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, April 13, 2013 to Friday, April 19, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW
- Brian Soscia has a new video interview online with Brodus Clay where he discusses working as Snoop's bodyguard and why he didn't come into WWE as a "killer monster." You can watch it at this link.
- Kofi Kingston hyped his first Smackdown win of 2013 in this week's episode of "Backstage Fallout" Smackdown. You can watch it at this link.
- Stephanie McMahon's new entrance video with the theme music "Queendom" is now online at this link.
- The Rock confirmed on Twitter Saturday morning that he will not have surgery to reattach the torn tendons to his pelvis following the injury suffered in his WWE title match against John Cena at Wrestlemania 29 last Sunday.
Rock has already resumed training and is preparing to shoot his next movie "Hercules."
Get 'em Rock!
- Wrestling News World reader Daniel purchased the Wrestlemania 29 Webcast from dot com but was unable to watch due to technical difficulties. His request for a refund was denied. The following was sent to him via email:
Thank you for your purchase of WrestleMania XXIX.
We apologize for the technical difficulties that you experienced during the event. After further investigation, we are happy to see that you were able to view the event after the technical issues were resolved. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience, and hope you enjoyed the show.
WWE Customer Support Team
- Wrestling News World reader Sharon sent word that The Marine 3: Homefront starring The Miz made Home Media Magazine's "Top 20 Rentals" chart at #11. You can view the chart at this link.
- CM Punk was with Chael Sonnen at the Ultimate Fighter Finale on Saturday. Wrestling News World reader Dave L sent word Punk was shown on-camera. You can read results at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Daniel Hill sent word that Fandango's entrance theme, "ChaChaLaLa," missed out on a top 40 place on the official UK chart. The song reached number 44, missing the chart by 239 sales. It does, however, become the highest chart placed wrestling theme.
- WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin made a bold prediction regarding Fandango over the weekend. The following is from Austin's verified Twitter account:
- Ryback is now training with Mexican boxer Ramon Montano. He Tweeted the following photo on Saturday:
- As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Ryback has been pushing for a heel turn for months and now WWE looks to be going that direction. He's been a victim of creative changing plans as we're told Ryback was originally set for a slow heel turn but the thinking was Ryback needed to be turned before putting him in a top level match on pay-per-view.
- CM Punk was home during the week before flying out to Las Vegas for the Ultimate Fighter Finale. We're told he's hurting but as previously reported, he's scheduled for WWE Raw on Monday.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry on his official website. Below are the highlights:
@steveaustinBSR predicts that @WWEFandango will be IC Champion within a few months. It might not take that long but I could also see Fandango winning the US Title as well at some point. Stars become stars over the long haul and even though Fandango has had an amazing few weeks and change as it relates to recognition, etc, it's how he does long term that writes his story. If Fandango can continue to grow, a key role at WM30 could be in his future and that's generally considered the yard stick.
Just because @Ryback22 is hungry for the WWE Title and the money that comes along with it why does that motive make the powerhouse a villain? Since when did ambition make one an antagonist. Antagonist display a variety of common traits, non of which I have seen yet, I stress yet, from Ryback. I do like the apparent pairing of Ryback vs. John Cena and where this matter may be heading. To me, it certainly feels fresh even though some will take exception to the fact that Cena is in the equation. It doesn't both me and I see this rivalry selling tickets and producing a reaction in the arenas.
I'm going to be interested to see what sort of reaction new, World Champ @HEELZiggler Dolph Ziggler receives on RAW Monday as it seems that Ziggy winning the championship was a popular decision last week in Jersey.
I hope that WWE adds @JCLayfield to the RAW broadcast team of @MichaelCole and @Jerry Lawler and that JBL and King can create some electricity while Cole keeps the rudder in the water captaining the ship. I like their chemistry even though I'm having to learn to like a three man broadcast crew better. We old dogs can learn new tricks.
Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety.
- WWE was originally under the impression The Rock would be wrestling at Extreme Rules next month. However, we're told the relationship between the two parties began souring just days before Wrestlemania 29.
According to a source that spoke with me under the condition of anonymity, things began to break down on Friday, April 5, 2013. The Rock reportedly told WWE in no uncertain terms that he would not be wrestling at the pay-per-view next month. The company had been leaning towards a triple threat match for the WWE title at Extreme Rules involving Rock, John Cena and CM Punk. The finish would be Rock getting pinned by Cena as the company didn't want a situation that saw Punk going under on pay-per-view four months in a row.
Apparently The Rock objected to going under two months in a row (as he'd already signed off on going under to John Cena at Wrestlemania) and asked for things to be wrapped up in the Wrestlemania main event.
We're told WWE began scrambling and not having The Rock for Extreme Rules had a domino effect. At the time, Ryback was scheduled to go over Mark Henry at Wrestlemania but it was decided that Henry would be challenging Cena for the title at Extreme Rules. This scheduled Ryback for the job at Wrestlemania.
Ryback was reportedly "very upset" about the new finish, especially when initial Wrestlemania plans had him winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Henry was another interesting case as he was refusing to return at all until he was assured prominent booking of his character.
Between last Friday and Monday, it was decided that Cena vs. Henry might not be strong enough to headline Extreme Rules and plans changed to do a triple threat match like originally scheduled. Except now, the match would be Cena vs. Henry vs. Ryback for the WWE title instead of Cena vs. Rock vs. Punk.
With The Rock out of the pay-per-view plans, WWE was urging him to shoot an angle on Raw the night after Wrestlemania to explain his absence. One idea pitched was for Brock Lesnar to lay him out and plant the seed for a future match between the two, possibly at Wrestlemania XXX next year. Sources close to Rock feel he isn't completely sold on working Lesnar, feeling that match lost some of its luster when both were booked under this year. Instead, Rock wants to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX and feels it's the biggest match that can be done.
This is where the accusations begin. There are some in the company that have questioned Rock's injury, saying he skipped out on Raw because he didn't want to get locked into a program with Lesnar. There is no way of knowing for sure and we are operating under the assumption The Rock was injured at Wrestlemania 29, but the fact the two sides were at odds just days before Wrestlemania 29 got people talking.
From what we've heard, part of the issue is that when The Rock originally came back [to WWE], he dealt exclusively with Vince McMahon to work out his deal and Vince basically gave him everything he wanted. Recently, Triple H has started to get involved and Rock doesn't trust Hunter like he trusts Vince. The Rock and Triple H have had an “uneasy relationship” going all the way back to the 90s and The Rock is well aware Triple H has buried him behind-the-scenes whenever possible over the years.
There are now concerns The Rock may not come back to WWE at all, although most feel cooler heads will prevail in plenty of time to spare before the build to Wrestlemania XXX begins. However, The Rock has an easy out, as film studios get very nervous whenever Rock wrestles as shooting schedules are seriously jeopardized by injury.
- WWE composer Jim Johnston is a popular man these days, especially given the fact Fandango's "ChaChaLaLa" charted in the United Kingdom. You can watch Johnston play the theme on the piano in a new video posted by WWE at this link.
- We reported last week here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that former WWE employee Andrew Green was suing WWE and The Big Show over a backstage incident at Royal Rumble. Green's wife, Staci, is also listed as a plaintiff in the suit filed in the Superior Court of the state of Arizona.
The following claims are listed in the litigation:
Count one - Negligence: Big Show
Count two - Assault: Big Show
Count three - Battery: Big Show
Count four - Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: Big Show
Count five - Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Big Show
Count six - Negligence: WWE
Count seven - Invasion of Privacy: WWE
Count eight - Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: WWE
Count nine - Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: WWE
Count ten - Commercial Appropriation of Likeness: WWE
Count eleven - Unjust Enrichment/Restitution: WWE
Count twelve - Intentional Tort: WWE
Count thirteen - Accounting/Constructive Trust: WWE
Count fourteen - Negligent Hiring: WWE
Count fifteen - Negligent Retention: WWE
Count sixteen - Negligent Training/Supervision: WWE
Count seventeen - Compensatory Damages
Count eighteen - Loss of Consortium
Count nineteen - Punitive/Exemplary Damages
The entire lawsuit is available online in PDF format at this link.
- World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler was an in-studio guest on The Rise Guys morning show Monday in Greenville, South Carolina. He talked about The Rock, being a Ric Flair fan and more. You can listen to the interview and view photos of Dolph with AJ Lee at this link.
- WWE has launched a new website located at WWECommunity.com.
- WWE announced on Monday that their "Superstars for Sandy Relief" auctions raised $524,742 for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York and New Jersey. Vince McMahon commented in a press release issued that you can view below:
WWE® RAISES MORE THAN $500,000 FOR HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF
STAMFORD, Conn., April 15, 2013 – WWE today announced that Superstars for Sandy Relief, the largest ever global online auction to benefit Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York and New Jersey, has raised $524,742. As part of WrestleMania® Week activities around the New York and New Jersey region, the auction was a combined effort between WWE, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes with proceeds benefiting the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Superstars for Sandy Relief online auction ran from March 25-April 9, and featured unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with WWE Superstars and other international sports and entertainment celebrities. The auction generated more than 2,000 bids from 152 countries, making this the largest auction of the year on global charity auction site Charitybuzz.com.
In addition to the online auction, entertainment powerhouse Sean “Diddy” Combs co-hosted a Superstars for Sandy Relief party with WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon and special guests Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno to kick-off WrestleMania Week at Cipriani Wall Street. The live auction, led by sportscaster Joe Buck, raised more than $75,000 to support Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
“The state of New Jersey is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” said Governor Chris Christie. “The overwhelming support from WWE and a host of celebrities to help the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund is something that the people of New Jersey will never forget.”
“Hurricane Sandy relief is an on-going effort,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “We are grateful to WWE and all the celebrities involved for putting its global resources behind a cause that is so important to the City of New York and our more than 8 million residents.”
“Superstars for Sandy Relief helped raise significant funds and awareness to support the people of New York and New Jersey who are still affected long after the devastating storm,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. “I’m proud that WWE and its global fan base supported such an important initiative.”
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did a 1.91 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 2,844,000 viewers on SyFy.
- Kofi Kingston defeated Antonio Cesaro to win the United States Championship on this week's edition of WWE Raw. Video footage is now available at this link.
- Ric Flair is at WWE Raw from the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, South Carolina. No word if he's just there visiting or set to appear live. Flair attended Wrestlemania 29 a couple weeks ago and was there to be around his friends.
- WWE announced on this week's WWE Raw that Undertaker will team with Team Hell No to face The Shield on next week's episode of Raw from The O2 Arena in London, England. As previously noted, Undertaker is advertised for the Smackdown taping from the same venue the next day. We'll have full taping results here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Bret Hart clarified his comments regarding Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 29 on his verified Twitter account. Hart Tweeted:
The recap of the interview is posted here but the video has since been removed.
- Nick Buzzelli and Bryan Chechak interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino about Wrestlemania 29 weekend and his deal with the company.
Bruno said Wrestlemania weekend was busier than he expected. He said he didn't get more than a couple hours of sleep in three or four days. Bruno said he had no idea he was going to be that busy and not have time to mingle with some of his friends he saw.
Bruno said WWE agreed to do a video game on him, some DVDs his best matches and "all that kind of stuff." He said WWE is going to do some merchandise on him but he isn't sure of the specifics. Bruno confirmed he has no future commitments [with WWE] and if they want him to appear on television, they'll have to ask and he'll have to give them a yes or no.
- CM Punk's promo on this week's episode of WWE Raw was done to write him off television as he won't be traveling with the company on their upcoming overseas tour.
Punk has been working banged up for months and came out of his match against Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 in rough shape. Punk is reportedly less than 50% healthy and while it's not believed he needs surgery, he needs time away from the ring to heal up.
Punk is next advertised for the April 29th episode of WWE Raw from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. For those that missed the segment, you can watch it at this link.
- For those wondering where The Miz has been, he's off WWE television filming the upcoming ABC Family movie called "Christmas Bounty." The film is in conjunction with WWE Studios. Click here for more.
- After this week's WWE Raw went off the air, Team Hell No joined John Cena in the ring for the dark match main event against The Shield. The match was thrown out when Roman Reigns used a chair on Cena. After the match, the babyfaces hits their finishers to send the crowd home happy.
Cena Tweeted the following after Raw:
- No matches were officially announced for WWE Extreme Rules on this week's Raw, however, the proposed lineup began to take shape.
As of this writing, it looks like Ryback will challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship. Ryback wrote the following on Twitter:
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H in a steel cage match. The next step in the storyline is Hunter has to accept, as stipulated by Paul Heyman.
Finally, Dolph Ziggler is proposed to defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio in a triple-threat match. While not officially announced, Booker T said the match would take place on WWE TV or at the pay-per-view next month.
WWE Extreme Rules 2013 will take place Sunday, May 19, 2013 from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- The New Age Outlaws are scheduled to work matches on upcoming Smackdown live events overseas. I just published the complete schedule of shows you can view at this link.
- Maria Kanellis spoke with SLAM! Wrestling about being contacted by WWE earlier this year and about the deal ultimately not working out. She touched on rumors about her deal getting called off over people not liking her. Below are some notable quotes:
"I did get contacted by WWE at the end of January, beginning of February, something like that, and for about a month, I was in talks with WWE," Kanellis said. "We talked about contracts, I had no problem with anything that was in the contract; but about a month after, they called back and said they weren't moving forward with the storyline."
"I'm friends most of the girls, I talk with a lot of them at least once a week if not a couple times a week, so I don't know where that comes from," she said. "I'm completely happy with WWE and I believe they're completely happy with me as well, so if that opportunity ever were to arise again and I wasn't locked up on something else, I would love to go back."
"I can't imagine them [The Bella Twins] being that immature to say something like that. This is a business world and I treat wrestling as a business as well as my passion. I just can't imagine anybody doing that and being that silly. As far as I know it was just a storyline thing.
"I was surprised (when she heard about the rumours). I get along with pretty much everyone; I don't have those issues. I had disagreements with people in the past, but I really worked hard to get rid of those disagreements. I really want to live my life with positivity. I don't want any kind of animosity out there about me. When I first got out of WWE, I was fiery and all that kind of stuff, but now, looking back, WWE was a great experience for me and I'm so glad I got to do everything I did there."
You can read the interview in its entirety at this link.
- This week's episode of "Backstage Fallout" Raw is now online at this link.
- Daniel Bryan got a lot of people talking backstage after performing a chokeslam on Roman Reigns after the dark match main event following this week's WWE Raw taping. The spot drew a huge pop from the live crowd in Greenville, South Carolina.
Backstage news and notes from WWE Raw in Greenville, South Carolina...
- WWE is going full speed ahead with the Ryback heel turn as was evident with the video package and subsequent angle on this week's WWE Raw. It's what he has pushed for and complained about for months and he is finally getting what he wants.
- We're told everyone was very pleased with how Brock Lesnar came off in his attack on 3MB. The feeling was it was "close to perfect" and Brock looked like a a monster, even selling he was going to hit Heath Slater a third time and not doing it.
- Vince McMahon booked Kofi Kingston over Antonio Cesaro for the WWE United States Championship, wanting another title change on the show to keep the momentum from last week. Kofi is obviously out of the company doghouse although Cesaro seems to inadvertently have stepped in. Some have pointed to CM Punk wearing the Cesaro shirt at the Wrestlemania Press Conference and the backstage whispers about him being left off the pay-per-view lineup. Obviously none of this is Cesaro's fault, but it is how Vince reacted. With that being said, Cesaro vs. Kofi on this week's show received high marks backstage.
- Both writers and producers are expecting big things from Undertaker & Team Hell No vs. The Shield and Fandango next week in London. One observer commented, they will be over huge in Europe.
- The feeling from the people I spoke with is that Brock Lesnar must go over Triple H at Extreme Rules.
- WWE Champion John Cena confirmed in a media appearance on Tuesday morning there was never any question that WWE would not go live with WWE Raw on Monday night despite the terrorist attack in Boston. Cena discussed WWE being the first company to broadcast a live sporting event after 9/11 and talked about WWE being an outlet for people and a way to make them smile.
- Ryback got personal with John Cena in a new Tweet posted Tuesday afternoon. Ryback Tweeted:
Cena and his wife Elizabeth Huberdeau were divorced last year.
- Fox Sports Australia has a new article online featuring quotes from Dolph Ziggler and senior WWE referee Mike Chioda. In it, Ziggler discusses the grind of traveling all the time and how he maintains a healthy diet on the road. He also talks about doing empty stomach cardio. Chioda reveals he was training to be a wrestler when Gorilla Monsoon told him the longevity in the business was working as a referee. You can read the article at this link.
- Triple H had an MRI on Monday to rule out a scaphoid fracture in his left wrist. The original injury was suffered in his No Holds Barred match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 29. WWE posted the following on Twitter:
Hunter was x-rayed in the locker room of MetLife Stadium and the x-rays were negative. He had a lot of swelling in his hand and wrist the next day.
- This week's episode of WWE Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,149,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the by hour breakdown:
Hour one - 4,185,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,236,000 viewers
Hour three - 4,026,000 viewers
The show ended up doing a 3.08 cable rating.
- Following the tease on this week's WWE Raw, the company has officially announced that Dolph Ziggler will defend the World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat Match at Extreme Rules against Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio.
Click here to read the official match preview.
WWE Extreme Rules 2013 will take place Sunday, May 19, 2013 from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- It was announced on this week's Smackdown that Triple H will respond to Brock Lesnar's challenge on next week's WWE Raw. Lesnar and Paul Heyman issued the challenge on last Monday's Raw.
- Dot com has a new article online with an injury update on Triple H. The piece notes an MRI revealed he did not have a scaphoid fracture but a carpal sprain and contusion to his left wrist.
Dr. Michael Sampson is quoted in the piece.
“He’ll be able to train with a splint on, but he’ll be cutting it close coming into Extreme Rules, as far as being ready [to compete],” Dr. Sampson said.
Click here for a photo of Hunter getting the MRI.
Triple H suffered the injury in his No Holds Barred match against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 29 on Sunday, April 7, 2013.
- Alicia Fox beat Aksana in a dark match prior to this week's WWE Smackdown taping in Knoxville, Tennessee.
- After the taping, The Shield attacked Randy Orton and Sheamus. Triple H, with his arm in a splint, made the save. The babyfaces ended up hitting their finishers to send the crowd home happy.
- WWE will return to Knoxville, TN for the November 19th Smackdown taping. Tickets are now on sale in a pre-sale using the password Knoxville.
- Mick Foley wrote on Twitter he'll appear on next week's Smackdown from London, England:
- Arda Ocal interviewed Rob Van Dam at the Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion this week in Las Vegas. He discussed being at WrestleCon over Wrestlemania 29 weekend and appearing at the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
RVD put over Bruno Sammartino and his story and talked about being there to support Booker T. The conversation shifted when Mick Foley was brought up as Van Dam said he doesn't remember a Foley vs. RVD match and said one of them wasn't ready for it. He said he wasn't trying to take anything away from anyone but when Arda tried to get him to single out Foley's induction, he put over the class by also mentioning Trish Stratus.
RVD said "anything is possible" regarding his contract status but said he had plans but is a skeptic by nature and until his name is not on the dotted line somewhere, it's not for sure. RVD confirmed he hasn't signed a contract with anyone but he couldn't imagine going back to the same schedule he did before. He said a full-time schedule is not in his best interests.
You can watch the interview in its entirety at this link
- Ryback formatted his Twitter account and now only includes one Tweet. That Tweet is as follows:
We noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Ryback mentioned the ex-wife of John Cena on Twitter on Tuesday although I haven't heard if that's the reason for the mass delete. It's worth noting Ryback has the official Wrestling News World account @wnwnews blocked.
- The Wall Street Journal has an editorial by Gordon Deal about using his bed as a wrestling ring with his kids. Stephanie McMahon posted the link on Twitter as you can read it at this link.
- There is currently a presale ongoing for the June 3rd WWE Raw taping in Hartford, CT. The password to obtain tickets is WWECENA. Tickets for the Smackdown taping the next day in Long Island, New York will go on sale in a presale on Thursday. The password to obtain those tickets is NVMC.
- The Rock is set to begin filming "Hercules" in six weeks in Budapest. This has caused him to second-guess Vin Diesel's claim that filming for Fast & Furious 7 will begin this summer. Collider.com has the story at this link.
- WWE is scheduled to announce a new development Thursday in Central Florida. Florida Governor Rick Scott, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Triple H and Full Sail University president Garry Jones are scheduled to be on hand. WWE has increased its presence the area by building a new developmental facility in Orlando (now under construction) and taping NXT from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park. There have also been rumblings of a physical Hall of Fame in the area.
- The Rock begins physical therapy for his torn abdominal and adductor muscles on Thursday. He's already been training and is now five weeks out from filming the movie Hercules. The following is from Rock's verified Twitter account:
Rock was injured early on in his Wrestlemania 29 match against John Cena. He was diagnosed with torn abdomen and adductor muscles that he tore off his pelvis as well as a hernia. Rock sought treatment from Dr. Lee Kaplan at the University of Miami.
- Sgt. Slaughter revealed in an interview with Arda Ocal at the Cauliflower Alley Reunion in Las Vegas, Nevada that he was in the original plans to manage Jack Swagger. Slaughter said plans were changed when Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara were lost to injury and Alberto Del Rio was turned babyface. This resulted in the creation of the Zeb Colter character to push the duo as antagonists.
Slaughter said the original storyline was for him to "put Swagger through bootcamp" and build him as the protagonist. He would welcome an opportunity to return to WWE as an on-air character and his bags are always packed. Slaughter is currently working for WWE as an ambassador.
You can watch the interview at this link.
- CM Punk is currently getting over a situation that saw him at odds with Vince McMahon and Triple H to the point where he was ready to quit the company. We're told Punk was upset about being lied too about his match against Undertaker atWrestlemania 29. While he didn't understand the logic of going under, he was fine with it. However, he was told up until the event the creative plans were still up in the air.
When Punk found out the outcome all along was for Undertaker to go over and extend the streak to 21-0, Punk felt that Vince and Hunter were betraying him by lying to him. After initially saying the company could eat the remainder of his contract and he was finished, Vince sat down with him to iron things out. One observer noted that Punk questioned why he had to threaten to leave the company to get someone to pay attention to him. He reportedly vented frustrations about guys like Daniel Bryan, Antonio Cesaro and Kofi Kingston working hard while the company obsessed over hot shot booking and storylines to please their own egos. The conversation went back and forth but Vince was able to calm him down.
Things took another turn for the worse when Punk requested time off to heal up but Vince stressed they need him for his next program. When Punk inquired about it, Vince reportedly didn't have a straight answer. Eventually it was agreed upon that Punk would take some time off to see how he felt. In addition to his knees possibly needing surgery, he also has damage to his elbow and back.
There was a conference call on Tuesday with Punk, Vince McMahon, Paul Heyman and writers to discuss his future where multiple ideas were discussed. Whether or not they come to fruition will ultimately hinge on Punk's health and Vince's desire.
- Brian Christopher Lawler (a/k/a Grandmaster Sexay) was arrested on the charge of Driving Under the Influence on April 11, 2013 in Chester County, Tennessee. Lawler, the real-life son of WWE Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, was pulled over by police for failing to stop at an intersection.
He reportedly admitted to consuming more than a half liter of vodka and also taking xanax and methadone. Lawler was unable to recite the alphabet in a field sobriety test. He was later released on $1000 bond.
Lawler is due to appear before a judge to answer to the charge on Friday.
- Jim Ross toured UFC headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday. He wrote about the experience on his verified Twitter account:
UFC President Dana White wrote the following on Twitter:
- WWE will announce on Thursday their new training center in Orlando, Florida. The office of Florida Governor Ric Scott released the following statement Wednesay evening:
"WWE could have chosen anywhere in the world to house this new global performance center – and they chose the Sunshine State,'' Scott said in a statement. "[The] announcement that WWE will create nearly 100 more jobs for families in Central Florida is further proof that everything we do is geared towards job creation.''
The development has been dubbed "Project Flair" in reference to Ric Flair.
In addition to Governor Scott, Orange County Maory Teresa Jacobs, Full Sail University President Garry Jones and Triple H will be on hand for a press conference at 11:30 AM on Thursday at the Forsyth Central Commerce Park between East Colonial Drive and State Road 408.
Click here for coverage by the Orlando Sentinel.
- CM Punk and his real-life girlfriend Amy "Lita" Dumas were at Turner Field on Wednesday from the Kansas City Royals at Atlanta Braves game. You can view a photo he Tweeted below:
- WWE has a new "Where Are They Now?" feature on Rick Steiner. You can get a full update on “The Dog-Faced Gremlin” at this link.
- ESPN'sJon Robinson spoke to Cody Rhodes before Wrestlemania 29 and included some quotes in this week's WWE Power Rankings. Below is an excerpt:
“Gosh, this has been a horrible run,” Rhodes said as we talked about his career earlier this month before WrestleMania 29 in East Rutherford, N.J. “I feel like after Money in the Bank in Phoenix, I almost took a nose dive, career-wise. I couldn’t get the reigns on it, but I feel like I finally got the reigns on my career again, and that happens in entertainment. As much as I’m excited about seeing John Cena and The Rock, it can’t always be John Cena and The Rock, and I just hope that I can continue to grow. I’ll be 28 this summer, and I’d really like to continue furthering my career, whether it’s teaming with Damien [Sandow], or it’s back in a singles capacity. “It’s funny, because before Rhodes Scholars, I had zero interest in doing another tag team, but I’ve really enjoyed Damien’s company. I have a different outlook on sports entertainment than Damien does, and it makes for fun TV. I’ve never really been good at the comedy elements of the business. I’ve always looked at the business in a more serious, stern fashion like the guys I grew up liking, and I’m just not a funny guy. But Damien is, and he’s also a really tough bastard, and I like that.”
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Triple H, alongside Florida Governor Rick Scott and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs announced WWE's new "Performance Center" at a news conference Thursday morning. It was announced the new facility, located in Orlando, will replace the company's current developmental facility in Tampa.
Hunter confirmed previous WNW Premium reports that the 26,000-square-foot facility would feature seven wrestling rings and its own strength-and-conditioning and physical-therapy areas.
The facility will also strengthen WWE's relationship with Full Sail University as Full Sail students will learn about TV production from the facility's sound stage. The school's president, Gary Jones, was on hand for the announcement.
The WWE Performance Center is expected to have an economic impact as well as it's expected to employ about 100 people, creating 16 new full-time jobs. WWE is not receiving incentive funding from the state. The open is expected for some time this summer.
Below are photos from Thursday's announcement:
Click here for coverage by the Orlando Sentinel.
- While both Rob Van Dam and MVP have been trying to get back into WWE, we're told Triple H hasn't shown much interest in MVP and he's far more open to bringing back RVD. One source, speaking with me under the condition of anonymity, says Hunter is playing hardball with both. He wants the precedent set that if you leave, you can't just "waltz back in" whenever you want.
RVD claimed earlier this week he had plans but didn't reveal them. He did, however, confirm he has not signed a contract with anyone.
As for the precedent Triple H is trying to set, we're told this could also play a part in his strained relationship with The Rock. Some of the boys look at Rock's schedule and feel the company shouldn't cater so much to a guy that comes and goes as he pleases. Brock Lesnar doesn't get the same amount of heat because he hasn't been in the championship picture and he hasn't been beating the guys that are there all the time.
- WWE issued the following press release regarding their new Performance Center in Orlando, Florida:
STAMFORD, Conn., April 18, 2013 – Opening this summer, the WWE state-of-the-art Performance Center will serve as the new home to WWE’s talent developmental system, recently re-branded NXT® and create nearly 100 high-wage jobs in Orlando, Florida. With 26,000 square-feet, seven training rings, a world-class strength and conditioning program and cutting-edge edit and production facilities, the new Performance Center will give WWE the ability to train more potential performers than ever before through a comprehensive program including in-ring training, physical preparedness and character development. The new center will be the training ground for talent that includes former professional and collegiate athletes, Olympians and entertainers, and will offer a best-in-class sports medicine program creating a central location for all WWE talent to receive the best care both in and out of the ring. “Our economy has created nearly 300,000 new private sector jobs in just over two years, meaning that thousands of Florida families now have the opportunity to pursue their dreams,” said Governor Rick Scott. “WWE could have chosen anywhere in the world to house this new global performance center – and they chose the Sunshine State. Today’s announcement that WWE will create nearly 100 more jobs for families in Central Florida is further proof that everything we do is geared towards job creation and it’s working.” “We are so excited that WWE has chosen to establish its training and talent development operations in Central Florida,” said Teresa Jacobs, Mayor of Orange County. “In addition to strengthening our burgeoning entertainment production industry, the WWE Performance Center brings high-value jobs, capital investment and continued economic expansion to our area.” Today’s announcement solidifies WWE’s presence in Orlando and evolves WWE’s partnership with Full Sail University. Last year, WWE and Full Sail announced an innovative partnership that moved live tapings of WWE NXT series, WWE’s weekly one-hour show that broadcasts on WWE.com and in more than 60 countries worldwide, to Full Sail Live, the university’s state-of-the-art performance venue. The partnership, which created a new student scholarship fund, also allows students of the university’s entertainment-focused degree programs, including Film, Show Production, Digital Arts and Design, Internet Marketing and Entertainment Business, to gain real-world experience alongside WWE production staff during WWE NXT tapings. “The WWE Performance Center and our partnership with Full Sail University are critical to the future of our company,” said Paul “Triple H®” Levesque, Executive Vice President, Talent and Live Events, WWE. “Orlando is now the home to the next generation of WWE Superstars.” "Collaborating with WWE has elevated the education experience here at Full Sail University by creating many opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience by being mentored by some of the best minds in the entertainment production industry," said Garry Jones, President of Full Sail University. "We are excited to welcome WWE to the neighborhood and can't wait to see what the future holds for this evolving partnership."
Brian Fritz recorded Tuesday's news conference and posted the footage here on YouTube.
- Shawn Michaels, The New Age Outlaws and Chris Jericho have been added to an upcoming WWE live event loop in May. Neither John Cena nor CM Punk are currently advertised for the shows. The dates are as follows:
5/24 from the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, UT
5/25 from the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer, AB
5/26 from the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, AB
You can view the listings yourself at this link.
- WWE has added Mickie James to the Alumni section of their website and have added several of her matches to their YouTube channel.
- NJ.com has the first details regarding the economic impact of Wrestlemania 29 in New Jersey. The article notes that workers earned about $1.4 million in gross salaries and benefits. Between Wrestlemania 29, the Hall of Fame Ceremony and Wrestlemania Axxess, fans bought more than 140,000 tickets. WWE says Axxess was their most highly attended yet.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Forbes has a new article online featuring quotes from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. In it, Hunter says he would have no regret if his next match was his last.
“I wouldn’t have one regret,” said Triple H. “I wouldn’t have any. I’ve had a hell of career, a hell of a run. I’ve done everything I wanted to do in this business. I’ll never leave this business. It’s ironic. Years ago when I said it about being in the game, you know that statement was really about the business. It was about being a student of the game and about this business and when I say the game will never die, I truly mean that. None of us are bigger than this. None of us are bigger than the WWE. It will always continue to go on and I will always be a part of it.”
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
Speaking of Triple H, he still has some swelling in his left hand but has no broken bones. He's expected to "accept" Brock Lesnar's challenge for a steel cage match at Extreme Rules on next week's WWE Raw from London, England.
- William Regal acknowledged WWE producer Fit Finlay after his match against Michael McGillicutty at Thursday's WWE Raw live event in Belfast, Ireland. Finlay, who was ringside for the bout, received a huge pop after Regal put him over on the stick.
- WWE developmental Diva Summer Rae appeared at Thursday's Smackdown live event as a dancer with Fandango in Glasgow, Scotland. We have quick results from the show online at this link. You can view a Twitter photo below:
- TNA Wrestling sent out the following on Monday:
ASPIRING UK WRESTLERS PURSUE THEIR TNA WRESTLING DREAM ON FUEL TV
TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp starts April 25th, 2013
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: TNA Wrestling and FUEL TV are proud to announce the debut of a six-part entertainment series that follows four aspiring professional British wrestlers vying to crack the big time in the ultra-competitive world of American impact wrestling.
TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp will go behind-the-scenes of TNA Wrestling’s search for a UK superstar. Exclusive to FUEL TV, the series documents the story of four aspiring home-grown wrestlers as they pursue a professional wrestling contract with TNA Wrestling.
FUEL TV viewers will experience the triumphs and tribulations of Manchester-based female tag-team wrestling twins Hannah and Holly Blossom, along with two male wrestlers Marty Scurll and Rockstar Spud from Cambridge and Birmingham, as they embark on their ambition to join TNA’s wrestling roster. Cameras follow them as they travel from their homes in the UK to the USA, get trained and mentored by famous names from the world of UK and US wrestling, and meet TNA’s President Dixie Carter.
The finalists will enter the TNA developmental system to hone their wrestling skills and be put to the test by legendary British wrestlers and current TNA stars including Rollerball Rocco or Hulk Hogan. Culminating with a match at the TNA Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida, they compete to impress the judges and Dixie Carter. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for the professional wrestlers.
In addition to British Boot Camp, FUEL TV will also screen TNA’s Greatest Matches, featuring the very best matches from all the TNA Pay-Per-Views over the last two years. This exciting show also debuts on April 25th at 5:30pm AST.
BRITISH BOOT CAMP, Thursday 5:00pm AST on FUEL TV (Foxtel Channel 516)
TNA’S GREATEST MATCHES, Thursday 5:30pm AST on FUEL TV (Foxtel Channel 516)
- Samoa Joe recently did an interview on Fox Sports 1340 while promoting TNA Wrestling's April 5th live event in Westbury, New York. The host tells Joe that what he likes about him so much is that he's stayed with TNA and hasn't gone anywhere. He called Joe the backbone of TNA. Joe said it's being the backbone of TNA and the money that's kept him there. He said he's having a blast in TNA and they have the best wrestling locker room in the world. Joe said what's right about TNA is the work in the ring and they do it on their own. He said he's excited to be a part of something new. You can listen to the interview in its entirety at this link.
- The new TNA Impact Wrestling intro video has surfaced on YouTube. You can watch it at this link.
- The upcoming autobiography on AJ Styles is titled "Phenomenal" and in addition to the names already reported, Sting, Evan Bourne, Christopher Daniels and Les Thatcher are also contributors. The book is due out in October 2013.
- We're able to confirm that TNA Wrestling's live events coordinator Craig Jenkins has departed the company. Jenkins held the position for six years and wrote the following on Twitter:
As someone that has met Craig on a couple occasions, I wish him well in his future endeavors.
- Spike TV, the television home of Impact Wrestling, is expanding their demographics. Originally focusing on males 18-34, their new programs announced here, will target the adult 18-49 demographics.
- Is Robbie E smarter than a middle school kid? This week's episode is now online at this link.
- Former TNA announcer and staff member Don West implied his biannual royalty check from TNA Wrestling was less than the $20 "brown bag specials" he used to sell for the company:
West also provided Tweets that shed more on the departure of live events coordinator Craig Jenkins:
The above Tweet was Re-Tweeted by Brian Wittenstein@Briman7 (center of the TNA vs. WWE lawsuit) and Karen Jarrett .
West left TNA last year to become the new director of sales and marketing of the
Wenatchee Wild ice hockey team.
Richard Reacts: As someone that has seen both Don and Craig in action at TNA live events, I think the company would be hard-pressed to find better replacements. While Don has obviously been gone, Craig was an extremely hard worker and played an integral part in the shows going on without a hitch.
- TNA Knockout Tara wrote on Twitter that she won't be on Impact Wrestling for a few months. The following is from her verified Twitter account:
- Bleacher Report published an exclusive interview with SoCal Val about her current role in TNA Wrestling. Below are the highlights:
Working as a producer:
I started producing backstage about a year or two ago, and it pretty much just entails me helping talent go through different lines that we need for television shows and commercials. A lot of it is international, like we just did some liners today for Germany, and it's basically just a wrestler coming in and saying, “I'm such-and-such,” saying hello to all of our fans in Germany. So, it's basically just me running a prompter and knowing the scripts, and just kind of directing the talent, which is really, really cool. If I'm not on camera, I'm usually behind the camera helping them.
Transitioning from a talent to her current role:
Better things came along, and I took an opportunity. I think it's pretty cool that I was kept around after that, to do ring girl stuff, as well, and then the producing was just something else that I could help out with backstage while I'm doing promos.
Oh, definitely, that was always my goal, which is to do what I'm doing now, which is the hosting and announcing, because to me—well, also to be a manager. But the thing with being a manager is that there's not always longevity in a certain amount of time in a storyline. So, to me, all I wanted to do was to be involved with wrestling, and to creatively contribute, and to host on the camera and talk on the mic, so I'm really lucky that that's what I've got to do for so long.
If she likes her role now:
Honestly, I'm really, really happy with what I'm doing. A lot of times at the live events, I'm the emcee and ring announcer for the entire event, and really the only one on the mic. Our merchandise guy does help with intermission and things like that, but as far as being the emcee for the whole show, I get to do that. So, in addition to live events, and now doing this hosting backstage and being the anchor for a lot of the commercials, especially with a lot of them being international, that's exciting. I'm really happy with where I am, I have to say.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- TNA President Dixie Carter revealed Wednesday on Twitter that they would be testing out a new camera attached to the referee during the X-Division match on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling. Carter Tweeted:
The match was taped last week and features Kenny King defending the TNA X-Division Championship against Petey Williams and Zema Ion.
- Spike TV President Kevin Kay spoke to Sherdog.com and discussed the future of "King Mo" Lawal:
The only thing it changes a little bit is that we thought there would be more time. If Mo had won the tournament, then he would have not had to fight this summer, probably would have gone to TNA for the summer and then come back in the fall to fight in Bellator again. But because we want to get him back in the cage and give him as fast a shot as possible to get back up and running and hopefully win, we’re going to get him back on this summer. So, he won’t go as quickly back to Impact as we originally had planned, but that’s all good.
Click here to read the interview in its entirety.
- Christy Hemme noted on Twitter she recorded vocals for Taryn Terrell's entrance music. She Tweeted:
- The following is being advertised for next week's episode of Impact Wrestling from Indiana, Pennsylvania:
TNA Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky b. Mickie James
TNA Tag Team Champions Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. Bobby Roode & Austin Aries
- TNA posted a backstage interview with AJ Styles following his match on Impact Wrestling at this link.
- After Impact Wrestling received its lowest rating last week since October 2012, they bounced back up to get a 0.98 cable rating this week with 1,268,000 viewers on Spike TV.
- Tara says she won't be taking time off from Impact Wrestling after all. The former TNA Knockout Champion wrote the following on Twitter:
Tara said earlier this week she would be off television for months.
With Dolph Ziggler as World Heavyweight Champion will Big E Langston and AJ Lee get separate singles pushes with a different gimmick?
The pairing of Big E Langston and AJ Lee with Dolph Ziggler currently remains but it provides an interesting angle when they split. AJ plays the wildcard while Big E Langston could grow "sick of the shadow" and try and challenge Ziggler for the title. Obviously this would be a major push for Langston and it would be up to the company and how over he is before any decision is made. Presently, WWE is pushing Ziggler going forward with Alberto Del Rio seeking a rematch and Jack Swagger not out of the mix.
We all know how the CM Punk-Undertaker feud played out and ended, but my question is: had it not been for the untimely and unexpected death of Paul Bearer, where was WWE going with the feud and what was in store for it?
This is the million-dollar question that no one knows the answer to. I'm sure WWE would have come up with an angle where CM Punk claimed he was "the best in the world," so he was "better than the streak." The unexpected death of Paul Bearer provided the build for a program that ended in a stellar match. While some were offended, I actually loved it and many that knew Paul Bearer well said he would have loved it. It's also worth noting that WWE went out of their way to clear things with Bearer's children, which was a nice gesture.
Is Fandangoing the next Harlem Shake?
When the Houston Texans Cheerleaders released a video where they were Fandangoing, I wondered if this had enough steam to become the next Harlem Shake. Only time will tell but it's worth taking a look at the opportunity this provides Fandango. WWE booked him over Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania and thanks to last week's rowdy crowd, everyone is talking about Fandango because of his theme music. WWE kept him involved in the main event of last week's Smackdown, so this week's Raw is an important show for him. Fandango can work, everyone just wondered how this gimmick would get over. It's taking on a life of its own and now it's up to the worker to demand people continue to take notice.
What is the purpose of Undertaker working next week's Smackdown taping from the O2 in London, England?
Undertaker is officially advertised for next week's Smackdown taping from the O2 Arena in London, England. He is scheduled to work in what will likely be a dark match main event with Randy Orton & Sheamus against The Shield. Even if he doesn't appear on-camera, this is being done to create excitement for the fans attending across the pond. This is Undertaker's first time in London with WWE in four years and will bolster attendance and ticket sales.
What's your response to Eric Bishoff's recent comments about him keeping track of 'dirt sheets' and labeling 'wrestling experts' as uneducated and small minded people that don't know as much as they think they do? Do you see yourself as one of those 'experts'?
I am well aware that most people in the business follow this website. Even those that claim they do not, can't help but read what is written about them. I have no problem with Eric Bischoff's comments because he's more than welcome to have his own opinion. I'm not going to try and alter his opinion or prove my expertise because that's not the reason I do what I do for a living. I operate this website to provide people with an insider prospective on the business. I can't control anything but what is carried on this website and I'll proudly stand by my contributions. I started in November 1999 as a kid with a dream and have gone on to watch shows from backstage, interview WWE Hall of Famers and break thousands of exclusive stories. The main reason for my success is readers like you reading each day and for that, I am forever grateful.
What does CM Punk "walking out" on the crowd on this week's WWE Raw mean?
I saw someone on Twitter joke that CM Punk "lost his smile" on this week's WWE Raw. As I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the promo was done to write Punk off television. He's not traveling overseas as he's taking some much needed (and deserved) time off. Punk is advertised for the 4/29 episode of WWE Raw from Columbus, Ohio.
Do you see Undertaker's latest run as a "farewell tour" or just a way to sale tickets and utilize him while they can?
I stressed prior to Undertaker vs. CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29 that Undertaker couldn't be counted on in future plans because he's nearing the end of his career. Then he goes out and not only appears to be in phenomenal physical shape but has yet another outstanding Wrestlemania match. I'm always careful to speculate about the end of someone's career because truly, no one knows. We are very fortunate to experience Undertaker in his current form and every show, every appearance should be treated with a certain level of respect in that we are watching one of the greatest, if not the greatest, perform at a high level. As I stated following the pay-per-view a couple weeks ago, we need to start having the conversation about Undertaker being the greatest of all time. If I lived in London, I wouldn't want to miss next week's shows.
Do you think that Dolph Ziggler's character and in-ring capabilities kind of overrated?
I think the exact opposite - Dolph Ziggler's character and in-ring capabilities are underrated by WWE. Dolph is a guy that has had some of the best work in the company over the past couple years yet he's booked without confidence. This goes right along with CM Punk's comments about WWE starting and stopping on guys. One week he's going over for the title, the next he's pinned clean on free TV by Jack Swagger. I understand this is the "bigger picture" but I feel Ziggler is a guy if WWE really got behind could become a major star like CM Punk.
What did you think of Ryback's promo on WWE Raw?
Ryback's character turn as a "serious" heel intrigues me and I felt the pre-tape where he explained his attack on John Cena on this week's Raw was well done. There were some that clamored about it being a pre-tape but I thought this was important for a couple reasons. One, he could make sure he got his lines right, while also not worrying about the crowd reactions. I thought it was a nice touch how WWE included the past footage to give everyone a refresher of his history with John Cena. My biggest question, however, is where do they go from here? Cena just won the title back and his "redemption," so are we supposed to believe this reign is over next month to Ryback? If it's not, this is yet another pay-per-view loss for Ryback. What exactly has he won where we are supposed to take him seriously? The "feed me more" chants caught on despite the jobs but can he get over as an unstoppable monster if he doesn't walk away WWE Champion? A lot of questions remain and it will be interesting watching it unfold. We asked readers during WWE Raw what they thought of the promo and you can read select responses here at WrestlingNews.net.
What was the point of having Bo Dallas make such a strong showing at the Royal Rumble and beat Wade Barrett on Raw if there was no follow-up? Sometimes it feels like WWE wants us to completely forget certain things ever happened.
WWE wanted to see how Bo Dallas would get over on the main roster. He's one of their top developmental prospects that everyone has been raving about so the only way to give him a complete evaluation is to "throw him in the fire" so to speak. Dallas was gobbled up in the hype for Wrestlemania but this isn't a bad thing and was expected. Workers like Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Ryback had to take a backseat to the Wrestlemania main events so obviously workers just breaking in had to go back even further. From a logic standpoint it made little sense for Bo Dallas to just "go away" but WWE banks on fans having a short memory so they are able to manipulate with programs they feel will sell.
Why is Jim Ross no longer the lead play-by-play man for WWE?
Vince McMahon made the decision to go with Michael Cole over Jim Ross, as Ross has gone on record multiple times saying it wasn't his decision to leave television. If JR can't give the reason why, there's no way I could do it and it would be unfair for me to speculate. Jim Ross still has a good relationship with WWE and is under contract. He does sporadic work at the NXT tapings and sells his BBQ sauce through WWE. I think JR is one of the greatest although Michael Cole has done a good job in replacing him. Cole got a lot of unwarranted heat due to a heel turn that ran too long and the fact he stepped into shoes that were impossible to fill. There will never be another JR but Cole knows his stuff and knows how to get things over the way WWE wants them. John Layfield was a phenomenal addition and I am a huge fan of the three-man booths with Jerry Lawler.
I'm lost with the writing of this week's Raw. Why does Wade Barrett go under to R-Truth if there is going to be a #1 contender battle royal? Why is The Shield involved in Cena vs Ryback? And why is Henry attacking Sheamus when last week he wanted a title shot? What are your thoughts on these storylines?
Remember when Wade Barrett, as Intercontinental Champion, was pinned clean by Bo Dallas when WWE was promoting the Intercontinental Championship Cup for WWE Main Event? They later canceled it but I was very critical of the booking because why should we care about the number one contender of the IC champion if he was pinned clean by a developmental prospect in a non-title match? Let's go back to your question and let me give you some short answers, then some further explanation. Welcome to WWE's view of their secondary titles, how do we turn Ryback heel and keep The Shield hot and we don't have enough confidence in Mark Henry to draw as a viable WWE Championship challenger. Creative plans change and right now things are in a state of flux as Wrestlemania programs are over and WWE has to figure out how to utilize their roster while also trying to prevent an inevitable drop off in interest. CM Punk needs time off, Chris Jericho is rejoining his band and The Rock is back to his movie schedule. This is why Brock Lesnar is getting a match at Extreme Rules, Undertaker is headed to London and they're granting Ryback's wishes to turn heel. I understand your confusion and wish I could provide a better explanation but the bottom line is WWE wants to keep interest while undergoing a transition of talent at the top.
I attended Wrestlemania Axxess and felt Kassius Ohno (f/k/a Chris Herro) was more over than Mark Henry. Why is he not on television?
Kassius Ohno is another top developmental prospect working in NXT Wrestling and is on a short-list for a future call-up. Ohno recently had a match against William Regal that aired on the April 11th episode of WWE NXT. You can read more about it at this link.
Do you think WWE should put Paul Heyman with Antonio Cesaro?
I am sure I speak for the IWC masses in that a Paul Heyman/Antonio Cesaro pairing would be epic. In fact, why not take Cesaro, CM Punk, Kassius Ohno and Daniel Bryan and put them all with Heyman? A faction with the WWE "outcasts" would be awesome but we do have something similar in The Shield. I talked at length about Cesaro here in the WNW Premium Mailbag. In it, I pondered if Cesaro dropping the US title was a demotion or a promotion. Listen and join the discussion at this link.
Are there any updates on WWE bringing back Steve Austin, Rob Van Dam or Batista?
There is no update on Steve Austin returning to WWE as of this writing. Many speculated a Wrestlemania 29 match against CM Punk but it obviously never came to fruition. Rob Van Dam is kayfabing over his contract status as we have the latest update on him at this link. I talked about Batista possibly returning to WWE at this link. WWE has clearly changed their stance on part-time talent and is willing to bring in workers under deals with limited appearances.
How is John Cena perceived backstage?
John Cena is perceived just like any other worker. Some people like him and others do not. As with anything that has success in this business, he receives unwarranted hate but it's understood he's the top guy. For those that doubt his stroke or influence, did you see what happened with Ryback's Twitter account? Ryback Tweeted about Cena's ex-wife only to end up deleting all Tweets. Coincidence?
What's the latest on CM Punk requiring time off?
CM Punk is taking time off to rest his beaten up body. There was a situation that emerged after Wrestlemania where he actually threatened to quit WWE. We have full details now online at this link. As for time off, he's not on the current overseas tour but is advertised for the April 29th episode of WWE Raw from Columbus, Ohio.
Even though The Shield has been booked strong, what would be your thoughts on putting the WWE Tag Team Championship on them?
The Shield has been booked with confidence, with the selling point being they are one of the best trios to ever work in a WWE ring. There has been talk for the last few weeks about putting them over Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Championship and having two of the three defend them at events going forward. The Shield is currently programmed with Team Hell No and my assumption is they eventually win the WWE Tag Team Championship, although plans are always subject to change.
With The Rock's injury and filming Hercules in five weeks, where does that leave his schedule with WWE? Wasn't a match with Brock Lesnar next on the table?
The Rock was in the initial plans for Extreme Rules next month, however, he was removed from them prior to Wrestlemania 29 earlier this month. There was an idea pitched to plant the seed of Rock vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX next year but the angle didn't happen on Raw the night after the pay-per-view because of Rock's injury. For a detailed report of the plans that changed and Rock's relationship with WWE, click here.
What is the pay structure for a WWE NXT talent?
WWE developmental workers have contracts that include downside guarantees and show bonuses. One of the things that boosted morale amongst developmental workers when the company revamped WWE NXT (taping from Full Sail University) is they are paid bigger bonuses for appearing on TV because it's an actual WWE television series.
What are the preliminary plans for Wrestlemania XXX?
Believe it or not, there has already been talk surrounding creative plans for next year's Wrestlemania XXX pay-per-view. The company has a tendency to write backwards and we can confirm there was an idea pitched to do The Rock vs. Brock Lensar at the show next year, however, Rock apparently wants a match with Undertaker and didn't want to get locked into something with Lesnar. Things can change a lot between now and then but it looks like Rock, Lesnar and Undertaker are in play for Wrestlemania XXX next year.