direction really ruined it for me. “It’s well recorded I’m not a fan of the likes of John Cena or The Miz. It’s such a different company these days and not in a good way.” “I’ve no plans to return anytime soon. I was offered the job of working on Tough Enough, I just didn’t think it was for me. I hear it went well with Steve Austin and good luck to them. “I need to be excited by a project and I didn’t feel that way about Tough Enough. “If I did return to the WWE, it would be for a run not just a one-shot deal. “I’d have to be a constant for them not someone who drifts in and out to boost ratings. If I did I’d love to work with Triple H again or Undertaker. “They are the best workers there in my opinion and they’d make it worthwhile to return. “The show would have to change though, so I can’t see my return being anytime soon can you? “But, you know, I pretty much did it all. My favourite wrestling moments are not necessarily my best ones, they are however the ones that mean most to me. “My first World Title win meant a lot to me, winning the tag team titles with Ric Flair is up there too. “I can’t complain about the matches I had and the people I faced, I had an amazing time in the WWE.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- If you missed the video package highlighting John Cena’s gym on last night’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, you can watch it embedded in the video below:

- WWE setup a landing pad at the top of the ramp prior to last night’s Ambulance Match between John Cena and Kane for the spot where Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment off the top of the ambulance. CM Punk had the following to say on Twitter today to R&B singer Chris Brown, who made headlines in 2009 after being charged with felony assault of then-girlfriend and fellow artist Rihanna:

Brown responded with the following:

 

- HollywoodLife.com is reporting that Shaquille O’Neal confirmed his upcoming involvement at Wrestlemania XXVIII this April at the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards over the weekend. O’Neal recently revealed he’s in negotiations with WWE to do an angle with Big Show. We’ve been able to confirm O’Neal is negotiating with WWE for a celebrity tie-in. – The Miami Herald has an article online with John Cena talking about serving as Honorary Starter of the 54th Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, February 26 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Below is an excerpt:

“I’m telling you. I’m so excited,” Cena said. “I’ve been using a weighted flag. My training has been going great. I’m ready for Daytona.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety. – WWE has uploaded new videos on dot com. They were sent in by Wrestling News World reader Patrick Peraltaand are as follows:

 

- Ron Simmons, formerly known as Farooq, is scheduled to have his forthcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2012 officially announced on tonight’s Raw Supershow. While not confirmed, the feeling is he’ll be inducted by John “Bradshaw” Layfield. The 2012 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Saturday, March 31, 2012 from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

- Kofi Kingston had to have staples put into his head to close a laceration suffered in last night’s Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship. He posted a photo on Twitter at this link.

- TMZ is covering the war of words on Twitter between WWE Champion CM Punk and R&B singer Chris Brown. Click here for their coverage.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry available on his official website where he gives reaction to the aforementioned Punk/Brown war of words and his thoughts on WWE Elimination Chamber. Click here for JR’s latest in its entirety.

- WWE, in storyline, has made it known Chris Jericho is “cleared to compete” for tonight’s edition of Raw Supershow from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company did an injury angle where he was pushed out of the Elimination Chamber into a cameraman but never formally eliminated. As the storyline goes, Jericho will claim he’s still the “best in the world” and that CM Punk’s victory to retain the WWE Championship was a fluke.

- As reported earlier here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Ron Simmons was officially announced as a WWE Hall of Fame inductee of the class of 2012 on tonight’s edition of Raw Supershow. The 2012 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Saturday, March 31, 2012 from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

- Triple H will face The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania XXVIII on April 1, 2012

- WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho is now confirmed for Wrestlemania XXVIII. - The Rock is also confirmed for next week’s Raw Supershow from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.

- Wade Barrett was injured during the 10-man battle royal on last night’s WWE Raw Supershow. The injury was to his left arm and occurred when Big Show threw Dolph Ziggler out onto Barrett and R-Truth. Barrett landed awkwardly and injured his arm. He was in a considerable amount of pain after the spot, shouting expletives and thrashing on the ground. Road Dogg, who works as a producer backstage in WWE, Tweeted Barrett will miss Wrestlemania XXVIII because of the injury. Below is his Tweet:

  – Wade Barrett was taken to a local Minneapolis hospital last night for further evaluation after being injured on last night’s WWE Raw Supershow. Barrett was diagnosed with a partially dislocated elbow as it was put back in socket and he was given pain medication. Barrett wasn’t admitted and was able to return back to his hotel last night. As we noted earlier, the word from WWE producer BG James is that he’ll miss Wrestlemania XXVIII because of the injury. – Perry Saturn was backstage at last night’s WWE Raw Supershow from Minneapolis, Minnesota. – John “Bradshaw” Layfield wrote the following on Twitter regarding the WWE Hall of Fame induction of his former tag team partner Ron Simmons:

On Facebook, JBL posted the following about who will be inducting Simmons:

As far as who is inducting Ron into the HOF-I would consider one of my greatest lifetime honors if I am chosen. However, it hasn’t been announced-SO, if I knew who was I couldn’t say. And, if I don’t know I couldn’t say either obviously. So, I wait on the announcement like everyone else. The main thing is not who is announcing or inducting Ron but that a great, great man is being put into the HOF-congrats to Ron, my best friend and former tag partner!!!

- The latest episode of “WWE Download” with Dolph Ziggler is embedded in the video below courtesy of the official WWE YouTube channel:

               

- I mentioned last Wednesday I was checking into the disappearance of Brodus Clay  and in Thursday’s edition of Ask WNW I noted what I heard so far was the gimmick was shelved due to poor in-ring work. I’ve now heard back from my investigative source with more details on the situation. I’m told a lot of the rumblings that Vince McMahon pulled the plug on Clay’s push because of his in-ring work were based on assumptions. The feeling was because his match against Heath Slater was pulled from Smackdown, it must have been bad. My source noted Clay’s push being shelved had to do with attitude, not work. According to my source, a lot of people didn’t like the way Clay was carrying himself backstage and Vince McMahon had already labeled him as “difficult.” Now, had his work been stronger, it might have saved him, but Vince making the call to nix his push was primarily because people felt the push was going to his head and that he was too opinionated.  Rather than keeping his mouth shut and doing what he was told, Clay was reportedly trying to have a lot of input on the gimmick and didn’t hesitate to speak up if he thought an idea was stupid or if he didn’t agree with the writing team’s direction. The decision was finally made to “put him in his place” rather than put any more steam on a guy that even on his way up was already showing signs that he could become a problem down the road.

-WWE has posted a new injury update on Wade Barrett over on dot com. The official website states Barrett will undergo an MRI this week and is expected to be out six to eight weeks. Barrett suffered a dislocated elbow on last night’s WWE Raw Supershow when he landed awkwardly after Big Show threw Dolph Ziggler onto him and R-Truth in the main event 10-man battle royal to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry on his official website where he gives his thoughts on last night’s Raw Supershow and answers fan mail. One reader asked him about the future of The Undertaker and since it’s a question we get often, I’m posting his response below: 

Q…”Will this be Undertaker’s last match?” I have no way of knowing nor does any one else. One can logically say that it all depends on how he fares in this sure to be physical bout inside Hell in a Cell vs. HHH. No one, not even the rumor mongers, can predict the future. My educated guess, or hope, is that this isn’t Taker’s last WM bout. I recently did say that sooner or later Undertaker’s career would come to an end just as any other athlete or performer. This statement isn’t a revelation it’s merely a fact of life. When that day comes will be a sad day for me as his friend and fan of the man’s amazing body of work and the WWE will change forever at that point.

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

- Ted DiBiase has opened DiBiasePosseParty.com to promote the parties he throws in cities before WWE events. In a video released today, DiBiase says his wife [Kristen] is expecting their first child May 30th. You can watch the video embedded below:

- CM Punk has continued his Twitter feud with Chris Brown with the following video, in which he says to Brown, among other things: “I will choke you out and make you feel as weak and as powerless and scared and alone as any woman who has had the misfortune of knowing a sad, cowardly little boy such as yourself”:

- WWE reported today on dot com that Shaquille O’Neal is not scheduled to appear at Wrestlemania XXVIII in Miami, Florida on April 1, 2012. The official website specifically mentions HollyWoodLife.com’s report from the weekend. Click here for coverage by WWE.com.

- Wrestling News World reader Jon Robertson sent in the following:

Daniel Bryan retained the World Heavyweight Championship by DQ when Cody Rhodes came down and hit the Beautiful Disaster on the Big Show. Rhodes and D-Bryan proceeded to attack Big Show until CM Punk ran down to make the save. Bryan took a GTS while Rhodes took the WMD right to the face. Punk and Show then posed in the ring and slapped fans hands at ringside to end the show. Off-Air Notes. Commercials got tiring to the live crowd. Boos broke out towards the end whenever a commercial appeared. While Rockford is a Cena town, Punk stole the show tonight. Punk-Bryan brought the house down. Great Match to see live, and the ending was great as well.

- Wrestling News World reader Stephen sent in the following:

Daniel Bryan and Big Show faced off for the World Heavyweight Championship…Bryan kept escaping the ring to take a “break”. Cody Rhodes came out to interfere and attacked Show. Soon after, CM Punk came out and hit the GTS on Bryan and Show hit the WMD on Rhodes. Also, got a chance to talk with Brodus Clay in the parking lot following the show. He says he’ll be back on TV in 2 weeks.

- The latest episodes of “WWE Inbox” and Smackdown’s “Backstage Fallout” are embedded in the videos below, courtesy of the official WWEYouTube channel:

WWE Inbox

Smackdown Backstage Fallout

- David Otunga’s family surprised him with a WWE cake at last night’s Smackdown taping in Rockford, Illinois for his homecoming. You can view a photo he Tweeted at this link. Speaking of Otunga, he’ll be speaking today at German Valley Elementary outside Rockford to discuss bullying and the be a STAR campaign.

- Wade Barrett posted the following on Twitter:

- As noted earlier, David Otunga’s family was at last night’s Smackdown in Rockford, Illinois for his homecoming. Jennifer Hudson was among them as Lilian Garcia posted a photo with her at this link.

- MTV News has a new article online recapping the war of words between WWE Champion CM Punk and R&B singer Chris Brown. Click here to read their coverage. – WWE Champion CM Punk was on Hot 97 this morning talking about Chris Brown. You can watch the appearance embedded in the video below:

- Four matches have now been announced for Wrestlemania XXVIII, they are as follows:

Singles Match - The Rock vs. John Cena

Hell in a Cell Match – The Undertaker vs. Triple H

WWE Championship Match – CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho

World Heavyweight Championship Match – Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Sheamus

Wrestlemania XXVIII will take place Sunday, April 1, 2012 from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- CM Punk was recently interviewed by Pete Rosenberg, in which he discusses the last summer, starting with his legendary promo, his feelings on smart fans, his performance at last year’s Money In The Bank pay-per-view, his relationship with Triple H, and much more. The full interview is embedded below:

- WWE is scheduled to report 2011 fourth quarter earnings today and it isn’t good news. The company is expected to report a loss of $8.6 million (12 cents per diluted share) driven by higher costs. In comparison, the company had a net income of $8.1 million or 11 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2010. Total revenue fell 7.8% to $112.9 million from the year-earlier quarter. This is short of the average revenue estimate of $120 million. 

“In 2011, we evaluated several paths for creating new programs and distributing all of our content in a way that optimizes its value. Executing this strategy effectively, including the potential creation of a WWE Network, has the power to transform our business,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “While we made significant progress toward this objective, our fourth quarter and full year results were impacted primarily by three items: significant non-cash film impairment charges stemming from the weak performance of our movie releases, strategic decisions to withhold several hours of previously licensed television content for distribution on other platforms, and initial start-up operating expenses associated with our emerging content and distribution strategy. Regarding the first item, we have taken several measures to improve the profitability of our movie business. And, regarding the other items, we believe that our ongoing investment to expand and maximize the value of our content is the most potent approach for driving our future earnings.”

Click here for more. WWE will issue a press release detailing earnings later today and will host a conference call at 11 AM EST with investors. – For those that missed it in today’s WWE earnings report, below are the official buyrate numbers for the following pay-per-views:

  • WWE Hell in a Cell – 182,000 (compared to 210,000 in 2010)
  • WWE Vengeance – 121,000 (compared to 137,000 as Bragging Rights in 2010)
  • Survivor Series 2011 – 281,000 (compared to 244,000 in 2010)
  • WWE TLC – 179,000 (compared to 195,000 in 2010)

- Wrestling News World reader Eric Cyrus sent word that Conan O’Brien mentioned the ongoing feud between WWE Champion CM Punk and R&B singer Chris Brown on his show last night. – WWE Champion CM Punk was on TMZ Live last night, Wrestling News World reader Dustyn sent word. You can watch the appearance at this link at the 32:32 mark.

CM Punk recently appeared on Showbiz Tonight on HLN to further discuss his issues with Chris Brown. The video is embedded below:

- WWE held a conference call with investors this morning to discuss their disappointing quarter four and overall earnings for 2011. WWE CFO George Barrios and Vince McMahonhandled the call. Unfortunately I had to miss the call due to a family emergency (everything is OK) but I spoke to someone on the call and have highlights:

      • Vince McMahon blamed the disappointing earnings on WWE Studios and television licensing. He said the TV licensing had to do with the company’s decision to hold back the distribution of WWE NXT and WWE Superstars in the United States. McMahon made it clear they plan on moving forward with WWE Studios under a new direction and if it doesn’t work, it will be gone. He re-assured investors he felt like it would work.
      • McMahon put over the fact they are developing WWE Legend’s House and mentioned the success they had with Tough Enough and with their new YouTube programming.
      • As has been the trend over the past several months, Vince was very vague when discussing the WWE Network. He said there are still plans to launch this year although a specific date is not available.
      • McMahon said they will be giving WWE Studios a chance to establish itself under new leadership with the new approach before they pull the plug.
      • Vince reassured an investor he doesn’t see any change coming to the company’s dividend (which, as a stockholder, I’m glad to hear).

  You can review WWE’s full earnings report at this link.

- The USA Network will air a behind-the-scenes special to The Rock vs. John Cena on Monday, March 26, 2012 before Raw Supershow at 8 PM to promote their Wrestlemania XXVIII main event.

- Shane McMahon has facilitated a deal for YOU On Demand Holdings with Walt Disney Company to distribute video-on-demand Disney movies in China. You can read the full story by Reuters at this link. The official WWE YouTube channel has uploaded the second episode of the Outside The Ring series. In this episode, Randy Orton films a commercial for the WWE ’12 video game. The video is embedded below:

-The official WWEShop website has released a line of t-shirts with insider terms and phrases printed on them, such as “Heel,” “Jobber,” and “I’m so over.” Click here to view the shirts.

-WWE.com has posted an audio interview with Shawn Michaels, in which he discusses the upcoming Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVIII. At the end of the interview, he responds to the idea of Triple H being better than him if he can beat The Undertaker. Click here to listen to the interview.

- Stone Cold Steve Austin has a new blog on his Broken Skull Ranch website. He praises Shawn Michaels in the worlds of wrestling and hunting in the excerpt below:

“I may be headed straight into another project if the business end of things works out.  If not, the Austin Clan will take a quick trip down to the Broken Skull Ranch for 10-14 days.  Shawn Michaels and I have been trying to get together for a hunt for the last year and this could be the opportunity to get it done.  Shawn has really taken to the outdoor world like a duck on a Junebug. Shawn’s show, MacMillan River Adventures has been a hit and when I spoke with Shawn in Las Vegas at the SHOT SHOW he was up for several awards.  Shawn’s success is not a surprise to me.  He’s extremely dedicated and motivated to be the best he can be at any endeavor he takes on in life.  He is the greatest in ring performer I have ever seen.  The fact that his talent and commitment transferred over from the squared circle to the world of hunting does not surprise me.  Shawn has segued from being the “Show Stopper” to the “Game Stopper”.  I’m proud of him and his success.”

Click here to read his latest in its entirety.

- Embedded in the video below is the latest episode of Z! True Long Island Story, featuring Zack Ryder:

- A presale began this morning to obtain tickets to the April 23rd Raw Supershow from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The password is SUPERSHOW.

- The FCW Championship changed hands twice at last night’s tapings in Tampa. First, Leo Kruger beat Mike Dalton to win the FCW Championship in a match that will air on March 11th. The second change came when Seth Rollins beat Kruger to win the FCW Championship in a match that will air on March 25th.

- Natalya has a new blog entry on her official website where she talks about her first tour of Japan. She recalls how her first finisher was called Nattie By Nature and is now the Glam Slam. She also talks about meeting Beth Phoenix in 2005. You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

The UK Sun has a new article online featuring quotes from Trish Stratus. In the piece, she discusses her desire to work with WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and John Morrison not wanting to work with her. Below is an excerpt:

Possible return, desire to work with Beth Phoenix:

“A match with Beth would be pretty amazing! I think she’s just awesome in the ring. “As a fan, stepping out of Trish the performer, I’d like to see myself and Beth Phoenix. “With all the teases we’ve had along the way, to have a one-on-one match would be awesome. I’d love to work her. That’s definitely on my bucket list. “I’ve got a lot in me. I really do. Physically I’m at my best. One of the key things that made me leave was the fact that my body was just beat, but at this point I’m healthy and strong. “I feel I could go back and take the beatings — and then some. “I always leave the door open, because you never know. It sounds so cliché, but if the right opportunity presented itself I would obviously take advantage of it.

John Morrison at Wrestlemania XXVII last year:

“When it came down to it, he just had no interest in working with me. “The fact is that I was invited to come back and this is what we were given to do. “This was our task — to perform at WrestleMania and at a Raw match the following evening. “I had a word with him afterwards. There was the famous ‘cold shoulder’ moment. You win a tag match and when they raise your hand your partner walks away from you. “You can have your personal feelings, that’s no problem, but when you’re performing you’re performing for the fans. All your energy is for the fans and it should never be a personal thing. “I just thought that if we’d had this conversation a couple of weeks earlier — and not after the fact — things could have been different. “When it first got proposed that John Morrison would be my partner I was super-excited. I thought we could create some really cool things. It never happened but you don’t miss what you never had.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Eve promotes this weekend’s WWE Raw live event in Ontario, California in an interview at this link.

- The Miami Herald has more coverage of John Cena and NASCAR’s Carl Edwards at this link.

- WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix spoke to The Sun out of San Bernardino, California. Click here to read her comments.

- The Miz, Eve, rock musician James Durbin and actress Rachel Cook spoke Thursday at Los Coyotes Middle School in La Mirada, California to promote the be-A-STAR campaign. Click here for coverage by the Whittier Daily News.

- Wrestling News World reader Andrew Darwin sent word that Mick Foley was on Sky Sports News today in the United Kingdom promoting Wrestlemania XXVIII. Foley hinted a possible appearance at the pay-per-view.

TNA Impact Wrestling News

- At tonight’s TNA house show in Beckley, West Virginia, Tara suffered what is believed to be a knee injury in a bout with Gail Kim for the TNA Women’s Knockouts Championship. She had to be helped to the back by Ronnie Lange of Atlas Security, and paramedics in the building were alerted. Tara wrote the following on Twitter:

As we broke exclusively here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com last night, Tara suffered a knee injury in her match at last night’s TNA live event from Beckley, West Virginia. She worked with the knee wrapped so I don’t think she went into the match 100% but she was visibly shaken up afterwards. Tara had to be helped to the back and alerted the paramedics at the show. I was backstage but was unable to get an update on her status other than TNA staff members were preparing ice packs.

- Marshall University’s Student Newspaper The Parthenon has an article online on TNA Impact Wrestling’s live event in Huntington, West Virginia on Friday night. They talk with fans, Don West and recap the show. The results were the exact same as Saturday night in Beckley, West Virginia. You can read their piece at this link.

- Mike Mooneyham of The Post and Courier has a new editorial online recapping Vince Russo’s TNA departure. Click here to read it. – Mike Tenay has done voice-overs for a video package on the serious injury of Jesse Sorensen. You can watch it embedded in the video below:

- The official TNA website posted the following:

Send your get well messages to Jesse Sorensen! Since Jesse’s injury at “Against All Odds,” fans around the world have posted their messages on Twitter at #GetWellJesse . Join in and support Jesse’s recovery with your own message! We will repost many of the messages on ImpactWrestling.com in the coming weeks.

One of my objectives in reporting live at TNA’s live event in Beckley on Saturday was to get a feel for the backstage reaction to Sorensen’s serious injury. The consensus from the workers I spoke with was it was the “nature of the beast” and competing at this high of a level, everyone is susceptible to serious injury. No one seemed to blame Zema Ion although there was some concern if both Sorensen and Ion were ready for such a bout.

- Ric Flair no-showed last night’s TNA Impact Wrestling live event in Glenville, West Virginia. Flair was heavily promoted as a focal point of the show and was scheduled to accompany Gunner to the ring in his singles match against Garett Bischoff. I want to be careful not to assume too much, however, I can tell you there was genuine concern when Flair would show up on Saturday night in Beckley, if at all. I obviously requested an interview with Flair prior to the show but was told by a TNA official “who knows” when he will show up. Intermission was lengthy at Saturday’s show and while I wasn’t backstage during intermission (as fans with backstage passes were going back there), I do not know when he showed up. Intermission was extended and it seemed like they were waiting on Flair to arrive as his appearance was directly after intermission concluded. As of this writing I am unable to confirm what Flair’s reason was for missing last night’s show in Glenville but can tell you many fans were disappointed after his appearance was heavily promoted.

- We have more details about the highly-publicized departure of Vince Russo from TNA Impact Wrestling. To avoid confusion, this story went down in three parts and they are as follows:

  • Russo made a “power play”
  • TNA called his bluff
  • Russo made the decision to leave the company

First of all Dixie Carter had hoped to talk Russo into changing his mind about quitting so things were kept very quiet. This is the reason for the conflicting reports as Dixie didn’t want word getting out to the talent and crew in hopes Russo changed his mind and he might be back in a few days.

As for the power play, Russo had been discontent for awhile about his diminishing power backstage in TNA over the last couple of years. Russo’s argument was that ratings had not improved as his control slipped and if anything, they had gone down (which is not completely far-fetched and probably closer to accurate than not). While the complaining was nothing new, I’m told Russo recently went to Dixie Carter and gave an ultimatum – either he was given more control over the creative direction or he was leaving.

According to a source close to the situation, Russo implied he could return to WWE, working for their upcoming television network at a higher salary but stayed loyal to TNA. However, my source says Russo was upset with the ratings slide and wanted the chance to get more control over the creative direction or he was gone. Russo’s play for more power didn’t work out but Dixie asked him to stay. I’m told she pursued him even after he actually quit to try and come to a resolution. Russo’s problem was that she would not budge on the power structure and stood behind what is termed the Bruce Prichard/Eric Bischoff regime.

Remember, while Russo, Prichard and Matt Conway were writing the TV scripts, Bischoff had (and still has) final say. I’m told no one took Russo’s threat seriously as first, although many were hoping he would go through with it as several people have tried to force him out the last several years and Dixie has always stood by him in support and refused to fire him.

We should find out soon enough if Russo really is WWE bound, however, that’s how his departure played out behind-the-scenes.

- WBOY 12 is West Virginia has a video report online from Sunday’s TNA Impact Wrestlinglive event in Glenville. You can watch the report embedded below:

- TNA is promoting the following Tweet posted by Sting:

As the storyline goes, Sting is “done” after the attack from Bobby Roode. Here’s the video clip from Impact the company is using to promote the remarks:

- GQ.com has a fascinating look at TNA’s Ring Ka King promotion and the untapped pro wrestling market in India. Without a doubt the most newsworthy item of the piece is that reports out of the country indicate the first episode of the series garnered 14,000,000 viewers. If true, that makes Ring Ka King the most-watched pro wrestling show on the planet, trumping everything… including all of WWE’s programming. You can read the article at this link.

- Hernandez was featured by a local news station in San Antonio, Texas. You can watch it embedded in the video below:

- TNA Impact Wrestling has another Gut Check workshop with D-Lo Brown scheduled prior to their March 3, 2012 live event in Dodge City, Kansas. The deadline to apply is next Monday at Noon central. Below are full details:

Saturday, March 3, 2012 – Dodge City, KS
Time: 2 p.m. to approx. 4
United Wireless Arena
4100 W. Comanche
Dodge City, KS 67801
DEADLINE: Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 12 p.m. Central

Click here to apply.

- Jesse Sorensen posted the following on Twitter:

Sorensen suffered a fractured C1 vertebrae in a match against Zema Ion at TNA Against All Odds on Sunday, February 12, 2012.

-Fox Sports has a new article about Brandon Jacobs‘ appearance on Impact Wrestling and his possible future as a professional wrestler. In the article, Dixie Carter is quoted as saying the following:

“If you watch Brandon on Impact Wrestling, you’ll see he has instincts you can’t teach and a real talent for this business. We have already been talking about life after his football career and are both very excited about the potential.”

Click here to read the article.

Carter also had the following to say on the subject on her Twitter account:

- Gail Kim was recently interviewed by Schema Magazine and discussed a number of topics, from her experiences as a Korean-Canadian female wrestler to her departure to WWE and more. When asked about when she knew she wanted to be a professional wrestler, she responded:

“I knew when I was 23. I knew when I was so hooked on watching wrestling and I saw the likes of Trish Stratus, Victoria, Molly, Jazz etc. What they now call the golden era of women’s wrestling. I watched them and thought, ‘Hey! I can do that! I also thought, there are no Asian women. I can be that person.’”

When asked why she thought she wasn’t featured enough in WWE, which led to her eliminating herself in a Divas’ battle royal, she responded:

“I’ve talked about this many times up to this point, which I don’t mind but I think the fans and myself have moved on from this topic. To clarify, that was not the reason why, there were many reasons why including some disrespectful situations and the way women were treated; so I decided to move on. I did, and I’m happier than ever and I will never know reasons why so I choose not to worry about that anymore. I can only look forward and try to do positive things from now on. Impact Wrestling has been home for me and it’s just been a confidence building, pro female wrestling environment. I feel like I don’t have to limit myself anymore.”

Click here to read the full interview.

The Herald Mail has a new article online featuring quotes from Christopher Daniels to promote Saturday’s TNA live event in Hagerstown, Maryland where he is scheduled to face AJ Styles. Below are the highlights:

“A.J. is always someone who pushes me to my limit,” Daniels said. “It’s tough after wrestling somebody for 10 years to keep it fresh, but that’s a challenge we look forward to to make it different.”

“A lot the of people that were involved in the end of WCW were involved with the beginnings of TNA,” Daniels said. “There was this company called WWA (World Wrestling All-Stars) that did a pay-per-view in Las Vegas in 2002 that I was on and the people from TNA, who remembered me from WCW, saw me on that show and offered me a position.”

“I’m still having fun doing what I’m doing and I don’t see an end anytime soon, but the one thing that has sort of alluded me is being World Champion,” Daniels said. “With the current success I’m enjoying personally, I feel like it would be an easy shot to get up to that level.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Ask WNW

I’m just curious about your feelings towards Sheamus. I was brought up watching the Attitude Era and I haven’t found somebody that I really get excited about since The Rock: until Sheamus. I think his in-ring work is great, his mic work is pretty good and his look is great. He seems to be working at the mid-upper card level, is there any word about him getting a main event push soon?

Sheamus is working in the upper mid-card to main event level on Smackdown as he’ll co-headline Wrestlemania XXVIII in a match against Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship. WWE has a lot of confidence in Sheamus as Triple H has been behind his push since 2009 and now he’s won the Royal Rumble and will take center stage at Wrestlemania. As for my thoughts on Sheamus, I’m high up on him. I feel like he has everything to establish himself as a top name that can help carry the company for years. Sheamus has proved he can work as both a heel and a babyface and that he can handle adversity when his push fizzled before being elevated back to where he is now.

What are the plans for Christian going forward on WWE television?

As we saw on last night’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Christian is back and is still a heel on Smackdown. I expect him to work in the top of the card although I haven’t heard potential Wrestlemania plans for him as of this writing.

Do you believe the Elimination Chamber takes something away from the Royal Rumble? There’s better odds of winning the Elimination Chamber than the Rumble.

WWE had long looked for a way to make the pay-per-view in-between Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania relevant as it had by large been a throwaway show that fans simply skipped. The company found the solution with the Elimination Chamber matches which is why they re-branded the pay-per-view from No Way Out to Elimination Chamber in 2010. Since becoming a staple of the pay-per-view in 2008, the Chamber matches have been used in different capacities. In 2008 and 2011, there were Chamber matches to determine who would challenge for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania with the World Heavyweight Championship contender determined at Royal Rumble. In 2009, 2010 and this year, the Chamber matches were used as actual title matches. I don’t think it takes away from Royal Rumble because it gives people a reason to order the show in-between, however, I would rather see one of the Chamber matches used to determine the other number one contender for Wrestlemania rather than both titles being defended in them.

Is Kane’s continuous assaults on Zack Ryder, the US championship being stripped of him and the incident with Eve and John Cena, all signs that WWE isn’t behind Zack Ryder anymore?

There were rumblings that some of the higher-ups in WWE as well as other top WWE stars were not sold on Zack Ryder as a title holder. When the company had Jack Swagger go over Ryder for the WWE United States Championship, some assumed this was a sign the company had abandoned the push of Ryder. However, if you go back and analyze the programming since Ryder dropped the US title – who is getting the bigger push, Swagger or Ryder? Ryder is clearly still being highlighted but they are selling storyline injuries. I have also heard rumors Ryder could be nursing a legitimate injury although I find that hard to believe considering the bump in the wheelchair off the ramp he took a couple weeks ago. I don’t see anyone that is legitimately injured agreeing to do a spot like that.

Could you see Santino Marella ever holding the WWE Championship or World Heavyweight Championship? Why or why not?

I do not consider Santino Marella world champion material. No disrespect to him but the character is a comedy gimmick that isn’t meant to be taken seriously as an in-ring performer. Randy Orton’s concussion provided WWE a chance to book Santino in the underdog role at Elimination Chamber but I don’t think anyone legitimately thought he was going to defend the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. How he was booked on last night’s Raw Supershow against Daniel Bryan is more indicative of his position in the company. The rare thing about Santino is that he isn’t hurt by doing jobs because of how good he is on the mic.

Now that Randy Orton has a concussion and Wade Barrett was injured last night on Raw Supershow, how will their feud continue if at all? Also if Orton is healthy, do you see him being involved in the World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania?

I believe the plan was for Randy Orton’s feud with Wade Barrett to be blown off at Elimination Chamber as it seemed they were laying the groundwork for Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship. WWE reported yesterday (using the word “reported” lightly) Orton was going to get re-evaluated in two weeks. I could easily see Orton coming back with the angle that since he didn’t have a chance to be in the Elimination Chamber because of the “belt shot” from Daniel Bryan that he deserves a spot in the match for the title at Wrestlemania. Daniel Bryan defending in a triple threat match against Sheamus and Randy Orton would be my pick for the Wrestlemania bout.

In your opinion was anyone to blame for the injury on tonight’s Raw Supershow, or did you see it as a clean unlucky situation?

I’ve watched the spot a couple of times and Wade Barrett was prepared for it. It’s not like Big Show recklessly tossed Dolph Ziggler out of the ring as all parties involved were ready. With that being said I have to chalk it up as an unlucky bump for Wade Barrett. The spot was risky but they were willing to go through with it. We have to be very careful when pointing fingers and this is something I talked about with a lot of TNA wrestlers over the weekend. I asked Kid Kash about Jesse Sorensen’s injury at Against All Odds and in that situation – who is to blame? Sorensen? Zema Ion? Kash told me that everyone is aware of the risks that go along with this business. Working in WWE or TNA is a desirable position and they understand the risks before they go out there and while you don’t want to see anyone get hurt, it happens.

Why did one of the Chamber matches not headline Elimination Chamber match on Sunday night?

WWE Elimination Chamber was a weirdly booked pay-per-view. When WWE opened with the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match I thought for sure the World Heavyweight Championship Chamber match would close, possibly with a surprise return. As we saw, none of that happened and the World Heavyweight Championship Chamber match was in the middle of the card! I guess WWE wanted John Cena in the main event to portray him as strongly as possible going into Wrestlemania XXVIII. I would have had one of the Chamber matches cap the pay-per-view but WWE obviously felt differently.

Has Shaq blown his chance of appearing at Wrestlemania by talking about it over this past weekend? A little like Brodus Clay did when he spoiled his debut vs. John Morrison?

WWE officials weren’t happy when Shaquille O’Neal first announced he was negotiating for a possible match against Big Show at Wrestlemania, however, I have a hard time believing they would walk away from Shaq based on him talking. WWE likes O’Neal and the mainstream media attention he brings to the product. I don’t know what caused the announcement from dot com but hopefully we’ll find out soon enough.

Daniel Bryan has gotten over through in-ring skills alone. What do you think made him stand out the most compared to the rest of the roster that’s lacking in look/mic skills?

I disagree Daniel Bryan has gotten over on in-ring skills alone. Bryan’s in-ring skills clearly caused WWE to pay attention to him but Daniel Bryan has gained the confidence of management by how well he has embraced his heel turn. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t think Bryan’s title reign would last at all when he won at WWE TLC but the company tested out a heel turn and he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity. I couldn’t be happier to see Daniel Bryan as World Heavyweight Champion going into Wrestlemania and I hope his success continues.

How does WWE’s highest profile performer [John Cena] calling Eve Torres a “hoeski” and a “skank-a-potamus” fit into the WWE’s anti-bullying campaign? I understand it’s an angle, but isn’t Eve the #1 face Diva in the company who has been working with Mick Foley about domestic abuse vs women issues?

WWE’s anti-bullying campaign is filled with hypocrisy and the latest storyline with Eve highlights it as good as any. On one hand they are running PSA’s to raise awareness about bullying while on the other hand they are degrading women with the aforementioned terms. The company defense line is “this is just for the show” but I agree it doesn’t make sense. After all, how is calling someone a “hoeski” and “skank-a-potamus” showing tolerance and respect?

How about a “where are they now?” – Vladimir Kozlov

Since his WWE release last year, Vladimir Kozlov has been working as Alexander Kozlov in Japan and as the Moscow Mauler in Mexico. There is a website providing updates on Kozlov as well as selling new merchandise located at MoscowMauler.com.

How do you see the John Laurinaitis/Teddy Long storyline playing out?

I haven’t heard the creative plans for John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long but I could see a bout involving multiple talents to gain full control of Raw and Smackdown taking place at Wrestlemania XXVIII. This would be a way to continue interest in the program and give multiple workers a chance to get on the card. If done, I could see the babyfaces making up the team for Long with the heels making up the team for Laurinaitis. However, let me be clear, I haven’t heard this as a creative direction and am answering with a 100% hypothetical answer.

Out of all the season 1 WWE NXT members, only Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett seem to be successful and being pushed. Why do you think Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, who I think have great potential, have not capitalized on their momentum after being tag team champions? Is Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett just that good or am I missing something?

I felt like if WWE NXT created one star, the show could be considered a success. Remember the first season of WWE NXT was actually a really good show but it couldn’t make it when SyFy agreed to pickup Smackdown and the network wanted rid of what they considered a ratings disappointment in NXT. As for Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan making it over the others, they’ve made the most of their opportunities. Daniel Bryan had a leg up on the other Rookies because he wasn’t a Rookie. However, it hasn’t been easy for either Bryan or Barrett as both have had to weather storms to remain relevant. This is a tough business and when an opportunity is given, some will seize it while others will not.

What is the status of Kharma?

Kharma is spending time at home with her newborn – as she gave birth in late December. From everything I have heard she is doing great and anticipating her return to the ring. I, along with pretty much everyone else, would love a feud with Beth Phoenix and feel it would be a wonderful addition to an already strong Wrestlemania XXVIII lineup.

Can you really see The Rock going over John Cena at Wrestlemania XXVIII?

The Rock vs. John Cena is going to be very tricky to book and I don’t want to speculate on an outcome. Vince McMahon will make the decision and won’t be letting very many people in on it beforehand. There can be a case made for both wrestlers but my biggest want is a clean outcome. I don’t want to see any type of dirty finish as someone has to go over clean for the match to be considered a success. Another important factor to consider is The Rock’s future with WWE going forward and if he plans to work again after Wrestlemania XXVIII.

With bad WWE financial news and pay-per-view buys off, is WWE in trouble of going out of business?

WWE is a very solid company and isn’t anywhere close to going out of business. They reported disappointing quarter four and overall 2011 earnings but Vince McMahon blamed 95% of it on WWE Studios and TV licensing deals. WWE is a diversified international powerhouse with multiple revenue streams geared for long-term success. There are clearly areas of concern, such as WWE Studios, but a firm foundation has been formed to keep them the top pro wrestling company in the world for the foreseeable future.

Though none of the contestants have made an impact (yet) in the WWE, are there plans to bring back Tough Enough after the ratings success of last year?

So far there are no plans for a second season of the revamped WWE Tough Enough although WWE officials were very happy with how the show did last year on the USA Network. If there is a second season, the training cast is expected to remain intact with Steve Austin, Bill DeMott, Booker T and Trish Stratus.

Which match do you see closing Wrestlemania XXVIII – The Rock vs. John Cena or Triple H vs. The Undertaker?

Usually this can be debated but this year I would be shocked if Wrestlemania XXVIII is not closed by The Rock vs. John Cena. Rock/Cena is a bout WWE has been building for an entire year and is what they’ve been leveraging the entire show on. It would be very difficult if not impossible for any match to follow Cena vs. Rock.

Are WWE referees held to the same standards when it comes to their Wellness Policy?

Yes, WWE referees are tested under the company Wellness Policy. Senior referee Mike Chioda was suspended for 30 days last August for his first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy and was the first referee to have a documented Wellness Policy suspension.

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