Wellness Testing Top Talent, Reaction To Controversial Raw Angle, Uncertainty Regarding Cena, Austin “100% Fine” To Wrestle Again, How Much USA Pays WWE For Raw, Outcome Of Survivor Series Main Event, Hogan Sex Tape To Remain Online, Steiner Trying To Take Down TNA

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, November 10, 2012 to Friday, November 16, 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 News
- Ask WNW

WWE News

- WWE has announced a WWE Raw live event from Ahoy Sports Palace in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on April 17, 2013. Wrestling News World reader Sander Bollee notes the show sold about 1500 tickets in seven hours as tickets went on sale Firday.

- Devin Cutting typed out the following summary of this week’s WWE Vintage Collection that aired Friday night:

* The Rude Brood vs. Roddy’s Rowdies (Survivor Series 1989)
* Edge, Christian & The Hardys vs. Too Cool & The Hollys (Survivor Series 1999)
* Team Guerrero vs. Team Angle (Survivor Series 2004)

- WWE has announced they will return to Alaska in January. Two shows have been announced, one in Anchorage on January 17, 2013 and on in Fairbanks on January 18, 2013.

Below is a press release for the show in Fairbanks:

WWE presents the Smackdown World Tour live at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska on January 18 at 7:30pm. Doors will open to the public at 6:00pm. Tickets go on sale December 1 at http://www.ticketmaster.com (charge by phone: 1-800-745-3000). Ticket prices are $20, $30, $45, $65 and $95. Additional service fees do apply.

Huge Double Main Event!

“The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus looks to regain his coveted World Heavyweight Championship from “The World’s Largest Athlete” and current World Heavyweight Champion Big Show. Will Sheamus be able to overcome the odds against this massive opponent?

“The Viper” Randy Orton and the ruthless Alberto Del Rio will battle. Will “The Viper” reign supreme or will Alberto Del Rio fulfill his destiny atop the WWE?

Also see current Tag Team Champions “Team HELL NO”, Brodus Clay, Cody Rhodes, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Wade Barrett, and many more!

For additional information, please call (907) 451-7800 or visit: http://www.wwe.com

- – Roddy Piper wrote the following on Twitter in regards to the August 13th “Piper’s Pit” segment with Chris Jericho on WWE Raw:

- The Rock wrote the following on Twitter in response to CM Punk “taking a shot” at his Halloween costume:

- The second edition of WWE Encyclopedia is now for sale here on Amazon. (Thanks to WNW reader Logan Walker.)

- WNW reader Hal McKutchen sent word Barbie Blank has released a new 2013 calendar on her official website.

- The Tampa Tribune has an article on Kris Pavone (formerly known as Chris Cage and Caylen Croft) going from the ring to the classroom. You can read the feature at this link.

- Wrestlemania 29 tickets sold very well over the weekend with word going around the gate is already approaching the $10 million range. The number going around was 50,000 sold although we haven’t independently been able to confirm that.

- Steve Austin told ESPN in an article to promote “Redneck Island” on CMT that he’s “absolutely a redneck.”

- Renee Paquette, formerly of The Score in Canada, debuted with WWE over the weekend on WWE Experience. She co-hosted the show, which airs internationally, with Matt Striker.

- WWE issued a press release on Monday and announced that Kid Rock, The Muppets and Flo Rida will be a part of their 10th Anniversary Tribute to the Troops show. WWE Tribute to the Troops 2012 will be taped next month and will air on Wednesday, December 19th 9/8c on the USA Network and as a one-hour special on Saturday, December 22nd at 9/8c on NBC.

Also noted in the press release, Vince McMahon will head overseas with Eve, Layla, The Miz and R-Truth to visit troops stationed overseas.

You can read the full press release at this link.

- WWE sold 52,029 tickets for Wrestlemania 29 on the first day of sales. This beat the company record set with Wrestlemania 18, which sold 51,620 tickets the first day. As noted earlier, the paid gate exceeded $10 million, which was higher than last year’s $6.3 million on the first day of sales.

- The season two premiere of “Redneck Island” featuring Steve Austin on CMT scored the network’s highest-rated series launch in history. You can read a press release at this link.

- After defeating Layla on tonight’s WWE Raw, Kaitlyn became the #1 contender for the Divas Championship. She will face Eve for the title this Sunday at WWE Survivor Series.

- Antonio Cesaro will defend the WWE United States Championship against R-Truth at Sunday’s Survivor Series pay-per-view.

- The Miz was announced as the fifth and final member of Team Foley for Survivor Series. The match is now as follows:

Five-on-Five Survivor Series Elimination Match
- Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio & Wade Barrett) vs. Team Foley (Kofi Kingston, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and The Miz)

As we reported here on Richard’s Backstage Blog, Miz was the favorite to replace Ryback but Triple H has reservations about turning him babyface.

- Mick Foley made reference to Dolph Ziggler’s ex-girlfriend, comedian Amy Schumer, on this week’s WWE Raw. The comments spilled over to Twitter:

- WWE will return to the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio for Raw on Monday, April 29, 2013. The presale password to obtain tickets is WWERAW.

- Jim Ross noted on Twitter after he welcomed Jerry Lawler back on WWE Raw he watched the rest of the show backstage with producer Road Dogg.

- There were a lot of people unhappy with the CM Punk/Paul Heyman segment following the return of Jerry Lawler on this week’s WWE Raw. I’m told while Punk was uncomfortable with the angle, Lawler didn’t have an issue with it. Heyman wasn’t a big fan but knows to pick his battles. Punk has been making light of the angle on Twitter, claiming to be a CPR master in order to generate more heat.

- We’re told company officials are “confused” with how to book John Cena as one week Vince McMahon wants him in a program with Dolph Ziggler, the next he wants to program him with Ryback. The bottom-line is Vince doesn’t know what he wants.

- If the “letter” angle on Raw wasn’t telling enough, Vince McMahon wants to align Rosa Mendes with Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. Vince is high up on Rosa and feels adding her to Del Rio may freshen him up as well.

- Finally, there was talk Monday night about The Rhodes Scholars winning the WWE Tag Team Championship at Tuesday’s WWE Main Event taping. Given the rate things change, I wouldn’t take this to the bank but one thing that has been pushed to the writers is to make the C-shows count.

- Not only was John Layfield not offended by the CM Punk/Paul Heyman angle on this week’s Raw, he wishes his character could have done it. In a blog posted to remember the late Eddie Guerrero, JBL posted the following:

This angle with CM Punk and Heyman faking a heart attack last night, I loved it-this is something Eddie would have loved also. People get worked up, and it is their choice to be offended by whatever they choose. I thought it was awesome, I just wish JBL could have done it!

Eddie did as much for me personally as he did professionally, he was a truly amazing guy.

The story of Chavo and Eddie getting into a heated argument backstage over the mother angle when Chavo started ribbing Eddie that Mrs Guerrero should take the clothesline was hilarious-it’s just that no one saw it but me.

The match we had at Judgement Day set the attendance record at the Staples Center at the time, all off the heart attack angle. Again, if you are offended by the CM Punk story-it’s your choice, but I got a guy wishing I was dead and several profanity filled Tweets over it. Really? Over a TV show, some have zero class when they can be keyboard warriors anonymously.

Also, the filming of Jerry as he was receiving medical care got some really nasty comments. If that was an NFL game or any event that had a ton of cameras around, do you think that a guy who has been told to film everything who has a camera on his shoulder would not film it. I thought it was all done very well and was one of the best Raws I have seen in some time.

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

- Edge was recently asked on Twitter if he would be at Wrestlemania 29 next year in New Jersey. He responded by saying he will be in Winnipeg the day of the show.

- A lot is being made of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s upcoming acting/promotional schedule conflicting with Wrestlemania 29 and appearances leading up to the show. In addition to The Rock having “Snitch” opening in February and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” opening in March, reports are now surfacing that he’s signed on to co-star in a remake of “Arabian Nights,” co-starring Zac Affron and Anthony Hopkins that is scheduled to begin filming in March in Abu Dhabi. While The Rock is clearly a busy man, he’s confirmed for both Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania

- WWE has reportedly expressed interest in Rami Sebei, better known as El Generico.

- Steve Austin said on the “Busted Open” radio program he is “100 percent fine” when it comes to being medically cleared to wrestle. He said it was his decision to end his in-ring career because he was “running too hard” and “had a few issues.” When asked if CM Punk was the only guy he would come back and wrestle, he said John Cena would be a guy as well. He also mentioned Triple H and The Undertaker but said Undertaker is “beat to shreds” like himself. Austin did say Punk was at the top of the list.

- This week’s WWE Raw, the go-home to Survivor Series, did an average viewing audience of 4,194,000 viewers on the USA Network. The hourly breakdown is below:

  • Hour one – 4,194,000 viewers
  • Hour two – 4,399,000 viewers
  • Hour three – 4,027,000 viewers

The audience continues to tune out for the third and final hour.

- Cody Rhodes was shaken up at Tuesday’s WWE Main Event taping in Cleveland, Ohio. The possible injury occurred when Rhodes was working with Kane and Kane flipped him over and instead of landing on his back, Rhodes landed on his shoulder. After the spot, he was knocked off the apron and didn’t sell as medical staff came out to assist. Wrestling News World reader Drew Acklin sent word Rhodes was visibly shaken as he talked with medical staff before being helped to the back. The match taped was Team Hell No vs. The Rhodes Scholars for the WWE Tag Team Championship, scheduled to air on Wednesday.

- Next week’s WWE Main Event is scheduled to be headlined by The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

- William Regal isn’t finished wrestling just yet despite being 44-years-old and jobbing to Big Show. Click here to watch his comments on dot com.

- Alberto Del Rio is now on Twitter @VivaDelRio.

- Hornswoggle is in Los Angeles to film material for E!’s “The Soup.” Remember a WWE-themed episode of “The Soup” will air November 26, 2012 on the USA Network following Raw.

- Johnny Curtis worked as Fandango in a dark match prior to this week’s WWE Smackdown TV tapings.

- WWE Raw ended up doing a 2.87 cable rating on the USA Network. We have the hourly viewership breakdown at this link.

- Cody Rhodes didn’t work the Smackdown taping after being injured in his match with Damien Sandow against Team Hell No taped for WWE Main Event. We still haven’t heard the specifics of Rhodes’ injury but are told it was either a shoulder injury, concussion or both. There is no word as of this writing if he’ll work Survivor Series but his absence on Smackdown was acknowledged by Sandow on the air as he said Rhodes was absent due to Kane’s physicality. We broke the news of Cody’s initial injury here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- We’ve obtained more information in regards to WWE’s 2012 quarter three earnings that were not clearly presented in the conference call earlier this month. We’re told revenue was off not just because of licensing and distribution but also due to Brock Lesnar’s big paycheck, losing revenue in sponsorship and paying more in advertising.

We’re told revenue is also down for Raw due to WWE receiving $168,000 for the third hour while the USA Network pays them approximately $330,000 for each hour one and hour two. Not only has Raw’s third hour hurt the average viewership numbers, it’s hurting revenue from sponsors due to the ratings hit.

What makes this even more confusing is Vince McMahon proclaiming to investors the third hour of Raw is doing “extremely well.”

- WWE has announced they’re returning to Puerto Rico next year. Below are the announced dates:

  • January 4th – Recreation & Sports Palace in Mayaguez
  • January 5th – Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in Hato Rey
  • January 6th – Juan Pachin Vicens Auditorium in Ponce

- Arda Ocal of The Baltimore Sun reached out to Steve Austin, Chris Jericho and others regarding the controversial CM Punk/Paul Heyman segment on this week’s WWE Raw. Below is an excerpt featuring comments from Austin and Jericho:

Steve Austin – “I believe in pushing the envelope in an aggressive fashion. But when a guy damn near dies at ringside, let it go. You look at all the contributions Jerry Lawler has made in this business: from a work standpoint, a promo standpoint and then as a broadcaster. I think that’s pushing the envelope in the wrong direction. There’s better ways to go get real heat than that.”

Chris Jericho – “I think it was pretty obvious, don’t you? I kind of expected it. Punk’s promo was awesome. It’s wrestling so you knew it would end up as an angle sooner or later. I got the same complaints when I did the alcoholic angle (earlier this year with CM Punk). It would be like being mad at “Breaking Bad” because the dad was a drug addict or something. It’s just a TV show, after all.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The official NXT Wrestling website has added several new names to their talent roster. They are as follows:

  • Adrian Neville (Ben Satterly, f/k/a PAC)
  • Axl Keegan (Max Pelham; f/k/a Max Bauer)
  • Gavin Reid (f/k/a Steve Starr, from Wales)
  • Scott Dawson (David Charwood, f/k/a KC McKnight)
  • Sasha Banks (Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado, f/k/a Mercedes KV)
Click here to view the roster in its entirety.

- The official WWE website has an update on Cody Rhodes‘ condition following a botched back body drop on this week’s WWE Main Event. According to WWE’s ringside physician, Dr. Michael Sampson, Rhodes sustained strained muscles and a concussion. More tests will be done and more details on the severity will be available tomorrow. Click here to view the video.

- According to the USA Network schedule, the WWE-themed episode of “The Soup” that will proceed the November 26th episode of Raw will be titled “The Soup Meets WWE – Piledriving Clips in Your Face.” It’s scheduled for a 30-minute timeslot and will feature Hornswoggle and other WWE stars and Divas.

- The creative quandary continues backstage in WWE as we head into Survivor Series on Sunday. We’re told there is a “lot of turmoil” internally over the main event finish on Sunday, what to do at WWE TLC and ultimately whether or not CM Punk heads into Royal Rumble against The Rock with his consecutive days as WWE Champion in tact.

Coming out of this week’s TVs, the plan was to rematch the triple threat of Punk, John Cena and Ryback at TLC next month. As we’ve previously noted, this was set to be next month’s main event but was pushed forward due to concerns over the reaction to the original Survivor Series main event. Vince McMahon is leaning towards Punk retaining at Survivor Series although he would then have to retain at TLC and things get tricky in regards to protecting Ryback, yet having him fail to win the title three months in a row.

There are those in creative pushing for Ryback to win the title on Sunday by pinning Punk and then have Punk win it back at TLC by pinning Cena. With The Rock having been planned for a very long time to end Punk’s reign at the Royal Rumble, it’s been a hard sell to convince Vince to end Punk’s reign early and then have him regain at TLC, but they’re really backed into a corner here by doing the TLC main event at Survivor Series.

A couple of people feel like Vince is worried how Rock would react if Punk lost before Royal Rumble. While he is cool with going under to Cena at Wrestlemania, he has been under he impression he would be the one to stop Punk’s extended reign as WWE Champion.

- Cody Rhodes is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday to evaluate his condition following a concussion suffered at Tuesday’s WWE Main Event taping.

- The Survivor Series announce team is scheduled to be Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John “Bradshaw” Layfield.

- WWE will hold another set of NXT tapings Thursday night from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. World Heavyweight Champion Big Show is the scheduled guest with Jim Ross being there for main event commentary. Click here for more.

- WWE developmental worker Louis Fontaine requested his release and has left the company. He is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery shortly.

- For those interested in the sales data of WWE ’13, view this chart on VGChartz.com.

- The Motley Fool is encouraging investors to stay away from WWE’s stock. You can see their reasoning at this link.

- The WWE-themed episode of “The Soup,” subtitled “The Soup Meets WWE: Piledriving Clips in Your Face,” will first air next Wednesday night on E! at 10/9CT. The show will then repeat following the November 26th episode of Raw on the USA Network. Here’s a description of the show from dot com:

“The Soup Meets WWE: Piledriving Clips in Your Face” will feature plenty of exciting clips from the WWE archive and features Superstars and Divas inclduing The Miz, Rey Mysterio, WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan, Divas Champion Eve, Michael Cole, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle. (During their visit to E! in Los Angeles, the Superstars and Divas crashed the backstage hallways, control rooms and sets of E!’s popular shows, such as “Fashion Police” with Joan and Melissa Rivers!)

Click here for coverage on WWE.com.

- According to Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes is “recovering quite nicely” and the appropriate actions will be taken in regards to him working Survivor Series on Sunday. Rhodes was scheduled for an MRI Thursday after suffering a shoulder injury and concussion at Tuesday’s WWE Main Event taping. He was unable to work Smackdown as a result of the injury.

- We reported earlier this week that the Survivor Series YouTube pre-show would Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal. Since then, WWE has changed the match. The match will now feature Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd vs. Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal. The pre-show will be prior to the actual Survivor Series pay-per-view. The pre-show will be streamed live here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com at 7:30 PM EST.

- Heath Slater and Santino Marella Tweeted about the Survivor Sseries pre-show match being changed. Slater commented on the change of opponent while Santino worked with comedy. Below are the Tweets:

- Karlee Perez (f/k/a Maxine) announced on Twitter she is the new spokesmodel for Artix Entertainment. Artix is an independent video game developer and publisher and are based out of Land O’Lakes, Florida.

- Maryse launched her “House of Maryse” jewelry line this week in California. You can check out her new project at this link.

- Dot com has a new Q&A online with Lita talking about the Divas in the Attitude Era. The article’s focus is to promote WWE ’13. You can read it at this link.

- Chad Baxter (real name Derek Foore) has been released from WWE’s developmental system. Baxter was known for his amateur wrestling career as he won a national championship with Notre Dame in 2010. He wrote the following on Twitter regarding his release: Setbacks pave the way for comebacks!

- The Miz is doing media on Friday in Indianapolis to promote Survivor Series locally.

- Titus O’Neil visited schools in Florida on Thursday as part of the “Great American Teach In.”

- Mick Foley was on WGN 9 News out of Chicago Friday morning to promote his new children’s book “A Most Mizerable Christmas.” In the appearance, Foley used the Chicago platform to take issue with some recent comments made by Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher about concussion.

“He [Urlacher] needs a little sensitivity training,” Foley said in the opening of the appearance.

The host deflects from Urlacher and tells Foley after preparing for the interview by watching clips, he wants to know how he is still alive. Foley joked about not only still being alive but still writing children’s books. He said he made the decision along with his doctors to get out [of wrestling] because he had pushed the bar a little bit.

Foley went back to his criticism of the Chicago Bears captain, “I’m not here to talk about concussions but, you know, when I watch something like that from a really impressionable [influential] guy like Urlacher I’m like oh, man… This really isn’t what we need to hear.”

Foley says he’s donating his brain to the National Center for Traumatic Encephalopathy. He says it’s serious business when you get your brain jarred as part of your job.

“I’d like to see guys in position of influence know a little more about the subject before they say something like that.” Mick concluded.

- Kofi Kingston was on Smacktalk Radio Live on Thursday and was asked about Randy Orton yelling at him during a triple-threat match also involving John Cena back in 2010.

“Everyone knows Randy kinda has an attitude, so that’s Randy being Randy.” Kofi told the hosts.

“What everyone doesn’t remember is that we were in a heated rivalry so a lot of what you saw was him being his character and him kinda playing to that. I thought it was real funny when I started reading these things like ‘Randy Orton doesn’t like Kofi’, which I think is fine because it added to what we were doing at the time, it made people more interested in what we were doing… it is what it is…”

Kofi also said in the appearance that his former tag team partner Evan Bourne is doing great but said he didn’t know an exact timetable for his return.

- Edge was asked about women’s wrestling in WWE on Twitter and here’s what he said: “I don’t think they get a shot, and that’s why most leave. No incentive.” Edge’s real life girlfriend, Beth Phoenix, left the company last month.

- Bay News 9 in Florida has a new Q&A online with Steve Austin. He continues to not rule out a potential in-ring return. You can read it at this link.

- Confirmed for next week’s WWE-themed episode of “The Soup” on E! is Hornswoggle, The Miz and Eve Torres. As previously reported, the special will air first on E! on Wednesday at 10/9CT.

TNA News

- TNA Wrestling issued the following press release on Sunday:

TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp begins on Challenge TV on New Year’s Day. The first episode will be at 10pm on Tuesday January 1, followed by the second episode immediately afterwards. The show will then continue at 10pm every Tuesday throughout January

ChallengeTV announces TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp a new series which marks the channel’s first full commission with TNA Productions. The thrilling six-part entertainment series follows four aspiring professional British wrestlers, who are trying to make it big in the ultra-competitive world of American impact wrestling.

TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp will go behind-the-scenes of TNA Wrestling’s search for a UK superstar. Exclusive to Challenge TV, the series documents the story of four aspiring home-grown wrestlers as they pursue a professional wrestling contract with TNA Wrestling.

Challenge viewers will experience the triumphs and tribulations of Manchester-based female tag-team wrestling twins Hannah and Holly Blossom, along with two male wrestlers Marty Scurll and Rockstar Spud from Cambridge and Birmingham, as they embark on their ambition to join TNA’s wrestling roster. Cameras follow them as they travel from their homes in the UK to the USA and get trained and mentored by famous names from the world of UK and US wrestling.

At the end of the series the successful candidate(s) will get signed to a contract by TNA and have the chance to appear in front of a home crowd on the TNA World Tour which travels to London’s Wembley Arena in January 2013.

“TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp really is compulsive viewing,” adds Dominic Wilkins, Acting Director of Challenge TV. “TNA Wrestling has a huge fanbase in the UK and it’s great to be able to commission exclusive original content which cements Challenge TV as the UK home for TNA Wrestling. This series will provide unmissable entertainment content which resonates with our viewers.”

John Jelley, Sky Commissioning Executive for factual and features said: “We are confident that this show’s focus on four of Britain’s most promising wrestlers will inspire Challenge’s passionate TNA fans, and draw in a new audience to professional wrestling, as we track their daunting journey from the UK, through TNA boot camp to the high pressure finale in Florida.”

TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp marks Sky’s first non-game show commission for Challenge TV since it re-launched on Freeview last year. It aims to compliment the burgeoning success of the TNA Impact series which is one of the top performing series on the channel and aims to enhance the channels late night male-skewed audience. The series supports Sky’s commitment to increase its investment in home grown content to £600m by 2014, and will let viewers see first-hand what it really takes to become one of the superstars of TNA Impact Wrestling.

For further information visit: www.challenge.co.uk

BOOT CAMP PROFILES

ROLLERBALL ROCCO

The word ‘legend’ is overused these days, but Mark “Rollerball” Rocco is one man who truly is a legend of the wrestling business. The son of British star “Jumping” Jim Hussey, Rocco trained in secret away from his father but grew to become one of the greatest British wrestlers of all time.

Rocco held numerous titles while based in Great Britain, including the World Heavy-Middleweight Championship, but also became a star in Japan, under the mask of the original Black Tiger. Rocco’s clashes with the original Tiger Mask in Japan, and Dynamite Kid in both the UK and Japan, were a generation ahead of their time. Rocco pioneered a fast-paced daredevil style of wrestling, and if it was not for the likes of him, there may not be an X Division today.

Rocco also toured the United States, wrestling in the world famous Madison Square Garden. Among his opponents in the States was a young rookie called Terry Bollea, who later became Hulk Hogan. In the late 1980s, Rocco mentored a young Japanese wrestler called Keiichi Yamada, both in Japan and the UK. Yamada, like his mentor, later donned a mask and became a worldwide superstar as Jushin “Thunder” Liger.

Rocco was forced to suddenly retire in 1991 on doctor’s orders but has never lost his interest and passion for this sport, a passion which can still be seen to this day as he helps to develop a new generation of global stars.

ROCKSTAR SPUD

BORN IN: Birmingham, England
BIRTHDAY: January 30th
AGE: 29

The British love an underdog in any kind of sporting competition. You only have to watch the tennis at Wimbledon each summer to witness this. And British wrestling fans loved the biggest underdog of them all, Spud…..until a couple of years ago.

When he made his professional wrestling debut in 2002, a young, fresh-faced Spud was billed as the smallest wrestler in the UK, taking on all comers, including, believe it or not, TNA’s monster, Abyss! Influenced by people such as Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Rollerball Rocco and the late Brian Pillman, his never-say-die attitude won over the fans.

Success soon followed, with Spud capturing lighter weight titles around the country, but this success sadly went to his head. Out went good old Spud, and in came Rockstar Spud. Donning sunglasses, leopard print accessories and basking in his own self-importance, Rockstar Spud does NOT stop talking!

Spud has also found fame on national television, appearing on BBC TV’s ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ show. This led to a bitter war of words on Twitter with Marty Scurll which has escalated into a violent feud spanning the entire UK, and now perhaps even further!

MARTY SCURLL

BORN IN: Cambridge, England
BIRTHDAY: July 26th
AGE: 24

Marty Scurll is a young man who’s been turning heads in more ways than one all across the UK. Establishing himself initially as half of one of Britain’s premier tag teams, Scurll’s high-impact, spectacular style easily translated into one-on-one competition. He found further fame on a national basis by appearing on a prime-time Saturday night TV show, “Take Me Out”, making him something of a celebrity in and out of the ring.

He was trained by former British star Tony Scarlo, and debuted in 2005. Scurll cites his influences as World of Sport era British greats like Jim Breaks and Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco, as well as modern British TNA star Magnus, and international legends like Eddie Guerrero and Yoshihiro Tajiri.

Scurll has wrestled international opposition on several occasions, including TNA stars Robbie E, Douglas Williams and Magnus, as well as Generation Me and Japanese stars CIMA and Akira Tozawa. He has wrestled in the UK, the USA and six countries in continental Europe, including Germany, Italy and Spain.

Coming from the famous university city of Cambridge, it’s almost inevitable that Scurll would have an academic string to his bow too. He’s currently studying for a marketing and advertising degree at the University of Chichester.

Scurll is a crowd-pleaser who respects the rules and traditions of this great sport. His career ambitions are to become a huge star in the USA, to become world champion, have his own action figure and be featured in a video game!

THE BLOSSOM TWINS

BORN IN: Stockport, Greater Manchester, England
BIRTHDAY: February 18th
AGE: 24

Twice as nice, or double the trouble? That’s the question that everyone in Impact Wrestling will be asking themselves when they see Hannah and Holly, The Blossom Twins.

Making their professional wrestling debuts together in 2005, the identical twins hail from Stockport and are, naturally, tag team specialists.  They have an understanding of one another that beats any other tag team in the world hands down.

Hannah and Holly are no strangers to wrestling in the United States at all. The twins have made several trips Stateside since 2009, where, among others, they have faced TNA Knockout Mickie James, and Hannah has held the Ohio Valley Wrestling Women’s Championship, proving that the girls are just as effective in singles competition.

With a background in gymnastics and trampolining, a love of travel, and growing up as huge fans of Jeff Hardy, it was almost inevitable that the twins would eventually find their way into the wrestling business. Away from the ring, both girls have a BTEC National Diploma in Early Years Childcare. They both love to bake, something they credit their Italian grandparents for, with cupcakes being a Blossom Twins speciality. And just like their baking, these girls are hot, fresh and a little bit naughty!

- TNA Wrestling issued the following press release for their December pay-per-view Final Resolution:

On Sunday, December 9, TNA Wrestling and Direct Auto Insurance present “Final Resolution” live on Pay-Per-View and online around the world at TNAOnDemand.com!

“Final Resolution” will take place from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida!

TNA PPV events are available on InDemand, DirecTV, Dish Network, TVN, Viewer’s Choice and many more Check your programming guide for times!

The epic event will feature all of your favorite IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars including Jeff Hardy, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, Rob Van Dam, James Storm, Samoa Joe and many more!

Watch IMPACT WRESTLING every Thursday at 8/7c on SpikeTV for news and announcement on “Final Resolution”.

- Universal Studios has updated their Impact Wrestling taping schedule through January. Below is a list of live episodes of Impact:

  • Thursday, November 29, 2012
  • Thursday, December 6, 2012
  • Thursday, January 3, 2013
  • Thursday, January 10, 2013
  • Thursday, January 17, 2013

Additionally, the following live TNA pay-per-views will take place from Universal Studios:

  • TNA Final Resolution on Sunday, December 9, 2012
  • TNA Genesis on Sunday, January 13, 2013

Finally, TNA will tape Impact on the following dates:

  • Monday, November 12, 2012
  • Tuesday, November 13, 2012
  • Monday, December 10, 2012
  • Tuesday, December 11, 2012
  • Friday, January 18, 2013

- Dixie Carter wrote on Twitter that Mickie James will return on this week’s Impact Wrestling as a participant in the Knockout battle royal to determine the new number one contender.  The match will be taped Monday night, we’ll have full results at the conclusion of the taping.

- Jeff Hardy is getting close to signing a new contract with TNA Wrestling. As noted earlier, his contract is up at the end of January/beginning of February 2013.

- Bobby Roode beat James Storm for the number one contendership to the TNA Championship in a match taped for this week’s Impact Wrestling. Roode will challenge Jeff Hardy for the title at TNA Final Resolution next month. TNA Final Resolution will take place Sunday, December 9, 2012 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- VIP Ink Publishing announced on Tuesday that AJ Styles has signed a deal for an autobiography. The book is set to cover his life from both “in and outside the ring,” including being brought up in a military family that struggled with poverty and alcoholism. Styles’ Christian faith will also be highlighted. Click here for more information.

- A federal judge denied Hulk Hogan’s motion to force Gawker Media to remove the excerpts from the infamous sex tape featuring Hogan and Heather Clem. U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore indicated that freedom of press was an important consideration in his ruling. Below is an excerpt from Tampa Bay Online:

“Plaintiff’s public persona,” the judge wrote, “including the publicity he and his family derived from a television reality show detailing their personal life, his own book describing an affair he had during his marriage, prior reports by other parties of the existence and content of the Video, and Plaintiff s own public discussion of issues relating to his marriage, sex life, and the Video all demonstrate that the Video is a subject of general interest and concern to the community.”

Click here for more coverage by TBO.com.

The Sun out of the United Kingdom has a new Q&A online with Kurt Angle. Below are the highlights:

Ending his Olympic comeback attempt:

“I think I had five injuries in 11 months. It was just heartbreaking. But it’s OK. I’m doing what I love to do right now and I have no bad feelings about it. Everything worked out.”

Why he didn’t wrestle in the UK:

“They are amazing crowds. I love going over there. Last year, because of my Olympic training, they didn’t have me wrestle. They had me written off the shows because they didn’t want me to get hurt while I was training.

TNA dropping the ball:

“I think that TNA as a whole might have dropped the ball a little bit with Doug Williams and Magnus, when you look at the talent they have. I hope they don’t do the same with these guys.

“They are starting to use Magnus and I believe they have big plans for him.

“But the reason I thought they might have dropped the ball is because he was so young when he started. They might have thought ‘he’s just a baby, we can wait’ but four years later he’s still only 25.

“I think Magnus is ready to explode.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- A lot of people have been either laughing or crying about Scott Steiner’s latest legal maneuver against TNA Wrestling. For those that missed it, Steiner has filed a second lawsuit against the company, claiming he was injured by Jeff Hardy while he was supposedly under the influence of alcohol and possibly drugs. The suit alleges TNA allowed Hardy to compete when they knew he was in this condition.

I’m told back during the days of the Main Event Mafia, it was very common for guys like Steiner, Booker T and Kevin Nash to joke about legal routes they would pursue if they ever ended up at odds with TNA. Two of the main things that would always come up is the farcical nature of royalty accounting and the liability of them building the company around a guy like Jeff Hardy who they would often send to the ring even though they knew he was “completely high” and out of his mind.

Sure enough, when Steiner found himself at odds with TNA when they sued him for disparaging Twitter remarks, he fired back with a lawsuit over royalties and the aforementioned suit centered around the working condition of Hardy.

I’m told guys that have been in TNA for a long time and are unhappy got a chuckle out of Steiner’s latest legal strategy. Others in the office are sweating because this could become a nightmare. MOre than a few people are wondering what the point was in suing Steiner for his Twitter rants when many of them knew this is exactly how Steiner would react. One observer believes if Hogan and Bischoff had thicker skin, TNA wouldn’t be in this mess.

- This week’s Impact Wrestling did a 1.07 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 1,350,000 viewers on Spike TV.

Ask WNW

With recent pictures of The Rock hitting the web showing him with increased muscle mass for his new body building movie, is it possible he is using steroids? And if so, is there an exception in WWE for him since he is just a part timer? His increase in mass just doesn’t seem natural.

I don’t want to speculate who is on the gas and who isn’t on the gas, we can all look at someone’s body and make an educated guess but I don’t feel comfortable going on record with a harsh accusation. As for Wellness testing and part-time talent, does anyone believe that WWE is going to pull The Rock, Brock Lesnar or John Cena from Wrestlemania? Take a look at the WWE Suspensions page and tell me of a situation where major plans (aside from Jeff Hardy, which is an entirely different situation) were blown up because of a Wellness failure. I hate to be a pessimist but the WWE Wellness Policy is nothing more than a public relations initiative and while the locker room has cleaned up considerably, the testing/failures in WWE appear to be very calculated.

Plain and simple: where’s Petey Williams?

Petey Williams has bounced around the independent circuit since his TNA release in 2009. He had a stint with Lucha Libre USA and has worked random independent dates. The last match on record I have for Williams is a successful CLASH Heavyweight Championship defense against Blue Ranger on October 20, 2012. You can read results at this link.

Will John Cena’s backstage blowout with Vince McMahon spark major changes to the product?

Aside from the “affair” angle with AJ Lee, I don’t see many repercussions from the backstage spat between John Cena and Vince McMahon. The argument was over time off and when Cena would come back. It turned out Cena wasn’t able to work Hell in a Cell but he’ll be back in the main event at Survivor Series on Sunday. John is still “the guy” although this was one of the more public blowouts I can remember.

With Edge having successful neck surgery, is there a chance we may see him in a WWE ring again?

While Edge has been known to say one thing and do another, it’s pretty safe to say his days in the ring are over. Edge’s neck is a mess and one bad bump could severely injure him and destroy his quality of life.

What’s your take on the CM Punk/Paul Heyman segment where they mocked Jerry Lawler and his heart attack on this week’s WWE Raw?

This was the most asked question of the day so I want to make sure and address it as thoroughly as possible. My first surprise of the evening was the fact they were filming when Jerry Lawler got the paddles backstage and was shocked back to life. The fact someone decided to get that on tape leaves me with some questions. While JBL likened it to an NFL game, I’m not sure I agree. Sure there were cameras around the event but what’s the purpose in filming something like that? Even if it was filmed for say, legal purposes, is it really necessary to re-air it?

I spoke with a lot of very upset people that night and the fact someone had the audacity to film Lawler as he laid there dead, pretty much tells you all you need to know. Nothing is off limits in Vince McMahon’s world but showing that particular footage left a bad taste in my mouth.

The video package was meant to get people as emotionally connected as possible to turn it into an angle that would result in enormous cheap heat on CM Punk. I’ll admit I got “chill bumps” when Jim Ross announced Jerry Lawler and his music hit for his emotional return. I even Tweeted about how good it was to see The King walk down the ramp to a tremendous ovation.

I stepped away from the TV for a moment and returned to see Punk on top of Paul Heyman, “performing” CPR on him. I immediately knew this was something that would be very controversial and something they never would have done while Linda McMahon was running for public office. Yes, this was the first angle where they decided to “push the envelope” for the first time in several years.

As for my reaction I wasn’t offended by any of it. Perhaps it’s because I know when it comes to Vince nothing is off limits but offensive wouldn’t be the right word for this. I didn’t like the footage being shown of Lawler getting shocked just because there’s nothing entertaining about watching another human being struggle to hang on to their life. That was a very real moment that had a lot of people extremely shaken up. Moments like that shouldn’t be used for fictitious wrestling angles and I thank God he didn’t die that night.

The stuff with Punk/Heyman was a way to generate enormous cheap heat and I honestly didn’t have a problem with it. Distasteful? Perhaps. Unnecessary? Probably. However, I wasn’t outraged to the point where I turned it off. It was more of “Vince being Vince” and him being able to peel back that sick layer in his head he hasn’t been able to use since Linda has been running for public office.

The angle worked well in that it generated a massive response and is all anyone is talking about. A lot of the people complaining it was sick, disgusting, shameful, embarrassing, etc. are the same people that say PG needs to go and it’s time to return to the Attitude Era. News flash folks, the Attitude Era was full of moments, much worse, than what CM Punk and Paul Heyman did on this week’s WWE Raw. The Attitude Era was all about pushing the envelope as far as they could and at times was embarrassing to watch. But to say you want this type of programming to return then are “outraged” when it does, is clearly to talk out of both sides of your mouth.

All and all, this week’s Raw was one of the better episodes in several weeks. The fact something happened that has my Ask WNW mailbox flooded is good news as the audience has been dwindling going into Survivor Series on Sunday. The footage of Lawler being shocked back to life and receiving medical attention was uncalled for but as for the Punk/Heyman stuff, they were just generating heat. Had Lawler have actually died, it would have been an entirely different story.

Are you as disgusted by the John Cena/AJ Lee affair storyline as I am? It seems like there is no point to the angle other than for Vince McMahon to bully John Cena.

No, I’m not disgusted with the angle and feel it’s better than a lot of the stuff they’ve done with the John Cena character over the years. Is Vince McMahon taking a legitimate shot at Cena? That’s what we heard and reported here on Richard’s Backstage Blog but it’s all for the sake of an entertaining program. Let’s just put it in prospective. A good old fashion “affair” angle or a hideous over-the-top corny PG promo leading to yet another successful Cena main event match? I’m taking the former.

I think The Miz’s face turn is a major step in him becoming a MAJOR star. Do you think this is good for his character and can elevate him to Rock, Cena, Punk, or Orton status?

I’m a fan of The Miz’s work and feel he’s worked very hard to climb the ladder while improving his in-ring work and mic at the same time. However, I do not see The Miz on the same level as the names you mentioned. That’s not to say I don’t see him as a main event talent either because I can buy him as a viable WWE title contender or even champion. But the names you mentioned are guys capable of being the “face of the company” and I just don’t see Miz being able to accomplish such a feat. As for a babyface turn, Miz is talented enough to work as either a heel or a babyface and we’ll just see how it goes. I can tell you Triple H is not a fan of turning Miz babyface but you can read more about that at this link.

It seems The Rock has a habit of giving away WWE story lines. Just before he was announced as Wrestlemania 27 guest host, he sent a tweet confirming the same. Now he keeps sending tweets to CM Punk and even posted a picture of himself in a CM Punk t-shirt. How does WWE feel about this?

Just for the record, we actually spoiled The Rock’s involvement at Wrestlemania 27 days before it was officially announced so Vince can hate us for that one. As for him leaking information related to storylines, Rock hasn’t done anything that’s going to hurt his standing in the company. In fact, the company probably appreciates it when Rock promotes their material to his 3.6 million Twitter followers. It’s not exactly been a secret WWE intends on doing Punk vs. Rock at Royal Rumble but that’s always subject to change.

In the past you have said how WWE will pay for their talent’s medical procedures and then expect to be paid back. My question is does WWE pay for former talent’s procedures (i.e. Edge’s recent neck surgery)?

Edge’s surgery was performed by WWE’s medical director Dr. Joseph Maroon so they certainly had involvement in the procedure. I don’t know who footed the bill but many people in Edge’s position can afford health insurance and the insurance company will pay at least part of the cost. Situations where WWE loans money for surgeries are usually for people that do not have insurance and need a lot of cash to pay for very expensive care. As noted, WWE expects repayment in these situations. I will put WWE over for helping former talent, especially when it comes to paying for rehab with no strings attached but I’m still upset over the fact workers are not given the option of healthcare.

What is the competition like in terms of WWE workers trying to outdo one another with their in-ring work?

The competition is very stiff in WWE as everyone wants to “steal the show” and put on the “match of the night.” While outcomes are predetermined, how a worker gets over determines how they are booked which in turn determines how much they earn. No matter where a worker is booked on the card they are trying to show they are capable of more. I can assure you no one wants to go out and get no reaction from the crowd.

Do you see Kevin Steen ever jumping ship from ROH to WWE?

The wall has been demolished in terms of workers coming from ROH and having success in WWE. One thing Triple H has been very focused on is stockpiling the developmental system, knowing the future of the company is in his hands. With that being said, we’ve seen WWE go out and grab the top workers from ROH and other prominent independent companies. In fact, I heard earlier this week there has been interest in El Generico. So while some may be critical of Steen’s look, he’s clearly a top talent and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was interest in signing him.

Is it true WWE is preparing a big offer for Sting?

WWE has shown interest in Sting in the past, remember the serious talks they had a couple years ago about a possible Wrestlemania match against The Undertaker? The Stinger has even said publicly that he was as close as he’s ever been to signing with the company. Fast-forward to today and a lot has changed. First of all, TNA has an ongoing lawsuit against WWE that has prevented WWE from not only signing TNA workers with expiring contracts but anyone that worked for TNA while Brian Wittenstein was employed there. I don’t see the situation with Sting being much different until the lawsuit is resolved. Sting’s TNA contract is up at the end of the year as he works year-to-year to keep his options open at this point in his career. We’ll wait and see but Sting is not in as good of a position as he would have been in years past with WWE already shelling out big bucks for Brock Lesnar and The Rock. Let’s also not forget WWE’s desire for Steve Austin and his desire to get paid big.

In late 2002-mid 2003, Triple H had one of the longest world title runs in history. Some have attributed the run to his heavy backstage influence and he was accused of “burying” and derailing the pushes of many wrestlers such as RVD, Kane and Booker T. Is there any truth to those claims or are these simply online rumors?

Even before he became romantically involved with Stephanie McMahon, Triple H has been a master of climbing the political ladder and getting in the ear of Vince McMahon. He has been able to manipulate the system as good as anyone and has gained so much of McMahon’s favor it will be him, not Shane, that will ultimately succeed Vince. Hunter’s lengthy title reign was due to several reasons but the fact of the matter is he was “the guy” at that point in his career. John Cena is currently in the position where Triple H was a decade ago but Hunter’s backstage influence and overall abilities got him in front of everyone else.

Is it a frequent occurrence for performers to work injured?

There is a difference between working hurt and working injured because almost everyone in both WWE and TNA is working through some kind of pain. However, it’s more common than not for workers to “tough it out” and continue to perform despite being injured. Antonio Cesaro has recently been working through a broken bone in his hand while John Cena needed his elbow cleaned out for months before finally taking some time off to have the surgery done. It’s a tough business but the reason why workers continue to work despite being injured is because they don’t want to lose their spot. In Cena’s case, he’s a self-proclaimed workaholic and Vince McMahon wants him out there as much as possible because he’s seen as the face of the company. Whenever WWE is struggling in a particular area Cena is highlighted more to compensate for it. Low show attendance? Book Cena. Low ratings? Book Cena. Need pay-per-view buys? Book Cena. Do you get the idea?

Is it possible the stuff between Hulk Hogan and Scott Steiner is an elaborate work to fool the IWC?

When Scott Steiner first started his Twitter rant against Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff I felt like it was a work. It turns out Steiner was serious, so serious litigation has been filed on both sides. I’ve been working on a story that should be online soon regarding Steiner’s legal maneuvers in response to the suit TNA filed against him.

I have always been interested in the role that referees play during matches. Because outcomes are predetermined, I know they’re not there to actually referee the matches. What is their role?

The referees in WWE and TNA play a very important role in matches. Given the fact the referees wear earpieces, they serve as a direct line of communication from the back into the ring. Their job is to help workers in the ring remember certain sequences, notify them of time as well as make sure things go down as planned. The best referees are invisible to the audience, never getting in the way and hardly being noticed (unless of course they are used in an angle like Brad Maddox). There is a reason why there are senior officials (such as Mike Chioda, Charles Robinson and Earl Hebner) as they are the best at what they do. Proper organization of a match is crucial for it to get over as planned and the referees play a big part in making sure things are executed properly.

Do you see Ric Flair coming in as a GM or manager to Dolph Ziggler to finally help him get over and “cash in” his Money in the Bank briefcase?

I can confirm ideas have been pitched to use Ric Flair to help Dolph Ziggler, however, Flair returning to WWE has been stopped due to TNA’s ongoing litigation against them. There has been talk of WWE back paying a deal to get around legal matters but I’m not sure it’s a headache WWE is willing to deal with. It seems like every pay-per-view there is talk of Ziggler “cashing in” but it’s almost like he’s become the wildcard where they are waiting for the time to be right. My personal hope is it is well worth the wait and it doesn’t come down to creative hot-shotting an angle that will damage Ziggler’s future.

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