Wrestlemania 30 Favorites, Crowd Incident Involving Rapper At Raw, Austin Predicts CM Punk's WWE Return, Top WWE Star On "Borrowed Time," Title Match Swerve At WM30?, Steve Austin Confirmed, Detailed Update On CM Punk's Status With WWE

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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, March 29, 2014 to Friday, April 4, 2014 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

WWE News

- Daniel Bryan recently took part in an interview with Between The Ropes and discussed the crowd reaction at this year's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, his upcoming wedding, whether he feels like a top guy, and more. In the following excerpt, Bryan addresses how he got to where he is now:

Host: Has it been tough to win over the brass in WWE to get to the point you're at now, and saying, "Hey, look at the response. Look at where I am. I should be one of the main guys here"?

Bryan: It's interesting because I've never actually said that. I've never gone up to anybody and said, "Hey, look at what I'm doing. I should be a main guy here." I have always let my work speak for itself and I've always let the fan reaction speak for itself, and make it so they don't have a choice but to do what they do with me, right? And it's not me that's been pushing for me to get this opportunity. It's the fans that have been pushing for it, and them saying, "No, this is what what we want. We want this at WrestleMania," and WWE has to listen to them. That, to me, is pretty cool. People have so much more power than they think - not just in wrestling, just in the world in general. A lot of these buildings, we've got 14,000 people in those buildings, in comparison to a couple of people backstage who really run the WWE. And that's pretty much the ratio of people in the world and people in power, and we have a lot more power than we think, so it's pretty cool.

The interview is available at this link.

- Batista recently took part in an interview with Mike Jones (who?) from DC 101 Radio. In the interview, Batista talks about how he feels about negative crowd reactions, the current backstage environment within WWE, how long before The Undertaker retires, wearing skinny jeans to get heat, and more.

In the following excerpt, Batista addresses crowds hijacking recent shows:

Jones: Do you think that if you had come back the night after the Royal Rumble, and let's say you beat Randy that night for the title, do you think you'd be cheered into WrestleMania?

Batista: It's really hard to say, man. It's really gotten weird, because the TV audience now, they do things that, to me, just don't make any sense. Like, they'll start these chants that have absolutely nothing to do with the show, but they don't do that on house shows. It's different. The best way I can put it is now, our television audience - the people who actually come to the televised show - they used to want to watch the show, they used to want to participate, and now it's like the want to be the show. It's really strange and it doesn't really make sense. Sometimes I think they miss out on what actually happens because they're so concerned about chanting stuff that they has something to do with something they read on the Internet. They just want to have a lot more control with the show, and I think they're selling themselves short, because they're missing out on what's going on.

Jones: Absolutely, dude. It's like there's two guys in the ring wrestling, a referee - you don't need a fourth man in there. You need to just watch and see what's happening. Otherwise, you're going to miss it.

Batista: It's the whole show that they're missing out on. I love that they love Daniel Bryan. It's great. He deserves all of his success. But at the same time, we can't have 16 segments of Daniel Bryan. They would get bored really fast. He's a star on the show, he's gonna be out there eventually. If you chant his name through every other match that's going on, it's just - they're missing out.

The interview is available at this link.

- WWE explains the story of the "Yes!" Movement at this link.

- Sin Cara speaks on his second victory against Damien Sandow on the latest episode of Smackdown Fallout at this link.

- Hulk Hogan was on The Arsenio Hall Show on Friday night for Wrestlemania XXX promotion. One thing Hogan didn't back off of is working another match, one against John Cena.

- John Cena didn't work WWE's live event on Saturday night in Charlottesville, Virginia because he was a presenter at the 2014 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards in Los Angeles, California. Cena had both his real life girlfriend Nikki Bella and her sister Brie with him on behalf of WWE.

- A stipulation has been added to Prince Devitt's match at next Sunday's New Japan Pro Wrestling "Invasion Attack" show in Tokyo. The bout, against Ryusuke Taguchi, carries the stipulation that if Devitt loses, he must leave NJPW. This has resulted in speculation that Devitt could be headed to WWE. We can confirm there's been interest for months but Devitt was reluctant to sign because he didn't want to spend time in the company's developmental program at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

- WWE officially acknowledged the release of Luis Ignacio Urive Alvirde's contract last week. The original Sin Cara is already back in Mexico working and still claims he'll have complete rights over the name and gimmick soon.

- Zack Ryder talks about his first Wrestlemania at this link.

- Remember the original plan to introduce Dean Ambrose to the WWE audience was a program with Mick Foley, however, it was dropped out of nowhere. Foley told Jim Ross on his podcast the program was dropped after a neurologist told him he could never wrestle again. You can listen at this link.

- WWE recently held one of their training camps at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. There were 30 prospects from across the world put through a grueling camp by Bill DeMott, William Regal, Norman Smiley, Matt Bloom, Billy Gunn and Dean Malenko. One of the participants, a 6'2 282 lbs. bodybuilder, blogged about their experience. They wrote it was the most difficult thing they've ever done and "hell just might be an understatement." They concluded by really putting over WWE, the coaches and the entire experience. Click here for the complete blog on the experience.

- Total Divas is taking next week off due to Wrestlemania 30. The show will return on Sunday, April 13, 2014 with episode 18. Below is a synopsis:

"Inhale, Exhale"
Nattie is told that she has to undergo correctional surgery. Nikki feels that John is lying. Trinity shoots a music video.

- The promotional poster for WWE Extreme Rules 2014 features Daniel Bryan and is embedded below:

WWE Extreme Rules will take place on Sunday, May 4, 2014 from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. - Prince Devitt was a hot topic over the weekend when it was learned his bout at next Sunday's New Japan Pro Wrestling "Invasion Attack" show in Tokyo against Ryusuke Taguchi carries the stipulation that if he loses, he must leave NJPW. Devitt made a surprise appearance at Sunday's Insane Championship Wrestling show in the United Kingdom and addressed rumors, proclaiming he was "right here in ICW." You can watch footage of his appearance at this link. - WWE issued a press release on Monday for WWE Network'sWrestlemania week programming. In it, they announce The Usos defending the WWE Tag Team Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Match against Los Matadores, Ryback & Curtis Axel and The Real Americans will take place on the Wrestlemania 30 Pre-Show. - WWE has already been hard at work at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with the construction of the Wrestlemania 30 set. The set will carry a theme based around the city of New Orleans and exuberant efforts have already been made. This is not unusual as WWE routinely hires third party companies to design and construct sets for Wrestlemania. There was a situation last year where photos of the Wrestlemania 29 set leaked online and WWE wasn't happy about it. An early photo of this year's set is now online at this link. - We confirmed last week that Vince McMahon desired a "surprise" for this year's show, noting it wasn't expected to be anything major but something fans could say they didn't see coming. One of themes for this year's show is the 30-year history of the event and WWE has reached out to past legends about appearing. - Speaking of which, there are still four spots open in the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. I was told Rob Van Dam was a possible surprise but to not expect much more. RVD's return is imminent and something that has been under negotiation for months. - While I'd never advise you to bet on pro wrestling, the early favorites for the four main events are in. The following odds are based on comprehensive bets placed prior to this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, however, are accurate as of March 31, 2014: Bray Wyatt (59.32%) over John Cena (40.68%) Undertaker (79.38%) over Brock Lesnar (20.62%) Daniel Bryan (66.67%) over Triple H (33.33%) Daniel Bryan (50.32%) over for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship followed by Triple H (24.52%), Batista (15.48%) and Randy Orton (9.68%) The percentage of bets placed are in parenthesis. - Batista discussed his return to WWE in a new interview with The Chad Dukes Wrestling Show. In it, he said he left the company in 2010 for "very specific reasons" because his deal was too constrictive. He said there were certain guys getting opportunities he wasn't getting and he wasn't cool with that. Batista reaffirmed he always wanted to come back and he got to accomplish what he wanted to accomplish while away. Batista said he didn't demand a lot of money for limited WWE dates either. He agreed to come back and work live events as well as Smackdown. He also talked about being selective when choosing movie roles during his hiatus from pro wrestling. You can listen to the interview in its entirety at this link. - Brian Fritz has a new interview online with Paul Heyman to promote Sunday's Wrestlemania 30 pay-per-view. You can check it out at this link. - Hulk Hogan was on "The Crowd Goes Wild" with Regis Philbin when he did media for WWE in New York City last week. You can watch at this link. - The New York Times has a lengthy piece on the WWE Network featuring quotes from Vince McMahon online at this link. - Is Daniel Bryan over the tour bus? Check out a Total Divas bonus clip at this link. - William Regal talks about his first Wrestlemania match at Wrestlemania 17 against Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship. You can watch at this link. - The cast of WWE Legends House will sign autographs at the "Legends House Open House" experience at WrestleMania Axxess April 3-6. Dot com has more at this link. - Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 3,057,000 viewers on SyFy. You can see how the show stacked up to significant competition with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at this link. - At Wrestlemania XXX, the Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational will be a one fall to the finish match. All of the Divas will be in the ring at the same time and to get a pinfall will be the Divas Champion. - This week's episode of Total Divas drew its second highest viewership in series history on Sunday. According to a press release issued by E, the show did an average viewing audience of 1,550,000 viewers. You can read more at this link. Tuesday, April 1, 2014 3:30 PM EDT Update: The number actually came in at 1,546,000 viewers, so that's the one we are going to put in the archive. End update. - Rapper Wale punched a fan in the face at this week's WWE Monday Night Raw at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., TMZ Sports is reporting. According to their report, Wale was sitting behind the announcers enjoying the show when a fan began taunting him. Wale retaliated by punching him in the face. Security and event staff rushed over and broke up the altercation. Neither was ejected from the building. Click here for coverage by TMZ Sports. - The announced attendance for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. was 15,288. The show was a legitimate sellout. - Brad Maddox has been added as an entry into the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania XXX. Three spots remains following his inclusion. - One of the most-asked questions we receive from readers has to do with "Macho Man" Randy Savage being a WWE Hall of Fame snub. The Tampa Tribune took notice of the issue and published a detailed report about Savage being left out again this year. The new development is Savage's brother, Lanny Poffo, has softened his stance and says he no longer wishes for himself and their father to be inducted with Randy. However, he said he wouldn't attend the ceremony unless WWE called his mother and offered their condolences about Randy's passing. Poffo reiterated what he's said previously in that WWE called in 2012 about inducting his brother but Poffo said he'd only accept if the entire Poffo family was inducted. That was apparently enough to get WWE to back off, however, as noted, something Lanny would no longer require. Click here for coverage by TBO.com. - WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee and CM Punk are reportedly engaged as she was spotted wearing an engagement ring on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Given the fact Punk isn't talking to anyone in WWE, it would be up to AJ to spread the news. You can watch a video highlight of AJ taking a loss to Naomi in a Lumber Jill match from this week's Raw at this link. - As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, rapper Wale was involved in an altercation in the crowd at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Washington, D.C. Below is video of the melee: - Below are Raw Fallout videos posted on the official WWEYouTube channel: Piper endorses Big Show: Two Words...Believe That: - Daniel Bryan is featured in a new Q&A with DirecTV to promote Wrestlemania 30. The article is semi-kayfabe, mentioning his shoulder "injury," but Bryan does make some legitimate comments. He discussed introducing himself to Hulk Hogan for the first time and Hogan knowing who he was. Bryan said he was filming for Total Divas as he and Brie were doing their cake testing and food tasting for their wedding. You can read the piece at this link. - Hornswoggle, under his real name Dylan Postl, discussed his cameo in "Muppets Most Wanted" at this link. - The casts of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, The Real Housewives of New York and The Real Housewives of New Jersey are planning to attend Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans on Sunday. Phaedra Parks Tweeted the following:

Kristen Taekman Tweeted the following:

Melissa Gorga Tweeted the following:

- I Tweeted a photo of Batista in his Patrick Ewing Georgetown throwback from Raw that you can vide below:

- Chris Jericho confirmed yet again in an interview with the Boston Herald that he will not be part of Wrestlemania 30 this year and it was his decision. He also spoke of CM Punk's departure, saying that he had enough of whatever it was and no one knows exactly why he left WWE. You can read the piece in its entirety at this link. - Hulk Hogan and John Cena were on ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday to promote Wrestlemania XXX. In the appearance, Cena played an April Fools joke on a fan. Watch video of the appearance at this link. - Jake Roberts is featured on a new "30 Years of Wrestlemania" podcast that you can listen to at this link. - This week's Monday Night Raw, which was the last one before Wrestlemania XXX this Sunday, did an average viewing audience of 4,390,667 viewers. Here is the breakdown by hour: Hour One: 4,603,000 viewers Hour Two: 4,338,000 viewers Hour Three: 4,231,000 viewers These numbers are up from last week's viewership. - Bill Donnelly of ThisisInfamous.com interviewed Paul Heyman to promote Sunday's Wrestlemania 30 pay-per-view. In it, Paul discussed being given the task of coming out to CM Punk's music in Chicago, being part of the streak match at Wrestlemania two years in a row and more. You can read it at this link. - Sam Roberts was at Tuesday's Wrestlemania 30 press conference and conducted interviews with Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Hulk Hogan. You can watch at this link. - David Benoit, the son of Chris Benoit, did a near 45 minute interview at this link. Below are the highlights: * He confirms he's training for a wrestling career. * David said he believes his father should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame because you have to focus on the "pros more than the cons." * He said he's still very good friends with Chris Jericho, who also tries to focus on the positive about Chris rather than the negatives. * David said WWE never gave his family his father's last paycheck. * He said he wouldn't want to go to TNA because everyone he's spoken to there says it's a terrible place to work. * David said WWE really missed the boat with Harry Smith. There's also a good amount of Wrestlemania 30 talk to open the interview. - Hulk Hogan is featured in a new interview at this link to promote Wrestlemania 30. In it, he said wrestling isn't part of the job description this time around. He also said people get confused about reality TV and his time on Hogan's Know Best. Here's what Hogan had to say about the popular reality series.

“I remember the good stuff, you know, a lot of good bonding with my family and having fun,” said Hogan. “But I don’t think [viewers] understand what reality television really is. It's realistic. Reality TV is slightly scripted. You know, my son Nick would be at the computer doing his homework. And the producers go, ‘Nick, go throw water balloons at the neighbors.’ That's not Nick. That's not what Nick does. But that's reality TV. And people get so wrapped up in it, they don't understand the difference between real and real-like.”

Click here for the ABC News/Yahoo piece. - The belief within WWE is there are only three people that know whether or not CM Punk will ever return to the company and those three people are Vince McMahon, Triple H and Punk himself. Punk literally has put up a wall between anyone connected to WWE other than his girlfriend AJ Lee and just isn't talking. That hasn't stopped the gossip and speculation, especially after AJ Lee showed up at TVs wearing an engagement ring. Punk hasn't been in hiding and has even been approached by WWE friends in public, however, that hasn't changed his stance to say nothing.

- Steve Austin is on good terms with WWE and continues to have open communication with the company. He is planning to attend Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans on Sunday and hopes to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony the night before.

Vince McMahon contacted Austin himself about appearing at the WWE Network announcement in Las Vegas in February and communication between the two has remained open ever since.

As for Austin appearing on-camera at Wrestlemania 30, it's certainly possible. Vince wants to get big names from the past three decades to appear at the pay-per-view on Sunday and has been in contact with several. Given the aforementioned open communication with Austin, it's not unrealistic to suggest an Austin cameo.

- Lita will take her place in the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2014 the night before Wrestlemania 30 at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New Orleans. Lita was first contacted via text message by Stephanie McMahon about her induction and will be inducted by her self-proclaimed "bestie," WWE Hall of Fame Diva Trish Stratus.

While Lita battled with injuries after her retirement from the ring, she's healthy and strong. She's already done a considerable amount of media to promote her induction and hasn't completely ruled out a return.

Check out this quote from an interview she did with The Miami Herald:

“The only thing when I get asked about giving one more match is more just to prove it to myself,” Dumas said. “ I do feel really great and really strong. I had some nagging injuries for a really long time after I retired that I guess I will have to live with for getting beaten up for so long. I do feel really great and feel really strong, so that would be more the reason why I would want to get back out there one more time to prove to myself I can still do all the stuff. As far as getting an itch or anything active, I’m super happy where I am and proud of my accomplishments. It’s not really something I feel like I need to do, but if my arm was twisted at the right time, I could probably be talked into it.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- It's 100% confirmed that Sting is coming to New Orleans for Wrestlemania 30 weekend, however, that doesn't mean you should expect to see him in a WWE ring. While rumors have been rampant that Sting is WWE-bound, with "The Icon" himself stoking the fire by saying he only wants one more match, one against The Undertaker, he is not booked for any WWE appearances over the weekend.

Sting's appearance in New Orleans is for the independently booked WrestleCon convention and is limited to 250 people from 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM on Sunday, April 6, 2014. According to event organizers, his travel has been paid for and he'll be departing New Orleans after the appearance.

I've noted numerous times that Sting being booked for WrestleCon essentially eliminates him from the Wrestlemania 30 conversation. If he had a WWE contract and the company wanted his name in the public, they would surely promote him for Axxess. If they wanted to utilize him as a surprise, there's no way they would approve a third party booking the day of the show.

While it's unknown what this means for the long-term, Sting should be considered very doubtful to appear at any WWE-related events over Wrestlemania 30 weekend.

- Steve Austin has a lofty prediction for Wrestlemania 30. It's one he's had for months and one he's not backing off. Austin stated on a new podcast that he predicts CM Punk will return at Wrestlemania XXX and establish himself in an angle. You can listen to Austin's latest at this link.

- WWE takes their fans on a tour of their Warehouse in a new video posted on YouTube. You can watch at this link.

- You can watch video highlights of Sheamus vs. The Miz from this week's episode of WWE Main Event at this link. Speaking of Sheamus, he's on the booking sheets against Batista in post-Wrestlemania live events.

- WWE touted the "unprecedented" digital access to Wrestlemania 30 in a new press release issued on Wednesday. Click here to read it.

- Wale explained to MTV Newswhat happened in the crowd at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Washington, D.C. Apparently a fan that was also in the building was antagonizing the rapper on Twitter. It didn't take long for Wale to find the culprit and confront them face-to-face.

"I was like, 'Yo, is this you?' And one thing lead to another, and I just kind of mushed him a little bit," the rapper explained, stressing that things didn't turn violent. "Honestly, if there wasn't kids right there, it would have went a little bit differently, but I just wanted to be conscious of them. It's not to say it was the right decision. But in the moment, you know."

You can read more comments at this link.

- Ex-Burton Albion goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson credits Men's Health for helping him get signed to a WWE developmental contract. The former footballer told Digital Spy that WWE saw his photos in the April 2013 issue of the magazine and tracked him down for a tryout. An hour after his tryout, he got a contract. You can read more at this link.

- Dot com posted photos of the trophy the winner of the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30 will receive. You can view them at this link.

- This week's kayfabe interview with Michael Cole is Stephanie McMahon. Remember, as the storyline goes, Hunter "won't do" the sit-down interviews until after Wrestlemania. Watch Cole's interview with Stephanie at this link.

Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Washington, D.C…

- Vince McMahon wasn't happy with the way this week's Monday Night Raw came across on television. According to one observer, McMahon felt the show was cluttered and there were too many guys on it.

- John Cena was said to be sore following his work on this week's show but there is no serious issue with his health headed into Wrestlemania 30.

- Roman Reigns is still seen as the member of The Shield most ready for a run in singles competition. One source told us to look for him to be "booked huge" in the 6-man tag team match at Wrestlemania.

- There was plenty of discussion about CM Punk not being feature in the build for the Brock Lesnar video nor was he buried in the Triple H video. The philosophy is clear at this point. Don't feature him but don't upset him either. Vince McMahon is giving Punk his space and whatever happens, happens.

- Perhaps more cause for concern is the fact Rey Mysterio was seen limping around backstage yet again. There are plenty of people that believe he's on borrowed time due to continuous issues with his left knee.

- Randy Orton celebrated his 34th birthday on Wednesday and took the opportunity to go public about his new girlfriend. For those that enjoy the "gossip" aspect of the business, Orton is dating a girl named Kim Marie.

The following is from Twitter:

Orton divorced his wife Samantha last year. It was learned at the time through a TMZ report that the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion makes $291,666 per month in salary.

- Variety has a fascinating article on the WWE Network online where Senior Editor Marc Graser takes at look at Wrestlemania as its first big test. He explains what we've reported in that WWE will announce their initial number of subscribers next Monday, April 7, 2014. You can read the piece in its entirety at this link.

- The economic impact of Wrestlemania on its host city is always very good. This year's show could drive more than $100 million in spending over the course of the week. Read more about that at this link.

- Rolling Stone profiled Daniel Bryan in a new article titled "Daniel Bryan's House of Yes!" The piece looks at Bryan as "an eco-minded vegan grappler" that became WWE's hottest star. Bryan was quoted in the piece, talking about how if Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan would have happened in different eras, they would have been hated.

"When you look at Austin, if he'd happened in different eras, he would have been hated," reasons Bryan about his current zeitgeistiness. "Hulk Hogan, if he came out now saying, 'America, take your vitamins,' and he's this jacked-up dude, you would get people going, 'Wait, what? I hate this guy.' To me, it's whether you fit into the atmosphere."

He recalled the beginning of what is now known as the "Yes Movement" that spawned from the chant of the word "yes":

"The whole arena was chanting, 'Yes! Yes! Yes!'" Bryan recalls of the night that same year when he realized fans had latched on to his motto. "I didn't predict it; I didn't plan it. It just happened, and you feel lucky to be a part of it."

Brie Bella, Bryan's fiancée, is quoted in the piece about how Bryan has broken the mold and isn't just causing the hardcore wrestling fan but the casual viewer to look at the smaller guys differently.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- For those that think WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee has "no chance" of retaining her title as the company is playing up in storyline, think again. We're told there have been scenarios pitched for her to go over and continue her run as the "longest-reining" Divas champion.

The major problem I have with the bout is the insertion of 14-Divas, thus giving no challenger a proper payoff. If AJ goes over, it could actually give her a bigger payoff by "accomplishing the impossible." There's also a tie-in to CM Punk that I'll have more on later.

Speaking of the Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational, I have a blooper for you here:

- Many have talked it and I've pushed back on it but I'm told scenarios have indeed been pitched for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match to become a Fatal 4-Way with both Daniel Bryan and Triple H being inserted. This isn't something I can confirm will make the final script but it's something creative is exploring and not just something being thrown around by fans. It's extremely obvious there is no interest in Batista vs. Randy Orton and given the increased interest in Hunter/Bryan, it makes sense why it's come up. - Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker remain respective favorites in their Wrestlemania XXX matches with one source suggesting they'll do a stretcher job with John Cena to really accentuate the beating. This is seen as a big elevation for Bray and the initial hope is he will be able to work as a top guy going forward. He's not guaranteed to go over but his stock has only gone up throughout his first Wrestlemania program. - Hulk Hogan continues to lead media for Wrestlemania 30 and is featured in a new piece by Redeye Chicago. In it, Hogan talks about the body slam heard around the around the world to today. He also gives his Wrestlemania predictions. They are as follows: Hogan predicts John Cena over Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan over Triple H, Daniel Bryan over as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Undertaker over Brock Lesnar and either Big Show or Big E Langston over for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Hogan notes something crazy could happen, "like Sting or Ultimate Warrior show up." Click here to read the article in its entirety. - Natalya, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Zack Ryder visited the Ochsner Children’s Health Center and the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans on Wednesday as part of WWE's charitable efforts during Wrestlemania week. Video of the visit is now online at this link. - Cody Rhodes, Big E, Fandango, Darren Young and more share their Wrestlemania 30 predictions in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. Watch at this link. - WWE posted an exclusive look at the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame rings here on dot com. - Legendary WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel shared his Wrestlemania memories with Slam Wrestling at this link. - WWE made a strong-arm attempt to block the sell of unauthorized merchandise by third parties in New Orleans over Wrestlemania XXX weekend. While the company wished for the suit to remain quiet, with a joint motion to seal it, U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan issued an extraordinary ruling on Tuesday. Below is an excerpt from the ruling, with WWE of course the "Plaintiff,":

"The problem with Plaintiff’s request is apparent once one recalls that the order it requests is not directed against a single named, identified, or even described person—all the defendants are John Does, and Plaintiff provides no particular information about the identity of any of them," she wrote. "At best, Plaintiff defines Defendants almost tautologically: Defendants are anyone who would be a proper defendant within broad geographic and temporal limits."

The Hollywood Reporter broke the story and has more at this link. You can also read about the ruling here. - WWE posted the Wrestlemania workout for Roman Reigns at this link. - Steve Austin arrived in New Orleans on Thursday and will appear at Wrestlemania XXX on Sunday. His role at the show is unknown. He'll also be at the 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night. WWE sent out a text alert, promoting the TMZ story on dot com. - Sheamus talked about his first Wrestlemania at this link. - Welcome to New Orleans! The Orleans Brass Band played John Cena's theme music at the Louis Armstrong International Airport. They sounded really good. Listen at this link. - Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were at the New Orleans Museum of Art Thursday night for a “purple carpet” party celebrating Superstars for Kids. The event was to kick off the charity auction with proceeds benefitting The Brees Dream Foundation. You can bid on items at this link. Dot com has coverage with photos at this link. - Steve Austin appeared at Jim Ross' show at The House of Blues in New Orleans on Thursday night. Below is a photo:

As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Austin plans to attend the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony at will be at Wrestlemania 30 on Sunday night. His role at the show is currently unknown.

- The Boston Herald has a new article featuring quotes from Daniel Bryan, Ric Flair and Jim Ross reflecting on 30 years of Wrestlemania. Flair put over Vince McMahon and JR talked up his worth ethic, however, there's another comment I want to focus on.

Bryan talked about the night after Wrestlemania 30 being the beginning of a new era. Below is an excerpt:

“I’d like to go out on Monday Night Raw on the day after WrestleMania and start a new era with guys who can go out in the ring and perform,” said Bryan. “John Cena and Randy Orton are great performers, but so are Cesaro and The Shield. It’s time to give some new guys some new opportunities.”

Raw will take place next Monday from the Smoothie King Center in NOLA.

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- Daniel Bryan's mind was blown when the crowd at the Michigan State University men's basketball game broke out in his "Yes" chant back in January. This was the point where WWE realized what they had with Bryan was too big to be contained and the storyline where he "joined" The Wyatt Family was quickly modified. Watch Bryan's comments to TMZ Sports at this link.

- The Tampa Tribune has a new article featuring quotes from WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E where he promotes his inclusion in the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30. Click here to read it.

- The Baltimore Sun has a new Q&A online with Mick Foley at this link.

- Variety looks at WWE Studios finding their footing in Hollywood at this link.

- Natalya conducted interviews at Thursday night's Superstars for Kids party. You can watch video at this link.

- Charles Wright (f/k/a The Godfather, Papa Shango), Danny Davis and Lanny Poffo are in NOLA for Wrestlemania 30 weekend.

- Pat Patterson performed karaoke at the Cat's Meow on Bourbon Street. Tape is available at this link.

On Thursday morning, I received some anonymous information regarding CM Punk. Since the person that fed me the information isn't someone I normally speak with, I want to preface this information with a disclaimer. While we take all tips seriously, some tips have agendas. I was able to confirm some of what I was told on Thursday with some of my regular sources earlier in the week, which is why I'm carrying this.

According to an unconfirmed tipster, CM Punk and WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee were engaged to be married over the course of the last two weeks. We're told it wasn't as big of a surprise as some might think as the two had a friendship going back to 2012. When the friendship turned into a romantic relationship, many of Punk's close WWE friends thought this would occur.

Contrary to what some think, AJ Lee is not being punished over her private life with CM Punk. From what I'm told, it's actually quite the opposite and Vince McMahon remains high up on her. AJ Lee is someone that is seen as in WWE's "big picture" plans and are there are no indications she plans to leave any time soon.

Factoring the aforementioned information in, we're told Vince *refuses* to give up on Punk. He likes him and wants him back, regardless of how much Triple H and Stephanie McMahon want to "cut their losses" and move on.

With that being said, Punk isn't in the Wrestlemania plans at this juncture and isn't expected to make any kind of appearance. Obviously should Punk do an "about face" and change his position, it's of no doubt Vince would look to utilize him accordingly.

- The Boston Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Steve Austin. In it, Austin referred to his match against Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XIV as "half ass" and "mediocre."

Austin talked about regretting not facing Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XVIII

“I don’t know what the hell was in my head,” said Austin. “I didn’t really care to work with him. At the time, I just didn’t really think that much of Hogan. I was caught up living pretty fast and being Stone Cold and didn’t care for it to happen.”

He also spoke about CM Punk being burned out.

“Punk’s fed up with not main-eventing WrestleMania,” said Austin.

“I could get more out of that guy than anybody else walking Planet Earth,” said Austin. “He could have that ultimate ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting with me. Punk’s been around for a long time and he’s a smart guy, but he never stepped into a damn squared circle with the intensity of a guy like Stone Cold Steve Austin.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The sons of Paul Bearer, Michael and Daniel Moody, are scheduled to induct their father into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday night.

I can confirm that Daniel and Michael were en route to New Orleans on Friday.

http://youtu.be/igfQ1fQKfnE

The 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday night from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans and will broadcast live on the WWE Network beginning at 9 PM ET. Make plans to join our "Open Thread" here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com for a streaming recap and your discussion.

- Batista told The Washington Post he warned WWE management that he wouldn't be able to get over as a babyface. Below is an excerpt:

“They told me that I was going to come back and be this huge babyface,”

“I said, no, it’s not going to work,” he continues. “They said, no way, they’re dying for you to come back. I said, that’s going to last two minutes, just watch. And sure enough it did.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Vince McMahon was "set" on Batista coming back a babyface, regardless of the success he had as a heel in the latter part of his WWE career in 2010. McMahon went to extraordinary efforts at Elimination Chamber to "right the ship" but when the fans didn't buy it, even after a cheap beating by Alberto Del Rio, Vince finally conceded and turned Batista heel.

- Steve Austin shows off his workout area in a new video blog. You can watch at this link

- Hulkamania runs wild on JBL in the latest episode of The JBL & Cole Show that you can watch at this link.

- Variety is reporting that WWE Studios has joined PalmStar Media Capital to co-finance and co-produce the Vince Vaughn thriller “Term Life.” The film is due out in 2015.

Below is a synopsis courtesy of Variety:

The movie revolves around a man who plans and sells heists to the highest bidder, but when his latest job goes horribly wrong he finds himself hunted by everyone he knows — mob bosses, contract killers and dirty cops. With no way out, he takes out a life insurance policy on himself with his estranged daughter as the beneficiary, but must go on the run together to stay alive and become a father for the first time when it turns out the policy doesn’t take effect for 21 days.

Click here for more by Variety.

TNA News

- Davey Richards told The Daily Reporter he was supposed to be getting married on Sunday but delayed it to work TNA's live event in Spencer, Iowa. Thankfully his fiancée is understanding. You can read the comments used to promote Sunday's live event at this link.

- Right before Impact Wrestling ended, a video played announcing that next week will feature the "#WrathOfDixie" where Dixie Carter will return to television after being written off since Lockdown. Below is that video (or at this link):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nivY9zruID8

Speaking of next week, TNA Wrestling will begin with their television tapings again as they will air a live episode of Impact Wrestling next Thursday and tape shows April 11th and 12th. Also featured on next week's show will be The BroMans vs. The Wolves for the TNA Tag Team Championships.

To read what some are saying about Dixie's return and to give your thoughts, check out this post on TNANews.com!

- John Gaburick, was part of an exclusive Q&A session hosted by Jeremy Borash. TNA Wrestling asked fans all over the internet to send their questions for John to answer. Below is the recap of the interview:

  • John has been with the company for 10 months now and really puts over his job with the company and the people he works with. He and his family are happy and is looking forward to the future.
  • He states that when he first was named Head of Creative and Talent Relations in November, he wanted young, diverse, and dynamic talent as well as mixing them with veteran talent to help and teach. He is looking at ways to make the roster better all the time.
  • John puts over AJ Styles as he states he is one of the best wrestlers of his generation. They gave AJ, what he thought, was a fair offer but he decided to go somewhere else. He wishes him nothing but the best. However, if the timing is right and if he has a slot open then he will welcome him back with open arms.
  • He states it was an honor to work with Sting. His contract came to an end and he moved on. He is always welcome as TNA is his home. He will welcome him back with open arms.
  • John says the days of the 6 foot 4 guys main eventing are over. TNA was part of giving the guys of the X-Division to main event. They blurred the lines between X-Division and main event. They are always recruiting for talent for the company.
  • The company is very excited to have Brittany on board and The Beautiful People back together. He says you can't get any better female talent than TNA's Knockouts. John says the Knockouts are the very best at what they do in the ring. They will continue to spend time on developing the division.
  • Jeremy Borash brings up Jesse Sorensen and John states they gave Jesse a job in television production to learn a new skill. He states he was very good at it, but he had that wrestling bug. John's doctors wouldn't clear Jesse to get back in the ring and until they cleared him, John wouldn't allow him to compete in TNA.
  • He states we will see the six sided ring back in TNA. When that will be is a closely guarded secret. He goes on to say that the six sided ring is a fabric of who they are. It helped make TNA. It will continue to be part of who they are.
  • John Gaburick states the locker room moral is "outstanding". They came off of a successful UK Tour and it just continued to flow from that. The leaders of the locker room are leaders but also teachers.
  • He says Jeff Jarrett is no longer involved in the day-t0-day operations of the company but he is still an owner. He is somebody they, "charge to recruit and find international and domestic talent and bring them back to TNA." He wishes Jeff nothing but the best.
  • John states when he became Head of Creative, he stepped back and looked at the show in what it needed. He praises Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey for introducing them to the reality backstage shooting. They are just scratching the surface of that and will continue with it. He also states that they want to really develop the characters by showing videos of the character's past and how they came about so the viewers could either like or dislike them - instead of just throwing them out in the ring.
  • He praises David Lagana and Matt Conway for being the writers of TNA Wrestling. The buck stops with John though as he makes the final decisions. However, there are consultants who work on the show and they get input from wrestlers and announcers. They want team work. They want partners with the wrestlers so they feel great about their future. It's a productive environment to work with.
  • They discuss the live event situation in the company and their new Fist Pumping Party before every live event. It's an interactive experience with the wrestlers and the fans to party before the show. They hope to continue with it as they roll out more live events this year.
  • John states they invested a lot in their international growth. They are the most popular wrestling show in the United Kingdom. They are expanding in India, Europe, and Japan.
  • He brings up the partnership with Wrestle-1 in Japan. He hopes to continue the partnership and hopes to partner with Mexico.
  • John says that they have to change and evolve or you die. The landscape of the television business in the United States continue to change and they rolled out the #Impact365 initiative to reflect that.
  • He states that Spike TV is a great partner. They are fantastic to work with. He hopes to continue the partnerships as he can't imagine a better set-up than they have now.
  • Lastly, he looks at where the company has been in 12 years ago and where they are now and they are just getting started. It's really exciting for the company and he can't wait for the future.

Check out the interview below (or at this link):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7FfTUIlLzE

- Jeff Jarrett has quietly been contacting top guys for his new promotion over the course of the last couple months. Within the last week or two, he's been starting to aggressively pursue undercard talent as well. For those that need some catching up, Jarrett is expected to formally announce plans for a new promotion with a group funded by country music singer Toby Keith on Monday.

We're told Jarrett has specifically zeroed in on trying to find out who is and who isn't under contract with Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA. For talent under contract with one of those respective promotions, he's interested in when their deals are up. One source stated that pretty much anyone that is a regular for ROH or DGUSA, Jarrett is going after.

Jarrett feels like the X Division was a big part of what put TNA Wrestling on the map in the early days and the importance of the division has really taken a hit since then. This is one of the reasons why he's believed to be interested in recreating it with his new promotion. As one observer put it, "he wants to bring in high flyers."

Most of the names contacted have non-disclosure agreements and are "keeping their mouths shut." Due to the sensitivity of the situation, we aren't naming names.

In addition to the aforementioned names contacted for the Jarrett undercard, we're told the group is also counting on getting Kurt Angle when his agreement is up with TNA later this year. As I explicitly explained in Thursday's Ask WNW, Angle is expected to depart Dixie Carter's promotion.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling garnered an average viewing audience of 1,119,000 viewers on Spike TV, which was down from last week. You can see how the show did compared to other cable television shows here on TV By the Numbers.

- Puroresu Spirit is reporting that Seiya Sanada will be "potentially" defending the TNA X Division Championship against Christopher Daniels at the next Korakuen Hall show on April 17. The reason it will be a "potential" defense is assuming Sanada doesn't drop it before then. Click here for coverage by Puroresu Spirit.

Ask WNW

John Cena is only 36 and a 14-time world champion, he doesn't look like he will be retiring anytime soon. Do you see him breaking Ric Flair's 16-time world title record?

While John Cena will celebrate his 37th birthday next month (the 23rd), he's still very much in his prime and appears to be on his way to surpassing Ric Flair's mark as a 16-time world champion. I would actually be surprised if Cena didn't surpass 16-world title reigns. One thing I spent some time on in the latest Premium Mailbag is talking about where Cena goes from here. He's already accomplished everything, he's a guaranteed Hall of Famer and the biggest WWE star since The Rock and Steve Austin. As with other greats, Cena will further his legacy from everything he accomplishes from now until he retires. It's what icons do and now it will be how many benchmarks can Cena set as one of the most valuable performers to ever work for WWE.

The build to Batista vs. Randy Orton at Wrestlemania XXX began with everyone afraid of two heels facing one another. What if it becomes three with Triple H?

Many readers are skeptical about Daniel Bryan going over Triple H at Wrestlemania 30 and getting a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I've been a broken record for months now. The only way WWE can save the World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania is by inserting Daniel Bryan. Without that, the match will be a disaster. It doesn't matter if it's 5 stars in quality, the crowd would turn so hard it would be impossible to accomplish anything. I'm hopeful WWE does the right thing but anything is possible. Daniel Bryan has earned his payoff and WWE has a rare opportunity to give it to him on Sunday.

Do you see CM Punk being in play as a possible acquisition for Jeff Jarrett's new promotion?

CM Punk is under WWE contract until July and I honestly believe if he doesn't return to WWE, his days as a professional wrestler are over. We don't know much about the circumstances surrounding Punk's departure, as it's more speculation, but most can conclude he's suffering from a wicked case of burnout. If Punk isn't happy working in main event matches in WWE, I can't see him happy working anywhere else. I know the politics are a pain and it's not fair seeing part-time talent take the Wrestlemania spotlight but I just don't see Punk being excited about starting over at this point in his career. However, friends of Punk have said it's not about the money to him and he's more than financially secure, so who knows.

How soon will Wrestlemania 30 be available on the WWE Network after its live airing?

Because Wrestlemania 30 is a WWE Network original it will be available for playback immediately upon its conclusion. The reason it's taken so much time for Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber to become available is they were not WWE Network originals and the policy is content that doesn't originate there is available 30 days after its initial airing.

From the Ask WNW vault…

December 2012: Is it just me or has the return of Brock Lesnar been somewhat of a bust? He came back with so much hype, had a couple OK matches and now he has been gone for so long in between dates that I totally forgot about him until the Slammys? I know WWE wants to get the most out of his few dates but I feel they did a better job with The Rock then with Brock. - Let’s look at the numbers. Brock Lesnar has headlined two WWE pay-per-views this year – Extreme Rules (vs. John Cena) and SummerSlam (vs. Triple H). Extreme Rules did 263,000 buys (up from 209,000 the year prior and 182,000 in 2010) and SummerSlam did 350,000 buys (up from 296,000 the year prior and even with the 350,000 in 2010). WWE views these numbers as a major success and would like to retain the services of Brock Lesnar after they use him at Wrestlemania 29 next year. There was talk of Lesnar working Survivor Series or another pay-per-view in 2012 but the company ultimately decided to keep him on the shelf to preserve the dates on his contract.

What's the biggest pop you can remember for as long as you've been running Wrestling News World?

I started my full-time career with WrestlingNewsWorld.com in May 2007 and the largest pop I've covered so far has been for CM Punk at WWE Money in the Bank 2011. Punk was fresh off one of the greatest promos in WWE history with his pipe bomb and the reception he received from his home crowd was amazing.

What's happened to Rob Van Dam?

Rob Van Dam worked a 90-day short-term contract with WWE last year and is expected back this month. The only question seems to be if he'll be used at Wrestlemania 30 as a surprise entrant in the 30-man Andre the Giant Battle Royal or if the company will wait until after the pay-per-view to restart on him. Both ideas have been pitched, however, his return is considered imminent.

Will the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony air on cable? I know it's available in its entirety on the WWE Network.

A one hour special of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony is scheduled to air next Monday immediately following Raw on the USA Network. The ceremony will air live in its entirety on Saturday at 9 PM ET on WWE Network. A live red carpet arrival show hosted by Michael Cole and Renee Young will precede it at 8 PM ET, also on the WWE Network.

If you were booking Wrestlemania 30, would you start the show with Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, with Bryan going over and then put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match to close the show?

I expect there to be plenty of space between Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 30 for obvious reasons, however, I cannot confirm when they will occur on the card. It's certainly reasonable to assume the former will open and latter will close but it's not set in stone either. We do have details on the current favorites to go over in each match at this link.

What was with Rey Mysterio's comments about Tyson Kidd? I don't understand how he can say someone that's 33 hasn't gotten their opportunity.

Tyson Kidd hasn't gotten his opportunity. He's been utilized as a tag team worker (a one time World tag team champion and a one time WWE tag team champion) and in forgettable undercard programs but he hasn't been given an opportunity with a legitimate singles run in WWE. Kidd is right along with people like Dolph Ziggler in terms of talent that have tremendous upside potential. 33 might seem old to you but it's not in pro wrestling. Cesaro is 33, Daniel Bryan is 32 (will be 33 next month), Dolph Ziggler is 33, even Bad News Barrett himself is 33. Not everyone can be like Bray Wyatt and get such a big push at 26-years-old. It's the norm for WWE not to start on someone until their 30s.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: What has the reaction been like in WWE to the monster rating the 1000th Raw the show did? Do you think Vince McMahon looks at it as people having renewed interest or just a one time fluke? - WWE is thrilled with the rating of the 1000th episode of Raw and they should be. As we talked about here in Ask WNW, the company immediately issued a press release to tout the success of the large viewership. I have not heard from sources close to Vince McMahon what he thought and would be scared to speculate, however, I feel it shows the audience is still there. Whether or not that audience tunes in weekly or buys the monthly pay-per-views all has to do with the quality of the product. The company showed with Wrestlemania XXVIII they could get people to buy their product. WWE should strive to make every show “must-see programming,” treating them as a “big deal” to spark interest. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying pay-per-views are going to go be able to compete with Wrestlemania or weekly TVs can exceed the viewership of the biggest show to date but there is a large differential in the averages and these spikes. If WWE were to make their shows of more importance, I feel it could significantly boost ratings. This will, however, be very challenging by trying to come up with three hours of live TV each week.

Am I the only one who is tired of seeing Randy Orton bringing two belts to the ring? Any word on what they are going to do with the original World Heavyweight Championship belt?

You are not the only one and I agree with you, it's old seeing Randy Orton carry both title belts. I can also tell you it wasn't the original plan as the original plan called for the "champion of champions" to only carry the WWE Championship belt after titles were unified. WWE even played up in the build to WWE TLC (the event where the titles were unified) that it would be the final time the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship belts would be in the ring together. Here we are nearly four months later and Orton is still carrying both and even had both at Tuesday's Wrestlemania 30 press conference. As long as there are two belts there will be continued rumblings and speculation about de-unification and the splitting of the title belts.

I've always been curious. How often do you attend events? Do you go to them when you are in the area? Do you get any media access to the superstars? Or are you attending just like any fan?

It's been a few years since I've attended a WWE show and this is because it's simply easier for me to operate at my desk with my phone than it is to be on the ground. We have a great team of correspondents that attend TV tapings and shows, so we always have people on the ground. The last couple of TNA shows I attended, I got media credentials and essentially had "free roam" over the backstage area. It was a neat situation to be in but I still accomplish more from my desk, managing our team of correspondents and working my connections from my phone. If this were 20 years ago and my work was sent out via snail mail rather than being posted instantly on the Internet, I'd probably travel a heck of a lot more.

With a match between Sting and Undertaker likely to happen, would you rather see it happen at Summerslam this year or Wrestlemania next year? I ask because a match at Wrestlemania would be an obvious Undertaker win, where a match at Summerslam would produce an unknown winner.

There are still several things that have to happen for Sting vs. Undertaker to become a reality. First, we have to be able to confirm that Sting has a WWE contract. We do not have that confirmation yet. Next, it hinges on Undertaker's health and desire for such a match. The former, Undertaker's health, is probably the biggest question mark because he won't even know himself until after his match against Brock Lesnar on Sunday. If Sting has a WWE contract and Undertaker's healthy, both parties will have to come into agreement on the match. When would it take place? Where would it take place? Most importantly, who would go over in such a bout? While Sting only wants one more match against Undertaker, it's fair to say both are on borrowed time. These are issues that can't be taken likely and would all have to be sorted before the dream match would ever actually come to fruition.

In your opinion, which Wrestlemania XXX match has had the best build?

I've been wanting to do a list for a while now, so I'll just list them in terms of interest with the top being the match/point I'm most interested in and the bottom being the match/point I'm least interested in.

  1. Will Daniel Bryan get his payoff?
  2. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
  3. Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
  4. Everything else

My biggest area of intrigue is what will happen with Daniel Bryan? Will WWE finally give him the payoff he's rightfully earned and the one the fans want or will this be another situation where egos and backstage politics bury him yet again? Sure, there's a lot of money in Daniel Bryan as the proverbial underdog that is constantly held down BUT everyone eventually gets a payoff. Some are bigger than others and some are more successful than others but everyone eventually gets a payoff.

Bray Wyatt has done a phenomenal job on the mic in his program with John Cena. When I first heard they were doing Wyatt/Cena, I wasn't looking forward to it. However, Bray has proved he's worthy and how it's booked will be interesting.

If you don't have interest in "the streak," you're probably not a wrestling fan. While it's fairly *obvious* Undertaker goes over, will he steal the show like he did last year? A big-man battle between Undertaker and Lesnar is so big it doesn't need an explanation.

After this, it' s a forgettable card that feels rushed together by mixing and matching pieces to get people on the show. I have no interest in the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The winner gets… a trophy. So what? People going in expecting some type of elaborate payoff accompanied with a huge surprise are probably going to be disappointed. I see this match as a watered down Royal Rumble, where the winner doesn't get a title shot.

The Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational has train wreck written all over it. 14 women in the ring at the same time, where the winner goes over via pinfall. I can't envision anything other than some forgettable overly gimmicky bout that comes across as watered down and lacks payoff. I'd rather see a singles match with someone getting a big victory over the longest-reigning Divas champion in company history.

The Shield's match against Kane & The New Age Outlaws is extremely random. WWE teased dissension from The Shield for months and have now turned them babyface and reinforced the three pieces are one. Is this all part of an elaborate booking plan that ends in their inevitable breakup or is it WWE pulling back on planned singles pushes because they got cold feet?

The Pre-Show bout with The Usos defending the WWE Tag Team Championship against Los Matadores, The Real Americans and Ryback & Curtis Axel is another extremely random bout. Goldust & Cody Rhodes have been the best tag team in WWE over the course of the last year. They should be challenging The Usos in a bout that rewards all of their hard work. Los Matadores are comedy, RybAxel has fizzled and The Real Americans have teased dissension for months.

From the Ask WNW vault…

May 2012: Why does it seem that the WWE Intercontinental Championship doesn’t hold the same importance as it used too? - Some will argue the Intercontinental Championship isn’t as prestigious because there are two World title belts and why I think the number of titles certainly plays a factor, it comes down to the company’s vision for the belt. A title has prestige when it means something. The problem is when the titleholder is put under clean in a non-title match; no one takes the belt seriously. The counter point to this is, “well this shows anything can happen.” My response is why not just change the belt? My steps in restoring prestige to the Intercontinental title are eliminating the US strap and no longer booking the IC champ to go under in a non-title match. The strap could then be used to help elevate an up and coming worker.

Does WWE Wellness test their referees?

Yes, the referees are subject to Wellness testing in WWE. Senior official Mike Chioda was suspended under the WWE Wellness policy on August 15, 2011 and is the only referee to be suspended for a test failure. He returned immediately after his suspension the next month. It's been several months since WWE had a Wellness test suspension as the last on record is the suspension of Ricardo Rodriguez on July 2, 2013. We have details on every WWE Wellness suspension since November 1, 2007 at this link.

What do you think about a program between Daniel Bryan and John Cena?

I would be interested in another program between Daniel Bryan and John Cena, however, I do not expect it any time soon. Both are top level babyfaces with intriguing situations on Sunday. Will Bryan get his payoff? Will John Cena "do the honors" and help elevate Bray Wyatt? Both are key elements to this year's show and its success.

I thought they were going to do Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust at Wrestlemania? Did something change or was it ever even a thought?

A potential Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust program came up for this year's Wrestlemania XXX but didn't make it on the card. The undercard for Wrestlemania has been a disaster and it's an injustice to both of the Rhodes brothers they are crammed in the 30-man Andre the Giant Battle Royal after the year they've had. If WWE wasn't going to do the singles match, which would have been two years late, they should have programmed them in the bout for the tag titles.

Is there a chance that Kurt Angle returns to WWE?

Kurt Angle's contract with TNA Wrestling is up at the end of the summer and the overwhelming belief is that he's leaving. The only question seems to be, where will he land? I think Kurt would welcome another opportunity with WWE but it's unknown if they're interested in him at this stage in his career. He could also end up in Jeff Jarrett's new promotion. Right now, I believe the chances are good he's in his final months with TNA.

From the Ask WNW vault…

February 2013: Does having pay-per-views like Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell and TLC hurt the prestige of the gimmick matches and cause them to lose luster? - No, I like the way WWE has handled their B-level pay-per-views with the gimmicks. I’m not a big fan of gimmick matches but when used correctly, they work. WWE has been able to integrate the gimmicks into their B-level shows, making them more meaningful and giving viewers a reason to order, without killing the gimmick matches themselves. They’ve done this by putting the gimmicks on one or two “main event” matches of the show but not making every bout on the card a gimmick. I do not feel the gimmicks should be completely exclusive to their respective pay-per-views as I would have no problem with a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania. That was talked about for this year’s show but upon last check, they’ve decided against it.

The terms "face of WWE" are thrown around a lot. What does it take for a worker to be the "face" of the company?

When someone talks about the "face of WWE" they're talking about the best performer. Not just based on in-ring skills but based on a myriad of factors that sets them a part from the rest of the roster. It's the one money guy that carries the company in merchandise sales, in ratings and represents what the company is all about. John Cena is the face of WWE, like LeBron James is the face of the NBA. It's interesting how WWE has incorporated the terms "face of the company" into The Authority storyline with Randy Orton. As for how someone becomes the face, it's something that "happens." You can't teach it, you can't create it. Cena set himself apart from everyone else, like LeBron has done in the NBA. I remember during one conference call with investors, someone asked Vince McMahon who he thought was the "next Rock" in NXT. Vince laughed it off, saying they think everyone is the next Rock. The bottom-line is the "face of WWE" is something that must happen naturally and cannot be forced. If there were a checklist, WWE would have the next several "faces" lined up and ready to take over for Cena.

In the Rolling Stone piece on Daniel Bryan, they say he is the most popular wrestler since Steve Austin and The Rock. This would mean that Daniel Bryan is more over than John Cena has ever been in his ten year run as the top guy in WWE. Would you agree with this statement?

Daniel Bryan isn't at John Cena's level yet and to name The Rock and Steve Austin without mentioning Cena is incorrect. If Bryan becomes the face of WWE, he'll overtake John Cena. John has been the guy and anyone that debates that is in denial.

Dean Ambrose is a great United States Champion but who on the roster could you see help restore the hype surrounding it?

Dean Ambrose is as good as it gets in terms of upside in a United States Champion. The problem is that WWE doesn't utilize the title. Until they decide to use it, Santa Clause may as well hold it because it doesn't matter. The same goes for the Intercontinental Championship as Big E is a perfect midcarder that could use the title as a stepping-stone, however, until WWE does more with the title, the fact he holds it is irrelevant.

I think The Wyatt Family gimmick is this most entertaining and intriguing program in years. I would much rather watch Bray Wyatt cut a promo than Triple H or John Cena. What are the gimmick's origins and is Bray Wyatt the reason it works so well?

Bray Wyatt's gimmick is based off the character Max Cady from the 1991 remake of the American psychological thriller film called Cape Fear. The flick was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert De Niro as Cady.

Below is a scene from the film where Cady shows superhuman tolerance for pain when boiling water is thrown on him:

http://youtu.be/tBSbjKyamRo

I think Bray is every bit as good as De Niro with the character and feel that it's a perfect fit for him. Bray is his character and that's what it takes for a gimmick to be successful. The only question is how much "stay ability" does the Bray Wyatt gimmick have? If he can keep it going, he'll end up in very select company. I am optimistic and see his match against John Cena at Wrestlemania 30 as the "next step" for him.

From the Ask WNW vault...

April 2013: Wrestlemania 29 is Sunday – do you have any predictions? - I hate predictions because of the rate things change. I’ve gone over what many see as the obvious outcomes with Cena avenging his loss to The Rock, Hunter exchanging wins with Brock Lesnar and Undertaker keeping “the streak” alive but I’m hoping for at least one swerve to keep everyone talking on Monday. I will tell anyone that will listen to not go in with the expectation that Punk will end the streak because as much as I would like to see that happen, it is unlikely. My biggest point of interest heading into the pay-per-view is how the show is booked. If WWE treats the booking like they did the card, I will be very disappointed.

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