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, November 12, 2011 to Friday, November 18, 2011 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- The WWE Tribute to the Troops 2011 special is scheduled to air on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 on the USA Network. The special is scheduled to be two hours long. WWE will tape the special on an military base in the United States as they did last year.
- Scott Hall entered WWE sponsored rehabilitation once again earlier today, I can now confirm. Hall, who WWE has spent more on than any other past or current performer for rehab, was highlighted in an ESPN documentary last month. There was one thing unusual about Hall's latest stint as I'm told a limousine picked Scott up at his home today to take him to the rehabilitation facility. Sources close to Hall indicate to me that he's been drinking heavily over the past few months.
- Chris Jericho claimed on Twitter early this morning he will "never wrestle" for WWE again. Below is his Tweet:
Let me get something straight...I will never wrestle for the WWE again. But there is some big news coming up in the world of dance....
You can follow Jericho on Twitter at this link.
- Chyna wants to return to WWE... and she's not going away. Check out the following video circulating around the Internet:
- The 2012 Royal Rumble will take place on Sunday, January 29, 2012. It was originally reported the show would be held the week before, however, WWE has scheduled house shows in Texas and Mexico that day.
- WWE Tough Enough contestant Ivelisse Velez re-surfaced at last week's Florida Championship Wrestling television taping in Tampa. She was eliminated from Tough Enough due to injury.
- WWE has an article online featuring quotes from John Cena, Justin Gabriel, Ted DiBiase, Tamina and Natalya talking about the latest European tour that concluded Saturday. You can read it at this link.
- The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a direct-to-DVD documentary on CM Punk is in the works. The yet-to-be-named project is scheduled for a 2012 release.
- I'm told Vince McMahon made the decision for John Morrison to beat WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler clean in a non-title match on last week's Raw Supershow. While I speculated something might have changed regarding Morrison's contract status with WWE, I am now being assured that isn't the case. Morrison's WWE contract is still coming up and he's believed to be leaving the company and eventually going to TNA Impact Wrestling. Sources close to WWE creative tell me that McMahon has a pattern of wanting to shock everyone by having a guy win that everyone assumes can't win because they're leaving. A situation several years back involving Rob Van Dam was mentioned in comparison. The original plan had Morrison losing on Raw Supershow but was re-written with the outcome shown the day of the taping.
- The official WWE website has announced that Christian will be unable to compete on Wade Barrett's Survivor Series team this Sunday due to a severe high ankle sprain he suffered at a house show in Belgium last Wednesday. No replacement for Christian has been announced, and the article speculates that Barrett may not have a replacement at all. Click here to view the full article.
- Christian was replaced in the Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team match by WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler. The bout now looks like this: Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Hunico & Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, Mason Ryan, Kofi Kingston & Sin Cara. We'll have full live coverage of WWE Survivor Series Sunday night at 8 PM EST here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- After tonight's WWE Raw Supershow went off the air, CM Punk, John Cena & Randy Orton b. Awesome Truth & World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. The crowd started chanting "we want Ryder" so Zack Ryder came out. The finish saw Punk hit GTS on R-Truth, Orton hit the RKO on Henry and Ryder hit Rough Ryder on The Miz.
- WWE has announced that Jonah Hill will guest star on next Monday's Raw Supershow to promote his new film "The Sitter." Next Monday's Raw Supershow will be taped from the GIANT Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
- Wrestling News World reader Dan Bault saw CM Punk backstage at last night's Guns N Roses concert from the All State Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
- John Cena will join the crew of ESPN "GameDay" on Saturday from the campus of the University of Houston.
- The Street has a new video online on WWE stock that is embedded below:
- WWE is currently in a period where "very little attention" is being paid to Smackdown. This is something that happens every year or two when Vince McMahon becomes so preoccupied with Raw that he starts to "rubber stamp" Smackdown, letting the writing team for the show make the decisions and not offer as much input. Writing for Smackdown is a much less stressful working environment than Raw because McMahon is micromanaging everything and constantly requesting re-writes for the latter. Often times, Raw is re-written just hours before it goes live on the USA Network. One of my sources within WWE creative told me that while being a writer on Raw is considered much more prestigious, there is currently some "major jealousy" of the Smackdown writers because they are able to do their jobs lately with very little interference. My source also noted how McMahon is getting older and doesn't have the energy that he used to have. They told me by the time Tuesday rolls around, McMahon is so tired and warm down he doesn't care to pick the show apart the way he does with Raw.
- ESPN announced on their College GameDay Twitter that there have been a change of plans and former Houston Cougars star and 10-time Olympic medalist Carl Lewis will pick the games. Yesterday it was announced the games would be picked by John Cena. I'm not sure what happened or if Cena will appear.
- WWE announced that the Smackdown taping on April 3, two days after WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami, will be held at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
- John Cena will not be appearing on ESPN's College GameDay Saturday to make his picks, after it was announced yesterday that Cena had been replaced by Carl Lewis. Cena confirmed by posting the following on Twitter this morning: I want to apologize to espn's gameday crew. I thank them for their hospitality, but I have some immediate family bizz that needs handling
- Heath Slater's 30-day suspension for his first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy has ended. The only active Superstar currently suspended, Evan Bourne, will complete his suspension on December 1st.
- Wrestling News World reader Tay Bos sent word that WWE All Stars is up for the award of "Best Fighting Game" at this year's Spike Video Game Awards. The winner of this award will be selected by the VGA Advisory Board, but you can vote on who you think should win at this link.
- Two new game modes for the 3DS version of WWE All Stars have been announced, Gauntlet Mode and Score Scramble. The official WWE Games YouTube channel has posted the following video introducing the modes, which is embedded below:
- There was a rumor coming out of this week's TVs with the likely cancellation of the 2011-2012 NBA season that WWE is interested in securing Miami Heat forward LeBron James for an appearance at Wrestlemania XXVIII next year in Miami. The company has pitched ideas involving James for years but the two sides have had a difficult time working anything out because of the limited window due to the NBA season. With it looking more and more like there won't be an NBA season this year, WWE officials are hoping to get LeBron to agree to an appearance in Miami. WWE, or pro wrestling in general, is no stranger from using professional athletes - especially professional basketball players. Former NBA stars Shaquille O'Neal, Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone have all three made mainstream wrestling appearances in the past.
- WWE has just announced that Beth Phoenix will now defend her Divas Championship against Eve in a Lumberjill Match. We'll have full live coverage of WWE Survivor Series this Sunday here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- The current plan is to do Triple H vs. Kevin Nash at next month's WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view.
- Mick Foley is filming an appearance for "30 Rock" as Mankind today. He's got a comedy show in Onset, Massachusetts over the weekend and isn't expected to appear at Survivor Series Sunday in New York City. However, that could always change.
Speaking of Foley's comedy, his show got a negative review by Anderw Dipper of Giggle Beats when he was touring the United Kingdom. Below is an excerpt that is available in its entirety at this link:
Describing his [Mick Foley] set as 'funny' feels constraining and often inadequate. Above anything, Foley's fashioned an enjoyable show of entertaining anecdotes about his wrestling years, occasionally punctuated with odd pieces of material. And with the inclusion of a brief question and answer session, and a meet and greet after the gig, this was a chance for wrestling fans to meet their idol.
Foley fired back at the writer on Twitter but drew more criticism from fans who said it made him seem insecure. Foley later said he was angry when he wrote the comments.
- The Miz & Maryse recently met with fans after a party in Los Angeles and answered a number of questions. The Miz briefly discussed his upcoming match at Survivor Series and Maryse discussed her future projects. She claimed to be done with professional wrestling and when asked, said "No TNA, no TNA, no TNA!" Video is embedded below:
- The first review of WWE '12 is in and it's impressive. The popular IGN gaming website gave the game a 9.0/10 "Amazing" rating.
If anyone knows anything about IGN, they know the publication is not overly optimistic so this is an excellent rating. Below is a summary of their ratings:
Some incredible work here, recreating the WWE experience in a dramatic, almost lifelike way. The story needs some work.
On the ramp and in the ring, the graphics are great. When it comes to acting, the results are about as good as you might expect.
All the music you want is here, and so are the wrestlers' voices, but the wrestlers have more passion on TV.
The core mechanics are excellent, but the single-player story doesn't want to let you use them.
9.5 Lasting Appeal
There are almost too many options. Online is great but the interface is a bit awkward.
(out of 10)
The launch trailer for WWE '12 is embedded in the video below:
Below is a video of John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar from WWE '12:
- Wrestling News World reader Hiroaki Kawafuji sent in the following: WWE Japan officially announced Kevin Nash will come to Japan for Raw World Tour at Yokohama Arena on 11/30 and 12/1. Nash will face Big Show on 11/30, and he will team up with The Miz to schedule to face John Cena and Big Show on 12/1.
- Eve recently discussed her fitness routine and her Women Empowered program, a self-defense program for women, in an interview with GalTimeTV. The interview is embedded below:
- John Cena was recently interviewed by Chad Dukes of 106.7 The Fan DC, in which he discussed his support of Zack Ryder and more. When asked what he saw in Ryder to make sure he got his spotlight on Raw, Cena responded:
"I just like seeing a kid with a set of nuts who is just ready to throw it out on the line and risk it all, rather than 'Hey man I just don't want to rock the boat and I don't want to do anything that's going to draw attention to myself.' We're in the business of drawing attention to yourself. So when I see a kid like Zack Ryder - by the way, you have to follow him on Twitter @ZackRyder - the kid is, he's just one of those guys that was willing to take a chance. And I admire that quality out of people. It's something that's not found enough in the WWE locker room."
Click here to listen to the full interview.
- Chris Jericho did a new interview where he maintains he's not returning to WWE right now. He also says he doesn't see another company challenging Vince McMahon and that even Dixie Carter would work for McMahon if he offered. You can watch the interview embedded below:
- The New York Post has a new article online featuring quotes from CM Punk. In it, he discusses playing video games with Kofi Kingston, his straight edge lifestyle and Sunday's Survivor Series pay-per-view. Click here to read the full article.
- WWE has hired digital agency SaptientNitro to re-design WWE.com, according to Direct Marketing News via a statement from WWE publicist Kellie Baldyga. According to the report, the re-designed site is slated to go live in the first quarter of 2012. SapientNitro recently re-designed Target.com.
- Layla will join Tyson Kidd and Natalya at the FCW Turkey Bash next week. The show will take place Wednesday, November 23, 2011 from the Orlando Armory in Orlando, Florida. Click here for more information. Layla is currently out rehabbing a torn ACL that required surgery back in May.
- Deadline.com is reporting that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will star in Monster Hunter's Survival Guide, a live action adventure film based on the comic book miniseries by John Paul Russ that was published by Zenescope Entertainment. The Rock will return to the ring Sunday at WWE Survivor Series. We'll have full live coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
TNA Impact Wrestling News
- Robbie E beat Eric Young at tonight's TNA Turning Point pay-per-view to win the TNA Television Championship.
- Gail Kim beat Velvet Sky at tonight's TNA Turning Point pay-per-view to win the TNA Knockout Women's Championship.
- TNA Final Resolution will be headlined by Bobby Roode defending the TNA Championship against AJ Styles in a 30 Minute Iron Man Match. TNA Final Resolution will take place Sunday, December 11, 2011 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- Michael Tarver was seen backstage at this week's TNA Impact Wrestling tapings, multiple sources are now reporting. (Thanks to WNW reader Rick Craig).
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent in the following:
- The UK Sun has a new article online featuring quotes from Gail Kim promoting TNA's 2012 tour of the United Kingdom. Here's an excerpt:
"The division over here is so strong, and the girls are so talented. There is a great group of women here and I just wanted to be part of it and contribute."
Click here to read the full article.
- Jesse Neal wrote the following on Twitter:
If u want to book me I am free after this weekend, let me know.... and trust me u'll get ur moneys worth.
This has obviously raised speculation Neal could be on his way out of TNA Impact Wrestling. I know the two parties have been on shaky grounds for quite some time with Neal even threatening to walk if he didn't get a push.
- Tickets for the January 12th Impact Wrestling house show from the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT go on sale tomorrow. For more information, click here.
- The creators of the low-budget independent horror film "Death from Above" starring Kurt Angle shopped the film earlier this month at the American Film Market in Los Angeles. As of press time, I am not aware of a deal being struck. The flick also features James Storm, Matt Morgan and ODB. From what I understand the film is considered to be "embarrassing" and makes WWE Studios productions looks like "Oscar nominees." You can read about the plot and watch the trailer at this link.
- The latest on Jesse Neal is he expected to work this weekend's house show loop in Mississippi and will then be finished with TNA Impact Wrestling. Neal has been demanding a bigger push in the company but was recently asked to go down to Ohio Valley Wrestling. Neal obviously balked at the idea thus ending his tenure with TNA.
- Jesse Neal took to Twitter to tell fans what we already reported in that he will be on this weekend's TNA Impact Wrestling live events. However, he also said he didn't turn down an offer from TNA because of more training and that he's always up for more training. Neal is expected to finish up with TNA this weekend and has been rumored to be on shaky grounds with the company for months. Both Neal and Shannon Moore have sought a push and threatened to walk if they didn't get one.
Why is Batista a DLC character in WWE '12? Does this have anything to do with a possible return? Does Batista benefit at all being in the game?
Batista being a downloadable character in WWE '12 does not necessarily mean he is returning to WWE. I've always thought Batista would come back for a retirement tour but he maintains he won't come back under the company's PG direction. Regardless of his status, Batista worked out a deal to be included in the game. The inclusion of his character does give him the right to earn royalty checks from the game which are given based on a percentage sold.
Was Chris Jericho's Tweet over the weekend that he would never wrestle in WWE again legitimate?
Chris Jericho's Tweet this weekend has certainly got everyone talking and the truth is, very few people know whether it's a shoot or a work. While there is no way of knowing for certain, I feel like this was something to get the Internet talking. Jericho has always had fun ribbing the Internet. Remember when he put a silhouette of himself standing in front of the TNA logo on his official website several years ago? Even if a wrestler retires in this business, there's no guarantee they stay retired. I wouldn't read too much into the comments other than the fact they were made to get people talking.
With Mark Henry having such a dominate run as World Heavyweight Champion, is he bringing prestige back to the title?
Long title reigns are good for the credibility of the title so yes, I believe his reign has helped the prestige. WWE has pushed Mark Henry to the moon and it will be interesting to see how long they are able to keep it going.
Do you think John Laurinaitis has the right kind of heat (someone the fans love to hate like The Miz) or do you think he's mostly perceived by the fans as annoying?
The John Laurinaitis character is scripted to be an unbearable company yes-man that fans cannot stand. It doesn't matter if fans "love to hate him," if he's perceived as annoying, the goal is being accomplished. Go-away heat, like that of Michael Cole or someone like The Great Khali, is irrelevant because Laurinaitis doesn't have a set job to do like play-by-play or working a match.
Do you think the WWE is moving further away from the PG style? With the way The Rock was leading the crowd with his "Boots to Asses" chant seems like they are either moving further away. Or do you think they are just giving Rock more lenience?
WWE has "spiced things up" for the past few months but I'm reluctant to say they are moving away from PG programming, especially with Linda McMahon running for United States Senate again next year. The Rock is given more lenience and WWE PG really doesn't apply to him. He's protecting his character and Vince McMahon is thrilled to have him back.
Do you ever see Zack Ryder being a main event type guy in WWE?
I don't see Zack Ryder's gimmick as a main event gimmick but he has the talent to work in the top of the card. Gimmicks can always be tweaked to elevate a worker but the Jersey Shore stuff has a shelf-life. I don't want to make a direct comparison between Ryder and John Cena but Cena was introduced to the WWE audience with a gimmick that had a shelf-life and developed into one of the biggest stars in the business. While I understand Ryder has had past gimmicks on WWE TV, this is his first singles gimmick.
Is it me or does it actually seem like WWE is attempting to turn John Cena after Raw was Rocked?
I was surprised at the amount of heat John Cena got in Boston. That in itself should be very telling to WWE officials that something needs to be done with a gimmick that people are so tired of they are even booing it in the worker's hometown. I couldn't imagine CM Punk getting heat in Chicago or Randy Orton getting heat in St. Louis. With that being said, I maintain that I will have to see a Cena heel turn to believe it.
Have you heard any updates on Kane? We haven't heard anything since he was written off with the Mark Henry injury angle.
Kane has been out on requested time off. WWE creative is evaluating plans to bring him back. For more details on those plans, click here.
Do you think Mark Henry should hold the World Heavyweight Championship until Wrestlemania XXVIII and face Daniel Bryan? If Daniel Bryan made Henry submit, would that make him a legitimate threat in WWE?
I would be all for Mark Henry holding the World Heavyweight Championship until Wrestlemania XXVIII and finally being defeated by Daniel Bryan. Not only do I think WWE could build the feud over the next several months but it would be a tremendous rub for Daniel Bryan and yes, it would make him a legitimate threat in WWE. However, I question the amount of faith WWE has in Daniel Bryan as a main event talent. Furthermore this is all under the assumption that somehow, Mark Henry beats Big Show. The booking of their match this Sunday at Survivor Series is going to be tricky as I wasn't a fan of the no content finish last month even though I popped for the ring breaking.
How is possible for Mick Foley to go from WWE to TNA back to WWE so easily?
Mick Foley had a harder time than he expected getting a WWE contract from his most recent run in TNA. The major hiccup in his plan was the stroke of Triple H. I have full details in a lengthy backstage report available at this link. Foley's current role in WWE is still undefined as he didn't come back as an in-ring performer but was treated as a guest on Monday's Raw Supershow.
Why is WWE plugging Twitter so much on their programming?
Vince McMahon is currently on a major social networking kick. The company feels Twitter provides them with an opportunity to promote their product through their talent without paying a dime. It also helps the talent as they are able to build large Twitter accounts which are very beneficial if they end up leaving the company. However, I agree WWE has gone overboard with it and while slightly toned down this week, it is too much of a focal point.
To date, is Sting still a possibility to join WWE for a possible Wrestlemania appearance?
WWE made one of the strongest pushes ever to sign Sting for Wrestlemania XXVII this year. They launched the video campaign to bring back The Undertaker but so many fans speculated it was Sting, WWE did all they could to bring him in. Sting, by his own admission, thought long and hard about it but ended up staying in TNA Wrestling. Anything is possible but I doubt as much of a push would be made for Wrestlemania next year with The Rock headlining the show.
I have heard there have been backstage/real life tension between The Rock and Triple H in the past. Is this true, and if so what's the situation now?
From what I understand Triple H and The Rock have never been friends and don't see eye-to-eye. I know I've written about it before but I don't think it's one issue in particular as much as it is just two massive egos. Apparently Hunter has stayed out of The Rock's way and is obviously willing to do what is the best for the company. Vince McMahon has been trying to get The Rock back for years so obviously Hunter didn't want to do anything to mess it up now that it's a reality. The Rock has a lot of haters backstage, as do most top WWE workers.
How does one go about being a referee in WWE?
Referees have to get trained just like wrestlers. Some of the referees in WWE started out in another role. For example, Jack Doan was a truck driver for WWE is the 1990s, helping move equipment to live events. He also worked backstage and as a member of the company's ring crew. Scott Armstrong is a former in-ring worker and also the son of a WWE Hall of Famer. If you're looking to get to WWE as a referee, you need to get down to Florida and start making some connections in the independent scene.
Will there be any more Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team matches this year or are they doing what they did in 2007 and 2010?
I haven't heard of plans of any more Traditional Survivor Series matches being announced and barring a last minute change, it doesn't appear likely. Vince McMahon isn't high up on the gimmick and actually feels it's outdated. Remember the entire pay-per-view was nearly scrapped last year but there was a change of heart due to the name recognition of the show.
Will WWE ever eliminate the Divas division and use only male superstars? I don't know why divas are still around as not many are interested.
I never like to say never but it's highly unlikely Vince McMahon is going to eliminate the sex appeal from the company. The Divas are used for their looks and are ambassadors for WWE. Have you seen the December 2011 cover of Maxim magazine featuring Kelly Kelly? I understand your frustration with the in-ring usage of the Divas but they hold a larger purpose than what you see on weekly TVs.
In yesterday's Ask WNW you mentioned that Vince McMahon is not high up on the Survivor Series gimmick. Why?
Survivor Series 2009 did 235,000 buys which was sharply down from 319,000 buys from the year prior. While I loudly maintained it was because UFC had a show the night before, Vince McMahon said in an investor conference call the concept was no longer over. I don't know what or who changed his mind but he was ready to nix the pay-per-view because of the decline in buys. Last year's Survivor Series buys were up but only slightly at 244,000 buys.
Why is Dolph Ziggler booked twice at Survivor Series?
WWE wanted Dolph Ziggler to defend the WWE United States Championship and to replace Christian in the Traditional Survivor Series Match. I realize this is his second consecutive pay-per-view he has been double booked and cannot give a definitive answer as to why. However, this isn't the original plan as Ziggler was inserted to replace Christian.
Why did Mick Foley choose to return to WWE?
I obviously can't describe Mick Foley's mindset in returning to WWE but he obviously enjoys the business and wants to be part of it. Foley didn't come back to wrestle and his role remains undefined but he has signed a contract. With Foley now pursuing a career in stand-up comedy, WWE is a great way for him to remain in the limelight.
What's the big deal about The Rock competing at Survivor Series?
I have been against The Rock working at Survivor Series because I feel it cheapens the excitement and anticipation of his Wrestlemania XXVIII main event against John Cena. It was actually The Rock that wanted a chance to get into the ring before Wrestlemania but that doesn't change my opinion. If The Rock was coming back full-time, I would have no problem with it. However, one of the main selling points of The Rock working Wrestlemania is his return to the ring in nearly eight years. That selling point will be lost after Sunday. I wrote a lengthy editorial about my reasons over on Richard's Backstage Blog at this link.