The Rock Happy If WWE Career Is Over, Backstage News On WWE Releases, The Shield’s Stock Skyrockets, Who Was Originally Scheduled To Win Titles At Extreme Rules, Mysterio’s Return Date, New Paul Heyman Guy, Who Hogan Sees As The Face Of TNA, WWE Working With NFL?, WWE Concerned With Fandango

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, May 18, 2013 to Friday, May 24, 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

- Bob Costas was on Piers Morgan talking about his March 2001 interview with Vince McMahon on HBO’s “Off the Record.” McMahon issued a statement that you can read below:

“I used to think Bob Costas was a pompous arrogant, self-absorbed, pseudo-intellectual little twerp. I used to think that. But now, 12 years later, I’ve come to realize he’s not really a twerp. LOL” – Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO, WWE

You can watch the feature at this link.

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

- The Rock sat down with Chris Van Vliet to promote “Fast & Furious 6″ and discussed his latest WWE run. He reiterated what he’s said in previous interviews, that he’s not ruling out the possibility that he’s finished wrestling. He says he’s happy if the bout against John Cena is his last and he wound up with three hernia tears, a torn abductor tendon and a his rectus tendon torn off his pelvis. Rock put over The Shield and said Fandango is one of his favorites. He discussed backstage critics and more. You can watch the interview at this link.

- Evan Bourne at least wants fans to believe there is a chance he returns to WWE soon. The following is from his Twitter:

- Linda McMahon made her return to WWE studios on Friday, filming interviews for future DVD releases. Below is a photo she posted on Twitter:

- WWE has announced a 30-minute Post-Show following Extreme Rules on Sunday. The show will be streamed across the company’s platforms and we’ll have the show embedded here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. A 30-minute Pre-Show will precede the pay-per-view at 7:30 PM ET and the Post-Show will proceed the show directly after its conclusion. Click here for coverage on dot com.

- Jake “The Snake” Roberts sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at Friday night’s Dodgers at Braves MLB game at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. You can watch video at this link.

- Michael McGillicutty, clearing working as a heel, posted the following on Twitter after his loss to Sin Cara on last week’s episode of WWE Superstars:

- In further evidence that WWE is restarting on Randy Orton, he’s featured in a new video promo for WWE Payback. You can watch it at this link.

- The word is apparently out that Naomi & Jimmy Uso are an item. The two are expected to be highlighted in this summer’s “Total Divas” reality series on E! Below is a photo of the two together:

- In what can only be a good sign for Dean Ambrose’s WWE US title hopes heading into Extreme Rules, Triple H wrote the following on Twitter:

- CM Punk was photographed at a Gracie MMA training camp this weekend. You can view it on the Instagram of account of Eve Torres at the link below:

- Take 2 Games only listed Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as the platforms that WWE 2K14 will be released on October 29, 2013, however, they noted it will be published “across all major platforms and distribution channels.” Click here for coverage by IGN.

- We reported last month that Shawn Michaels is advertised for three WWE live events later this month (5/24, 5/25 & 5/26). He’s also expected to appear on Monday Night Raw on May 27th in Calgary as part of Bret Hart Appreciation Night. The company is billing the aforementioned May 24th live event as Shawn Michaels Appreciation Night.

- The Bella Twins and Mick Foley were at Saturday’s Brewers at Cardinals game on behalf of WWE in St. Louis to promote Extreme Rules/Total Divas. You can watch video at this link.

- For those that missed it, season three of “Redneck Island” with Steve Austin will premiere on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 on CMT. Click here for more.

- Last month, we posted a video of Undertaker as Mark. A new video, for the same cause is online at this link.

- We’re told prior to the WWE roster cuts on Friday, there was an internal audit to gauge any backlash they would receive for a large round of roster cuts. It’s expected WWE is going to move forward by signing “proven” indy talent that are already considered “stars” outside of WWE and have reputations for being hard workers. Triple H is taking a “top 3″/”bottom 3″ approach by promoting the top three, cutting the bottom three and hiring three more to replace them. Triple H has his hands all over developmental, signing talent he sees as the “stars of tomorrow” and will continue to hire indy workers he feels can help the company.

- Chris Jericho threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Sunday’s Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals game. The following is from his verified Twitter account:

- We reported on Friday that Kane was weighing the possibilities of a run for United States Senate. He has some support from Eric Bischoff. The following is from his Twitter:

- WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley wrote the following on Twitter:

- The YouTube feed to the WWE Extreme Rules Pre-Show froze just minutes in when they plugged a Facebook poll, asking viewers “What will be the Most Extreme Match of the Night?” As soon as the feed comes back, we’ll resume our live coverage of the Pre-Show at this link.

- Rey Mysterio wrote the following on Twitter Sunday evening:

Mysterio is currently out of a left knee injury where he is trying to rehab it without undergoing surgery. He said recently he hopes to be back in the ring soon.

- The announced attendance for WWE Extreme Rules was 17,529. The show was a legitimate sellout from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

- WWE is using a different cage for Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar with a thinner top and small platforms on each corner. There are now three panels for each side instead of two.

- Sabu was signing autographs at the Hard Rock Cafe in St. Louis, Missouri prior to Extreme Rules. He was charging $20 per autograph.

- Dean Ambrose beat Kofi Kingston at WWE Extreme Rules 2013 to win the WWE United States Championship. Obviously, this is Amrbose’s first title reign on the main WWE roster.

- Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins beat Team Hell No at WWE Extreme Rules to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.

- If you missed Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz on the Extreme Rules Pre-Show, you can watch video at this link.

- Harley Race was backstage at WWE Extreme Rules visiting.

- The “instant replay” bit that WWE did to restart Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio is something that’s come up numerous times over the past six months.

- Alberto Del Rio is the new number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship following his win over Jack Swagger at Extreme Rules.

- UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes was ringside at the pay-per-view.

- As we reported earlier, WWE debuted a new steel cage for Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar. In addition to the changes noted earlier, the new steel cage is also taller.

- To update on the kayfabe “injury” to John Cena, footage was shown during the WWE Extreme Rules Post-Show of him getting up and walking off of the stretcher as they were loading him into the ambulance. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler teased an update on Raw. For those that didn’t order Extreme Rules, they did a spot where Ryback rammed Cena through the LED lights on the entrance way (literally, through the entrance the hardway). Referee Charles Robinson rushed to the back but didn’t count. Ryback was shown being helped away, while Cena was loaded on a stretcher. No decision for the match was announced.

- WWE has posted the Extreme Rules Pre and Post Shows. You can watch them at the following links: Extreme Rules Pre-Show | Extreme Rules Post-Show

- Embedded in the player below is Richard Reacts to WWE Extreme Rules. For my thoughts and analysis to the show, please listen here:

To listen push the play button below:


Mobile and tablet users to listen please: CLICK HERE

- The plan for Dean Ambrose to beat Kofi Kingston for the WWE United States Championship at Extreme Rules was put into motion when Dolph Ziggler was ruled out. The original plan was for Big E Langston to capture the secondary strap and AJ Lee to win the Divas Championship. When Ziggler couldn’t go, they opted to go with the “all-gold” concept but with The Shield. As we’ve noted for months, the original plan was for the WWE Tag Team Championship to be defended by any combination of the three but now it looks like they’re going to push Ambrose in singles.

- There was plenty talk backstage about Extreme Rules being the fourth pay-per-view they have put Ryback in the main event with no plan to strap him or give them an out. Other talked about finishes for the Last Man Standing Match for the WWE title included The Shield attacking both or even CM Punk getting involved. In fact, one finish discussed had John Cena chaining Ryback to the stage so he couldn’t get up. One observer called the finish they went with “lazy.”

- Triple H was reportedly against the instant replay bit they did for the false finish of Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio. The gimmick goes against everything and is completely counter to how heels are built. As I reported after the pay-per-view, instant replay is something some have been pushing to do for the past six months.

- Brock Lesnar going over Hunter at Extreme Rules was WWE doing the right thing a year later after one of the worst creative decisions in company history. We’re told Triple H’s promo on Raw that he cut on Paul Heyman about Lesnar having no value if he lost was a worked shoot. The fact of the matter is the company realized Lesnar had to go over if he was going to have any value for Wrestlemania XXX next year.

- Other feuds being talked about for Brock Lesnar include a revisit with John Cena and something with CM Punk. A program with Punk would obviously mean a babyface turn and probably won’t happen in the next year.

- As much as I try to assure some of you that WWE and TNA Wrestling will never run a cross-promoted show, Dixie Carter had to come out and say that she “absolutely” would do it. I’m going to let Jim Ross throw some cold water. The following is from a new blog entry on his official website:

WWE is about as likely to work w/ Impact Wrestling on an event as I am wearing burnt orange to the Oklahoma-Texass Red River Rivalry Game. Ain’t gonna happen. WWE has zero to gain by this and I’m surprised that some fans actually think that it “could” happen.

TNA Owner Dixie Carter is a bright lady and made a timely sound byte that many fans, I’m sure, were excited to read but let’s be honest…it’s not going to happen.

Click here to read JR’s Sunday blog in its entirety.

- Kane is ready to do battle outside of the ring… over Internet sales tax legislation. The former WWE Tag Team Champion has challenged Tennessee Lt. Gov Ramsey to a debate. You can read coverage at this link by JohnsonCityPress.com.

- WWE and AJ Lee are promoting her new “Love Bites” t-shirt. Check it out at the link below:

- WWE even has referee Charles Robinson trying to convince fans of the horrible finish to John Cena vs. Ryback. The following is from Robinson’s Twitter account, which was Re-Tweeted by WWE:

The following is from my Facebook account:

The finish to Cena vs. Ryback was mind-boggling. No way Ryback can leave on his feet without the title. A complete injustice to anyone that ordered the PPV and to Cena and Ryback that actually had a good match going. If WWE had to show their blatant lack of confidence in Ryback, then he does a stretcher job too. Ridiculous. Absurd. Horrible.

You can’t have a Last Man Standing Match, with one man left standing and not give him the title.

- Paul Heyman is teasing a reveal of a third “Paul Heyman Guy” (along with Brock Lesnar & CM Punk) tonight on Raw. WWE is promoting the angle and many WWE personnel are tweeting about the “rumors” of a third client. The following excerpt is from HeymanHustle.com:

WWE is about to get a little more EXTREME! Our boss, the Hustler De Tuti Hustlers Paul Heyman is keeping quiet on this for the moment, but it appears as though we’re about to be introduced to Brock Lesnar and CM Punk’s new stablemate!

Tonight’s WWE Raw will take place from Kansas City, and WrestlingNewsWorld.com has full live coverage.

- Rey Mysterio had an appointment on Monday with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida. He chronicled the visit on his verified Twitter account.

- Last week’s episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,435,000 viewers on SyFy. The show ended up doing a 1.78 cable rating.

- John Cena will defend the WWE Championship in an Ambulance Match against Ryback at WWE Payback next month. WWE Payback will take place on Sunday, June 16, 2013 from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Kane, whose real name is Glenn Jacobs, told The Tennessean that he has “no plans on running for political office at this time” when asked of reports that he was interested in challenging U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander out Tennessee. He continued by saying, “things get a little carried away on the Internet sometimes.” The story came to fruition based on a report by Reason magazine, citing an anonymous source. Click here for coverage by The Tennessean.

- Paul Heyman announced on this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw that his third client, the newest “Paul Heyman guy,” is Curtis Axel. Axel’s the real-life son of the late Curt Hennig and formerly worked in WWE as Michael McGillicutty. His real name is Joe Hennig. The name was developed by using his father’s name (Curt Hennig) and his grandfather’s name (Larry “The Axe” Hennig). Axel is a former member of The Nexus faction, as Michael McGillicutty, and has been in WWE’s developmental system since 2007. We knew something was up with him after he berated Sin Cara in-character (See also - Michael McGillicutty Says He’ll Knock Sin Cara’s Punk Ass Out) following a loss on last week’s episode of WWE Superstars. Axel had stated publicly he was not a fan of the Michael McGillicutty name.

- Wade Barrett will defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Sin Cara on this week’s episode of WWE Main Event. WWE will tape this week’s show on Tuesday night from the CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. We’ll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- The announced attendance for this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw was 11,170. The show was a legitimate sellout from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

- For those unaware, The Rock actually trained with Curtis Axel during his latest run with WWE. The following is a photo from Rock’s verified Twitter account, posted back in January:

- Titus O’Neil dropped the “f-bomb” loud enough for the camera mics to pick them up during his match with Sheamus on this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. The word was censored due to the delay WWE has on the USA Network.

Mick Foley, O’Neil’s broadcast colleague from Extreme Rules, wrote the following on Twitter:

- After this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw went off the air, Triple H continued to sell that he was concussed. He ended up being assisted to the back. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman retreated to the back once the trainers began “evaluating” Hunter. Once Hunter got to the back, John Cena & Alberto Del Rio beat Ryback & Jack Swagger in the dark match main event. The finish saw Cena pin Swagger for the victory.

- Triple H is not suffering from a legitimate injury and the ending of WWE Monday Night Raw was completely scripted. While I haven’t heard where they plan on going with the angle, the belief is it’s some type of concussion angle where his family will try and convince him not to wrestle again.  You can view footage of Hunter after Raw went off the air here on dot com. I speculated in Ask WNW that Hunter would be off TV following Extreme Rules, however, he clearly stayed on to further the angle and work Curtis Axel’s debut. Axel has a lot of support backstage and WWE is hopeful he catches on quickly.

- Jerry Lawler wrote the following on Twitter after WWE Raw in regards to his commentary while selling the Triple H “injury” angle:

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

- BlackburnNews.com reported on Tuesday that Windsor and Detroit city officials have submitted a bid to host Wrestlemania 31 and/or Wrestlemania 32.

We’ve been all over this, reporting there was even talk of Wrestlemania 33 taking place from The Motor City.

The report from BlackburnNews.com features a quote from Detroit Sports Commission Executive Director Dave Beachnau:

“It’s appealing because a lot of these international organizations draw from not just the United States or Canada but from around the world so there’s a certain appeal I think with a border that separates us that they can visit two nations in essentially one destination.”

Click here for more.

- The original plan was for Joe Hennig to work as Curt Axel, as was evident in his debut titantron used on this week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw that you can view at this link. Somewhere along the line, the name was changed to Curtis Axel as there are plans for him to have a big heel push by being paired with Paul Heyman. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Axel’s name is based on his father Curt and grandfather Larry “The Axe.”

- Monday’s post-Extreme Rules episode of Raw averaged 4,227,000 million viewers over the course of three hours, up from an average of 4,046,000 million the week before (data provided by TV By The Numbers). Below is the hourly breakdown.

Hour one – 4,078,000 viewers
Hour two – 4,295,000 viewers
Hour three – 4,307,000 viewers

Just as last week, viewership increased during each consecutive hour. Since the addition of a third hour to Raw last summer, viewership would generally dip in the final hour.

- SEScoops.com is reporting that the head writer for WWE‘s creative team, Adam Rudman has left the company. Adam Rudman was brought in only 6 weeks ago to replace Eric Pankowski. As we reported here, Eric now works with CBS as he left right before Wrestlemania 29. It is also being reported that he was let go by Stephanie McMahon last week.

- Mick Foley provided an update on his next book on his Twitter account:

- Roman Reigns appeared to tweak his ankle at this week’s Smackdown taping. The possible injury occurred during the six-man tag match with Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins against Big Show, Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston when Reigns was working on the apron with Orton. He ended up receiving help to the back and wasn’t involved in a brawl after cameras stopped filming.

- Evan Bourne, who has been out for over a year with a mid-foot fracture, posted new x-ray photos on Twitter. He remarked that his index toe/big toe healed in a V shape. Check them out at the links below:

- Jim Ross will be representing WWE in a meeting with the NFL Players Association in Washington, D.C. Apparently the company wants to work closer with the league as they feel they could sign players that don’t make teams.

- You might have noticed that Randy Orton used his “punt” to the head of Big Show at WWE Extreme Rules. This isn’t something he’ll be using regularly again as WWE continues to take the risk of concussions very seriously. The feeling was he was allowed to use the finisher at the pay-per-view because of the Extreme Rules stipulation.

- Wade Barrett did not defend the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Sin Cara at this week’s WWE Main Event taping as advertised on Monday night. In fact, neither worked matches for the show but both had separate matches taped for Smackdown.

- WWE posted kayfabe injury updates on Triple H (here) and John Cena (here). While I’m sure both Hunter and Cena are sore, neither are dealing with legitimate injuries from their respective matches at the pay-per-view.

- Alex Marvez has more details on Jim Ross meeting with the NFLPA about a potential working relationship with WWE (See also - WWE Signing NFL Snubs?).

The meeting will take place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. where Ross will pitch the success of people that couldn’t make it in the NFL going on to have successful careers in WWE.

“Everybody doesn’t make the 53-man roster,” Ross told co-host Jim Miller and me Tuesday night on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“Some guys are going to be looking for work, and we’ve got some job openings. Maybe we can put the synergies of those two entities together and create something wonderful some day.”

The article focuses on The Rock being unable to make it in the NFL but going on to become one of WWE’s biggest stars ever.

Click here for coverage by Alex Marvez on FoxSports.com.

- Episode 25 of “Outside the Ring” is now online on WWE’s official YouTube channel at this link.

- R-Truth spoke with The National to promote WWE’s return to Abu Dhabi later this year. When asked if WWE is dangerous, Truth commented:

It’s very dangerous. We are the first to tell our audiences: do not try this at home. We get hurt a lot, it’s part of the job. I’ve had broken ribs, lacerated my knee and dislocated both my shoulders. I could write a book about it.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- NBC’s Pro Football Talk covered JR’s meeting with the NFLPA in regards to a potential relationship with WWE at this link.

- CM Punk continues to be bombarded with questions from Twitter followers when he is returning to WWE. The former 434-day WWE Champion sent out the following somewhat cryptic Tweet:

It’s believed Punk wants to return at SummerSlam although WWE wants him back sooner. The feeling is he’ll be back some time this summer. Punk is currently on a leave of absence, healing his body and getting a break off the road.

- Jim Ross wrote the following on Twitter in regards to his meeting with the NFL Players Association in regards to developing a relationship with WWE:

- Cameron wrote the following on Twitter:

- Zack Ryder is featured in the latest issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine:

- Former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas, who now works for The Score, wrote the following on Twitter:

Based on this, it looks like Bret Hart Appreciation Night will not take place on the 8-11 airing of Monday Night Raw on the USA Network. Next week’s show emanates from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

- Multiple WWE Superstars and Divas, including WWE Champion John Cena, Triple H and The Great Khali, have tried their hand at competitive bodybuilding in the past. The official WWE website has published an article recalling their claim to fame in this arena.

Before entering the field of professional wrestling, John Cena competed in bodybuilding competitions from the ages of 18 to 22 in the Yankee Classic in Massachusetts, as well as the Natural Iron Man and Natural Santa Monica Classic in California. The 11-time WWE Champion, however, admits that industry wasn’t “really wasn’t for [him].”

He adds, “However, it kept me disciplined. It kept my nutrition regimented. That’s what I take away from it. It got me used to regimenting my nutrition to eat for performance.”

Cena personally feels the dietary regiment necessary for competitive bodybuilding is too difficult, especially since he enjoys eating.

“It’s a 24/7 gig,” said Cena. “Packing your food, bringing it everywhere and worrying about every calorie you intake … I love food too much.”

- Former WCW announcer Tony Schiavone, who currently serves as a play-by-play broadcaster for the minor league baseball team Gwinnett Braves, will participate in a rare autograph signing on Saturday, June 1, alongside WWE Hall of Famer George “The Animal” Steele and former WWE wrestler Justin Credible. The event takes place from noon to 2:00 p.m. at Pro Wrestling World at the Merchants Square Mall 1901 S. 12th St. Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Event Information)

- Former WWE Women’s and Cruiserweight Champion Jacqueline is this week’s addition to the Alumni section on WWE.com. WWE says of the Dallas, Texas native, “Jacqueline was, perhaps, the toughest woman to ever step foot in the ring. Unafraid to stand up to woman, or man for that matter, in the squared circle, the tenacious Diva had no problem breaking down both opponents and barriers.” To view her profile, click here.

- John Cena was absent from this week’s Raw, selling the angle from WWE Extreme Rules. On this week’s Main Event, Michael Cole provided an update, saying Cena will be “back and ready to go” on next week’s Raw in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

- On the 14th anniversary of his tragic death, Bret Hart remembered his brother, Owen Hart, on Twitter:

- This Saturday, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler will wrestle in his first match since experiencing a near-fatal episode last September as he teams up with fellow Hall of Famer Dory Funk, Jr. at Funk’s !Bang! TV event. Speaking to Ocala.com, Lawler reveals that he was cleared to return to the squared circle by his cardiologist.

“He said everything looked great, that I was good to go,” said Lawler, who was advised to watch his sodium and cholesterol intake. “I asked if I can go back to doing what I’ve always done, and he said it wouldn’t be a problem, that it actually should be good because it will be cardio work, which is good for me. Anything to get my heart rate up.

“I asked if taking a body slam would be an issue. He said nothing like that would affect my heart.”

The article clarifies that Lawler did not suffer a heart attack, as had been widely reported. Doctors informed Lawler that he suffered Sudden Cardiac Arrest, which according to the Mayo Clinic, “usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping blood flow to the rest of your body.” A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked.

The legendary wrestler advises that SCA “has to be treated immediately.”

“It can kill you within minutes. You have to get help right away,” said Lawler. “If it had been an hour-and-a-half later, and I was back in my hotel room, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Lawler noted that he is suffering from minor memory loss as a result of the episode and despite never having a sip of alcohol, smoking a cigarette or using drugs, “It goes to show [that] you can live a healthy life and still get very sick and die.”

The full article can be accessed here.

- WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin stated on Twitter on Thursday that he is presently not interested in discussing the possibility of a return match at next year’s WrestleMania.

Austin, who today is recording the latest edition of his podcast, The Steve Austin Show, asked that fans not ask him questions concerning the pay-per-view extravaganza or even The Shield when calling into the show: “Headed to studio to do a #steveaustinshow. Will tweet out phone number to studio for you to call in and ask questions. I will not be answering WM30, comeback, or the Shield questions. Focus on current events or advice type questions.”

To listen to past episodes of The Steve Austin Show, click here.

- Jim Ross is quite excited for the launch of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida this summer, a 26,000 square foot facility that will house seven training rings, a world-class gym, state-of-the-art edit and production equipment, and serve as the company’s official developmental base.

He wrote Thursday on Twitter, “Toured the new, WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER today. It’s due to open in a few weeks but will be a difference maker. Absolutely spectacular!”

- Bo Dallas beat Big E Langston at this week’s WWE NXT tapings to win the NXT Championship.

- The Rock surprised his cousin, WWE Diva Tamina Snuka, with a new Lexus SUV. The following photo is from Twitter:

- CM Punk corrected the grammar of the latest Paul Heyman Guy in Curtis Axel on a new post made on Twitter. Check it out below:

- We reported on Thursday that CM Punk corrected the grammar of fellow Paul Heyman colleague Curtis Axel. Axel fired back with some Tweets of his own:

I highly doubt there is any heat between Punk and Axel and suspect this to be both working as in-character heels. Punk has done a tremendous job in always staying in character to continue to stay over, however, it was too juicy not to mention.

- There is some concern over Fandango and not for reasons one may think. We’re told WWE officials are satisfied with his work but he’s developed a bit of an ego backstage. However, we are told that officials continue to be impressed with his commitment to his character and feel he is in better shape each week.

- Chris Jericho has openly said one of the reasons he’s working as many dates as he can is because he wants to help “make” someone a star.

- We’re told one of the many reasons for the push of Curtis Axel is strong support from The Rock. Rock put him over backstage big time during his most recent run, saying he feels Axel has what it takes to be a major star.  As previously noted, Rock trained one-on-one with Axel to help prepare for his matches.

- There are still plans to push Daniel Bryan following a program with Kane.  I would assume the program is built off Team Hell No being unable to recapture the WWE Tag Team Championship but this has been talked about since the beginning of March, much like the title reign of The Shield.

- We didn’t hear anything new regarding Dolph Ziggler backstage at WWE Raw. He’s scheduled to be examined this week if he hasn’t been seen already.

- Randy Orton has discussed a heel turn with WWE officials for months but we are told there still isn’t a clear path to turn him.

- We can confirm there was a lack of support for Antonio Cesaro backstage with some feeling he came across as bland. We’re told it’s Vince McMahon that has toned him back but Triple H is still behind him and he’s working with what he’s given. My source feels he’s going to be OK in the long run.

- Shawn Michaels will appear at Friday night’s WWE Raw live event in Salt Lake City, Utah as he’ll be honored with “Shawn Michaels Appreciation Night.” The New Age Outlaws are officially advertised and expected to work. Jim Ross is among the names confirmed to appear. He’ll be signing autographs prior to the show. The following is from Twitter:

Michaels is also scheduled to appear at Raw live events this weekend in non-wrestling roles on Saturday in Red Deer and Sunday in Lethbridge. If you attend any of the shows, please submit a live report.

- Bret Hart Appreciation Night will air on live on the WWE App following this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw in Canada. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com the special will air on The Score in Canada. You can read coverage by dot com at this link.

- The Bella Twins are featured in episode 26 of The JBL & Cole Show now online at this link.

- The Leader-Post has a new article online featuring quotes from Titus O’Neil. In it, he credits Dave Batista for his career in WWE.

“If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be a WWE superstar today, I would tell you you’re a fool,” Bullard said. “If it wasn’t for a very good friend of mine and my neighbor, Dave Batista, I can assure you I wouldn’t be here today.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- This week’s episode of “Backstage Fallout” Smackdown is now online, find out why Daniel Bryan lost control at this link.

TNA News

- Hernandez promoted the TNA Tag Team Championship match at Slammiversary in a post-Impact Wrestling interview now online at this link.

- Zema Ion needs your help. The former TNA X-Division Champion underwent an emergency appendectomy this week and a tumor was found on his colon. A fundraising effort has been put together to help him pay his medical bills. You can check it out at this link.

- Part three of Before The Bell: Slammiversary is now online at this link.

- Last week’s Impact Wrestling only posted a 0.84 cable rating. As we reported on Friday, the show drew an abysmal viewing audience of 1,050,000 viewers on Spike TV. This was the lowest viewership of the year.

- TNA Wrestling posted the following “exclusive interview” with TNA Champion Bully Ray after the contract signing segment on last week’s episode of Impact. You can watch it at this link.

- Part four of Before The Bell: Slammiversary is now online at this link.

- Kinetic Fix has a new interview online with Christopher Daniels. Click here to read it.

- TNA Wrestling has added Jeff Hardy to the list of advertised talent for their July 5th “Basebrawl” live event from Coney Island’s MCU Park in Brooklyn, NY. Click here for more information.

- Hulk Hogan is recovering from the flu headed into this week’s Impact Wrestling tapings in Tampa, Florida. Hogan Tweeted the following:

- James Storm and Velvet Sky will be in Atlanta on Tuesday to promote the launch of the Georgia lottery Impact Wrestling instant game ticket. Click here for more information.

- Next month’s TNA Unfinished Business pay-per-view will focus on Jeff Hardy’s feud with Austin Aries. They’re focusing on No Surrender this month. Click here for more.

- We’ve been covering James Storm’s injury pretty in-depth but Dixie Carter posted a new update on Twitter on Tuesday. The following is from Carter’s verified Twitter account:

Meanwhile, Storm is in Atlanta with Velvet Sky. the following is from Storm’s verified Twitter account:

- We continue to hear that Matt Morgan is “closer with Hulk Hogan” than he has ever been before. Hogan has been “going out of his way” to advise Morgan but based on Hogan’s track record on the Internet and with social media, he’s probably not the best guy to teach Morgan how to handle himself in that regard. However, Morgan could very well be a guy that ends up “carrying TNA Wrestling” if Hogan gets his way. Not only is Morgan in tight with Hulk, but he’s also formed a friendship with Brooke Hogan. With Hulk’s blessing and friendship with Brooke, he’s very close to being atop the political ladder behind-the-scenes. Obviously there have been some observers that point to Morgan being a liability with his short temper, however, he’s in as good of a spot as anyone on the roster right now.

- The updates on James Storm continue to pour in. He wrote the following on his verified Twitter account on Tuesday:

- Jesse Sorensen, who hasn’t worked since suffering a broken neck at TNA Against All Odds 2012, wrote the following his verified Twitter account:

MAY 21, 2013 3:14 UPDATE:

Sorenson posted another Tweet that says he’s not returning to wrestle. The following is from Twitter:

End update.

- TNA Wrestling posted a video honoring Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who recently announced his retirement from the NFL. You can watch the video at this link.

- Marvel has a new Q&A online with Austin Aries, below is an excerpt:

Marvel.com: This year has been huge for you. You became World Champion and one of the top stars at Impact Wrestling. What have been some of the highlights?

Austin Aries: Well, obviously, the World Championship would be the highlight of anyone’s career. But I think the whole journey in general and also where it’s going to continue to go in the next couple of years. I’m appreciative to get to go on the stage, to go out there and do something I love to do.

Marvel.com: Slammiversary is being held in Boston this year. Is that a fun city to work in?

Austin Aries: Bostonians are passionate people. It’s a lot more fun to perform there than it is to navigate their street systems. I’ve gotten lost more than once in Boston, and it’s easy to do.

Obviously coming to Boston had a little extra meaning this year, and we can give them a night of entertainment.

Click here to read the interview in its entirety.

- Staff writer Eltimir Alexandrov conducted an in-person interview with Nigel McGuinness on Wednesday on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com. We’ll be posting the complete interview later in the week but below are some highlights: On Hogan and Bischoff’s contributions to his release from TNA: “You can’t just blame one person, you can’t say it was Hulk Hogan, you can’t say it was Eric Bischoff. A lot of people had a hand in it. I wasn’t blameless myself, there are things I could have done differently also… It wasn’t that they didn’t like me necessarily, it was that they felt they needed to have people who were already stars in the industry. They felt they needed the Jeff Hardys, the Ric Flairs and the Nasty Boys to make sure people would watch.”

- TNA Wrestling revealed a new concept for Impact Wrestling on the social media website Twitter. This concept not only gets people talking about Impact as it airs, which is free advertising, but they want to fans to be more active during the show. The official statement is below:

IMPACT WRESTLING takes the social conversation and turns it into a battle Thursday nights with its new #IMPACTFanBattle.

Each week, two twitter challengers will “face-off” on twitter in a “battle” of the best online commentary – perhaps your stellar play-by-play skills…or your killer color commentary – about the night’s #IMPACTLive. During the #IMPACTFanBattle, @IMPACTWRESTLING will retweet the some of the best tweets from our two competitors while keeping an open eye for potential challengers for the next week’s competition!

The #IMPACTFanBattle wages on Thursdays during our IMPACT WRESTLING broadcast on Spike TV. Then, at the conclusion of each night, we leave it to your peers to vote on who had the best tweets – and ultimately decide who will face a new challenger next week the reigning champ of the #IMPACTFanBattle! Got mad twitter skills and earn the respect of your peers two weeks in a row? We’ll send you a prize pack from ShopTNA.com!

Want to be a part? We’re looking NOW! Tweet out this article with the hashtag #IMPACTFanBattle and we will set our eyes on you. Once IMPACT is on the air, we will pick one of you tweeting with #IMPACTLive and put you into battle with the reigning champion.

- Tonight on Impact Wrestling, it will be revealed whether TNA Wrestling cornerstone AJ Styles has turned his back on the company and the fans. The Aces and Eights have announced that on the show, they will hold a “Patching In” ceremony to officially welcome Styles intoto the gang.

TNA Wrestling President Dixie Carter posted a message on Twitter hyping the show, and hopes Styles will come to his senses. She wrote, “In Tampa for our 1st TNA Show EVER in that great city. #ImpactLIVE! going to be big tonight. @AJStylesOrg needs to make the right choice.”

- Last week at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, Kurt Angle attended “The Rumble On The Rails,” an amateur wrestling event where three of the world’s top powers joined forces in solidarity to promote the sport. The event was broadcast on the NBC Sports Network, with the multi-time wrestling champion and Olympic gold medalist being shown in attendance during ESPN coverage.

- For those that missed this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling, Mickie James beat Velvet Sky to win the TNA Knockouts Championship.

- TNA Wrestling just released a new app for your mobile devices. It’s available for both Apple and Android. This app is a fitness training app where you can customize how you train. It’s called Always Revolve. The full description of the app as well as a video describing it can be viewed here.

- Below is the current line-up for TNA Slammiversary pay-per-view:

No Holds Barred Match For the TNA World TitleIf Sting loses, he will no longer be able to compete for the TNA World Title again
Bully Ray (c) vs. Sting

Singles Match
Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles

Four Team Elimination Match For the TNA Tag Team Championships
Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez (c) vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Ausitn Aries & Bobby Roode vs. James Storm & Gunner

Singles Match for the Television Championship
Devon (c) vs. Joseph Parks

Ultimate X Match for the X-Division Championship
Kenny King (c) vs. Chris Sabin vs. Suicide

Singles Match
Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell

Gut Check Tournament Finals
Jay Bradley vs. Sam Shaw

Do not miss TNA Slammiversary as it will be live from The Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts on June 2, 2013. We will have exclusive coverage of the pay-per-view right here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- TJ Perkins worked as Suicide on this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling. Perkins has been an independent standout for many years and had a previous run in TNA as Puma. He’s also appeared on WWE television in tryout matches.

- In addition to TJ Perkins working as Suicide on this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling, the following workers returned:

Shark Boy appeared, offering to partner with James Storm. Gunner came out, took out Shark Boy and aligned as Storm’s partner.

Storm, who is rehabbing a slight abdominal tear, is scheduled to team witch Gunner to face Ausitn Aries & Bobby Roode vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez in a Four Team Elimination Match For the TNA Tag Team Championships at Slammiversary.

Gunner has been working in TNA’s developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, since late last year.  Shark Boy last worked for TNA Wrestling on their TNA 10 “One Night Only” pay-per-view special.

- It was announced on this week’s episode of Impact Wrestling that the second inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame will be announced at Slammiversary. Sting was announced last year and inducted at Bound for Glory. Full Impact results are online at this link.

- Ken Anderson was featured in a piece on The Maino Project on NBC 26 out of Wisconsin. In it, he’s referred to as a former WWE wrestler.

“I was chosen as most likely to get into the entertainment business,” said Ken Anderson. The station says he works for another circuit where the venues might be a little cozier, but the passion remains the same.

You can watch it at this link.

- This week’s episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,379,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show ended up with a 1.07 cable rating.

Ask WNW

The winner of a Last Man Standing Match is determined when one person is left standing. Why is Ryback not WWE Champion given the fact he walked away (albeit with help) from the match at Extreme Rules?

The finish to Ryback vs. John Cena at Extreme Rules was poorly planned and came across horrible. The fans in the building turned on it and Twitter immediately lit up with discontent reactions. I was leading the pack. You can’t have a Last Man Standing match end with a guy left standing and not being declared the winner. It gives a cliffhanger for Raw but sets a terrible precedent. The discussion started early on my Facebook and I want to take an opportunity to address some people that defended the finish. First of all, there was no double count out. If there was, the finish would have been more palatable. I do not like draw finishes, especially on pay-per-view title matches, but I could understand it in this situation. WWE obviously doesn’t want to take the belt off Cena at the pay-per-view after getting his redemption but they don’t want Ryback to do a clean job either. The problem is Ryback was left standing. If they wanted to end the match in a draw they either had to have a double count-out or double stretcher jobs. There was neither and the outcome was just thrown out with no winner being declared. You can’t charge $50 for a pay-per-view with a WWE title bout and give no outcome. There’s no fixing this because even in the unlikely event that Ryback is awarded the title on Raw, people that purchased the pay-per-view are still left without an outcome. I explain more here in Richard Reacts.

What happens to Brock Lesnar’s rivalry with Triple H now that Extreme Rules is over?

It’s time for the program to be over. The way it was sold on the pay-per-view, it looks like Triple H was written off and he should be. Hunter and Lesnar have had matches at SummerSlam, Wrestlemania and Extreme Rules. There’s no need for another. It’s time to put Lesnar back on the shelf until the next program and let Hunter go back behind-the-scenes until needed once again.

I see you all have reverted back to the simple homepage layout. Was the new version too confusing for visitors?

We tested a new homepage layout for a couple weeks but ultimately found it was too confusing for visitors on mobile devices. One of the things that is very important to me is to provide the same full version of WrestlingNewsWorld.com to everyone. Whether you are on your phone, tablet or computer, I want you to have full site access. While the new layout worked great on a computer, it made it difficult to find the new updates on a mobile device. I want you to be able to take WNW with you so you can visit everywhere at any time.

Is there a date scheduled for CM Punk’s return?

WWE wants CM Punk back for WWE Payback next month in Chicago. I was told he was shooting for something closer to SummerSlam. The feeling seems to be they’ll meet somewhere in the middle but, as far as I know, no date is set. There had been some speculation if he was going to work Payback that he would return on this week’s Raw, but I haven’t heard anything as of Monday morning.

Who is the cleanest wrestler in the industry in terms of Wellness?

To the best of my knowledge, CM Punk has never taken a pain pill in his life. I think that qualifies him as the cleanest wrestler in the business.

Was there one specific moment where it was clear that John Cena became the face of WWE or did it just happen over time?

John Cena’s transition as the “face of WWE” began when he won the WWE title for the first time at Wrestlemania 21. At the time, Triple H was still the “face of the company” but it was this reign that began to establish John as “the guy.” Over the years Cena has taken the spot and ran with it. Leading the company in merchandise sales and popularity, it’s clear Cena is still in the prime of his career. I think some readers get confused when we say “face of WWE.” We aren’t saying that everyone likes him or that he’s the best wrestler, we’re saying he outdraws everyone else and is the clear “go to” guy.

What were your thoughts on the “I Quit” match between Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules?

Right off the bat I thought there was too much Mike Chioda, with him continuously asking Swagger and Del Rio if they quit. I didn’t like the false finish with the white towel and felt the instant replay gimmick was ridiculous. The work wasn’t bad in of itself but the bout was fairly forgettable. I popped for Swagger’s gutwrench powerbomb and do think he’s a better worker than he gets credit for.

Why didn’t Triple H put Curtis Axel over on WWE Raw? Can’t he just put one young worker over for a change?

Triple H “did the honors” at Extreme Rules and a loss on WWE Raw, albeit “not at 100%,” could have been damaging. The fact Hunter wanted to work with Curtis Axel in the Raw main event speaks volumes and in addition to putting the spotlight on Axel, it gave WWE an opportunity to further Hunter’s latest angle (update here). Axel has a lot of potential but it would be extremely risky for Hunter to come out, fresh off a job, and do another one to an unproven talent. I understand some are going to criticize Triple H and his ego and whatever but the fact of the matter is Hunter didn’t have to work him in the first place. I had no problem with the Raw main event and am optimistic about Axel going forward.

Do you see the pairing of Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel being bigger and better than the pairing of Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect?

It’s far too early to make any comparisons like that. While it’s important to give a new worker (and gimmick) a chance before tearing it apart, it’s also important to put the anointing oil away. Curtis Axel has a lot of potential and an extraordinary opportunity as a “Paul Heyman client,” however, we don’t want to put him in the Hall of Fame right out the gate just like we don’t want to dismiss the character. One of the reasons why it would be extremely risky to put Axel over Hunter is what if the gimmick flops? Patience is very important in this business.

What do the commentators do when they aren’t working? Do they return home until the next set of tapings?

After TVs are taped on Monday and Tuesday, the commentators can return home to their families. There are times when the Smackdown crew may have to fly to WWE headquarters in Connecticut for post-production but they do not travel to live events unless they are needed. Jerry Lawler stays active on the independent scene as his contract allows him to work third party shows. John Layfield stays extremely busy as a contributor on FOX News.

How much longer is Chris Jericho expected to stay with WWE?

Chris Jericho’s new deal with WWE is very flexible. It allows for the company to utilize him when he’s available. Jericho has said he sees himself being involved with the company as long as he still has something to offer. I can’t say enough about Jericho and his desire to put the business before himself. He’s a rarity in this business and there aren’t very many like him.

Why hasn’t Booker T been on Smackdown lately?

Booker T has been off the road recovering from elbow surgery. The procedure was needed to treat an infection after suffering a torn triceps. He’s expected to return soon to continue his feud with Teddy Long.

This year at Wrestlemania 29 we saw The Shield, Fandango and Big E Langston all make their debuts at the pay-per-view. Who has benefitted most since?

The Shield clearly came out of Wrestlemania 29 every bit as legit as they went in. The fact the entire faction holds gold shows what WWE thinks of them. Fandango had more of an impact the night after Wrestlemania but he remains in a good spot. Big E Langston is slated for a huge push but has been pulled back recently due to the injury to World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler.

Was Mark Henry’s interview at Extreme Rules just a work or is it a way to get him off television until he can get another contract?

Prior to Mark Henry returning to WWE in February, he was locked in a contract dispute with the company. While there were some questions about his health, Henry threatened not to come back unless he approved creative plans for him. They ended up agreeing to a deal that saw him work Elimination Chamber, Wrestlemania and Extreme Rules. The bit on Raw was done to write him off. For how long, I haven’t heard. Some say he could return as a babyface and he did come out of the strap match against Sheamus banged up. I believe it was a shoulder injury.

Do you see Zack Ryder getting pushed or released?

I can’t really speculate either. Yes, Zack Ryder is getting on television but only as an enhancement talent. Ryder is such a weird case. He’s built a fan empire using YouTube and Twitter, yet he’s unable to solidify a push on WWE television. I don’t know who it is that lacks confidence in him, perhaps Vince himself, but clearly someone doesn’t see him worth a push.

Is Jack Swagger’s push officially over?

WWE is committed to the Zeb Colter/Tea Party stuff but who knows how much this involves a continued main event push for Jack Swagger. He wasn’t booked with confidence this week, however, there’s no way to give a definitive word whether or not this is a sign that his push is over. I will say many were surprised Vince McMahon didn’t alter the World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania following Swagger’s arrest when he had ample time to do so. Swagger had a rough week after nearly injuring Alberto Del Rio and kicking Dolph Ziggler in the head. This got him backstage heat and that could be one of the reasons for the more recent jobs.

Is there any new information on turning Randy Orton heel?

WWE is building Randy Orton back up but still as a babyface. Orton wants to work as a heel and has stated as much publicly, however, this is a question I’ve been answering for at least the past year. Don’t hold your breath but Orton fans have reason to be optimistic.

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