Everything You Need To Know About CM Punk Following His Time Off, Why Undertaker Keeps Wrestling, Big Returns Coming To WWE TV, Diva Concussed, TNA Changing Where They Look For New Talent, Hogan Kills Return Rumors

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Powerslam Newsletter

Welcome to the Powerslam Newsletter

Issue #15, Friday, June 14, 2013

I hope everyone has had a great week. We've been extremely busy here and have another jam packed issue here for you. Let's get right to it.

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WWE News

- CM Punk is said to be relaxed and refreshed following his near two month sabbatical from WWE. We still do not have confirmation but continue to operate under the assumption he will work against Chris Jericho at Payback on Sunday. He has plans to attend Wednesday's Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 between the Boston Bruins and his hometown Chicago Blackhawks. Punk was in Detroit on Tuesday night at a concert at The Fillmore (details here). Punk doesn't take much solace in the ratings being in the toilet without him but would love to show Vince McMahon that he can move the needle. The feeling is Punk eventually wants a program with Daniel Bryan and if he can't get a match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX, he'll lobby to work Bryan and steal the show. Punk's hair is a little longer and he got some new tattoos during his time off. As for his health, Punk is said to be in a "much happier place" and his knee is a lot better. It isn't 100% and might not be without surgery but it's good enough to resume working in the ring.

- Undertaker, under his real name Mark Calaway, did an interview with the Houston Chronicle to promote SpurRaffle.com. In it, he's asked why he continues to wrestle despite his injury history. "Honestly, I love it, that's why," Calaway said. "I've got 26 years in the business and all these injuries, but WrestleMania has become so huge, it's just hard to walk away from it. I want the audience leaving the stadium going 'Wow!' It's a responsibility I have being a top dog in this business. The crowd will let me know when it's time to leave. They haven't yet." He also hinted at feeling a sense of obligation to work WWE's biggest pay-per-view of the year. "If I didn't perform at WrestleMania, in some strange weird way, I'd feel like I was letting Vince McMahon down." Undertaker notes that his down time is spent healing up, spending time with family and working on his "horrible golf game."

- The storyline with Vince McMahon and Triple H is expected to continue on this month as both are advertised to appear live on the June 17 and June 24 episodes of WWE Monday Night Raw. While I don't know this for sure, the backstage talk several weeks ago was that Vince was looking for a "big" storyline this summer to help bolster the ratings and this certainly appears to be it. They've also been added to the July 8th episode of Raw.

- Mark Henry is scheduled to return to WWE on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw, as announced on this week's broadcast and covered here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Henry has been very sensitive about his status and we're told WWE put it out there that he had heat so workers knew they couldn't just "come and go" as they please. Henry took offense to the reports, assuring he was injured and that he would return when he was healthy. We're told Henry is suffering from a rib cartilage injury and WWE has been urging him to work through it. He'll be back next week but we're told his long-term future in the company remains unclear. His contract is coming up later this year and there is a lot of distrust in his relationship with WWE right now.

- I wrote earlier on Thursday that Big Show was out well into next month with a torn labrum. I just received word back from a WWE spokesman that issued the following statement on behalf of the company: "Big Show's return is slated for mid July." Obviously this is subject to change but is the official word directly from WWE.

- Booker T underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to repair a partial distal triceps tear in his left arm.

- Vince McMahon wrote the following on Twitter on Thursday about CM Punk's return at WWE Payback: "Expecting a big welcome for @CMPunk in Chicago on Sunday. I'm first in line. #Payback"

- It doesn't look like Chris Jericho will work SummerSlam, Night of Champions or WWE Over the Limit as Fozzy has shows on those dates.

- WWE is in the process of trademarking the names Torito and Torlito, presumably for use for a Lucha-Libre talent.

- Tamina Snuka is in fact out with a concussion. She suffered the injury in a match taped for WWE Superstars against Natalya on June 3, 2013. We first reported the news in Issue #12 of the Powerslam Newsletter. Concussions are a hot topic in WWE right now with Tamina's concussion being the third in just over a month. Dolph Ziggler went out with a concussion on May 7, Fandango suffered a concussion on June 4. WWE is taking the head injuries very serious, immediately pulling talent when symptoms begin and not clearing them until an ImPACT concussion test is passed along with other tests to assure they are 100% healthy.

- Day in and day out we continue to receive questions about Christian's WWE status. There isn't really much of an update other than "he's expected to be back soon." This is the same update that's been available for months. Other than that, it's a situation we'll have to wait and see.

- We're told "nobody" is more eager to return to WWE than Evan Bourne. While at one time considered to be on the "endangered species" list, Bourne is expected to get a fair chance once he's healthy enough to return to the ring. One of the things that's helped Bourne's standing during his time off from injury is WWE's need for a premier high-flier. Rey Mysterio's health continues to be a concern and Sin Cara is considered pretty much a "bust" at this point. Many in WWE feel Bourne has proven he can get over and he'll return rejuvenated and more mature. Bourne is well-liked in the locker room and aside from the Wellness issues, has had no other problems.

- WWE is now hiring a Russian Broadcast Announcer.

- Tyson Kidd and Natalya, who have dated for years, are engaged to be married. The cast of "Total Divas" joined Natalya for her Bachelorette Party in Las Vegas.

- World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler returned to WWE television on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. He'll defend the title against Alberto Del Rio at WWE Payback on Sunday.

- The "secret admirer" of WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn was revealed as Big E Langston on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. As the storyline goes, the entire thing was "fabricated" by AJ Lee to further their program. The story is AJ wanted to "make Kaitlyn feel how she felt" when Kaitlyn abandoned her last year to chase the Divas title. AJ Lee will challenge Kaitlyn for the WWE Divas Championship at WWE Payback on Sunday.

- For those that missed it on this week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, Kofi Kingston is expected to be out for up to eight weeks. Kofi underwent left elbow arthroscopy with Dr. Jeffrey Dugas in Birmingham, Alabama on May 30, 2013.

- When this week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw went off the air the lumberjacks went to the back for the dark match main event between WWE Champion John Cena and Ryback. Cena got the victory after putting Ryback through a table.

- Former WWE NXT talent Chad Baxter, whose real name is Derek Foore, isn't backing down from selling his WWE contract. In fact, he's still trying to determine the price. The following is from Twitter: "Price for my #wwe contract is still currently in the works.I will keep everyone updated with exactly when copies will be released."

- As of this week's show, there are plans for a program with Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. While a singles match at WWE Payback was discussed, the feeling was it would be rushing things and if they were going to do it, it needed more build. This is the reason they were paired together to oppose The Shield for the WWE Tag Team Championship.

- Curtis Axel's addition into the Intercontinental Championship match at WWE Payback was very last minute and came across that way on TV. One observer commented how the match went from a triple-threat, to a singles back to a triple-threat in a matter of minutes.

- Axel being announced for a title match pretty much kills any speculation of him being announced as Chris Jericho's opponent in place of CM Punk. While no one knows for sure, we're working under the assumption that Punk will be back at the pay-per-view on Sunday.

- A lot of people backstage actually thought Roman Reigns had chance of winning the WWE Active poll to oppose Daniel Bryan but of course Seth Rollins dominated it. Bryan jokingly told people backstage to vote for Rollins, as he knows what the bout meant to a lot of Ring of Honor fans. The match did nothing but help the stock of both Bryan and Rollins.

- The tease of pairing Zeb Colter with Antonio Cesaro was intentional. WWE is really high up on Colter and they don't want to take him off television.

- We're told Vince McMahon didn't like how the John Cena/Ryback segment came across on television.

- While some are putting WWE over for being cautious with Dolph Ziggler and now Fandango, there are some wondering if WWE not giving talent medical clearance will effect how often a worker reports symptoms of concussions. It's no secret that everyone wants to be working and would rather not get put on the shelf, even if it is for their own health.

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw, the go home to WWE Payback, did an average viewing audience of 3,990,000 viewers on the USA Network. Here is how the numbers breakdown: Hour one - 3,893,000 viewers, Hour two - 4,085,000 viewers and Hour three - 3,992,000 viewers. The show ended up drawing a 3.04 cable rating.

- WWE is running an angle in which Theodore Long is fining Kaitlyn $10,000 for her actions on this week's Smackdown.

TNA News

- We're told there has recently been a shift in philosophy in TNA Wrestling regarding where they look for new roster additions. Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations Bruce Prichard feels there is equity in former TNA performers and he wants to continue to look into bringing some of them back. The idea is there are guys TNA invested a lot of television time in and they are available and inexpensive, so why not continue to explore some of them and see which ones stick? So far, TNA has been happy with Petey Williams and his return to the company. Another name the company is looking to bring back is Jesse Neal. He's been hoping for a chance in WWE but TNA has reached out to see if he would be interested in returning. Throughout TNA's history, a lot has been invested in talent from WWE or ROH but Prichard feels if there are some "homegrown" TNA guys the audience is already familiar with, it will save the company money and they should begin to look in that direction more when spots open up.

- Sting is being advertised to work TNA Champion Bully Ray at Saturday's TNA live event from Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Kentucky.

- Dixie Carter told Digital Spy last month she "absolutely" would do a crossover show with WWE. The publication interviewed Paul Heyman about the comments ahead of Sunday's WWE Payback pay-per-view. Here is an excerpt: "…it would make no sense for WWE with 95% global share to do an event with TNA with its 5% global market share!"

- While Hulk Hogan Tweeted earlier this week that he was training for one "last time around the block," he wrote on Thursday evening his body is too beat up for one more match.

- Kurt Angle will be honored at the 2013 TNA Hall of Fame Ceremony the day before Bound for Glory from the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

- TNA Destination X 2013 will take place on the July 18th episode of Impact Wrestling. The episode will be taped that night from the Broadbent Arena in Louisville, KY.

- Eric Young has been on a media tour to promote season two of Animal Planet's Off the Hook: Extreme Catches. He was on "The Crossover" on the NBC Sports Network on Tuesday night and appeared Wednesday morning on The Today Show in a fishing segment.

- Zema Ion says he's "pretty much back to 100%" following an emergency appendectomy last month. However, he's frustrated because he's going to have to undergo another surgery to remove a tumor that was discovered on his colon. The former X Division Champion wrote the following on Twitter: "Feelin pretty much back to 100%....sucks that its all for nothing coz I got another surgery soon and then I start recovering ALL OVER AGAIN"

- Jeff Jarrett joined Jeremy Borash, James Storm, Eric Young and Mickie James at the annual Nashville country music (CMA) fanfest last week.

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