WWE Preparing For The Exit Of A Top Star, HBK’s Role In Undertaker vs. Triple H Revealed, Ted DiBiase Injured, TNA Star Says They’re Stepping Away, Why TNA Released A Former WWE Star, Hogan Sex Tape Surfaces, Who Played A Major Role In Vince Russo’s Departure & Who He Hopes To Take To WWE With Him, Ask WNW Archive & All The Big News From This Past Week

Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure.

This week’s edition covers news from Saturday, March 3, 2012 to Friday, March 9, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

Table Of Contents
WWE News
TNA Impact Wrestling News
Ask WNW

WWE News

WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show was officially added to Wrestlemania XXVIII on last night’s Smackdown. Below is the updated lineup:

Singles Match
- The Rock vs. John Cena

Hell in a Cell Match
- The Undertaker vs. Triple H

WWE Championship Match
- CM Punk (c) vs. Chris Jericho

World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Sheamus

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
- Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Big Show

Wrestlemania XXVIII will take place Sunday, April 1, 2012 from Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

WWE has announced the following new live event dates:

  • May 11th at 7:30 PM – Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York
  • May 12th at 7:30 PM – War Memorial Arena @ The Oncenter in Syracuse, New York
  • 
June 2nd at 7:30 PM – Civic Center in Mobile, Alabama

- Tickets went on sale this morning for the July 27th WWE Raw live event from the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia on Ticketmaster.com.

WWE has filed for the trademark of the word “kayfabe.” This is part of a new merchandise line they have launched with insider terms.

Darren YoungDerrick Bateman and Percy Watson are all three now listed on the Smackdown roster on the official WWE website.

Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent this in… FCW features a new talent named Benicio Salazar from Mexico City. He was formerly known as El Hijo del Médico Asesino (Killer Doctor’s Son) in his homeland.

- It looks like Triple H will get some ring time before his Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVIII. Madison Square Garden’s official website is advertising Hunter to be in action at the March 18th Supershow house show from New York City. Click here for local event information.

John Laurinaitis teased Kane vs. Aksana for next week’s Smackdown at the end of last night’s episode. Next’s week’s Smackdown will be taped on Tuesday from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

- To answer a lot of questions we’ve had from readers, the latest creative plans for Wrestlemania XXVIII do not include a Money in the Bank ladder match. There were rumblings WWE could bring it back after it was absent from last year’s show, however, there are no plans for it as of this writing.

Mark Henry was recently interviewed by the official WWE website about his induction into the International Sports Hall of Fame. Henry discusses winning the Arnold Classic in the excerpt below:

“It meant a lot because that competition is geared toward the heaviest instruments in the world. To win that competition truly proves you are the strongest man. You compete against eight guys, the best in the world. There’s no dodging anybody and you lift the heaviest apparatus. It spoke volumes about my talent. I only had four months to train, because I was with WWE. If I had more time to train, I might’ve done even better. It’s hard to better than first, though, you know?”

Henry then revealed what his famous lifting moment in his career was::

“Being 19 years old and making the Olympic team on my last lift. I went 6-for-6 and had a perfect Olympic trial. Making the team and being one of the youngest to ever go to the Olympics was pretty special.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Wade Barrett underwent surgery for his dislocated elbow and the injury was much worse than originally expected. Barrett’s timetable to return is now 3-4 months as it was only expected to be 6-8 weeks.

Barrett wrote the following on Twitter today:

I am done with Twitter for now. See you in a few months.

— Wade Barrett (@WadeBarrett) March 2, 2012

- I can confirm The Undertaker had surgery on his shoulder and hip since working Wrestlemania XXVII last year.  Undertaker is reportedly feeling good going into his Wrestlemania XXVIII match against Triple H this year. It’s unknown if Undertaker plans to retire after Wrestlemania this year and is believed to be more of the “wait and see” approach.

- Last night’s episode of WWE Vintage Collection featured the following matches. This write-up is courtesy of our old pal Devin Cutting:

Buddy Landell vs. Bob Holly
WWF Raw – December 18th, 1995

George Steele vs. Nikolai Volkoff
WWF Prime Time Wrestling – June 23rd, 1986

Batista vs. Tajiri
WWE Raw – May 10th, 2004

Butch Reed vs. Tito Santana
WWF All American Wrestling – December 7th, 1986

Dustin Rhodes vs. Cactus Jack
WCW Main Event – March 1st, 1992

Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart
WWF Raw – March 13th, 1995

Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales
WWF Live Event – December 6th, 1986 – Boston

Mark Henry’s monster push in WWE is over and he could be winding down his career.  As I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium back in January, Henry is very unhappy with his position in the company and is seriously considering retiring when his contract expires.  While I do not have a confirmed date for his contract expiration, the deal is believed to be up late this year (possibly September). The reason Henry has lost clean on WWE TV lately is more or less the company protecting against a departure that currently seems inevitable.

- Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman has re-opened his beef with WWE Champion CM Punk. Remember the two had a run-in in Costa Rica last February. The following is from Merriman’s official Twitter:

Oh yea *fu#k’ cm punk @wwe he’s still a punk forever in my book I’m sure my supporters feel the same way

— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) March 4, 2012

If god is my witness cm punk was wearing a thong laying by the pool tanning his cheeks in costa rica now tell me I’m lying

— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) March 4, 2012

Cm punk want no part of Lights trust me

— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) March 4, 2012

#cmpunkthong #cmpunkthong #cmpunkthong #cmpunkthong #cmpunkthong #cmpunkthong there you go @shawnemerriman come on y’all it’s the truth

— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) March 4, 2012

And @WWE I ain’t hosting sh#t until cm is dethroned

— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) March 4, 2012

I ain’t a hater at all but if U like dudes tanning by the pool N a thong that’s cool..I think he had Pillows under his stomach #cmpunkthong

— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) March 5, 2012

Please get #cmpunkthong trending y’all would make my night

— Shawne Merriman (@shawnemerriman) March 5, 2012

Mister Saint Laurent reporting:

2012 WWE Hall of Famer J.J. Dillon joined Mister Saint Laurent on MLW Radio, the official podcast of Major League Wrestling. Dillon spoke about never working as a manager during his time with WWE. “When Tully and Arn left, the plan was for them to go up there as the Brainbusters with Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan.”

“For all the success I’ve enjoyed as a manager in wrestling, I will be the first one to tell you that when it comes to the greatest managers of all time, the man at the top of that list is Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan. He set the bar for which all the rest of us are measured.

J.J. also shared Vince McMahon’s approach to presenting talent that had prior success elsewhere: “Another thing I learned about Vince is that Vince has a tendency to want to create his own thing and even though something had been successful somewhere else, he tended to not get excited about rekindling something that had been successful somewhere else.”

“Vince wanted it to be Vince’s ideas. You can’t argue with success.”

You can listen to part 2 of the interview at http://www.mlw.com/

Other topics covered in the almost hour long conversation with the former WWE/WCW/TNA executive and manager include:

-Knowing how to cater to Vince’s likes and dislikes

-Why he resigned from WWE and signed with WCW at the height of the Monday Night Wars

-Meeting with Eric Bischoff about returning to WCW

-Managing Steve Corino in MLW

-What’s missing on current WWE programming

-Whether he’s working under a WWE Legends contract

-His history with Gary Hart before and during MLW

-Thoughts on working with MLW President Court Bauer as well Court’s time at WWE

-Working as Vince McMahon’s “axe man”

WWE announced today they will run shows in Brazil this May. Below are the announced dates:

  • May 23 from the Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • May 24 from the Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

WWE is advertising The Rock for tonight’s Raw Supershow from Boston, promoting he will be there to confront John Cena once again.

Shawn Michaels posted the following today on Twitter:

Beautiful, morning here in Boston. Slamming down some coffee then knocking out a workout…then PHASE 2 BEGINS!!! Mr. HOF is on his way:-)

— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) March 5, 2012

Wrestling News World reader Craig sent this in…

The Score in Canada is now broadcasting WWE Vintage Collection online each week, so for people in the US that don’t get this great show showing classic wrestling they can watch now, click here to watch this week’s episode.

Wrestling News World reader Max Moskal sent this in…

Devon “Hannibal” Nicholson showed up at the poorly attended WWE event at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa ON this past Saturday.  For almost 2 hours he met with fans, signed autographs, asked fans about him going to TNA and spoke to fans about “Hannibal Pro Wrestling.”  The new company he and Lanny Poffo are promoting with the first event being May 5th in Smiths Falls ON with TNA’s Scott Steiner.  Shortly before the event was about to start WWE sent numerous security officers out to have him removed from the property despite the event being in his home town.

Shawn Michaels was officially announced as the guest referee for The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania XXVIII.  WrestlingNewsWorld.com first broke that Shawn Michaels would be the special guest referee in The Undertaker vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on January 9, 2012. If you are not yet a WNW Premium Member you can sign-up now at this link.

Santino Marella beat Jack Swagger on tonight’s Raw Supershow to win the WWE United States Championship.  For those that missed it, John Lauranaitis tried to dispute the outcome (obviously in storyline) but Teddy Long had him “ejected” from the building.

16,286 was the announced attendance for tonight’s WWE Raw Supershow from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Rock is being advertised for the March 19th edition of Raw Supershow from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

ESPN’s Robert Flores was in attendance at tonight’s WWE Raw Supershow with Boston Celtics play-by-play announcer Sean Grande.

WWE is officially advertising The Undertaker’s response to Shawn Michaels being added as the special guest referee to his Hell in a Cell match against Triple H at Wrestlemania XXVIII on next week’s Raw Supershow from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.  Michaels will be there live and we’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

CM Punk did multiple media appearances to promote last night’s Raw in Boston Massachusetts:

-He made an appearance on Jam’n Radio 94.5 and talked about the worst place he’s been asked to sign autographs, his feud with Chris Brown, and more. Cameras were at the broadcast, as filming has begun for his upcoming DVD. Click here to listen to the full interview.

-He also made an appearance on 100.7 WZLX and discussed his straightedge lifestyle, WrestleMania XXVIII, and more. Click here to listen to the full interview.

The Rock is a busy man these days. In addition to main eventing Wrestlemania XXVIII against John Cena in less than a month, the WWE star has signed on for two new movie roles.

Variety is reporting he is signed on for Bret Ratner’s upcoming “Hercules” movie. Production is set to begin in October in New Zealand.

Deadline is reporting that The Rock has signed on to star in “Ciudad,” an action thriller to be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo.

- After last night’s WWE Raw Supershow went off the air John Cena & WWE Champion CM Punk beat Chris Jericho & Kane when Cena pinned Kane in the dark match main event.

The Miami Herald has a new interview up with Big Show, in which he discusses his rumored WrestleMania match against Shaquille O’Neal, his feelings about being put in so many WrestleMania matches against non-wrestlers, and more. He addressed speculation about a future match with Shaq in the excerpt below:

“I know there are a lot of rumors this year that I might get a chance to compete against Shaq at WrestleMania [28 in Miami]. I didn’t hear anything about it on my end. I don’t know if Shaq was getting froggy, stirring up some stuff, but if he ever wants to take his Nike butt away from the announcers’ desk and try to step in the ring, he’s more than welcome to try. I teach as well as I compete. So he can come on down and get a lesson. [...]

I think if Shaq and I ever do compete, we should have a wrestling competition and then also a free throw contest. He won’t win the free throw contest. We’ll see about the wrestling match.”

When asked whether he’d rather be in a world title match or a big match against an athlete from another sport, Big Show responded:

“Just being involved in WrestleMania is a huge honor. There’s only like 10 spots on the entire card available for matches, With the multitude of talent that we have, being in position to you have a match at WrestleMania is a huge honor. Of course from an egocentric basis, yea, I like being the man and competing for a world title or wrestling somebody like Mayweather or Akebono or Shaq. It’s all gratifying. Being a part of WrestleMania, being on the card itself and competing is amazing. I’ve been in 11 WrestleManias. That’s an outstanding part of my career, and I’m pretty proud of that.”

Click here to read the full interview.

-CM Punk appeared on WAAF 97.7/107.3 on Monday morning with camera crews for his upcoming DVD and, among other things, discussed his feelings on The Rock. When CM Punk revealed that he is on John Cena‘s side in his feud with The Rock, he went on to explain:

“I just think there’s a lot of us backstage and behind the scenes that bust our a– and we do it 365 days a year, and Rock just kinda comes in with his veneers and he’s smiling at everybody and – I don’t fault anyone for making money, he can make all the money he wants, but when he preaches about WWE, how much he loves it, and how much it’s family, and he loves being there, and nobody ever sees him because he goes right from his limo to his dressing room, from his dressing room to the ring, it’s a stark contrast – he says one thing and does another.”

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Curt Hawkins and Michael McGillicutty had a run-in with police earlier today. The following is from Hawkins’ official Twitter account:

So @WWEMcGillicutty & I just got pulled over by Rhode Island State Troopers. They recognized us from #NXT …They let us slide.

— Curt Hawkins (@TheCurtHawkins) March 6, 2012

- The security guards that escorted John Laurinaitis and David Otunga out of the TD Garden on last night’s Raw Supershow were Andy McKenzieMark ShurmanMatt Taven and Max Bauer from the New England Pro Wrestling Academy.

Sheamus spoke to kids at Leonard J. Tyl Middle School today in Montville, Connecticut about bullying and how to stop it. You can read coverage by the MontvillePatch at this link.

- The major announcement  the Wells Fargo Center was teasing on their Facebook page was The Rock is scheduled to appear live at the March 19th Raw Supershow in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Daniel Bryan did an interview with BooLawler.com before last night’s Smackdown taping and discussed a number of topics, including his veganism, being bumped off the WrestleMania XXVII card, the future stars of the company, and more. In the following excerpt, Bryan explains how he felt after his match with Sheamus last year was bumped to a pre-show match:

“That was so heartbreaking. Last year for Wrestlemania, I was supposed to be facing Sheamus for the United States Championship, and we got booted off the main card. We were on the show, but we were on before the pay-per-view went on the air. And this year, we’re really looking for redemption. [...] It was so disappointing.”

Bryan was also asked about who he thinks is the next big Superstar that no one is talking about yet, to which he replied:

“That’s hard to say, because there’s so many talented guys on our roster right now. But there’s some guys in the developmental system that are absolutely phenomenal. My favorite is a guy named Dean Ambrose, who just has such a personality and he’s so good in the ring. He hasn’t even debuted on TV yet, but when he does, I think he’s really gonna take people by surprise. I mean, he is just an awesome personality that people can really either love or hate, depending on how they play him.”

Click here to listen to the full interview.

TMZ is reporting that Kharma did not give birth to a healthy baby boy on December 31st.  Kharma, whose real name is Kia Stevens, told the celebrity-gossip publication the child tragically died before she was able to give birth. She reportedly lied to friends about the child being “healthy” because she was incredibly emotional and was afraid to tell the public the truth after announcing her pregnancy on live television.  Kharma plans to start a foundation for women that have experienced the same thing and is already organizing events to raise awareness.

- The following is from the official Twitter account of Ted DiBiase:

DiBiase Posse last night I unfortunately broke my ankle. Can’t catch a break lately. Ha, Well I guess I did n a way! Its ok tho, James 1:2-3

— Ted DiBiase Jr. (@TedDiBiase) March 7, 2012

DiBiase suffered the injury in a match against Jinder Mahal that was taped for this week’s WWE Superstars.

CBS Boston has audio of an interview with WWE Champion CM Punk from Monday afternoon now online. In it, Punk discusses his problems with R&B singer Chris Brown and NFL player Shawne MerrimanClick here to listen now.

- Edge revealed in an interview with 740 The Game last night that his WWE contract expires at Wrestlemania XXVIII. He said in the interview if it would have been up to him he would have tried to see the year through but the decision was taken from him because of injury.  You can listen to the full interview at this link.

Xavier Woods, formerly Consequences Creed, continues to impress WWE officials as he worked a dark match at last night’s Smackdown taping in Uncasville, Connecticut. In it, he went over Hunico. Woods was on the road with the Raw crew last weekend.

Evan Bourne, who is eligible to return from suspension in just under two weeks, is featured in the opening Raw video performing the Shooting Star Press. When Bourne was suspended for a second time in January many thought he would get cut from the company.

- Dragon Gate USA’s Sami Callihan got two private WWE tryouts prior to both this week’s Raw and Smackdown tapings. The crowd was not in the building for either tryout as producers evaluated him.

WWE has posted an injury update on Ted DiBiase now available over on dot com, stating he is expected to be out of action for “several weeks.” Below is an excerpt from their article:

“Ted sustained a Grade 2 tear [on a 3-tier scale] to his deltoid ligament, and he also sustained a calcaneal fracture, or a heel bone fracture,” WWE physician Dr. Michael Sampson told WWE.com after the SmackDown Superstar was taken to a nearby medical facility for X-rays.

Click here for coverage by WWE.com.

Kharma thanked everyone on behalf of herself and her significant other for their condolences on Twitter yesterday after news broke that their baby did not survive birth.  These are the first public comments Kharma has made since she went to TMZ with the tragic news.

- A Tennessee man has been extradited to Stamford, Connecticut and charged with stealing more than $50,000 from a WWE bank account.  James Sewayne Bass, also known as Kelly Monique, was charged with first-degree larceny and four counts of second-degree forgery. He is being held in lieu of $35,000 bond and was to be arraigned today at the Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford.  Bass is accused of using the account and routing numbers of a WWE bank account to steal the funds in order to pay for his day-to-day living expenses.  You can read more by CTPost.com at this link.

The Rock just purchased a new $3.45 million mansion in Southwest Ranches, Florida. The house is 13,153 square feet and features 5-bedrooms, 7 bathrooms with a swimming pool and a home theater with its own ticket booth.  TMZ is reporting that Rock bought the home from Miami Dolphins lineman Vernon Carey around Valentine’s Day.

Wrestling News World reader Briana Webber reporting:

WWE Hall of Famer Dory Funk Jr. and his wife, Marti Funk, lost the lawsuit that was brought against them on March 5, 2012.

Former students of Dory Funk Jr. successfully sued him over conduct that occurred at his professional wrestling school, the Funking Conservatory in Ocala, Florida. The terms in the contract the students had signed in order to train there were breached by the Funks.

Another factor in the lawsuit was that the Funks failed to inform the students that a registered sex offender, Wesley Dockemeyer, is their in-ring trainer. After refusing to refund the students their money, legal action was sought.

Two separate lawsuits from the former students were initially charged against the Funks. Both of these were heard together during the case. At court the judge decided in favor of the students.

A countersuit the Funks issued against the former students was dismissed.

Another lawsuit against the Funking Conservatory is still pending. A former sponsor of the !Bang! TV wrestling promotion that is associated with the school is suing the Funks. The sponsor has claimed that Dory and Marti Funk broke the terms of that contract as well.

The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Edge to promote the upcoming limited theatrical release of “Bending the Rules.” In the interview he discusses a lot about the transition to acting. Below is an excerpt:

“I did some of the action stuff,” Edge said. “The only thing I didn’t do was the accident. We kind of had a head on kind of deal, and I guess they didn’t want me to do that because I had to go to Raw the next day. I guess they didn’t want me to do the whole, ‘He can’t wrestle because he just got whiplash.’

“Beyond that I did everything else. It wasn’t too in-depth or anything because it’s more of a buddy flick than it is action, but there is a little bit of action to it.”

Among the other cast members is Jamie Kennedy, Alicia Witt, Jennifer Esposito and accomplished actress Jessica Walter, who has recently done voice work on the animated series “Archer”.

“Philip Baker Hall was big for me, especially being a ‘Seinfeld’ fan. Lt. Bookman was one of my favorite, probably my favorite character in ‘Seinfeld’ actually. So when I saw I was sharing scenes with him I thought, ‘This is awesome.’ He is a really funny guy. His delivery is amazing. He is such an underrated actor to some people, but there are some people who know what he can do.”

“Jessica Walter I didn’t know what to expect,”Edge said. “Here is this proper actor or actress who shared the screen with [Clint] Eastwood. I was like, ‘I don’t know what I am doing. She is going to be sick of me right from the get go.’ But she could not have treated me better. Everyone was very understanding to the fact that I was in way over my head and having no idea what I was doing. So they were very gracious and respectful.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Ted DiBiase is undergoing an MRI this afternoon to determine the full extent of the ankle injury he suffered during a match taped for this week’s WWE Superstars this past Tuesday night. The following is from DiBiase’s official Twitter account:

Might be a little worse than a just a break. About to go in for MRI.Matthew 6:34 twitter.com/TedDiBiase/sta…

— Ted DiBiase Jr. (@TedDiBiase) March 8, 2012

WWE posted this update on DiBiase yesterday.

-

Ted DiBiase posted the following injury update on Twitter:

Update: torn ligament and small break, but NO torn tendon which means no surgery! Again, thank you all for your encouragement!!

— Ted DiBiase Jr. (@TedDiBiase) March 8, 2012

DiBiase suffered the injury Tuesday night in a match against Jinder Mahal that was taped for this week’s episode of WWE Superstars.

- All episodes of Shawn Michaels’ MacMillian River Adventures are now online at MRAHunting.com. Season two will air this July on the Outdoor Channel and will include episodes featuring Steve Austin and Jim Ross(Thanks to WNW reader Jose Acero for their help with this information.)

WWE issued the following press release:

STAMFORD, Conn., Mar 09, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — WWE announced today that its Chief Financial Officer, George A. Barrios, will participate in the 24th Annual ROTH Conference, on March 13, 2012, in Laguna Niguel, California.

Mr. Barrios’ remarks are expected to begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET. A live audio webcast will be available online at corporate.wwe.com/investors. Also, a replay of the presentation will begin shortly after the actual presentation and will be available until June 13, 2012.

- The following is from the official Twitter account of Shawn Michaels:

At the airport headed to LA to visit/fish w/ the “Legends House”. I’m a bit scared:-)Truthfully, I can’t wait to see them all. Will be fun!

— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) March 9, 2012

TNA Impact Wrestling News

The following is from the official Twitter account from Shannon Moore:

Before someone gets it and twist it. I’ve decided to step away from wrestling for awhile. I’m putting effort into my own business.

— Shannon Moore (@TheShannonBrand) March 3, 2012

 

Thanks for your support in the ring but for now I am chill’n at home opening my second tat shop and enjoying my family.

— Shannon Moore (@TheShannonBrand) March 3, 2012

 

Or am I working you…. Who know the wrestling secret talk… Lol…. love you guys peace!!!

— Shannon Moore (@TheShannonBrand) March 3, 2012

Brian Kendrick publicly discussed his TNA Impact Wrestling release on the Lowdown Unlimited show last week. He said he has stopped smoking marijuana and would be interested in working for WWE again.  Kendrick is rumored to be connected with WWE’s prospective show centered around cruiserweight talent on the WWE Network.

- The following is from the official Twitter account of Dixie Carter:

I am very, VERY excited about what market we will be in for the Slammiversary pay-per-view on 6/10 to celebrate our 10th anniversary! :)

— Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) March 5, 2012

- Wrestling News World reader David Snay sent this in…

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has started using Hulk Hogan’s WWE theme song “Real American” as his own entrance music, as evidenced in this report and video. This is the second time recently that politicians have used “Real American”. It wasn’t that long ago where President Obama used it at the White House Correspondents dinner in Washington during his birth certificate controversy.

Brian Kendrick was released from TNA Impact Wrestling due to budget cuts in regards to talent established over the last year.  When Kendrick returned to TNA in 2010, the company was spending a lot of money to bring in former WWE guys preparing for what ended up being their failed “Monday Night War” attempt. I’m told Kendrick was making four times as much per match as some of the newer X Division guys that have been brought in over the last year.  The pay scale in TNA has gone way down, especially for the X Division and Kendrick wasn’t willing to take a drastic pay cut the company was offering him. This is why he ended up parting ways with TNA.

TNA Impact Wrestling sent out the following:

IMPACT WRESTLING brings the action to Washington State this April.  If you’ve never experienced an IMPACT WRESTLING World Tour event – this your chance!  Get up-close-and-personal to the Superstars of IMPACT WRESTLING and see exactly why we say – and our fans agree – that “IMPACT Fans Matter!”  Check out one or all of these tour stops in Washington:

Thursday, April 26: Kennewick, WA: Kennewick, WA will host the TNA IMPACT WRESTLING World Tour on Thursday, April 26 at Toyota Center at 7:30 pm. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 16 at ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Fans that purchase a $55 ticket will receive a special meet and greet with IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars at 5:30 pm!* (Redeemable with ticket the night of the show; offer only applies to $55 tickets.)

*Times | Meet and Greet 5:30PM (Only applies to $50 tickets) Doors open 6:30PM Showtime 7:30PM

Friday, April 27: Kent, WA: Kent, WA will host the TNA IMPACT WRESTLING World Tour on Friday, April 27 at Showare Center at 7:30 pm. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 16 at showarecenter.com or charge by phone at 253-856-6999 or 866-973-9613. Fans that purchase a $55 ticket will receive a special meet and greet with IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars at 5:30 pm!* (Redeemable with ticket the night of the show; offer only applies to $55 tickets.)

*Times | Meet and Greet 5:30PM (Only applies to $50 tickets) Doors open 6:30PM Showtime 7:30PM

Saturday, April 28: Wenatchee, WA : Wenatchee, WA will host the TNA IMPACT WRESTLING World Tour on Saturday, April 28 at Town Toyota Center 7:30 pm. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 16 at towntoyotacenter.com or charge by phone at 866-973-9611. Fans that purchase a $55 ticket will receive a special meet and greet with IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars at 5:30 pm!* (Redeemable with ticket the night of the show; offer only applies to $55 tickets.)

*Times | Meet and Greet 5:30PM (Only applies to $50 tickets) Doors open 6:30PM Showtime 7:30PM

Appearing live and in person will be:
- “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy
- IMPACT WRESTLING Superstar Bobby Roode
- “The Cowboy” James Storm
- IMPACT WRESTLING Knockouts
- and more!

TMZ is reporting that a sex tape featuring Hulk Hogan is being shopped. The tape features Hogan and an unidentified brunette that is not his ex-wife Linda or his current wife Jennifer McDaniel.  Hogan reportedly had a thong-shaped tan line and pulls off his shirt and says, “I started to work out again.”  Vivid’s Steve Hirsch says he was recently approached by a third party about the tape but it’s unknown if they plan to make an offer to buy the tape.

Hulk Hogan’s lawyer issued a statement to TMZ regarding the sex tape that recently surfaced. Below is the statement in its entirety:

“Terry Bollea is appalled at the unauthorized release of a secretly filmed video.”

He adds, “[Hulk] neither approved of the filming nor the release of the same.  It is clearly an outrageous invasion of privacy and breach of trust if it is genuine.  We will take all necessary steps to enforce both civil and criminal liability.”

Click here for coverage by TMZ.

- There is even more news regarding Vince Russo’s departure from TNA Impact Wrestling. I heard a lot of people wondered about the timing, especially when he was in a situation where the odds of him ever being fired were miniscule. One source told me he basically had a job for along as TNA was in business.  From what I understand, Vince’s son, Will Russo, played a major part in his decision making. As some of you may know, Will worked in production for TNA but quit when his father quit.  One of the reasons Vince Russo was attempting to regain some of his power was in the hopes he would have enough pull to get his son a bigger role in TNA, much like Eric Bischoff has been able to do with his son Garett. Vince wasn’t looking to get Will on-camera or anything like that but was hoping to have more stroke to get his son a more important position in production that offered him better job security.  My source says that while Vince figured while he had job security, due to his minimized stroke in the company, he wasn’t confident the same job security would be extended to his son. I’m told Vince is hoping he can get Will a job with the WWE Network, assuming he himself actually lands a job with his former employer.

Wrestling News World writer Matt Andrews sent word that Metroplex Wrestling has booked Brian Kendrick for their May 26th show from the Metroflex Gym Midcities in Beford, Texas. Click here for more information.

Ask WNW

How does The Rock vs. John Cena compare to Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania X8 a decade ago?

I actually think The Rock vs. John Cena is a bigger match and has more hype surrounding it than Rock vs. Hogan. Hogan was already out of his prime by the time the Wrestlemania X8 match happened and this isn’t the case with Rock and Cena. Rock is not even 40 yet (Hogan was 48) and can still compete at a very high level. The Rock vs. Cena is unique in that you have one of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era versus the biggest star of today yet the former is still young enough to work at a top level. I’m not saying it’ll be the best Wrestlemania match ever, it might not even be the best match of the night, but I do not recall another bout having as much build and hype as Rock vs. Cena.

I would rather see The Undertaker face a younger worker in a “passing of the torch” at this year’s Wrestlemania XXVIII than another match with Triple H. Who would you like to see elevated to the next level by beating the streak?

The streak should remain intact and The Undertaker has earned the right to retire undefeated at Wrestlemania when he decides to retire. I was against Undertaker vs. Triple H III at first, however, after evaluating the options, I sold myself on it. There isn’t a worker currently on WWE’s roster worth utilizing to end the streak and with Undertaker’s uncertain health, it doesn’t benefit a younger worker to go under either. Therefore Undertaker versus Hunter with the Hell in a Cell gimmick provides an avenue for an entertaining match and a loss would not hurt Triple H. I do not know the outcome of the bout but I would be completely against an Undertaker loss at Wrestlemania XXVIII.

What happened to Kevin Nash? Why did he slowly fade out?

Kevin Nash is signed under a WWE Legend’s Contract, not a Performer’s Contract. There were never plans for Nash to return as a full-time performer. He’s under contract if WWE needs him for a future angle.

Any update on what’s in store for Evan Bourne? I just saw the video WWE posted two weeks ago and at the end he mentions going for the U.S. Title. Thoughts?

The video was the first good sign I’ve seen for Evan Bourne since his second Wellness Policy violation was announced on January 17, 2012. I heard Bourne would likely get cut from his WWE contract on the next round of releases and there hasn’t been a whole lot to change that position with him being edited out of the  Raw Supershow opening video. With that being said something may have changed as he is eligible to return from suspension in a couple weeks.

How often does WWE release talent in groups and how do they choose new talent to be called up to the main roster?

The most well-known group cuts usually take place after Wrestlemania when the company looks to “trim the fat” and eliminate workers they have nothing for. There is no requirement for a “round of cuts” and comes down to the company evaluating their expenses and deciding when to let go of workers. As for who gets called up, it depends on who is doing well in Florida Championship Wrestling. The process usually begins with a developmental worker getting a chance at WWE live events and if they do well they’ll work dark matches prior to debuting on television.

What are your feelings on overused catch phrases? When Hulk Hogan turned heel in the 90s he dropped and really hasn’t used the whole “say your prayers eat your vitamins” phrase, with The Rock returning his old catch phrases don’t seem to have that “wait for it” moment, instead it seems like he’s just saying it to get it over with? Do you think The Rock should have returned with a newer updated phrase?

It really comes down to personal preference as to what you can label as an overused catch phrase. I have been pretty high up on The Rock’s mic work since returning but I did grow tired of the DeGeneration X catch phrases towards the end of their last run and have been over the “what” chants that Steve Austin draws for years. As for Rock coming to WWE with a newer updated phrase – he did – Boots to Asses.

What is the point in having a special guest referee in the Hell in a Cell match between The Undertaker and Triple H? After all, there are practically no rules.

WWE wanted to add a new element to an old match, which is why Shawn Michaels is the special guest referee of The Undertaker vs. Triple H. Regardless of how much Michaels has to “referee,” his involvement adds another element of intrigue to the bout.

Is WWE’s sudden interest in The Great Khali based solely on TNA’s recent success with Ring Ka King in India?

Vince McMahon is high up on The Great Khali because of his international appeal in India. He also feels Khali’s look is very marketable and regardless of his in-ring work, his extraordinary size makes him an attraction. I don’t know how much Ring Ka King has played into WWE pushing Khali as they pushed him before TNA ever expanded into the country. There were plans in WWE to expand further into India towards the end of last year and at the time, re-signing Khali was considered a top priority. When Vince McMahon cooled on the expansion plans, Khali became an afterthought and there was a point where he almost left over a dispute involving dates. A new deal was obviously worked out and WWE continues to push Khali for the aforementioned reasons.

Wouldn’t you agree The Rock does an excellent job in refreshing the Cena character? I’ve been one of the biggest Cena haters for years but I find him to be so entertaining now that he’s dropped that over the top PG gimmick. This could really go somewhere.

John Cena’s latest promo work with The Rock has been some of his best promo work in years. I don’t know if it’s The Rock bringing out the best in Cena or if it’s WWE giving him freer reign in terms of the PG initiative. Whatever the case, I agree Cena’s work has been refreshing and is of no comparison to some of the stuff he did with Kane which fell flat for more often than not.

Is it safe to assume Randy Orton’s Wrestlemania XXVIII opponent will be Kane?

It’s pretty safe to say the plan is to do Randy Orton vs. Kane at Wrestlemania XXVIII. I find this interesting because there was talk about turning Mark Henry babyface and programming him with Kane for Wrestlemania. Remember it was Henry that originally wrote Kane off television. Henry was vehemently against the proposed babyface turn and it seems WWE has abandoned his massive push.

I have been watching Ring Ka King since it started. I was glad to see stars like Matt Morgan, Chavo Guerrero and Chris Masters at the top. With that said, do you think WWE would re-hire them? What about WWE touring in India?

I have not heard of interest within WWE regarding the names you mentioned. Matt Morgan has a regular TNA contract in addition to his deal to perform on the company’s Ring Ka King show in India so he wouldn’t be available even if WWE were interested. As for WWE touring India, expanding in the country was actually a priority late last year but fizzled before a big push was put behind it. TNA came in and hit a home run with Ring Ka King. I don’t know what WWE’s reaction has been but I’m sure they are aware of Ring Ka King’s success.

Do you think having the Hell in a Cell match at Wrestlemania is ruining the tradition of having the match only at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view?

No I do not. WWE has done a nice job with the gimmicks to revamp their B-level shows. The buy rates remain a problem but I like how WWE has incorporated the gimmicks without overdoing them. Wrestlemania is WWE’s biggest event of the year and nothing should be off-limits for it. One more Hell in a Cell match or Money in the Bank ladder match is not overdoing the gimmick.

I used to only watch WWE until I was introduced to Impact Wrestling. I feel they have a very entertaining roster and awesome shows. What do you think would make them competitive to WWE?

It’s an uphill battle to compete with WWE but it’s possible. After all, WCW not only competed with WWE, they nearly put them out of business. There is not one key thing TNA needs to do to compete. They already have a significant financial backer, a mainstream television deal and a loaded talent roster with some of the most accomplished names in the wrestling business. At this point I think the thing that would help them the most would be to establish a clear chain of command. Even with Vince Russo gone, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. They need to establish who does what, who is in charge of who, etc. WWE is a finely tuned machine that has done nothing but grow during a time where they haven’t had any legitimate competition. If a company is going to challenge WWE for control they are going to have to be either really well organized or get really lucky. I don’t know how well organized WCW was but they hit a home run with the nWo.

If The Undertaker ends up losing in his Hell in a Cell match against Triple H at Wrestlemania XXVIII would that be the end of his career?

I don’t think anyone knows what The Undertaker plans on doing past Wrestlemania XXVIII and honestly it probably depends on how he feels afterwards. As far as I know no decision has made been on the outcome of Undertaker vs. Triple H but I oppose ending Undertaker’s undefeated streak because I feel he’s earned the honor for it to remain intact. With that being said WWE officials would certainly be interested in trying to get Brock Lesnar to face Undertaker if he can go next year.

How long does the WWE Wellness Policy last? I realize it one strike is a 30-day suspension, two strikes is a 60-day suspension and three strikes results in termination. However, let’s take Evan Bourne for example. If he fails another Wellness test in let’s say three years, would he still be fired? What about William Regal, who also has two violations? Is there a time when the policy resets?

The policy doesn’t reset and even if Evan Bourne or William Regal were terminated and later re-signed, they would return with two Wellness Test failures. If a worker has three failures and they are terminated, they will remain terminated for at least one year. If WWE brings them back after their minimum termination of one year they will return with two Wellness strikes, must test negative during pre-screening and will be subject to strict random testing while they are under WWE contract. The entire WWE Wellness Policy is online at this link.

Why is CM Punk hating on the Rock? I really didn’t think that Punk would have a problem with him being back. I think the boys in the back should stop all the hate and like you said, take notes on what he does to get over.

CM Punk explained his problem with The Rock at this link. For me to say anything else would be to put words in Punk’s mouth which would be disrespectful and inaccurate. As for my own personal reaction, I can understand Punk’s frustration, however, if I was a WWE wrestler, I would try to learn all I could from The Rock. He’s an extremely rare talent that only comes around every couple of decades and anyone that criticizes him runs the risk of looking like a hater. The Rock earned his spot, it’s time for some of the other guys to do the same.

Why did WWE put the United States Championship on Santino Marella?

As I noted in yesterday’s WNW Premium Mailbag, my initial reaction was Santino Marella was being rewarded for stepping into a tough spot at Elimination Chamber and blowing the roof off the place. I don’t know if that’s the reason but it sure doesn’t seem like a big stretch after Santino stepped up when WWE needed him too.

Is Randy Orton being programmed with Kane some type of punishment due to his recent proneness to injury? A match with Kane at Wrestlemania seems like a huge step down for The Viper.

Randy Orton isn’t being punished and while I felt like WWE would add him to the title picture with Sheamus and Daniel Bryan, it appears he was given a spot that was originally slated for Mark Henry. I heard WWE wanted to continue Henry’s push as a babyface with a program against Kane but he opposed it. Orton vs. Kane hasn’t been confirmed for Wrestlemania but I expect it to be.

What happened to Rob Van Dam and Mr. Anderson?

Rob Van Dam’s contract with TNA Impact Wrestling is reportedly up this month. I haven’t heard anything in terms of negotiations for a new deal. There had been rumors he was frustrated in TNA and was actually considering a possible return to WWE. As for Ken Anderson, he’s back in TNA and will return to pay-per-view at this month’s Victory Road.

Is there any news on when Skip Sheffield is supposed to return to the WWE?

Skip Sheffield has been using his old Ryback gimmick in dark matches and live events but has also used the Sheffield character. I haven’t heard if/when WWE plans to bring him back to television, however, it seems they are trying to find the right fit for him.

Do you have any more details on Ted DiBiase’s injury, mainly if he needs surgery and a more specific timeline that he’ll be out? Also, does he hope to continue his “DiBiase Posse Parties” at live events and/or Wrestlemania?

Ted DiBiase underwent an MRI yesterday that revealed a torn ligament and small break in his ankle but no torn tendon. DiBiase said that meant no surgery so while the injury was worse than originally anticipated it wasn’t as bad as it could have been either. I don’t know the future of the “DiBiase Posse Parties” but to keep up with them, go to DiBiasePosseParty.com.

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