RVD Returning To WWE, Mark Henry Gets Main Event Push, Colter’s New Client, SummerSlam Main Event, Two Big Heel Pushes Coming, Another TNA Departure, Undertaker Returning In August?, Match Outcome Changed Due To Injury, WWE Network Gets A Date, WWE Release, Drama With WWE Creative

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 15, 2013 to Friday, June 21, 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

- JBL and Michael Cole go “back to school” in the latest episode of The JBL & Cole show now online at this link.

- WWE’s sponsorship deal with the National Guard is safe following a vote in the US House of Representatives on Friday. The amendment, which would have cut off government spending on sponsorships of NASCAR and pro wrestling events, was defeated by a wide margin. Click here for more.

- Santino Marella, who is opening a new training facility in Toronto, wrote the following on Twitter:

- CM Punk was at Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Boston Bruins and his hometown Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

- It was announced at Saturday night’s “Going the Distance” New York Wrestling Connection show that Dan Eckos has signed a developmental contract with WWE.

- Chris Jericho is going into his match with CM Punk at WWE Payback with a knee injury. The severity is unknown and he did work Saturday night in Bloomington, Illinois.

- Sheamus and Damien Sandow got a little over 10 minutes for their WWE Payback Kickoff pre-show match. The bout was highlighted by a red hot Chicago crowd.

- The announced attendance for WWE Payback was 14,623 from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. The show was a legitimate sellout.

- Curtis Axel beat Wade Barrett and The Miz in a triple-threat match at WWE Payback to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship for the first time. The finish came when Miz had Barrett locked in the Figure Four leg lock and Axel got in the ring and pinned Barrett. On April 23, 1990, Axel’s father, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig won the WWF Intercontinental Championship for the first time. 23 years later, on Father’s Day, Axel wins his first.

- AJ Lee beat Kaitlyn to win the WWE Divas Championship for the first time at WWE Payback. The finish came when Kaitlyn tapped out in AJ’s Octopus Hold.

- WWE announced at WWE Payback that Rob Van Dam is returning to the company at WWE Money in the Bank 2013 next month.

WWE Money in the Bank 2013 will take place Sunday, July 14, 2013 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

We’ve heavily covered WWE’s interest in Rob Van Dam’s services, with the rumors igniting after he appeared at the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony in April. The following is from an interview Van Dam did about his contract status in mid-April:

RVD said “anything is possible” regarding his contract status but said he had plans but is a skeptic by nature and until his name is not on the dotted line somewhere, it’s not for sure. RVD confirmed he hasn’t signed a contract with anyone but he couldn’t imagine going back to the same schedule he did before. He said a full-time schedule is not in his best interests.

Click here for more.

- Alberto Del Rio beat Dolph Ziggler to win the World Heavyweight Championship at WWE Payback. The way the match was booked, Ziggler “wasn’t ready” to return from his concussion and Del Rio used it to his advantage. After winning the match, Del Rio came out and cut a promo to a lot of heat from the Chicago crowd where he touted his title win.

- After WWE Payback went off the air, WWE Champion John Cena celebrated at the top of the ramp before going to the back. For those that missed it, both JTG and Ted DiBiase were lumberjacks in Stage 1 of Cena vs. Ryback. WWE will return to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois for the September 23rd episode of Monday Night Raw. There is a presale to obtain tickets with the password RAWTV.

- WWE is teasing tension between CM Punk and Paul Heyman following Sunday’s WWE Payback pay-per-view. In a backstage video posted on dot com, Punk explains to Paul Heyman he’s never been called his client before and that Curtis Axel or Brock Lesnar are his clients.  He said Axel and Lesnar need his help, and while he might have needed it at one time, he was his friend, not his client. Heyman responded solemnly by saying OK a couple of times. Click here to watch the video.

- WWE has a new article over on dot com with the “locker room reaction” to Rob Van Dam returning to the company at next month’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Paul Heyman, The Miz, Vickie Guerrero, Brad Maddox, Titus O’Neil and Damien Sandow offer comments in the piece. Here’s what Heyman said:

PAUL HEYMAN: The entire WWE Universe is buzzing about the return of a true one-of-a-kind, Rob Van Dam. And no one, I assure you, no one is more exhilarated about the return of RVD than Paul Heyman himself. Because after all, Rob Van Dam is a “Paul Heyman Guy.”

Click here for coverage by dot com.

- Here’s AJ Lee’s reaction to winning the WWE Divas Championship:

Backstage news from WWE Payback…

- While Rob Van Dam returning to WWE had been heavily rumored (and covered here at WNW), we’re told it was a surprise to most backstage at the pay-per-view.

- The feeling was CM Punk looked less beaten up and very fresh although we’re told some officials noticed some in-ring rust.

- The Miz was praised for his work in the Intercontinental Championship match with many feeling it was some of his best in-ring work in awhile.

- Seth Rollins and AJ Lee were both checked out for concussions after their respective bouts. Rollins was shaken up off a suplex from Randy Orton and AJ on a spear from Kaitlyn.

- We’re told WWE had to get approval from the NHL and the Chicago Blackhawks for CM Punk’s ring gear. Punk wanted a shirt to feature his team but there were too many legalities.

- Ryback’s arm was hurting following his 3 Stages of Hell Match against John Cena.

- Stephanie McMahon Tweeted a cool photo of the social media command center:

- Rob Van Dam’s profile has been added to the active roster page over on dot com. You can view it at this link. RVD has been removed from TNA Wrestling “Wrestler Roster” page.

- WWE announced the following live events:

Monday Night Raw from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Monday, September 9, 2013.
WWE Smackdown taping from Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on Tuesdaym September 10, 2013.

Tickets go on sale on July 13, 2013.

- The Jerry Lawler Museum is moving to the upstairs of Harrah’s Casino Tunica in Tunica, Mississippi. Click here for coverage by MemphisSport.com

- The Big Show is spending his time recovering from injury going overseas to visit troops. The New Haven Register as the story at this link.

- Last week’s episode of Smackdown, the go-home to WWE Payback, did an average viewing audience of 2,320,000 viewers on SyFy.  The show only drew a 1.66 cable rating.

- John Cena wrote the following on Twitter regarding the crowd at WWE Payback in Chicago on Sunday:

- Nikki Bella Tweeted the following about serving as a judge for the Miss USA pageant:

- Zeb Colter introduced Antonio Cesaro as his new “client” on this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. Cesaro squashed William Regal after the announcement was made.

Jack Swagger, who is normally paired with Colter, is off WWE TV with a hand injury and awaiting DUI trial. As previously reported, Swagger is due back in court in Biloxi, Mississippi on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 from his February 2012 arrest.

- Mark Henry delivered a worked retirement speech on this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. With John Cena still at ringside, Henry, in tears, explained the only regret of his career was not wining the WWE Championship.

Cena handed him the belt but Henry handed it back because he said “you have to earn it.” Henry thanked his children and told his wife he was coming home before delivering the World’s Strongest Slam to the WWE Champion.

Below is my reaction from Twitter:

 10:20 PM EDT Update: In a backstage interview, Henry told Renee Young he was challenging Cena for the WWE title “right now.”  He said the reason he had two boots was because he was going to stick one of them up Cena’s rear end.  End update.

- WWE Champion John Cena is scheduled to defend the title against Mark Henry at WWE Money in the Bank next month. WWE Money in the Bank will take place on Sunday, July 14, 2013 from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

- After this week’s Monday Night Raw went off the air, WWE Champion John Cena beat Ryback in a Tables Match dark main event to retain. The finish came when Cena drove Ryback through a table with the Attitude Adjustment.

- Christian Tweeted the following after his return to WWE on this week’s Raw:

- We’re told there was an issue with Samuray Del Sol’s pre-screening tests to finalize his WWE developmental contract. Del Sol was believed to have completed WWE’s stringent testing and signed his deal. As of this writing we are unaware of what happened but Samuray has been led to believe that his WWE deal might be off the table. WWE tests for everything, including physical testing to make sure someone would be physically able to handle their stringent schedule. There of course is the possibility that he is able to rectify the issue and move forward with his deal but right now it’s worth noting there is a considerable issue.

- Mark Henry wrote the following on Twitter:

Henry’s promo on WWE Monday Night Raw received very high marks backstage. He approached the company about the angle and executed it perfectly.

- Rob Van Dam Tweeted the following about his return to WWE at next month’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view:

- The latest Bray Wyatt vignette is online at this link.

- AJ Lee continued her storyline involvement with Stephanie McMahon after Raw on Twitter:

- The Bella Twins met DJ Pauly D and Jep from Duck Dynasty at the Miss USA pageant festivities. Below are a couple of photos:

- Dolph Ziggler is medically cleared to compete and the kayfabe article by dot com on Monday afternoon was just that. WWE took his concussion very seriously and wouldn’t clear him to wrestle until he was 100% healthy and showing no signs of post-concussion syndrome.

- Christian wasn’t concealed at this week’s Monday Night Raw. We’d actually heard from people that said they spotted him but didn’t feel it was worth mentioning since we couldn’t confirm his return. Christian’s return had become a priority backstage in WWE in recent weeks.

Backstage news from WWE Raw in Grand Rapids…

- CM Punk’s babyface turn wasn’t decided upon until last week. We’re told Punk really wanted to wait until closer to SummerSlam but the penciled in match for the show is to do Brock Lesnar vs. Punk.

- We’re told Vince McMahon thought Raw was becoming very bland and needed some type of an angle throughout the summer to entice people to watch. This is the reason for the angle with Triple H and Stephanie.

- Brock Lesnar was brought back early due to concern over the lack of top heels currently on the roster. This is also the reason for Damien Sandow getting a push and the alignment of Antonio Cesaro with Zeb Colter. We’re told this is the case of the company actually looking long-term in that they need to build more heels.

- One of the reasons why Rob Van Dam and Christian were brought back was due to McMahon’s discontent over the shows feeling stale and the fact he thought the Money in the Bank ladder match was too predictable last year. The plan is to put both in the bout this year as the feeling is people will have the “second guess” who is going to win.

- Kaitlyn did indeed have a wardrobe malfunction on live television but production caught it just in time. This is why the screen went blank but as one observer put it, the front row got a peep show (pun intended).

- The final Raw script didn’t have Brock Lesnar returning to take out CM Punk. Very few people knew he was even in the building and he didn’t arrive until after 9:30 PM EDT. It was then that Vince cued in Punk and the producers about what was going to happen. We’re told the hot shot booking makes it very difficult for the writers and a lot of angles have no direction because nothing is set in stone.

- Mark Henry was granted his main event program with John Cena after politicking real hard for it, however, we’re told it’s currently set for a 6-8 week run.

- Rob Van Dam’s new WWE contract doesn’t have him working as many dates or live events and this is why he was receptive to returning. Van Dam is one of those guys that hates being on the road and hates being away from his family. This was the main reason he defected to TNA Wrestling in the first place.

- This week’s episode of “Backstage Fallout” Raw is now online at this link.

- WWE posted video highlights of Nikki Bella acting as a judge for the Miss USA Pageant. You can watch it at this link.

- Jim Ross posted a partial match listing for the highly anticipated Mid South Wrestling DVD that’s due out on September 10, 2013 on a new blog entry posted on his official website. JR also gives his thoughts on WWE Payback that you can read at this link.

- The Albany Hearld has a new article online featuring quotes from The Miz to promote Sunday’s live event in Albany, GA. Below is an excerpt:

“Sure, I dreamed about being a wrestler when I was a kid, but I never really thought that was something that would ever happen,” Mizanin said in an exclusive interview with The Albany Herald to promote WWE’s live event at the Albany Civic Center Sunday evening. “I figured I’d go off to college, get an education, come back to Parma, Ohio, and get a family and a job.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Dean Ambrose’s attempt at “old school” in his match against Kane  on this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw was intentional as there is a remote possibility of doing something with Undertaker and The Shield at SummerSlam.  There are still a whole lot of details that would have to be worked out but that’s why that was done.

- Alicia Fox, Hornswoggle and Josh Mathews attended a Be a STAR rally at the McCormick Tribune YMCA in Chicago. Video highlights of the appearance are available at this link.

- CM Punk spoke to The Chicago Tribune about his ring gear at WWE Payback being a cross between the Chicago Blawkhawks logo and his logo. The article is available to subscribers only but you can read it at this link.

- Earlier on Tuesday we posted Rob Van Dam’s ECW debut at this link. Now, let’s go back three years to his debut with World Championship Wrestling at this link.

- Fruity Pebbles and WWE continue to work together as fans can now download the cereal’s new mobile app and “pose for a photo” with John Cena. You can download it at this link. Speaking of which, there were Fruity Pebbles booths at WWE Payback on Sunday and this week’s WWE Raw on Monday. They were giving away free bowls of cereal, playing games and you could also “pose for a photo” with Cena.

- Jim Ross posted the cover art of the new Mid-South Wrestling DVD on Twitter. You can view it below:

- If you missed Brock Lesnar’s return on Monday Night Raw where he subsequently “attacked” CM Punk, you can watch it online at this link.

- WWE has announced a live event from the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada on Saturday, September 14th, 2013 at 7:30 PM. Tickets go on sale July 13th.

- This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, the fallout from the inaugural edition of WWE Payback, did an average viewing audience of 4,153,000 viewers on the USA Network.

- Daniel Bryan was legitimately injured during his match against Randy Orton on this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, according to Bryan Alvarez and the crew over at Wrestling Observer. Apparently the physician coming to ringside and the match being thrown was not a work as originally thought. According to their report, Bryan was originally scheduled to go over but the referee stopped the bout due to a legitimate injury. The injury was later revealed as a stinger. This makes a lot more sense given the questionable outcome.   It also explains Bryan’s status for Smackdown being questioned and later cleared while WWE was still on the air.  The backstage bit where Bryan argued with Triple H over stopping the match was reportedly WWE booking on-the-fly. Bryan will face WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose in a match for Smackdown that will be taped on Tuesday night.  We’ll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Despite officially advertising Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan for this week’s Smackdown, the match didn’t take place. Bryan opened the show and announced that he will face Randy Orton. He played up his match against Orton being stopped on this week’s Monday Night Raw. It certainly appears WWE is rolling the legit injury suffered by Bryan into the storyline and subsequently changed the Smackdown main event. As we reported earlier, Bryan was  injured in the match on Monday night and the match was stopped with an alternative outcome.

- Expect plenty of drama on the upcoming E! reality series “Total Divas” that premieres on the network on July 28th at 10 PM. The following is from Natalya’s verified Twitter account:

- Former WWE Diva Lena Yada and her husband, David Draiman from the band Disturbed are expecting their first child. Below is a photo of Yada with TNA Knockout Tara at her restaurant in Chicago:

- For those that don’t want to read the Smackdown spoilers from this week, here’s what happened after the taping concluded:

Dark Match Main Event:

* The Shield vs. Sheamus, Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton.  Winners via disqualification, Bryan, Sheamus & Orton.  The match was thrown out when Roman Reigns hit Sheamus with a char.  After the match, the babyfaces hit their finishers on Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to send the crowd home happy.

Prior to the taping, here’s what happened:

Dark Match:

* The Prime Time Players b. Tons of Funk when Titus O’Neil pinned Brodus Clay while Darren Young held Clay’s foot.

Low attendance at the taping was brought to our attention with several sections tarped off.

- We’re told there is still some heat on Ryback for his promo on Raw last month where he proclaimed that he was going to take the entire audience to the morgue with John Cena, not to mention he lost face backstage when he tried to criticize Daniel Bryan after their match on the June 3rd episode. WWE was planning on another Cena vs. Ryback title match at Money in the Bank at one point but when Vince McMahon started to sour on Ryback, it gave Mark Henry leverage. We’re under the impression there was a deal struck for Henry to headline the pay-per-view against Cena when we broke the news of his rib cartilage injury last week. However, Henry continued to kayfabe even his closest friends about his return angle. As for the retirement stuff, everyone knew it was nonsense and figured he had to be coming back in a prominent spot if he’d agreed to come back, but he was careful to not discuss what his angle was, even with close friends.

- WWE has announced they’ll tape Friday Night Smackdown from the Thomas & Mack Center on August 27, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

- Mark Henry’s “retirement” promo has received high praise since it aired on this week’s Monday Night Raw, none higher from that of Jim Ross. Below is an excerpt from his latest blog entry:

The Mark Henry ‘retirement’ segment was Monday Night RAW gold and will go down in history as one of the all time, great RAW moments as far as I’m concerned. I’ve see a few in my time for the record. The TV viewer’s perception of any storyline or performance is dependent solely on the execution by the talent. Great execution can overcome mediocre material and great execution can make good material great and great creative unforgettable.

Mark Henry’s performance Monday night will be remembered for years and was, without question, Mark’s finest hour since we signed him in 1995.

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

- WWE has a “where are they now?” piece on dot com on Shawn Stasiak. The piece notes he’s a 42 year old chiropractor that also does motivational speaking. You can read the article at this link.

- The Day noted in a critical piece on WWE that the Army National Guard has spent $5.1 million in sponsorship money with the company. You can read it at this link.

- Roman Reigns was on 4th & Pain with Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker and Chuck Carroll. In it, he said he wanted to be the “absolute top guy” in WWE. You can listen to the interview at this link.

- More details on the upcoming episode of “Celebrity Wife Swap” featuring Ric Flair and Roddy Piper are available at this link. The episode is set to air on Sunday, June 30 at 8/7c on ABC.

- Tommy Dreamer told Ring Rust Radio that if WWE offered him a part-time deal to return to the company he would say no because he’d want to return full-time. He said there are a lot of guys that he would like to work with and he would be interested in returning full-time.

- WWE announced today live events in Canada. They are as follows:

September 6 from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
September 8 from the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Tickets for both shows go on sale July 13, 2013. Tommy Dreamer Would Return To WWE If Asked, Canadian Live Events

- Rey Mysterio is having a minor procedure performed on Thursday. He noted on Twitter the procedure will be performed by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida.

- WWE posted an exclusive behind-the-scenes look from a scene in “The Call” at this link.

- David Kreizman is leaving the WWE creative team this week after only a three month stint as the company’s head writer. While we haven’t heard details surrounding his departure, Kreizman boasts a strong resume where he co-wrote several well known soap operas including Guiding Light, General Hospital, As the World Turns and All My Children.  He took the WWE job weeks before Wrestlemania 29 on March 21, 2013.

- We’ve had some questions from readers wondering about Adam Green’s lawsuit against WWE and The Big Show (See also - WWE & Big Show Sued Over Alleged Backstage Incident At Royal Rumble). Green is fighting WWE’s petition that moved the lawsuit from Arizona State Court to federal court as he wants it tried in Arizona, where the alleged incident(s) took place. His motion was filed on June 10, 2013. All nineteen counts of the pending litigation are available here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- The USA Today has a story online regarding former San Diego Chargers team physician David Chao, who has performed several operations on Rey Mysterio. The Chargers announced last week Chao was quitting to spend more time with his family and to nurse his ailing back.

According to their report, two San Diego hospitals decided not to allow him to perform surgeries there any more. They go on to report on malpractice and report former patients accused Chao of “maiming” them during surgeries or negligence.

The USA Today report is located below:

- We got an unconfirmed tip that Vince McMahon consulted both Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman backstage at this week’s Monday Night Raw about the writing of the show. The tipster emphasized the lack of consultation from Stephanie McMahon. Speaking of which, WWE continues to incorporate real-life elements into their programming. Stephanie’s bit where she corrected Kaitlyn in front of the Divas for interrupting her [on Monday Night Raw] was based on a real-life incident. I will work to confirm this tip but it doesn’t sound far fetched. There are known problems within the writing department (See also - Head WWE Creative Team Writer Leaving After Less Than Three Months) and Heyman has been consulted before.  Colter’s stock is very high and he has a writing background as he scripted many segments for TNA earlier in the 2000s.

- Wrestling News World reader Josh sent word that Dean Ambrose is advertised to defend the WWE United States Championship against Sheamus in Australia later this summer.

- This week’s Smackdown taping was poorly attended from Wright State University’s Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. The company wasn’t pleased with the paid attendance but we do not have the numbers as of press time.

- According to a report being attributed to Dave Meltzer and company, CM Punk has been trying to get Colt Cabana on as a color commentator in WWE. Cabana has reportedly had two tryouts.

- ContactMusic.com is reporting that The Rock sold his mansion in Miami for $3,000,000. He recently sold his Beverly Hills estate in California for a $4.9 million, which came with a private barber shop and a spa. Click here for their report.

- Find out which WWE Superstars have been outed as bad drivers and more questions answered in episode 73 of WWE Inbox. You can watch it at this link.

- The reason for the massive amount of character turns recently on WWE television has to do with Vince McMahon feeling the product was stale and being terrified about trying to launch the WWE Network with low ratings. We’re being told the Network’s “do or die” date is Wrestlemania XXX and if it’s not launched a month before or after, it may not happen at all.

- Triple H recently contacted Shawn Michaels about doing an angle on down the line with Daniel Bryan. Remember it was Shawn that trained Brian and Hunter felt incorporating him in a storyline would be useful.

- Multiple creative plans for Rob Van Dam are being discussed. We already noted him as a possible Money in the Bank ladder match participant and there have been discussions about booking him in the top of the card.

- CM Punk will be hosting a Q&A at next weekend’s Wizard World Comic Con in New York City. Punk will be at the Outdoor Stage from 8:30-9:15 PM on Friday, June 28, 2013.

- Rey Mysterio noted on Twitter that his minor proedure was performed at 10 AM on Thursday in Pensacola, Florida by Dr. James Andrews. By just after Noon he was already doing physical therapy at the Andrews Institute.

- In a follow-up to our earlier report, Mike Johnson is reporting that David Kreizman will stay on with WWE as Head Writer through the Fall to “close out” the direction he has been manning.  Click here for their coverage. On May 29, 2013 WWE began looking for a new “Lead Writer,” presumably to replace Kreizman. You can read the job listing online at this link.

- Rob Van Dam is speaking up on his time with TNA Wrestling as his WWE return looms. RVD has revealed in public media interviews that he felt more like an ambassador for TNA as fans would asked if he retired. Van Dam feels WWE made him more relevant with their 0:48 return vignette than TNA has in three years.

- WWE has decided to part ways with Matt Striker. The following is from Striker’s Twitter account:

Striker transitioned from an in-ring talent to an on-screen personality in 2008 and held many roles from hosting NXT to a backstage interviewer.  He signed a WWE contract in 2005.

- WWE has redirected the NXT/Florida Championship Wrestling website to http://www.wwe.com/shows/wwenxt

- Following up on our earlier article, dot com made Matt Striker’s “future endeavors” post. You can view it below:

WWE.com has learned that WWE has chosen to not renew Matt Striker’s contract. As of today, June 20, 2013, Striker will no longer be working with WWE.

WWE wishes him the best in all his future endeavors.

- The first commercial for SummerSlam 2013 is online at this link.

News & notes from WWE NXT tapings on June 20, 2013…

- Alicia Fox worked the tapings, losing in the finals of the new NXT Divas Championship tournament in a match taped for the July 4, 2013 episode.

- Antonio Cesaro lost an NXT Championship match on the same episode to champion Bo Dallas. Cesaro lost again on the July 18, 2013 episode against Leo Kruger in a number one contenders match.

- William Regal teamed with Adrian Neville and Corey Graves to oppose The Wyatt family in a match taped for the July 11, 2013 episode.

- Ric Flair accompanied Charlotte in her debut match on WWE NXT TV that will air on July 18, 2013.

- Paige became the first ever NXT Divas Champion after beating Emma. You can view a photo with Triple H below:

- Sheamus beat Luke Harper of The Wyatt Family with Erick Rowan & Bray Wyatt.

- The next WWE NXT taping will take place Thursday, July 11, 2013 from the campus of Full Sail University. Dolph Ziggler is the expected guest.

- Adrian Neville & Corey Graves beat Luke Harper & Erick Rowan w/Bray Wyatt to win the WWE NXT Tag Team Championship at this week’s WWE NXT tapings. The match will air on the July 18, 2013 episode and was done in preparation for The Wyatt Family’s main roster debut.

- Both Triple H and Jim Ross had high praise for this week’s WWE NXT tapings from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. The following is from Twitter:

- WWE will honor Ron Simmons at Saturday night’s live event in Tallahassee, Florida with Ron Simmons Appreciation Night. If you attend, please submit a live report. DAMN!

- Kaitlyn is ready to move past the wardrobe malfunction on this week’s WWE Monday Night Raw or maybe she’s just looking for a joke at her own expense. The following is from the former WWE Divas Champion’s verified Twitter account:

- We’ve obtained more details on the departure of head WWE writer David Kreizman. We’re told Dave was not only frustrated with the mass quantity of changes but felt “insulted” from the lack of faith and respect. He pushed for shows to have more flow and more of a “week to week” feel, however, he felt every time he would book something, plans would change and each week he had to “start a new pilot episode.”

Sources close to Kreizman tell us that he began to get frustrated trying to book guys like Damien Sandow and Antonio Cesaro. One week they were to be featured prominently and the next they were in the background. His frustration became more evident and vocal with the “flip the light switch” tag division, one week supporting stars and the next “audience members.”

As noted, Dave was a very successful soap opera writer. In TV, the writers know which characters are stars and which are in supporting roles and the writer’s job is to find roles and storylines for them. Kreizman didn’t like seeing scripts being tossed and re-written just hours before the shows went live.

We’re told Paul Heyman tried to tell him that it was just part of the business and not to take it personally, however, he did. According to close observers, Paul couldn’t get Kreizman to see the pro wrestling decree of “plans are subject to change.” The current state of storylines with the multiple turns is a combination of things written by Kreizman and Vince McMahon adding to them.

Paul Heyman was consulted to help book CM Punk and Brock Lesnar long-term. Paul and Dave were on the same page, however, Vince McMahon wanted to go ahead with Lesnar vs. Punk, which is why Brock returned on Monday. We’re able to confirm that Vince asked Heyman to help him finish this week’s Raw script. This caused a minor issue that is actually playing out on television where Stephanie McMahon doesn’t trust Vince’s choices and Triple H is stuck in the middle. In reality, Stephanie feels Heyman should be an on-air talent only while Vince seems to have more respect for his feel for the business.

At this point Kreizman was asked to work another eight weeks to finish up his direction. It looks like he’s been talked into staying and will continue to work his way into the booking process.

- Channel 24 out of South Africa has a new Q&A online with Dolph Ziggler to promote WWE’s upcoming live event tour of the country that was conducted on June 13, 2013. In it, Ziggler admits the World Heavyweight Championship doesn’t have the same interest and prestige it did when Triple H held it.

Below is how Ziggler answered the question:

Honestly, no, I don’t think so. Here’s the deal. As a titleholder of a championship, you are the representatives of the company. You are the champion, you are the face of either Raw or Smackdown, and for some reason in the past couple of years the WHC has gone down in value from the fans’ standpoint and perhaps from an administrative standpoint. As we understand it the WWE Championship is the title of Monday Night Raw and that is the flagship of WWE. But my goal, every single time I’ve touched anything, I found a way to bring prestige back to something that used to be a stepping stone. To me, the WHC is one of the biggest prizes in the game of all time, because I grew up as a huge fan of it. So now, my goal is to have this become the premiere title in sports entertainment. Whether that can happen, I don’t know, but I am just getting started. I’m a couple weeks into it, and I promise if it has anything to do with me, then it will become the prize that it was.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Matt Striker didn’t have a non-compete clause attached to his WWE contract as he’s appearing at Friday night’s Family Wrestling Entertainment iPPV from Corona, New York. The show is loaded with RVD vs. Tommy Dreamer and Petey Williams vs. Brian Kendrick. More information is available at this link.

- Rosa Mendes was in attendance at this week’s WWE NXT tapings in Winter Park, Florida. You can view a photo from Twitter below:

- This week’s episode of The JBL & Cole show is now online at this link.

TNA News

- TNA Wrestling announced on Sunday that Bad Bones John Klinger won the TNA Gut Check Challenge. After receiving the most fan votes, Klinger will have a chance to appear on a future episode of Impact where he’ll compete in a TNA Gut Check Challenge segment. Click here for full poll results.

- Hulk Hogan was asked about Rob Van Dam on Twitter. He wrote the following:

WWE announced at Payback on Sunday night that he’ll be returning to the company at next month’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view in Philadelphia. Where else?

- Dixie Carter is doing media in Ireland and wrote the following Monday on Twitter:

- TNA Wrestling star Eric Young did an interview with Busted Open on Sirius XM. In the interview, he mentioned that TNA just signed a five year deal with Spike TV. The full answer to the question is below:

On what TNA has to do to become more mainstream:

“To me, they are doing the right steps. I mean, you guys have been around wrestling a long time. You’ve been wrestling fans a long time. So have I. How many times have you heard it? Nope, TNA’s not going to make it. Nope, they’re not going to make it. Thousands of times. It’s been around for ten years. They just signed a big deal with Spike television for another five years. It’s usually the highest rated show on Spike television every week. It’s seen in over a 120 countries around the world. They didn’t grow to this point because they don’t know what they are doing. There is going to be people that watch wrestling that don’t like it. There are going to be people that watch Impact that don’t like it. But then—there’s no pleasing everyone. It just doesn’t exist. I remember being a die-hard wrestling fan during the Monday Night Wars. And I wouldn’t watch WCW because I thought it was terrible. I thought it was terrible. And I would still flip over and check it out. I think it’s a branded thing now, and I think that stems from the Monday Night Wars. Because before that, pro wrestling to an average fan was just pro wrestling. They didn’t know if it was WWF or WWE or WCW or NWA. It was just pro wrestling. And they just watched it. If you were a pro wrestling fan, you just watched it when you saw it on television. And then it became ‘well actually we’re competing against each other, and it’s two separate brands.’ And it became this whole thing. You’re not going to please everyone, but they are making the right decisions with they just went to live—all the television shows are being shot on the road now. The crowds have been great. The numbers have been decent. The numbers in the arena have been very good. You guys were in Boston, it was an amazing crowd. An amazing Pay Per View. I think; I feel that in the next couple of years, pro wrestling is on the upswing.”

- TNA announced the premiere of their next “One Night Only” pay-per-view, Hardcore Justice 2, on their official website on Tuesday.  The pay-per-view premieres on pay-per-view on Friday, July 5, 2013. It was taped on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Click here for complete taping results or here for more information.

- Mike Weber has departed TNA Wrestling after serving as the company’s Vice President of Marketing. Weber has worked in the TNA office since 2008.

- King Mo will return to Bellator fighting competition on Wendesday night in a bout against Seth Petruzelli at Bellator XCVI on Spike TV. Mo continues to train for pro wrestling and hopes to be working for TNA by the end of the summer.

- TNA Wrestling is 11 years old on June 19, 2013 as the promotion ran their first show on June 19, 2002. Watch a look back at this link.

- TNA Wrestling announced a live event from the Warren J. Harang Jr. Municipal Auditorium in Thibodaux, Louisiana on Saturday, August 3, 2013. Tickets go on sale on June 28, 2013.

- King Mo was successful in his MMA fight on Bellator XCVI on Wednesday night. Mo knocked out Seth Petruzelli at the 1:35 mark of the first round.

- Muscle and Fitness has a new interview online with Sting to promote his co-starring role in “Revelation Road” (now on DVD). In it, he’s asked how much longer he wants to stay in the ring at 54 years old.  Below is his answer:

I’ve learned not to give a time. I can’t go on wrestling much longer. I’m taking it, literally, one month at a time. I’m under contract until January of next year, so we’ll see what’s happening. I do want to do more movies. I’m looking at a few different things, reality shows being one of them. I’m just trying to move onto the next season of my life. As far as wrestling goes, I’ve stayed away from the creative part of it all these years, I just don’t want to sit in on the meetings and babysit wrestlers and personalities and all that. But, there are things I’d like to see happen in pro wrestling and I may try to make it materialize. I don’t know.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Ken Anderson calls himself a tweener in an interview with pjstar.com that you can watch at this link. You can read more media featuring Anderson to promote this week’s Impact Wrestling tapings in Peoria, Illinois here and here.

- Following this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling, below are the updated Bound for Glory Series standings:

Magnus – 10 points (1-0-0)
Austin Aries – 7 points (1-0-0)
Daniels – 7 points (1-0-0)
Jeff Hardy – 7 points (1-0-0)
Mr. Anderson – 7 points (1-0-0)
AJ Styles – 2 points (0-0-1)
Samoa Joe – 2 points (0-0-1)
Bobby Roode – 0 points (0-1-0)
Hernandez – 0 points (0-1-0)
Jay Bradley – 0 points (0-1-0)
Joseph Park – 0 points (0-1-0)
Kazarian – 0 points (0-1-0)

- Impact Wrestling had a tough time yesterday, Thursday June, 20th. The show ended up getting a 0.86 cable rating with about 1,083,000 viewers. Obviously it is down from last week’s show, but Impact went up against game 7 of NBA’s Spurs vs. Heat which scored around 22 million viewers.

Ask WNW

What’s your reaction to AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn at WWE Payback? I thought it was one of the best Divas matches in a long time.

AJ Lee and Kaitlyn worked hard and delivered a good match Sunday night at WWE Payback. I was interested to see what AJ would look like, given the fact she Tweeted that she was very ill the night before. Here was my reaction that I posted on Facebook: It’s awesome to see when people that have worked extremely hard get rewarded. Congrats to AJ Lee, the new #WWE Divas Champion. Good match with Kaitlyn as well! #WWEPayback. Send me a friend request on Facebook at this link to talk wrestling, sports and anything else.

Is Rob Van Dam going to have a full time contract when returning to WWE?

I do not know the terms of Rob Van Dam’s new WWE contract but he has a deal that will see him return to the company at WWE Money in the Bank next month. They’re likely waiting until the pay-per-view  so he can fulfill his independent dates. We’ve highly publicized RVD’s return to the company and interest in his services.  He’s not expected to work the full-time schedule and his deal is not believed to be long-term.

Did Dolph Ziggler lose the World Heavyweight Championship because of injury?

Dolph Ziggler was cleared to compete and what you saw at WWE Payback was storyline. I know people get sensitive when WWE incorporates concussions into storylines but the stuff done at the pay-per-view was pre-planned and scripted. I’m not thrilled about taking the title off Ziggler so soon but I understand why they did it. WWE is pulling a double switch with Alberto Del Rio to turn him back heel. I’ll have more in my Richard Reacts to WWE Payback.

Is it possible for WWE and TNA to have a pay-per-view on the same night?

I’m not sure with the pay-per-view carriage agreements that it’s possible to have two wrestling pay-per-views in the same timeslot on the same night, however, why would TNA want to do that in the first place? Pay-per-view buys are hard enough to come by without direct competition from the largest wrestling promotion on the planet. TNA is best served to work around WWE as they do currently.

When is WWE finally going to pull the trigger and put the belt on Ryback? They built him up as an unstoppable face, and now as a monster heel, only to never put the belt on him after multiple chances. I think it’s about time they do it. Your thoughts?

It’s over. Ryback’s program for the WWE Championship is over for now and they’re going with John Cena vs. Mark Henry as seen on this week’s Monday Night Raw. I do not like the way Ryback’s been booked and think it’s a prime example of what not to do. Ryback should have never been a babyface but WWE needed a name to work in the main event. The problem is no one felt Ryback was ready to carry the torch as WWE Champion. As a result, they continually put him under but he managed to get over. Now what? Anything other than working Cena or the incumbent WWE Champion is a step backward unless they program him for the World Heavyweight Championship, which doesn’t appear likely with the double switch between Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler.

What are your thoughts on CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar?

I am high up on a CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar and expect an entertaining program. Nothing against Triple H, but his program with Lesnar was overkill and I’m relieved to see Lesnar working with someone else. The booking does get tricky, as a very solid argument could be made about why neither needs to go under.

Any opinion behind why it is was easier for fans to get behind the Michael McGillicutty/Curtis Axel change, and not the Skip Sheffield/Ryback transition? Do you think it’s only due to Heyman, or do you think fan prefer more realistic characters?

Let’s not sell Ryback short. He’s managed to get over in a big way despite not being booked prominently. However, it’s no secret that Ryback has become an IWC punching bag for obvious reasons. While he’s got the stereotypical “WWE look,” he hasn’t really shown much else. Curtis Axel, on the other hand, provides a unique sense of nostalgia because of his father and presents attributes more palatable to hardcore fans. I can’t help but see Mr. Perfect when I watch Axel wrestle and if there’s one thing wrestling fans love, it’s nostalgia. Why do you think there’s so much excitement for Rob Van Dam’s return? Paul Heyman doesn’t hurt things and Ryback would have been much better suited with a mouthpiece. I had suggested a Zeb Colter pairing but that has gone to Antonio Cesaro, as awkward as it seems.

What do you think of a potential babyface vs. babyface feud between Daniel Bryan and John Cena?

I am all for a Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena feud and think Bryan has more than proved his worth to work in the top of the card, however, will fans buy him as a viable threat to the WWE title? Only time will tell but Bryan has had success in every gimmick he’s been given so far. As for the immediate future, Mark Henry will oppose Cena.

Are there plans to turn Dolph Ziggler babyface?

WWE did a rare double turn at WWE Payback where Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler both turned. The plan, at least in the short term, is for Dolph Ziggler to work as a babyface. While the storyline is Ziggler “isn’t cleared to compete,” he is 100% medically cleared and was prior to the match at WWE Payback. The stuff at the pay-per-view (and explanation on Raw) was kayfabe.

Shouldn’t it have be Daniel Bryan challenging for the WWE Championship against John Cena instead of Mark Henry?

WWE planted the seed for a future WWE title program for Daniel Bryan but the plan going back to before the pay-per-view on Sunday was to program Bryan with Randy Orton. At one point they were scheduled to face one another at WWE Payback but it was pushed back to give the program more build. As I stated on Tuesday, I’m all for Bryan vs. Cena for the title.

Any word if Curtis Axel is a legitimate “Paul Heyman guy” behind the scenes? Does Paul Heyman actually see something in him as he did with CM Punk, and what are your thoughts on Curtis Axel?

Paul Heyman and CM Punk are good friends in real life. In fact, it was Punk that pitched Heyman to WWE officials to bring him back to the company. A lot of people think it was Brock Lesnar that brought Heyman back but that’s not the case. As for Curtis Axel, he has a lot of support in the locker room as a future star. I don’t know what Heyman thinks of him personally but given Heyman’s real-life nose for talent, I’m sure he sees potential.

When someone is called up to Raw and Smackdown but is later sent back down, how does this effect their contract?

When a worker is called up from WWE developmental they aren’t immediately signed to a new contract. They keep their developmental downside while getting paid main roster show bonuses. Contracts do not automatically change when a worker is called up.

Does Vince McMahon get angry when Divas have wardrobe malfunction like what happened with Kailyn on this week’s WWE Raw?

Vince McMahon would probably prefer they didn’t happen but welcome to live TV. While production tried to catch what happened with Kaitlyn, pictures of the malfunction ended up online. There is a couple second delay between what happens and what airs so production can kill the feed if something happens, as was the case on this week’s show.

Why are The Shield always disqualified in dark match main events?

Booking The Shield is tricky because WWE wants to keep them working main eventers without putting them under. While the outcomes at live events and dark matches are meaningless, WWE basically shows their strategy when booking them in these matches. In a move that I don’t understand, WWE wasted The Shield’s streak on last week’s meaningless episode of Smackdown. If the company wanted to promote their first 6-man tag match loss, it should have either been on Raw or pay-per-view.

Do workers earn a show bonus for appearing on NXT shows like they do for Raw and Smackdown?

Yes, talent that appear on WWE NXT TVs get a show bonus similar to what a main roster star would get for appearing on Raw, Smackdown or WWE Main Event. This is one of the things that boosted morale in developmental when the company moved to Full Sail University. NXT is treated as another WWE series and not a local show as was Florida Championship Wrestling.

Is it me or has there been a little more effort recently but into WWE storylines?

WWE is on a hot streak right now, especially coming off a WWE Payback pay-per-view that exceeded expectations and a stellar episode of Monday Night Raw. I don’t know why this is but check out this article for more.

I just read your article on RVD saying he felt like an ambassador for TNA and that fans thought he retired. What are your feelings on talent leaving companies and trashing the way they were treated knowing if it doesn’t work out they end up right back there anyway? Hasn’t it always been the talent’s responsibility to prove themselves to the company not the other way around?

Rob Van Dam didn’t really “trash” TNA as much as he admitted that it was him that was reminding people to watch. One point I think we can all agree on is TNA needs more exposure. I don’t think he was airing sour grapes as much as he was stating a fact that TNA isn’t watched by near as many people as WWE. We can all call into question how Rob Van Dam’s character was booked but that’s a whole other discussion. As for your question, it’s a collaborative effort between talent and company to have success. Yes, it’s the talent’s responsibility to prove themselves but it’s the company’s responsibility to put them in positions to succeed. As for a talent speaking up when they leave, no one is going to publicly trash their employer. For example, you wouldn’t talk bad about your boss while you were still working for them. It wouldn’t be smart and it’s the same concept in the wild world of pro wrestling.

I can understand a couple of days of tape delay (i.e Smackdown) but why is NXT have such a long tape delay?

WWE tapes an entire month of NXT at each taping. There are multiple reasons for this but the main reason is it is cost effective and convenient. A lot goes into taping television from the equipment to the staff to the talent so to knock out an entire month of TV in one night is highly efficient. This is the same reason TNA tapes two episode of Impact Wrestling in each city they tour.

Is CM Punk now a babyface or a tweener?

CM Punk has turned babyface for the time being but one could easily argue he’s a tweener. This is something that was basically unavoidable for a couple of reasons. One, stars traditionally draw babyface reactions after returning from an extended absence and two, he returned in Chicago. There was no way Punk was going to be received as a heel so WWE is carrying forward with this to lead to the prospective program against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam.

Do you see the Undertaker Returning For Summerslam? If so, will it be against The Shield?

Undertaker felt good after his match at Wrestlemania 29 and proved as much working a couple of matches on WWE television after the pay-per-view. There is some belief in the company he could work SummerSlam which is why Dean Ambrose attempted “old school” on this week’s Monday Night Raw [obviously planting the seeds for a match]. At this point I don’t know the combinations but can confirm it’s a possibility.

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