Sheamus Wins The Royal Rumble, Kharma & The Great Khali Return, Tyson Into The WWE HoF, Undertaker Wrestlemania Ready, Another Year-Long Wrestlemania Feud Announced Again This Year?, Original Rumble Match Plans Revealed, Why McMahon Nixed CM Punk’s UFC Appearance, Wrestlemania Not Available In Theaters, Sting & Others Injured At Overseas Impact Wrestling Taping, 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, January 28, 2012 to Friday, February 3, 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

- The Miami Herald has a new interview with Booker T, in which he discusses his career as a wrestler and an announcer, the Royal Rumble, and more. When asked about his return to WWE in last year’s Royal Rumble match, Booker responded:

“That was my favorite Royal Rumble. When I came back as an unexpected entry in the Royal Rumble, the fans were so excited to see me. It really made me feel like, ‘Wow, I’ve done something in the business that the fans have really appreciated more than anything.’ It wasn’t about me going out there and winning the Rumble. It was the fans giving respect for what I’ve done in this business for 21 years. That was great. That was like a stamp of approval in this business for me.”

When asked if he had planned on returning to WWE, Booker said:

“It never was a thought. I wasn’t planning on coming back when I came back. I got a phone call, ‘Hey Book, would you like to come back and do ‘Tough Enough’ [as a trainer].’ Cool. Great. It was something different. I knew I wanted to wrap up my in-ring career. I wanted to get away from that. There comes a time when you got to pass the torch, and when I came back, it’s been great. I never thought it would be as good at it’s been this last year. It’s been awesome.”

When asked about getting thrown over the top rope in the match, Booker said:

“It’s not a good feeling. It’s like a lump in the bottom of your stomach when your feet hit the floor, because that was your shot. A lot of guys that may be their only shot of getting a World championship, a WWE title shot. I’ve been lucky to capture it six times. I put myself in great position outside the Royal Rumble, because I never won the Royal Rumble. That’s why I say it’s so hard to do. You’ve got to put yourself in the right position. Twenty-nine superstars will leave there heart broken, and one guy’s gonna win it. My pick is from SmackDown, Sheamus, the Celtic Warrior. He’s been on fire.”

Click here to read the full interview.

- Metro.co.uk has a new Q&A online with The Miz to promote tomorrow night’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view. While Miz does the article in-character, below is a question and answer I found interesting:

If you had to face anyone at Wrestlemania, past or present, dead or alive, who would it be?
LeBron James. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. LeBron said he was going to bring an NBA Championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland suck at most sports, but finally we had this basketball savior, and what does he do? Backstabs us and goes to Miami Heat! Miami is where Wrestlemania will be, so I’d like to face him.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

While this match-up won’t be possible this year, as LeBron James is unavailable, WWE officials were actually hoping to land James for the show if the NBA lockout canceled this year’s season. Obviously now because there is basketball, and LeBron plays on April 1st in Boston, it’s not possible for him to be involved.

- Marvel has a new interview up with Daniel Bryan, in which he discusses which superheroes he thinks he could make tap out, his best match in WWE, and more. In the following excerpt, Bryan discusses how it feels to be a smaller wrestler that became World champion:

“It’s a great feeling. You know, when you’re one of the smaller guys on the roster, you have to do more to stand out. When you’re a bit bigger, people expect you to have power and you can use that to your advantage. It’s a really awesome feeling that fans have latched on to me as an entertainer and want me to still be champion. I’ve got my own style and people really seem to like that. Plus, I’m not the only one my size who has held the title; I have to give a shout out to Rey Mysterio.”

When asked about his best match in WWE, Bryan responded:

“Actually, if you had asked me this question a few weeks ago, I’d have a different answer for you. I actually wrestled William Regal on an episode of WWE Superstars, and it is without a doubt one of my best matches that I’ve ever wrestled. He was a huge mentor for me during my career, and to be able to have a match with him and have it go over so well was really rewarding.”

Bryan was then asked who his dream opponent at WrestleMania would be, to which he said:

“It would have to be Mr. WrestleMania himself, Shawn Michaels. The guy has not had a bad WrestleMania yet and I think we’d have a really entertaining match that fans could get behind. I also spent a lot of time under his wing, training and again, like with Regal, I think we’d put on a great match.”

Click here to read the full interview.

-Wrestling News World reader Mohammad Abulawi sent in an interview that Inquirer.net conducted with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, in which he discusses his upcoming film, Journey 2. Click here to read the full interview.

-Wrestling News World reader Matt Scott sent word that the WWE Corporate website is now accepting applications for a position with WWE Creative, either as a writer or a director. Click here to view the listings.

- The official WWE YouTube channel has posted this year’s official Royal Rumble promo video, which is embedded below:

- Kelly Kelly and Stacy Keibler are both on the ballot for the fan-voted “Hot 100″ List put together by Maxim. Last year, Kelly Kelly appeared on the cover of the December 2011 issue of Maxim and was #82 on the previous Hot 100 list. Click here to view the ballot.

- Jerry Lawler worked an independent show in Maryland this weekend. A video interview has surfaced backstage from the show and Lawler doesn’t appear very happy about the appearance. He picks Sheamus as his Royal Rumble winner. You can watch the interview embedded below:

- The official WWE website recently conducted an interview with Mick Foley, in which he discussed his participation in the Royal Rumble match this year and in previous years. When asked about his preparations for this year’s Rumble, Foley said:

“I am going to hope for the best. Honestly, I’ll be in quite a predicament. Imagine if I win this thing! What Dolph Ziggler said [about me going on to WrestleMania] could come to fruition. I don’t want people to be let down if I’m in the main event at WrestleMania. There are a lot of newer members of the WWE Universe who are not that familiar with me and are wondering why I’m in there. But it’s a good bridge to cross if and when we get there.

I’m just going to hope for the best. I’m also hoping for a late number. If I go in early I’m going to try and eliminate a couple of people, just to have a nice piece of video tape that I can rewind over and over with my kids. This is partially for me, but it’s really, truly something I want to do for my kids so they can see their dad in the WWE ring.”

When asked about his favorite Rumble memory, Foley responded:

“My favorite Royal Rumble memory was in 2000. I had that killer match with Triple H [as Cactus Jack]. I thought at the time it might be my last match, and I was showing people the Mick Foley I wanted them to see after having a lot of fun as Mankind. That’s probably my best Royal Rumble memory … up to 2012, that is.”

Click here to read the full interview.

- USA Today has a new “Talking Your Tech” feature online with Zack Ryder. The piece looks at how Ryder used the Internet through YouTube to have success in WWE. Embedded below is the video with the feature:

In the piece, Ryder is asked how much it costs him to produce the show. Below is the question and his answer:

The costs of the ZLI

He figures $10,000 to $15,000 yearly. “I’m constantly buying things. I did a thing where I took my sunglasses and threw it at the camera,and it broke my camera. You never know what costs are going to pop up, but it’s all worth it.”

Click here to check out the feature in its entirety.

- 18,121 was the announced attendance for tonight’s WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The show is legitimately sold out.

- Below are full results for the 2012 30-man Royal Rumble match:

Order of Entrants:

1) The Miz
2) Alex Riley
3) R-Truth
4) Cody Rhodes
5) Justin Gabriel
6) Primo
7) Mick Foley
8.) Ricardo Rodriguez
9) Santino Marella
10) Epico
11) Kofi Kingston
12) Jerry Lawler
13) Ezekiel Jackson
14) Jinder Mahal
15) The Great Khali
16) Hunico
17) Booker T
18) Dolph Ziggler
19) “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
20) Michael Cole
21) Kharma
22) Sheamus
23) Road Dogg
24) Jey Uso
25) Jack Swagger
26) Wade Barrett
27) David Otunga
28) Randy Orton
29) Chris Jericho
30) Big Show

Order of Eliminations (By Who):

1) Alex Riley (by The Miz)
2) R-Truth (by The Miz)
3) Primo (by Mick Foley)
4) Justin Gabriel (by Mick Foley & Ricardo Rodriguez)
5) Ricardo Rodriguez (by Santino Marella)
6) Epico (by Mick Foley)
7) Santino Marella (by Cody Rhodes)
8.) Mick Foley (by Cody Rhodes)
9) Jerry Lawler (by Cody Rhodes)
10) Jinder Mahal (by The Great Khali)
11) Ezekiel Jackson (by The Great Khali)
12) “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (by Cody Rhodes)
13) Booker T (by Cody Rhodes)
14) The Great Khali (by Cody Rhodes)
15) Michael Cole (by Kharma)
16) Hunico (by Kharma)
17) Kharma (by Dolph Ziggler)
18) Kofi Kingston (by Sheamus)
19) Road Dogg (by Wade Barrett)
20) Jey Uso (by Randy Orton)
21) Wade Barett (by Randy Orton)
22) David Otunga (by Chris Jericho)
23) Jack Swagger (by Big Show)
24) Cody Rhodes (by Big Show)
25) The Miz (by Big Show)
26) Dolph Ziggler (by Big Show)
27) Big Show (by Randy Orton)
28) Randy Orton (by Chris Jericho)
29) Chris Jericho (by Sheamus)

Winner: Sheamus

- The Great Khali returned to WWE in tonight’s 30-man Royal Rumble match as entrant number 15.

- Kharma returned to WWE in tonight’s 30-man Royal Rumble match as entrant number 21.

- “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was a surprise entrant at number 19.

- Road Dogg was a surprise entrant at number 23.

- TMZ has reported that Mike Tyson will join Edge, The Four Horsemen, and Mil Mascaras in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012. Tyson was involved with several memorable moments during the Attitude Era, including a confrontation with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and serving as a special enforcer in the main event of WrestleMania XIV. Tyson responded to the announcement by saying:

“I am honored to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. I was the youngest heavyweight champion of all time, but the most fun I ever had in the ring was with WWE.”

Click here to view the full article.

- As reported last night here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, WWE will unveil nine new original shows on YouTube as part of their new agreement with the service. In addition to “Long Island Iced Z” moving to the channel, the following shows were announced:

  • Are You Serious?
  • Backstage Fallout
  • Download
  • In Box
  • Outside the Ring
  • Santino’s Foreign Exchange
  • Superstar Toyz
  • WWE Presents…

- WWE has confirmed Mike Tyson as a 2012 WWE Hall of Fame inductee. You can read their official announcement at this link.

As Brooks reported earlier here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Tyson joins Edge, The Four Horsemen and Mil Mascaras as members of the Class of 2012.

- Sheamus’ stock in WWE is once again at an all-time high. While receiving a monster push out of the gate in 2009, Sheamus found himself teetering in mediocrity mid-way through 2011 as a Supplemental Draft pick, moving him from Raw to Smackdown. Following his move to Smackdown, WWE began an initiative to re-build Sheamus as one of the top babyfaces on the brand. Working in the main event since June with the support of Triple H, Sheamus has continued to impress WWE officials both in and out the ring. Not only has the company been very pleased with the way his babyface turn has gone over, many are very high up on his media appearances outside of the ring. One of the high marks has to do with his “old school” mentality of remaining in-character when dealing with the media. Chris Jericho was the favorite to win the 30-man Royal Rumble match and considered to be the “obvious” pick, especially given the fact WWE wants to do Jericho vs. CM Punk in the “best in the world” feud for Wrestlemania XXVIII. Sheamus was ultimately decided on as the winner of the Rumble match to continue to build him back up with the feeling they can still program Jericho with Punk. As WWE creative often does, they changed on Jericho going over to keep from being “too predictable.” One note of interest that I mentioned in Richard Reacts to WWE Royal Rumble, is that if Daniel Bryan makes it to Wrestlemania XXVIII as World Heavyweight Champion, the match that was bumped to dark at last year’s Wrestlemania, would be one of this year’s main events. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan wrestled to a no-contest dark Lumberjack match prior to Wrestlemania XXVII last year.

- In a correction to an earlier note, the official theme song of WWE Elimination Chamber is actually “This Means War” by Nickelback.

- Booker T is releasing a new book this September entitled “Booker T: From Prison to Promise.” The work will be published by Medallion Press. For more information on the book, click here.

- Wrestling News World reader Hiroaki Kawafuji sent word that WWE will be touring Japan in August.

- Wrestling News World reader Jordan sent this in… Tommy Dreamer will appear in a music video for hard rock/metalcore band The World We Knew. Promo footage can be seen here:

- Jim Ross and Rock star Ted Nugent are two people that will be featured on Shawn Michaels’ MacMillan River Adventures Season 2 that will air this July. (Thanks to WNW reader Jhannil Jose Acero.)

- Wrestling News World reader @RKOdyRhodes sent in the following to our Twitter page:

The official WWE website has just announced who will compete in this year’s Raw Elimination Chamber, at next month’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. The match will consist of WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho vs. R-Truth vs. The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston.

Click here to view the full article.

- WWE has once again done away with plans to bring back their Bragging Rights pay-per-view on June 17, 2012 from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. As of this writing, the pay-per-view doesn’t have a name.

- The induction of Mike Tyson into the WWE Hall of Fame is currently a featured story on ESPN.com. You can read their article at this link.

- WWE’s new YouTube shows will begin airing on Wednesday. We will be posting them as the embed codes become available.

- WWE sent out information to their media affiliates regarding the next six pay-per-views. That information is as follows:

Elimination Chamber – February 19
The Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

WrestleMania XXVIII – April 1
SunLife Stadium in Miami, Florida

Extreme Rules – April 29
Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois

WWE Over The Limit – May 20
The RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina

TBA – June 17
The Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey

WWE Money In The Bank – July 15
The Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada

SummerSlam – August 19
Staples Center in Los Angeles, California

- WWE issued the following press release today:

WWE® TO REPORT 2011 FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR RESULTS

STAMFORD, CT., January 30, 2012 – WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced that it will report its 2011 fourth quarter and full year results on February 23, 2012, before the opening of the market. The Company’s Chairman and CEO, Vincent K. McMahon, and senior management will host a conference call beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss the results.

All interested parties are welcome to listen to a live webcast that will be hosted through the Company’s website at corporate.wwe.com. Participants can access the conference call by dialing 855-993-1400 (toll free) or 630-691-2763 from outside the U.S. (conference ID for both lines: WWE). Please reserve a line 15 minutes prior to the start time of the conference call.

The earnings release and presentation to be referenced during the call will be available at corporate.wwe.com. A replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the conference call concludes, and can be accessed on the Company’s website.

- Zack Ryder was recently interviewed by CJOnline.com, and discussed a variety of topics, from baseball to WrestleMania. In the following excerpt, Ryder responds to who his dream opponent would be:

“I would say Stone Cold Steve Austin. I was huge Steve Austin fan. We kind of missed each other. Zack Ryder would like to see that match, anyway.”

When asked about his expectations for WrestleMania XXVIII this year, Ryder responded:

“Hopefully, I get my first WrestleMania match this year, being able to walk down that ramp with thousands in attendance, and millions of people watching me. That would be my moment.”

Click here to read the full interview.

- The Undertaker returned to WWE on tonight’s edition of Raw Supershow from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. He confronted Triple H after his “evaluation” segment with John Laurinaitis. The preliminary plan is for Undertaker and Hunter to face-off in a rematch at Wrestlemania XXVIII.

- “Stone Cold” Steve Austin released the following on his official website about his upcoming role in The Package:

“A courier for a local crime lord must deliver a mysterious package while being chased by a horde of unusual gangsters. Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren team up together for the first time since The Expendables. Directed by Jesse V. Johnson, this will be one action packed ride from start to finish.”

Another upcoming 2012 film from Austin, Maximum Conviction, has the following information listed on IMDb:

“When former black ops operative Tom Steele (Steven Seagal) and his partner Manning (Steve Austin) are assigned to decommission an old prison, they must oversee the arrival of two mysterious female prisoners. Before long, an elite force of mercenaries assault the prison in search of the new arrivals. As the true identities of the women are revealed, Steele realizes he’s caught in the middle of something far bigger than he had imagined.”

- TMZ has confirmed that Kharma gave birth on December 31st to a healthy baby boy named Jamie. Kharma, who announced her pregnancy in May, returned to WWE in Sunday’s 30-man Royal Rumble match.

- Just in time for Triple H vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, WWE has released the following new t-shirt for Hunter:

Thanks to Wrestling News World reader Dustyn for sending this in.

- Commercials aired in the Boston market last night promoting The Rock’s return to the city with WWE on the March 5th edition of Raw Supershow.

- John Cena beat Kane in a dark match main event after last night’s WWE Raw Supershow from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

- Plans for Wrestlemania XXVIII started to become a reality after last night’s Raw Supershow. The preliminary plans obviously have CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho and Triple H vs. The Undertaker joining The Rock vs. John Cena. Sheamus will also challenge the winner of the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match. For more on prospective plans, click here.

- Daniel Bryan will defend the World Heavyweight Championship in an Elimination Chamber match at the pay-per-view next month. Expect the participants to be announced at tonight’s Smackdown taping.

- Speaking of Elimination Chamber, there are plans to blow-off John Cena vs. Kane at the pay-per-view so Cena can move on to an all-out program with The Rock.

- As noted yesterday and promoted on Raw Supershow, the Raw Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship will have CM Punk defending against a field including Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, The Miz, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston.

- Vince McMahon is reportedly upset that UFC has still not granted Brock Lesnar his release. Lesnar has requested the release so he is able to field other offers but so far, UFC is dragging the process out. I’m told there was talk of trying to get Lesnar to make an unannounced cameo at Wrestlemania XXVIII to plant the seed for Lesnar vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania next year. However, UFC has their reasons for delaying the release. My source tells me it’s “not looking good” that Lesnar will be released in time to show up at Wrestlemania XXVIII.

- Chris Jericho has a direct hand in the booking of his upcoming program with CM Punk. I’m told the program is one of the things that intrigued Jericho to return to WWE and it’s going to be “very intricate.” The framework for the feud is Jericho challenging Punk over the “best in the world” claim.

- Lilian Garcia’s husband Chris Jozeph said at the 33:32 mark of AfterBuzzTV’s post-Raw Supershow program that Evan Bourne is “in rehab right now” when the they were discussing Kofi Kingston’s match against R-Truth. You can watch the show on YouTube at this link. Bourne is currently serving a 60-day suspension from WWE for his second Wellness Policy violation.

- Forbes is reporting that WWE’s video game partner THQ has been issued a delisting notice from NASDAQ due to their stock trading under the minimum of $1 for the past 30 days. They have 180 days to turn things around and start trading above a dollar for ten consecutive days or face being removed from the market. There were rumors earlier this month that THQ was done for and they had canceled their 2014 lineup. The company issued a statement and said they had not canceled the lineup and had not made any decisions “regarding the planned MMO.”

- It’s been a busy last few days for Chris Jericho. Jericho held a “boot camp” at the new D1 Sports Training facility in Tampa, Florida on Saturday where he is co-owner. The camp was limited to 25 people and was said to be “intense.” Immediately following the camp, Jericho flew to Evansville, Indiana where he made an appearance at WWE’s supershow live event. At the show, Jericho broke his silence at house shows and put David Otunga in the Walls of Jericho. He went on to work Royal Rumble in St. Louis, Missouri on Sunday and Raw Supershow last night in Kansas City.

- Daniel Bryan will face Wade Barrett, The Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton, and The Great Khali in an Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship at this year’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Mark Henry was originally announced to be in the match instead of Khali, but he was kayfabe indefinitely suspended on this week’s Smackdown. WWE Elimination Chamber will be held on February 19 from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’ll have full coverage of the event on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- The Undertaker is being officially advertised for the February 20th edition of WWE Raw Supershow from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The promotional blurb from the venue’s website is as follows:

“The Phenom” The UNDERTAKER will be live in Minneapolis to confront “The Game” TRIPLE H for the first time in over a year since their last meeting at WrestleMania 27!

Click here for local event information.

- Variety is reporting that WWE has hired former Reveille and Warner Brothers executive Eric Pankowski as Senior Vice President of creative and development. Pankowski will be responsible for WWE’s TV creative development, including reality and kids programming. He will manage the creative team as well as oversee the sale of programming to networks, studios and other distributors. Stephanie McMahon, Pankowski’s boss, said the following about the hire:

“Eric is a creative veteran whose knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset in both the creation of new WWE content as well as enhancing our core product,”

- Big Show beat World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan via disqualification in a dark match main event after last night’s Smackdown taping in Omaha, Nebraska. The DQ was caused by interference by Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre. Show took them out after the match and Bryan left with AJ.

- Jim Varsallone interviewed Florida Panthers players about their love for WWE and Wrestlemania XXVIII in Miami. You can check out the cool feature at this link.

- We were asked to plug shoot interviews with Sean Waltman and Marty Jannetty. Due to explicit language we aren’t embedding the video but you can watch it at this link.

- Mick Foley starred in this week’s episode of ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap, switching wives with Antonio Sabato, Jr. for a week. Foley ha the following to say about the episode on his Twitter:

Thanks for all the Wife Swap feedback. I wish the warmth and fondness my family felt toward Cheryl could have been made a little clearer. But, all things considered, I think it went pretty well, and we’re all glad we gave it a try. I’m going to have to find out where Vicky Guererro got her “cougar” necklace, so I can buy one for my wife. Mrs. Foley is still smokin’ in my eyes, after all these years!

Click here to watch the full episode.

- I’m told several members of the WWE creative team were “pulling their hair out” all week leading up to the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Sunday. Vince McMahon changed his mind about the 30-man Royal Rumble match outcome several times. Chris Jericho, which many labeled the “obvious pick,” was slated to win the match at one point as well as Randy Orton. Vince started talking about wanting a “total surprise” as the winner towards the end of the week and ultimately decided on Sheamus.

- Josh Modaberi has a new interview online with John Morrison. Below is an excerpt:

Q. In 2007 you were then drafted to ECW, where you became ECW Champion and formed another formidable tag team with The Miz, what was that experience like?

The “Morrison” character was born in ECW… a child of spite and stardom. I felt like I evolved into a great singles wrestler in ECW because of the opportunities to speak, and wrestle longer matches. Miz & Morrison, “The Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century,” was fun because Miz and I have great comedic chemistry for backstage segments, and our internet show the Dirt Sheet. Also I felt like more of a leader than when I was with MNM.

Q. Why did you decide not to renew your contract with the WWE?

I was starting to accumulate injuries faster than they were healing… neck surgery, and a lot of nagging injuries; shoulder, knee, ankle- I decided that time off is my best option. I’m working on elevating every part of my game during the time I have off, physical in ring stuff and mic work.

Q. Having worked with the WWE for nine years, what was Vince McMahon like as a boss?

Vince is a perfectionist, a work-a-holic, and a micro-manager. He expects everyone to work as hard as he does, and he really does work like a mad man. He cares very much about his business, and you have to respect that about him.

If I had to pick out any one flaw, I’d say that I think it would behoove him to delegate more. Give power to others in the organization for longer periods of time without allowing them to be undermined

Q. Would you go back to the WWE or join TNA in 2012?

Depends…

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- For the sickos that enjoyed the comedy segment with Natalya on last week’s Smackdown with Aksana and Teddy Long where Natalya passed gas, there are plans for it to continue. The plan is to book Natalya in a comedy role where her flatulence is highlighted.

- There was a lot of talk about Vince McMahon not allowing CM Punk to escort Chael Sonnen to the octagon for his fight on UFC on Fox 2 last weekend. I’m told McMahon’s decision was based on his discontentment with UFC dragging out the release of Brock Lesnar. While one observer notes many consider this “a pretty petty move,” Vince feels that UFC is being petty by dragging out Lesnar’s release. My source notes how it’s silly because McMahon’s cutting off his nose to spite his face by not allowing Punk to get a mention during a major network sports broadcast, especially considering it would have been good promotion for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

- The Desert Sun has more details regarding the production of “WWE Legend’s House,” a WWE Network original program. Cast and crew members are moving into the home in Rancho Mirage, California this week and are expected to be there through March 31st. The home is the former home of the late comic actor Harpo Marx and is managed by McLean Co. Rentals. Neighbors are hesitant about the filming but so far there has been little resistance. You can read more coverage by The Desert Sun at this link.

- Vulture is reporting that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is slated for the lead role in a new Michael Bay film called Pain and Gain. According to their report, Ed Harris is in talks to co-star. Below is a synopsis of the movie courtesy of Vulture:

A thriller about several boneheaded Miami bodybuilders whose plot to kidnap, rob and murder a wealthy businessman yields decidedly mixed results: The left-for-dead victim recuperates in secret, and then hires a private detective to track down his kidnappers and exact revenge.

- A U.S. Department of Homeland Security enforcement agent posed as a WWE representative last week and offered to buy various domain names from a Michigan man named Yonjo Quiroa. In reality, the agent was part of an operation to take down 16 websites owned by Quiroa, who is also known as Ronaldo Solano, that linked to other websites that hosted pirated telecasts. Reuters reported today that Quiroa, 28, was making at least $13,000 from online merchants who advertised with him. His websites linked to other sites that hosted pirated telecasts from the NFL, NBA, NHL, WWE and TNA Impact Wrestling. The seized websites are firstrow.tv, firstrowsports.com, firstrowsports.net, firstrowsports.tv, hq-streams.tv, robplay.tv, soccertvlive.net, sports95.com, sports95.net, sports95.org, sportswwe.net, sportswwe.tv, sportswwe.com, xonesports.tv, youwwe.com and youwwe.net.

- WWE has signed Marcus Anthony to a developmental contract. Anthony was a regular in Ohio Valley Wrestling, which ironically enough, is the official developmental territory of TNA. (Thanks to WNW reader Fernando for his help with this information.)

- WWE currently has a new three-disc DVD set in the works based on the life and career of CM Punk. Punk has a large role in what is included in the set.

- Mad, a satirical kids’ show on Cartoon Network, recently lampooned the WWE in a sketch titled WWE Bought A Zoo, and features the likenesses of John Cena, Triple H, and Rey Mysterio. The clip from the episode is embedded below, courtesy of the official Cartoon Network YouTube channel:

In addition, WWE was already parodied by the show early last year, in the clip embedded below:

- The Daily Star has a new article up featuring quotes from Zack Ryder, in which he discusses Z! True Long Island Story, his goals this year, and more. Ryder is quoted as saying:

“In January 2011 I was a nobody on RAW at best. By the end of 2011, I was US Champion. By December 2012, I want to be wrestling for the World Heavyweight Championship.”

Ryder also reveals his dream match for WrestleMania XXVIII: a United States Championship match against Jack Swagger:

“I think it would bring prestige back to the title, again. Dolph Ziggler did that, it was a big deal when I won it. It put some stock in the title.”

Click here to read the full article.

-Wrestling News World reader Jeff sent word that Trish Stratus‘ upcoming movie, Bounty Hunters, is scheduled for a February 28 release. The synopsis of the film on the official Trish Stratus website reads:

A group of down-on-their-luck bounty hunters, led by Jules Taylor (Trish Stratus), hit the jackpot one night when they pick up an informant with $100,000 on his head. But their world is turned upside down when mob boss Hal Lambrino (Joe Rafla) and his impressive associate Ruby (Andrea James Lui) offer them a million dollars in exchange for the informant.

Click here for more information.

-Cinemax has added Batista‘s upcoming movie, House of the Rising Sun, to the Early Premiere section of their On Demand channel, allowing subscribers to view the movie before it airs on Saturday night at 10 PM ET. In addition, the movie will also be made available on the channel’s Max Go App.

- Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater was cut from the international airing of Smackdown and will likely be cut from the United States broadcast tonight on SyFy.

- Jim Ross will be at Monday’s Raw Supershow from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma but is unsure if he’ll be used on the live broadcast.

- There were two title changes at last night’s Florida Championship Wrestling television tapings. Mike Dalton won the FCW Championship while Bo Rotundo & Husky Harris won the FCW Tag Team Championship.

- The Guardian out of the United Kingdom has a new interview online with The Rock. While he discusses his new movie, he has an interesting comment regarding wrestlers in movies. This could also be construed as a dig at John Cena who has starred in his fair share of WWE Studios productions. Below is an excerpt:

Wrestlers don’t traditionally have the best reputation when it comes to film-making. Are there any other films starring wrestlers that you’ve enjoyed?

[Long pause] The only film I’ve enjoyed starring a wrestler was Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. That’s it.

Click here to read the interview int is entirety.

- I’m told the talked about deal of having Wrestlemania XXVIII available in 3D in theaters is “pretty much dead” at this point. While not newsworthy in of itself, the reason why is actually interesting. Any time a pay-per-view event is also available in theaters, the cable and satellite providers are not thrilled because they lose out on closed-circuit revenue. It’s usually not something they can do much about and it’s not uncommon for a main event boxing match or UFC event to be carried in theaters as well as pay-per-view. However, right now WWE’s number one priority as a company is gaining clearances for the WWE Network, thus making it a “terrible time” to upset cable and satellite providers by making one of the biggest pay-per-view events of the year also available in theaters. Both the cable and satellite providers know they have all the leverage and they’ve expressed their displeasure to WWE with the idea of Wrestlemania XXVII being made available in theaters.

- HipHopDx.com is reporting that John Cena will enter to Machine Gun Kelly’s “Invincible” at Wrestlemania XXVIII for his match against The Rock. The bout will headline this year’s show which will take place Sunday, April 1, 2012 from the Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.

TNA Impact Wrestling News

- Hulk Hogan recently took part in a five-minute interview with BBC, in which he discussed how much of wrestling is choreographed, his iconic look, and more. In the following quote, he responds to being asked if he’s ever been scared about getting into the ring:

“Yeah, I’ve been really scared – Andre the Giant. Andre the Giant beat me up for the first eight years every day and I used to puke on the way to the ring before I got to the building, I was so nervous. Then we became friends, and after eight years, he started to like me.”

Click here to read the full interview.

- The Hindustan Times in India has a new article featuring quotes from Matt Morgan to promote the premiere of Ring Ka King on the Colors Network. Below are the notable quotes from Morgan:

“I’ve traveled to several countries but Indians are the most enthusiastic,”

“I have played matches in UK and Japan among other countries but the biggest cheers I have ever heard in my career were in India.”

“I was surprised when I heard that Total Nonstop Action (TNA) was coming to India because I had thought that the sport in India was half-dead. But when I arrived here and saw the Indian wrestlers who have their own style, my perception changed,”

You can view a screen capture of the article at this link.

- During TNA’s Impact Wrestling tapings in London (click here for spoilers), Sting suffered an injury to his heel that caused referee Brian Hebner to hold up the “X” sign, signaling a legitimate injury. Sting was able to finish his match and then addressed the crowd, alerting them that he had heard something pop in his heel during the match. He then participated in a short brawl with Bully Ray instead of competing in the advertised dark main event of Sting, Hulk Hogan, & James Storm vs Bobby Roode, Bully Ray & Kurt Angle. Hogan and Storm competed without him and would go on to win.

Sting provided an update on Twitter addressing the severity of his injury:

 

 

- Sportsvibe.co.uk has a new Q&A online with Hulk Hogan. In addition to Hogan discussing the differences in working for Vince McMahon compared to Dixie Carter, he reveals what Dixie thinks about Ric Flair being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year with the Four Horsemen. Below is an excerpt:

Q. There is a lot of talk at the moment with regards to the Four Horsemen being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and Ric Flair attending the Hall of Fame this year whilst under contract with TNA, what are your thoughts?

I think it’s great, everybody is being very open and Dixie Carter is open and the lines of communication are open. It’s great that the two companies can agree on this and have a common bond because Ric Flair has been a staple in this industry, and as they are going to induct the Four Horsemen in the Hall of Fame it’s only right Ric Flair is there.

It’s like the WWE saying Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair were never here just because we’re now with TNA. It doesn’t make sense because people know we were there and helped build that company. I think with the lines of communication opening it’s good business for everybody.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Angelina Love and Crimson have gone public with their real-life relationship. While we normally don’t cover the personal lives of workers, a lot of people seem to be interested in this type of this thing. Since they’ve gone public, we decided it was worth recapping:

- Remember the broken nose Kid Kash suffered at the January 21st TNA live event in Plymouth, Massachusetts? A gruesome photo has surfaced of the injury. You can view it below:

- TNA Impact Wrestling has announced a March 24th live event from the Kovalchick Convention & Athletic Complex in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

- Mark Haskins was injured at the Impact Wrestling television taping from the Wembley Arena in London, England on Saturday night. Haskins botched a Shooting Star Press and suffered what he called a minor concussion.

The following is from Haskins’ Twitter account:

- TNA Impact Wrestling issued the following press release:

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING made history in front of thousands of raucous British fans this week, holding huge events in Nottingham, Manchester and London which featured Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kurt Angle, James Storm, AJ Styles and TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode. History was made at Wembley Arena as two episodes of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING were recorded, which will air on Sunday February 5 and Sunday February 12 on Challenge TV. This is the first time the top-rated show has ever been taped outside of the United States.

The events were so successful that tickets for next year’s MAXIMUM IMPACT V Tour have been put on a one week pre-sale, with prices frozen. A Glasgow dates has also been added, alongside Nottingham, Manchester and London. The pre-sale ends on Monday February 6.

Tickets can be bought from TNA’s UK Facebook page (www.facebook.com/tnawrestlinguk) or www.gigsandtours.com/tna2013. Full details of the UK events are:

Wednesday 23 January 2013
Glasgow Braehead Arena
0844 811 0051

Thursday 24 January 2013
Nottingham Capital FM Arena
0844 412 4624

Friday 25 January 2013
Manchester Arena
0844 847 8000

Saturday 26 January 2013
London Wembley Arena
0844 815 0815

The TNA MAXIMUM IMPACT IV Tour won rave reviews from the fans and celebrities in attendance, who included British Sports Personality of the Year Mark Cavendish, darts star Paul Nicholson and music acts Lethal Bizzle and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly.

British wrestling legend Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco was among the special guests for the Wembley show, meeting up with Hulk Hogan in an emotional backstage reunion more than 20 years after they teamed together in Japan.

National media outlets covering the event included BBC television and radio, ITV, Sky, The Sun, Daily Star, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, TalkSPORT, Zoo, Kerrang and Digital Spy. Press from France, Spain, Germany, Australia, America and Canada were also in attendance.

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING airs every Sunday night on Challenge TV, which can be found on Sky channel 125, Freeview channel 46 and Virgin Media channel 139.

- Tickets for this year’s TNA Lockdown are now on sale. The event is scheduled for April 15 at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Click here for more information.

- The official TNA YouTube channel has posted a preview of this week’s edition of Impact Wrestling, embedded below:

- Kurt Angle recently took part in a soccer prediction contest on the official BBC website with pundit Mark Lawrenson. Click here to read the article.

- Brian Fritz has a new interview online with Sting to promote tonight’s edition of Impact Wrestling. You can listen in the video embedded below:

- Sting has a torn plantar fascia in his foot and is expected to be out four to six weeks. He feels like he’ll be able to work after next Sunday’s Against All Odds pay-per-view. The injury comes has a huge relief to Sting as he first thought he tore his Achilles tendon which would have ended his in-ring career. You can hear Sting discuss his status in an interview with Brian Fritz at this link.

- Mick Foley is under WWE contract but he doesn’t mind giving credit where credit is due. The following is from his Twitter account:

- Below is the updated TNA Against All Odds pay-per-view lineup:

Four Way Match for the TNA Championship
- Bobby Roode (c) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Bully Ray vs. James Storm

TNA X Division Championship Match
- Austin Aries (c) vs. Alex Shelley

TNA Women’s Knockout Championship Match
- Gail Kim (c) vs. Tara

TNA Tag Team Championship Match
- Crimson & Matt Morgan (c) vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus

Singles Match
- AJ Styles vs. Kazarian

No. 1 Contender Match for TNA X Division Championship
- Jesse Sorensen vs. Zema Ion

TNA Against All Odds 2012 will take place Sunday, February 12, 2012 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

Ask WNW

What were your thoughts on last night’s 30-man Royal Rumble match? I felt it was largely disappointing.

I’ve heard varying reactions from readers on their thoughts of last night’s 30-man Royal Rumble match. I felt like the match was largely disappointing until the end with Sheamus and Chris Jericho. The go-home sequence was very well done but I do feel there was too much comedy in the bout and it lacked any major surprises. I’ll have my detailed reactions on Richard’s Backstage Blog later today.

Will WWE make Mark Henry a top guy against after spending so much time building him up?

While not World Heavyweight Champion, Mark Henry is still a top guy in WWE. He’s scratching and clawing, working hurt to try and keep the spot he’s waited a decade and a half to get. WWE officials have reassured him he’s still in their plans a main event performer, however, Henry has been unhappy with the way he’s been booked. You can read more about Henry being upset at this link.

Does WWE provide talent with health insurance and benefits such as paid vacations and paid time off?

Performers in WWE are classified as independent contractors, not employees, so options such as health insurance are not available. This has been controversial throughout the years; however, little to no progress has been made when challenged. As for paid vacations and paid time off, a worker will collect their downside guarantee as long as they are not suspended. Therefore if they request time off, and it’s granted, it is paid time off as they are collecting all but show bonuses.

With Cowboys Stadium in Arlington having a seating capacity of almost 100,000, do you see WWE hosting Wrestlemania there in the near future?

It was rumored that Cowboys Stadium was a heavily-targeted venue by WWE for Wrestlemania, however, it’s not going to happen. The Dallas Observer quoted a Cowboys Stadium spokesman earlier this month who said the venue can’t host Wrestlemania over the next two years because of upcoming obligations the venue has with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Do you hope The Undertaker loses at Wrestlemania or should he retire at 20-0?

I’ve been very consistent with the fact that I think The Undertaker should retire undefeated at Wrestlemania. We should also be careful that while many have assumed this will be Undertaker’s final Wrestlemania, that’s nothing more than speculation as he hasn’t come out and said that. I am in agreement with WWE doing Triple H vs. The Undertaker again. I wasn’t at first, however, after analyzing the field there are very few people that would be able to lose to Undertaker without looking weak. It needed to be an established main event veteran and outside of Hunter, things were very limited.

Do you think WWE finally sees Daniel Bryan as a legitimate main event talent? The Champion vs. Champion match with CM Punk was awesome, despite the dirty finish and Chris Jericho’s interference.

WWE is booking Daniel Bryan with confidence as a top heel on Smackdown and it’s been a nice surprise. The way he was booked prior to “cashing in” at WWE TLC was less than promising and I expected his World Heavyweight Championship reign to be over in a blink. The company went with the babyface to heel transition and it’s worked out well. Smackdown is pulling in good ratings and the brand has the best worker in the company working exactly where he should. Anyone that isn’t sold on Bryan should be after last night’s outstanding match against CM Punk.

What is your take on Kofi Kingston being added to the Raw Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship after spending the past few months on Superstars? Is he being rewarded for his Rumble performance?

Kofi Kingston is in the midst of a push which became even more evident with WWE putting him over The Miz clean on last night’s Raw Supershow. Kofi was close to making it to the main event a couple years ago and is getting another chance. This is great news for someone that has worked hard and was left for dead by Evan Bourne’s bizarre behavior.

What can you tell us about Kharma and her return to WWE?

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Kharma gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Jamie on December 31st. I had heard very little from Kharma since she announced she was pregnant in May and couldn’t enjoy her return at Royal Rumble because I had not heard she had given birth. The dates didn’t seem to add up, however, all is well and Kharma is back.

Wasn’t The Great Khali released from his WWE contract last year? What changed that WWE decided to bring him back?

The Great Khali’s WWE contract was coming up last year and negotiations broke down when Khali required too many days off. However, Khali was able to renegotiate with WWE and has come to terms on a new agreement. I’m not sure there was ever a point where he was officially released as he did WWE promotional work while home in India. You can read about how Khali went from a top priority to an afterthought late last year at this link.

What happens if a main eventer gets sick and is unable to work a scheduled match? Say for example a superstar gets the flu when they are booked, what would happen?

It’s going to take a lot more than the flu to keep most workers down. In this business people work through just about anything to keep from losing their spot. When I get questions like this I often recall a time when John Cena worked with food poisoning and actually defecated in his pants. In most situations a worker has to be prevented from working by not receiving medical clearance. When this happens an angle is done to explain their absence.

Do you think WWE is trying to do what Zack Ryder did by helping produce superstars through the use of YouTube?

WWE is absolutely taking Zack Ryder’s idea and expanding it. Ryder capitalized on social networking to gain a fan base and basically forced WWE to push him. WWE is always looking for ways to develop new stars and they’ve heavily analyzed what Ryder did in hopes of copying it.

What are your thoughts on the return of Kane?

I have not been a fan of Kane’s return program with John Cena. WWE booked it as a way to give Cena something to do before The Rock while at the same time giving Kane a main event return feud. It would have made more sense for WWE to program Kane against Mark Henry given it was Henry that was used to write Kane off TV, however, Henry was busy with Big Show and is now injured.

I can’t understand having Dolph Ziggler put Randy Orton over on Monday night? Is this just backstage power coming through because I can’t see how making Ziggler look weak benefits anyone?

I agree it was a poor way to book Dolph Ziggler. His match with Randy Orton was outstanding and as I mentioned in yesterday’s Premium Mailbag, was as talked about as much as Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk. Ziggler’s work has been outstanding and I don’t see where or how he benefits from Orton going over him clean after a loss against CM Punk at Royal Rumble. The win didn’t help Randy and it only made Ziggler look bad.

Is Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes still being considered for Wrestlemania XXVIII?

Earlier last month it looked like WWE was testing the waters with Goldust and Cody Rhodes at Wrestlemania. Goldust, who works backstage as a producer, began to lobby fans on Twitter about the match. I haven’t heard what the plan is going forward but it will likely depend on what else WWE wants to do at the show and if time will allow for it to happen.

I assume Chris Jericho is now a heel on WWE TV. What is the reasoning behind this?

Chris Jericho is a much better heel than babyface. I have to think part of the way he’s been booked with the “mute” gimmick is to silence enormous return pops. One of the things that intrigued Jericho in negotiating to return to WWE is working with CM Punk. The feud started back this summer when Jericho Tweeted for Punk to “mind his own business” and “stop ripping him off.” This should be a spectacular Wrestlemania match which will culminate a very “intricate” program.

When will WWE begin feuding Brodus Clay and what direction do they plan to go with him?

WWE is currently building Brodus Clay up by having him squash enhancement workers on both Raw and Smackdown to maximize his exposure. The idea is to get the gimmick over before putting it into a program. While I was caught off guard with the Funkasaurus gimmick, I’m actually enjoying it and also feel it’s working.

2011 saw 9 World Heavyweight Champions and 8 WWE Champions. How would you feel if CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were to hold on to their respective championships for the year 2012 or at least until SummerSlam 2012?

I will be the first to admit there were far too many title changes last year. I believe in the old school mentality of long title reigns with several successful title defenses. I feel this not only benefits the champion but it also makes the title they hold more prestigious. The problem in WWE has been they will put the title on someone they do not see as a “top guy.” Therefore they’ll go on to have a very mediocre reign with all disputed title defense outcomes. I feared this would be the case with Daniel Bryan but so far the heel turn has provided an avenue for him to have successful title defenses. I wouldn’t be opposed to both Bryan and CM Punk holding their respective titles throughout the year but I do not think it is likely.

With all the risks that the WWE Network could be a failure, is it going to be a big blow to the WWE finances just like the XFL was?

Some people close to WWE feel that if the WWE Network fails it could be the one project that could land Vince McMahon in financial trouble. The XFL would have continued if it weren’t for problems with television clearance. While NBC nixed their coverage after the premiere season due to low ratings, the XFL still had clearances on UPN and TNN. However, UPN demanded that Smackdown be cut to 90 minutes if they were to going to continue broadcasting XFL games. Vince McMahon didn’t want to cut Smackdown and thus pulled the plug on the league. While the XFL under performed in the ratings, it wasn’t a big blow financially for WWE as it was financially solvent. What troubles a lot of people about the WWE Network is the lack of clearance gained. Company resources are being pooled together to create new original programming, however, the network hasn’t gained enough clearance to make its projected April 1, 2012 debut date. The idea was for WWE to begin promoting the launch of the network in hopes the fan response would be enough to gain support on both cable and satellite systems, but as of this writing, there are major questions about clearance.

Do you think with the current bookings of the TNA Knockouts division that the WWE could take a lesson from them and actually use the Divas as more than just eye-candy or time fillers? I understand WWE doesn’t really look towards talent in the ring, so to speak, when it comes to Divas but even this WWE fan would rather watch the Knockouts.

Vince McMahon has a different philosophy when pushing female talent as he also does with pushing male talent. In-ring abilities have never been the focus in WWE because McMahon understands the company has to cater to several different demographics. There is always a lot of frustration from Internet fans and even the Divas themselves but McMahon has a philosophy he feels is effective. I will say the Natalya “farting” gimmick is disgusting and Vince’s immaturity at its worst.

What does WWE plan to do about Ric Flair when the Four Horsemen are inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next month as Flair is under contract with TNA?

Ric Flair has said he will be on stage with the other Four Horsemen members being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Apparently Dixie Carter has no problem with the induction and Flair obviously still has great relationships with Triple H and Vince McMahon. If anything, I think it shows how little of a threat Vince McMahon sees TNA. He would never highlight a worker under contract with a competitor if he felt they were a threat to his business.

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