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, October 29, 2011 to Friday, November 4, 2011 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!
- WWE has posted a "job listing" for the Raw General Manager position. Notable requirements include being a former World Champion and a knowledge for "I Quit" matches. Let the Mick Foley speculation begin as he has re-signed with the company. Click here to view the posting.
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando reporting: After losing to Sin Cara Azul on Smackdown and so being forced to unmask, Sin Cara Negro is now listed as Hunico with his face for all to see. Also, it's worth noting that Hunico actually spelled with no H. In Spanish, Unico means "unique" or "one of a kind."
- Hornswoggle is ready to meet the Muppets on Monday night as he has added three more tattoos to his body. TMZ has the photos that you can view at this link.
- Unless there is some type of swerve (which honestly wouldn't surprise me), there are plans for Daniel Bryan to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXVIII next year in Miami, Florida. The match has been added to the official Wrestlemania subsite located at this link. Wrestlemania XXVIII will take place Sunday, April 1, 2012 from the Sun Life Center in Miami, Florida. We'll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- CM Punk took a shot at Chris Jericho at Ringside Fest 2011 over the weekend. Embedded in the video below is footage of the diss:
- I'm told Maryse requested her release from WWE in hopes of landing work outside of wrestling. The parting was amicable and there's a possibility she could end up returning to WWE at some point if her attempt to get more acting/modeling jobs doesn't work out. Maryse, like a lot of Divas, had gotten burned out from the traveling and the bumps. A source with knowledge of her situation tells me she feels like there are other ways to make money with her looks that would be more appealing.
- Former WWE star Jacues Rougeau has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Our best goes to Rougeau in his recovery.
- MLive.com has a new Q&A online with Paul Bearer at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Orlando sent word The Muppets did media for tonight's Raw Supershow in the Atlanta market. They were promoting their upcoming movie to be released on Thanksgiving. The dark match main event for tonight's show is Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship.
- Chris Masters stirred up some controversy with a Tweet posted from his official Twitter account yesterday. Masters wrote:
"So if I had to tell you one smackdown diva who gave freebird hayes an "Oral" agreement to keep her job, who'd you guess?"
In the Tweet, Masters was referring to head Smackdown creative team writer Michael Hayes. He has since removed the Tweet and wrote:
Just Hypothetically speaking People
- As I reported last week, Michelle McCool and The Undertaker were backstage at last week's Raw Supershows taping from Austin, Texas as the couple resides in the area. It's believed that company officials inquired with Michelle about her possibly returning to the company although no formal offer was extended. While there is no return plan in place for The Undertaker, many of the people I routinely speak with feel he will defend "the streak" next year at Wrestlemania XXVIII. McCool left WWE back in May to spend more time at home with her husband.
- The Rock accepted John Cena's invitation to pair together against The Miz & R-Truth at Survivor Series. Advance advertisements for the show had already promoted the face Rock and Cena were pairing together but WWE had said it would be in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series match.
- Brodus Clay, who the company has been building for months, will re-debut on next week's Raw Supershow.
- Shortly after The Rock agreed to team with John Cena at Survivor Series, The Miz & R-Truth had the following to say, courtesy of the official WWE YouTube channel:
- As the storyline goes, John Laurinaitis has "re-signed" Kevin Nash as part of the angle with Triple H. Nash was advertised for next week's Raw Supershow from Liverpool, England. In reality, Nash's contract status hasn't changed as he is still under a WWE Legend's contract and he is backstage at tonight's show in Atlanta, Georgia.
- WWE has revealed more details for another upcoming show on the forthcoming WWE Network. Below is an excerpt from the official WWE website:
Help us Build the WWE Network by Naming Our Fully-Interactive Live Studio Show!
In 2012, WWE Network's new daily live studio show will connect you to the Superstars like never before. Tune in to score breaking news, exclusive match analyses, topics of the day, interviews, highlights, and commentaries, then go online and on-air to voice your opinion live with our show hosts and daily guest stars, including WWE Superstars like John Cena, Randy Orton, Kelly Kelly, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, the Miz and more!
What would you name this new WWE Network show?
1. WWE Power Center
2. WWE Action Center
3. WWE Event Center
4. WWE Live Event Center
5. WWE InterAction Center
Is it just me or does this sound like WWE SportsCenter? You can vote on the name here.
- WWE officials are targeting venues and locations for the next two editions of Wrestlemania. While nothing has been made official as the company usually narrows down a list and then has mayors make a presentation for their city, I have learned of the favorite locations for the show. The favorite venue and location for Wrestlemania 29 is Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This is something that was teased off-camera by Triple H and Shawn Michaels when the company taped Smackdown in Dallas a couple weeks ago. It's interesting to note this could be the highest attended Wrestlemania ever as capacity with standing room for football is over 110,000 and with the ring, it could easily exceed that. The favorite venue and location for Wrestlemania 30 is the Rogers Centre (formerly the SkyDome) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This was the location of Wrestlemania X8 and the company is interested in returning to Canada. Wrestlemania X8 still holds the attendance record for the venue at 68,237. As of this writing, neither location has been confirmed.
- Chris Jericho responded to CM Punk's shot from the weekend with the following Tweet:
What's worse...Dancing With Celebrities or Playing With Muppets?
- Caller.com has an article online on WWE donating tickets to the Big Brothers Big Sisters South Texas program when the company held a Supershow house show on 10/22 in Corpus Christi. You can read it at this link.
- WWE announced today that Evan Bourne has been suspended for 30 days following his first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy.
- I've found out more information regarding WWE changing the Survivor Series main event. The show was originally scheduled to feature a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match with John Cena & The Rock anchoring the babyfaces with The Miz & R-Truth anchoring the heel team. The plan was changed when it was discovered Mick Foley had a scheduling conflict and would most likely be unavailable for the pay-per-view. I'm told by a source with direct knowledge of the situation that a lot thought was given as to who his replacement would be. The concern was that without a third major name to add to the team of The Rock and Cena, having five guys on each side might just end up "watering things down." Vince McMahon went directly to The Rock with the idea of simply doing Rock & Cena vs. Miz & Truth to see if he was comfortable with it. Remember it was The Rock's idea to compete at Survivor Series as he wanted a chance to get his feet wet in a match involving ten guys before Wrestlemania XXVIII next year. I'm told The Rock ended up being in agreement that without Foley, the Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match wouldn't have the same "oomph" as just going with the tag match. This ended up coming as a relief to the writing team as many of the writers felt there was a lot of pressure to stack talent in that match and with ten guys, they feared the undercard would end up very thin. Especially now that it looks like WWE is delaying Triple H vs. Kevin Nash to their Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view next month.
- Sheamus is scheduled to appear at the 2011 MTV European Music Awards on November 6th in Belfast as a presenter. Click here for more. (Thanks to WNW reader Patrick Peralta for sending this in.)
- The official pay-per-view promotional poster for next month's WWE: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view has been released. You can view it below:
- WWE is doing a wacky angle on their official website where Alicia Fox and Eve Torres tailed Beth Phoenix and Natalya leaving last night's Raw Supershow and stole their car when Beth stopped at a gas station for orange soda. You can get the full "story" with a video at the official WWE website at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Mathew Lisett sent in the following clip of an Entertainment Tonight segment showing Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson behind the scenes of the upcoming GI Joe 2: Retaliation movie:
- World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry will face The Big Show at Survivor Series. Survivor Series will take place on November 20th from Madison Square Garden in New York City. We'll have live coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Kelly Kelly is featured on the cover of the December 2011 issue of Maxim magazine.
- John Cena shares his reaction to The Rock "accepting" his offer to tag with him at Survivor Series with the official WWE website. You can watch video of his thoughts at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Patrick Peralta for sending this in.)
- Melina posted a Tweet over the weekend that she hoped to one day meet "Mr. Right" which obviously has people speculating she and John Morrison have broken up once again. I find this interesting because of this news. (Thanks to WNW reader Patrick Peralta for sending this in.)
- Sheamus appeared on the local FOX affiliate in the Greenville, South Carolina market yesterday to promote last night's Smackdown taping from the Bi-Lo Center. You can watch the appearance embedded below:
- Jim Ross wrote something on Twitter yesterday about reggae singer and rapper Shaggy performing the theme song for Wrestlemania XXVIII next year in Miami, Florida and possibly performing live. According to Wrestling News World reader Robert Roper, JR has since removed the Tweet. For more on Shaggy you can visit his official website at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Shannon Sylvia sent in the following:
After facing Cody Rhodes at this week's Smackdown taping in a street fight, TMZ caught up with Randy Orton while receiving staples in his head. They later posted the video on their site, which is embedded below:
- Embedded in the video below is video footage of Mick Foley returning to WWE at tonight's Raw house show from Dublin, Ireland:
For more on Foley's WWE return, click here.
- The Miami Herald posted a new article today featuring quotes from Rey Mysterio to promote tomorrow's Wrestlemania XXVIII pre-sale ticket event in Downtown Miami.
Mysterio expresses his desire to be ready to return from his knee injury to work the show in Miami next year. He also talks about his children and memories of working in the city.
You can read the full article at this link.
- WWE announced today their third quarter results for 2011. Below is an excerpt from their official press release:
STAMFORD, Conn., November 3, 2011 - WWE (NYSE:WWE) today announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2011. Revenues totaled $108.5 million as compared to $109.6 million in the prior year quarter. Operating income was $15.9 million as compared to $20.3 million in the prior year quarter. Net income was $10.6 million, or $0.14 per share, as compared to $14.3 million, or $0.19 per share, in the prior year quarter. Impacting comparability of our year-over-year results were $5.1 million of film impairment charges in the current year quarter. Excluding the impact of the film impairments in the current quarter, Adjusted Operating income was $21.0 million as compared to $20.3 million in the prior year quarter. Adjusted Net income was $14.1 million, or $0.19 per share, as compared to $14.3 million, or $0.19 per share.
"In the third quarter, our results reflected the Company's continued focus on improving business results in a difficult environment," stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Despite the challenging economic headwinds, both domestically and abroad, we generated increased profits across a majority of our businesses, with the main exception being our film business which we continue to monitor and refine to improve future performance. We believe the sluggish economy and our ongoing talent transition were important factors that affected the results of our other businesses. Based on our history of developing talent and creating content with broad appeal, we are confident we can address our creative challenges. Further, by taking advantage of our strategic opportunities, including the anticipated 2012 launch of a WWE network, we can achieve meaningful growth."
Click here for the full release.
Vince McMahon will host a conference call with investors later this morning. I'll be on the call and will post a full recap here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- The official buyrates for the following WWE pay-per-views were announced today in the company's 2011 third quarter earnings report:
* Money in the Bank - 195,000 buys (compared to 165,000 in 2010)
* SummerSlam - 296,000 buys (compared to 350,000 in 2010)
* Night of Champions - 161,000 buys (compared to 165,000 in 2010)
- WWE held a conference call with investors this morning to discuss their third quarter earnings of 2011. I was on the call as you can read a full recap below:
Michael Weitz opened the call and announced Vince McMahon and Chief Financial Officer George Barrios would be on today's call.
McMahon took over and discussed profits being up after comparability factored in. Rather than recapping the words of McMahon, it's best to read the results.
Vince said they have finally turned the corner with the WWE Network and are in a good position. He made it clear they have several ongoing discussions about partners for the network and are about to make a major announcement regarding the project. McMahon talked about the allocation of millions to the WWE Network for staffing and construction.
George Barrios ran down the results, including mentioning that ratings for WWE Raw were "flat." We went over page 6 of the results. He said the company's decision not to place WWE NXT and WWE Superstars is "strategic" in nature.
Barrios said in the next three months they are going to release their three most recent films by WWE Studios.
The launch of the WWE Network in 2012 will impact the quarter four earnings of 2011 because of start-up expenses. These expenses include an interactive website capable of hosting programming. Barrios reiterated the WWE Network will not change their current television deals domestically.
We went to the question and answer session.
WWE Network - Are you where you expected to be in terms of how close you are to actually launching the network?
Vince McMahon said "very much so" and almost at an "accelerated" rate.
Does similar failed networks give WWE pause in launching the WWE Network? Vince McMahon called the Oprah Network a miserable failure and said it doesn't take a genius to figure out the Oprah Network didn't capitalize on what Oprah does best. They tried to brand the Oprah name without having Oprah featured. They're going to do the opposite because McMahon said they understand what fans want. He believes this will make the WWE Network extraordinary successful.
After discussing decline in toy revenue, the caller wanted to know about the strategy of WWE Studios with the decline in straight-to-DVD projects. McMahon said the decline doesn't mean they "are not" backing away from future releases. While this is my opinion, it sounds like WWE plans on releasing their remaining WWE Studios projects then moving their focus more towards the WWE Network.
WWE is not scrapping their Media Center and will work in terms of what they have with the launch of the WWE Network.
Barrios said international live event attendance is "holding on" despite comparability being difficult because the company doesn't run in the same venues and cities in the same quarters each year.
A caller wanted to know with The Rock returning what that meant for the attendance of Survivor Series. McMahon replied by saying Survivor Series sold out in 90 minutes.
Vince McMahon said there is no partnership with the WWE Network.
There was an uptick in the creative with Money in the Bank but things backed down for SummerSlam. Will the reality-based creative continue in the company or is there another reason buys fell?
McMahon said they will continue developing talent as they always have and there is a buzz around the product.
The caller wants to know how long this will translate into buys and attendance. McMahon said he's always optimistic and is more optimistic now more than he has ever been.
Vince said there is more demand for their content than ever before.
A caller wants some sense of timing when WWE would provide a timetable for a potential partner for the WWE Network. The caller says they know WWE is spending money but there is not a specific timetable of a return. Barrios said they would be guessing if they set a date. Barrios said he'd say less than 6 months.
A caller wants to know how many hours and titles in the WWE tape library? What rights are tied to the library? George Barrios said they have 100,000 hours with 30,000 digitized. They're investing into turning the digitized material into programming. Barrios said it's the most underutilized and undervalued asset the company has.
A caller wants to know how many stars are currently in the WWE talent pool? Vince McMahon said it depends on what you call the "talent pool." Barrios said they have roughly 150 people under contract with 2/3's being developmental that people don't know about.
Out of the names that people don't know, what do you see in terms of the next Rock? McMahon sarcastically answered the question and said they were "very optimistic."
In context of the shows currently running, will the existing shows remain in place for the duration of their current contracts? Vince McMahon said they need to be there to help build the network.
Finally, a caller asks about the distribution agreement for Monday Night Raw. The distribution agreement is a 5-year agreement through October 2014.
- CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Zack Ryder recently appeared at Ringside Fest 2011 to meet with fans. They also took part in short individual interviews in which they discuss action figures and more. The interviews are embedded below:
- Wrestling News World reader Matthew Macklin sent in the following videos from last night's return of Mick Foley at the WWE Raw house show in Dublin, Ireland:
- WWE has unveiled plans for another show on the forthcoming WWE Network. The project will be an interactive countdown show, in which fans rank WWE's hottest topics. Below are the official details:
Greatest Superstar ever? Best catchphrase? Worst 80s hair? Help WWE Network name its new interactive countdown show, in which fans rank WWE's hottest topics. What would you call it?
* WWE Your Call
* WWE Countdown
* WWE Settle the Score
* WWE Hit List
You can vote at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent in the following:
WWE will be touring my country next June, holding four live events. Here are the dates and venues:
* 06/06: Palacio Vistalegre, Madrid
* 06/07: Palacio de deportes San Pablo, Seville
* 06/08: Pabellon Fuente de San Luis, Valencia
* 06/09: Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona
- The official WWE website has an article up on John Morrison's recent losing streak, mentioning that he hasn't won a match since August. Morrison cites coming back too soon from his neck injury as a major reason for the losing streak. Click here to view the article.
- Trish Stratus' official website is giving away a copy of the WWE '12 video game as well as a pair of Trish Stratus FitGloves and a Stratusphere Yoga DVD. To enter the contest, one must answer the question: "Who did Trish defeat at WrestleMania XIX?" Click here for more information.
- POLITICO has a new article online that states Linda McMahon is backing Mitt Romney for president. You can read their coverage at this link.
- Variety has a new article online expounding on the revenue of WWE Studios plummeting 51% in the third quarter of 2011. The publication quotes Vince McMahon from yesterday's investor conference call where he said the company was going to "monitor and refine to improve future performance" of the film business. As I reported yesterday, WWE plans to release three films already wrapped over the next six months. For more, click here for coverage by Variety.
- CTPost had a blurb on WWE's stock outperforming Thursday's market after reporting their third quarter earnings for 2011. Below is an excerpt:
Stamford-based WWE also reported earnings Thursday and saw shares up 3.4 percent to $10.66 on the New York Stock Exchange. The wrestling entertainment company said earnings fell to $10.6 million, or 14 cents per share in the third quarter, from $14.3 million, or 19 cents a share, over the same period last year. WWE's film business was a drag on earnings again, but revenue from live and televised events rose nearly $5 million to $78.1 million in the quarter.
Click here to read the full article.
TNA Impact Wrestling News
- Independent workers Brody Hoofer and Allison Wonderland were married over the weekend with TNA's Austin Aries serving as member of the wedding party. The couple's real names are Brody and Allison Hoffman respectively.
- "Cowboy" James Storm wrote on Twitter he suffered a concussion at last Wednesday's TNA Impact Wrestling taping in Macon, Georgia. The injury was discovered after he underwent a CT scan and an MRI. According to Storm, he's expected to be out 6-8 weeks.
- Finlay did a recent interview with The UK Sun where he discussed his desire to get back in the ring. He also revealed contact with TNA Impact Wrestling but says they couldn't agree to terms on a contract. Below are some quotes from Finlay:
"At one time or another they all got in touch and I listened but the offers weren't right.
"They weren't enough - it's not like it's my first day in the business. I've been doing this for 37 years now and one thing I know is that you can't sell yourself cheap. "
Finlay also discusses his WWE firing as you can read full coverage at this link.
- Bobby Roode is featured on the TNA Final Resolution promotional poster that you can view below:
- The New York Post has a new article online featuring quotes from Ronnie Ortiz-Magro from MTV's "Jersey Shore" as he will make his in-ring debut on this week's edition of Impact Wrestling. Below is an excerpt:
"It as really a great experience [working for TNA]. I grew up watching it and now I get to see it firsthand and experience it. You get too see that they really work hard,"
Ronnie also admitted while he enjoyed the experience, pro wrestling isn't for him and he wants to focus on acting. Click here to read the full article.
- The Midland Daily News has a new article online transcribing a phone interview they conducted with Rob Van Dam to promote TNA Impact Wrestling's house shows this week in Michigan. Below is an excerpt from RVD explaning the fans will not love him because he is from Michigan but because he's the best wrestler in the company:
"They're going to love me because I'm the best wrestler in the company anyway."
Click here to read the full transcript of the interview.
- Without question the most-talked about thing amongst fans and people within TNA Impact Wrestling has been the title picture involving Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode and James Storm. The "Internet marks" as Hogan and Bischoff like to call them, aren't the only people "scratching their heads" over what has been going on. I'm told with Bruce Pritchard taking over the book, Hogan and Bischoff have put even more focus on making sure they control the main event picture. One observer said they do not really care much beyond that (which has been their mentality all the way back to their days together in WCW). There was a "very solid" plan going into Bound For Glory last month for Roode to go over Kurt Angle for the TNA Championship with Storm ending up getting jealous and turning on him to setup a title program between the tag team. However, the weekend of the show, Hogan and Bischoff felt the plan was all wrong and that Storm needed to be the babyface. This caused Pritchard to re-book a lot of stuff on very short notice. I'm told Hogan and Bischoff have also made it very clear they still see Jeff Hardy as the babyface that should be "carrying the company" and the title should ultimately end up on him. Some feel like because the Roode push wasn't their idea and they'd rather Hardy as the top babyface, they decided to have Roode turn heel. At this point no one is in a position to argue with Hogan and Bischoff because they have more influence now than any other period during their tenure with the company. It's believed the increase of power has come from the fact Bob Carter has been ill over the last few months and Janice has had to assume more responsibility than ever before. While this could be coincidental, some people certainly feel there is a connection.
- Madison Rayne & Gail Kim defeated Brooke Tessmacher & Tara to become the new TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions on this week's edition of Impact Wrestling.
- Bobby Roode defeated James Storm to become the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion on this week's edition of Impact Wrestling.
- TNA posted a Q&A session with Dixie Carter on their official website from questions received from her Facebook & Twitter accounts. The answers seemed very honest so I chose to re-print them in their entirety. You can check out the Q&A with Carter below:
@TNADixie What made you decide to change the name to IMPACT WRESTLING?
The show has always been called Impact. But as we grew the TNA corporate brand beyond Impact, we felt it was important (and the time) to let Impact stand on it's own. It's still under the TNA banner, it's still the TNA World Heavyweight Title, but the show name is Impact Wrestling.
BenjaminK_UK Benjamin Kinsey
@TNADixie Where in the world would you like to broadcast a TNA Impact Wrestling / PPV from and why?
London or Manchester, England. There are many great places I would love to take an Impact taping, but those two cities have supported TNA in such an amazing way and one of those cities would have to host our first international broadcast. The crowds and their response when we bring the TNA shows there are truly electric.
@TNADixie do you have plans to have Impact be live every week? I think it would help your ratings and stop the spoilers on wrestling news sites
I would love Impact to be live each week, but it's a matter of economics. As far as wrestling news sites are concerned, if you want to be surprised then people should not read them. If people choose to, they certainly shouldn't judge anything based upon one persons opinion, good or bad. The few times I have seen a spoiler, they always tell a limited, one-dimensional side of a story, and usually a very biased one at that.
@TNADixie What is Bruce Prichard's role in regards to the creative direction of the product?
Bruce is Sr VP of Programming and Talent Relations. He oversees the creative of Impact and reports directly to me.
DannyVikashNand Danny Vikash Nand
@TNADixie Hello, are the younger talent allowed to do media work such as appearing on chat shows, movies etc so they become household names?
We work very hard to get as many of the younger talent doing media as possible. If I had to guess, Hulk Hogan has done thousands of interviews and of course, everyone in the media always wants to talk to him. It is a top priority to expose the younger talent in mainstream media and in outside film/tv projects. The more they do, the bigger their profile.
CRegal23 Chris Regal
@TNADixie How soon can we expect Impact to go on the road permanently and/or go live? Is it even being discussed as an option?
It is our top priority to take the show on the road on a permanent basis. Hopefully we will announce more live event Impact taping dates soon.
clemsonsteve R S Thomasson
@TNADixie think you can keep Sting around another year ?
I sure hope so. In the past, I have had to convince him to not hang up his boots for one more year. But this year, I think he is more motivated and excited than ever. He truly is an icon and has had a remarkable year. I am so proud of him.
NickyHaynes99 Nick Haynes
@TNADixie are you going to bring back the 6 sided ring to IMPACT WRESTLING?
I liked us using the 6-sided ring for our X Division Pay-Per-View, "Destination X", this year. We should do that every year, but at this time, there are no plans to bring it back as our permanent ring.
@TNADixie How do you deal with all the heat Dixie!? P.S.- You are my business role model.
I think you meant haters. If so, you grow tough skin and know you will never please everyone all the time. You work to please the most people as much of the time as you can.
H2HCrelly Chris Kelly
@TNADixie What are your thoughts on the rebranding and pushing of the X Division?
I am a huge X Division fan. In the beginning, we had great talent representing that division, but those top guys have moved on to other opportunities on the roster. Today, we have the best crop of new and upcoming X Division stars and we are going to give them time on the show each week.
Adam Barlow (via Facebook): How do you feel about a company that uses "Wrestling Matters" as a slogan and then has 7 minutes of wrestling on their program? (the 10/20/11 taping for example)
Very rarely does Impact have that little wrestling, but on occasion, there is a need for that. It was necessary for the 10/20 show to have the focus it did and to bring forward our wrestling stories, and I'm happy to say it was our most viewed Impact Wrestling episode to-date.
Michael Earl (via Facebook): How do you feel about the direction of the company?
I've never felt better about every aspect of the company. I think Impact Wrestling is better than it has ever been. So many of the younger talent have stepped up and are earning the spotlight. We are having tremendous international success, and are growing the corporation in many new areas, which are critical to our overall growth. I'm very excited about the upcoming year.
Click here for the original post.
What will happen on tonight's Michael Cole challenge involving Jim Ross?
As the storyline goes, if Jim Ross beats Michael Cole, he'll "quit." We've had a lot of people asking if I feel like this is the opportunity to get Raw back to the announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler and while that would be ideal, I don't see it going over that way. As much as I hate to say it (or write it in this case), I could see WWE doing a gimmicky swerve with the Muppets. I guess it's possible the Muppets cost Cole his job on Raw but I'm not counting on it.
I've always been a big fan of factions such as Evolution, DeGeneration X, the nWo, etc. Why has WWE not tried this again? I know they've done The Nexus but they didn't have top stars.
There are alliances that form with top stars they just don't get grouped together as promotable factions. WWE did an Evolution spin-off with The Legacy as Randy Orton led Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase much like Triple H and Ric Flair led Orton and Batista. As for a dominate faction that gets considerable television time, it has to be in the right situation. TNA Impact Wrestling has had their programming dominated by factions (Immortal and Fortune) and I haven't seen the big draw. Factions can be a good thing but they can also be overdone and get stale very quickly, alienating every worker that is not in them (as was the case with the nWo in WCW).
What are the steps to prepare a wrestling match that is to be performed in front of an audience? How much do workers practice a match, how much say do they have to what is to happen in the match and so on?
The process of working a match usually looks like this. Things begin with the WWE creative team who give it to the producers. The producers will give the match to the wrestlers and discuss what they are to accomplish (the general idea is discussed along with the finish). It is usually up to the workers to discuss the spots they want to work and is up to their own creativity. Major matches usually get several trial runs at house shows so the workers are able to piece together a sequence they know will look good on pay-per-view.
Who is your favorite wrestler of all time and why?
I don't like to discuss specific favorites because it makes it look like I have a bias so everything I write gets scrutinized. I evaluate a worker on three main points - their look, their ability to talk and of course their work in the ring. A lot of smarter fans tend to judge a worker solely on their in-ring work thus they are baffled at some of the guys that get pushes on WWE television. While I agree in-ring work is the most important of the three (as it depends more on athleticism and God-given talent while the other two can be significantly improved), WWE has a very broad and diverse audience that watches their programming. Some of their demographics do not know the difference between a good in-ring worker and a bad in-ring worker and give their evaluations on the other two aspects. That is why someone like Mark Henry (who has an extraordinary look but is limited in the ring) gets pushed above someone such as Daniel Bryan (the company's best in-ring worker but does not have much of a look). The bottom line is - is the worker entertaining? If the worker is entertaining they are a success, if they are boring, they are a failure. It's not always that easy but it's important to consider these three aspects leading into the entertainment factor before passing judgment on a worker or gimmick.
What was the real reason Jim Ross wasn't at Raw last night?
Jim Ross was backstage at last night's Raw Supershow in Atlanta and there were plans to do the "Michael Cole Challenge." While I do not have 100% confirmation it appears the segment was cut due to time constraints. I am growing sick and tired of the amount of disrespect shown towards JR. Storyline or not, mocking someone over their surgeries is classless and very hypocritical given the company's "Be a Star" anti-bullying campaign.
Do you think that The Rock vs. John Cena has the same "hype" or "feel" as The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan. Do you that the match at Wrestlemania XXVIII will have the same "passing of the torch" moment just like Rock vs. Hogan did?
The Rock vs. "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan took place at Wrestlemania X8 on March 17, 2002 in Toronto and was one of the show's main events. Not only do I think John Cena vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania XXVIII has the same big match "feel," it could have more hype than Hogan vs. Rock. The Rock hasn't wrestled since retiring in his prime seven years ago. Fans want to see this match and that has been evident with the amount of hype the show has already received. I am concerned about The Rock working at Survivor Series as I have documented my reasons so we'll see after he works the pay-per-view this month if it's still highly anticipated but right now it's one of the most anticipated bouts in WWE history, if not ever. As for the "passing of the torch," if I'm booking, Cena goes over for this reason but I would turn Cena to re-establish a character that badly needs revamped.
Why does John Laurinaitis announce his full career title when he comes out? I find it annoying and pointless, we all know who he is.
This is done to annoy and is the same reason why Michael Cole used to announce "the Anonymous Raw General Manager." It is little things like this that draw more heel heat and that is clearly what WWE wants to do with Laurinaitis.
Do wrestlers that have real backstage heat wrestle professionally against each other or do then try hurt each other for real?
Workers that have heat might work more stiff with one another but there's an unspoken rule where workers respect the business and work with their opponents. Trying to injure someone could end up backfiring very easily. While someone that doesn't follow the business will talk about how "fake" it is, working a match is a very precise process and "going into business" for one's self is very dangerous to everyone involved in the match. A match is a collective effort and cannot be properly executed by just one worker.
Are the Twitter insults between CM Punk and Chris Jericho a work or is there legitimately bad blood between the two?
In this business you never know but I'm going to reach and say CM Punk and Chris Jericho probably don't like one another. CM Punk's character on TV is a realistic portrayal of his real-life personality, just turned all the way up. Metaphorically speaking it's the same TV show, just on max volume. Punk rubs a lot of people the wrong way because he is outspoken and opinionated. He's always been over with the right people in WWE hence the opportunities he's received to become a main event talent. With that being said, when/if Jericho returns to WWE he has a nice return feud already setup that would have the potential to bring him back as a heel.
When WWE Raw goes beyond the two hour limit, what stops the next show from automatically starting? Isn't it possible the USA Network could cut the show off?
WWE's production staff works with the USA Network to work out the weekly overrun. Some weeks they are given more time than others but because of their communication, they are assured the show will not cut off before it's over. They were clearly running late on Monday and were given extra time as we saw the Michael Cole/Jim Ross segment cut due to time constraints. Mondays are always very stressful for everyone in WWE as they are up against the live TV window. This is also the reason pay-per-views are never booked up until 11:00 PM ET because they will cut off (it actually happened in the dying days of WCW).
This may have been asked before but Ric Flair is now just a balding embarrassment. Do you think TNA will give him one last push to save his legacy amongst the younger generation?
First of all I want to be on the record as to saying I am not calling Ric Flair a "balding embarrassment." I respect Flair for what he has done for the business and this is solely the comment of a reader and is not a representation of my thoughts on the Nature Boy. As for Ric Flair's career, I was very vocal in defending his decision to return to the ring with TNA. My point was if he wants to return, why should a storyline retirement [in WWE] stop him? I realize WWE let him go out like no one before but at the end of the day it was still an angle that WWE cashed in on. However, we can evaluate Flair's career with TNA and can clearly see he has failed to protect his character and it has suffered as a result. The moment that sobered me was when Flair went under to Jay Lethal (who is no longer with the company) at TNA Victory Road last year only for Jeff Hardy to beat Lethal the next night at the Impact taping for that week. It was that moment I saw how big of a mistake Flair made by returning to a second-tier company. Fortunately for Flair not enough people are watching to ruin his legacy and most people probably don't even realize how badly he's been booked.
With all the storylines with WWE talent getting "fired" and "re-hired" do you think anyone will take it seriously when they actually do leave the company?
There is a clear difference from a storyline "firing" and someone legitimately getting fired, however, the thought crossed my mind while watching Raw Supershow on Monday about how overdone the "firings" and "re-hirings" have been. WWE relies on their fan base having short memories but because they have overdone storyline "firings," a lot less people pay attention when it happens. What used to create a "is it real or is it scripted?" buzz has become much more "run of the mill."
What are the chances AJ Styles ever leaves TNA Impact Wrestling for WWE?
This is a common question I see readers asking from time to time and while it's certainly possible AJ Styles could leave TNA for WWE, how much success do you think he would have? While I know Vince McMahon and Triple H will point to workers such as Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, Christian, etc. and say they push workers of all different sizes, it's a fact they don't push talent based on in-ring skills. Daniel Bryan, who I consider the second best in-ring worker in the world (Kurt Angle at number one), has struggled to find a main event role. Watching Daniel Bryan on WWE TV is like playing with a yo-yo, he's up then he's down. There has been very little consistency. I have a hard time believing things for AJ Styles would be much different.
Is it true that David Otunga only has a job with WWE because he's married to Jennifer Hudson?
David Otunga is not married to Jennifer Hudson so wherever you heard that, you can go ahead and mark it down as false. Otunga and Hudson have a child together and reportedly ended their engagement because of issues regarding a prenuptial agreement and because of Otunga's career obsession. While neither of those issues have been confirmed by Otunga or Hudson, that's the buzz from the gossip publications. Otunga is smart, has a great look and is dedicated to getting better.
When WWE superstars fail a drug test, why have none of them gone to jail? Marijuana possession and other drugs are still arrestable offences in many states. Does WWE report any of their results to any authorities?
WWE does not involve the authorities when a worker fails a drug test. With that being said, when a worker tests positive for marijuana they are fined and not suspended. The offense also does not count as a strike per the Wellness Policy. I feel the Wellness Policy has helped clean up the WWE locker room but I have serious questions about the loophole that allows main event talent to get by with positive tests.
How can I obtain tickets to Wrestlemania XXVIII?
Believe it or not, this was the most-asked question for today. Wrestlemania XXVIII tickets go on sale in a special pre-sale today beginning at 10 AM ET. To obtain tickets, go to this link and use the password RAWGMLAURINAITIS. The presale ends tomorrow night at 11:59 PM ET and tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 AM ET. As a reminder, don't settle for what you can get in the presale as only certain tickets are released and as long as you get online early Saturday morning you will be able to get good seats.
Is there any particular reason why WWE decided to have Mick Foley return at a house show rather than Monday Night Raw?
Mick Foley said in his promo he could return to play whenever he wanted too and there was no better place for him to play than in Dublin, Ireland. WWE obviously wanted to give the international fans something to be excited about and a surprise to set the tone for their 21-show European tour. Foley's return had already leaked online (he was advertised for the 11/14 Raw Supershow) so the company probably felt they couldn't pull off the surprise on TV so they did it at the house show. I have full details on the return of Mick Foley available at this link.
Why is John Morrison getting buried on WWE television?
The good news for John Morrison is he has been tagging with John Cena, going over at recent overseas house shows. The reason of Morrison's de-push is his WWE contract is coming up soon and he has shown "little interest" in re-signing. I have much more available to Premium Members at this link.
What do you make of the reduced buyrate for this year's Summerslam compared to last year? The CM Punk angle at Money in the Bank seemed to have so much hype initially. Do you think WWE mishandled the storyline afterwards?
For those who haven't seen the official numbers, this year's SummerSlam did 296,000 buys compared to 350,000 buys in 2010. While the show was down from the year prior it still did more buys than Money in the Bank which did 195,000 buys which was up from 165,000 buys in 2010. As for why the SummerSlam buy rate fell, there are several factors to consider. The economy is still tough and it's also worth noting there was a free UFC special that night on the Versus network that garnered 766,000 viewers. A caller in yesterday's WWE conference call asked about the creative side of things with basically your same question and Vince McMahon side-stepped him. I think everyone would have like to have seen CM Punk gone for longer than he was to sell the storyline, however, WWE felt he was too hot to not headline the pay-per-view. So back to your question, the buyrate probably had more to do with outside factors (such as a bad economy and competition) rather than poor booking.
Do you feel that if the WWE Network was to turn out to be a miserable failure that this might impact the financial viability of the WWE as a whole? Do you believe we would see changes in the WWE as we know it?
Some people I've spoken with in the company feel if the network fails it could be the project to put Vince McMahon in financial trouble. McMahon seemed convinced in yesterday's conference call it was going to be a success but offered very little in terms of encouragement. While I completely see the need and reasoning for the WWE Network, it's not going to be easy to get clearance and I want to see the company's model before passing judgment. With that being said, there have been some "interesting" ideas for non-wrestling programming.