View Brock Lesnar's WWE Ring Gear, Surprising WWE Release; More Expected Soon, Two Surprise WWE Returns, John Cena Injured, Falling Out Between Lesnar & Paul Heyman, Mysterio Suspended, Top TNA Star Taking Time Off, Hogan Ruffles Feathers, Flair & Hogan's

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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 21, 2012 to Friday, April 27, 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!

Table Of Contents
WWE News
TNA Impact Wrestling News
Ask WNW

WWE News

- Edge's current WWE contract is expected to expire at the end of this month. While his career ended after his match at Wrestlemania XXVII last year, he has continued to collect his downside guarantee and is booked for appearances through the WWE office. WWE is negotiating a new deal with Edge and want to put together a deal where they would be able to fully utilize him despite the fact he can no longer wrestle. The deal differs from a Legend's contract in that he would require more money and WWE would want to do more than just use his name for licensing purposes on merchandise. Workers under similar contracts include Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels.

- Antonio Caesaro made his WWE television debut on last night's Smackdown in a segment with Aksana, Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis.

- Deadline is reporting that WWE Studios will be co-financing a romantic thriller called "Dead Man Down" starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper. Principal photography for the film begins Monday in Philadelphia.

- French commentator Christophe Agius resigned from his commentator job with "AB Productions," an audiovisual company that manages French channels that broadcast WWE programming, after the WWE live event in Toulouse, France on Thursday. Agius was well-known by both the WWE office and WWE workers as he arranged interviews with workers in the country and was used in segments at French live events. Agius worked in his role for twelve years and left with no explanation.

- TMZ has a new story online today on Ted DiBiase. In it, the publication reports that DiBiase was recently at the Batson Children's Hospital in Mississippi filming a documentary about his faith and his charity for sick and unprivileged children. It was there he met a 10-month-old boy with an extremely rare disease and led him in prayer.

- WWE has announced the July 10th Smackdown taping will take place from the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

- WWE has announced a November 7th show from the Forest National Arena in Brussels, Belgium.

- Earlier last week WWE leaked an image of Brock Lesnar's ring attire on dot com but later removed the image. I finally found the image again and have included a photo you can view below:

As you can see, not only will Lesnar be sporting MMA attire, his shorts will also carry the images of his sponsors. WWE is allowing Lesnar to keep endorsement deals he had obtained while working in UFC. As I mentioned in Ask WNW last week, Lesnar's WWE contract is unlike anything we've ever seen before.

- Justin Gabriel is back home in South Africa where he is sorting out passport issues. Gabriel has been off the road with WWE due to an elbow injury. He is expected back towards the middle of next month.

- Paul Heyman noted on his official Twitter account that he had nothing to do with Brock Lensar's promo that aired on last week's WWE Raw Supershow. Heyman said all the credit goes to WWE and Lesnar and that WWE got it right. Heyman also clarified he has "nothing" to do with Lesnar's promos in WWE.

- WWE has released Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine from his developmental contract with the company. His profile as Kevin Hackman has already been removed from the FCW roster page. The self-proclaimed "Silent Rage" had heat right out the gate as he no-sold Steve Austin's stunner after being announced as the Tough Enough winner on the June 6, 2011 edition of WWE Raw. Leavine was rumored to have a Wellness violation (although it was never announced by the company) and was said to still have a lot of work to do. Leavine had been training in Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa under the ring name Kevin Hackman. While WWE officials were very pleased with Tough Enough's ratings on the USA Network, they were discouraged with the lack of talent produced.

- I'm told the release of WWE Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine is one of several cuts that should be coming in upcoming weeks. The WWE office is coming up with lists this week of who to keep and who to release, with names being debated within management. There are a couple of guys that were on WWE's most recent overseas tour that are "very nervous" and are hoping the forthcoming cuts are made in a timely matter. I'm told the boys would rather know as quickly as possible so they know where they stand and don't have to worry about it. As for the release of Andy Leavine, it was described to me as a pretty simple situation. The office felt it was taking him too long to learn and felt like he would need to be in their developmental system for years to ever "get it."

- Dana White spoke about Brock Lesnar returning to WWE after UFC 145 on Saturday. Below are highlights of White's comments courtesy of the folks over at MMAJunkie.com:

"It was always upfront and said in his deal that he could do the WWE,"

"Everything we did with that guy, nothing ever leaked out of that camp, ever leaks out of that camp," White said. "Those guys did a deal with (WWE promoter) Vince (McMahon), and I guarantee you Vince said, 'Keep this a secret. Don't tell anybody.' And he did. He never said anything. He didn't call me.

"I sent them a text and said, 'Congrats on your deal. I'll be watching.' [Expletive] never got nothing back. They didn't respond and say, 'Hey, thanks we're pumped.' They just did their thing."

"For what they do, it's cool," he said. "I'm happy for him. The fact that the guy came over here, did what he did in the WWE, came here and did what he did here, now he's back over there. Good for him and good for them."

- 16,122 was the announced attendance for tonight's WWE Raw Supershow from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The show is a sellout.

- WWE Hall of Famer Edge appeared to tonight's Raw Supershow in the opening segment with John Cena and John Laurinaitis. Interestingly enough, Edge mentioned he will no longer be under WWE contract in a few days. As we reported earlier here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Edge's WWE contract is up at the end of the month but the company is trying to re-sign him.

- Paul Bearer was featured in a backstage segment on tonight's WWE Raw Supershow where Randy Orton tied him up and locked him in a freezer. Bearer, who is very active on Twitter, didn't give away his appearance on tonight's show but said today was going to be an "unusual one." The following is from his official Twitter account:

Bearer is accepting independent bookings and is booked for Power Pro Wrestling's show on Saturday from the Winston Salem National Guard Armory in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

- Nikki Bella beat Beth Phoenix on tonight's WWE Raw Supershow to win the WWE Divas Championship.

- The official WWE website has an injury update on Beth Phoenix, who appeared to suffer an injury in her lumberjill match against Nikki Bella on this week's Raw SuperShow. The injury was described as a "severe sprain to her left ankle." In the following excerpt, WWE Doctor Michael Sampson explains the injury:

“It looks like she affected her anterior talofibular ligament, which is the most common injured ankle ligament on an inversion injury,” Sampson told WWE.com.“She has some swelling, [and] she’s having a hard time walking or ambulating on it. We’re going to need an MRI just to make sure there’s nothing else going on and see how we can treat it – if we need surgery or if we can do it conservatively.”

Click here to read the full article.

- The following is from the official Twitter account of Beth Phoenix:

- WWE is now posting video highlights from Raw Supershow on their YouTube channel as the show airs on the East Coast. This is something the company used to never do as they used to wait for the show to air in all US time zones. Part of the reason is because of WWE's new agreement with YouTube. Their deal is working out very well and WWE is now one of the top earners on the site. - Edge was at Raw Supershow last night to meet with WWE officials about his expiring contract. As Edge mentioned in his promo, his contract with the company will expire at the end of the month. I haven't heard if a new agreement was reached last night but I can confirm Edge is looking for a big six-figure deal much like Shawn Michaels or Mick Foley have. WWE wants to keep him under contract so it will be interesting to see if they increase their offer to appease him. For those looking for a ballpark number, Shawn is believed to have a deal that pays him somewhere close to $300,000 per year. - I heard from a reliable source yesterday that John Cena's hips are bothering him and he was originally expected to take time off after losing to The Rock at Wrestlemania XXVIII. CM Punk was slated to carry the load on Raw. When WWE was able to finalize a deal to bring back Brock Lesnar, Cena volunteered to stick around longer to do a program with a returning Lesnar. My source said it's possible that Brock "injures" Cena at Extreme Rules on Sunday so Cena can take time off as he is really hurting right now. With that being said I cannot confirm any booking plans for Cena vs. Lesnar at Extreme Rules and just know Cena is working more banged up than usual. - The WWE live event from the Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas has been moved from July 20th to July 6th. - Mick Foley is being advertised as the special guest referee for Randy Orton vs. Kane in a no disqualification match on at the May 27th Smackdown live event in Lake Charles, Louisiana. - Steve Austin wrote the following on Twitter regarding the release of WWE Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine:

- WWE has signed Austin Draven to a developmental contract. He will be reporting to Florida Championship Wrestling.

- It turns out Beth Phoenix was working on Raw Supershow last night and did not suffer a legitimate ankle injury. WWE officials were very pleased with how well Beth sold the injury with many people believing she suffered a legitimate injury. The update posted over on dot com and recapped here was all part of a storyline, used to keep her from looking weak in dropping the WWE Divas Championship.

- Wrestling News World reader Logan Walker sent in the following Tweet which is a storyline update on the condition of Paul Bearer:

- Speaking of storyline updates, dot com has a storyline update on the "injuries" sustained by Josh Mathews at this link.

- Wrestling News World reader Patrick Peralta sent word that details on WWE's "The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions" DVD set have been released here on Amazon.com.

- Paul Heyman sent out several Tweets Sunday night directed at former WCW commentator Mark Madden clarifying that he's had nothing to do with Brock Lesnar's return to WWE. Madden had praised Lesnar's recent WWE promos and their "Heyman" influence. While on the surface, Heyman seems to simply be giving credit where credit is due by admitting he hasn't been involved in the promos in any way, there is actually much more to the story of why Heyman hasn't been involved with Lesnar lately. It wasn't that long ago that Heyman was involved in Lesnar's every move, at least when it came to guiding his career, but the two had a big falling out in December and have not been on good terms since. While Lesnar had been interested in a WWE return for quite some time, feeling like he'd lost his passion for MMA after dealing with several setbacks, Heyman had been adamant that he continue to pursue his UFC career. Heyman really sold Lesnar on the idea that the book he'd co-written would not only be a big hit, but would also open a lot of doors for Lesnar. Unfortunately, sales for the book were very disappointing and none of the other opportunities Heyman had been selling Lesnar on ever materialized. The falling out between the two took place right before Lesnar's last UFC fight, which Lesnar lost quickly before announcing his retirement from UFC after the fight. Those close to Lesnar say that Lesnar started to realize that Heyman was pressuring him to remain with UFC because Lesnar's involvement in MMA was opening other doors for Heyman, while a return to WWE would likely result in Heyman's involvement in Lesnar's career either being extremely minimized or completely eliminated. While Vince McMahon was very eager to bring Lesnar back, even offering unprecented money and the ability for Lesnar to retain his sponsors, one thing McMahon was not willing to budge on was his absolute insistance that Paul Heyman not be involved in any way whatsoever in any potential deal between WWE and Lesnar. While Heyman knew all along that his return would never be allowed, Lesnar did not realize until later the extent of the bad blood between WWE and Heyman, not to mention what a conflict of interest it was for Heyman to be advising Lesnar not to return.

- Shawn Michaels is now endorsing a new line of eye-black products. You can get HBK-inspired eye-black that says "Mr. Hall of Fame," "MRA Hunting" and of course "ShowStopper." Click here to order yours now.

- The official website of the Nutter Center (the venue of next week's Raw Supershow) is advertisingBrock Lesnar for next week's show. WWE has not confirmed him on the official list of advertised talent as of this writing.

Sin Cara will be doing promotional work for WWE in Mexico City this weekend. Cara will be doing media appearances to promote the Smackdown tour from May 24-May 28th. Cara is currently out with an injury and isn't expected back until next month at the earliest.

- WWE Tag Team Champions Primo & Epico are scheduled to work WWC's April 28th show in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico against Los Enmascarados Misteriosos. They are able to work the show because Carlos Colon (the owner of WWC) is WWE's local promoter in Puerto Rico.

- WWE just sent out the following:

STAMFORD, Conn. – In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE has suspended Oscar Gutierrez (Rey Mysterio) for 60 days effective Thursday, April 26 for his second violation of the company's policy.

Rey Mysterio's first violation of the WWE Wellness Policy was announced on Thursday, August 27, 2009 but delayed until Wednesday, September 2, 2009 so the company could get the WWE Intercontinental Championship off him.

Mysterio has been out since August with a knee injury that required surgery to repair. While he initially targeted Wrestlemania XXVIII as his return date, he had hoped to return some time next month. Mysterio will not be eligible to return now until late June.

- Paul Bearer has a new blog entry online regarding his came on this week's Raw Supershow. Below is an excerpt:

I certainly enjoyed being part of a live WWE RAW television event this week, after a long period. If you have been following the show you know that the week before my "son" Kane attacked the Legendary Cowboy Bob Orton, Father of ring star Randy Orton. It was only natural for Paul Bearer to pop back in, and Randy Orton getting retribution on "The Fat Man". I throughly enjoy these storylines, notwithstanding my month long "kidnapped story" with Edge just last year.

I had a blast being with my extended WWE Family again, even though I worked with them the entire WM-XXVIII extravaganza just last month. You must remember that I signed my first contract with the then WWF, on December 22, 1990; and started managing The Undertaker in January 1991. I have remained a part of the company, on and off television, since that time. Count the years....

Even though I am not on WWE television programming these days, I am signed to a "Legends Contract", that still has over 4-years remaining. Currently I am allowed to do independent wrestling appearances around the globe, and answer The WWE calls now and then.

No matter if the Paul Bearer character has been buried in cement, pushed off a balcony, or locked in a freezer; the "Father Of Destruction" is very much alive. WWE doesn't kill anybody on their television shows, even though it might appear that way, as a cement burial, fall from a balcony, or spending time in a freezer may very well indeed put an end to a real life. Storylinewise, The Paul Bearer character is being treated for hypothermia following this week's freezer incident.

My appearance this past week on RAW was a last minute creative idea of the company. I had been in Las Vegas most of last week with The Annual Cauliflower Alley Reunion, and didn't receive the request for my ONE TIME return to RAW until Saturday morning. Of course I jumped at the chance, no matter what the plans were. It was a win-win situation for me. Will you ever see Paul Bearer on WWE programming again? Never say never... but, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. My ship has virtually sailed.

I have absolutely no intention of returning to The WWE, or any wrestling company for that matter, in any type of full time position. I will continue to work with independent promotions, wrestling conventions, reunions, etc., as I have been doing during the past few years.

Click here to read Bearer's latest in its entirety.

- A pre-sale began this morning for the June 25th WWE Raw Supershow taping from the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana began this morning. The password to obtain tickets is RAWTV at this link.

- Changes to WWE's developmental system are underway. The company will begin taping some of Florida Championship Wrestling's television from Full Sail University in the Orlando, Florida area beginning on Thursday, May 17, 2012. They will continue to use the FCW Arena in Tampa and will still be taping TV there as well.

- WWE will hold their annual shareholders meeting today in Stamford, Connecticut. We'll recap anything noteworthy said by Vince McMahon or any other WWE executive.

- Kevin Nash had some fun on Twitter late last night/early this morning. In a series of Tweets, Nash expressed disinterest in the WWE Hall of Fame and said one of his dearest friends was "let go" from WWE. The following is from Nash's official account:

- Arda Ocal has a new article online over on The Baltimore Sun featuring quotes from Daniel Bryan. Below are the highlights:

18-second loss at Wrestlemania XXVIII:

“I actually thought the people might enjoy [the quick match]," Bryan said in an interview Thursday. "It was something really different, [to start WrestleMania like that]. The whole situation is very unusual. I'm just happy that the people have gotten behind me. It's really incredible."

Firing from WWE in 2010 after debuting with The Nexus:

“I honestly at the time wasn't worried about it," Bryan said. "It was a huge moment on WWE programming. Then they fire me for being what was reported on the internet for not being PG. As far as independent bookings go, there is nothing that can make me more marketable than that. [WWE] apologized and said they had sponsors they had to deal with and whatnot. And I said don't worry about me, I'm probably going to make more money this year than I did the last year when I was on NXT. I had people from Japan calling me, I had TNA people talking to me, not directly, but through other people. It was just a fascinating time for me in my career.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

TNA News

- James Storm is taking some time off to deal with some lingering injuries and is using his loss at Lockdown as the storyline explanation. Storm's promo that aired on this week's Impact Wrestling was done to write him out of current story lines. After the promo aired, Storm Tweeted the following:

- For those that missed it over the weekend, Hulk Hogan had some words on Twitter that ruffled some feathers. Hogan Tweeted one of his followers and said that going live would "solve 75% of the issues" in regards to problems with TNA. Both Hogan and Eric Bischoff are very big supporters of the company doing live television. Remember when they came into TNA back in 2010 they convinced Dixie Carter to not only move Impact to a live slot but to move to Monday nights to compete with WWE Raw. The move failed and Dixie Carter called it her single biggest mistake in the company's history.

- For those that missed it, TNA Sacrifice will be headlined by Bobby Roode defending the TNA Championship against Rob Van Dam. Sacrifice will take place Sunday, May 13, 2012 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- David Otunga was with his fiancee Jennifer Hudson today at the murder trial of William Balfour in Chicago, Illinois. Balfour is accused of killing Hudson's mother, brother and nephew in October 2008. Jennifer took the stand today and dissolved into tears when the prosecutor hander her a photo of her mom. For more on the trial, you can check out coverage by E! online and TMZ.

- Mister Saint Laurent reporting:

The first MLW World Champion "The Franchise" Shane Douglas joined Mister Saint Laurent on MLW Radio presented by www.AdamEve.com, the official podcast of Major League Wrestling. Douglas spoke about deciding to hold his own ECW reunion event after seeing how former ECW stars were treated by TNA during their ECW reunion event.

"After Dixie Carter did her show [Hardcore Justice] and paid the guys a ridiculous sum of money, $250 to go out there and do what we do better than most people do, that to me was just so disrespectful. For somebody who has been born and raised in a billion dollar household with a silver spoon in her mouth and up her backside, to ask guys to go out there and do that, for that little bit of money and then when it did better than any pay-per-view event in the last five years, didn't even offer so much as an extra penny on top of it."

"I said then and I stand by it, shame on you Dixie Carter that you'd expect anybody to do that in this day and age. At the same time she pays Ric Flair, 62, 63 years old, $35,000 a night. 60 year old Hulk Hogan, $75,000 a night and then somehow figures that these guys that come from ECW just don't have any value or worth at all. I plan on disproving that."

You can listen to the Shane Douglas episode of MLW Radio presented by AdamEve.com for FREE at www.MLW.com and on iTunes (search: MLW Radio) and syndicated via www.Stitcher.com

Other topics include:

-Working with Terry Funk and Funk's philosophy on the "extreme" upstarts

-Why he wasn't a part of WWE's ECW relaunch

-Vince McMahon and Jim Ross picking his brain about ECW

-How he feels about Vince McMahon having now been a promoter himself

-What he would change about the education system

-Why he would never work as a teacher again

-Taz's evolution from his days of intense ECW promos to his current announcing style

-Whether WWE will legally interfere with his ECW reunion

Also discussed was that on Monday, Konnan will debut his own MLW podcast, aptly titled MLW's Konnan Show. You will be able to download and stream the show via www.MLW.com

MLW Radio is a new podcast series that's being produced in conjunction with the MLW Digital Project, which is currently underway and includes the relaunching of www.MLW.com, the MLW tape library going online and several more yet to be announced features. You can find out more at www.MLW.com and www.Facebook.com/MajorLeagueWrestling

- TMZ has a new article online where Hulk Hogan is threatening legal action over recent black-and-white photos from his unauthorized sex tape surfacing on TheDirt.com. For those interested, click here for more. (Thanks to WNW reader Logan Walker for sending in the link.)

- The estimated buyrate for this month's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view is approximately 17,000 buys. The company has been struggling to do at least 10,000 buys, with Victory Road doing a reported 7,000 buys.

- TNA has announced a "Basebrawl" live event from MCU Park In Brooklyn, New York on July 21, 2012. Tickets go on sale on May 21, 2012.

- Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from TNA President Dixie Carter. Below is an excerpt:

Spike TV and TNA Entertainment recently agreed on a multi-year extension on their strategic partnership, maintaining Spike TV as the exclusive U.S. television home of the emerging property.

The previous deal with Spike was through the end of 2012, so the new deal extends the partnership after 2012..

Was there a Plan B?

“Absolutely,” Carter said. “We were very fortunate to have interest from a few very good networks, but in the end it made the most sense to stay with Spike. We’re very loyal, and they have spent a lot of money and effort and time in building our brand, and the deal was right. So we made the decision to stay there.”

Negotiations didn’t take long.

Carter explained: “When it came down to it, I just said, ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s make it simple, and let’s do it fast,’ and it happened that way. If not, we were going to need to go and do other things.

“So it was a quick negotiation.”

TNA “Impact Wrestling” is one of Spike’s top-rated series. The show currently ranks among the top shows on cable in its timeslot with Men 18-34.

Carter added: “We’re a unique property because we deliver the audience and the demos [demographics] two hours in primetime 52 weeks a year, and that’s almost unheard of in television with the exception of wrestling, news and morning programming. So a lot of people [TV execs] would like to have that.”

How is Ring Ka King doing?

“It’s going good,” she said. “We’re on a network that the timeslot is probably not best for wrestling, and we’ve had a lot of serious competition. So we knew it was going to be tough going in, but it’s been very well received, and I think there’s a very strong opportunity for Ring Ka King to continue to be seen in India.”

“In total, we have a tremendous amount of television exposure [in the UK] compared to the United States,” Carter said, “and I think that’s one reason why we’re having ratings success over there as compared to our competitors. For the year last year and this year to date, Impact is the number one viewed wrestling program in the United Kingdom.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

TNA has announced a Basebrawl live event from Concol Energy Park in Washington, Pennsylvania on July 28, 2012.

Robbie E is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at minor league baseball games in Buffalo, New York on May 25, 2012 and Washington, Pennsylvania on May 26, 2012.

TNA announced today that Impact Wrestling was moving into the 8 PM ET/PT - 10 PM ET/PT on Spike TV on Thursday nights beginning on Thursday, May 31, 2012. Below is the official press release:

SPIKE TV’S “IMPACT WRESTLING” MOVING TO 8:00PM ET/PT ON THURSDAYS BEGINNING MAY 31

Spike TV’s highly-rated two-hour weekly series, TNA’s “IMPACT Wrestling” is moving to a new timeslot. On Thursday, May 31 “IMPACT Wrestling will air at 8:00pm ET/PT, moving from its previous timeslot of 9:00pm ET/PT.

The shift to 8:00pm is predicated on the fact that there are more available viewers in the 8:00-10:00pm timeslot with less sports competition in the 8pm hour.

TNA’s flagship series, “IMPACT Wrestling,” airs weekly on Spike TV and is one of the network’s top-rated series. The show is must-see-tv with young men and currently ranks among the top series on cable on Thursdays with Men 18-34.

The TNA roster features many of the top names in wrestling including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, Sting, James Storm, Rob Van Dam, and the lovely and lethal Knockouts.

About Spike TV:
Spike TV is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks. A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV's Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV's press site at http://www.spike.com/press. Follow us on Twitter @spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.

Ask WNW

Do you think that there will ever be another company to compete with WWE? If so, which company, and why?

WWE has been operating for over ten years with basically no competition and they have put a stronghold on the market. Not only have they expanded into a global giant but Vince McMahon owns just about every tape library that anyone could ever care about. However, it isn't impossible and could be done. In order to compete with WWE a company would need a national TV deal and plenty of money to spend on talent, production and of course marketing. Many people have hoped TNA would be that company with their national TV deal and significant financial backing but they haven't even scratched the surface. They have had their opportunities but have not been able to create enough momentum to even sell out their major pay-per-views. I could spend the rest of this installment elaborating on why but there really isn't enough time or space.

You have mentioned that John Laurinaitis has been disdained by people backstage in WWE like Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. I also watched Jim Cornette's shoot interview on him and it sounded as if he said he thinks Laurinaitis doesn't know how to do his job. Is that why he is so disliked?

There are a lot of people that feel John Laurinaitis has failed at his job, especially when it comes to signing new megastars. When Jim Ross was Executive Vice President of Talent Relations of WWE we could sit here and name off a list of megastars he brought in. Not so much for Laurinaitis and that is part of the disdain for him. With that being said he doesn't have the most desirable job as you can't just "make" a megastar and a lot of people simply do not understand that. There are two jobs in the wrestling business where someone is always going to have a hard time getting people on their side and they are Talent Relations and Head Creative Writer.

What if a worker is injured and is recovering for a long period of time and their contract expires while they are out? Do they still receive a downside guarantee? Do they get a contract extension?

When a WWE worker under a performer's contract is injured they still collect their downside guarantee (an amount set off a yearly amount that is paid so the worker has money to live off of). The only time WWE workers do not collect this amount is when they are suspended. If a worker's performer's contract expires while they are injured they will no longer collect the money unless WWE offers them a contract extension. WWE usually works with top names in advance to hammer out an agreement so there is never a doubt they end up walking. If a worker is lower on the card, there is always a chance of WWE letting their contract expire.

What is the current condition of Wade Barrett? Do you know when he is expected back?

Wade Barrett suffered a dislocated elbow at a Raw Supershow in February and the injury was much worse than originally expected. While the initial estimate was he would be out 6-8 weeks, it turned out he had to have surgery and isn't expected back until later this summer.

With WWE showing the pre-show dark match at Wrestlemania XXVIII on YouTube and now scheduling a pre-show dark match for YouTube at Extreme Rules, is this something we can expect to see on a regular basis?

Pre-show dark matches are done prior to all WWE television tapings and pay-per-views. They are used to get the crowd going before the show goes on the air. WWE decided to air the pre-show dark match from Wrestlemania on YouTube to give some exclusive live content to their YouTube channel as their agreement with the site is working out very well. I don't know if this is something that will become a regular occurrence now that they are promoting it for Extreme Rules but it is likely. I ran a story earlier this morning about WWE's deal with YouTube you can read at this link.

Is Nikki Bella still leaving WWE given the fact that WWE put the Divas Championship on her last night?

WWE wanted someone to beat Beth Phoenix for the Divas Championship so they could get the belt back on Kharma shortly before her return to the company. They did not want Kharma to go immediately over Beth so the idea was someone that could job had to take the belt off Beth. If the Bella Twins have signed new WWE contracts, I haven't heard it.

How long do you think WWE will keep ramming Lord Tensai down our throats?

WWE is obviously not ready to pull the plug on the gimmick yet, having Lord Tensai squash R-Truth a week after beating John Cena. I can't give you a timeframe but can assure you WWE officials are doing all they can to get him over. Company officials were probably hoping by acknowledging Tensai's WWE past the fans would recognize improvement from his time in Japan but so far his matches are still greeted with "Albert" chants.

Do you think Hulk Hogan should be making any sort of comment publicly in regards to what TNA should be doing? Wouldn't it be better to discuss this with the other higher ups then with his Twitter followers?

I'm not so sure Hulk Hogan completely understands Twitter or social media in general. His Tweets over the weekend that 70% of TNA's problems would be solved by going live weren't the first time his Tweets have drawn criticism. Remember when he put Garett Bischoff over and said others in the locker room could learn a lot from him? Perhaps he feels by taking the comments public they will create support from the TNA fan base and help his position with Dixie Carter. I don't know for sure but Twitter makes my job a lot easier.

Besides the nWo, what was your favorite moments in WCW?

In addition to the original new World order storyline, my favorite moments in WCW were the superior wrestling matches. One thing that I think Eric Bischoff deserves some credit for is bringing in international cruiserweight stars and highlighting them on mainstream shows. Workers such as Ultimo Dragon, Psicosis, La Parka, not to mention the names that became big stars once in WWE such as Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, etc. There was a lot to like on WCW shows and it's a shame the company was ran into the ground.

Are Scott Steiner's Tweets a work or a shoot?

From everything I've seen and heard, Scott Steiner's most-recent Tweets on Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Bruce Prichard and company are legitimate. He is finished with TNA and I'm not sure how his deal to work Ring Ka King is structured. All of Steiner's appearances on the international show up until this point have been pre-taped. As I've discussed before, Steiner can come off as cocky and arrogant but a lot of what he is saying regarding the dysfunctional TNA structure is true.

Where does WWE get the cars Alberto Del Rio cruises in with each show?

WWE rents the vehicles from high-end car rental dealerships. The only role Alberto Del Rio has with the cars is to come out in them.

On this week's Raw Supershow WWE they showed old matches of Brock Lesnar and each match he was facing opponents who are now in TNA. Why would WWE feature TNA stars?

Vince McMahon has made it pretty clear he doesn't see TNA as a threat to his business. There really isn't a bigger example than the use of Ric Flair at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony this year and the night after at Wrestlemania XXVIII.

With WWE re-acquiring Brock Lesnar with a big money offer do you see other MMA stars possible making the jump to WWE?

I don't know if you've seen but Tito Ortiz is the latest MMA fighter to tease a possible WWE run. The concept of a UFC fighter coming to WWE isn't a new one at all as Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn did it way before Brock Lesnar. The interest in Lesnar had to do with how he drew for WWE, went to UFC and had success and drew big for them as well. Vince McMahon was determined to have Brock Lesnar's first post-UFC appearance in a WWE ring. The interest level won't be as high for many others but the door from MMA to WWE was opened years ago.

I was wondering if you knew what was going on with Dean Ambrose and Mick Foley. Is their little twitter feud legit, or is it part of a storyline?

The social media storyline between Dean Ambrose and Mick Foley is just that… a storyline. Mick Foley has made things look very believable but the ultimate goal is to use the angle to bring Ambrose to television. It's a great opportunity for one of WWE's top developmental prospects.

Alberto Del Rio was the last guy to be introduced with needless vignettes and was pushed from day one to the top. Is Damien Sandow in line for the same push?

Alberto Del Rio wasn't the last as the debuts of Brodus Clay and Lord Tensai were both hyped in the same manner. Damien Sandow is formerly known as Idol Stevens where he had a brief run on Smackdown. With that being said there are plans to push Sandow but it all depends on how the crowd reacts to his gimmick as to how far the push will go. Alberto Del Rio is a guy that lived up to the hype and has impressed company officials with the way he's gotten over.

What are your thoughts on Ryback's gimmick?

WWE is trying to get Ryback over by having him squash enhancement workers. To prevent him from crushing the momentum of any regular roster member, they are using "extras" or "call-ins" that are local independent workers that do not have WWE contracts to put him over. This is often done for a newer gimmick where the company can gauge his work and crowd reactions before determining a storyline for him. WWE officials like Ryback's look and feel it gives him great potential.

What ended the career of Buff Bagwell so early?

Buff Bagwell suffered what was have thought to have been a career-ending injury in WCW but returned ten months later. Bagwell has been working independent dates for the last several years and prior to that had brief stints in TNA and WWE. His closest ties seem to be with Universal Championship Wrestling in Georgia but I had not heard a lot from him recently prior to the car accident.

How do you think a Divas Money in the Bank ladder match would go over with the crowd? Providing of course they get more than 5 minutes to pull it off. I for one think it would be a fun twist and would help revamp the Divas division which is sorely needed.

One thing about gimmick matches is they can quickly become overdone and lose their significance. Anyone that knows me knows I'm not a big gimmick match guy but I do think they have their place when used properly. The Money in the Bank ladder match has been one of the best gimmick matches in WWE history, producing entertaining matches where the outcome has really mattered (obviously scripted but very indicative as to who is next in line for a championship push). Based on the way WWE pushes their female talent, I would oppose a Money in the Bank ladder match for the Divas. If the company had confidence in their female workers and the Divas Championship was a competitive title with prestige and significance, my position might be different.

Rey Mysterio's suspension came as a shock being that he hasn't been wrestling. Why do the wrestlers not take the initiative to get WWE's approval towards certain medication before taking them?

We still do not have details as to what caused Rey Mysterio's second WWE Wellness violation. However, this position that the policy is a mystery and workers do not know what will cause them to fail is erroneous. The entire WWE Wellness Policy is online at this link. Not only can workers under contract get full details on the policy in a matter of seconds, it is open to all. If you have a question about which substance is banned, go here. Once a talent under contract produces a positive test they are given a chance to provide a prescription for what caused it unless it is banned outright (such as Soma and Miltown).

Were the firings of Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins part of the post-Wrestlemania cuts?

As I talked about in yesterday's WNW Premium Mailbag, the "firings" of Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins were storyline. Obviously with cuts looming these are two names everyone is wondering about, however, official releases have not been given to them as of this writing.

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