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 14, 2012 to Friday, April 20, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- Brie and Nikki Bella are both advertised for next week's WWE Raw Supershow in London but have not been on overseas live events. It was noted today on their official Twitter account they are currently en route to London. As we noted earlier here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the Bella twins will be letting their WWE contracts expire and will be leaving at the end of the month to pursue other opportunities. For those that have asked they will not have 90-day non-compete clauses because they are letting their deals expire.
- WWE has announced the following overseas shows for November:
- November 2, 2012 from the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany
- November 8, 2012 from the Indoor Stadium in Zurich, Switzerland
- Despite rumors over Wrestlemania XXVIII weekend indicating otherwise, Rima FakihTweeted today that she has not signed a contract with WWE. The former Miss USA and WWE Tough Enough contestant made headlines last week when she entered a "no contest" plea on charges of Driving Under the Influence.
- The following press release hit the wire today:
MOSCOW--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE (NYSE:WWE - News) successfully held its first-ever live event in Russia on Wednesday, April 11, where more than 6,000 fans were in attendance to see their favorite WWE Superstars and Divas live in the ring at the Luzhniki Small Sports Arena in Moscow.
WWE Executive Vice President and WWE Superstar Paul “Triple H®” Levesque made a surprise guest appearance at the RAW live event in Moscow joining Superstars John Cena® and CM Punk™. Levesque stated, “The response from our fans in Moscow at Luzhniki was overwhelming. WWE is very proud to have already established such a loyal fan base in Russia in a little over a year. We look forward to returning again in the near future and delivering an even bigger experience."
Since the launch of WWE’s flagship weekly TV show WWE RAW on 2x2 in February 2011, the company has seen a steep rise in popularity across Russia. Now both WWE RAW and WWE SmackDown are seen in more than 24 million Russian TV households every week and a Russian language WWE website (ru.wwe.com) with Tvigle launched earlier this year.
- WWE announced here on dot com that John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules will be an "extreme rules match," meaning no count out and no disqualification.
- WWE has announced they will tape Smackdown on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
- The official WWE website announced today that preliminary buyrates and global gross sales for WrestleMania XXVIII were record-breaking. Details are in the following excerpt:
Preliminary estimates show that WrestleMania, featuring the historic “Once in a Lifetime” Match between The Rock and John Cena, garnered 1.3 million pay-per-view buys with global gross sales in excess of $67 million including the live event.
Click here to read the full article.
- TMZ has a snippet on The Rock where he is featured on the set of his new bodybuilding film "Pain and Gain" with his body double, You can check it out at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Logan Walker for sending this in.)
- Speaking of The Rock, he Tweeted today that Wrestlemania XXVIII set a pay-per-view buy record. Here's his Tweet:
- WWE finally put out a buyrate number for Wrestlemania XXVIII, touting the show did 1,300,000 buys. While this is above the initial estimates I heard in the 1,100,000 buy range, it is below rumors that the show did 1,900,000 buys. Below is the official press release:
STAMFORD, Conn., April 16, 2012 – WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today that WrestleMania, held April 1 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, set new records for pay-per-view buys and gross sales. Preliminary estimates show that WrestleMania, featuring the historic Once in a Lifetime match between The Rock® and John Cena®, garnered 1.3 million pay-per-view buys with global gross sales in excess of $67 million including the live event. WrestleMania was seen around the world on pay-per-view in more than 105 countries and 20 languages. Next year’s WrestleMania will take place Sunday, April 7, 2013 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Ticket information will be announced later this year.
- Pac, who is known for his stellar Dragon Gate USA matches, was at today's Raw Supershow taping from the London O2 Arena in London, England. - Another well-known Dragon Gate USA name that is now under WWE developmental contract, Dean Ambrose, worked a dark match prior to today's taping in London. He went over Alex Riley.
- WWEhas announced the following shows in Kentucky:
- July 28th from the Broadbent Arena in Louisville
- July 29th from Rupp Arena in Lexington
- Mick Foley continued his program in a new blog entry written on his Typepad account. Below is an excerpt:
2) About Dean Ambrose - Look, sports-entertainment has to involve a certain amount of respect and trust. It's pretty obvious Dean Ambrose doesn't have the slightest ammount of respect for me, and therefore I can't place the slightest ammount of trust in him. Anyone wondering if I'm feeling better following the concussion I spoke of in that promo with Flair? I'm not. I tend to have two types of days when it comes to that muted, under-water feeling I spoke of in that promo - bad and worse. Given my history of concussions, I would have to be an absolute idiot to place my future in the hands of someone I don't trust. Since I like to think I am not an idiot, I won't be placing any trust in him. He had the golden ticket, and he blew it, because he would not honor the simple request I made - to his face - to not include my children in any way in his tweets. If I can't trust him to honor that simple request, I certainly can't trust him not to take liberties in the ring. It's tough to get over in WWE. I certainly wouldn't want to be one of the young guys facing someone like Skip Sheffield (yeah, I know he has a new name, but I don't know it yet) knowing that the priority placed on getting over will be somewhat higher than looking out for the well being of an opponent. I went through that with The Dynamite Kid in 1986, when I was 21 years old. I could do it then. I can't do it at 46..especialy not for someone like Dean Ambrose. To quote the original Willy Wonka movie, "You get nothing! You lose! Good day sir!"
Foley also revealed the new WWE kids book is expected to be released in October. Click here to read his latest in its entirety. - Variety is reporting that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will take part in a new reality show called "The Hero." Johnson is listed an an executive producer for the show and will be appearing on various episodes to encourage contestants. - "Stone Cold" Steve Austinhad the following to say to ZooToday in an interview about what it would take for him to return to the ring:
A lot of zeros… you know, if the right situation, the right opponent and the right circumstances came up for the WWE, then it would certainly be something worth considering. Could I have another match or two? Yeah. Physically I am in really good shape right now. People seem to think I am half-dead!
- WNW reader Fernando sent in an article from The Huffington Post with quotes from Daniel Bryan, in which he discusses his vegan lifestyle and more. Bryan had the following to say about his health since the switch to a vegan diet:
"My health is so much better. I'm bigger now than I was eating meat. My lifts in the gym are better. I'm in better shape. A lot of people thought you couldn't be a top-level athlete as a vegan, but people like Mac Danzig and Jake Shields are proving that's wrong. And it's better for me as a performer. The other wrestlers just think it's weird. They don't understand it."
Click here to read the full article.
- Lilian Garcia, who tripped out of her own shoe a month ago, tripped and fell onto the entrance ramp before singing at tonight's Smackdown taping in London, England. WWE recorded the fall and has posted it to their official YouTube channel.
- The official WWE website has an article with quotes from Daniel Bryan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, & Sheamus over the "YES!" phenomenon, and whether it is becoming the new "WHAT?" When asked via Twitter if Austin believes that "WHAT?" is being replaced, Austin replied "YES! YES! YES!" Daniel Bryan weighed in with the excerpt below:
"I think [Austin] was probably just placating fans. There’s a percentage of the WWE Universe that likes things they’re not supposed to like, and they’re responsible for the 'YES!' chants."
Sheamus had the following to say:
"YES!" chants show how vocal our fans are. Whether they’re getting behind Daniel Bryan or whether they’re mocking him ... it just shows that the WWE Universe wants to be heard.
Click here to read the full article.
- WWE has held several tryouts for European Diva talent on their current overseas tour, Diva-Dirt.comreported today. Out of all the names looked at, Rachelle St. Clair (real name Rachel Walker), is believed to have been offered a contract. St. Clair is an Irish talent known for her work in American Wrestling Rampage.
- Wrestling News World reader Brandon van Reenen sent in the following:
The first free-to-air television broadcast of Wrestlemania XVIII in Southern Africa is scheduled for this Sunday 22 April at 12.35pm SAST on the e.TV channel. Viewers on the remainder of the continent should check local listings for the TV premiere of WrestleMania in their country.
- MLB.com has a new article on Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Eric Thames where he reveals he wanted to be a professional wrestler growing up. Below is an excerpt for their piece:
"In sixth, seventh, eighth grade, wrestling was huge -- with The Rock and Stone Cold [Steve Austin], and it always seemed fun to me," Thames said. "You get to work out all day. It always seemed like a fun thing to do."
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Brodie Lee announced over the weekend he has signed a WWE developmental contract and will be reporting to Florida Championship Wrestling. We first reported Lee had signed a WWE deal last month here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and Chris Jericho are scheduled to appear on "The Grand Journal" in France on Friday at 8:30 PM to promote the upcoming WWE live event in Paris. - Ted DiBiase has a new blog entry online at this link.
- Christian worked tonight's WWE Smackdown live event in Sheffield, England, teaming with Mark Henry against Brodus Clay and Booker T. The babyfaces went over and Christian didn't do much. Christian is in the process of returning from a severe high ankle sprain that he suffered last November. He was originally in the Wrestlemania XXVIII plans on Team Johnny but was pulled due to the injury.
- Wrestling News World reader Glenn Guinand sent word that WWE made the "clip of the week" on E!'s "The Soup." The clip featured was the backstage segment on Raw Supershow with Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston.
- Wrestling News World reader Brandon van Reenen sent in the following:
e.tv Ghana's official website lists the free-TV premiere of Wrestlemania XVIII as scheduled for this Sunday 22 April, though a start time is yet to be announced.
- William Regal wrote the following on Twitter after appearing on WWE's tour overseas with the Smackdown crew:
- Chris Jericho needed three staples in the back of his head following his match with WWE Champion CM Punk at the WWE Raw live event in Milan, Italy. The following is from Jericho's Twitter account:
- Evan Bourne posted the following update on his foot on Twitter:
- WWE will report their first quarter earnings for 2012 on May 3, 2012. There will be a conference call hosted by Vince McMahon beginning at 11 AM EDT with investors to go over the results. Below is the official release:
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE (NYSE:WWE - News) announced that it will report its 2012 first quarter results on May 3, 2012, before the opening of the market. The Company’s Chairman and CEO, Vincent K. McMahon, and senior management will host a conference call beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss the results.
All interested parties are welcome to listen to a live webcast that will be hosted through the Company’s website at corporate.wwe.com. Participants can access the conference call by dialing 855-993-1400 (toll free) or 630-691-2763 from outside the U.S. (conference ID for both lines: WWE). Please reserve a line 15 minutes prior to the start time of the conference call.
The earnings release and presentation to be referenced during the call will be available at corporate.wwe.com. A replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the conference call concludes, and can be accessed on the Company’s website.
- Chris Jericho stated at the Revolver Golden Gods awards that his current run with WWE is up before SummerSlam in order to tour with Fozzy.
- WWE is reportedly interested in hiring Terry Taylor as the head of their developmental project in Stamford, Connecticut. While little has been reports since the rumors of Florida Championship Wrestling's demise, the company is still looking to have some type of developmental presence in Connecticut.
- While only a few people probably noticed, WWE committed a flub-up on this week's episode of WWE NXT. During a segment William Regal handcuffed the left hand of Johnny Curtis to the right hand of Maxine at ringside. Later in the show they were shown handcuffed, but Crutis' left hand to Maxine's left hand.
- WWE has canceled their May 24th Raw live event from Rio de Janeiro. Further details are not available as of this writing but the listing has been removed from the official WWE website.
- The official WWE website has a new feature up about Brock Lesnar's controversial interview and statements about John Cena, with quotes from Booker T, Goldust, William Regal, & Matt Striker. In the following excerpt, Regal weighs in on how the WWE would be different if Lesnar stayed with the company:
"There's no way that things would be the way they are if Brock had never left. I'm not saying that Cena wouldn't be the huge star that he is, but there's not room for two of them in the same universe," Regal said. "You can't have two people with that incredible ability, strength, desire, passion, and that Elvis quality – which is that magic quality that you only come across once in a million. And they've both got it. Usually, one fella has got to go, because when they collide, that's the way it plays out."
Additionally, Matt Striker had the following to say:
"I think Brock was supposed to leave. Cena was supposed to rise to the great heights he's reached. I just think that all of this is the planets aligning," Striker said. "This had to happen on April 29, 2012. It couldn't have happened a day before or a day after. It has to be Brock Lesnar versus John Cena, and it has to be done this way."
Click here to read the full article.
- Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez are now officially members of the Smackdown roster. Del Rio won a future World Heavyweight Championship against Sheamus on the show two weeks ago and has been touring overseas with the Smackdown crew.
- The UK Sun has a new article online featuring quotes from Steve Austin. In it, he says that The Undertaker vs. Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXVIII saved the show early. Below is an excerpt:
“‘I don’t watch all the WWE PPV events these days, but WrestleMania is always a must see.
"The Undertaker and Triple H match made it special. Going into it, I thought how will they better last year? How do you follow something like that?
“But they did. It was at about the 8-10 minute mark when I saw them dig beyond the solid work they had done and pull out all of the stops.
"Shawn Michaels was a real benefit there too. He was perfect in his referee role.
“I believe the match they had was off the charts. If it hadn’t been for it, the event would have failed. It was very average until then.”
Thoughts on Daniel Bryan's 18-second job:
“I felt bad for Daniel Bryan, as his match with Sheamus was so short and I really wanted him to get the chance to shine.
“He is a great kid and he can work, you just want to see him work and he didn’t get that chance there.
"I hope they use him better down the line as there aren’t a lot of guys that truly work like he does.
“Daniel does need some polishing on his promos, but then so do a lot of the guys there.
Open to a return to the ring but not sure about CM Punk as an opponent:
“Maybe Punk’s not the guy to go against. He needs to pick up his intensity. We’ll have to see what I do, I’m happy now doing what I am.
“In a perfect world, where I could step back into the ring for one last match I would be willing to have that discussion with management.
“I do miss the business and working a live crowd, going out there and wrestling your hearts out.
"I’m still in contact with a few of the guys. I speak to Kevin Nash the most, Nash and I talk about once a week.
“I also keep in contact with Jericho, Punk and Cena, but not as often. I’m not a big phone or email guy and they are always on the road or doing their thing.”
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Matt Morgan told the Pro Wrestling Torch in an interview to promote Sunday's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view that his contract with the company is up in October. Morgan said he would not rule out a return to WWE because he's a businessman first.
- Wrestling News World reader Dan The Cannon interviewed AJ Styles. You can listen to the full interview at this link. Below are the highlights:
On being held down
“I think if you ever give me the ball, I’ll score. But you have to give it to me. I have to play my part as well, I am a company guy. We all wrestle together, we entertain together and we all make money together.
On James Strom
“I can see he is doing what James Storm does best. Guess we will find out where it all leads.”
On TNA’s Twitter push
“I like to get on there and associate and connect with my fans. See what they want. If they don’t like the fact that I wore gloves on the PPV then let me know. I’m trying something new. I see nothing wrong with that, I think it’s something new.”
On storylines in wrestling
“You have to admire how it is done. It was pretty unique and I haven’t seen anything like that before. Storylines need to continue you know. Bobby Roode is one of the best champions in a long time. He has it all.”
On his match with Ken Anderson against Kazarian and Daniels
“I haven’t been this happy about a match in a long time. I think it was outstanding. I think it was one of the better matches of the night. I’m so proud of Ken. We wrestle such a different style than Ken and for Ken to be right there toe to toe with us right along,
right on time is super impressive.”
On slowing down with age
“We, things hurt a little bit longer than they used to. As long as I can get in there and go to work. I know some guys have said that I’ve slowed down since I was in the Ring of Honor or whatever other indy I was in. That’s just working smarter, psychology. It’s about
finding the right time to do something and making it special.”
On his promo to Jeff Hardy
”You know I spoke to Jeff about that. To be honest, I was pretty upset over that. I take a lot of pride in this company. I’ve put my body, my life, my livelihood for this company. But that has been totally squashed and he is kicking major butt right now. He is in great shape and he is in mentally great shape.”
On seeing more submission wrestling lately
“Ever so slightly there are some guys throwing in some submissions. I threw a flying amber ever once in a blue moon. I wish I could do that more but it doesn’t seem to be the case in some of my matches.”
On the new creative team of Bruce Prichard, Dave Lagana and Matt Conway
“Well, Matt Conway, I’ve been working with him. Lagana, I’ve actually communicate with him a lot and Bruce as well. I think the fact that we have been able to communicate is a plus. The lack of communication is what screws things up. Without that you can’t see their vision for what they want. You end up with two different pictures for the same thing.”
On being offered a WWE developmental contract for $500 a week and turning it down
“I could tell you what would have happened. Literally 3 months later, WWE pulled their developmental. I’m sure they would have just dumped my contract.”
- TNA Impact Wrestling sent out the following press release this evening:
On Sunday, May 13, TNA presents "Sacrifice" live on Pay-Per-View and online at TNAOnDemand.com from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida!
The three-hour event will feature all of your favorite superstars, including Hulk Hogan, Bobby Roode, James Storm, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Rob Van Dam, the lovely Knockouts, the high-flying X Division stars and many more! Tune into IMPACT WRESTLING every Thursday at 9/8c on SpikeTV for news on the "Sacrifice" Pay-Per-View event!
Visit the official website at TNASacrifice.com - CLICK HERE TO VISIT
Get the VIP Weekend Experience - MORE INFO AT SHOPTNA
- TNA did the following injury angle with TNA Champion Bobby Roode after his victory against James Storm at last night's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view:
- The following is from the official Twitter account of Kurt Angle:
- "Wildcat" Chris Harris, infamously known as Braden Walker in WWE, was at last night's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Bruce Prichard was backstage working at TNA Lockdown. Prichard has been gone from TNA since suffering two heart attacks back in the middle of March where he had two new stents put in. Prichard is expected to be at this week's television tapings in Orlando and other than being down in weight, is said to be doing well.
- Tickets for TNA Slammiversary are set to go on sale on Friday. The show will take place on Sunday, June 10, 2012 from the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas on the University of Texas at Arlington campus.
- Traci Brooks wrote the following today on Twitter:
- TNA Champion Bobby Roode cut his hair, debuting a new look at last night's Impact Wrestling taping. The taping results are now available to all at this link.
- Kurt Angle noted on Twitter that he is scheduled to face AJ Styles at next month's TNA Sacrifice pay-per-view. As for his knee injury, he was scheduled to see a doctor today and said he was icing it after last night's TVs.
- TNA announced a new deal with Orange Sport to carry Impact Wrestling in Poland. You can read the official press release at this link.
- A lot of people have asked me how legitimate AJ Styles'"douche-bag" comment was regarding Ric Flair. While AJ can always claim he was working in the interview, there are several TNA workers and staff members that are not fans of Ric Flair. While he has a contract due to his friendship with Hulk Hogan and appeal to Dixie Carter, a lot of people feel Flair is only there for the paycheck and has no interest in helping the company grow. Flair has the reputation as being a problem on the road, showing up late, in an altered state and sometimes not even at all. There continues to be a clear divide between the top workers in TNA and mid-card talent as many are not fans of how things are being ran under the Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff regime. Bischoff's control is reportedly at an all-time high with programming reflecting as much.
- Dixe Carter wrote the following today on Twitter:
Thanks to Wrestling News World reader Logan Walker for sending this in.
Leading up to Wrestlemania 28, you frequently mentioned that the main event of The Rock vs. John Cena would be difficult to book. Would you say the same thing for the upcoming Cena vs. Brock Lesnar match at Extreme Rules? A returning Lesnar obviously needs to look strong but when was the last time Cena lost two pay-per-views in a row?
The WWE Extreme Rules main event between John Cena and Brock Lesnar is also going to be difficult to book, however, it won't be as difficult with Lesnar working past the pay-per-view. My biggest thing about The Rock was there were not plans for him to return on a regular basis. Lesnar is going to be around longer as Extreme Rules is the beginning, not the end. It will be difficult in that a Lesnar loss out of the gate would make him look weak but two straight jobs for Cena wouldn't be the best either. With that being said it is a B-level pay-per-view, which would make an unclean finish more palatable.
When Wade Barrett returns to WWE around SummerSlam is he going to be given a push or a title run?
There were big plans for Wade Barrett prior to his dislocated elbow injury. The rumor I heard was that WWE planned on holding the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 28 with Barrett going over. When Barrett got hurt, the bout was nixed from the pay-per-view. I could easily see the match take place at SummerSlam as WWE wants to push Barrett as a title contender.
What are the chances of RVD returning to WWE?
Rob Van Dam is under contract with TNA until March 2013. He was rumored to be interested in heading to WWE earlier this year but recently returned to TNA and is locked down throughout the next year. I don't know if his contract was originally up in March this year and he had a one-year option that was picked up but I can confirm he's now locked into a TNA deal.
Could Matt Morgan end up back in WWE?
Matt Morgan recently revealed his TNA contract is up in October and wouldn't rule out a possible return to WWE. He could have put it out there to help in his negotiations with TNA but nothing can be ruled out in this business.
I had heard that Albert's in-ring work had improved dramatically, but from what I've seen it still looks incredibly sloppy. Paired with his less than desirable ring-look, how long do you think he's going to be kept around? It was a good try to put him in the main event of Raw, but I was really just disappointed by his performance.
WWE seems determined to try and get the Lord Tensai gimmick over, especially after having him pin John Cena on last night's Raw Supershow (albeit with a dirty finish). I agree that Tensai looked sloppy last night but I have no idea if the company plans on pulling the plug on the gimmick. It's important not to judge a gimmick too quickly but I share your sentiment that Tensai has been disappointing early.
Has Brock Lesnar taken John Cena's place as "face of the WWE" already?
WWE is building Brock Lesnar as John Laurinaitis' "face of WWE" in storyline but he's not really the guy in the company. Lesnar is looked at as a special attraction just like The Rock. WWE is glad to have him but are not relying on a part-timer to carry business. The top guys in WWE are still John Cena, Randy Orton and CM Punk.
Why is Braden Walker infamous in the WWE Universe?
Chris Harris, formerly known as Braden Walker, showed up overweight and out of shape. There had been a lot of anticipation for his WWE debut after a successful tag team run in TNA but things went about as badly as they possibly could have gone. Lines such as "I'm Braden Walker and I'm going to knock your brains out" made the gimmick laughable and helped establish it as a running joke amongst the IWC.
I cant remember any time the WWE has let a superstar have sponsors of other company's on their ring attire ever. Brock Lesnar's new shirt and ring shorts both have Jimmy Johns and other sponsors on them when he goes out to the ring. Is this something that you think other superstars are going to catch on to and start making sponsorship money on above what they get paid in WWE (John Cena with Gillette and Subway on his shorts?) or is this a one time thing that Brock Lesnar put in his new WWE contract since he was sponsored by these company's during his UFC run?
WWE is letting Brock Lesnar honor endorsement deals that he had when he was under UFC contract. Lesnar is a unique situation and I don't believe WWE has ever shelled out as much money for a part-timer as they did for him but Vince McMahon was determined that Brock's first post-UFC run was with them. Love him or hate him, Lesnar drew big for UFC, which caused his stock to skyrocket. WWE worked diligently with Lesnar and UFC to hammer out an agreement that is not really comparable to anything we've ever seen.
With The Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels walking out of Wrestlemania XXVIII together as a show of respect, how many matches do each of these stars have left in them?
By all accounts The Undertaker felt good after his match against Triple H at Wrestlemania XXVIII and he is in the preliminary plans for the pay-per-view next year. I don't know if there are plans to use him in a role outside of Wrestlemania but he doesn't appear to be retired. Triple H has a performer's contract through March 30, 2016 so he's going to be around in a limited role for the next several years as an in-ring performer. Obviously he is also heavily focused as an executive being groomed to take the reigns from Vince McMahon. Shawn Michaels is retired from the ring and has no plans of returning as of this writing.
How much is Brock Lesnar being paid for this year long run in WWE?
I do not have confirmation but I heard Brock Lesnar was being paid somewhere in the $5 million range to work a limited amount of dates over the next year. If that figure is accurate, it's the largest part-time contract in the history of the business. As I mentioned in yesterday's Ask WNW, given the fact Lesnar is getting to keep endorsements on his gear, he has a deal that's unlike anything we've ever seen.
With the record number of pay-per-view buys for Wrestlemania XXVIII, how will this affect the viability of the WWE Network?
Wrestlemania XXVIII doing 1.3 million buys is a very good thing for everything in WWE and I'm sure the company will tout the number in negotiations for clearance on cable and satellite systems. As for it changing anything in regards to the WWE Network, I don't see it doing anything but helping.
Why do you think the WWE decided to have Brock Lesnar compete so early after his return?
Aside from the fact WWE is paying Brock Lesnar a lot of money, they wanted to utilize him while he's hot. Lesnar hasn't fought since the end of December and Vince McMahon wanted to make sure his first post-UFC gig was in a WWE ring. It was a top priority to get him in a match and WWE is expecting it to significantly help WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view buys.
It seems WWE just can't win with John Cena. When he's a babyface everyone hates him and if they turn him heel they're going to hate him just as much. What should they do?
It all has to do with character profession. Ruling out the usual Cena-haters, the biggest thing I think most fans want is a refresh to the John Cena character. The gimmick is dated, bland and in need of something. I am hoping the current direction of losses is leading to a much bigger picture.
You've mentioned before that Vince McMahon was against part-time workers, if you worked for him you were full time. With Brock Lesnar breaking that mold, does this open the door for a Bill Goldberg, Sting, Kurt Angle (retirement run), part time program leading up to Wrestlemania?
Vince McMahon has always wanted workers to be full-time with the company and is hesitant to give pushes to part-timers. There have been exceptions with Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and of course Triple H but by large the rule has been all or nothing. The Rock recently broke the mold by agreeing to work Wrestlemania XXVIII one year in advance and working sporadic appearances on TV as well as a main event match at Survivor Series. Vince broke all his rules for Brock Lesnar and offered him big money for a limited schedule because he was determined that Lesnar's first post-UFC appearance would be in a WWE ring. I don't know this for sure but it seems like Vince took a lot of credit for Brock drawing big for UFC and wanted to make sure he got to capitalize on Lesnar's fame for himself. As for this opening the door for other part-timers, the mold of "all or nothing" seems to be changing, especially given the success of Wrestlemania XXVIII. Kurt Angle and Sting are currently under TNA contract and I haven't heard of recent interest in Goldberg, however, WWE is interested in Batista.
At the time of his departure from WWE, Jeff Hardy was at the peak of his career; he was as "over" as a top face should be and his all-around performance (mic, ring work) was as good as what would be expected of a top worker. That being said, had he remained in WWE do you think he could have surpassed John Cena as the face of the company?
Jeff Hardy's biggest problem has been his personal demons and they have cost him a good bit. Remember it was at TNA Victory Road last year where Hardy showed up "unfit to perform" yet TNA let him go out and embarrass himself and the business anyways. There isn't much they could have done and Dixie Carter stood by him when he needed help but this would have cost him his job in WWE. Remember when Carlito showed up "unfit to perform"? He was released the same week. Jeff Hardy is a very talented individual but it's hard to say where he would have gone because of personal issues.
Do you think there will ever be another pro wrestling boom? We saw it in the 80's and the late 90's but what would it take in today's market for a similar popularity increase?
I think we will see another pro wrestling boom, I just don't know when. The way the entertainment industry works, it's always changing. The "in" thing is always different and during the pro wrestling boom of the late 90's, the pro wrestling business found itself as one of the "in" things where it was very attractive to the mainstream. WWE was able to remain relevant and has been very consistent in growing the company ever since. Pro wrestling isn't as popular today but it is by no means in decline. WWE executives will claim that WWE content is more in demand now than ever. Just take a look at Wrestlemania XXVIII that broke all the pay-per-view buyrate numbers for the company with 1.3 million buys. Some say the business needs more competition which is always a good thing but I don't know what it will take to elevate the business to where it was in the Attitude Era.
David Otunga has been involved in the main event of Raw for the past two weeks, first facing John Cena and then interfering in Cena's match against Lord Tensai. Is he in line for a push? Also, since Otunga and Lesnar are both aligned with Laurinaitis, do you see them having some sort of alliance?
David Otunga is already receiving a push as the legal council for John Laurinaitis. WWE officials like his look, his work ethic and not to mention his link to pop singer Jennifer Hudson. I don't know if that means we'll see Otunga challenging for the WWE Championship or World Heavyweight Championship anytime soon but he has a desirable spot as an upper mid card worker in the company. As for an alliance with Lesnar, I don't see much more than what is already there with John Laurinaitis. WWE wants to push Lesnar as a singles worker and are hoping he draws big for Extreme Rules.
What are your thoughts on Alex Riley? I feel like WWE is dropping the ball with Riley, if he was in TNA or Ring Of Honor I feel he would be a main eventer right now.
Alex Riley was given a decent opportunity on WWE TV and while he got over with the crowd, his in-ring work is bad. I don't know about TNA but there's no way he would be over in Ring of Honor with sub-par in-ring work (and I feel like I'm being nice calling it sub-par). Riley has potential but he most improve his in-ring abilities if he is going to get a serious run in WWE.
With recent live Smackdown's, do you think WWE is trying to transition over to live or will it never happen and they are going to continue with "live specials."
While the live editions of Smackdown have popped ratings in the past, here recently they have shown no real benefit, even posting lower numbers then what the replay did in the normal Friday night timeslot. For WWE to move Smackdown to a live show they would probably have to switch to Tuesday nights (for obvious reasons regarding production travel) and I just don't see there being that big of a benefit. As things currently stand, WWE seems happy with a taped show on Friday nights with occasional Tuesday night specials.
Every superstar get's a bonus if they appear on TV right? A couple weeks ago on Raw Supershow pretty much every Superstar appeared in the John Cena and Brock Lesnar segment... Would that mean everyone that appeared on that segment get the bonus?
If a worker is used on a WWE show in any capacity they are paid $500. This amount used to be $1000 but was cut 50% about four years ago. So to answer your question, if the worker was shown on camera, they were paid that amount.
Do you think Scott Steiner might return to WWE?
I don't think it's likely that Scott Steiner returns to WWE although anything is possible. You know how Steiner is burying Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Bruce Prichard right now? He did the same thing to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon when he left WWE. A lot of bridges were burned with Steiner and I just don't see the company feeling he's a big enough draw to offer him a contract.