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, July 30, 2011 to Friday, August 5, 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!
- If you're a Zack Ryder fan - you are going to love this. Wildcat Championship Belts crafted his new "Internet Championship" belt and you can view it at this link.
- TMZ is reporting that charges filed against former WWE superstar Shad Gaspard for resisting arrest in Columbus, Ohio this past March have been dropped. Shad was arrested for jaywalking as TMZ released a tape of three police officers pinning him down to the pavement. He ended up paying a fine for obstructing official business. Gaspard has also decided against filing a lawsuit against the Columbus Police Department for the arrest.
- Former WWE announcer Mike Adamle was been cleared of drunken driving charges following an arrest in January. The charges were dropped because Adamle was "well under the legal limit" when he was stopped by police in Evanston, Illinois. "I'm extremely grateful I'm done here," Adamle said outside the court room. Click here for coverage by the Chicago Tribune.
- Wrestling News World reader Aman sent in the following translation of what Jinder Mahal & The Great Khali said on last Friday's Smackdown: Mahal: "Listen, Listen, I've been telling this since the first day, I'm the star of this company. I'm India's biggest export & Smackdown's biggest import." Then, he tells Khali to tell everyone. So Khali says, "Jinder Mahal for life, Jinder Mahal for life, Jinder Mahal for life." This is when the "USA" chants broke out.
- Wrestling News World reader Shannon Sylvia sent word that WWE has officially removed Sin Cara from the Smackdown intro. Cara is currently out serving a 30-day suspension for his first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy. For more information on his backstage heat and why he's on the hot seat, click here.
- WWE is advertising Sin Cara for the August 20th WWE Smackdown house show from the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. Cara, who is currently serving a 30-day suspension for his first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy, was recently removed from the company's TV intro.
- Mick Foley wrote on his Twitter page over the weekend that he was sure he would be doing something with WWE. He has been entertaining ideas from his followers, creating all kinds of speculation. As we reported exclusively here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Foley was seen leaving the talent area at last week's Smackdown taping from Hampton, Virginia. We uploaded photos at this link.
- TMZ is reporting that WWE is increasing security at all of their shows due to recent threats involving Maryse. While the plan is being kept "tight-lipped," the publication is reporting that extra security personnel has been added at recent shows.
- The WWE Big Gulp cups are now in 7-11 stores across the United States. Ryan Gray sent word that he saw Big Gulp cups this morning for "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. The cups are $1.99 each and are done annually as a joint promotion between WWE and 7-11 to promote SummerSlam.
- Brodus Clay worked a dark match prior to tonight's WWE Raw taping from the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana beating Alex Silva (a local worker from Indiana).
- Maryse wrote on Twitter that she will be having abdominal hernia surgery so she will not be "getting physical" for awhile.
- Wrestling News World reader Danielle sent this in... John Cena and The Miz will attend the 2011 Teen Choice Awards as they are presenters for this year's show. You can watch the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 8pm/7pm central time on FOX.
- Wrestling News World reader Michael Long sent word that Sheamus is scheduled to appear on Conan next Thursday (August 11th) on TBS to promote SummerSlam.
- Wrestling News World reader Hiroaki Kawafuji sent this in... Last week I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com about project of Stand Up For Tohoku and said the company donated "wheelchairs." That is incorrect as WWE actually donated "steel chairs." I'm sorry for the error as WWE donated to 10 steel chairs and 500 plastic folders to the Sendai YMCA Volunteer Center.
- One of my sources says they can "confirm no matter what anyone says" that CM Punk's WWE contract was not scheduled to expire until September 2011; even though the company did a great job of disguising it with even those very close to Vince McMahon believing his contract was up in July. My source reports the entire CM Punk angle with John Cena that included the shoot promo was a way to write him off TV for some time off before the two sides began discussing a new contract in the fall. According to those close to McMahon's thinking, Punk was originally going to lose against Cena at Money in the Bank and return in September. When the angle started to gain so much steam, McMahon began to go back and forth almost daily regarding the finish. The weekend of the show Punk was told that if he was willing to cut his break short, they would put the title on him at the pay-per-view and have him main event SummerSlam (which includes a large payoff). The original plan for Punk at SummerSlam was to program him against Triple H which is why WWE did the angle at the San Diego Comic-Con a couple of weeks ago (remember there was even talk about adding Hunter to the bout against Cena). Plans changed and WWE switched it to Punk vs. Cena and Punk was offered the biggest pay day of his life to come back to headline SummerSlam and it caused him to agree to a new contract. The WWE writing team is said to be "going nuts" having to constantly re-write WWE Raw every week and hope that now Punk's future is secure that things will go back to normal.
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent word that Zack Ryder implied on his Twitter account that Colt Cabana was backstage at WWE Raw last night. While I can confirm that Colt has canceled indy dates, leading people to believe he has a deal with WWE, I cannot provide any more details at this time.
- Colt Cabana worked a dark match prior to tonight's WWE TV taping from Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Colt did a job to Wade Barrett in the bout. Cabana drew attention to himself after he canceled upcoming indy dates which lead many people to believe he was coming back to WWE. Zack Ryder insinuated on Twitter that he was at WWE Raw last night. Cabana, a Ring of Honor veteran, worked for WWE previously under the ring name Scotty Goldman. I heard from multiple sources that one of the things Punk wanted before he re-signed a WWE contract was for the company to re-hire Cabana (who is his real-life best friend).
- Sherdog.com has a new article online featuring quotes from Strikeforce fighter Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos. In it, Santos addresses rumors that she was negotiating with WWE. "I like the WWE. If they had an opportunity for me, I'd do it," Santos told the MMA publication. "I was interested in doing [more than one event] with the WWE, but now I'm fighting again, so I'm going to do that," assuring that she wasn't looking for a one shot deal. Click here to read the full article.
- There are a couple of newsworthy tidbits making rounds on Twitter: Chris Jericho Tweeted last night that he didn't care CM Punk mentioned him on WWE Raw and for Punk to mind his own business. Jericho also told him to stop ripping him off... Gail Kim was asked by a fan if she rolled out of the ring on purpose during the Number One Contender's Battle Royal for the WWE Divas Championship and she responded by saying, "yes."
- Gail Kim continues to discuss her "roll-out" in the Number One Contender's Divas Battle Royal on this week's WWE Raw on her Twitter account. Gail informed a fan that no one in WWE noticed and she was checking to see if anyone was paying attention.
- Gail Kim wrote the following today on Twitter:oh and also on the contrary, I wasn't being a mark 4 myself I was being a good employee when ur told to get out of the ring in less than a min. I just did it the fastest way possible:)so really I saved some time!
- TMZ is reporting that Maryse Ouellet's request for a restraining order against 61-year-old Lee Silber has been granted. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered Silber to stay at least 300 feet away from Maryse for the next three years. The Miz accompanied Maryse, his real life girlfriend, to the court room and they both appeared "pleased" with the result on the way out.
- I had the privilege to speak with former WWE star Edge today to promote his upcoming appearance on SyFy's "Haven" on Friday. He will be appearing on the show on Friday as well as three times in September (click here for more). Below is a paraphrased recap of my question and answer segment:
* I asked Edge if there is a chance we could see him on WWE television any time soon. He told me that it was "too soon" and he didn't want to be one of those guys that retires and sticks around every week. Edge said there are no plans for him appear on WWE TV at this time. Edge explained he stuck around after Wrestlemania XXVII for everything to pan out storyline wise.
* Being booked for a SummerSlam Axxess session, I asked if there was a chance we could see him make a cameo on the pay-per-view or even a shot in the crowd. Edge told me that he will not be appearing in any shape, way or form on the pay-per-view. He said after the autograph session he plans on going back and waiting on Christian to go have sushi.
* I asked Edge if he was interested in shedding his WWE character and reestablishing himself as Adam Copeland kind of like what The Rock did with Dwayne Johnson. He told me that he always tried to keep Adam and Edge separate. He said he's always introduced himself as Adam but he would be fine with someone promoting him as Edge. Edge said he would never lose the character much like Dwayne Johnson will never lose The Rock.
* Edge said he would not be interested in an off-air role in WWE - at least not right now. He told me it would be too hard for him to be so close to it yet unable to do it. He said maybe in five or ten years when he's moved far enough away from the reactions and things like that. However, it would involve just as much travel and the more he travels the more his neck hurts.
* He told he does not follow the WWE product but DVRs Smackdown to watch Christian's stuff. The Rated R Superstar said it's still hard to watch it and he's trying to step into everyday life. Edge said he never wanted to live the Edge gimmick.
* I asked if there was anything different Edge would have done with his Wrestlemania XXVII match against Alberto Del Rio had he known it was going to be his lost. Edge told me even that day he wished it would have been a little bit longer. He said even an extra five minutes to work the false finishes because he's a big false finish guy.
* I asked Edge if he was upset about Christian dropping the World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton just days after he won it at WWE Extreme Rules. He said knowing the big picture he was fine with it. Edge asked me a rhetorical question - would you rather be the number two babyface or number one heel? He said personally he would rather be the number one heel.
* Finally I talked with Edge about the WWE Hall of Fame. I asked him if he would accept an invitation to be inducted and who would be his inductor. Edge said it would be cool to go in, he certainly wouldn't say no and that it's a gimmie that Christian would induct him.
In addition to the questions I asked him, below is a recap of other questions he answered that I felt were noteworthy:
Edge said he has spent the summer in Nova Scota filming "Haven." He said this is his first full week at home since retiring. Edge also noted that he will be at the 9/13 Smackdown taping but will not be doing anything on-air and that his WWE Studios project "Bending The Rules" will be released in 2012.
- Melina wrote on Twitter that she will not appear on this weekend's WWE live events even though she thought that she would be. She then posted the following, putting Gail Kim over:
I look at someone like @gailkimitsme & think she is someone I admire. She is a highly talented, strong & genuinely good (cool) person. I think women should be proud of her and not just women anyone should feel pride to see a person want to stand up for themselves, want to overcome adversity & want to see a positive change for not just themselves but for others.
I myself want better for other people. I want a positive change. I want to make a positive difference NOW and for the future of others. I want to tell little girls what they are capable of & show them what they are capable of in this world. It sounds feminist but it's only because we represent women & in a male dominant world it's obvious that we are treated differently.
If it's bad to take pride, to be strong, to help others & to inspire... Than I don't know what the world considers as good anymore. But I will continue to hope for & work for the best for everyone. I have met great people and you have inspired ME to keep going. Stay Strong!
- WWE released their second quarter earnings for 2011 today. Included in the release are the official pay-per-view buy rate numbers for pay-per-views April through June. They are as follows:
* WrestleMania XXVII - 1,059,000 buys (885,000 buys in 2010)
* Extreme Rules - 209,000 buys (182,000 buys in 2010)
* Over The Limit - 140,000 buys (197,000 buys in 2010)
* WWE Capitol Punishment - 170,000 buys (143,000 buys as Fatal 4-Way in 2010)
- We are just a couple minutes into the WWE investor conference call with Vince McMahon and there are already two newsworthy items.
* McMahon said the company has been sitting on the rights to WWE NXT and WWE Superstars domestically and waiting on the right opportunity. He implied they have new clearances by saying "they are there" now.
* Vince also revealed WWE will premiere a new one-hour live show that will air prior to WWE Raw. He didn't give a date but said it was set to begin shortly.
I was on the WWE investor conference call to discuss the company's second quarter earnings of 2011. Below is a recap:
Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement. He said Chairman Vince McMahon and Chief Financial Officer George Barrios would be joining him on the call.
Vince McMahon joined the call and said revenue was essentially flat and that is something they aren't proud of but given conditions, it could be a whole lot worse. He said the company has been sitting on the rights to WWE NXT and WWE Superstars domestically and waiting on the right opportunity. McMahon implied they have new clearances for the show as he said they are there now.
He said there is another one-hour live show that will premiere shortly that will air before WWE Raw.
Vince mentioned live event attendance was down about 3%.
McMahon said Money in the Bank this year was up 20%, indicating the pay-per-view revenue was on the upswing. He said the straight-to-DVD film "That's What I Am" was not successful and DVD sales are down. McMahon said "That's What I Am" was a great movie but didn't really play to their television audience. He talked about how frustrating it was to eat a project that was award-winning.
McMahon said WWE is finally rolling out the WWE TV Network. He said they have the most compelling network start-up ever. He says it's going to be a "significant" bottom line number going forward. McMahon said they are very excited about it, it's very well thought out and "has to work."
The call was handled over to George Barrios to discuss the numbers included in today's release. Barrios said a lot but he did not reveal anything that was not included in the release.
The line was then opened for questions and answers.
How much more can The Rock be involved in the next twelve months? Is there an opportunity to bring back popular retired stars?
Vince McMahon said they have multiple pay-per-views lined up where they will use The Rock, not just Wrestlemania XXVII.
McMahon side-stepped a question about UFC starting their own TV network. He said they are totally different company and that WWE is an entertainment company.
Early indications on attendance and pay-per-view sales for SummerSlam.
McMahon said they expect SummerSlam to do extremely well but discussed the success of Wrestlemania XXVII travel packages - selling out in two days. He said they didn't sell out last year for this year's show but he saw that the way travel packages sold out [for Wrestlemania XXVII] was a strong indication for the interest in next year's show.
Increase in domestic tickets for live events: George Barrios said the increase has not hurt attendance. He said the prices have gone up anywhere from 5-15% depending on the market.
How many hours of footage is in the tape library?
George Barrios said the company has around 100,000 hours of programming and it's one of the company's most undervalued assets. He said the book value of it is in the single digit millions. George said 30,000 hours have been digitized in High Definition.
Is there any price that would convince the company to go private or partner with someone?
Vince McMahon answered with one word - "no."
WWE NXT and WWE Superstars - is this a third quarter event or a fourth quarter event?
George Barrios said their goal is to maximize their production capacity. He said something would happen in the third or fourth quarter of this year.
Launch date of the WWE Network: Hasn't changed and they said in the last call that it was 12 to 18 months out. They have finalized their go-to-market strategy with the network and will begin a series of meetings.
Vince McMahon meeting with Dana White: McMahon said "absolutely not" in partnering with UFC in any way. He said there was a meeting but it was more social than anything else. McMahon reiterated UFC is a sports company.
- Shawn Michaels has been in Africa filming episodes of his outdoor lifestyle show "Shawn Michaels' MacMillan River Adventures." The episodes will air this fall.
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent word that Jack Swagger's wife, Catalina White, wrote on her Twitter account that she is pregnant. Congratulations to the happy couple!
- Melina wrote the following on Twitter:
Dear WWE, #GiveWWEDivasAChance http://twitition.com/y5e4o
The link goes to a petition that reads as follows:
WWE management has done nothing but treat the WWE Divas with disrespect over the past few months. Us fans feel as if we have been duped with 60 second matches that are rushed for various reasons. Quite simply, we have had enough. This is a message to WWE that there IS an audience for the Divas division and to treat ALL the women in the company with the respect they deserve. WWE talent such as CM Punk & Bret Hart have spoken out about the state of the Divas division and now we're going to do what we can to show that we care. PLEASE sign the twitition & spread the word!
- A vignette will air on tonight's Smackdown that will promote Sin Cara's return to the brand on next week's show. Cara was suspended last month for violating the WWE Wellness Policy for the first time.
- WWE has released Melina as the company has already posted her "future endeavored" article on their official website. This comes as no surprise as Melina hinted at her release earlier in the week on Twitter.
- In addition to the release of Melina, WWE has announced they have released Vladimir Kozlov and Chris Masters.
- Gail Kim wrote on her Twitter account that she officially quit WWE on Monday night. This explains a lot as Gail had the surprising exit from the Number One Contender's Diva Battle Royal on WWE Raw followed by some bizarre activity on Twitter earlier in the week.
- In addition to the release of Melina, Vladimir Kozlov, and Chris Masters, WWE has also announced the release of David Hart Smith. Smith had not been seen on WWE programming since he appeared as a lumberjack during this year's Extreme Rules pay-per-view in May.
- Chris Masters asked me to pass along the following:
"Obviously, I'm surprised by the move. But I'm optimistic. I'm going to move forward and see what lies ahead. I still love this business and I'm not going to give up because of this small set back. I want to explore and see what options I have for the future."
Chris is available for bookings by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow him on Twitter @WWEMasterP
As we reported earlier here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Masters was released from WWE today.
- Despite being released today, Melina Was featured in today's WWE.com Diva Focus segment where they released new photos of her. Melina hinted at her release earlier in the week when she said she had been pulled from WWE live events. She also plugged a petition protesting the misuse of Divas in WWE on her official Twitter account.
- Florida Championship Wrestling has added Leroy Parks and Colin Cassady to the roster page on their official website. (Thanks to Wrestling News World readers Fernando and The Moe .)
- Wrestling News World reader Kevin sent word that Fort McMurray Today has a new article online featuring quotes from Chris Jericho. In it, Jericho reiterates he has no plans on wrestling right now. You can read the full article at this link.
- WWE superstar and the real-life boyfriend of Melina, John Morrison, wrote the following today on Twitter:
I've always believed that Melina is the most talented Diva ever employed by World Wrestling Entertainment. (not to mention the hottest!) Her face conveys emotion. Vince McMahon likes to say "Television is a feeling" and I agree with him. That's what Sports Entertainment is all about. Melina's presence on Television, aside from the obvious (she be sexy!) is raw emotion- joy, rage, surprise, disgust... her passion just pours out of her.
Melina's presence on Monday Night Raw will be missed by the WWE universe... and especially by me.
I think this is the end of a chapter in the book of @RealMelina - I met Melina on my audition for Tough Enough 3, I never forgot the smile, and hug she gave me when I made the show and she got cut and told to go home. I've stood next to her with Joey while MNM was yelled at; told we'd never make it, we were worthless. I've seen her come back from 2 career threatening injuries. She is one of a kind, and talented enough to do whatever she wants. I'm proud to be her man. I love her, and will support whatever she chooses to do next. #staystrong #thankyoumelina
Click here to read Morrison's original post.
- Melina wrote the following on Twitter:
Feel free to Tweet, write, call @WWE about how u feel about anything. You deserve to be heard regarding any matter. Strength in numbers. I love you all so dearly and reading all of your tweets. Seeing the trend... I know w/out a doubt, I'm a lucky woman! In the next few days you will see many updates on the matter, so keep checking www.RealMelina.com I will definitely Blog & Vlog about it.
She also had the following to say about John Morrison's comments:
@TheRealMorrison U just made me cry. I love you so much. I'm very proud of what u have accomplished & to have u as the love of my life.
You can read more Tweets by Melina at this link.
Impact Wrestling News
- The latest edition of "Pillow Talk" with So Cal Val features Tara. You can watch it embedded in the video below:
- Amazing Red has parted ways with TNA/Impact Wrestling. Red made the announcement official on his social networking accounts earlier today, claiming that creative had nothing for him.
- Mickie James announced today on her official website that she plans to record a second country music album if she can raise enough money from fans to fund the project. Mickie needs $5,000 by September 2, 2011 to begin recording the project and is now accepting donations through her website at MickieJames.com.
- Embedded in the video below is the latest Spin Cycle featuring Mickie James, Bully Ray, Scott Steiner and Angelina Love:
- Below is the final Hardcore Justice pay-per-view lineup:
World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Sting (c) vs. Kurt Angle
Tag Team Championship Match
- Beer Money (c) vs. Mexican America
X Division Championship Match
- Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley
Six Man Tag Team Match
- Fortune vs. Immortal
- Mr. Anderson vs. Bully Ray
Knockouts Title Match
- Mickie James (c) vs. Winter w/Angelina Love
Knockouts Tag Team Title Match
- Tara & Ms. Tessmacher (c) vs. Rosita & Sarita
Bound For Glory Series Match
- Rob Van Dam vs. Crimson
Bound For Glory Series Match
- "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero vs. Devon
Does CM Punk have the actual version of the WWE Championship belt? The one John Cena had on WWE Raw appeared to be a thinner replica belt compared to Punk's.
WWE has two copies of the WWE Championship belt - one authentic and one replica. The authentic is called the "HD belt" and is used for TVs and pay-per-views. The replica is used for house shows, appearances, autograph signings and more. It's likely that John Cena had the replica and Punk had the "HD belt" although I didn't get a good enough look (or pay enough attention) to give you a definitive answer.
When will TNA/Impact Wrestling capitalize on Matt Morgan? He has the size, he has improved leaps and bounds in the ring, mic skills, great crowd reaction, charisma and he is extremely marketable. I think it is only a matter of time before the opportunity passes by the company and WWE somehow gets him back.
Matt Morgan got a taste as a main eventer in TNA earlier this year but has since been de-pushed back to a mid-card role. He is currently out dealing with a torn pectoral muscle and while that will set him back, the injury will not require surgery as he is going to try and let it heal naturally. I agree Morgan has great size and has improved to the point where he would be an asset if booked properly.
With the new gimmick of Triple H as the Chief Operating Officer of WWE does this mean they will eliminate the Anonymous Raw General Manager?
The Anonymous Raw General Manager wasn't used last week even though the podium was there. I am hoping with Hunter's "changes" he will either reveal the Raw GM or end the gimmick entirely. I don't think I'm alone in suggesting Mick Foley for the role but that is complete speculation. Nonetheless I have never been a fan of the Anonymous Raw General Manager gimmick and feel it has never made logical sense. The reason it has had such a lengthy run on TV is that Vince McMahon is high up on the heat it has given Michael Cole.
Will Chris Jericho return to WWE soon?
Chris Jericho has been touring with his band Fozzy this summer which is why you have not seen him back in a WWE ring. Jericho wanted to take a break from the company to work on ventures outside of wrestling (mainly "Dancing with the Stars" and Fozzy). The band is working on a new album due out next year and is scheduled to play a festival in Canada this weekend. For more on Fozzy, visit their official website.
Watching Dolph Ziggler and Alex Riley last night on WWE Raw I felt for the first time in a long time there might be a great feud coming up. What are your thoughts?
I noted yesterday in my Backstage Blog that WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley was on the booking sheets for upcoming WWE Raw house shows so I knew which direction creative was going in. The feud for Alex Riley is not near as big as his stuff with The Miz but it gives him a chance to work with a talented younger worker to prove he has what it takes to get elevated. Riley is getting reactions but he is going to have to step it up in the ring. Ziggler is a great worker so hopefully he can help Riley's in-ring work.
Do you see CM Punk as a "new" Steve Austin since he says whatever is on his mind just like Austin?
The one clear cut similarity I can see between CM Punk and Steve Austin is the fact that both gimmicks are real-life personalities but turned up to the max. I've said it time and time again but I will state it again in hopes someone in WWE is reading - the best gimmicks are gimmicks that highlight the person's real-life personality. The cartoonish gimmicks created by the WWE writing team always struggle to get over because no matter how much acting goes into this business, wrestlers aren't actors. To think that you can just draw up a gimmick and send that worker to promo class and expect them to become the next Austin or Rock is ridiculous. Punk is getting a lot of leeway right now, saying things that so many have wanted to say but haven't been able too, however, he is "on point" with the delivery.
Is The Nexus over and done with?
The Nexus faction appears to be 100% finished with WWE Tag Team Champions David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty working last night in different gear under the name David & Michael. The last I heard the company is exploring other options for Mason Ryan but isn't in a hurry because they feel he has a lot of potential. The Nexus faction dominated WWE television last year and I had hoped it would create a couple of new stars and while it certainly didn't hurt the careers of Otunga, McGillicutty, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater and Wade Barrett none of them are where I had hoped they would be a year later. Daniel Bryan is in line for a huge push as the Money in the Bank winner but given all his past success and stellar in-ring skills I don't like to group him with the greener workers.
With Beth Phoenix winning the number one contendership to the WWE Divas Championship last night on WWE Raw do you think it was due to her real-life relationship with CM Punk?
As far as I know Beth Phoenix and CM Punk are still dating and I am sure that didn't hurt things, however, it looks like Beth Phoenix is getting the role that was intended for Kharma. They appear to be turning Beth back into a dominate heel and I would not be surprised if she starts dominating the Divas division again. I think everyone hopes they can build Beth back up to feud with a returning Kharma but I just do not have faith in the way WWE pushes their Divas to even hope for such a program.
CM Punk or John Cena - who do you see walking out of SummerSlam as WWE Champion and why?
I would be very surprised if CM Punk does not walk out of SummerSlam the WWE Champion. Everything that has happened to this point indicates to me that the only logical outcome is to put Punk over John Cena. Not only is Punk the hottest guy in WWE right now but one of the keys in his negotiations for a new WWE contract was a clear commitment to his character as a top guy like the commitments to guys like Cena and Randy Orton. Punk talked about bringing change to WWE in his promo on WWE Raw. It's worth noting that not only did he get new theme music but his real-life girlfriend Beth Phoenix is the number one contender for the Divas Championship and his best friend Colt Cabana worked a WWE dark match last night.
Is WWE trying to push Sheamus as a face by feuding him with Mark Henry?
WWE is testing the waters on a Sheamus babyface turn as they have been building Mark Henry up as a monster heel. It would be a tremendous rub to put Sheamus over Henry after he has "taken out" Big Show and Kane but I'm afraid if they do it too soon it will kill Henry's momentum. If I were booking I'd have Mark Henry keep taking everyone out until they can get The Undertaker back in the ring. While Mark Henry vs. The Undertaker isn't the most appealing match it would make a lot of sense storyline-wise.
With Triple H "following the rules" by not taking out CM Punk on WWE Raw, is it not likely he will wrestle again?
I have a feeling we will see Triple H back in the ring as there was a lot of talk about doing Hunter vs. CM Punk at SummerSlam then even adding Triple H to Punk vs. Cena. If I were booking I'd book Hunter and Punk in a program following SummerSlam that went all the way to Survivor Series. If they didn't want to go that long they could always blow Punk vs. Cena off at WWE Night of Champions next month then extend Hunter vs. Punk out for a couple months leading to a Survivor Series show down from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Punk is red hot right now so it's going to be interesting to see how long WWE can keep it that way.
Did you notice in the Number One Contender's Diva Battle Royal on WWE Raw when Gail Kim rolled out of the ring on her own? Was that supposed to happen?
When I saw it happen I thought Gail Kim had injured herself. However, by her own admission, Gail says she did it just to see if anyone in WWE was paying attention. According to Gail, no one in WWE noticed and she found it both "sad" and "amusing."
Why is John Laurinaitis all of the sudden being used on WWE television?
While many observers will tell you that John Laurinaitis is one of the most resilient people on the face of this earth, I believe he's being used as a way to potentially bring Vince McMahon back to television. I talked about this on the radio yesterday that WWE's use of Laurinaitis reminds me of the days that Mr. McMahon had Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson as his "corporate stooges."
What was going on with the way Melina was eliminated in the Number One Contender's Divas Battle Royal on WWE Raw this past Monday night?
Gail Kim and Melina both had very odd eliminations. Gail simply rolled out and Melina was eliminated after messing with her gear in the corner. Gail made her situation public on Twitter and Melina said she's off WWE live events this weekend. There are clear problems with some of the Divas right now but I haven't heard what is going on other than unhappiness over storylines or lack thereof.
Is it legal for TNA to have a CM Punk series included on their on-demand website?
TNA can do what they want with the footage they own. I don't completely understand the use of the CM Punk name as I know WWE has a trademark on it but Punk used the name prior to signing with the company. As for TNA's decision to promote footage of Punk I understand they are capitalizing on his popularity but it makes them look minor league.
It's interesting that Gail Kim walked out of the match that Beth Phoenix, CM Punk's girlfriend, was made #1 contender for the Diva's title. With WWE falling over itself to please Punk, did WWE just create another Michelle McCool/Undertaker problem in the locker room?
There are always going to be problems with politics in the WWE locker room. This business is so weird in that outcomes are pre-determined so it depends entirely on who gets the favor of management that results in an on-screen opportunity. CM Punk had heat from several of his co-workers before all this so I can imagine it's heated up a good bit but the truth is WWE didn't want to lose Punk and it's shown how they have handled it.
Why does WWE not use Kevin Nash?
Kevin Nash is signed under a WWE Legend's Contract, not a Performer's Contract. There was never any intention to bring Nash back full-time but to get him under contract to produce merchandise. Nash's work at Royal Rumble was a one-time deal and while the company could always use him if they wanted him, there are no plans to do so at this time.
Who has the most influence in the WWE locker room with so many established workers gone? Who is the most influential Diva?
John Cena and Randy Orton are the "faces" of their respective brands and have a lot of say in what they do and have a substantial amount of say on who gets pushed and who doesn't. Given all that has happened with CM Punk I have to say he is very influential right now as well. As for the Divas, the way the company pushes them, I would have to say no one has a considerable amount of stroke. Beth Phoenix is currently dating CM Punk so we could speculate she has influence much like Michelle McCool had because of her relationship with The Undertaker.
Why did Impact Wrestling release Desmond Wolfe?
Desmond Wolfe was not cleared to wrestle and with the company looking to cut costs, he was released. Dixie Carter tried to be compassionate and give him a non-wrestling role but the decision was later made to cut him. Janice Carter is really pushing that the company get their roster expenses under control.
I feel like the build-up for SummerSlam has paled in comparison to the build-up for Money in the Bank. Do you think there's any chance that MITB will end up having a higher buy rate than SummerSlam or does the name value alone of SummerSlam generate more buys?
This is a really good question and something that is going to be interesting to see. Vince McMahon said in yesterday's conference call that buys for Money in the Bank were up 20% so the pay-per-view did very well. WWE is banking on CM Punk selling SummerSlam just like he did Money in the Bank so it will be interesting to see if the angle staying hot and the name value of SummerSlam can surpass the buys of Money in the Bank. I agree the build has not been as good and it's going to be difficult to beat the stellar show of Money in the Bank.