New TNA Champion, Ryback Wants Cena’s Spot, Major Change To TNA Contracts, More WM29 Matches Revealed, The Bella Twins Return, WWE Star Forgets Their Lines On Live TV, Vince Ready To Scrap Swagger/Colter Gimmick?, New WWE PPV, HoF Deal Stalls, WWE Star Arrested For DUI Again, Punk Injured

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 9, 2013 to Friday, March 15, 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

- WWE has announced the May 13th episode of Raw will broadcast from the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

- Things aren’t looking good for the new WWE Studios release Dead Man Down. The film opened in third place with an estimated $1.83 million from 2,188 locations. Box Office Mojo reports the movie will finish the weekend with around $5.5 million, making it the latest 2013 release to “completely whiff” at the box office.

- WWE Champion The Rock wrote the following on Twitter:

- Lanny Poffo is on board with a petition here at Mandatory.com to make May 20th (the day Randy Savage died in 2011) an official “Day of Remembrance” for The Macho Man. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by April 4th for the government to look at it. (Thanks to WNW reader Dave L and TMZ.com.)

- Chris Jericho returned as scheduled at Saturday night’s WWE Raw live event in Broomfield, Colorado. Jericho wrote the following on Twitter about his match with Dolph Ziggler:

Jericho has been off WWE television touring Australia with his band Fozzy.

- WWE paid tribute to Paul Bearer at the beginning of all three live events so far this weekend by playing their awesome tribute video. I would expect the same for the shows Sunday night as well as Monday’s WWE Raw. If you want to know how I think Bearer should be honored, read my editorial at this link.

- WWE Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine told FOX Sports that it was frustration that did him in and ultimately resulted in his termination from WWE. Leavine is looking to play pro football, even if that means playing in the Canadian Football League.

- The current plan is for the Wrestlemania 29 pre-show to be an hour long and include interactive features where fans will be able to vote on stipulations or a match that will have an affect on the pay-per-view itself. The plan was disclosed by Stephanie McMahon at the SXSW event on Saturday.

- Sarah Backman, who recently signed a WWE developmental contract, will report to NXT this summer once her work visa is processed.

- The New York Daily News has named CM Punk their Dude of the Week. Find out why at this link.

- The Miz is featured in an interview here on JustPressPlay.net.

- Dr. Joseph Maroon talks about the WWE Wellness Policy with Triple H and Bruno Sammartino at this link.

- One of the things WWE is now doing backstage at Raw and pay-per-veiws is providing a “social zone” where wrestlers are able to send Tweets right before or after a match.

- John “Bradshaw” Layfield and his team made it to 20,000 feet of Mount Aconcagua (a/k/a Mt. Death) in Argentina. They were unable to make it to the summit due to weather. Michael Cole has been posting updates from his Twitter account @MichaelCole.  Make sure you follow us @WNWNews.

- Joe DeFranco Tweeted a photo of Triple H training as he was performing a 400lb. SuperYoke carry on Sunday. View it here or embedded below:

- WWE has announced a combined roster live event on 5/18 from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. Tickets go on sale March 23, 2013.

- Arda Ocal interviewed Jake Roberts and Tweeted the following:

- Newsday has a new article online featuring quotes from Goldust Dustin Runnels. Below are the highlights:

On his brother Cody Rhodes:

“Cody has seen the trials and tribulations within our family, with me especially, and how good can go to bad because of my own mistakes,” Rhodes said. “Cody has just got the greatest head on his shoulders. I’m so proud of him. He’s a clean-cut kid. He doesn’t do drugs. He doesn’t drink. He trains hard. He’s intelligent. He can talk.”

“He doesn’t see the big picture sometimes. But he’s growing,” said Dustin, who expressed some frustration with WWE’s inconsistent push of Cody since he joined the company six years ago. “Sometimes they get a little hot and cold with Cody. I just wish they would make up their minds.”

“He’s the only one left in the business that I would like to have a singles match with at WrestleMania. Period. Nowhere else,” Dustin said. “I just want to work with my brother.”

Understanding WWE being in no rush to bring him back:

“I made my bed and I’ve got to lay in it,” Dustin said. “It took me a long time to get my life screwed up, and it’s going to take a long time to get it back.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Ryback was on the 3/10 episode of LAW. In the interview, Ryback said after three ankle surgeries he was told he would never wrestle again. He said he doesn’t think anyone has challenged John Cena for the top spot in WWE in the past ten years and Goldberg was all about the streak but he has more to offer.

- Dead Man Down finished fourth on the box office charts, grossing $5,350,000. The film, considered a box office bust, did beat out The Rock’s Snitch which did $5,100,000 over the weekend but is in its third week out and has grossed $31,855,000 to date. Box Office Mojo as the complete chart at this link.

- The children of William “Paul Bearer” Moody (Daniel and Michael) will be in attendance at this week’s WWE Raw from Indianapolis. I’m expecting some type of Bearer tribute but I can’t confirm whether or not his kids will be on television. I wrote an editorial how I feel Bearer should be honored on Raw here at WWENews.net.

- Tickets for WWE SummerSlam 2013 go on sale on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 10 AM. They’re priced from $25.90 to $465.75. The show will take place Sunday, August 18, 2013 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. You can view the seating chart at this link.

- Last week’s Smackdown did a 2.09 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 2,840,000 viewers on SyFy.

- Brie and Nikki Bella returned to WWE on this week’s episode of Raw. They were reintroduced in a backstage segment with The Rhodes Scholars as they aligned with Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. The WWE contracts of Brie and Nikki expired on April 30, 2012 and they decided to leave to pursue outside projects. In an interview with Maxim.com last summer, Brie said they looked forward to going back. We’re under the assumption both have re-signed and are back on the roster going forward.

- Santino Marella, who is out with a neck injury, wrote the following on Twitter:

- John Layfield Tweeted the following graph photo of his heel after descending from 20,0000 feet down Mt. Death:

- Wade Barrett will defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho and The Miz in a triple threat match on next week’s WWE Raw. Next week’s WWE Raw will take place from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

- The Rock wasn’t at this week’s WWE Raw because he’s in South Korea for the world premiere of GI Joe 2.

- After this week’s WWE Raw went off the air, John Cena & Ryback beat The Shield via disqualification when Roman Reigns used a steel chair on Ryback. The babyfaces ended up hitting their finishers after the match to send the crowd home happy. The following is from Cena’s Twitter:

Cena sported a new yellow t-shirt to the dark main event.

- Speaking of this week’s WWE Raw, I just finished an editorial on WWENews.net you can read it by clicking this link – CM Punk’s Cheap Heat On Paul Bearer – Did WWE Go Too Far?

- Movie Web is reporting that Marvel executives are meeting with Dave Batista this week about possibly playing the role Drax the Destroyer in their superhero ensemble Guardians of the Galaxy. According to their report, no formal offer has been extended to the former WWE superstar prior to the meeting. Batista last appeared in The Man with the Iron Fists and stars in the upcoming sequel Riddick alongside Vin Diesel.

- Kevin Nash is in Venice shooting scenes for an upcoming episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories for A&E.

- Evan Bourne continues to rehab his foot from his Lisfranc injury. He has a doctor’s appointment on Thursday to follow-up on his progress.

- Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H was not officially announced for Wrestlemania 29 on this week’s WWE Raw. The development is that Paul Heyman said they would accept if Hunter agreed to their stipulation for the bout.

Backstage news and notes from this week’s WWE Raw…

- There has been some talk about Undertaker wearing the classic hat and black gear with gray boots and tie at Wrestlemania as a tribute/throwback. More than a few feel this is it for Undertaker and if it isn’t, it will be difficult to give him another top match without him coming across on camera as old and out of shape.

- Big Show was praised for his work with The Shield on this week’s show for his efforts on the triple power. One backstage observer commented on the amount of balance it took to pull the spot off.

- We heard there were significant comments about Dolph Ziggler finally going over but CM Punk going under.

- The Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio program isn’t playing out to Vince McMahon’s liking. While it was Vince that fell in love with the revamped gimmick played by Swagger, ultimately saving Jack’s job and telling him to push his court day back (innocent until proven guilty), he sees the gimmick not getting over and feels it may have already died. We’re told Vince blames Alberto Del Rio for not being over as a babyface, Swagger for not looking legitimate, the writers and pretty much “everyone but Zeb Colter.” So much so, Vince is ready to pull the plug on the entire program that was originally set to run until May. They’re locked in for Wrestlemania but Vince was demanding rewrites over weekend.

- The Highlight Reel segment was seen as a monumental failure with Wade Barrett out of his comfort zone, The Miz awful and Brad Maddox forgetting half of his lines. Vince McMahon was upset backstage and everything said on commentary was straight from the back. One observer commented how this is the closest the company has ever gone to trashing their own product while the segment was airing on TV. Vince was very unhappy with how it came across on TV.

- We’re told Paul Bearer’s family (presumably his sons) signed off on the usage of his passing in the CM Punk vs. Undertaker program and had no problem with it. They stressed Moody loved wrestling and would have had no problem with it.

- The preliminary buyrate numbers released for Royal Rumble 2013 are extremely confusing and tell two completely different stories. The number in one of the charts in WWE’s updated Key Performance Indicators shows the buyrate slightly lower than the 443,000 buys the show did last year. You can see that graph below:

[information]WWE PPV Graph[/information]

In a separate graph, breaking down the monthly PPV buys, the figure is 498,000 buys with 322,000 domestic and 176,000 international. You can view that graph below:

[information]PPV Buys[/information]

So did the show, headlined by CM Punk vs. The Rock, fall short from the past couple years or did the number surge to its highest in five years? We simply do not know and will have to wait on more information from WWE. The company will announce the official Royal Rumble buyrate number with their first quarter earnings later this year.

Until then, here is a break down of the numbers since 2004 on WrestlingNews.net.

- WWE officially announced their new June pay-per-view called Payback on Tuesday on dot com. The show will take place Sunday, June 16, 2013 from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Tickets go on sale Saturday, March 23, 2013.

- WWE has moved their April 26th live event in Moscow, Russia from the Luzhniki Small Sports Arena at the Olympic Complex. It’s original venue was the Megasport Arena. Thanks to Devin Cutting.

- This week’s WWE Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,813,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the by hour breakdown in viewership:

  • Hour one – 4,980,000 viewers
  • Hour two – 4,890,000 viewers
  • Hour three – 4,579,000 viewers

The show ended up doing a 3.36 cable rating.

One of the things that has to frustrate WWE to no end is they had the audience and rather than growing it, they lost it as the show went on.

- Triple H is scheduled for next week’s WWE Raw from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to respond to Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman regarding their condition to accepting his challenge for a match at Wrestlemania 29. As the storyline goes, Lesnar and Heyman will agree for a bout that will rematch the SummerSlam main event of Triple H vs. Lesnar if Triple H agrees to the stipulation set forth by Heyman and company.

Hunter Tweeted the following:

Lesnar is also officially advertised for the show.

- CBS Philly has a new article online featuring quotes from David Otunga to promote his supporting role in “The Call.” Click here to read it.

- Footage of Otunga on the red carpet at the movie’s premiere is online at this link.

- Wade Barrett spoke to the Toledo Free Press at this link.

- Kofi Kingston was in the United Kingdom on a WWE promotional tour last week. Mirror has an interview online with him at this link. You can watch him on Sky Sports here.

- IndyStar.com has a new interview with The Miz at this link.

- Vickie Guerrero’s daughter, Shaul, shows off her tattoos in a photoshoot at this link.

- Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart will do a meet and greet and Q&A session with fans on Thursday, April 4, 2013 (Wrestlemania 29 weekend) at Dave & Busters in New York City. Go to ShawnandBret.com for more.

- We have photos of The Rock on the red carpet in South Korea with the new WWE title belt online here at WrestlingNews.net.

- Ted DiBiase beat Bray Wyatt in a dark match prior to this week’s Smackdown taping in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Randy Orton, Ryback & Sheamus beat The Shield via disqualification in the dark match main event after the taping. The babyfaces ended up hitting their finishers to send the crowd home happy.

- The Undertaker is advertised for the following episodes of WWE Raw:

3/18 from Pittsburgh, PA
3/25 from Philadelphia, PA
4/1 from Washington, D.C.

WWE has him listed for Pittsburgh and D.C. but not Philadelphia, however, he is advertised locally. This would mean Undertaker will be on every episode leading up to Wrestlemania 29.

- As of this weekend there was still no deal in place for Arnold Schwarzenegger to induct Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame. We noted here on WNW Premium that both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon rearranged their weekend a couple weeks ago to meet with Arnold at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. It turns out Hunter and Stephanie ended up arriving later than they hoped and as busy as Arnold was with his commitments at the event, Hunter and Arnold didn’t get to talk for as long as they hoped. Triple H and Schwarzenegger have been trying to find a time to arrange another meeting, but given as busy as they both are, it hasn’t happened yet. The hope was a deal would be done going into this week, but that didn’t happen.

- Triple H posted the following on Twitter:

- Muscle and Fitness has a new article online featuring a Q&A with Zack Ryder at this link.

- SLAM! Wrestling has a new article online featuring quotes from Kofi Kingston. Below are the highlights:

Losing the Jamaican accent and character:

“I think it’s definitely been a help,” he said about the change. “If you look at the history of the greats in WWE, everyone has an evolution. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin started out as the Ring Master, Triple H was first Hunter Hearst Helmsley, even The Rock started off as Rocky Maivia. Those weren’t really them. The more you transition into being yourself, it becomes more real. Obviously I’m not Jamaican — I’ve never even been to Jamaica. But if you can transition your character from one thing to another, it makes a great story. Looking back on your career, you need to have some sort of progression. Character development is a huge part of that.”

Hurting himself before a bout:

“There was one time I was in Europe, and the arena was so cold, it was very hard to warm up. A lot of times, you kind of jump around for a few minutes and you can go. I probably should have warmed up a lot more than I did for this match. I think it was with Dolph (Ziggler). He had gone out to the ring, and I go to go up the stairs. I jumped two times and then I pulled something in my back. So I can’t move, literally. Normally I come out and do the three ‘thunderclaps’ and jump off the ramp. But I couldn’t do that. I get to the ring thinking how I was going to get through the match.”

Lack of privacy as a WWE Superstar:

“It can be hard living in the public eye,” he confirmed. “You lose a lot of privacy, you always have eyes on you. You’ll be out for dinner with your family, and people will be coming up to you asking for autographs in the middle of your meal. They’re excited because they see you on TV, and now all of a sudden they’re seeing a real life character in front of them. So the excitement overtakes them.”

The chair spot in the Royal Rumble:

“Initially, I did think about jumping from the table to the ring,” he revealed. “But when you get out there, it’s like, ‘Uhhhh, this might be kind of risky.’ (I wanted to) try it, but those tables are so rickety sometimes that you think to yourself, ‘If you don’t make it, how stupid are you going to look for even trying?’ It’s like, of course you didn’t make it, nobody could make that jump. On top of that, the ring is set a little bit higher than the table. So I feel like I could maybe jump from the ring to the table — maybe. But the table to the ring, not so much. But I definitely did think about it. And then you hear the crowd cheering, ‘Yeah, come on, just do it! Do it!’ And you’re like, ‘Yeah, okay … um, on second thought, no.’”

His goals:

“I’m focusing right now on breaking into that top tier,” he said. “I feel that now I’m so close, you know. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but like I said, I feel I can go out there with anybody and be great. It’s just a matter of getting opportunities to do so and staying the course of what I do. I always say that I don’t have control over what the direction of the show will be, and what storylines I’ll be in. But what I do have control over is being in the ring and doing what I do. Regardless of what’s going on and whomever I’m in there with, I’ll be able to go out there and do some incredible things. It’s like I said, I always want to be moving ahead.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Arda Ocal has a new piece over on The Baltimore Sun featuring quotes from David Otunga. In it, Otunga discusses acting, his career in WWE and his thoughts on Vince McMahon “hating” lawyers. You can read it at this link.

- Chris Jericho shed some light on WWE “changing their ways” when it comes to part-time talent. I have a full editorial with the quote from Jericho online here at WWENews.net.

- With The Marine 3: Homefront officially out on DVD what does Randy Orton think of The Miz in the role he was originally slated to play? Randy says he’s jealous… but not for the reason you might think. Read all about it at this link.

- Jimmy Uso was arrested for Driving Under the Influence on Wednesday in Tampa, Florida. According to the arrest report, Uso was arrested at 12:47 PM Wednesday afternoon and booked at 12:48 PM on the charge of DUI. Uso was released later in the day at 3:08 PM on $500 cash bond.

Below is the arrest report:

[information]Jimmy Uso Arrest Report[/information]

This is Uso’s second DUI arrest while under WWE contract as he was arrested in the early morning hours of September 29, 2011 in Tampa after a police officer observed him traveling the wrong way in his silver Ford Mustang. His BAC was reported at .180, more than double the .08 legal limit during that arrest.

Uso, whose real name is Jonathan Fatu, is the son of WWE legend Rikishi. His identical twin brother, Jey, is his tag team partner.

- Scott Hall was on DDP Radio Wednesday night and Sean “X-Pac” Waltman called in. You can listen now at this link.

- The Rock is scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, March 21, 2013.

- TNA Champion Bully Ray and Devon were added the the alumni section as The Dudley Boyz here on dot com.

- Lilian Garcia wrote the following on Twitter:

- Goldust wrote the following on Twitter:

- My latest YouTube video is now online and features me discussing why I feel CM Punk should beat Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 and end the streak at 20-1. You can watch at this link or embedded in the video below:

[youtube id="bwqtUAKV9zQ" width="620" height="360"]

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/wnwnews.

- We reported on Tuesday that Batista was meeting with Marvel executives about playing Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting a deal has been reached for the former WWE star to play the role. Batista beat out actors such as Isaiah Mustafa, Patrick Wade and Jason Momoa as he had been in the mix for the part since last year.

- The next WWE Studios film, “The Call,” opens in theaters on Friday. The flick is expected to beat the numbers from the “Dead Man Down” opening last weekend for the simple fact it’s available in more theaters. The film will be in 2507 theaters compared to the 2188 that “Dead Man Down” opened in last weekend. “The Call” stars Halle Berry with David Otunga in a supporting role. You can track reviews for the film here at RottenTomatoes.com.

- Former WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres was at NXT this week to meet with ten prospective Divas that have been going through a month long training camp. They were brought in from a Diva Search in Los Angeles and other major cities.

Eve wrote the following on Twitter:

The group has been cut in half as WWE looks to sign more developmental Divas.

- The Rock grabbed all kinds of media attention when he told members of the Australian Press that learning of his role in “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” was like getting a phone call from George Lucas for a role in Star Wars.

“I played with two lines of action figures when I was a kid: G.I. Joe and Star Wars. Rock said.

“I’m gonna call J.J. and you’re gonna help by printing it and I’m gonna be in Star Wars!” the wrestler-turned-actor declared.

WWE has even picked up on the comments and is helping Rock here on dot com.

Click here for more.

- “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase said he hasn’t spoken with Virgil in a “long time,” while leaving JFK Airport in New York on Thursday. The last report on Virgil wasn’t a good one as he was spotted panhandling memorabilia in Grand Central Subway Station. TMZ has more at this link.

- ESPN has an article online featuring quotes from Natalya on her recent visit to Rwanda with Alicia Fox. Click here to read it.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online at this link.

- CM Punk did not wrestle at Friday night’s WWE Raw live event in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Undertaker’s music hit, there was a brief pause and Punk came out in street clothes with Paul Heyman. With an urn, Punk cut a heel promo, vowing “the streak” would end at 20-1.

You can view two photos below:

Punk was banged up at this week’s Raw, injuring his arm. By all accounts the injury is not serious although it appears as though WWE is remaining cautious.

TNA News

- TNA Wrestling has been contacting former Knockouts for their TNA Knockout Knockdown pay-per-view taping on 3/17. In addition to contacting Angelina Love, they also reached out to Traci Brooks. Brooks declined as did Love. The following is from her Twitter:

- Dixie Carter announced at the Lockdown Fan Interaction event in San Antonio on Saturday that TNA Slammiversary 2013 will take place from Boston, Massachusetts. TNA Slammiversary is on Sunday, June 2, 2013 and is one of four live TNA pay-per-views. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- We’ve received some questions regarding Bobby Roode’s contract status with TNA Wrestling. Roode’s latest contract was for five years and commenced on March 1, 2009, meaning the deal wouldn’t expire until March 1, 2014. However, here is the kicker. The majority of TNA contracts feature options in their latter years. The options vary depending on the terms of the contract, as some are at the discretion of TNA while others are at the discretion of the worker. Lately, TNA has been declining company options and renegotiating deals at lower rates. I don’t know and can’t confirm if this is the case with Roode although the word from TNA observers in San Antonio is that Roode’s future is unclear. Roode is scheduled to team with Austin Aries to defend the TNA Tag Team Championship at Lockdown against Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian) and Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez.

- Shannon “Daffney” Spruill settled her lawsuit against TNA Wrestling in a mediation session last Friday. The lawsuit was based on injuries she sustained at Bound for Glory 2009 (with medical bills over $26,000) and the challenging of her “independent contractor” status. Spruill wrote the following on Twitter:

I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all the love and support over the past two years. I appreciate so much that you recognize the HUGE injustice that is being done to Professional Wrestlers throughout the industry. I hope my case has opened up a few blind eyes and maybe now we, the wrestlers who put our bodies on the line every time we step in the ring, are one step closer to being provided with medical coverage and all the benefits that go along with being a true employee and not an independent contractor.

Mikey Johnson has all of the boring legal details at this link.

- Bobby Roode is scheduled to work TNA Lockdown with Austin Aries to defend the TNA Tag Team Championship against Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian) and Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez as advertised. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more but apparently there was an issue with the final year on his contract originally signed in 2009. Roode knew the option was coming up and brought it to the company’s attention. The blame is being placed on Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations Bruce Prichard.

- The Voice out of the United Kingdom has a new interview with Kenny King at this link.

- Bobby Roode was not at the Lockdown Fanfest in San Antonio on Saturday. His contract issues were a big discussion but have since been rectified.

- TNA taped several episodes of Spin Cycle at the Lockdown Fanfest.

- Kharma, formerly known as Awesome Kong in TNA, said she declined an offer to work next weekend’s Knockout Knockdown pay-per-view. The following is from her Twitter account:

Kong joins Angelina Love and Traci Brooks as former Knockouts that were asked but declined.

- Christopher Daniels was interviewed by RedEye Chicago to promote this coming week’s Impact Wrestling. During the interview, Daniels was asked what it is like being in the locker room with the legends of the business. Daniels’ answer is below:

It’s great, man. I respect the guys immensely. All the roster does. And when you’re standing shoulder to shoulder with these guys, in the trenches, going to the house shows, going to live events, going to TV, going to Pay-Per-views, and you see someone like Kurt Angle who has had immeasurable success in professional wrestling as a whole, going out there and doing his best to try and make people aware of the product, trying to make the product stand out, you can’t help but give 110% in that same respect.

And you can’t just mention those guys, you gotta mention guys like Bully Ray and Devon, the guys who used to be the Dudley Boys, they’ve both had career resurgences in TNA. They’re doing some of the best work of their careers, not just in the ring but also behind the scenes. They’re very hands on, in terms of trying to make our product better. Not just visually, not just in the ring, but also behind the scenes trying to build up brand awareness. Trying to get more people involved, to get people aware of what TNA is doing.

Daniels gives his thoughts on how TNA can distinguish themselves as well as D-Lo Brown‘s job in the company. You can read the full interview here.

Daniels was also interviewed by the Poughkeepsie Journal to promote TNA Lockdown. During the interview, Daniels was asked if it was hard to have an all-cage match card for a pay-per-view. Daniels responded:

Absolutely, it is. Having said that, I’m not sure that every match in this year’s Lockdown is in the cage. In the past, when we did do that with the entire card in the cage, it made for a difficult part of our job to try and make every match different and stand out. We kind of had to put our heads together to make sure we don’t cross streams and do the same match.

- Bully Ray turned on Brooke & Hulk Hogan at TNA Lockdown, winning the TNA Championship and aligning with Aces & Eights as the faction’s President.

Below is how Ray’s title match against Jeff Hardy ended courtesy of our result report by Sean Hopkins:

Hulk Hogan is shown walking his way down to the ring on crutches with Brooke in tow. Hogan walks his way around the ring and shouts words of encouragement to Ray. He tells Bully to get up and not stop. More members of Aces and 8′s make their way out as all the members begin to surround the cage and make their way inside. Ray and Hardy get back to back. Devon reaches in his pants and pulls out a hammer, tossing it to Ray. Ray hits Hardy in the back of the head. Hogan is completely shocked, screaming out ‘NO’. Devon and Ray celebrate and Ray pins Hardy for the three count.

Winner and NEW TNA World Heavyweight Champion: Bully Ray

Brooke cries and Hogan continues to look shocked as Ray celebrates with Aces and 8′s and yells at the referee to raise his hands. Ray yells at Brooke and says she’s nothing to him. He calls Hogan an old man, and a piece of crap, and tells him to do something. Ray tells Brooke to shut her mouth as Hogan calls him a dead man.

Ray has a mic and he says that’s right. He tells Devon to let that stupid b**** cry. He calls out Hogan, telling him that he used him. He tells Brooke he screwed her. Hogan and Brooke go nuts, and fans begin to litter the ring with bottles and garbage. Ray says he fooled every single one of the fans. The music hits and Taz says Aces and 8′s hold all the cards. Ray says that he’s the president of the Aces and 8′s, and he’s the TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

Ray and the rest of Aces and 8′s continue to antagonize the crowd while they throw garbage as the PPV fades to black.

- The word from backstage at TNA Lockdown was that Jeff Hardy suffered a concussion in his main event steel cage match against Bully Ray for the TNA Championship. The injury happened when Ray gave Hardy a powerbomb from the top rope and he hit his head. He was clearly loopy on his way to the back and had a significant headache once backstage.

Hardy has yet to address the injury but did Tweet this Instagram photo.

Hardy’s wife, Beth, didn’t address the injury either but did Tweet a great photo of the Lockdown crowd you can view at this link or embedded below:

Matt Hardy wished Jeff well prior to the match, hoping he had an injury-free cage match.

- Mike Knox will be known as Knux going forward.

- TNA Wrestling’s United Kingdom Public Relations representative Simon Rothestein Tweeted that the Lockdown attendance beat the company’s previous record from Wembley. Dixie Carter confirmed the show was the most attended show in company history, not just the most attended US show.

- The announced attendance for TNA Lockdown was 6700, which the company is saying is their most attended event in their history.

- The big story coming out of the weekend was the contract status of Bobby Roode with TNA Wrestling. While his future was unclear on Saturday, he ended up working Lockdown on Sunday as advertised.

We’re told this isn’t the first contract issue that has come up since Bruce Prichard took over as Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations but they’ve been kept quiet for the most part. We still don’t have full details on what specifically happened with Roode but were able to obtain more information.

There has been a major change in a lot of the new contracts TNA has been offering. The new deals provide weekly guarantees opposed to talent being paid per appearance . The company has slowly worked to renegotiate existing deals with this as well. It’s good for rarely used or undercard talent because they’re still getting paid even if they don’t appear.

However, for workers that are routinely on shows and main event talent, the new structure ultimately puts less money in their pockets. My source says there was some type of hangup with Roode over the amount of money he was been offered per week as he wanted to remain under his per appearance deal (even though he had an appearance minimum but he was working far more than that minimum). This makes me believe the fifth year of Roode’s contract he signed in 2009 was a company option that they declined and attempted to restructure.

The situation was ultimately rectified with Roode working Lockdown but this is expected to be an ongoing issue for the next year or two until all the contracts have been converted or old deals are completed to their expiration.

The reason for the changes are to make sure there are less people under contract, make sure they use who is under contract and end up with fixed salary costs so it’s not so unpredictable how much they’ll be spending each year on talent.

- TNA Wrestling has removed their scheduled April 6th live event from Atlantic City, New Jersey from ImpactWrestlingTour.com. The show, scheduled for Wrestlemania 29 weekend, was actually a rescheduling of their original date from the Rahway Rec Center in Rahway. They had to move the show due to the venue being badly damaged by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. TNA is still scheduled to run on April 5th in Westbury, New York.

- Brooke Hogan wrote the following on Twitter after TNA Lockdown:

To all the people who think this is purely storyline- you’re wrong. My heart is truly broken. I saw great things in my husband.. Crushed.

Absolute betrayal. I’ve never felt so violated. Divorce already in motion. I lost my love….

She has since removed the first Tweet but the “absolute betrayal” remark is still online at this link.

- TNA Wrestling posted footage of Jeff Hardy being helped to the back after his steel cage match against Bully Ray at Lockdown at this link. As noted earlier, the word from backstage was that Hardy suffered a concussion due to the powerbomb spot in the bout. The latest is Hardy is fine and will work this week’s Impact Wrestling in Chicago.

- Hulk Hogan’s name came up in a list of celebrities whose personal information might have been compromised by a hacker. TMZ has the story at this link.

- New floor seats have been released for Thursday’s Impact Wrestling tapings from the Sears Centre in Chicago, Illinois. Click here to look for tickets now.

- The April 5th TNA Wrestling live event over Wrestlemania 29 weekend in Westbury, New York will be headlined by Sting & Jeff Hardy vs. TNA Champion Bully Ray & Devon. Buy tickets now at this link.

- There was a malfunction with the Lethal Lockdown roof at the pay-per-view last Sunday. It was realized before the show they weren’t going to be able to get it fixed in time for the show so the match went on without it. The structure was in the rafters but wasn’t lowered. The bout saw Team TNA featuring Sting, Magnus, Samoa Joe, James Storm & Eric Young beat Aces & Eights featuring Devon, Mr. Anderson, Knux, DOC & Garett Bischoff in 25:01.

- This Saturday, March 17, 2013 at 1PM, TNA Wrestling will tape their Knockout Knockdown “One Night Only” pay-per-view from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The tagline for the show is TNA will “crown their Queen.” The company contacted several former Knockouts to come in and work the show. So far, a large list has declined the offer to return.

Those names are as follows:

  • Angelina Love
  • Awesome Kong
  • Peyton Banks
  • Roxxi
  • Sarita
  • Traci Brooks
  • Winter

Richard Reacts: We’ll have full taping results from all the shows but I’m not optimistic about the “One Night Only” PPVs.  It’s hard enough for TNA to sell their live pay-per-views and while I’m aware these taped shows aren’t as expensive to produce and distribute, what makes the company think people are going to order them?  Not only do the shows have no impact (pun intended) on storylines, results are out months before they make it to the public eye.

- Jules Wortman is out as VP of Public Relations in TNA Wrestling. Wortman, who was tagged as a veteran PR strategist, was hired back in 2011. She reported directly to Dixie Carter.  Wortman runs her own Public Relations firm called Wortman Works. Her departure comes on the heels of Chris Thomas giving his notice that he was leaving the company for another job. Thomas was someone that routinely handled the media (including us) for TNA Wrestling.

- RedEye Chicago has a new article online featuring quotes from Christopher Daniels. Below is an excerpt:

“The truth of the matter is sometimes it’s hard to be different from the WWE when you’re trying to gain those same viewers,” he said. “Sometimes there’s a tendency to sort of follow in the footsteps of the WWE. And so it’s sort of a fine line where you want to be recognizable as professional wrestling but you also want to set yourself apart from what some people consider the standard of professional wrestling, which is the WWE.”

You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

- Kazarian is interviewed at this link.

- Rob Van Dam won’t be in Chicago for this week’s Impact Wrestling tapings. The former TNA X Division Champion wrote the following on Twitter:

It’s interesting to note that Rob Van Dam said in an interview on Joe McDonnell Uncensored in October 2012 that his TNA contract was up in March 2013. The deal was originally believed to expire in March 2012 but had an option for another year. This comes at time where TNA is in the process of overhauling their contracts to a new format we first reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium.

5:37 PM EST Update: I just spoke with a source who told me they heard RVD was going to be the “next headache” following the contract situation of Bobby Roode. Roode’s contract status dominated Lockdown weekend as the company put together a deal at the last minute to assure he’d be able to work the pay-per-view as advertised.

- Kurt Angle did an interview with Chicago Now to promote Thursday’s Impact Wrestling tapings in the city. Below is an excerpt:

Impact Wrestling is slowly becoming a more main stream show to the general audience. With the WWE always being the focal point how do you feel Impact Wrestling will be in 5 years and be comparable to the top company in professional wrestling?

It continues to grow no doubt worldwide. We are on the road for good and we are taking little steps to improve the overall product. I believe in 5 years if things are done right we could be competing with the monster (WWE). They have amazing programming and Vince McMahon has done wonders for his product. I have been in Impact Wrestling for 7 years and I thought by now we would be up in the ratings. I believe that’s going to take a little more time.

You have said repeatedly that you want to retire from the ring in 3 years. Is that something that you still want to hold yourself to?

I might be involved in some way but not in the ring. I might have a part time schedule where I do some selected shows, which I can handle. If I decide to do that I won’t announce my retirement.

But I’m going to give TNA the next 3 years of my absolute best and see what happens.

Angle also speaks on the IOC’s decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 Olympics and discusses his WWE past. Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- In a follow-up to an earlier item, we’re told Jules Wortman quit TNA Wrestling. She had been working as their VP of Public Relations since 2011. Details surrounding her departure are limited other than she wishes the company well in their future endeavors.

- Former TNA Knockout Traci Brooks says people are reading too much into her declining the work the upcoming Knockout Knockdown pay-per-view taping this weekend. She wrote the following on Twitter:

People r reading way 2 much into this. Unfortunately I had to say no to TNA for the KO ppv as I couldn’t make it that day. No other reason!! Tna is my family and hopefully be there next time and know my KOs will put on a hell of a ppv!! Xo

Brooks isn’t alone as there is a full list of former Knockouts that have declined to work the show.

- World Wrestling League is advertising Abyss, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and James Storm for their 4/21 show in Puerto Rico. The noteworthy development here is WWL advertising Abyss as the character has been off television for several months as TNA pushes the Joseph Park gimmick. Click here for more information. (The page is in Spanish but if you have Google Chrome it will translate it.)

- Smashing Pumpkins lead singer and Resistance Pro head Billy Corgan wrote the following on Twitter:

Corgan has pitched Resistance Pro as a possible developmental territory to WWE in the past so perhaps he’s looking to do the same with TNA Wrestling. The company is currently working with Ohio Valley Wrestling as their official developmental territory.

- We’re told both Ivelisse Veliz and Lei’d Tapa were not “smarted up” in advance of last week’s announcement on Impact Wrestling as to who would be getting a TNA contract. They heard it for the first time as a shoot on live TV and we’re told there was a lot of laughter from those watching the monitor backstage at the way Ivelisse reacted.

They also didn’t know it had already been decided the week before that TNA planned to offer them both contracts anyway. Word traveled around the locker room but nobody told either Gut Check participant. It became a rib with the boys gathering around the monitor to see the reactions when they were told live on Spike TV.

- TNA will broadcast the June 20th episode of Impact Wrestling from Peoria, Illinois. The June 27th episode will also be taped.

- Dixie Carter wrote the following on Twitter:

- TNA Wrestling has announced a new partnership with World Wrestling League in Puerto Rico. We reported on Thursday here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Abyss, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe and James Storm were advertised for their 4/21 show in San Juan. This will be the beginning of the partnership as TNA will be sending talent to WWL shows.

- Wrestling News World reader B Haan pointed out that TNA’s official website, ImpactWrestling.com, was “hacked” by Aces and Eights. You can check it out at this link.

- Rob Van Dam has refused to discuss his contract status with TNA Wrestling. We first broke the story here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, RVD was off upcoming TNA dates because he doesn’t have a contract. We’re told by sources within TNA the company is actively trying to re-sign him and he was the “next major headache” after Bobby Roode.

- Brandon Baxter interviewed Sting Friday morning to promote the March 28th Impact Wrestling tapings in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Below is a recap of the interview:

  • Sting had his first actual wrestling match in front of a live crowd in Jonesboro, Arkansas 27 years ago.
  • “The Icon” said he’s chose to stay with TNA because it reminds him of the old school WCW days. He remembers launching Monday Nitro and becoming the talk of the town. Sting sees this same potential in TNA.
  • He keeps coming back for the crowd and “the guys,” not for the money. He wants to help get the name and brand out there.
  • Sting said he started painting his face when he was tagging with The Ultimate Warrior (before he was the Ultimate Warrior obviously). The thinking was The Road Warriors were a well-known tag team that painted their faces and they were bodybuilder type guys, so perhaps they could paint their faces and get a match with the Road Warriors.
  • He credited his 1988 match with Ric Flair for putting him on the map. Sting said to this day Flair is his favorite opponent and he gives him tremendous kudos.
  • Sting said that Kurt Angle pushed him to his limit. He said Kurt is the best all around wrestler in the world and is a machine.

You can listen to the interview in its entirety embedded in the video below:

[youtube id="vn3RPpYCONA" width="620" height="360"]

- This week’s episode of Impact Wrestling that aired live from Chicago, Illinois did a 1.07 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 1,410,000 viewers on Spike TV.

Ask WNW

What’s the deal with the recent booking of Dolph Ziggler? He looks really weak and one would think that WWE would push him to the top as he has the MITB contract?

The ultra weak booking of Dolph Ziggler is a complete mystery. Why put him over at Money in the Bank and give him the title shot only to job him out? It’s been nothing short of horrible. We heard the talk amongst producers backstage during last week’s Raw was why they put Ric Flair with The Miz and not Ziggler. I elaborated on this here in the WNW Premium Mailbag. The problem now is even if WWE “comes to their senses” and decides to push Ziggler, would anyone buy him as champion?

I don’t understand the downfall of Zack Ryder. What is he missing or what is stopping him from getting pushed?

Zack Ryder got himself over using YouTube but his push as United States Champion was short lived. For whatever reason his push just didn’t stick. I actually agree with Ryder that some character progression needs to take place. The Jersey Shore gimmick is outdated and perhaps a more serious character would do better. Some people were optimistic that Ryder worked with CM Punk on weekend live events but they were complete squash matches.

Do you think AJ Styles has what it takes to be a main event guy or possibly THE guy in WWE like how he deserves to be THE guy in TNA?

AJ Styles is great in the ring and has the potential to thrive in the right position. He’s set to return to Impact Wrestling on this week’s show from Chicago. I don’t know what else to say as he’s under TNA contract and WWE is not even in the picture.

How do you see Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar being booked at Wrestlemania?

I don’t like the fact WWE is rematching Triple H and Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania for the same reason I don’t like The Rock vs. John Cena II. It seems the only plausible outcome is for Hunter to avenge his loss to Lesnar from SummerSlam much like it is for Cena to avenge his loss to Rock from last year. Both Brock and Rock are booked past Wrestlemania but the chances of either going over at Wrestlemania seem slim. Hunter going under twice to Lesnar would hurt him because he wrestles so little and what type of message does it send having “the face of the company” in Cena going under two years straight at Wrestlemania? Not only does rematching these bouts back creative into a corner but the lack of variety frustrates many people.

What are your thoughts on Kane going over CM Punk clean(ish!) on this week’s Raw?

Kane surprising CM Punk with a chokeslam and a clean pin after the gong of The Undertaker was done to show Punk was preoccupied with Undertaker to focus on a match on Raw. I’ve tried to justify the loss in my mind but I didn’t like it. Punk has racked up the losses and any outcome that has him getting pinned clean shouldn’t be done. If Punk ends the streak, going over Undertaker at Wrestlemania, I may see it as part of the bigger picture but I’m not optimistic about that outcome.

Is there any chance Wrestlemania 29 does more buys than Wrestlemania XXVIII last year?

WWE is hoping for more than one million buys with Wrestlemania 29 and given how well tickets have sold, my guess is WWE is expecting it to be their most bought show of all time. Wrestlemania XXVIII last year set the buyrate record with 1,217,000 buys but the thinking is there is more star power with the addition of Brock Lesnar.

After reading JR’s thoughts on Undertaker’s streak, here is my question. If a historic title reign didn’t elevate Punk to WWWE’s face, what makes you think beating Undertaker will?

My argument is that Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania is bigger than any title reign and carries a massive payoff to whoever ends it. CM Punk’s 434-title reign did elevate him and put him in this position. As I stated in the latest Premium Mailbag, I would have been against Punk ending “the streak” just last year. Circumstances have changed and my opinion on what to do with “the streak” has changed as a result. The time is now for Punk to get a massive rub from ending the streak, setting the company in a great position moving forward. I’m not optimistic WWE will end “the streak” but it’s absolutely the correct outcome.

How would you feel about the unification of the Intercontinental and United States titles?

I’ve gone on record previously in saying I have no problems with WWE eliminating the United States Championship and keeping the Intercontinental Championship as the sole secondary title. While I’m still in favor of both the WWE title and World Heavyweight title, it seems pointless to have two secondary belts that are nothing more than props.

How bad are the multiple no-shows by The Rock leading up to Wrestlemania? It seems not only is the rehash of last year wearing on the matchup with Cena, but they aren’t even going with the via satellite segments like they did in the past. He’s the titleholder, shouldn’t he be visible in some form every week for this?

First of all The Rock isn’t no-showing. A no-show is when a worker is advertised but does not appear. The Rock hasn’t been advertised for Raw the last two weeks as he was expected to be unavailable. Back to your question, WWE knew what they were getting when they made the decision to put the WWE title on The Rock. The haters are going to hate but the fact of the matter is The Rock outdraws the entire WWE roster. All one has to do is take a quick glance at the numbers. I’m aware there are some WWE workers that “work the sheets” by spreading dirt on Rock but my reaction to this is “put up or shut up.” If you don’t like The Rock carrying the WWE title, then become a bigger draw. The fact of the matter is The Rock caused last year’s Wrestlemania to be the most-bought PPV in WWE history and will look to top that this year with the addition of Brock Lesnar. It’s hard for a person lower on the card to swallow but Rock actually causes them to get paid more.

What does it do for the morale of the WWE locker room when part timers like Undertaker, Rock, Lesnar and Triple H come back for cameos and get Wrestlemania main events?

This is right along the lines of what I said above. People not getting booked despite working more and appearing more aren’t going to be happy. Jealously will set in and the gossip will run rampant. However, my argument is rather than bellyaching, why not use it as motivation to get better? Watch tape, get better on the mic, study those that are over and figure out how to get there. The writers are the scapegoat and while it’s easy to criticize someone else, it’s time for personal accountability. When CM Punk shot up the ranks a couple years ago, people complained WWE gave him more leeway on the mic, so of course he was able to get over. I’m calling BS. Punk got over because he’s talented. When I see workers get opportunities and fail to take advantage of them (Brad Maddox forgetting his lines, Jack Swagger getting popped for DUI, Alberto Del Rio performing an enzuigiri on the invisible man, etc.), I blame them. Not the writers, not the producers and not Vince McMahon. Get better, try harder and until you can outdraw The Rock, Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Triple H, keep your mouth shut and be thankful they are there to put money in your pocket.

Are the New Age Outlaws back as full time performers in WWE?

No, Road Dogg works as a producer backstage and Billy Gunn is a developmental trainer. Given the fact they’re both still in good shape they can be used in matches on occasion. This is one of the things I give Triple H props for as you can read why here at WWENews.net.

You’ve gone on record as to being for CM Punk ending Undertaker’s streak and I can see the value of that. However, what if Punk could get the rub while Taker kept the streak? Like a no contest angle. Punk is the only
person to not lose to Taker and Taker gets to go home 20-0 and so forth.

I don’t like it. Pseudo wins through no contest and DQ outcomes are of no value. I think they are inexcusable in main event matches on major pay-per-views. The question that has to be answered is this – what outcome gives WWE the best opportunity to succeed going forward? You know my answer. What’s yours? How does going Undertaker going 21-0 at Wrestlemania help the company? I’d love to hear from the opposition on this one because a situation I didn’t think was possible (a viable opponent vs. a physically capable Undertaker) just a year ago is here. Why not take advantage of it?

Out of The Rock, Brock Lesnar and Undertaker who would you like to see go over the most at Wrestlemania?

All three are extremely difficult to book because of their part-time schedules. The Rock over John Cena hurts Cena, Undertaker over Punk gives no payoff and Lesnar over Triple H makes Hunter look weak. If I had to book one over at Wrestlemania next month I’d pick Lesnar. Lesnar is under contract for another two years and going over would give him a momentum boost for his next program. How do I think it will play out? Much to my chagrin, as of today, I see Undertaker over Punk, Hunter over Lesnar and Cena over Rock. Let’s just hope they don’t do Cena vs. Rock III in a grudge match at Wrestlemania XXX. WWE has changed the way they handle part-time talent as I have more online here at WWENews.net.

Do you think it’d be a good idea to cut the movie trailers and let Raw go back to being two hours? I saw more movie trailers on Raw than I did last time I went to see a movie at the cinema.

WWE is pushing their Studios division and are involved in “Dead Man Down” (now in theaters), “The Call” (in theaters Friday) and of course “The Marine 3,” which was released on DVD on Tuesday. WWE Studios has been hemorrhaging money and the latest strategy is to partner with large budget films with established actors to make some profit. Let’s also not forget WWE’s partnership with Paramount Pictures to promote G.I. Joe Retaliation and Pain & Gain (both starring The Rock). That’s your explanation for the movie trailers. As for Raw being three hours, it’s all about the extra money WWE gets from the USA Network for an extra hour of TV. There was originally talk of doing another one-hour program prior to Raw but it was ultimately decided to extend Raw to three hours.

Antonio Cesaro reminds me a lot of Kurt Angle when he first debuted in WWE. What is his background? Did he come up thru the indy ranks, or did he start out overseas or something?

Antonio Cesaro was established on the United States independent circuit as a regular with Ring of Honor (as well as CHIKARA, CZW, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Pro Wrestling Noah). Cesaro under his real name, Claudio Castagnoli, quickly rose to prominence for his look, in-ring work and charisma on the stick. He’s 32-years-old and WWE saw him as a “now or never” prospect. I personally see big things in his future and feel he’s done an amazing job getting over as United States Champion.

Is Bully Ray the leader of Aces and Eights as the President?

Bully Ray was revealed as the President of Aces and Eights at Lockdown. I don’t think anyone believes the “mystery is solved” with the faction but TNA is pushing Bully Ray as a main event singles performer. The fact he’s now in Aces of Eight gives TNA the opportunity to also reunite Team 3D (there are already plans to do so over Wrestlemania weekend). Will he be the sole group leader or is there more evolution set to take place? We should find out more direction at this week’s Impact tapings.

Given how over CM Punk is right now, do you see him surpassing John Cena as the face of the company in the near future?

This is something I talked about extensively in the YouTube video I posted on Thursday. I don’t know if Punk can surpass John Cena as the face of WWE. If anyone can, he can. This is why I’ve made a strong argument for Punk to beat The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 and end the streak. Punk is clearly ahead of any other full-time talent on the WWE roster, however, a loss to Undertaker does nothing to advance his cause, if not detracting from it. The thing I won’t like about it is Punk had the WWE title for 434-days yet does consecutive jobs to The Rock, one to John Cena and even went under to Kane on Raw. Why is WWE trying to kill a guy capable of carrying the company? Punk over Undertaker needs to happen but I would be surprised if it does.

Are you as bored with Fandango character as everyone else? So boring and irritating.

WWE is trying to irritate people with Fandango, so if you’re irritated, they’ve accomplished their goal. I’ve joked with readers on Facebook and Twitter about people “never getting his name right” so we don’t have to endure the gimmick but the truth is we haven’t seem much of a sample to give it a fair assessment. I find it peculiar the company pushes the gimmick in vignettes, takes them off, puts them back on then does what they are doing now with him “refusing to debut.” It seems to highlight the indecision that goes on behind-the-scenes. Fandango is set to work The Great Khali on Smackdown, will he debut? Taping results are online at this link.

With the response the Chicago fans had chanting “feed me more” during Rob Terry’s match on this week’s Impact does this show how popular Ryback is and backs up his claim to deserve a heavyweight title run?

I’ll start by saying I noticed the “feed me more” chants from the Chicago crowd during Rob Terry’s match against Robbie E as well. My first reaction was, well we know the majority of fans are WWE fans. Ryback is over, despite being booked questionably, he is over. He wanted to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania but the push went to Jack Swagger. I heard he wasn’t happy about it and was pushing for a heel turn. One thing is clear, Ryback thinks he has what it takes to be “the guy” and wants an opportunity to prove it. I don’t know if you saw his comments here but he doesn’t think anyone has challenged John Cena for the top spot in WWE in the past decade. He also feels he has more to offer than Bill Goldberg. Ryback has the look and he is over but it will ultimately be up to Vince McMahon as to how far he’ll go.

Do you see AJ Styles joining the Aces & 8′s or possibly being revealed as the leader of Aces and Eights?

Mark Freeman wrote a cool piece here on TNANews.com that said if TNA plans to put AJ Styles in Aces and Eights, they made it look a little obvious on Thursday with the leather jacket. I don’t know the creative direction of AJ Styles but as I stated earlier this week, I don’t think the faction has been “solved” with Bully Ray. I am glad to see AJ back on television as Ken stated in TNA Blog Zone but it looks like a program with James Storm is imminent.

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