HBK Says Vince Is “Big” On Daniel Bryan, Physical WWE HoF Not A Done Deal, Nancy Benoit’s Sister Tells All, RVD Escapes Disaster, Sting Interested In WWE?, Wellness Suspension, Several TNA Releases, Undeniable Proof That Vince McMahon Is Still In Charge Of WWE, WWE Sued Over Pyrotechnics

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, June 29, 2013 to Friday, July 5, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

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

WWE News

- There is a photo circulating of Nikki Bella in a wheelchair with John Cena by her side. We haven’t heard what’s wrong with her, however, you can view the photo below:

- The latest episode of The JBL & Cold Show features the guys – with Renee Young – touring Charleston, South Carolina. You can watch it at this link.

- Shawn Michaels made headlines earlier this week when he spoke of a recent conversation with Vince McMahon in an interview with the Ministry of Slam wrestling radio show. In the interview, HBK recalled a recent conversation with Vince where he said Vince told him he just didn’t see money in a particular talent. Michaels reminded Vince that was the same thing he said about him.

Since HBK didn’t name the worker, the Internet went ablaze with speculation that he was talking about Daniel Bryan. Michaels says who he was talking about wasn’t relevant or he would have said their name, however, the person is actually 6’3 250 and was not “DB.”

The following is from HBK’s Twitter:

- EOnline.com ran an article on the Natalya/Tyson Kidd wedding with photos at this link. In addition to the cast of “Total Divas,” the following WWE names were in attendance:

The legitimacy of Wednesday night’s ceremony has been called into question with rumors swirling the couple eloped months ago, however, congratulations are in order! The wedding is expected to be prominently featured on the new “Total Divas” reality show that premieres next month on E!

- WWE is in the process of moving from the Florida Championship Wrestling facility in Tampa to the new WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Everything must go as the company prepares for the grand opening of their new state of the art facility next month. The company is also making personnel changes with Rob Naylor departing. More are expected to follow as Triple H gets “his team” in place.

- Perez Hilton covers the loaded cast of “Grown Ups 2″ featuring Steve Austin at this link.

- The following stories are from my Twitter account located at Twitter.com/wnwdotcom. Follow me for more news and analysis and I’ll even answer questions, as long as you are following. If you are viewing this post from Dirt Sheet, you will want to click the “view original post” link below or click here to format correctly:

Bray Wyatt Injury Update

The injury, although minor, occurred at the WWE NXT tapings a couple weeks ago. Bray Wyatt was replaced in bouts by Luke Harper. Click here for more.

Nikki Bella Update

A picture surfaced with Nikki Bella in a wheelchair with real-life boyfriend John Cena by her side. You can view it at this link.

Congratulations Armando Estrada

- Here are some sales figures for the latest WWE DVDs:

12 Rounds 2: Reloaded sold 31,855 copies in its first week. This is down 52,000 units from The Marine 3 in its opening week.

Speaking of which, The Marine 3 is up to 167,559 units sold in North America. The chart is available at this link.

Wrestlemania 29 has sold 92,740 units in its first three weeks.

Click here for the numbers for the week ending June 2, 2013. Click here for the numbers for the week ending June 9, 2013.

- Reports surfaced last week the physical WWE Hall of Fame will be built in Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, replacing the NBA City Table Service. We’re told not so fast, my friends! The deal isn’t done yet and Universal actually leaked the news of WWE negotiations. WWE remains in active negotiations with a couple of other locations, one of which is on I-DRIVE. Obviously the word is out of WWE’s interest in the NBA City Table Service spot in Universal. We’re told there are other companies trying to land the spot in Universal so the leak might have been intentional to drive up the lease offers on the location.

- WWE has acknowledged the recent marriage of Tyson Kidd & Natalya, and has confirmed that Natalya’s bachelorette party, as well as the wedding, will air as part of the upcoming E! reality series, “Total Divas.” We previously reported that several WWE names were in attendance at the ceremony and cameras filmed the event.

- Former WWE NXT employee Rob Naylor got a huge sendoff from his co-workers as Saturday night his friends in the company got the hashtag #ThankYouNaylor to trend Twitter. CM Punk helped out quite a bit by holding a Q&A with the hashtag. Naylor, who will depart WWE following the move to Orlando, will be working personally for Dusty Rhodes.

- FCW President Steve Keirn will also be departing the company. Norman Smiley will remain on as a trainer with WWE NXT.

- SCTimes.com caught up with Larry “The Axe” Hennig to discuss the repackaging of his grandson, Curtis Axel. Below are the highlights:

“He’s no overnight sensation,” Hennig said. “He’s been working hard the past five years to get where he’s at. And he deserves it. He’s representing a billion dollar company. You have to be good or you’re going to be gone. They can’t afford any misfires there.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Nancy Benoit’s sister, Sandra Toffoloni, is speaking out six years after the Benoit Family Tragedy rocked the wrestling world on June 25, 2007. The 2 Count’s Dina M conducted the interview that we recap below.

Please be advised this was very difficult for me. This story was my first “big story” as a full-time pro wrestling journalist and one that is extremely hard to rehash, even to this day. Please check out the Nancy and Daniel Benoit Foundation at this link. Let’s also give The2Count.com a lot of credit as the original interview is published at this link.

Her relationship with Chris Benoit:

We bonded instantly, which wasn’t easy with Christopher. I don’t know if it is the difference of being Canadian… or that almost all he knew in life was wrestling; but when we would talk, as young as I was, it was like student and teacher. Books he should get, bands he would love, movies and TV that were a must watch! It was crazy how much of the same things we liked and enjoyed! We got along instantly like peas and carrots. The fact that he loved my sister SO desperately was the first thing, obviously, that we had in common.

When she first got wind the relationship between Chris and Nancy got complicated:

I lived in Atlanta and my sister asked me home almost every one of my days off. I want to be clear: Chris was not an abusive husband. But there were, what we call in the industry, though don’t often talk about, “high spots”. She had been there, in that position before, and refused to put up with it at all, especially with Daniel in their home. So I went with her after one of these “incidents” to file an order of protection.

What she means by “high spots”:

Yelling, screaming, name calling, shoving, pushing, breaking stuff.

If Nancy ever feared for her and Daniel’s safety:

Yes, when she first filed for divorce.

Why Nancy dropped the divorce proceedings and restraining order:

Because, like with any marriage where there are issues, they made up and wanted to reconcile, especially for Daniel.

Was Daniel’s health an issue for Chris and Nancy:

Daniel did not have Fragile X. I have his medical records. He was NOT sick.

Her last conversation with Nancy:

I spoke to Nancy on Thursday June 21, 2007, the day before she passed. I used to visit with my sister on Sundays and Mondays, which were basically the days that Chris was away. I had told her that, this particular week, my schedule would not allow me to visit with her before Monday. I lived in North Carolina at the time. We were both concerned about my best friend’s friend’s grandmother who had become very ill in Florida. I was trying to figure out a way to get to Florida and visit with “Nana”, as we used to call her, and support my friend. Nancy told me that she would take care of flying me down there and she also said that I was very tired and stressed out and needed to unwind and do something for myself. We talked about mascaras and she told me that I needed to get a good quality mascara for myself. We also talked about Daniel and how he was graduating from horse camp. We talked about David (Chris’ older son) and how he was growing. Nancy also spoke to me about her home improvement plans for the upcoming summer. Chris and Nancy were considering having another baby but Nancy had said that she wouldn’t have one until I moved closer to them. They then suggested that a house be built for me on the acreage right by their own home. Chris was actually stoked about it. Nancy was hoping to travel with Chris on occasion if they could have someone close by to take care of the children. Once we hung up, Nancy called me back a little later to tell me that she had put some money in my bank account so I could do something for myself that upcoming Monday: get a massage, a pedicure, buy some mascara. This is how generous my sister was and that was the last time I ever spoke to her. She had no clue as to what was about to happen.

Chris becoming paranoid and rumors of Late-Onset Schizophrenia:

This turn of events was not sudden. Early in 2006, they were looking into putting Daniel in a private Christian school, the best school in the area. Many athletes’ children attended this particular school and the high level of security was related to the caliber of the families of the children that went there. In order to get Daniel in that school, Chris and Nancy had to attend church service regularly. Although my sister and I were raised strictly Catholic, Chris did not subscribe to any one particular religion. He developed an interest in Eastern religion and philosophy while wrestling in Japan. This interest got stronger when it was time to get Daniel into private school. When my brother-in-law wanted to do something or learn of something, he fully invested himself into it. His dedication to his career and his relationship with my sister are proof of this. I used to tell him where to look and what books to read that may be of some interest to him.

Before all that, Chris had suffered multiple losses of friends. Eddie Guerrero’s death in 2005 shocked us all, no one was prepared for that. It was devastating for Nancy but it was devastating for Chris on a whole other level. Eddie’s passing came after a long line of huge losses and Chris was in a state of perpetual bereavement. His as well as Nancy’s closest friends passed away and it always seemed to be drug or steroid-related.

After Eddie passed away, Chris and Nancy discussed the possibility of Chris leaving the WWE and starting his own wrestling school. As a matter of fact, it had become more than a possibility. A business plan had been developed and merchandise had been designed. However, the WWE was prepared to give Chris a big push and put him into another championship match so Chris began training harder and pushing his body further. Chris did a lot of self-medicating. My brother-in-law made every show, he went to every production meeting, never missed a call, never missed a flight and always drove himself or made travel arrangements. Chris wasn’t schizophrenic. Someone with schizophrenia wouldn’t be able to do all that. He had a serious drug problem, used a lot of steroids and was certainly not alone in that at the time. The paranoia was a direct result of the abuse of steroids. The last 2 weeks I spent with Chris, we used to go to the gym and go tanning together. At some point, he began acting weird and I wondered what was wrong with him. He would find 30 different routes to drive to the gym which he never did before. This is not schizophrenia! This was a result of combining steroids with pain medication and, later on, alcohol. I had never seen him like this before. The final blow came in mid-June 2007, just a few days before everything happened, when Sherri Martel passed away. That devastated Nancy just as much as Eddie’s death had devastated Chris. I remember my sister telling me “I don’t know how much more of this I can take and I don’t know how much more of this Chris can take”.

What she believes happened that led to the double murder suicide:

First of all, at that time, the wellness policy program was ineffective. I’d like to think that it’s changed but I’m not sure it has. Everyone joked about it. There was no way Chris could have tested clean unless the sample wasn’t his. It is my understanding that “roid rage” typically does not last an entire weekend. It is my belief although I was not there that he and Nancy got into a terrible argument that escalated to the point of serious violence. In spite of what the public has heard following the autopsy reports, let me tell you that my sister was brutalized. My sister’s death was a direct result of “roid rage.” He completely lost it. The Chris Benoit I had known for a decade loved my sister so much that he would never – even in the worst episode of high spots – have hurt my sister this bad. I believe he totally blacked out. I also believe that, when he came out of it and realized what he had done, he went out of his mind. He probably couldn’t believe what he had done to Nancy. He realized what he had done and medicated even more and drank and wondered how he would explain this to Daniel. He probably became so grief stricken with his own actions that he didn’t want to live anymore. I can understand him taking his own life, especially knowing he would get capital punishment if he were tried and found guilty of my sister’s murder. However, I can’t put a reason on why Chris killed Daniel. I myself am unable to have children and my sister and Chris always made me feel better about this fact by sharing so much of my nephew’s life with me. I was very, very close to Daniel. Chris knew I would have taken care of and loved that child with everything I had. I would have kept David and Megan in his life as well and he knew all that.

You know, evidence showed that on the Sunday before he committed suicide, he was booking flights to get to the show he was scheduled to appear on in Beaumont, Texas. This shows that there was a moment, however brief, that he thought he could get away with it. I don’t believe in the brain damage theory. He killed 2 people and believed he could go wrestle. The concussion theory doesn’t really stick with me. Yes, my brother-in-law had concussions, he hit his head for a living and I understand that. But way beyond that, he had a very serious drug and steroid problem. Unfortunately, a lot of athletes still do to this day. It’s spiraling out of control. The medical examiner told us after the autopsy that Chris was on his way to death within 10 months. His heart was huge, about 3 times normal size, and it was ready to blow up at any moment. It can’t be told to me that this wasn’t the determining factor behind what happened. I wasn’t there that weekend but I was during the last decade. Chris could have never done what he did had it not been for the steroids and prescription drugs.

Chris being erased from WWE history:

It’s a very difficult question to answer. I feel that their original reaction in dedicating Monday Night Raw to Chris’ memory on the same very day the bodies were discovered was a huge PR nightmare for them. They made this 2-hour tribute show with a 15 minute tribute in the opening minutes. How they got all this together so quickly, I don’t know. If anything it’s a testament to the swiftness of their production crew.

I think it’s too soon to make a decision about whether or not it will ever be okay for them as a company to bring Chris back up. I still know a lot of people in the business and hear a lot of things. Although a case was recently made for Chris to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, the mere mention of it was quickly squashed. Let me be the first to say this: Chris was the best at what he did professionally. He was very dedicated to his craft, his career and this company. But he is a murderer. He choked the life out of his own son and he brutalized my sister in ways that are unimaginable. Sadly, when you do something like that, the rest of what you did in your life no longer matters and that was a decision HE made. Bringing Chris back up again would crush my parents. It’s way too soon to even mention that idea. It’s been 6 years but it feels like yesterday to us. Maybe one day it will be okay to once again recognize him for the career he did have but, in the meantime, he created the legacy that now haunts the industry. I think that as a company as business-savvy as WWE, they know better. They see what happens when we get angry. Vince McMahon took a public oath on the air to never mention Chris’ name again. Legally and public-relations wise, I think that they’re scared of what might happen if they go back on that oath. Vince McMahon won’t go back on his word. There is no way they would even think about it without consulting with us first. No matter how much lobbying Chris’ family or the fans can do. Mike Benoit knows what Chris did was horrible. If my child would do what Chris did, I too would try to excuse his behaviour. So I understand why Mike Benoit would want a physical REASON for what his son did; and utilizing Concussion Syndrome to explain away Chris’ actions would provide that. Though I sympathize with their pain, it simply is NOT the entire truth. If Chris were to resurface in any way, it would have to be much further down the road. We are not even close to a healing point. A lot of people would expect me to be hateful and spiteful to Chris and his legacy but the Chris I want to remember is the brother-in-law I knew up until the year before all this happened. Unfortunately, I don’t have any contact with David and Megan, Chris’ children, but they too have to be considered. It must be a huge burden for them to carry the Benoit last name in Canada. I love them and miss them very much.

Click here to read the interview in its entirety.

- Frito-Lay’s “Doritos Jacked” chips are the primary sponsor of SummerSlam. WWE SummerSlam 2013 will take place Sunday, August 18, 2013 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

- If you missed Sunday’s airing of “Celebrity Wife Swap” with Roddy Piper and Ric Flair on ABC, you can watch online now at this link.

- Below are some news and notes from my Twitter. Make sure you following me at Twitter.com/wnwdotcom to maximize your experience:

- Rebecca Quin, who became known as Rebecca Knox on the independent scene, is headed to WWE developmental:

We reported in April here on Wrestling News World that Quin signed a two-year deal with the company.

- Rob Van Dam said on Twitter he was eating a restaurant with his parents after the Ocala Comic Con and a car crashed into the side of it. The following is from Twitter:

- Brian Fritz interviewed David Otunga to promote “The Call” on DVD at this link.

- Big E Langston is interviewed at this link.

- Sunday night’s episode of “Celebrity Wife Swap” featuring Ric Flair and Roddy Piper only drew 3,220,000 viewers on ABC. This was sharply down from the 4,450,000 views the show did last week.

- WWE has posted a new job listing for a “Series Producer.” Below is an overview of the position:

WWE, a recognized leader in global entertainment, seeks an innovative, curious, Producer with a passion for creating television shows to lead a team within the Evergreen Content Department.

This role will oversee the creative execution and production of assigned programs from conceptualization through production and post production to delivery.

This position will determine and maintain the creative vision and look and feel of original and repurposed content in accordance with senior management’s vision.

Click here for more.

- WWE announced the signing schedule for CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, Ricky Steamboat and The Shield at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con on August 8-11. You can check it out at this link.

- Kane appeared at 2012 Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul‘s annual BBQ event in Lake Jackson, Texas over the weekend. Gage Skidmore took a number of pictures from the event, featuring Kane giving a speech, as well as meeting with Paul, Vince Vaughn, and others. Click here to view them.

- Earlier this afternoon, WWE made two title matches official for WWE Money in the Bank: Curtis Axel will defend his Intercontinental Championship against The Miz, and AJ Lee will defend her Divas Championship against Kaitlyn. WWE Money in the Bank 2013 will take place on Sunday, July 14, 2013 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- The following cryptic tweet comes from Bray Wyatt‘s Twitter account:

For more on Wyatt, check out our news archive at this link.

- Fandango, who has been out with a concussion, just sent out the following on Twitter:

- CM Punk guest-stars as a bounty hunter in the latest episode of “Star Wars: Course of the Force.” Click here for more information.

- Last week’s episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,259,000 viewers on SyFy. The show only did a 1.77 cable rating.

- It was announced on this week’s Monday Night Raw that Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns will defend the WWE Tag Team Championship against The Usos on the WWE Money in the Bank Kickoff show. The broadcast will air prior to the pay-per-view at 7:30 PM EDT and will be streamed live here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Fandango returned to WWE in a singles match against Sheamus on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. Sheamus went over via count out. Fandango has been out since suffering a concussion at the June 4, 2013 Smackdown taping in a match against Zack Ryder. The injury cost him an opportunity to face Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship at last month’s WWE Payback pay-per-view.  Fandango was replaced by Curtis Axel, who went on to win the title. Fandango is a participant in the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match at the pay-per-view in a couple weeks.

- Jack Swagger returned to WWE on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. Swagger has been off television since May. Last week, Swagger was convicted of Driving Under the Influence from a February arrest in Gulfport, Mississippi. We also learned he was dealing with a severed thumb tendon in his right hand. Swagger is a participant in the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match at the pay-per-view in a couple weeks.

- Two items are already being advertised for next week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw:

The debut of Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family. In addition to Wyatt, the faction includes Brodie Lee and Luke Harper.
The “job evaluation” of Vickie Guerrero featuring Vince McMahon, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

Next week’s episode of Monday Night Raw emanates from the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. We’ll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- After this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw went off the air, WWE Champion John Cena beat Ryback in a Tables Match following an in-ring confrontation between the two.

- WWE highlighted the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship throughout this week’s show, culminating with current champions Alberto Del Rio and John Cena squaring off in the show’s main event. Champions featured included Buddy Rogers, Lou Thesz, Bruno Sammartino, Harley Race, Bob Backlund, Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Sting, Triple H and Booker T.

- One of the bigger stories coming out of this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw was the crowd. Not only did the crowd come off as indifferent and uninterested on television, the reactions were equally as bad in the building. We’ve heard everything from the show was heavily papered to it was evident ticket holders didn’t keep up with weekly storylines. Another criticism was the vast amount of turns lately.

- Natalya addressed her wedding to Tyson Kidd. The following is from Twitter:

Backstage news from this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw in Sioux City…

- We have some notes regarding the opening segment of this week’s show. We’re told CM Punk respects Christian so much for helping put the Money in the Bank ladder match on the map, as does Daniel Bryan, they’ve been working with him  on ideas for the bout. They’ve discussed making it look good without taking unneeded risks. Edge was seen as an integral part to past MITB ladder matches but he always passed the credit to Christian and believes he’s a “mastermind” in planning the bout.

- WWE is trying to work a character for Ryback similar to what Dave Batista did right before he left. The premise is, “I’m too good to get hurt and give 100% on free TV.” We’re told company officially felt he need the true “I hate you” style gimmick.

- The stuff between Daniel Bryan and Vince McMahon was a worked shoot. There is still intrigue about possibly inserting Shawn Michaels in the angle.

- We’re told CM Punk and Paul Heyman had a role in booking the finish to the tag match with Curtis Axel against The Prime Time Players.

- Triple H made the call to air another vignette for The Wyatt Family to close this week’s broadcast. Hunter wants to bring them in and make them a “big deal” right off the bat.

- Perhaps the biggest note to come out of this week’s Raw is the rumors regarding Sting. Sting, who was featured by the company as a previous World Champion, has apparently put the word out he’s considering one run in WWE to close his career. Things are complicated as Sting is under contract with TNA Wrestling so he can’t directly negotiate but it’s interesting that the interest is reportedly coming from Sting and not WWE. The two parties were close to a deal a couple of years ago but it was WWE that reached out to Sting when there was intrigue from the vignettes the company ended up using to bring back Undertaker.

- WWE announced on Tuesday morning that Ricardo Rodriguez, real name Jesús Rodríguez, has been suspended for 30 days for his first violation of the company’s Wellness Policy.  Below is the official statement posted here on WWE’s corporate website:

STAMFORD, Conn., July 2, 2013 – In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE (NYSE:WWE) has suspended Jesús Rodríguez (Ricardo Rodriguez) for 30 days effective immediately for his first violation of the company’s policy.

Rodriguez was notably absent from this week’s Monday Night Raw where Dolph Ziggler’s “attack” on him from last week’s Smackdown was used as the kayfabe explanation.

- This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,956,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the hour by hour breakdown:

Hour one – 3,720,000 viewers
Hour two – 4,135,000 viewers
Hour three – 4,012,000 viewers

The show ended up with a 2.89 cable rating.

- WWE issued the following press release on Wednesday:

WWE® TO LAUNCH IN MYANMAR

July 3, 2013, Myanmar – WWE (NYSE:WWE) and SkyNet DTH today announced a new three-year television distribution agreement that brings WWE’s weekly television programming to Myanmar.

Beginning this month, SkyNet DTH will broadcast Monday Night Raw®, SmackDown®, WWE Main Event™ and WWE NXT™ on the SkyNet Sports 3 & SkyNet Teen channels.

“Joining WWE to bring their world-class entertainment to the people of Myanmar is a significant addition to our expanding portfolio,” said Win Naing, Executive General Manager of SkyNet TV. “We look forward to an ongoing partnership with WWE as we help to continue awareness and viewership of this global brand in South East Asia.”

“Myanmar is an emerging market in South East Asia and we are pleased to partner with SkyNet DTH to provide the best of WWE’s family-friendly entertainment to this new audience,” said Sweesin Wu, WWE’s Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific.

- The New York Times noted on Tuesday in their obituary page that Richard Heyman, the father of Paul Heyman, died June 25, 2013. The elder Heyman was a New York-based attorney who financially backed Extreme Championship Wrestling. He was 87 years old. The funeral will take place Friday at The Weinstein Memorial, 1652 Central Park Avenue in Yonkers, NY.

- Ricardo Rodriguez Tweeted the following after it was announced on Tuesday that he has been suspended for 30-days following his first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy:

- MVP has released a new song called “Wine and Dine.” You can listen to it at this link.

- Dub Latino cameras were will filming at Rey Mysterio’s house earlier this week. The following is from Twitter:

As for Mysterio’s return to the ring, he’s still targeting SummerSlam to return from knee problems.

- Is Vickie Guerrero’s career “in jeopardy”? Watch the latest episode of “Backstage Fallout” Raw at this link.

- WWE has released the Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton Street Fight from Monday Night Raw a couple of weeks ago in its entirety at this link.

- The WWE Performance Center is nearing its grand opening. We’re told much of last week was spent finishing up things, making last minute additions and basically getting things ready for staff and talent. We’re told the cameras have been installed with one feed going into the office of Bill DeMott with another going directly to Vince McMahon. Vince wants to be able to check in on developmental whenever he wants from wherever he wants. Given the recent accusations against DeMott, he’s expected to be on his best behavior with Vince randomly checking in whenever he decides to do so.

- We reported earlier last month here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that something happened with Samuray Del Sol and his pre-screening process for his developmental contract. Believe it or not, Del Sol wasn’t told what the issue was. So right now the only thing he knows is he was flagged in the pre-screening process.

- WWE has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the family of Susan Prim. The family alleges the fireworks after WWE SummerSlam 2008 from what was then the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana caused her to have a fatal asthma attack. SummerSlam 2008 took place on Sunday, August 17th from the venue in Indianapolis. In addition to WWE, other defendants include Capital Improvement Board, the city of Indianapolis, Pacers Basketball, LLC, Conseco Fieldhouse and various other pyrotechnic and entertainment companies. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled earlier this week that the list of defendants stands. TheIndyChannel.com has the full story at this link.

- Rob Van Dam is scheduled to return to WWE in a couple of weeks at their Money in the Bank pay-per-view where he will be a participant in the WWE Championship MITB ladder match. In addition to being scheduled for the July 14th pay-per-views, he’s advertised for the following TV tapings:

July 15th Raw in Brooklyn, NY
July 16th Smackdown taping in Providence, RI
July 22nd Raw in Austin, TX
July 23rd Raw taping in Laredo, TX
July 24th Smackdown taping in Corpus Christi, TX
July 25th Smackdown in Houston, TX

- Triple H was asked on Twitter why Vince McMahon is not in the WWE Hall of Fame. Hunter’s response was as follows: “Cause he won’t let us put him in.”

- BBQ with Big E Langston in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch it at this link.

- WWE added Disco Inferno to the alumni section on dot com. You can view his profile at this link.

- Rob Van Dam is scheduled to appear at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 18th in San Diego, California on behalf of WWE. You can read the full scheduled at this link.

- The Trentonian has a new article online featuring quotes from WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel. In it, he discusses not using his real name of Joe Hennig.  Below is an excerpt:

“The advantage of having a different name is I could do my own thing,” he said. “I had to work harder to prove I could do it.”

He added that it is a myth that second- and third-generation stars like himself are automatically pushed. In fact, using the family name only gets automatic attention from the fans and pressure to be great.

“If you don’t live up to that, you’re a flop,” he said.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The Carroll County Times out of Maryland has a new Q&A online with Dolph Ziggler. Below is an excerpt:

Q: First of all, let’s talk about you coming back from your recent concussion. Was this the first one you had suffered?

A: Yeah, I mean, I think I had one other one in college, but nothing this bad ever, in my life.

Q: Can you describe what you remember about getting it and the days and weeks after getting it?

A: Yeah, sure. I had a bad headache for a solid two weeks afterwards. I was diagnosed with retrograde amnesia which meant I ended up losing a day and a half, two days of my memory instantly, even though when the incident happened, there was like five more minutes of match that I went through and actually executed very well.

Q: For you personally, was that frustrating for you, not being able to compete, having just won the World Championship?

A: Yes. I can’t imagine anything in my career that’s been any worse than that. I was lucky enough to cash in my Money in the Bank, become World Heavyweight Champion, at this amazing “Monday Night Raw” with this crowd that was electric and I don’t know that we can ever reproduce again, and to have one week of some TVs go back, have a concussion, be out five weeks, have one title defense and lose it, I’ve never been more frustrated in my entire WWE career when that happened.

Q: Talk about working with AJ and Big E Langston. Do you guys travel together?

A: Yeah, we do, not even all the time, but some of the time the three of us do travel together, and it’s been kind of cool because AJ’s another one who, as a child, wanted to do this — like when I was five, I wanted to do this and I’m doing it now — I think when she was 8 or 10, she decided she wanted to do it and she’s doing it. So that’s brought us together. The two of us, maybe outside of work, never would’ve bumped into each other or said a word.

Q: So you haven’t been wrestling on TV the past few weeks. Can fans in Maryland expect to see you back competing in the ring July 6 in Ocean City and July 8 in Baltimore for Raw?

A: I would say so. Going along with what happened to me at the Payback pay-per-view, so of course I haven’t been in too many matches lately, but the thing is, for the last four years, I’ve been in 30 minute matches two and three times a week on TV. So I mean, I have a blast doing them, the crowd loves seeing them, but maybe this is a blessing in disguise, it’s a nice little break so you don’t see me in one of those matches I have every single night, it gives a little break and by the time we get to Ocean City and Baltimore, then it should be back in business, back to the old me, stealing the show, going out there begging for people to out-do my match.

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- Kofi Kingston, who underwent left elbow surgery on May 30, 2013, is currently on the booking sheets for WWE’s tour of Australia later this month. Kofi is programmed against Dean Ambrose in bouts for the WWE United States Championship.

- John Layfield feels the Washington Redskins should change their name. The following is an excerpt from a recent blog:

I’m a huge NFL fan, eventhough my Cowboys have caused me more grief than happiness this century. I love the rivalry with Washington-but what is the problem with changing the name “Redskins”, it is a derogatory term and no team would now be allowed to use it. It’s not like ‘Braves’ or Warriors’, it’s a slur-and my opinion is they need to change it. Changing the name is the right thing to do in my opinion-it doesn’t change the team or their terrific history as one of NFL’s great clubs.

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

- CitizensVoice.com has a new article online featuring quotes from WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee to promote Sunday’s WWE live event in Wilkes Barre, PA. Below are the highlights:

Winning the Divas title:

“To actually have completed that 14-year mission is amazing and surreal. I’ll kinda leave the title around my apartment, just to remind me of it,” she laughed. “Yeah, I put it in the bed with me sometimes.”

Faction with Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston:

“I’ve been so lucky to do a lot of that,” she said. “It’s so much fun. We all try to think of ways to be funnier or more offensive… We’ll have each other’s back, and we’ll all be there for this live event as well.”

Working for WWE:

“It’s the best job on earth,” she said. “I’m really lucky.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- This week’s episode of The JBL & Cole Show, subtitled “Tale of Sioux Cities,” is now online at this link.

- The Money in the Bank special episode of WWE Main Event originally scheduled for this week appears to have been bumped to next week. Rather than airing a special on the match participants at the pay-per-view, a replay the previous week’s episode of Main Event was shown. The same block of time is allotted this week, beginning at 7 PM/6 CT on ION Television.

TNA News

- TNA Wrestling removed the Knockout Tag Team Championships from their official website. If you look under the roster page, you will no longer find the tag titles. The tag team titles were stripped from Eric Young and ODB two weeks ago on the 6/20/13 episode of Impact Wrestling. You can find the results here. Eric Young and ODB won the Knockout Tag Team Titles back in April of 2012.

- TNA Champion Bully Ray didn’t work TNA live events Thursday and Friday as advertised. Jeremy Borash opened Friday’s show by saying the TNA Champion couldn’t make it due to a medical emergency. I haven’t heard anything else but he just did an interview with Hot 97′s Peter Rosenberg. We recapped/featured it at this link.

- Speaking of Bully, Brooke Hogan is getting married. For real this time. Brooke’s brother, Nick, Tweeted this photo in Las Vegas of Brooke with an engagement ring with who appears to be her fiancé:

- Make sure you follow my personal account on Twitter at Twitter.com/wnwdotcom. I’m doing a lot more, including posting news and analysis throughout the day. Below are some tidbits in 140 characters or less:

Brooke Hogan Marrying Dallas Cowboy

HBK Reaches Out to Eric Bischoff

Knockouts Impress

- Mike Mooneyham features a new article online with quotes from Gunner. In it, Gunner explains starting with TNA Wrestling as a security guard in 2008 and his current contract. Below is an excerpt:

Breaking in as a Security Guard in 2008:

“When I started with TNA in 2008 as a security guard, just to get my foot in the door, Terry Taylor had come to NWA Anarchy in Cornelia, Ga., to see some guys. He has helped since Day 1. He got my foot in the door with the security spot. D’Lo Brown hooked me up with dark matches. That’s when they noticed that this guy really is a wrestler.”

Current TNA contract:

“I have two years left on my contract with TNA. I’m very happy with my position and very happy with the company and the people I work with. All the guys on the roster are wanting to give 110 percent. Nobody’s bitter or disgruntled, which is rare in professional wrestling. It’s a really good company to work for. I’m having a blast. As far as the future, I don’t know what happens in the future. For now, though, I’m very happy where I am.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Total Sports Asia issued the following press release about securing the rights to TNA Impact Wrestling in South East Asia (excluding Thailand):

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING’s television rights will be distributed by Total Sports Asia (TSA) in South East Asia (excluding Thailand). RDA Television, the UK-based sport rights distribution agency that controls TNA’s global media distribution rights, has licensed TNA’s South East Asian media rights in a three year agreement with TSA.

TNA produces over 200 hours of original programming a year in HD that includes the flagship show Impact Wrestling, 4 main PPV Specials, 8 One Night Only PPVs and also the weekly magazine programme Xplosion. As well as “The Immortal” Hulk Hogan, the TNA talent roster boasts such household names as Olympic Gold Medallist Kurt Angle, ”The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy, ”The Icon” Sting and MMA & Hollywood superstar Rampage Jackson.

TSA who have a long and very successful experience with distributing combat sports in Asia, especially wrestling, will market the brand and its programmes to the region, where they expect to significantly increase TNA’s previous distribution as well as revenues in the region.

TSA’s Chief Content Officer, Julian Jackson, said that “having been very successful previously in selling pro wrestling, we know that it works in pretty much every country in the region. It is a sport that transcends religious, racial and regional boundaries to become appointment TV in every country and we are delighted to be working with TNA to really take the brand to the next level of success given the high quality of programming that TNA delivers week in, week out”

Richard Dennis, Managing Director, RDA Television, commented, “We have great confidence that TSA will help drive the TNA Wrestling brand forward in South Asia, and deliver great content for broadcasters throughout the region. We have known and worked with TSA for many years and we’re looking forward to this new dimension in our working relationship.”

About Total Sports Asia
Total Sports Asia (TSA) is a leading independent sports marketing agency and content distributor with a dedicated team of over 100 sports marketing experts and seven offices in Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Singapore and Jakarta. Media rights distribution, TV production, sponsorship/licensing, events management and consulting are its core business activities. Representation includes major international rights including, BWF Super Series (Badminton), PSA Pro Tour (Squash), ITTF (Table Tennis), AIBA (Boxing), GLORY World Series kickboxing Visit www.totalsportsasia.com for more information.

- TNA Wrestling is in the process of trimming their talent roster. The move is seen as nothing more than a cost cutting measure and they wouldn’t be opposed to bringing talent back that leave on good terms. Madison Rayne, who is out on maternity leave, announced Wednesday morning her contract with TNA has ended. We’ll have more on this shortly.

- Madison Rayne, who is currently out of the ring on maternity leave, announced on Wednesday that her contract with TNA Wrestling has ended. The following is from Twitter:

Meanwhile, we reported earlier here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com that TNA is in the process of making cuts to their talent roster.

- Taeler Hendrix has been released from TNA Wrestling, we can now confirm. Hendrix is part of a round of roster cuts the company is doing to save money.

- I’ve been working to confirm the release of Joey Ryan but am unable to do so as of this writing. I can tell you Ryan has already reached out to promoters, looking to get booked on the independent scene. Take from that what you will.

1:40 PM EDT Update: We can confirm Ryan’s release from TNA Wrestling.

The following is from Twitter:

- Crimson and Christian York have been removed from the Wrestler Roster page over on ImpactWrestling.com. I cannot confirm if they have been released as of press time.

- Hot 97′s Peter Rosenberg is scheduled to work as a guest manager for Velvet Sky in her match against TNA Knockout Champion Mickie James at Friday’s TNA “Basebrawl” live event in Brooklyn, New York.

- Sam Shaw remains with TNA Wrestling and has not been released as originally reported.

- As noted in an update here, we can confirm Joey Ryan has been released from his TNA contract.

- Taeler Hendrix, who is also gone, wrote the following on Twitter:

- Taz made headlines last week when he posted a cryptic Tweet and later deleted it. We reported then that Taz’s contract with TNA Wrestling was coming up very soon.

We are now able to confirm that Taz has agreed to terms on a new deal with TNA. The terms of the deal were not available as of press time. The following is from Taz’s verified Twitter account:

- Dixie Carter recently did an interview with Wrestletalk TV in the United Kingdom. In it, she explained that Hulk Hogan is not in control of TNA Wrestling. You can watch her comments at this link.

- Speaking of Carter, she wrote the following on Twitter regrading Destination X 2013:

- We’re able to confirm that both Crimson and Christian York have been released from their contracts with TNA Wrestling. The updated list of roster cuts is as follows:

Crimson
Christian York
Joey Ryan
Taeler Hendrix
Madison Rayne

Rayne’s contract expired as she’s currently out on maternity leave, the rest were let go for financial reasons.

- There are rumors circulating the Internet that TNA Wrestling is behind on paying talent. Alex Barie of TNANews.com was told by a source with direct knowledge of the situation that there is no truth to these rumors. For more from Alex, follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/AlexAssumptions and on Facebook at Facebook.com/AlexsAssumptions.

- Following up on what we reported earlier about TNA Wrestling not paying talent late, I texted with Alex Barie and received more insight about his conversation with a source within the company. The person with direct knowledge of the situation told Alex the company has “never” been six weeks late on payment. There was one particular incident described to Alex where a paycheck was delayed by four days when Panda Energy’s accountant was on vacation. We’re told these small occurrences are rare and not a big story.

- The word going around in many circles in TNA Wrestling is there is considerable interest in MVP. Bruce Prichard is reportedly high up on him and would like for him to come in. He wouldn’t be able to use the MVP name as the trademark is owned by WWE but they let him use it overseas.

- MVP has come to terms on a deal with Lionsgate TV on a production deal. He is pushing back on reports suggesting TNA is interested in him.

- Josh Stewart from Newsday has a new article online featuring quotes from TNA Knockout Champion Mickie James to promote Friday night’s TNA “Basebrawl” live event in Brooklyn, New York. Below is an excerpt:

“I’ve always believed that I performed better under pressure,” James said of performing on live television and how she wants to translate that philosophy into singing live. “When it’s [taped], at least in the wrestling industry I find that my energy is not as full as it normally is. You’re still performing before a live audience, but sometimes it feels like there’s room to play or room for error. I want there to be no room for error. I want it to be perfect every time.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Ask WNW

What are your thoughts on the two Money in the Bank Ladder Matches?

A lot of people are curious what I think about the WWE Championship MITB Ladder Match being all babyfaces and the World Heavyweight Championship MITB Ladder Match being heels. The easiest reaction for me to have is “turns are coming” or “they’re turning everyone” but time will tell to see how they each play out. This obviously wasn’t done by accident but I was told the WHC MITB ladder match was put together in the final moments of writing the script for last week’s Smackdown. I am pleased with the participants announced in each bout as I feel there are enough people in both bouts where the match is conducive to their in-ring abilities.

With the way The Shield has been booked (going over major stars), who do you think would be the logical choice to defeat Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose for the tag titles?

Given the current state of the WWE tag team division, there is no team on the roster capable of such a feat. As much as I think the Usos deserve a legitimate chance, there is no way I’m buying them as viable contenders against The Shield, regardless of how they were booked with Christian on Smackdown. At this point the only feasible outcome for The Shield to drop the tag titles would be due to internal dissension or outside interference. If I were booking, I could continue to book them as dominant as possible to work a major feud at SummerSlam.

Why does Vince McMahon have the mindset that small guys can’t make the WWE money?

Vince McMahon wants talent that is marketable. It’s not that he’s “against all small guys” or never gives anyone but career bodybuilders a shot is that he has an idea of what he believes will draw. He’s not always right and he’s not always wrong. Daniel Bryan is a guy that has won Vince over with his stellar work. Shawn Michaels turned out to be one of the biggest legends of all-time. In short, Vince just wants talent that will cause people to tune in and buy merchandise. Shawn Michaels made headlines last week when he told a story about Vince saying he didn’t see money in a particular talent. Vince says a lot of things but this one made headlines because HBK said it. It’s not that big of a deal.

I’ve been offline over the weekend, will you catch me up?

There were two stories that broke late Friday you might have missed. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton were fined for “chair strikes to the head” on last week’s Raw. Matt Osborne, who was the original Doink the Clown, died suddenly on Friday. Not much happened Saturday other than TNA Champion Bully Ray being off TNA live events and the WWE MITB PPV lineup taking shape. TNA taped this week’s Impact Wrestling and the following week on Saturday night. We also had some WWE NXT staffing notes to pass along.

Given their current status in the company and where they are at in their careers, I can’t help but believe Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are the future of the WWE. With that being said, I would love to see a rivalry with these two develop a rivalry to the degree of a Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels or Steve Austin and The Rock. Based on their in-ring chemistry together, could see this being the next big rivalry in the WWE down the road?

Daniel Bryan and CM Punk had a program this time last year with singles matches at Over the Limit and Money in the Bank and a triple-threat (also involving Kane) at No Way Out. The programs featured outstanding in-ring work and were basically a “dream come true” for many in the IWC. WWE could always revisit it but there are a lot of match-ups people want to see involving CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. It’s safe to say both Punk and Bryan are in their primes and key pieces of the company moving forward.

Is there a reason Jack Swagger hasn’t been fired yet? If I, and I venture the majority of the people who watch WWE, were convicted of DWI and admitted to started smoking marijuana BEFORE WE LEFT WORK, our employer would fire us and have just cause to do so.

WWE has been very quiet regarding the recent legal troubles of Jack Swagger, issuing a brief statement after his arrest that said Swagger is responsible for his own personal actions. I’m most surprised about it being learned that Swagger admitted to smoking marijuana prior to leaving the Smackdown taping in February. I thought that would at least prompt a statement from WWE but it did not. I’m going to push back a little bit on the “fired yet” remark. While I do not condone Swagger’s actions, it makes me uneasy how people are so quick to call for his job. He messed up bad but I don’t think it should be a foregone conclusion that he should lose his job.

Are you excited about the debut of The Wyatt Family?

I am highly anticipating the debut of Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper, known collectively as The Wyatt Family. Learn these names because WWE expects them to be a “big deal” very early on, which became even more evident with the vignette that closed this week’s Monday Night Raw. Wyatt was formerly on WWE TV as Husky Harris but will be a much bigger deal under the new gimmick. He’s received high marks in developmental over the past couple of years and is primed for a great spot in WWE. Let’s also not forget Luke Harper is the former Brodie Lee from Dragon Gate USA.

Dolph Ziggler is obviously a babyface, while AJ Lee and Big E Langston are still heels. Are they still a stable? What is WWE doing with that?

Yes, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston tare still a stable but one in which WWE is creating an internal tension in as a result of the Ziggler babyface turn. Dolph told AJ in a backstage segment on the WWE App during Monday Night Raw that she should stop picking on Kaitlyn because she was already the Divas champion.

Do you think a SummerSlam match between CM Punk and Brock Lesar could have a twist, such as Curtis Axel joining CM Punk?

First off, I’m very high up on the prospective match of CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. The program is compelling and is interesting on multiple fronts. For one, it helps elevate Curtis Axel without even having him work. Two, it gives Brock Lesnar the opportunity to work with someone where they can also involve Paul Heyman. The biggest problem will be booking the finish. Will there be a twist, as you mentioned, or will there be a clean outcome? If there is a clean outcome, who does the job? A twist would probably be the best way to go but I just don’t see Axel aligning with Punk as much as I see Punk coming out solo.

What’s up with the booking of Ryback? Is he being punished?

I really believe the booking of Ryback has to do with the lack of long-term planning. WWE knew Ryback wasn’t ready to go over for the WWE title [at the end of 2012] yet they put him in pay-per-view main events for it anyways. As a result, they never put him over and just let him flounder in the main event scene for months. After pushing him as a viable WWE title contender, they put him under at Wrestlemania, only to put him back in WWE title picture against John Cena. It’s mind-boggling and devoid of an articulate explanation. WWE “reached” for a stopgap maineventer and is paying for it now. I remind everyone that patience is key in this business and WWE would have been better suited to slowly build Ryback.

Are there any other television networks interested in adding pro wrestling? Dixie Carter said at one point if Spike TV didn’t work out, she had a plan B. Do you know of any other network interested in picking it up?

One of the trickiest part of this business is gaining television clearance. WWE performs well in the ratings and has a huge fan base, yet when TV deals come up there is always a challenge in getting homes for programming. Remember when SyFy agreed to carry Smackdown but dropped NXT? The problem has to do with the quality of advertisers the networks are able to attract with pro wrestling. They are of lower quality than networks can get for other programming, which is why there is sometimes a sticking point. This is also why Vince McMahon is so determined to launch the WWE Network. Vince knows if Raw or Smackdown would lose their TV clearance it would be disastrous. The company has done a good job at securing clearances but the WWE Network would guarantee a permanent home and “plan B” if something should happen. As for TNA, Spike TV is the perfect partner for them. I am very high up on the relationship with Bellator and the ability to attract athletes such as Rampage Jackson. I don’t know what Dixie Carter’s “plan B” was but they are best suited to remain with Spike TV. The first television deal coming up in the United States is the contract of WWE Smackdown. As I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com in January, Smackdown’s deal with SyFy is believed to be up at the end of September 2013. I would imagine WWE is already talking about a renewal as they want to keep their current deals in place, even with the “imminent” launch of the WWE Network.

Do you see the winner of the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match “cashing in” later in the night on Mark Henry and winning the title?

Anything is possible, but this wouldn’t be an outcome I would expect. Many are expecting John Cena to beat Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan to go over and become the number one contender. This would then setup a SummerSlam match for the WWE title. I heard a couple weeks ago WWE was considering Cena vs. Henry vs. Ryback at SummerSlam so there are two very different directions possible. We’ll take a wait and see approach but I haven’t heard anything concrete in terms of Money in the Bank pay-per-view outcomes.

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