What Caused WWE To Back Away From Shaquille O’Neal Working Wrestlemania XXVIII, WWE’s Major Brand Announcement, Resentment For The Rock?, Bizarre Story On Chris Hero’s Elevated Testosterone Levels, CM Punk Calls TNA Star A Diva, TNA Departure, Hardy Unable To Work, Knockout Loses Her Top In The Ring, 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, February 25, 2012 to Friday, March 2, 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

- Rey Mysterio was recently interviewed by WDFN The Fan and discussed a number of topics involving his eventual return to the ring. Rey once again said that he is trying to make his return to the ring by WrestleMania XXVIII, and also said that he has an idea of what his ring attire would look like for the event. In addition, he predicted that Sheamus will go over Daniel Bryan at the event. When asked who Rey would like to face at the event, he responded:

“If I do make it, and I kinda sneak in the picture, if there’s a Money in the Bank, I’m willing to step right in there and take that briefcase.”

The host then brought up a possible match-up between Rey and Sin Cara, to which Rey responded:

“Yeah, everyone wants to see that, and y’know, I’m all up for it. As soon as everything is ready to go – my knee is ready to go and I can step in the ring and move the way I know how to move, I’m down.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

- The following preview for The Epic Journey Of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson DVD has been posted to The Rock‘s YouTube channel, and is embedded below:

-Eve posted the a video to her Facebook page to respond to Zack Ryder‘s video that he posted on Facebook. Click here to view Ryder’s original message, and click here to view Eve’s response.

- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent in the following:

Arda Ocal from The Score reports on his Twitter (@arda_ocal) Dragon Gate USA referee Jason Harding (real name Jason Ayers) has signed a developmental deal with WWE and will report to Tampa shortly.

- Wrestling News World reader Amy Codini from 105.5 The Kate out of Chicago sent in the following video:

She accompanied it with the following letter:

Hi, my name is Amy Codini and I do middays on a rock/alternative/metal radio station just south of Chicago called 105.5 The Kat. www.kat1055.com

My sister and I made this video because we want to meet our favorite wrestlers! We watch WWE all the time so we thought why not give it a shot! The WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony is on March 31st in Miami and we made the video in hopes that CM Punk would take me as his date and Kofi Kingston would take my sister, Angie.

I know this seems like a long shot but maybe with the right amount of attention, they could actually see it and accept. The video has already been getting a little attention and has been on a radio prep website called Wise Brother Media.

I’m really hoping they accept the date offer. Who knows if they will even see the video! It would be a dream come true for my sister and I to be able to meet them at Extreme Rules or to attend an event as amazing as the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with our favorite wrestlers.

We’ve received a lot of positive encouragement. People are excited that we’re actually going for it. All we can do is try.

We’ve seen videos like this work with other celebrities, so we are hoping it could also work for us.

Any help you could give with getting the word out would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your time!

- Arda Ocal sent in the following:

Arda Ocal (@arda_ocal) of The Score Television Network had a chance to sit down and interview former 6 time WWE Womens Champion Trish Stratus. In the interview, Stratus does not rule out the possibility of her attending WrestleMania but says “it’s not on my calendar at the moment”, Also, she talks about her upcoming movie project with Lita and defends Natalya’s “flatulence” and Eve’s “Hoeski” angles.

Part 1 of the interview is online. Highlights:

SaeQHer new movie release “Bounty Hunters” on DVD, how did she get involved in the project:
“The director/writer Patrick McBrearty, He sat down and wrote a script and said I need a strong female lead for this, so he pictured Trish Stratus in his mind. It landed on my desk, I read the script, and just Trish Stratus just jumped out of the pages to me. Small crew, canadian casting crew, I was excited to support that. Also the fact that I got to do some fighting, got to learn some new fighting art. That was a great oppurtunity to do that”

Having so much on her schedule, the yoga studio, WWE is always on the back of her mind. Where does movies and television fit in, how much does she want to occupy on her schedule

Another movie project on the table with former WWE Diva Amy Dumas ( Lita ), a Lucha Libre Film, her thoughts

Will she be at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami, Florida?
“At this point it’s not in my calendar, but things change who knows. Theres alot of very talented women right now that can do an amazing match at Wrestlemania. I hope to see Beth Phenoix doing the pin up strong movements, been amazing to watch. But lets just see what happens, you never know. I just hope there is a Divas match, even if I’m not in it.”

Does she ever have the aurge to step in the ring with the Divas that are with WWE now, would she like to ever one day step in the ring with them

What are her thoughts of the WWE divas division now:
“(The Divas division) is just lacking the development we had. Everyone is asking me about Natalya, and Eve, and how controversial the angles are and can you believe that in a negative way, but I look at it in a positive thing. Natalya is doing this flatulence gimmick, and theres the hoeski gimmick for Eve. To me, this is just character development. Everytime there out there, the audience has a chance to connect with them, and get more invested in them as characters and performers”

To watch Part 1 of this interview, including how to win an autographed copy of “Bounty Hunters” click on this link.

- Below is a recap of last night’s WWE Vintage Collection courtesy of our old pal Devin Cutting:

Vince McMahon Announces The Sale Of WCW
WCW Nitro – March 26th, 2001

Vince McMahon Fires Jeff Jarrett
WWF Raw – March 26th, 2001

Shane McMahon Reveals WCW’s New Owner
WWF Raw & WCW Nitro – March 26th, 2001

10-Man Elimination Match
Team WWF vs. The Alliance
WWF Survivor Series 2001

- The latest episode of “Foreign Exchange” with Santino Marella is embedded in the video below:

- The following videos are courtesy of the official WWE YouTube channel:

WWE.com Exclusive: Shawn Michaels loses his composure

“Are You Serious” – Episode 4

- WWE continues to tape WWE Legend’s House in Rancho Mirage, California. While things have been very secretive (as has much of anything regarding the WWE Network), Tony Atlas is a cast member. Other names involved with the show include Gene Okerlund, Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, The Iron Sheik, Jim Duggan and Jimmy Hart.

- WWE has teased a possible champion vs. champion rematch for tomorrow night’s Raw Supershow between WWE Champion CM Punk vs. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan on their Facebook. In their tease, they made a typo, excluding Bryan. Below is the excerpt from the official WWE Facebook:

In his bid to outdo SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Raw Interim GM John Laurinaitis has tweeted hints that he will announce a rematch between WWE Champion CM Punk and World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk on Raw SuperShow this Monday.

- Speaking of WWE on Facebook, they’ve uploaded photos of John Cena at today’s Daytona 500 at this link.

- Despite having to be a Raw Supershow tonight in Portland, Oregon, John Cena will still wave the honorary green starter flag at the Daytona 500 today, TMZ has confirmed. The race was rained out yesterday and will start today at noon. After Cena completes the appearance in Daytona, he’ll fly directly to Portland for tonight’s Raw Supershow.

-Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was at the Daytona 500 yesterday and took a photo with John Cena. You can view it below:

- The Rock has arrived in Portland, Oregon for tonight’s Raw Supershow and will appear live to kickoff the final push to his Wrestlemania XXVIII main event against Cena.

- Believe it or not, I’m told WWE officials have actually soured on working with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal over negotiations for a potential Wrestlemania XXVIII match between him and Big Show.  This is what was responsible for WWE announcement last week that there were no Wrestlemania plans for him. From what I understand, Shaq wants to go over, which may at one point not have been a deal breaker, but is now what is responsible for holding things up. There are many in the company that were against having Show put over Floyd Mayweather a few years back and there have been a “very vocal few” who feel Big Show should not go under to another outsider at Wrestlemania. Keep in mind he also put over Akebono at Wrestlemania 21 in a sumo match. In the case of the Mayweather match, the company was desperate for a mainstream draw for the show and it was considered to be worth sacrificing Big Show. The situation is a bit different now though. Not only is WWE not desperate for a big outside attraction since they have The Rock, but the depth situation being what it is in the company these days, Big Show has been considered a higher priority the last couple of years and the company has been more careful about protecting him. Time is starting to run out on finalizing a deal with Shaq and if a deal can be struck in the next week or so, the match could still happen. At this point though, WWE is ready to move on and feels between The Rock vs. John Cena and Triple H vs. The Undertaker Hell in a Cell is a pretty strong one-two punch.

- NASCAR announced the Daytona 500 won’t start until 7:00 PM EST tonight, making it impossible for John Cena to be the honorary starter of the race. Cena took the opportunity to incorporate his storyline with The Rock in his public comments on Twitter. The following is from Cena’s official Twitter account:

 

- The Miz just posted the following video on Twitter: Randy Orton is advertised to return to WWE on this week’s Smackdown and face World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan. WWE will tape this week’s Smackdown tomorrow night from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. If you’re attending and would be interested in providing us with text-message updates, please send your name and mobile number to us by using this form.

- WWE teased a “major announcement” on tonight’s edition of Raw Supershow from the Board of Directors scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10 AM EST on dot com. As the storyline goes, it is hinted the announcement will have to do with control of the brands between John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long.

- The following is from The Rock’s Twitter:

- UFC’s Chael Sonnen is at tonight’s Raw Supershow in Portland, Oregon. – TMZ has a new video online from the filming of WWE “Legends House”. You can view it embedded below: video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Add Jimmy Hart, Hillbilly Jim, Pat Patterson and Howard Finkel to the cast already reported. TMZ notes the show does not have a TV home as the company hopes to air it on the WWE Network. The rumored destination is that WWE Legends House will premiere on SyFy. Click here for coverage by TMZ.

- For those that missed it on last night’s WWE Raw Supershow, embedded in the video below is the trailer for the new WWE Studios production, “Bending The Rules” starring Edge:

- Below is WWE.com’s “major announcement” that was promoted on last night’s Raw Supershow:

Both Raw and SmackDown are about to get extreme makeovers. In an effort to help determine which General Manager should control both shows, the WWE Board of Directors has decided to switch control of each show next week. SmackDown GM Theodore Long will take control of Monday night’s Raw while Raw GM John Laurinaitis takes the reins of next Friday’s SmackDown. The decision comes one week after Laurinaitis announced at Elimination Chamber that he will seek control over both shows, bolstered by flattering testimonials by Superstars Mark Henry, Christian and Alberto Del Rio. A perturbed Long made it clear to Laurinaitis that he’s not about to take the threat to his position lying down. Last week on SmackDown, the two got into a heated argument as they tried to overrule one another during a match between WWE Champion CM Punk vs. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan. Last night on Raw SuperShow, the two were at it again as tensions continued to escalate. What will the GMs have in store for their respective rival as they switch roles? And how will each try to outshine the other? Tune into both Raw and SmackDown to see the lengths they’ll go to impress the Board of Directors – and get back at each other.

John “Bradshaw” Layfield made the following comments on his official Facebook page:

I hear the resentment/jealousy of the Rock backstage and I quite frankly don’t believe it. Four of the world’s biggest superstars in Cena, Rock, Undertaker and Triple H will headline WM-this is huge for WWE and the business-guys should be dying to be on this card and my guess is they are. It’s very simple to those who do have any problem with it, if there is anyone truly that does-replace them and there won’t be a spot for them. Until then just say “thanks!” There is a reason why Jericho and others can always come back-they earned that right and they still draw. Shawn Michaels does as well. CM Punk and John Cena earned the right to be on top. If these guys ever quit drawing then they know it’s time to hang it up-that hasn’t happened yet, and I hope it won’t. Piper and Diesel ares guys who still draw interest and create buzz. Shows how great these guys are that they still create interest-it’s Darwinian, once they stop or are replaced then you won’t see them anymore. Batista would draw if he decides to return.

You can visit JBL’s Facebook page at this link.

- One of my sources was checking on the status of Chris Hero now that he has landed a WWE developmental contract and name change to Kassius Ohno and walked away with a bizarre story. When Chris Hero’s original baseline testing came back with elevated testosterone levels that prevented him from originally getting signed by WWE, he had a pretty interesting excuse. Hero claimed that since his entire life was pretty much consumed by wrestling as much as possible and having sex with as many women as possible, his testosterone levels were naturally off the charts. I’m told WWE actually believed the excuse and ordered him to refrain from wrestling and sexual activity to see if his numbers would come down to a reasonable level. This is why Hero went from popping up on random shows in Florida to kind of being missing in action. Sure enough, Hero’s levels came down and he was able to ink a WWE developmental contract. I’m told there is no heat on him over the issue and he’s actually joked with friends about how his level of sexual activity nearly cost him a shot with WWE.

- The following videos are from the official WWE YouTube channel:

“WWE Download” with Dolph Ziggler – Episode 5

Exclusive backstage interviews from Raw – “Backstage Fallout” Raw

- The latest episode of Superstar Toyz features Natalya and her shoe collection. You can watch it courtesy of the official WWE YouTube channel in the video embedded below:

CM Punk recently did a lengthy Q&A session with Beneath The Mat, in which he discusses a myriad of topics, including his toughest opponent, his tattoos,  who he’d like to bring in from the indy scene, the origin of his name, his detractors, and much more. In an interesting note, when asked who his least favorite wrestler to work with in WWE was, Punk said Elijah Burke (The Pope in Impact Wrestling), calling him a diva. The two part session is embedded below:

- Embedded in the video below is a commercial for this week’s Smackdown featuring a returning Randy Orton vs. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan:

-Edge was on WOAI out of San Antonio, Texas this morning promoting the upcoming WWE Studios production called “Bending the Rules.” You can watch it embedded in the video below:

- Eve posted the following video from her Twitter account late Tuesday night:

- Matt Striker announced during this week’s NXT: Redemption, the one-year anniversary edition, that William Regal is now the General Manager of NXT. Click here to view full taping results for this week’s show.

- Cody Rhodes has held the WWE Intercontinental Championship for 200 days as of February 28, 2012. WWE has posted an article about the milestone over on dot com. Click here to read it. (Thanks to WNW reader Ryan for sending us the link.)

- The latest episode of “WWE Inbox” is embedded in the video below courtesy of the official WWE YouTube channel:

- Arda Ocal sent in the following photo of The Rock’s wrist from the final segment of last night’s WWE Raw Supershow.  Visit his original post at this link so he doesn’t get mad at me for embedding the photo:

- Kharma was asked on Twitter last night when she would be returning to WWE television.  She answered by saying “soon.” Aside from her appearance in the 30-man Royal Rumble match in January, Kharma has been off WWE television for nine months on maternity leave.  While she delivered her baby at the end of December, she wasn’t ready to return full-time when she participated in the Royal Rumble match but agreed to do it as a surprise entrant.

- Although John Cena was unable to start this year’s Daytona 500 as planned, the official WWE YouTube channel posted highlights from his appearance at the event in the video embedded below:

- Psych star James Roday will be the guest star of the March 12 edition of Raw Supershow from Cleveland, Ohio, according to the official WWE website. Roday was slated to guest host an episode of Raw with co-star Dule Hill in 2010, but had to cancel due to an appendectomy. Hill still appeared and did an angle with Alicia Fox. Click here to view the full announcement.

- The Miami Herald has an extensive new interview up with Natalya. In the interview, she discusses the Pin-Up Strong movement, the state of the Divas division, and, in the excerpt below, a dream match with Beth Phoenix:

“In the almost four years we have been on the road with WWE, we have never once touched each other. People talk about it all the time. I have over 200,000 followers on Twitter, and that is all Beth and I get. ‘When are we going to see Beth and Natalya?’ It’s all anybody wants to see.” “People have been talking about it for years because we look so much alike. It’s funny that the very first time I met Mark Henry he said, ‘You remind me so much of Beth Phoenix.’ She has gotten that in her career, too. We have so many similarities and contrasts.” “Beth and I have this beautiful and amazing story in that she has idolized my family. She has idolized Bret and his brother, Owen, since she was a little girl. She has diary and journal entries that she has shown me when she was 10-years-old saying that she had to meet Bret Hart and that Owen was her idol. She has loved my family, so when she found out I was a wrestler from the Hart family and doing this, she said it was always her dream to get in the ring with me.” “It’s a dream come true of mine to get in the ring with her. It would certainly be something revolutionary and not seen before. I can almost put money on it that we would have the best match in the history of the divas. That may be a little bit arrogant, but nobody is going to fault me for being a confident diva. I think it would certainly be a match everybody is anticipating.”

In addition Beth Phoenix, named Kharma as an ideal opponent in the followng excerpt:

“[Kharma] has definitely proven she is a force to be reckoned with. I think that myself and Beth both have our eye on Kharma…I think she would more than have her hands full with myself or Beth.” “I would love to personally practice my new German suplex on her. I know it would be really hard to get my hands around her waist, but I would love to get in the ring with Kharma. She may be the biggest, most dominating diva in WWE, but I came from the Dungeon. My whole family was raised to be winners. It’s not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog. So maybe Kharma would be up for challenge.”

Click here to read the full article.

- CM Punk recently did an interview with 1059 The Brew in Portland, Oregon, and discussed his feud with Chris Brown, his connections to Portland, his eventual retirement and more. The interview is embedded below:

- In Demand is advertising Rey Mysterio for Wrestlemania XXVIII in their promotional blurb for the pay-per-view. You can view what they wrote below:

Witness the once in a lifetime collision of The Rock and John Cena as they face off on the grandest stage of them all. Welcome to WrestleMania, the most anticipated event in WWE history! Don’t miss Undertaker, Triple H, Kane, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk and all your favorite WWE Superstars at WrestleMania, Sunday, April 1 at 7pm ET/4pm PT, live on Pay-Per-View.

Click here for Wrestlemania promotional information by In Demand.

- In Demand has released the promotional information for WWE Extreme Rules this April along with the promotional poster featuring Kane. Below is the poster followed by their promotional blurb:

Extreme times call for extreme rules. Don’t miss John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton, The Miz and all your favorite WWE Superstars put it all on the line at Extreme Rules, Sunday, live on Pay-Per-View.

Click here for information by In Demand.

- WWE has updated their key performance indicators and have revealed the preliminary buyrate for Royal Rumble 2012. According to their numbers, the show did 438,000 buys with (272,000 being in North America and 166,000 being international). In comparison, Royal Rumble 2011 did 446,000 buys and Royal Rumble 2010 did 462,000 buys. This year’s preliminary estimate is down 1.7% from last year and down 5.2% from 2010.

- GameBandits.com is reporting that THQ recently reached out to former Attitude Era stars not under any type of WWE contract for inclusion in WWE ’13. The only name mentioned in their report is Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, who was reportedly insulted by the offer.

- WWE has moved their Money in the Bank pay-per-view from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada to the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The pay-per-view will take place un Sunday, July 15, 2012. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- WWE has removed The Undertaker from the list of advertised talent for Monday’s Raw Supershow from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Rock, Triple H and Shawn Michaels are still advertised to appear live.

- The WWE live event at the Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia has been moved to July 27th, 2012. It’s original date was May 6th, 2012.

- Triple H is working under a new performer’s contract that went into effect on January 1, 2012 and expires on March 30, 2016. As part of the agreement, Hunter will be paid $1 million for each year under the deal and will be limited to 180 days per year unless it is agreed upon by both parties to extend. His contract also stipulates he cannot perform in any capacity for a “martial arts” organization while under contract. This information was revealed in WWE’s 10-K report for 2011 that can be read at this link.

- The New York Post has a new article online today on the WWE Network. The piece doesn’t break any new ground as it reiterates what we already know – the proposed April 1, 2012 launch date has been pushed back to to a lack of clearance.

“WWE has the programming and marketing muscle, but they just have no one with cable experience who can execute for them,” a cable executive told the publication.

WWE is still confident the WWE Network will launch later this year and will be successful. Click here for coverage by the New York Post.

- Cleveland.com has a new Q&A online with Dolph Ziggler. You can read it at this link.

- WWE was once again featured in the “Unnecessary Censorship” segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live. This time the promo between WWE Champion CM Punk and Chris Jericho was featured:

- The following is from the official Twitter of Mark Henry:

- The latest episode of “Z! True Long Island Story” with Zack Ryder is embedded in the video below courtesy of the official WWE YouTube channel:

- Embedded in the video below is the trailer for “Recoil” starring “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The flick is available on Blu-Ray on March 6th:

TNA Impact Wrestling News

– I am now able to confirm Brian Kendrick is gone from TNA Impact Wrestling. Kendrick has been missing from television for several weeks and speculation that he was gone increased late last week when he was removed from the roster page of the official TNA website. Kendrick is already taking independent bookings. – TNA X Division Champion Austin Aries posted the following on Twitter on Thursday night:

I guess “I’m done” is code for “I’m booking myself in another PPV main event”. Yet the X-Division champ can’t sniff a main event… #Shocker

Aries later removed the Tweet before we could run it here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. The company is now doing a storyline around the Tweet as became evident in an article posted today on their official website. You can read the article at this link.

- Kurt Angle noted on Twitter he has reverted back to his bald, clean shaven look.

- TNA Impact Wrestling has announced the following new live events:

* Saturday, April 21, 2012 from the Germain Arena in Estero, Florida. Tickets go on sale on Friday, March 9th.

* Thursday, April 26, 2012 from the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington. Tickets go on sale on Friday, March 16th.

- There are plans for TNA to do BaseBrawl live events again this summer. The shows are held at baseball fields outdoors and prospective locations include Brooklyn, Buffalo, California, Kentucky, Maryland and Memphis.

- Below are new videos featuring AJ Styles and Robbie E:

AJ Styles talks about the Kansas Live Events

TNA TV Champion Robbie E on The Neal Steele Show

- The official website for TNA Lockdown is now online at TNALockDown.com.

- TNA has announced a live event from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on April 27, 2012. Tickets go on sale on March 16, 2012.

- TNA has released a new “10 Years of TNA” t-shirt that you can purchase at this link.

- Former “Big Brother” cast member and current TNA developmental worker Jessie Godderz posed for TMZ at LaGuardia Airport in New York City yesterday. You can view TMZ’s footage embedded in the video below: video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

- While Godderz intentionally removed his shirt, Christy Hemme seems to have had an accidental wardrobe malfunction. The following is from Hemme’s official Twitter:

- Jeff Hardy was scheduled to work the main event of tonight’s Impact Wrestling taping but was unable to go. While not confirmed, the early word going around is that he has food poisoning. The creative plan was for Hardy to team with Garett Bischoff as his surprise tag partner to face Kurt Angle & Gunner.  TNA was unable to wrap next week’s episode and Eric Bischoff came out and explained the situation.  He teased the bout would be taped tomorrow night.

- Christy Hemme did indeed have a wardrobe malfunction at tonight’s taping. She was getting in the ring following the opening segment but her top came off and she had to go to the back. Hemme Tweeted about the experience earlier as you can read her comments at this link.

- There was no commentary during the Impact part of tonight’s taping with Eric Bischoff and Jeremy Borash handling the duties for Xplosion. The commentary will be added in post-production.

- As we broke exclusively here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium last night, Jeff Hardy was unable to work last night’s Impact Wrestling taping due to food poisoning. The hope is he will be able to work tonight as they couldn’t wrap next week’s show (taped last night) because of his illness.

- Wrestling News World reader Shawn Anderson sent word that New York Mets reliever Tim Byrdak took the field as Hulk Hogan yesterday. Click here for more coverage as well as a photo.

- In addition to his attempt at a return to the Olympics in 2012, I’m told Kurt Angle has expressed interest in landing a role in the upcoming movie about Bruno Sammartino in recent weeks. Angle grew up a big fan of Bruno and I’m told his agent has been working with producers to find him a good role that would fit him. There was a report in January that Angle and Sammartino would both appear in a movie called “Drummer for the Mob.” I’m told Bruno hasn’t yet agreed to appear in that flick but it’s a project Angle has tried to get him to do and the two have been staying in touch. My source feels there is a good chance Angle ends up in the movie about the life of Sammartino. As I reported back in November, financing is in order for the project and the budget is in the millions.

- Dixie Carter posted the following update on Jesse Sorensen tonight on Twitter:

- The following is from the official Twitter account of Jeff Jarrett:

Ask WNW

How deep does jealousy run within the WWE locker room?

There is jealousy amongst workers backstage in WWE and it’s more prevalent in this business than others because while the outcomes are predetermined, the pay structure depends on a worker’s status in the company. WWE is like any other workplace in that some people are friends and some people aren’t. To give you an example of what one might term “jealousy” we can look at The Rock. The Rock returns to WWE for a main event program with John Cena for Wrestlemania. While this sparks interest amongst fans, it starts gossip in the locker room. There are those glad to see Rock back and will try and learn as much from him as possible and there are others that resent him for returning and see him more of a threat. There was a situation recently where a worker sent out an anonymous text message to a website, burying The Rock for his involvement in the upcoming pay-per-view.

Will John Cena still wave the wave the honorary green flag for the Daytona 500 today considering the race start was delayed? Also, what’s the future of WWE Studios given the earnings miss WWE reported last week?

It has been confirmed this morning that John Cena will still kickoff the Daytona 500 today and he will fly directly to Portland for tonight’s Raw Supershow when he is finished. As for the future of WWE Studios, Vince McMahon plans to go forward with the division under new leadership with the new direction. He seemed confident the new strategy would work but reminded investors if it doesn’t, they would pull the plug on WWE Studios.  Update regarding Cena/Daytona – Cena will be unable to wave the honorary green flag due to the race now starting at 7 PM EST.  Click here for the updated story.

Why does WWE allow suicide dives and other aerial moves on the ring announcer side? I feel it’s too dangerous and Wade Barrett’s injury could have been avoided if it were on the ramp side. Your thoughts?

Vince McMahon will usually not allow his workers to take unnecessary risks and I have to think they’ll speak to workers about what happened in last Monday’s battle royal that injured Wade Barrett and could have also injured R-Truth and Dolph Ziggler. While the risk of injury can never be completely eliminated, the percentage can be lowered. What you suggested is feasible and probably something company officials are aware of given the injury last week.

Why has Brodus Clay been bumped from television? Has the ‘Funkasauras’ gimmick ended already?

I ran an exclusive article on WNW Premium last week about why Brodus Clay was scrapped from WWE television at this link. If you are not a Premium Member, I highly recommend you get a day pass today and checkout the article, as it’s important to understand the handling of Clay. As for his future in the company, he was on this weekend’s Raw live events and told a WNW reader last week he would be back to television in two weeks.

Do you think The Rock’s “promo notes” were on his hand on purpose on last night’s WWE Raw Supershow? He is the master of cutting promo’s off the cuff it doesn’t seem right for him to have notes pre-written down.

This is probably something we’ll never know but I have a hard time believing The Rock would OK John Cena calling him out if he was trying to be secretive. We can make as big of a deal about the notes as we want but the bottom line is – The Rock is one of the best talkers in the history of the wrestling business. As a result, John Cena elevated his game and cut an outstanding promo to argue Rock’s claims. I Tweeted last night that the undercard workers that are sending out anonymous texts need to put their phones away and pull out their notepads. Seriously, this is a great opportunity for up and coming talent to learn from one of the best. Do you see what happens when the quality is elevated? John Cena came with his A game and we saw an outstanding segment close last night’s show.

I love the way The Rock and John Cena go back and forth as we build towards their match at Wrestlemania XXVIII. It reminds me of the Attitude Era with all their remarks. Do those two get any backstage heat?

Neither The Rock nor John Cena are going to get heat for putting on entertaining television! While The Rock clearly has free reign, last night was WWE at its best. My wife just told me her Facebook feed was blowing up last night from non-regulars talking about the stellar promo work. The best angles are angles backed with legitimate claims and when the line between work and shoot is blurred. Last night the line was blurred and entertaining programming was the result.

Do workers get paid if they are written off television as part of a storyline like in Zack Ryder’s case?

WWE workers are paid downside guarantees – money they get as long as they are not suspended. This money is paid based on a percentage of a yearly amount. When a worker appears on television or works a match, they are paid a $500 show bonus. When they do not appear, they do not collect the bonus. Workers are also paid bonuses for merchandise sales, PPV buys, etc. Therefore to answer your question, someone like Ryder is still paid their downside but not the show bonus.

Are there any plans to have Big Show in a match against Mark Henry
at Wrestlemania XXVIII?

My first reaction when I read this was “I hope not.” Based on the way Big Show is currently being booked, it looks like WWE is teasing something with WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes at Wrestlemania XXVIII. Shaquille O’Neal is likely out and you can read why in my exclusive article posted yesterday at this link.

Considering the attack after Raw’s tag title match, does WWE have plans to put Kane back in the tag division or was this just a random attack?

As noted on my Twitter account, I felt Kane’s attack was very random. While I do not know the creative plans for Kane at Wrestlemania, his post-match beat down on Monday’s Raw Supershow seemed like a way to get him on television. For more on Kane, read the Smackdown taping results at this link.

With the announcement that Teddy Long will be the GM on Raw next week and John Laurinaitis will be the Smackdown GM, what are the chances that Long and Laurinaitis face-off at Wrestlemania with the winner becoming GM of both Raw and Smackdown?

As soon as things got physical on Monday’s WWE Raw Supershow when Long shoved Laurinaitis, I thought to myself, “not again.” Remember last year’s Wrestlemania match between Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler? My hope is WWE uses the Long/Laurinaitis feud to do a “Bragging Rights” type match with workers representing both Long and Laurinaitis. I am never for non-wrestlers getting in the ring on pay-per-view but especially not at Wrestlemania.

What is WWE’s goal with John Cena and The Rock in terms of who is the babyface and who is the heel?

Many people had assumed Wrestlemania was going to be the point when John Cena turned heel, however, that isn’t the case. The last I heard company officials want the audience split 50/50 for the match which is why they gave Cena free reign Monday night to say whatever he wanted to generate a pop. For those that missed it, Cena delivered and accomplished the goal.

I’m unbelievably excited for Wrestlemania this year, but it’s got me wondering if maybe there is too much going on. With The Rock/Cena, Triple H/Undertaker, Sheamus/Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho/CM Punk already set to bring down the house… What can we expect, if anything, from people like Randy Orton, The Miz, and The Big Show?

The Wrestlemania XXVIII lineup is very strong but I can confirm all but The Miz will definitely have matches at the pay-per-view. It’s a good possibility The Miz is on the card but since I’m not aware of the creative plans for him, I don’t want to speculate. Given last year’s disappointing Wrestlemania, this year’s loaded card is very refreshing and I don’t think there can be “too much” going on.

With the advent of Raw Supershow and Super Smackdown, also regarding the number of talents on both shows, is it possible that the outcome of the Teddy Long/John Laurinaitis feud is that both brands will be unified and the talents will appear on both shows?

Anything is possible and I have not heard the creative plans for the outcome of the Teddy Long/John Laurinaitis, however, I oppose a complete unification of the brands. Right now we have the best of both worlds. Raw Supershow features talent from both brands with occasional Super Smackdown specials while still maintaining the two separate champions and two distinct brands. Complete unification would result in roster contraction, eliminating the opportunity for many. A lot of people that push for brand unification are the same people tired of John Cena. If WWE eliminates the brands and has to choose between pushing someone like Daniel Bryan or someone like Cena – who do you think is going to get more TV time?

Are there plans to pickup on the CM Punk/Chris Brown feud and if not, what was the point to begin with?

While mentioned on television this week, WWE didn’t continue to strongly push the war of words between CM Punk and Chris Brown. When Punk first commented I thought it was legit heat but after last week’s Super Smackdown, I felt it had become an angle and perhaps Brown would be appearing on WWE TV. If anything else it created free promotion for WWE and I’m sure the company enjoyed the mainstream media attention.

Is there any legit heat between The Rock and John Cena?

We get this question all the time but I felt after Monday’s Raw Supershow, it needed to be re-visited. The last I heard several weeks ago, Rock and Cena were getting along well and were making plans to go over their match. However, this program started with legit heat with Cena making public comments about The Rock that upset him. After Monday’s Raw, which saw Cena go all out, I wondered what Rock thought about it, especially when he seemed surprised by Cena bringing up the notes on his wrist. There is clearly mutual respect between Cena and Rock for one another but there are underlying real-life issues.

How scripted was ending of The Undertaker vs. Triple H after their Wrestlemania match last year? Undertaker looked legitimately hurt following the match. Did they have this year’s rematch already envisioned? I can’t imagine them letting Undertaker look weak for no reason.

The Undertaker was selling after his match against Triple H at Wrestlemania XXVII last year, however, I’m sure he had legitimate pain. Undertaker is working with permanent damage to his shoulder with pain in his back and knees. His body has taken a beating over the years and after bumping like he did last year, there’s no way to work without pain. With that being said they also didn’t want Triple H looking weak with Undertaker taking time off after the match. I do not think Undertaker selling made him look weak because he went over and continued the streak. The story leading into this year is Undertaker won the battle but Hunter won the war.

What happened to Sin Cara?

Sin Cara suffered a torn ACL at WWE Survivor Series last November and isn’t expected back until this summer. I know some readers have speculated him being involved at Wrestlemania, however, it doesn’t seem likely given the initial 6-9 month recovery timetable for his injury.

With The Rock vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania XXVIII, what would be the point of Rock going over Cena if he’s not staying in WWE to wrestle?

I have talked about the finish of The Rock vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania a lot and I expect to talk about it a lot more as we continue on the road to the pay-per-view. In yesterday’s WNW Premium Mailbag, I echoed your thoughts in The Rock can’t go over clean if he’s not going to remain with WWE. The match finish is going to be very tricky to book and a lot of people are hopeful there will be some type of character progression for John Cena.

My question is simple.. What if the NWA and WCW didn’t split and if the NWO never happened.. Do you think WWE would even be around?

The “what if” game provides endless debates and answers, however, you need to remember things were not good in the early days of WCW. It wasn’t until Eric Bischoff came into WCW and launched Monday Nitro that they became a legitimate threat to the business of WWE and Vince McMahon. Nitro, along with the nWo angle, nearly put WWE out of business so I don’t quite understand why you believe the nWo helped WWE. The nWo hurt WWE and if it were not for the success of DeGeneration X, Steve Austin and The Rock, things could be vastly different today.

Do you miss the excitement of surprises in wrestling? What I mean is since you know beforehand exclusive knowledge from various sources do you miss NOT knowing what will happen next and the surprise of the event?

Knowing what is going to happen can alter one’s perception of the product, which is why I have to be careful the way in which I interpret programming. The easiest way to do this is by asking a very simple question – am I being entertained? If the answer is yes, I am high up on the match/angle. If the answer is no, I’ll express my displeasure. There are portions of smarks that are impossible to please because their expectations are unattainable due to preconceived mindsets of what they think should happen. One of the hardest things about being an insider is keeping it simple and not over-analyzing based on information obtained beforehand.

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