Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure.
This week's edition covers news from Saturday, December 29, 2012 to Friday, January 4, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- Ric Flair's son, Reid, has signed a three month deal with All Japan Pro Wrestling. He'll begin on January 23, 2013 in Japan.
- Mick Foley made a surprise appearance at last Friday's WWE Raw live event in Long Island, New York as he lives in the area. You can read results from the show at this link.
- Paul Ellering was at Friday night's Smackdown live event in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- We previously reported that WWE has signed Alexander Jones to a developmental contract. The deal is for three years and Jones was personally recruited by John Cena. SaukValley.com has the story online at this link.
- The Flagship has a new article online featuring quotes from Sheamus to promote Sunday's Smackdown taping in Richmond, Virginia. Click here to read it.
- Wade Barrett beat Kofi Kingston to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Saturday night's WWE Raw taping in Washington, D.C. WWE is already advertising a new Intercontinental Champion. You can read full taping results at this link.
- Ted DiBiase suffered a left hand injury at the December 26 WWE Smackdown live event in Chicago, Illinois in a match against Fandango. He was replaced on the tour by Jamie Noble, who works backstage as a producer.
- Other than the WWE Intercontinental Championship changing hands, there were plenty of noteworthy tidbits coming out of Saturday's WWE Raw taping in Washington, D.C.:
- John Cena announced himself as the first entrant for the 30-man Royal Rumble match at the pay-per-view next year.
- Randy Orton returned from a shoulder injury as we reported he was advertised at this link.
- Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was in attendance at the show and acknowledged on-camera.
- WWE will return to Washington, D.C. on April 1, 2013 for the go home to Wrestlemania episode of Raw. The Rock is being advertised for the show as a presale is set to begin on January 24, 2013.
- World Heavyweight Champion Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio is set to headline next week's Smackdown.
- After Saturday night's WWE Raw taping ended, John Cena & Sheamus beat World Heavyweight Champion Big Show & Dolph Ziggler in a dark match main event.
- Sin Cara was backstage at Saturday night's WWE Raw taping in Washington, D.C. but was not used. Cara underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on 12/20 and has been recovering in Mexico.
Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho went back and forth on Twitter. Jericho told Rollins to "learn how to cut a decent promo" and Rollins took a jab at Jericho's music career. Jericho concluded by saying, "Wannabe rock star… debatable. Actual 6 time WORLD Champion..undeniable. Wannabe [email protected]"
You can see the entire exchange below:
- Sin Cara posted the following on Twitter:
Back in Mexico from my knee medical checkup, everything is good, soon I'll be back in the ring.
— Sin Cara WWEOfficial (@TheSinCaraWWE) December 30, 2012
- WWE is officially advertising The Rock's return to Raw on the January 7, 2013 episode in Tampa, Florida. Click here for coverage by dot com.
- Evan Bourne wrote on Twitter that no matter how hard he trains, his foot will not be "ring ready" by Royal Rumble.
- Curt Hawkins wrote the following on Twitter:
Did some @ddpyoga this weekend for the first time since my injury. Felt great. I'm at the end of my recovery for certain.
— Curt Hawkins (@TheCurtHawkins) December 31, 2012
Hawkins had surgery to repair a torn PCL and meniscus in October.
- World Heavyweight Champion Big Show vs. Sheamus in a dark match main event ended in no contest after Sunday's WWE Smackdown taping in Richmond, Virginia. Click here for full taping results.
- Mae Young was backstage at Saturday's WWE Raw taping in Washington, D.C. Young was "picked" by Eve Torres as her opponent for the WWE Divas Championship but never appeared in front of the live crowd.
- Randy Orton and Sheamus were announced as entrants in the 30-man Royal Rumble match at Sunday night's Smackdown taping in Richmond, Virginia. John Cena was announced as an entrant the night prior. There are now 27 spots remaining.
- We're told the meeting that was supposed to take place between Triple H and Bruno Smmartino before the holidays didn't end up happening. The two are still in touch, but a face-to-face meeting just proved to be impossible right now with Triple H's schedule. The two sides are getting closer to a deal [to induct Bruno into the WWE Hall of Fame] and Triple H is confident it will get done, although with Bruno you never know. He's the type of guy who may take it as a slight that the meeting was canceled. It's getting to the point where the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is only a few months away and with WWE hoping to have Bruno as one of the headliners, they're going to start running out of time soon to get a deal done as a lot of the promotional and marketing materials are done far in advance. Triple H is hoping a deal can be finalized in the next few weeks.
- Last week's Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,660,000 viewers on SyFy.
- As was seen on this week's WWE Raw, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III wasn't in attendance at this week's show as previously noted. I apologize for the error as it appears we were a victim of communication breakdown via text-messaging.
- Tommy Dreamer has a new blog entry available at this link where he promises another House of Hardcore show.
- Michael Cole will be joining John Layfield on his audio show on LayfieldReport.com on a regular basis. The show covers a myriad of topics including sports and politics.
- The following matches were on the New Year's Eve marathon of WWE Vintage Collection as transcribed by Devin Cutting:
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
WWF Raw - April 3rd, 2000
The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs
WWF Event - July 25th, 1987 - New York City
Randy Savage vs. The Honky Tonk Man
WWF Event - January 9th, 1988 - Philadelphia
The Rock, The Undertaker & Kane vs. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Triple H
WWF King Of The Ring 2000
Bradshaw vs. William Regal
WWE Raw - June 10th, 2002
Lance Storm vs. Booker T
WCW Nitro - August 7th, 2000
Bret Hart vs. Goldust
WWF Raw - January 22nd, 1996
Sting vs. Ric Flair
WCW Clash Of The Champions - June 23rd, 1994
Judy Bagwell On A Pole Match
Buff Bagwell vs. Kanyon
WCW New Blood Rising
Loser Wears A Dress Match
Perry Saturn vs. Chris Jericho
WCW Souled Out 1999
Rick Martel vs. Koko B. Ware
WWF Prime Time Wrestling - March 17th, 1991
Hair vs. Hair Match
Edge vs. Kurt Angle
WWE Judgment Day 2002
Guts & Glory vs. The Million Dollar Team
WWF Survivor Series 1994
Kane vs. Shane McMahon
WWE Survivor Series 2003
Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
WWF Survivor Series 1997
- FremantleMedia Enterprises is officially the new licensee for WWE Home Entertainment in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Their new website will be located at this link. WWE's previous licensee, Silvervision, is believed to have a similar deal with TNA Wrestling.
- Zack Ryder posted the following on Twitter:
No reason for me to watch the ball drop tonight…I lived through the ball being dropped with me all year.
— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) January 1, 2013
2013 IS GOING TO BE MY YEAR!!!Jk
— Zack Ryder (@ZackRyder) January 1, 2013
- The Toyota Center in Houston, Teas , which is hosting the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw on January 14th, is now promoting The Rock for the show. Their promotional material reads as follows:
Toyota Center is excited to welcome WWE back to Houston when they present the 20th Anniversary of RAW Celebration and the return of The Rock on Monday, January 14! Don’t miss your favorite WWE Superstars like John Cena, Rey Mysterio, The Big Show, CM Punk, The Divas, and many more live in action at Toyota Center!
Click here for more.
WWE has already launched a promotional barrage that Rock will be on next week's Raw.
- We're told given Rey Mysterio's recent issues (personal) and the knee injury to Sin Cara, WWE is looking to sign a new high flyer. b One name mentioned as being the top guy on their radar is Samuray Del Sol from Dragon Date USA. We're told WWE has been in contact with Del Sol but have not made a formal offer. However, he's the guy atop their wish list.
- WNW reader Chris sent word The Rock is being advertised for the February 11th episode of WWE Raw from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.
- Zack Ryder noted on Twitter he's filming a music video for "Hoeski" on Wednesday.
- Ric Flair is scheduled to appear at the All Japan Pro Wrestling show on January 26th at Tokyo's Ota Ward Gym. Flair's son, Reid, recently signed on to work for the promotion.
- Ric Flair's appearance on the December 17th episode of WWE Raw ended up causing a lot of chatter amongst current and former talent contracted to TNA Wrestling. A lot of people are obviously affected by the WWE/TNA lawsuit, so every twist and turn has talent on the edge of their seat.
Although Flair hasn't signed a WWE contract, there are still a lot of people wondering why WWE would put him on television while telling others they can't touch them. The reasoning behind using Flair is multi-layered, but the gist of it is that WWE feels they can win if TNA goes after them for using Flair and that if TNA doesn't go after them, it weakens TNA's overall position.
Part of TNA's strategy in setting up potential damages in the event that they win (or settle) is that they spend money cultivating new talent and the investment of time, money and energy that is wasted if that talent leaves is substantial. If that talent leaves because trade secrets were compromised [by Brian Wittsenstein] and they were tampered with by WWE, a judge would most likely side in TNA's favor.
However, Flair is different from most of the talent in question. His value to WWE has nothing to do with any time or money spent by TNA to develop him (you could actually make the case TNA hurt his value). Flair has worked for WWE previously, his name and value established long before ever working for TNA, and he's been free of any legal obligation to TNA since September.
We're told WWE legal came to the conclusion that an appearance from Flair wouldn't hurt their case. They're taking the position that Flair is free to work for TNA if he wants and has no legal obligation to WWE.
Of course Flair has no interest in working for TNA, but the way WWE is setting things up, if TNA doesn't fight back on the Flair appearance, WWE feels it helps them and if TNA does fight back, WWE doesn't think TNA can win. So this is a litmus test of sorts to see what TNA's reaction will be from a legal standpoint. Triple H has wanted Flair on TV for months, but had been waiting for the legal department to finish their due diligence. Only after learning more about TNA's strategy was WWE legal able to come up with a position they were comfortable with that involved using Flair.
Some talent immediately contacted WWE in hopes the signing freeze was over, but were sad to learn that was not the case, at least not yet.
- WWE has a new article online here on dot com that states their "sources indicate" that CM Punk is medically cleared for in-ring competition. This of course means he'll be able to defend the WWE Championship against Ryback in a TLC match on next week's WWE Raw.
They tout an official announcement will be made on Wednesday night's episode of WWE Main Event.
To take as much kayfabe out of this as possible, Punk underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in early December. He wanted to work Ryback at TLC but Vince McMahon wouldn't let him and told him as much in a meeting shortly after he had the surgery. Vince basically told Punk they had invested too much in him defending the title against The Rock at Royal Rumble and they didn't want to do anything to jeopardize that match.
The status of next Monday's WWE Championship match is unknown although there were preliminary plans of doing an angle to prevent the match from happening. As was seen on this week's Raw, another avenue was opened with McMahon stating if Punk "couldn't go" that Paul Heyman would face Ryback. This was practiced/rehearsed last week at a WWE Raw live event in New York City where Heyman actually took a bump through a table.
- WWE has a new feature on dot com listing 10 names to "watch out for in 2013." Their article says 10 superstars but The Shield and Team Rhodes scholars are listed in two spots, which actually makeup five stars. Below is the list:
- Team Rhodes Scholars
- Antonio Cesaro
- Tyson Kidd
- Wade Barrett
- The Shield
- AJ Lee
- CM Punk
- Dolph Ziggler
Click here to view the feature in its entirety.
- We shared a photo of Vince McMahon boxing here on Facebook. Would you fight him? Tell us in the comments either here or on Facebook.
- WWE has announced a live event from the John F. Savage Arena at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio on Sunday, March 17th, 2013. Bell time is 5 PM.
- The first trailer for the WWE Studios production "Dead Man Down" is now online. The film, which features Wade Barrett in a supporting role, stars Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard. You can watch the trailer at this link.
- WNW reader Brett Tweeted us @wnwnews to inform us that The Rock is being advertised for the February 12, 2013 Smackdown taping in Little Rock, Arkansas. We noted earlier that Rock was being advertised for that week's Raw in Nashville, TN.
- WWE had their physician Michael Sampson Tout that WWE Champion CM Punk was 100% cleared to compete on next week's Raw to defend the title in a TLC match against Ryback. We have more at this link.
- Ric Flair, who claimed recently he'll never wrestle again, is returning to the ring. We noted here that Flair is scheduled to appear at the All Japan Pro Wrestling show on January 26th at Tokyo’s Ota Ward Gym. It's now been announced he'll be wrestling on the show in a tag team match, teaming with Keji Mutoh (The Great Muta) against Tatsumi Fujinami & Seiya Sanada. Flair hasn't wrestled in Japan since 1996.
- Drew McIntyre posted the following on Twitter:
Day 1 back in gym for real in four months, cast now removable. 3MBs Hot Scot Enforcer is on way to 100%, can press fully on fret board, Wooo
— Drew McIntyre (@TheDrewMcIntyre) January 2, 2013
- We noted earlier the final Smackdown of 2012 did an average viewing audience of 2,660,000 viewers on SyFy. The rating came back as a 1.86.
- BlackFilm.com is reporting that the upcoming WWE Studios film starring Halle Berry with David Otunga in a supporting role has undergone a title change.
Originally slated to be called "The Hive," the film is now titled "The Call." Below is an excerpt of what the film is about:
Emergency Call Center Operator Jordan (Halle Berry) takes a call from a teenage girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), who has been abducted and carried away in the trunk of a car. The kidnapping plays out in real time as Jordan and Casey work together to track down the killer in this high stakes thriller.
"The Call" opens on March 15, 2013.
- The New Year's Eve episode of WWE Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,552,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is a breakdown by hour:
- Hour one - 3,397,000 viewers
- Hour two - 3,644,000 viewers
- Hour three - 3,614,000 viewers
- Matt Striker wrote the following on Twitter:
Can the 1st hr of RAW be interactive ? 4-6 unsigned talent. Whomever has the most votes gets a match at the end of hour 1. Win n come back
— Matt Striker (@Matt_Striker_) January 3, 2013
- WWE Champion CM Punk was at the NXT Wrestling facilities in Tampa, Florida on Thursday.
- The final number for the WWE Raw rating came in at 2.31. We noted earlier the show did an average viewership of 3,552,000 viewers which not only beat out the Christmas Eve episode the week prior but the live show on December 3rd.
- Vince McMahon stated in a recent conference call with investors that WWE's contract with SyFy for Smackdown was coming up for negotiation first. The contract is believed to be up at the end of September 2013, as the original agreement was for three years in October 2010.
- Matt Fowler over at Showrenirty.com got a quote from The Rock regarding his match at Wrestlemania 29. The quote is as follows:
“The storyline will be that starting this coming Monday [for RAW], I’m gonna go back, and it’s going to be a big return,” Johnson said. ”That will lead to, hopefully, what will be the biggest WrestleMania of all time at Giants Stadium. I will headline that show, with someone who I can’t say right now. We’ve got an amazing four months lined up and planned out that will culminate in the biggest WrestleMania of all time. It’s going to be a hell of a thing.”
Fowler got the quote from Rock while he was at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour to promote his new TNT reality series, The Hero. Click here to read the original article.
- Velvet Sky was in a car accident Saturday night en route to the TNA live event in Poughkeepsie, New York. She wrote the following on Twitter:
As I write this I'm on the side of the highway where I was en route to Poughkeepsie's house show until my truck spun out and ended up in a ditch due to the blizzard that's going on right now. Sorry to the fans that were wanting to see me tonight, but I won't be at the Impact show. I'm ok, just really shaken up from the accident, and I'm sitting in wait for a tow truck to rescue me. All those traveling tonight in the CT/NY area and beyond, plz be careful. I have seen so many accidents today already and the roads are dangerous tonight. God Bless those traveling.
Click here to read the post in its entirety.
- Kurt Angle's wife Giovanna gave birth to a baby girl on New Year's Eve at 9:40 PM, making Kurt a father of four. Kurt made the announcement on Twitter:
18 Hours At the Hospital. Sophia Laine Angle Was Born. 7lbs12oz. 20inches. I'm a Proud Daddy if 4 beautiful Kids. Blessed
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) January 1, 2013
- Richard posted an article about a week ago about Hulk Hogan opening a new restaurant on New Years Eve. Hogan wrote about the success of the opening day on his official Twitter account. Below are his tweets:
I want yo thank the thousands of MANIACS that came to HOGANS BEACH for New Years Eve,now I know what to expect,we are on it and are going
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 1, 2013
To keep working hard to make it the hottest,most fun,craziest hot spot in the Tampa Bay Area,thank u for coming out,lets keep it rockin all
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 1, 2013
Through 2013,let the games begin at HOGANS BEACH,I can't wait to pull my lawn chair out with my banana hammock on and get my tan lets rockHH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 1, 2013
- Richard Gray posted the viewership numbers for the last 2012 Impact Wrestling episode, which was 1,330,000. The show received a 0.95 cable rating.
- TMZ is reporting that Hulk Hogan is moving forward with his $100 lawsuit against Gawker for posting his sex tape with Heather Clem online.
According to their report, Hogan dismissed the lawsuit in federal court last month and refiled it in Florida state court. This is where Hogan is also suing his sex tape partner Heather Clem as he alleges she played a role in leaking it.
- Speaking of Hogan, TNA Wrestling has announced him for the following dates on their tour of the United Kingdom:
- January 25, 2013 from The Men Arena in Manchester, England
- January 26, 2013 from Wembley Arena in London, England
Click here for more.
- Kenny King beat Jessie Godderz w/Tara via Royal Flush in a match taped for Xplosion prior to Thursday's Impact Wrestling in Orlando, Florida.
- Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez will defend the TNA Tag Team Championship against Matt Morgan & Joey Ryan on January 13th at TNA Genesis.
- Speaking of Genesis, Rob Van Dam will defend the X Division Championship against the winner of the tournament started on this week's Impact Wrestling. For more, check out full Impact results by Alex Barie at this link.
- For those that missed this week's Impact Wrestling, Mike Knox was unmasked [by Kurt Angle] as a member of Aces & 8s at the end of this week's show. Click here for full results by Alex Barie.
- We noted earlier that Rob Van Dam will defend the TNA X Division Championship at TNA Genesis against the winner of a new tournament that began on this week's Impact. Christian York advanced with a win over Kid Kash and will face the winner of Zema Ion and Kenny King on next week's show.
- TNA announced Jeff Hardy as their Wrestler of the Year over Bobby Roode, Bully Ray, James Storm and Austin Aries.
- Next week's Impact will be headlined by Austin Aries & Bobby Roode vs. Jeff Hardy & a partner of his choosing.
- TNA Wrestling's deal with Direct Auto Insurance has ended. All Direct Auto Insurance mentions have been removed from the official TNA website and the banners were taken down from the Impact Zone. I spoke with a representative from Direct Auto Insurance and was told the company's sponsorship of TNA Wrestling has "ended for now."
Isn't there a time period in which a champion must defend their title? I always thought it was every thirty days. With CM Punk being injured for so long I would have figured he would be stripped of the title for lack of defending it.
Remember this was a storyline initiative and WWE conveniently "forgets" storylines when they are counterintuitive to what they are trying to accomplish. In CM Punk's case, WWE has planned for months to do Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble. While not officially announced like Rock's Wrestlemania bout, it's a program they've had their eyes on for quite some time. With Punk's recent knee problems, Vince McMahon wanted to take every precaution possible to assure he'll be able to go at 100% at the pay-per-view next month.
What's going on with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara?
As we reported here on Richard's Backstage Blog, Rey Mysterio was taken back off television to continue to deal with personal issues. Sin Cara is recuperating in Mexico from knee surgery. He was backstage at the Raw taping on Saturday night but was back in Mexico as of Sunday.
Since chair shots to the head were banned in WWE, anytime someone uses a chair it's always over the back. I think it looks weak and ineffective, if you could, how would you book it so a chair shot looks like it could 'do some damage'?
I haven't been a fan of a lot of the things that have come with WWE's PG initiative (watered down storylines, corny jokes, over-the-top cartoonish characters), however, I am all for banning chair shots to the head. While using them "over the back" doesn't look as effective, it's much safer for the workers. Under no circumstances should anyone be taking an unprotected chair shot over the head given what we now know about concussions. To answer your question there is no other way to use a chair than how they are currently used. Anyone that knows me knows I'm not big on gimmicks, including chairs, so it's not really that big of a deal to me.
What did you think about the "we want Nexus" chants on Raw? Would you like to see the group reformed now that some of the members have developed into stars?
The Nexus still has a following but I wouldn't favor a resurrection of the faction. Factions are fine but are always limited in lifespan and it's when their lifespan is forcibly extended when they end up failing. WWE hasn't had success in trying to bring back past factions - just take a look at what happened with the new World order and DeGeneration X.
How do WWE officials feel abut tattoos on wrestlers?
About 10 years ago WWE officials discouraged workers from getting ink, however, tattoos are so popular now, nothing is said. The company includes wrestler tattoos on their merchandise and have features like this on dot com.
I was watching the Brock Lesnar vs Big Show match from Smackdown couple years ago and I was wondering how real was the ring collapsing real?
This was gimmicked and recently duplicated at WWE Vengeance 2011 with Big Show and Mark Henry. The idea was to create a spectacular finish to highlight the massive size of the workers involved.
With CM Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship being such a highly anticipated main event, is it possible that it will go on last, after the Royal Rumble match?
I haven't heard if the Royal Rumble match order has been determined. Triple H and Pat Patterson booked the 30-man Rumble match a couple of weeks ago and they are still planning The Rock vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship. My guess is Punk and Rock close the show but that's nothing more than my own speculation. As for the outcome, I don't see how Rock can be booked without going over. I want it on record if I were booking, I would put Rock over Punk for the title at Royal Rumble, have him successfully defend it at Elimination Chamber and drop it in a "passing of the torch" at Wrestlemania 29.
Which member of The Shield do you see as the breakout star of the threesome, such in the manner Wade Barrett was with The Nexus?
It's too early to tell. Roman Reigns is the greenest but even he tore the house down at WWE TLC. Looks can also be deceiving as Wade Barrett was the face of The Nexus yet Daniel Bryan has already had a World Heavyweight Championship reign and Ryback is in the main event. A lot of people praised Seth Rollins for his insane bump through the tables at the pay-per-view last month, however, a lot of people talked up the facial expressions and work of Dean Ambrose.
With the return of The New Age Outlaws at non-televised events, is it safe to say they will be booked on TVs and PPVs to work/feud with the young talent in the tag division?
The New Age Outlaws were used as a special draw on holiday live events. This is similar to the use of Jerry Lawler in years past. Both Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are employed by WWE in "office" positions, as Road Dogg is a producer and Gunn works as a developmental trainer. I haven't heard of any plan to bring them back on a regular basis to work TVs and PPVs as they have other roles and responsibilities in the company.
With Fandango (Johnny Curtis) defeating Jamie Noble at WWE live events, could this be a test to see if Fandango is ready for the main roster? Is Fandango expected to debut soon?
WWE gave Fandango more work on holiday live events where he worked Ted DiBiase then Jamie Noble after injury [to DiBiase]. This was done to give him some work and gauge crowd reactions to the character. WWE shelved the vignettes on television, as the end of the year around the holidays isn't the optimal time to debut a new character. As far as I know he'll be brought to TV when deemed ready.
You recently said, “ I want it on record if I were booking, I would put Rock over Punk for the title at Royal Rumble, have him successfully defend it at Elimination Chamber and drop it in a “passing of the torch” at Wrestlemania 29.” With that being said, don’t you think the "torch" should have been passed to John Cena last year seeing how he’s the face of the company?
I wasn't a fan of The Rock going over John Cena at Wrestlemania because I didn't like the message of a part-time talent going over the face of the company. While Rock teased working again after the pay-per-view, for all we knew at the time, this was his final bout. Now that we know Rock is coming back for a few months this year, it was probably best Rock went over so he would have value when he returned. The booking of part-time talent is very tricky and given the fact no one (except for maybe Vince McMahon) knows the future of these stars, it's hard to analyze. One of the biggest creative mistakes made last year was putting Brock Lesnar under to John Cena at Extreme Rules because they killed a lot momentum out of the gate.
If Hulk Hogan were to wrestle another match do you see it being with the WWE at Wrestlemania 30 or some random TNA PPV?
Hulk Hogan is not only under contract with TNA Wrestling but he's an executive in the company. I'm 100% against Hogan returning to the ring as not only would it jeopardize his long-term health with his back issues, it creates a match no one wants to see. There is no use to speculate about anything in WWE while Hogan is under contract with TNA.
When will Big E. Langston have a match? The last few weeks he's been very much in the background of the storyline, when will be his chance to shine?
So far the idea has been to get Big E Langston on television to expose him to the audience. I'll be honest I haven't studied his in-ring work and no one really knows what you're going to get until you put him in a WWE bout. However, we're told his in-ring work isn't going to blow anyone away but it's not bad either. He'll get his opportunity soon enough but WWE wants to use the current angle to get eyes on him.
Has Brock Lesnar's name been mentioned with regards to the Royal Rumble? Any other big names floating around?
I have not heard Brock Lesnar's name for Royal Rumble and would be surprised if they burned through one of his dates considering they already have The Rock confirmed. The show where all the big names are going to be is featured is Wrestlemania 29. The use of Lesnar at Royal Rumble would be somewhat of a waste considering the limited nature of his contract. Surprises are likely for the 30-man Royal Rumble match but none of which are going to surpass the drawing power of The Rock.
With the IC and US titles being meaningless at this point (the titles change hands on non live TV events and haven't had a decent storyline, champion, or meaningful title defense in a long time) in your opinion would it benefit WWE to just drop one or both all together or drop those titles in favor of a gimmick title(s) like say the Cruiserweight title or create something new?
I would be in favor of eliminating the WWE United States Championship but do not think both secondary titles should be scrapped. I am against introducing any new titles as they have a hard enough time showcasing the belts they currently have, as you mentioned. Title changes on taped shows are actually beneficial for the live audience as they maintain the illusion that "anything can happen." It would not be wise to change a major title on tape but as long as the titles are being defended, there isn't a scenario that's necessarily bad.
What do you take on the veteran talent that WWE chooses to utilize such as The Rock, Mick Foley, Triple H and Brock Lesnar? Yes as long as it is booked well it is a breath of fresh air, but at the same time it takes the opportunities away from the younger/greener talent that are struggling to make a name for themselves. Personally I prefer to see the influx of veteran talent returning because the business at times is very stale and as long as it isn't booked as bad as TNA used to be booked where the 45-60 year old guys seemed to be always going over the young talent.
My stance is I want to be entertained. Whether that's with guys like The Rock and Brock Lesnar or The Shield, I want to enjoy what I'm watching. It's very complicated to book part-time talent because the question is always raised, what are the long-term ramifications of putting one of these guys over one of the up and comers? My hope, which I will discuss in detail in Friday's Premium Mailbag, is WWE uses the latest run of Rock and Brock to get their audience back and at least one name emerges as a new top talent. WWE cannot keep relying on older talent to bail them out although it's much easier said than done to create the next Rock or John Cena.