Why Del Rio Gave WWE No Choice, Major Divide Amongst WWE Talent, This Week's WNW Premium Newsletter

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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, August 9, 2014 to Friday, August 15, 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

- Big Show & Mark Henry speak on their returns to WWE TV this week on the latest edition of Smackdown Fallout, available at this link.

- As announced on this week's Smackdown, Dean Ambrose will face Seth Rollins in a Lumberjack match at WWE SummerSlam. Ambrose chose the stipulation so the ring would be surrounded by enemies that they made together during their time in The Shield. Click here for the official match preview.

- For those that missed Jason Albert's video blog that we posted on Friday here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, he confirmed he's retired from in-ring competition to train talent at the WWE Performance Center. Albert talked about 70-75 people getting the opportunity to workout there and put over the capabilities of the facility. He works six days a week at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

Click here to watch.

Albert, whose real name is Matt Bloom, has held numerous gimmicks throughout his career. In the video above, he went through the gimmicks in WWE alone and the list is quite extensive.

Albert worked for WWE from 1999-2004 before having success in Japan, working for both All Japan Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling. He returned to WWE in 2012 after The Undertaker pitched him to company officials.

Albert also works as a commentator for WWE NXT broadcasts.

- Dot com has a new article by the now discontinued WWE Magazine on Sheamus getting nervous before he goes through the curtain.

“Every time I step out there, I just try to get a moment of clarity. I try to clear my mind of everything that’s going on and focus on the match at hand. You get nervous before you go out there. I love what I do, I care about what I do, and I want to put on the best performance I possibly can.”

Sheamus claims that every WWE worker gets nervous and cited a quote from Steve Austin.

“I think every Superstar gets nervous. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin once said when you stop getting nervous or stop getting jitterbugs, it’s time to quit the business and do something else.”

Click here for coverage by dot com.

- The latest story circulating on Alberto Del Rio's release from WWE is that he was involved in an altercation with social media manager Cody Barbierri. As the story goes, someone told Barbierri to wipe his plate clean after a backstage meal at catering at a recent television taping. Joking, Barbierri said that was Del Rio's job.

Del Rio ended up finding out about the comment and perceived it to be racially charged. He confronted Barbierri and rather than apologize, Cody smiled. This is when Del Rio allegedly slapped him.

The WWE office found out what happened and terminated Del Rio over the incident. This also implies these uncharacteristic Tweets from the verified WWE Twitter account about Del Rio were made by Cody Barbierri. After all, Barbierri's job is to Tweet from the verified account.

Dot com announced Thursday evening that Del Rio had been released "due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee." We explained past controversial incidents, including Del Rio not getting along with majority of the roster. We also highlighted how Del Rio likely knew his release was coming, as was evident in his mysterious promo on this week's episode of WWE Main Event.

- For those that believe Friday's Tweets on the verified WWE Twitter account regarding Alberto Del Rio being responsible for his own actions were the result of social media manager Cody Barbierri (the employee that Del Rio allegedly slapped) going into business for himself, think again.

Triple H Re-Tweeted the comments on his verified account, making it known the office is well aware the Tweets were made. It feels like there is still more to the story, as all of this goes completely against WWE's protocol for releasing talent. The idea that Barbierri instigated a racially charged situation with an inappropriate joke and Del Rio retaliated, doesn't make complete sense. While Del Rio isn't well liked backstage, it seems unlikely that Hunter (or anyone high up in the WWE office) would take sides in such an incident.

By the way this is playing out, either Del Rio was clearly 100% at fault for the incident or it's part of some type of storyline. Sources suggest it's not an angle, so we'll assume the former at this time.

Below are the Tweets from the verified WWE Twitter account with Triple H's Re-Tweet, in which we take as an endorsement:

Triple H Shoots

- Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woodsfilmed a backstage interview with Eden on a WWE.com exclusive segment at the July 28, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. When discussing what the faction was all about, Kofi told Eden she would know when they wanted her to know. The faction hasn't been seen together since.

Big E worked this week's Smackdown taping as an enhancement talent, in which he went under to Rusev with no mention of Kingston or Woods. Highlights of that match are available at this link.

Kofi has been with WWE in Australia, where he's been booked in bouts for the WWE Intercontinental Championship against The Miz and in a No. 1 contender's (for the IC title) battle royal. He also worked last week's live event loop in Texas with no sign of the faction.

The faction -- a brainchild of Vince McMahon -- was teased on social media before it hit television on the June 21, 2014 episode of Raw. You can view the initial promo by Xavier Woods after Kofi & Big E lost to RybAxel embedded below:

http://youtu.be/xfs5_XbQvZo

TNA Champion Bobby Lashleyaccused WWE of taking the idea from the TNA faction comprised of himself, MVP and Kenny King with the following Tweet:

- Dolph Ziggler pinned Randy Orton clean at Saturday's WWE live event in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. The match was the show's main event and saw Ziggler kick out of the RKO to everyone's surprise. A video of the match has surfaced on YouTube as you can watch at this link. Here's some reaction from Twitter:

- WWE NXT Diva Lina, who is the real-life cousin of The Rock, was involved in a bad car accident last week. According to The Rock on Instagram, Lina and his mother, Ata Johnson, were struck head on by a drunk driver. He posted the following with an image from the wreckage:

My mom & cousin @linafanene were struck head on by a drunk driver this week - they lived. First reaction is to find the person who did this and do unrelenting harm to them. But then you realize the most important thing is my family lived thru this and we can hug each other that much tighter these days. Hug your own family tighter today and be grateful you can tell them you love them. #BearHugsAndGratitude #100PercentPreventable #ChoicesMatterFollow

Lina injured her right arm in the accident and had to have surgery. The Rock visited her in the hospital. Sadly enough, Lina Tweeted a selfie of her and Mrs. Johnson before the accident. You can view that photo below:

Here's a photo of Lina with her arm in a sling on an airplane:

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Dirt Sheet

- Evan Bourne discussed his synthetic marijuana usage in a shoot interview with Kayfabe Commentaries. Remember Bourne was suspended by WWE on November 1, 2011 for testing positive for synthetic weed and again on January 17, 2012. A bad car accident followed the positive tests and ultimately resulted in his WWE release. See also - WWE Suspensions Archive

In the interview with Kayfabe Commentaries, Bourne says that he regrets smoking spice. He was doing it to get around paying fines for testing positive for marijuana but got hooked on it. Bourne said he'll never smoke it again.

- Dot com posted an article looking at how Triple H, Hardcore Holly, Shane Carwin, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker were never the same after facing Brock Lesnar. Click here to read it.

- You can watch every SummerSlam in just one minute at this link.

- Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald has an outstanding article online to promote Paul Heyman'sWWE DVD ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman' featuring quotes from the man himself. In the piece, Heyman talks about the success his daughter has had in marketing herself on Instagram his reluctance to have WWE do a DVD on him and he fred back at critics of Brock Lesnar's part-time status.

Below are some highlights:

Hesitant about a WWE DVD:

“I was not happy about it,” Heyman said. “I had no idea what take WWE was going to have on a look back on what I’ve done so far. You never know the story that they want to tell. It’s a deeply personal issue to me because it’s me. I wasn’t sure what direction it was going to take. So being a control freak that had no control over, the creative content involved, I was apprehensive to say the very least. Plus, it puts me in a position where I have to talk about stuff from 20, 30 years ago, and I hate spending time looking back.”

Criticism about Brock Lesnar's status:

“I don’t know if any of those critics of privy to an agreement Brock Lesnar may or may not have with WWE,” he said. “So I don’t understand how anybody can credibly say this is what Brock Lesnar’s schedule is going to be when he becomes the WWE champion. Second, I think the WWE championship is the defended too often and lost some of the prestige because of the beast of monthly pay-per-views. The champion having to defend on every single pay-per-view, let alone at every single arena, has taken away from the special event that is when a champion defends the title.

“Here is the best example I can give you. Why don’t we just do 12 WrestleMania events a year? I mean it’s the brand name in pay-per-view. You know people understand that WrestleMania means it’s something special and unique and doesn’t happen all the time. It’s can’t miss. Well, you can’t do 12 WrestleMania events a year because then you water-down WrestleMania, and it won’t mean as much on the rare occasion you present the brand name WrestleMania.

“It’s the same with Brock Lesnar. If you present Brock Lesnar 52 weeks a year and you have Brock Lesnar defend the title 12 times a year, you’re losing money. You’re not making money because you are watering down the unique opportunity that the audience can have to see an once-in-a-lifetime athlete on the rare occasion that he dons the tights and laces up the boots and goes into the ring to beat people within an inch of their lives.

“Plus, here is one more thing to consider. If Brock Lesnar were to work a full-time schedule he would wipe out the roster at once. There would be nobody left for him to fight. So how can people be clamoring for Brock Lesnar to be work a full-time schedule? Then you’ll have three hours of Brock and Paul Heyman sitting alone in a ring talking to each other because there would be nobody left for Brock Lesnar to conquer.”

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- Below are photos of the new WWE production truck designs. When I saw the one featuring Ultimate Warrior, I immediately thought how glad I am to see him make amends with the company before his tragic and untimely death. Here are the photos:

WWE Production

- Sunday, August 10, 2014 was Goldust Day in Yakima, Washington. Here's a photo of him accepting the honor:

Goldust Day

- Below is a photo of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella at the Teen Choice Awards:

Brie Bella & Daniel Bryan

Carlito briefly spoke on his humor at the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony from earlier this year. He said it was just his humor and sometimes people take it the wrong way. You can watch an interview conducted with him over the weekend at Booker T'sReality of Wrestling TV tapings in Clear Lake, Texas at this link.

For those that missed Carlito's humor at the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, you can read about it at this link. He also talked about it in a dot com exclusive at this link.

Jinder Mahal was interviewed at the same show, where he talked about his work with 3MB. He said he's more comfortable being a heel and 3MB was supposed to be heels but they got themselves over as babyfaces. Mahal said they ad-libbed a lot of their promos and WWE App segments. You can watch that interview at this link.

Finally, Stevie Ray was also interviewed and you can watch his at this link.

- Former WCW star Konnan is drawing attention for posts made on social media. In response to WWE firing Alberto Del Rio, Konnan says racism has always been rampant. He's also Tweeting the hashtag #FreeRey, which of course is in reference to Rey Mysterio.

Below are the highlights:

When asked if the termination of Alberto Del Rio is a work, Konnan said he's talked to Del Rio and racism is "still rampant":

Konnan also Tweeted Cody Barbierri, the WWE employee that Del Rio allegedly slapped, telling him not to think "this is over":

- WWE continues to make cuts, including cuts in their creative department. Edward Feldmann, who worked as Senior Vice President of creative, has been released and there have been others as well.

One interesting name that appears to have left WWE is former Baltimore Sun writer Kevin Eck. Eck was at TNA's TV tapings in New York City last Wednesday and noted on Facebook that he felt like "Barack Obama at a Tea Party rally." I reached out to him, however, was unable to obtain a comment to confirm his departure.

Eck was an interesting case as he was hired three years ago after a very successful run at the Baltimore Sun. You can read his goodbye letter published on August 10, 2011 at this link.

Monday, August 11, 2014 3:00 PM EDT Update: I am able to confirm that Eck was indeed recently released from his position with WWE. End update.

- CM Punk will be featured in WWE 2K15 as part of the "2K Showcase." It was announced on Monday the single-player campaign will explore two notable rivalries: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels from 2002 and 2004 and John Cena vs. CM Punk from 2011 to 2013.

Below is the official press release:

WWE® 2K15 to Celebrate Historic WWE Rivalries with 2K Showcase

Story-driven single-player experience explores memorable rivalries in WWE history

New York, NY – August 11, 2014 – 2K today announced details of 2K Showcase, the story-driven single-player campaign in WWE® 2K15, the forthcoming release in the flagship WWE video game franchise. Through high quality cinematics and historic WWE footage, players will intimately explore two notable WWE rivalries: the bitter rivalry between Triple H® and Shawn Michaels® from 2002 to 2004, as well as WWE 2K15 cover Superstar John Cena® and CM Punk®'s spirited rivalry spanning 2011 to 2013.

"The moment Triple H ended his longtime friendship with 'The Heartbreak Kid' by slamming him with a Pedigree was a defining moment in WWE history," said Chris Snyder, Vice President of Marketing at 2K. "No fan can deny the fierce competition marking the notorious battles waged between Cena and Punk. These two rivalries are firmly etched in WWE history, and 2K Showcase enables fans to take part in those memorable experiences."

2K Showcase will tell the epic history of the two rivalries through documentary-style video packages of classic WWE footage, authentic WWE Superstar commentary and cinematic cut scenes. In the 33 available matches across the rivalries, players will be tasked with completing a set of bonus historical objectives that will unlock new WWE Superstars, Championship titles and alternate attire that can be used in all other WWE 2K15 game modes. With this wealth of unlockable content, players can recreate current rivalries or stage dream matchups between WWE Superstars of the past and present. Additional 2K Showcase rivalries will be made available via downloadable content following the game's scheduled release on October 28, 2014 in North America and October 31, 2014 internationally.

"Featuring two of the biggest rivalries in WWE history, including my storied matches with Shawn Michaels, there's no doubt fans will experience the thrill first-hand through WWE 2K15," said Paul "Triple H" Levesque, Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative at WWE. "2K Showcase brings WWE to life in a way our fans have never seen before through a video game."

Developed collaboratively by Yukes and Visual Concepts, a 2K studio, WWE 2K15 is not yet rated by the ESRB. WWE 2K15 is scheduled for release on the PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, as well as Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system and Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, on October 28, 2014 in North America and October 31, 2014 internationally. Fans who pre-order WWE 2K15 at any participating retailer will receive two playable Sting characters at no extra cost on launch day.

For more information on WWE 2K15 and 2K, visit WWE.2K.com, become a fan on Facebook, follow the game on Twitter using the hashtags #WWE2K15 and #FEELIT or subscribe on YouTube.

CM Punk WWE 2K15

- We're told the booking philosophies within WWE in terms of pay-per-view are shifting due to the price of the WWE Network only being $9.99.

According to a source, the feeling is they have a lot more leeway now for pulling bait and switch angles that typically would have only happened on television. However, with people only paying $9.99, the company isn't afraid of the backlash if there are non-finishes on pay-per-view.

One of the first examples of this new philosophy was Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose being announced but not taking place at WWE Battleground last month. We're told there was never a plan to do the match prior to SummerSlam and there's no way the company would have "pulled a stunt like that" when people were paying in excess of $50 for pay-per-views.

- I spoke with a source regarding WWE's termination of Alberto Del Rio and was told the company had "no choice" but to terminate him from a legal perspective. I was told the employee in question -- Cody Barbierri -- could also face disciplinary action.

This key observer described the situation to me like this:

"Even if Cody told a racist joke, by handling things the way he did, Del Rio left WWE's hands tied. If I worked at Burger King and I'd heard a rumor that somebody was talking bad about me, I'd be fired instantly if I attacked that person. Had Del Rio properly reported Cody rather than confronting him, Cody likely would have been suspended, if not terminated."

However, I'm told that's "just not how the boys handle business" and rather than alerting company executives, the tendency is to handle matters face-to-face by confronting the other party. As it was explained to me, sometimes in the heat of the moment, talent tend to forget WWE is a publicly traded company and they can't go around attacking employees for any reason -- especially hearsay.

This is why Del Rio was terminated on the spot "due to unprofessional conduct" even if his behavior was justified by the inappropriate joke.

Click here for our complete report on the incident that I published on Saturday.

- Sami Zayn talked about being an Arab wrestler growing up in Canada and getting a chance to perform in Abu Dhabi with WWE when they toured there last year. You can read his comments about climbing the developmental ranks at this link.

- I updated my report on WWE creative team departures at this link. I am now able to confirm that former Baltimore Sun writer Kevin Eck was let go. He was employed by the company for nearly three years.

- This week's episode of Raw Backstage Pass is scheduled for 10 minutes on the WWE Network immediately following Raw on the USA Network. The show will be proceeded by a "SummerSlam Prelude Cena vs. Lesnar" at 11:16 PM EDT.

- Fatherhood.gov has removed Alberto Del Rio's PSA from their website following his WWE release.

- You can watch Triple H perform a 45" box jump at this link.

- Sgt. Slaughter missed an appearance at The Augusta GreenJackets minor league baseball game in Augusta, Georgia over the weekend due to an undisclosed ailment. According to reports, Slaughter had to be hospitalized.

The following is from Twitter:

Slaughter planned to make the appearance -- that was on Saturday -- on Friday night, so his condition clearly took a turn for the worse. - Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,642,000 viewers on SyFy. The show was once again the highest rated cable original Friday night although saw its audience decline from the second consecutive week. TV by the Numbers has more data available at this link. - Following up on a story we first brought you on Sunday, the woman that hit The Rock's cousin, WWE NXT Diva Lina, and mother, Ata Johnson, in a head on car crash has been charged with Driving Under the Influence. Police say the woman ran two red lights before crashing into Mrs. Johnson's vehicle. They've informed the District Attorney's office to issue an arrest warrant for the suspect, who is hospitalized with injuries sustained from the crash. We carried the happy moments before the accident that Lina Tweeted that evening. The Rock purchased the car they were driving -- a Cadillac Escalade -- and gave it to his mother as a Christmas gift. TMZ.com has more information at this link. - AAA ring announcer Arturo Rivera Tweeted on Monday that Alberto Del Rio will appear at Triplemania XXII on Sunday. The show will air on iPPV head-to-head against WWE SummerSlam at Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City, Mexico. The show will be available domestically in Mexico on regular pay-per-view. Below is Rivera's announcement translated from Spanish to English:

EXCLUSIVE !!! Alberto del Rio, former WWE wrestler, AAA integrates, and debuts this Sunday Triplemanía XXII. Welcome home, figure

The announcement in its original format is available below:

This will be Del Rio's first appearance since being released from his WWE contract last Thursday.

Richard Reacts: I'm under the assumption that Alberto Del Rio has a 90-day non-compete clause from his WWE Performer's Contract, so it will be interesting to see how this works out. The fact Del Rio is looking to return to Mexico is of no surprise what-so-ever.

- "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Jimmy Hart, Pat Patterson, Ric Flair, "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall all appeared in the closing segment of this week's WWE Raw during Hulk Hogan's birthday celebration.

Hogan ripped off his red and yellow shirt to reveal he was wearing his nWo shirt. Nash started to sing "Happy Birthday" when Brock Lesnar came down to the ring. John Cena ran down after Lesnar and Hogan had a confrontation. Lesnar exited the ring as the show ended.

The celebration continued after the show on the WWE Network as Hogan received a birthday cake with "9.99" candles. The roster sang "Happy Birthday" to end the segment.

- Damien Sandow rallies against "message board morons" and claims he's not an "Internet darling" on the latest edition of Sandow's 60, available at this link.

- Preston City Wrestling out of the United Kingdom Tweeted a photo of Kevin Steen with Triple H inside a WWE NXT ring. You can view it below:

Kevin Steen & Triple H

Recently released WWE star Ricardo Rodriguez used the photo to reveal some things. The following is from his verified Twitter account:

Rodriguez was released at the end of July. - The WWE Network will launch as an over-the-top service in more than 170 countries and territories on Tuesday. Additionally, it will launch on a subscription basis on Rogers Channel 512 in Canada. Rogers will offer the WWE Network content preview subscription to all cable, satellite and IPTV providers across Canada. Dot com makes it easy to check availability where you are at this link. The company has also rolled out new payment plans and they're different than what was previously stated. The $9.99/month plan with a 6 month commitment is still available and you can pay for all 6 months at once at $59.94. The biggest change is a new $12.99/month subscription that is available with no commitment that can be canceled at any time. This is $7 cheaper than what the company stated in their last conference call. You can view the new pricing plans at this link. - Diva-Dirt.com released a snippet of an interview they conducted with former WWE Diva Kaitlyn. in the clip, she shed some light on the backstage perception of the hit reality reality series Total Divas. Below are some notable highlights: Kaitlyn said she doesn't know how the cast was comprised but that she was never asked. As a result, Kaitlyn made it a point to never be in any of the filming. She didn't want to be in the background of any camera shots. Kaitlyn termed the filming as "annoying" and didn't want anything to do with it. She did say that Total Divas was insanely successful and so good for the girls. You can listen to the snippet at this link. - BuzzFeedNews is reporting that Eminence Capital disclosed in a filing Monday that it had taken a 9.6% stake in WWE. - Well - this is awkward. Dot com covered the news of CM Punk's inclusion in WWE 2K15 at this link. It's the same press release we posted with no additional details. For those that have asked, the inclusion is mutually beneficial. Punk will receive a percentage of royalties and WWE will be able to make a profit from his likeness. - I was originally going to make a list but WWE uploaded a video of various celebrities wishing Hulk Hogan happy birthday on this week's Raw. You can watch at this link. - The script has been flipped with Cesaro. He went from aligning with Paul Heyman in hopes a of a big push to having his abilities used to put others over. Cesaro put Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) over on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw and is just 2-16 (including tag matches) since July 1, 2014. - WWE carried the signing of Kevin Steen in a new feature piece here on dot com. The piece includes a Q&A as Steen reveals it was William Regal that scouted him at a Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show on August 31, 2013. Steen will start at the WWE Performance Center on Monday, August 25, 2014. - The storyline update on Brie Bella is that she "posted an undisclosed amount of bail and was released from Multnomah County Detention Center in Portland, Oregon early Tuesday morning." You can read kayfabe coverage here on dot com. - Dot com posted a "3-Step Guide" to start watching the WWE Network at this link. For those that have questions about availability, the company is asking that you refer to this. - WWEissued a press release on the WWE Networkgoing global on Tuesday. They also note that by Wednesday, the service will be available on on Sony internet connected TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and Blu-ray Home Theater systems. By Thursday, the WWE Network will be available on Samsung Smart TV devices, Blu-ray Players and Home Theater systems. Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Portland, OR... - The idea behind the heavy promotion of Hulk Hogan's birthday bash was two-fold. One, the company wanted to use it as an avenue for Brock Lesnar to "crash the party" and John Cena make the save. There was a lot of angling throughout the day of Hogan wanting to bump and Ric Flair wanting to bump but WWE wouldn't clear either. They're being more careful after what happened to Jerry Lawler and fair or not, it's going to take some convincing to get Vince McMahon to allow Legends to take bumps. Ultimate Warrior dying shortly after appearing on WWE TV earlier this year didn't help things. The second part of the Hogan birthday bash was to help promote the WWE Network. The hope is if fans aren't interested in SummerSlam -- or more specifically, the current product -- they'll signup for the archived content. It's no coincidence the WWE Network was launched internationally the day after a heavily promoted Hogan appearance. Hogan is seen as the "face " of the WWE Network. - I'm told Sheamus was evaluated backstage after his match with Randy Orton. Medical personnel were looking at his arm for signs of a possible biceps injury but I do not believe it was anything serious. - WWE producers were "in astonishment" with the mic work of Paul Heyman. The praise is that he's able to captivate the audience and he's the one making Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena have the "big fight feel." As with Hogan, the mic time of Heyman has multiple layers. Obviously the biggest issue is to sell "his client" as the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion but also to remind the audience in a not so subtle way that his DVD is available. As I've previously reported, the Heyman DVD set is selling very well. - Brock Lesnar's new "Eat, Sleep, Conquer John Cena" t-shirt is available on WWEShop.com. Most feel like his title win at SummerSlam is an inevitability at this point. - The Usos will defend the WWE Tag Team Championship at this week's Main Event taping in an "Open Challenge." Win or lose, a WWE Tag Team Championship bout continues to be rumored for SummerSlam or the Kickoff show. The company didn't announce it Monday night and the feeling was that was intentional to sell the defense on Tuesday. - Vince McMahon's interest (or lack thereof) in Bo Dallas and Adam Rose has hit a low point. With so much focus being on trying to sell SummerSlam, the newer gimmicks have seemingly brushed to the side. That doesn't mean the list of prospects is any shorter or any less deep. Kevin Steen reports in two weeks and multiple stars loom for main roster call-ups including The Ascension. WWE has successfully reloaded NXT with Fergal Devitt, Kenta and Steen. The point of interest in what I've termed "the international trifecta" is how much time each will spend at the WWE Performance Center. None of the three want to spend a lot of time down there and we're told it took some convincing to get these deals done. - Cesaro is a worker that Vince McMahon continues to flip-flop on. One week he wants to push him -- other weeks not so much. This week, Cesaro was utilized for his mat skills but also for the sole purpose of putting his former parter, Jack Swagger, over. It's amazing how this script flipped, something I noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. - The Rock noted on social media that he took his mother, Ata Johnson, home from the hospital on Tuesday. In a photo posted on Instagram, Mrs. Johnson is shown in a wheelchair with her left arm/hand in a cast. Rock's mother and cousin were in a head on car crash last week. The driver of the other car was charged with Driving Under the Influence.

- The latest episode of WWE Insider with Alicia Fox features R-Truth. You can watch at this link.

- Dot com posted the lyrics to Paul Heyman's rap from this week's episode of Monday Night Raw at this link.

- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,300,000 viewers. The show -- which featured the birthday bash of Hulk Hogan in the closing segment -- saw viewership increase from hour to hour.

Below is how the audience broke by hour:

Hour one - 4,082,000
Hour two - 4,360,000
Hour three - 4,458,000

This week's Raw was the go-home episode to SummerSlam episode and viewership was up from the week prior but still down from a couple of weeks ago.

- Big E beat Fandango with The Big Ending in a dark match prior to this week's WWE Main Event taping.

Speaking of Big E, he Tweeted the following:

On the surface, this doesn't make much sense. However, rewind back to our report over the weekend to the company scrapping the faction of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods and one can connect the dots. We can assume there was new music in the works for the new faction but with it scrapped, it isn't needed. - Adam Rose beat Xavier Woods in a dark match prior to this week's Smackdown taping. - IGN has a first look video of John Cena in WWE 2K15. The piece is short but highlights the game's awesome graphics. You can watch below: - Shaul Guerrero, the real life daughter of Eddie & Vickie Guerrero, talked to Headlocks2Headlines.com about leaving WWE in 2012 because of an eating disorder. She admitted her departure was the result of entering an in-patient rehabilitation facility. While Guerrero returned to WWE developmental last year, she was released in April. You can listen to her interview at this link. - After this week's Smackdown went off the air, Kane and Seth Rollins joined The Wyatt Family in attacking Roman Reigns. Sheamus and Dean Ambrose made the save, with the babyfaces hitting their finishers to send the crowd home happy. Brooks Oglesby has complete Smackdown taping results for this week online at this link. - There is another dynamic to the current behind-the-scenes real life tension between Vince McMahon and Triple H. In speaking with various talent, it's apparent there are workers on Team Hunter and workers on Team Vince. Many of the NXT guys are pro-Triple H and "can't wait for him to take over," while veterans are very loyal to Vince and feel like Hunter is in such a rush to overhaul the roster with "his guys," that he's neglecting a lot of existing talent. Mid-carders that have been there a while, feel the exact opposite about Triple H as the new guys. The writers all like Triple H better because they feel like he's more interested in week to week logic and less erratic. Not to mention, they get more face time with him on the day television is taped. On the average Monday, Vince is "holed up in his room" not wanting anyone to see him. Apparently this stems from his own self-consciousness and the fact his health is deteriorating and he can't maintain the physique he was so proud of. The more time that passes, the fewer people that have direct access to him. To explain the difference in philosophy, right now Vince wants to do everything possible to convince The Rock to come back and work Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31, whereas Hunter wants to do Brock vs. Roman Reigns. And while a lot of power has shifted to Hunter, Vince McMahon is head of creative and that power is something he may hold on to for years to come. - Levi & Korsinsky, LLP is the latest law firm to launch an investigation into WWE regarding their domestic TV licensing agreement with NBCUniversal and the information they communicated about it to shareholders. More information for shareholders can be obtained at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Ciprian Danciulescu.)Amazon.com has published the listing for the upcoming WWE DVD/Blu-Ray of The Best of Sting with the box art. You can check it out at this link. As previously noted, the set will be released on September 23, 2014. This week's kayfabe sit-down Michael Cole interview is with Stephanie McMahon. The feature is done to promote her bout with Brie Bella at SummerSlam on Sunday. Click here to watch. - The Los Angeles Times has a new Q&A online with Shawn Michaels to promote his inclusion on the upcoming DeGeneration X panel over SummerSlam weekend. Below are the highlights: The point he realized that he and Triple H had something special with DX:

Actually, never. I'm still waiting for him to come around. He's been hanging on my coattails for 20 years! Just kidding, obviously. It's one of those things where the Hunter Hearst Helmsley character that he was portraying at the time, a rich, snobbish character, was totally opposite of the way he is. We would ride in the car together and say "My goodness if we could just bring who we are in the car out on TV." We finally convinced the powers that be to give us a chance. We just went out there and hammed it up, because we naturally bring that out of each other. The humor was sophomoric, but that's who we were back then. We were bad guys, but after a while it got to a point where people started enjoying it. The great thing about live events is you get an instant reaction, and that was very encouraging for us. People in the back wanted to reel us in, and we wanted to keep going.

If panel discussions are harder than in-ring promos:

For me, if there are cameras on, then you have to bring the salesmanship and bravado. If I'm appearing on "Raw," then I'm usually there to help sell tickets to something, and that's when you see the "HBK" Shawn Michaels come out. At panels, I can be more open and honest and show some more humility. They don't want me talking about my family on TV, but I can in a panel setting.

If he could go back and wrestle anyone, who would it be:

Ricky Steamboat. I would love to have gotten into it with Harley Race. He was such a good wrestler and rough and tough. We wrestled at the same time but never each other. And wrestling Sting would have been something I would have enjoyed. That would have been great at the box office. But if I had to pick, it would be Steamboat or Race.

Click here to read the piece in its entirety. Richard Reacts: The SummerSlam panels this weekend are loaded. In addition to this DX panel with Shawn and Hunter at Club Nokia at L.A. Live on Saturday at 7 pm, Hogan will host one on Friday and 7 PM and Steve Austin will host one on Sunday at Noon. The WWE 2K15 roster reveal on Saturday at 10 AM will be hosted by Steve Austin and feature Sting, John Cena, Hogan, Roman Reigns, Sheamus and Cesaro. - There's an interesting story that's been brewing in regards to Rey Mysterio's future with WWE. His Performer's Contract was up in May, however, WWE added time because of injury. WWE's position in the months leading up to May was that Mysterio would re-sign, however, once it became apparent he might leave to return to Mexico, those efforts were increased. Mysterio hasn't been happy in quite some time, with issues going back to the way the company handed his second violation of the WWE Wellness Policy in April 2012. For those that do not remember, the company knew of Mysterio's failure well before he was suspended in April 2012 as he was tested two months earlier. However, WWE was hoping he would be able to return from injury to work Wrestlemania 28 that year. The feeling amongst some of the workers is that Mysterio got heat when he told the office he wouldn’t be ready to return in time for the pay-per-view. Most felt that had Mysterio been able to work Wrestlemania that year, the failure would have "swept under the rug." Mysterio failed the test due to a nasal spray. Additionally, he's one of many workers upset about the decrease in pay-per-view bonuses that are the result of the WWE Network. He's not seen as someone that needs the money and is believed to be more interested in working outside of WWE. Basically the company is refusing to let him go by extending his contract due to time lost because of injury. There were recently rumors that Mysterio had stopped depositing checks from WWE, in hopes of taking some sort of action to force his release. Mysterio's friend Konnan used the attention he drew for his criticism of the way WWE handled the release of Alberto Del Rio to promote Rey's cause by use of the Twitter hashtag #FreeRey. In fact, he Tweeted the following earlier on Wednesday afternoon:

- Eden's latest video blog is now online at this link.

- The WWE 2K15 roster reveal will take place live on Saturday morning at 1 PM EDT from Club Nokia LA in Los Angeles, California. The event will be hosted by Steve Austin and feature John Cena, Sting, Hulk Hogan, Cesaro, Sheamus and Roman Reigns. Below is a promotional poster Tweeted out by WWE Games:

- We can confirm that Wendy's -- the popular fast food chain -- is a fan of Heath Slater. The following is from Twitter:

- Roman Reigns was on Sports Nation with CM Punk's ex-friend Michelle Beadle. You can watch at this link.

- WWE announced on Wednesday the WWE Network is now available on Internet-Connected Sony TVs & Blu-ray Players. We covered this and more at this link.

- After suffering a third neck injury and subsequently announcing his retirement from the ring back in July, Santino Marella now appears to be considering an in-ring return.

In an interview with Chill Magazine, he discussed his most recent neck and spinal issues, but noted that a double fusion surgery could mean a return to the ring after "four to six months of recovery time." He plans on undergoing surgery within a month, after which he plans to attempt to return to the ring after a period of recovery. Santino continues in the following excerpt:

I want to come back because of some unfinished business. I believe being the Milan Miracle I have one miracle left. There’s one belt that I haven’t captured—the WWE Championship—and it’s going to require that miracle to do it. On the right day at the right time I can definitely experience capturing that championship. There’s still some good wrestling left in this guy, so that’s what we’re going to try to do.

While WWE covered Santino's announcement, WWE has not definitively referred to Santino as retired, only noting that his in-ring retirement was "possible." Santino plans to stay with WWE in a non-wrestling role if he is unable to return to the ring.

Click here to read the full article.

- Alberto Del Rio has confirmed that he will appear at Sunday's Triplemania XXII by AAA in Mexico on Sunday. We first ran the story a few days ago and now have a video clip of Del Rio confirming his intentions. The problem is the promo is in Spanish, so many readers may not be able to understand it. You can, however, watch at this link.

Del Rio was fired from WWE earlier this month after a physical altercation with social media manager Cody Barbierri. We detailed the incident at this link and explain why Del Rio gave WWE no choice at this link.

What's interesting is that Triplemania will air opposite of SummerSlam on iPPV. It's believed Del Rio has a 90-day non-compete clause with WWE so we're currently unaware the legalities of the situation.

- 2K have announced a new WWE-related game called WWE SuperCard, available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. You can read more details as well as check out screenshots here on dot com.

- This week's episode of WWE Inbox -- subtitled The Biggest Inbox of the Summer -- is online at this link or embedded in the video below:

http://youtu.be/_S65nS8dvMc

- WWE posted a behind the scenes video of a recent Alicia Fox photo shoot at this link.

- A leaked video of what appears to be WWE 2K15 gameplay has surfaced on YouTube.

- Seth Rollins is interviewed at this link to promote SummerSlam. In the piece, he says he uses the MITB briefcase to pack his carry-on items. He takes it everywhere he goes, despite the weird looks.

- Chris Jericho talked his WWE return and victory over Bray Wyatt at this link.

- Forbes looks at SummerSlam tickets being at their cheapest in four year at this link.

- Total Divas returns for Season 3 on E on Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 9 PM ET/PT. TV by the Numbers has a new press release at this link.

- The WWE Network has launched as a traditional Pay-TV channel on Rogers Cable systems. The channel is $11.99/month and currently online offers the live stream. There are of course plans to offer all of the on demand content.

- WWE posted video of Stephanie McMahon's SummerSlam workout at this link.

- Sasha Banks is featured in a new Q&A on dot com at this link.

- WWE chief revenue and marketing officer Michelle Wilson spoke with Multichannel News at this link.

- Dean Ambrose will star in a new WWE Studios and Lionsgate film called "Lockdown." The film is the second action film part of their "six-pack" movie deal.

Variety published an synopsis of the film that you can read below:

Written by Nathan Brooks and Bobby Lee Darby (“See No Evil 2″), “Lockdown” follows a police officer who finds himself trapped inside his own precinct and hunted after crooked cops stop at nothing to recover incriminating evidence of illegal activities against those closest to him.

The first film in the action six-pack was "Vendetta," which features Big Show.

Click here for coverage by Variety.

- CM Punk did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, with the help of his wife AJ ALee. He challenged his friend CJ Wilson of the Anaheim Angels. You can watch at this link.

- FoxSports.com has a new article online featuring quotes from Paul Heyman. In it, he says at 100% health, no one could d have touched Brock Lesnar in UFC.

Below is an excerpt from the piece:

"If Brock Lesnar ever fought healthy in the UFC, I don't see any fighter that could have touched him," Heyman said.

As for Lesnar's health now:

"He feels great," Heyman said. "He's healthy. His body is not spending so much energy fighting off diverticulitis. He's healthy for the first time in years and I think his potential is limitless. He's a once-in-a-lifetime athlete. This is Jim Thorpe, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, this is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete."

Heyman feels Lesnar can carry WWE:

"Brock Lesnar is the single biggest attraction WWE has and rightfully so -- because he can carry it," Heyman said. "This is not someone who comes along except once in a generation."

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Alberto Del Rio took part in a press conference in Mexico on Thursday to officially announce his intentions to appear at Triplemania XXII on Sunday. AAA President Joaquin Roldan was on hand and a few issues were discussed.

Del Rio said his new home is AAA and that's where he'll be working in his immediate future. He won't be able to work as Del Rio and instead will work as El Patron. This is a name Ricardo Rodriguez used to introduce him as his ring announcer in WWE.

Del Rio's non-compete clause attached to his WWE Performer's Contract will not allow him to wrestle for at least 90 days. Del Rio played up he was trying to get his lawyers to get an injunction to allow him to compete on Sunday.

Alberto said due to the legality of it, he couldn't discuss his WWE release at this time but would address it in a couple of weeks.

He was asked about Rey Mysteriobeing unhappy in WWE and possibly coming to AAA but it was stated that Mysterio was still under contract and they wouldn't tamper with him while that was the case.

Triplemania XXII will take place Sunday at Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City, Mexico. It will be available on traditional pay-per-view in Mexico but on iPPV internationally.

- If there's one thing I've tried to clarify since WWE tied Daniel Bryan "cheated" on Brie Bella with his "physical therapist" in the program with Stephanie McMahon, it's that it is a way to get Bryan back involved in the angle. We went over that in Ask WNW here and here.

Bryan is currently out indefinitely due to nerve injuries that have prevented him from regaining full strength in his arm, which has prevented him from being cleared to compete. The company has released a new Daniel Bryan themed shirt with the words "Steph! Steph! Steph!" replacing "Yes! Yes! Yes!" You can view a photo below:

Steph!  Steph!  Steph!

- WWE is looking to completely transition to their new WWE Network logo by this fall. The beginning of their "season" is viewed as the Monday Night Raw after SummerSlam and from that point forward, the new logo will be seen more and more until it finally replaces the scratch logo on everything.

The company updated their logo across their headquarters in Stamford, CT this week and sent out the September 2014 issue of WWE Magazine with the new logo. I Tweeted a screen shot that you can view below:

The August 2014 issue of WWE Magazine featured the scratch logo. - We noted in our coverage of the latest WWEinvestor conference call the new original programming coming to the WWE Network includes The Monday Night War, WWE Rivalries and WWE Countdown. The premiere dates for those programs are as follows - Monday Night War (premiering in August), WWE Rivalries (premiering in October) and WWE Countdown (premiering in November). - This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show is online at this link. - Triple H took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, answering Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He challenged Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan and the craziest guy he knows, Vince McMahon. You can watch Hunter's video at this link. - Yahoo! Sports has a Q&A online with Hulk Hogan. In it, he discussed the tribute paid him on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, a dream match against John Cena and some comments made by Steve Austin. We'll highlight the remarks about Raw and about wrestling Cena before getting to Austin: How close was he to tears on Monday Night Raw:

That was brutal, dude. They do things at WWE sometimes because I’m what they call a “veteran.” Vince [McMahon] trusts me and he doesn’t let me in on all the secrets like at WrestleMania XXX when I’m out in the ring and here comes The Rock and Stone Cold [Steve Austin]. It could have been an explosive situation. I didn’t know what these two were up to, but Vince thought that was really, really funny. It’s kind of like when I went out on Monday for my birthday and they gave me a little sheet that said you’re going to go to the ring and “Mean” Gene [Okerlund] is going to play a package. I didn’t think about what they were going to do but the package was so compelling. It just really rocked me because it showed all these WrestleMania moments. These high points in my career like my son, Nick, and my daughter, Brooke, when I was getting inducted in the Hall of Fame. Thank goodness I had my yellow sunglasses on, bro, because they had me really off balance with that deal. I wasn’t expecting that package to be so compelling.

Desire for match against John Cena:

Well, things have straightened out really well for me after nine back surgeries. Doctor would say in four months you will feel OK or six months you will feel OK … well that’s not true. After these back surgeries, it takes your body awhile to regroup, especially when you’re 60 years young. It’s not like you’re 21. So, the back is cool. If I had to wrestle anyone right now on the current roster, it would be John Cena. That would be a dream match for me.

Finally, Austin reportedly said recently that he believes he was a bigger legend than Hulk Hogan. Here's what the Hulkster had to say about that:

I think that’s in his own mind. My career was twice as long as his. I’ve been a main eventer since 1978 when we sold out Shea Stadium. I just totally disagree with him. I know he had a good run when he was in the Attitude Era. I don’t know how long the Attitude Era was — four years, eight years — I don’t know how long it was. That’s where we totally disagree. Maybe he and I should lock up and figure this thing out. That would be a nice match.

Click here to read the piece in its entirety. Richard Reacts: I'm not saying Hulk Hogan is wrong. I believe no matter how you look at it, Hulk Hogan is the biggest legend this business has ever seen. However, it's just how Hogan comes out here that rubs me the wrong way. I remember when I questioned Hogan's intentions [in Ask WNW] with TNA and he berated [and blocked] me on social media. Hogan is the Michael Jordan of pro wrestling but he could also take the narcism down a notch.

TNA News

- TNA Wrestling has filmed Impact through the September 25, 2014 episode that will carry the No Surrender theme. What's interesting to note is that now all material for the existing contract with Spike TV is in the can. While TNA has plans to return to the Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom in New York City for more tapings in September, it will have to be under a new deal with Spike TV or a deal with another network, unless of course they only plan to tape One Night Only pay-per-views or TV not available in the United States. The tapings in New York City have done well. The crowds have been good, the programming has been viewed as some of the best in years and the majority of the roster has been re-energized by the atmosphere. As we noted, Spike TV executives Kevin Kay and Scott Fishman were in attendance at separate tapings this week (Kay was there on Thursday, while Fishman was in attendance on Wednesday). TMZ.com started a firestorm at the end of July when they exclusively reported that Spike had canceled Impact. They have not retracted their story and it remains online in its original format, despite numerous denials from TNA. The company emailed talent, informing them negotiations were ongoing and UTA was trying to bridge a gap in finances. Dixie Cartersaid as much publicly with Bob Ryder Tweeting that reports are not true. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that negotiations were getting better -- after sputtering much of the summer -- but took a turn for the worse when it was learned that TNA had been lying to Spike TV about Vince Russo's involvement. Just this week we explained a disconnect remains between Spike and TNA ownership. Dave Lagana privately emailed some members of the wrestling media [outside of Wrestling News World, he did not contact us], saying TNA would remain with Spike TV although that has not been reported by any outlet. The official word is that negotiations between TNA and Spike TV are ongoing and the attendance of Spike executives at the tapings in New York City this week can only been seen as a good sign. However, there is no renewal as of press time. Dixie Carter stated confidently this is something she goes through every two years but this is just the first public re-negotiation. She said they are still talking with Spike but there are other networks interested as well. - Ryan Rider interviewed Ken Anderson at last week's Impact Wrestling tapings in New York City. In it, he revealed that TNA told him to stop using his "asshole" catchphrase as they gear their programming to be more family friendly. Anderson expressed optimism about the company's future on Spike TV but said they'll make things work wherever they go. Click here to listen to the interview. - TNA Wrestling issued an official press release for next year's tour of the United Kingdom. You can read it below:

UK fans, get ready! TNA announces Fan Interaction packages for the MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour, along with the names of more international wrestling superstars who will be competing on the events in Glasgow, Manchester and London. Extra great seats, which were previously held off, are also being made available. TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley will be making his first ever appearance in the UK as an IMPACT WRESTLING superstar at the January 2015 shows. MVP, Taryn Terrell, The Beautiful People and Kenny King have also been added to a Tour roster that already features Samoa Joe, Gail Kim, Bully Ray, Magnus, James Storm, Bobby Roode, Mr Anderson, Eric Young, Gunner, Abyss, EC3, Tigre Uno and Rockstar Spud. In another major announcement, TNA today confirms that the company’s trademark six-sided ring will be used on all MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour events – the first time it will have been seen in Britain since 2010. TNA President Dixie Carter said: “The MAXIMUM IMPACT Tour is a highlight of the year for the TNA Superstars who travel to these big events and meet the incredible fans. “With an unmatched Fan Interaction experience, a roster of the best professional wrestlers in the world and the return of the six-sided ring, the shows scheduled for the 2015 MAXIMUM IMPACT Tour will be our best yet.” Fan Interaction tickets for the January 2015 Tour go on sale on Friday August 15 at 10am – along with the extra great seats – and allow fans to meet some of their favourite wrestlers before each event. The strictly limited meet & greet passes are available for all three shows and cost £35 plus booking fee. Those purchasing Fan Interaction tickets must also have a regular event ticket, which are sold separately, in order to gain access. There will be eight TNA superstars at each meet & greet. Each wrestler will sign a maximum of two items per fan. TNA received positive press coverage and fan feedback last year after making a number of improvements to the Fan Interaction experience. The MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour sees TNA visit Glasgow (Jan 29) and Manchester (Jan 30) before culminating in a huge double TV taping and Ultimate X match in London on Jan 31. Bobby Lashley said: “This will my first time wrestling in the UK for TNA and I can promise you I’m more than ready. The bigger question is whether the UK is ready for Bobby Lashley?” - TNA Knockout Rebel announced Sunday on Twitter that she fractured her arm at last week's Impact Wrestling tapings in New York City. The following is from Twitter:

The injury occurred at the August 7, 2014 taping in which a Knockouts Battle Royal was taped for the September 25, 2014 episode of Impact. We have complete taping results available at this link.

- TNA Wrestling has canceled their scheduled live events on September 26 in Enid, Oklahoma and on September 27 in Salina, KS due to a scheduling conflict. While the local listing remains on the Salina Bicentennial Center website, the official show listings have been removed.

Additionally, the ENID Event Center & Convention Hall posted the following about the canceled show on September 26th:

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING 2014 WORLD TOUR IN ENID EVENT CENTER CANCELLED

Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, the TNA Impact Wrestling 2014 World Tour stop set for September 26 in Enid Event Center, as well as several other locations, has been cancelled.

All tickets that have already been purchased for the September event will be refunded. Refund procedures are as follows.

Fans that bought tickets in person: Fans will need to bring their hard ticket back to Enid Event Center and Convention Hall Administration Offices (2nd Floor of Convention Hall) to receive their refund.

Fans that ordered tickets through 855.TIX.ENID or www.EnidEventCenter.com: Fans will need to call 855.TIX.ENID to speak with a representative about receiving their refund.

Click here for more information.

There are currently only six live events that remain on the official TNA website. Click here for more.

- TNA Wrestling has hired Nigel Sherrod to work in the company's Live Event department.

The word making rounds is that Rafael Moffi, who has been working as the company's Director of Live Events, has given his notice that he'll be leaving. I'm under the assumption Sherrod will replace Moffi but cannot confirm as of press time. Sherrod formerly worked for Deep South Wrestling when they were affiliated with WWE as one of their developmental territories.

Moffi was hired by TNA in April 2013 to help offset the departures of Craig Jenkins and Michael Krewson.

Monday, August 11, 2014 8:24 PM: From what I understand, Sherrod WILL NOT be replacing Moffi, however, he has been hired to work in the company's Live Events department. End update.

- Jeff Hardy granted a wish to a young fan at last week's Impact Wrestling tapings in New York City. The fan was Tom Trussler, a 12-year old fan from Middlesex, England, diagnosed with a rare progressive congenital disorder. Trussler got to meet Jeff at the taping and meet other TNA talent before attending the tapings.

Below is the official press release:

STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION & TNA IMPACT WRESTLING GRANT WISH OF JEFF HARDY SUPERFAN

Boy Makes 3,500 Mile Trip Across The Pond To Meet Hardy and Attend #TNANYC Live Events at Manhattan Center

New York, N.Y. (Aug. 12, 2014) – Tuesday, August 5, is a day Middlesex, England resident and Jeff Hardy superfan Tom Trussler will forever remember. With the help of UK wish granting charity Starlight Children’s Foundation and TNA Wrestling, Tom, a 12-year-old who has been diagnosed with a rare progressive congenital disorder, was granted his wish of meeting TNA Superstar “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy.

“The thing that caught my eye about Jeff is his determination, and I like that,” said Tom. “Ever since I first saw him on TV Jeff Hardy has been my favorite wrestler.”

Determination is something Tom knows a lot about. In July 2013, Tom, who lives in Feltham, underwent a bone marrow transplant, which forced him to be homebound for six months. During his recovery Tom spent much of his time watching professional wrestling, in particular matches of Jeff Hardy on IMPACT WRESTLING.

Tom and his parents, Mark and Lesley, made the 3,500 mile trek from the U.K. to New York City to meet Hardy and take part in the IMPACT WRESTLING live event at the Manhattan Center on Tuesday, Aug. 5 and Wednesday, Aug. 6. Prior to the sold out August 5 show, Hardy spent the afternoon hanging out with Tom as the two talked wrestling and took photos. Hardy also introduced Tom to dozens of fellow TNA Superstars MVP, Lashley, Bully Ray, The Wolves and Mr. Anderson, to list a few.

Before the start of the event Tom was invited backstage to Hardy’s dressing room where his face was painted by Hardy to match the “Charismatic Engima’s” own face paint in signature IMPACT WRESTLING colors of black, blue and white.

“It was an honor for me to spend the day with Tom and his parents,” said Hardy. “He is an incredible kid and I am happy to now call him my friend.”

Following an afternoon of activities with Hardy and a VIP meet-and-greet autograph session with other TNA Superstars, Tom and his parents were escorted ringside to watch the IMPACT WRESTLING televised event from the sold out Manhattan Center. The episode, which was taped, is scheduled to air in late August in the U.S. on Spike TV (Thursday nights, 9/8c) and in the U.K. on Challenge (Sunday nights at 9).

- TNA Wrestling issued a press release on Wednesday about their recent ratings increase with Impact. The release notes that last week's episode -- that aired on August 7th on Spike TV -- was the highest rated episode since February.

The release is included in its entirety below:

IMPACT WRESTLING CONTINUES POSITIVE SUMMER RATINGS TREND
AUGUST 7 SHOW HIGHEST RATED SINCE FEBURARY

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 13, 2014) – The Aug. 7 episode of IMPACT WRESTLING, TNA’s flagship program airing Thursday nights at 9/8c on Spike TV, drew 1.6 million viewers (P2+, +3 Rating), the largest audience since mid-February of this year. The episode was also up against six nationally or regionally televised NFL pre-season games, the first of the NFL season.

Historically, IMPACT WRESTLING ratings are highest during Q1, however in Q3 2014, IMPACT WRESTLING has experienced a steady increase in total viewership and key demos that are exceeding ratings from Q1 2014, and rivaling Q1 ratings from previous years. To date, Q3 2014 ratings have attracted more viewers in the highly sought after Men 18-34 demo since Q1 2012, and the highest ratings for P2+, P 18-49 and Men 18-49 since Q1 2013.

Richard Reacts: The recent episodes of Impact from New York City have been entertaining and they've reaped the benefits. Surely this is a positive sign but is it too little too late? As far as we know, the company doesn't not have domestic TV clearance past September 2014.

- The mood backstage in TNA Wrestling was up and down at last week's television taping in New York City.

At the Tuesday taping, management held a meeting with talent and assured them that good news was coming and to continue to ignore the reports the company was losing domestic TV clearance. We're told it didn't really do much to boost morale as the guys know they were lied to back when the company was close to being sold, so they just saw the meeting as damage control and little else.

The biggest thing to come out of Tuesday's meeting was that talent was told there would be more television tapings at the end of September, regardless of what happened with the TV situation. However, no dates for those tapings were announced.

As word started to get around that Smackdown could be moving back to Thursdays, morale took another hit. Obviously if Smackdown airs opposite of Impact -- even for an hour -- no one sees that as a good thing.

However, the overall vibe in the company was that the tapings went well and with Spike TV head Kevin Kay showing up on Thursday, by the end of the week, the "sky is falling" mentality was starting to calm a bit.

- TNA announced on Thursday that Impact Wrestling is moving to Wednesdays on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 9/8c on Spike TV. The company Tweeted out the following image to announce the news:

The official statement from the company is as follows:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 14, 2014) – TNA today announced its flagship program, IMPACT WRESTLING, will make a permanent move to Wednesday nights at 9/8c on SPIKE TV beginning next Wednesday, Aug. 20. "Moving IMPACT WRESTLING to Wednesday nights gives existing fans and new viewers an opportunity to enjoy both wrestling and live sports even more throughout the week," said TNA President Dixie Carter. IMPACT WRESTLING has enjoyed sustained ratings growth this summer, drawing over 1.5 million viewers each week this quarter, and is among the most watched cable series in key male demos in its timeslot.

While it's unknown why exactly the move was made, it could have been to get out of ahead of WWE Smackdown possibly moving back to Thursday nights this fall. TNA's current contract with Spike TV runs through the month of September at which point they'll have to be under a new deal to continue to air on domestic television. - TNA Wrestling continues to look at bringing in newer and cheaper talent, however, until their domestic TV situation is sorted out, contracts are not being offered. Havok debuted without a contract. The company is high up on her but until they sign a domestic TV deal, they don't want to commit any longterm money, even on small scale deals. For now, she's working night to night. The Knockouts division is extremely political right now, especially because there are so few spots. The existing girls on the roster typically do everything possible to keep new girls out as they don't want to lose their spot to someone younger. With Havok's look and style being so different, the girls don't feel as threatened by her, so you don't have the normal "sabotage" going on that you have when TNA is looking to bring in a new girl. - This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,126,000 viewers on Spike TV. This is the least-watched show since the move to New York City and is reminiscent of the disastrous numbers they had in June. This was the final Thursday broadcast as Impact will move to Wednesday nights next week. TV by the Numbers has data for the entire night at this link. - The dysfunction in TNA Wrestling starts at the top and goes all the way down throughout the ranks. From talent that felt they were lied to when the Carter family was negotiating to sell the company to Toby Keith to the uncertainty of their future on Spike TV. However, that dysfunction went to downright bizarre earlier this week. On Monday I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that TNA had hired Nigel Sherrod to work in their live events department. Sherrod is formerly known for his work in Deep South Wrestling when they were an official developmental territory of WWE and he hosted Season 1 of the short-lived Lucha Libre USA series on MTV2. Sherrod has actually been working in TNA since May 2014 and has recently relocated to Nashville, TN. He travels to the shows and Tweeted the following about Friday night's TNA live event in Indiana, PA:

Sherrod even had an on-screen appearance for TNA back in 2008 as he made a cameo as an Elvis impersonator at the company's Slammiversary pay-per-view that year.

So how does this get bizarre?

Enter TNA executive Bob Ryder. Ryder has been with TNA since its inception -- he was an initial investor and has worked his way up through the ranks. He's previously known for his work with WCW and is the owner and founder of 1Wrestling.com. Ryder reportedly picked up more responsibilities behind-the-scenes in TNA earlier this year, according to a February 2014 report by WrestleZone.com's Justin LaBar.

On Wednesday, two days after my report about Sherrod working for TNA, Ryder Tweeted this:

While on the surface, this doesn't seem like that big of deal. Ryder doesn't have to know everyone that works for TNA and who can blame him - he's probably busy. However, it follows a disturbing pattern we've seen within TNA Wrestling. Take for example the employment of Vince Russo.

On January 27, 2014 an employee from TNA's public relations department told me via email that Russo is "not a TNA employee," amid rumors indicating the contrary. It wasn't until Russo inadvertently sent an email to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com in July 2014 that was intended for Mike Tenay and Taz that it was learned that Russo was very much working for TNA.

On July 31, 2014, Russo wrote on his official website that he "worked as a consultant for TNA" for nine months prior to the post. This not only proved the rumors of Russo's involvement were true but that TNA was lying about his employment.

I have absolutely no idea why Bob Ryder Tweeted what he did to over 28,700 people. He didn't mention WrestlingNewsWorld.com or our initial report, however, he was very much passing it off as inaccurate. While I cannot give his motivation for such a Tweet, I can unequivocally state his Tweet is not true. A TNA executive -- not a pro wrestling dirt sheet -- that's not telling the truth.

On Thursday, I contacted TNA's Public Relations department -- the same department that told me Vince Russo was "not a TNA employee" -- about Ryder's Tweet and have yet to receive a response.

Friday, August 15, 2014 6:35 PM EDT Update: Bob Ryder sent the following email to me regarding this report:

Your reporting earlier this week about Nigel Sherrod is an example of everything wrong with wrestling journalism on the web.

You indicated that Nigel Sherrod had been hired to work in our live events department and strongly suggested that he was hired to take Rafael Morffi's place. When your report was posted, I had several questions from people who actually work in the live events department asking me if I knew who the guy was. I didn't. I looked at Twitter and saw his twitter account that said he was currently working for TNA. That's when I posted the tweet saying I had never heard of him and that he didn't work for TNA.

It turns out he is helps at the merchandise table at our road live events. That's the extent of his connection with TNA. He doesn't work in our live events department and did not replace Rafael Morffi.

Over the last several months there has been a tremendous amount of bad reporting regarding TNA. People like you take a glimmer of information and make assumptions, and then it blows up into something totally different than reality. Too many reporters for sites like yours don't just cut & paste, they cut & guess.

End update.

Ask WNW

With continued growing tension between Vince McMahon and Triple H, how do you see it ending? Do you think the brass is worried about the rift?

When I first heard things between Vince McMahon and Triple H had begun to get noticeably more contentious, I thought it would only be a matter of time before cooler heads prevailed and they got back on the same page. However, the issues seem to have only gotten worse, reaching their boiling point at WWE's live event in New York City on July 12, 2014. It was there that Vince and Hunter got into an argument loud enough for others to hear, including producers that were working the show. One issue they had going into that show was Triple H and Stephanie were legitimately on vacation but Vince put his foot down that Triple H had to be in attendance, causing them to end their vacation early. Now, the accusations are that Vince has deliberately made cuts to WWE NXT -- considered to be Triple H's baby -- just in spite of him. As we reported here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Hunter has been vehemently opposed to budget cuts in regards to NXT but the budget has been cut to the point where there isn't much left to cut. I'm not sure how others feel about the rift but it's never a good thing when the two men at the top of the company are at odds.

Assuming that Brock Lesnar will go over John Cena at SummerSlam and that Vince wants Brock vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania, does that mean Brock will lose the title before Wrestlemania or will we have two part timers in a row holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

I have given pause to anyone assuming it's a given that Brock Lesnar goes over John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. Yes, I believe that's how the match should be booked and how it will probably be booked but we need to wait until after SummerSlam before we look forward. If Brock wins the title at SummerSlam, we can analyze how to book a Brock Lesnar title reign then. Paul Heyman had some interesting comments for those criticizing a possible Lesnar title reign at this link. In that interview, he said the WWE title is defended too often.

Please clear this up for me. From what I've read, WWE's social media employee Cody Barbierri got slapped for a racial joke toward Alberto Del Rio - to which I say - good. Are disciplinary actions being taken place against this employee?

What you've stated is the gist of our report here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com published on Saturday. As the story goes, someone told Cody Barbierri, WWE's social media manager, to wipe his plate clean after a meal at catering. Allegedly, he told someone that was Alberto Del Rio's job. Del Rio found out about it, confronted Cody, in which Cody allegedly smiled. This is when Del Rio reportedly slapped him. The problem is, the story doesn't make complete sense. If this is exactly how this happened, WWE would not only be harboring a racist employee, they'd be encouraging it by letting Del Rio go and disparaging him on their website and in social media. Triple H even re-Tweeted the bizarre Tweets regarding Del Rio from the verified WWE Twitter account made last Friday. However, Konnan claims to have spoken to Del Rio and is loudly calling out WWE for racism in this situation. He even went as far to threaten Cody Barbierri on Twitter. It's my belief there is more to the story - but if this story is true, both should have been fired, not just Del Rio.

What kept WWE from launching the WWE Network in the United States in the same manner as they did in Canada? It sounds like in Canada it was just a matter of partnering with a cable provider, and it sounds like it will be available on other cable networks?

The WWE Network will be available in Canada as a traditional Pay-TV channel on Rogers Channel 512 beginning on Tuesday. It will be exclusive to Rogers and is part of a 10-year agreement between Rogers and WWE. This wasn't the plan and while Vince McMahon initially said they were releasing the WWE Network as a traditional model because they were Canadian and see things a bit differently, he later admitted Rogers made them a deal they couldn't refuse. This is of no surprise as WWE executives have repeatedly said they won't shy away from any deal if the money is right. As for why the WWE Network isn't like this anywhere else, it's because they do not have an agreement like this anywhere else. A lot of people didn't understand why the WWE Network was available in the US first and I continued to repeat it had to do with TV clearance. The 10-year deal with Rogers is what held the release of the WWE Network up north but plans to roll it out internationally were expedited due to mediocre performance in the United States.

From the Ask WNW vault…

October 2012: What are the plans for Paul Heyman other than just carrying Punk’s title belt? - Paul Heyman, like any manager, is limited because he doesn’t wrestle but he has had an instant impact in WWE. Originally brought back as a mouthpiece for Brock Lesnar (at the desire of his real-life friend CM Punk), he was paired with the WWE Champion because Punk suggested it. WWE is already developing “Paul Heyman guy” merchandise and his influence is spreading throughout the locker room. It’s funny because when Lesnar was brought back earlier this year a constant was that the deal would not include Heyman under any circumstances. Now, due to Punk’s tremendous backstage influence, Heyman is once again a staple on WWE television (and to a lesser extent, a player in the locker room).

Can you explain to me if Brock Lesnar does win the WWE title at SummerSlam how is he going to defend it at pay-per-views if he only has a limited amount of dates?

If Brock Lesnar goes over for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam, there will obviously be a plan for him to defend it. It will be imperative that he's on Night of Champions in September and we reported last month that he's in the preliminary plans. Paul Heyman has been answering most of these questions while doing media for the match. In this interview, Heyman mentioned Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Big Show and Daniel Bryan as possible opponents. As for the frequency of Lesnar's possible defenses -- as we highlighted on Sunday and Monday -- Heyman feels the WWE title is defended too often.

Is Rey Mysterio injured or is WWE not using him?

Rey Mysterio and WWE were originally renegotiating a contract extension and there was legitimate concern that he might leave. However, WWE added injury time to his existing contract and have continued to pay him his downside. According to people close to Mysterio, he wants out but the company isn't letting him out. This is why Konnan is using the hashtag #FreeRey in his Tweets against WWE for their handling of Alberto Del Rio.

Do you have any insight as to why WWE would have Dean Ambrose choose a lumberjack match for his stipulation against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam? It lacks logic as I would've thought he'd chose a match for the MITB contract, perhaps even a ladder match for the contract.

As of last Monday, WWE hadn't decided on the stipulation for Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins at SummerSlam and at last Tuesday's Smackdown taping, the lumberjack match stipulation was announced. I agree that not only does it lack logic but it's underwhelming. It's my assumption that WWE booked it as a way to get other workers on the pay-per-view card but I agree - they could do better.

Would you be OK if the finish of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at SummerSlam saw Paul Heyman turn on Brock Lesnar and help John Cena, leading to a long-awaited heel turn?

I do not believe there are any plans to turn John Cena heel - especially in a bout with Brock Lesnar. I do not feel this scenario is plausible or beneficial. While a large segment of WWE's audience wants character progression from Cena, it can't be at the price of Brock Lesnar. When he was booked over The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX, a lot was invested in his future. It's essential that WWE keep Lesnar over as a dominant heel, ultimately leading to him transferring the rub he was given back in April.

November 2011: This may have been asked before but Ric Flair is now just a balding embarrassment. Do you think TNA will give him one last push to save his legacy amongst the younger generation? - First of all I want to be on the record as to saying I am not calling Ric Flair a “balding embarrassment.” I respect Flair for what he has done for the business and this is solely the comment of a reader and is not a representation of my thoughts on the Nature Boy. As for Ric Flair’s career, I was very vocal in defending his decision to return to the ring with TNA. My point was if he wants to return, why should a storyline retirement [in WWE] stop him? I realize WWE let him go out like no one before but at the end of the day it was still an angle that WWE cashed in on. However, we can evaluate Flair’s career with TNA and can clearly see he has failed to protect his character and it has suffered as a result. The moment that sobered me was when Flair went under to Jay Lethal (who is no longer with the company) at TNA Victory Road last year only for Jeff Hardy to beat Lethal the next night at the Impact taping for that week. It was that moment I saw how big of a mistake Flair made by returning to a second-tier company. Fortunately for Flair not enough people are watching to ruin his legacy and most people probably don’t even realize how badly he’s been booked.

What were your thoughts on seeing Scott Hall on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw?

I thought Scott Hall looked great on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. On Twitter, I noted how it was Hulk Hogan that made me a wrestling fan but Scott Hall and Kevin Nash that kept me one. There are many ups and downs for a recovering addict but Monday was a good day for this business. The closing segment of this week's Raw was nostalgic but probably would have been better suited on an episode other than the go-home to SummerSlam. The problem is there were so many moving parts, it was hard to really hone in on Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena.

We explained on Tuesday how WWE is using Hogan in conjunction with the SummerSlam pay-per-view to encourage people to subscribe to the WWE Network. My other critique to the closing segment would have been to allow either Hogan or Flair to bump for Brock, as both of them pitched. That would have been a major statement from Lesnar heading into his title match against John Cena.

John Cena has earned 15 championship reigns -- a great feat -- but it was all with WWE. Ric Flair of course has 16 with various promotions. Should Cena be held in the same regard with Flair due to Flair earning his titles everywhere and not in one place.

Ric Flair's label as a 16-time world champion is the way WWE recognizes it but Flair considers himself to be a 21-time world champion. Regardless, Flair is one of the greatest of all time and history will be much kinder to John Cena. Cena gets a lot of heat -- just like Hulk Hogan got a lot of heat in his prime. However, as we've seen since Hogan's return to WWE, he's once again over like rover and beloved by marks and smarks alike. I believe this is how Cena will be viewed in 20 years and the fact he'll surpass Flair's benchmark of WWE-recognized world title reigns will only add to that.

It seems pretty clear to me that, from the announcers to the wrestlers, to even signs shown in the audience, that the company is really over-hyping the "$9.99" price of the WWE Network. Do you feel that the WWE is going into panic mode over the lack of subscribers versus the numbers they had projected up to this point?

WWE has initiated a marketing campaign around the $9.99 WWE Network price tag. Yes, they are desperate for subscribers and that's evident by this plan. The lack of Network growth has stalled plans of a proposed price increase and WWE even lowered their new monthly no commitment plan from $19.99 to $12.99. I can tell you $19.99/month is where they want to be but they're not going to go there at this time as they continue to "build" the Network's base.

Do you find it ridiculous that Daniel Bryan -- WWE's top babyface -- is now a storyline adulterer?

I believe there is more to the story of Daniel Bryan's "affair" on Brie Bella. This is WWE's way of keeping Daniel Bryan involved in the Brie vs. Stephanie McMahon program. One can only hope it will lead to the reintroduction of Bryan into storylines but that hinges completely on his health. However, to answer your question, I do not think it's ridiculous because it's "Stephanie McMahon's side of the story." It's amazing how much heat this is getting on social media, as I believe fans are failing to see the big picture. Stephanie, the heel in the program, introducing "Bryan's mistress," doesn't make it true. Remember, heels aren't known for their innate ability to tell the truth. Rather than the IWC being so quick to criticize, they should be glad to see Bryan still being associated with the program.

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.

Everyone wants to see progress from John Cena. What if he joins the nWo?

The reformation of the new World order of Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan was a one-time thing done for the Hulk Hogan birthday bash, which climaxed with a Brock Lesnar/John Cena run-in. The faction won't be used in the company forward and was just a nostalgic thing to do. I laughed earlier in the week when one reader suggested that Hall, Nash and Hogan needed to stay around a bit longer when another reader questioned, and do what exactly? These guys are retired and while it's great to see them doing well, there's no point in investing in them.

Why is WWE having trouble with money when they just signed a new deal with NBCUniversal?

The financial cutbacks in WWE are in response to the company's new WWE Network-driven business model. WWE is essentially "punting" their pay-per-view revenue, which accounted for 15-17% of their net revenue from 2010-2012. They're now focused on attracting new subscribers in order to turn a profit. Significant resources have already been invested into making the WWE Network a reality. The company said after launch they needed 1 million domestic subscribers to "break even" with the Network. The feeling was they should get there fairly easily but those subscribers have proved harder to attract than first thought. As of June 30, 2014 the WWE Network had 700,000 domestic subscribers. While on the surface this doesn't seem like a bad number, it proved stagnant, reflecting a net addition of only 33,000 subscribers from the day after Wrestlemania 30. WWE opened up the Network internationally earlier this week in hopes it helps them reach their targets faster. As for the deal with NBCUniversal, the company had been promising investors they would double or triple their domestic TV rights fees. Vince McMahon even told one person they could put him in a hammerlock if the company didn't double their domestic TV rights fees. While WWE ended up increasing their TV revenue, the increase was considered moderate and well below what the company had promised investors. Vince later admitted the deal was disappointing. So as WWE adapts to this new model, they're making cuts wherever possible in order to make it profitable as soon as they can.

What are your thoughts on Stephanie McMahon's mic work and overall work as a heel? I think she's been great on TV and is one of the best the company has right now.

I believe the entire McMahon family -- not just Stephanie -- has a gift on the mic. All of them -- Vince, Linda, Stephanie and Shane -- know how to captivate an audience and make their appearances come off as realistic and entertaining. My biggest problem with The Authority since its inception has been an overwhelming amount of power with little to no counter attack. That has changed in Stephanie's program with Brie Bella with Stephanie "being arrested," getting slapped and various verbal beat downs. The latest twist of Daniel Bryan "having an affair," is what WWE is using to amp up interest into the match at Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view. I don't know if we can expect a good wrestling match but Stephanie has been training hard and we should get a conclusion to one of the more compelling programs of the summer.

I am not against the Daniel Bryan adultery story. I am even glad to see WWE trying to keep him alive. But why then did they "erase him" from the Wrestlemania 30 broadcast? It seems like one day they want nothing to do with Bryan due to his health condition and the uncertainty that brings, and the next day they want to bring him back to keep him in the Universe's fresh memory. Doesn't it seem odd?

WWE wanted to add a strong go-home element to Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon so they chose to go the "Daniel Bryan is an adulterer" route. Where they go from here remains to be seen but that's why it was done. The angle was not to necessarily put the focus back on Daniel Bryan as he is still without a return date and is "out indefinitely." It was a side element to a program treated as a main event type encounter at SummerSlam. The removal of Daniel Bryan from the one-hour Wrestlemania 30 TV special had to do with the company not wanting to promote something they couldn't deliver. I do not believe it had do with an anti-Bryan agenda as much as it had to do with the fact Bryan is currently out due to injury.

From the Ask WNW vault…

May 2012: When will Rey Mysterio return? - Given his 60-day suspension from WWE due to his second Wellness Policy violation, Rey Mysterio isn’t eligible to return to the company until the latter part of next month. I heard the company is working to extend his contract based on dates he’s missed from his recent knee injury but we’re still a month away from a possible return due to the suspension.

Why did WWE tease the Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods faction only to drop a few weeks later?

There was a clear plan for Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods to work as a faction on WWE television, however, that plan appears to be off. I haven't heard the reason why and the only explanation that can be given can only be speculative in nature at this time. Rather than speculate, I'd like to give it some time and see if we can find out anything concrete. I'm told the idea of the faction was from Vince McMahon.

Considering it's been three months since the initial surgery for Daniel Bryan and a while since it was announced a second surgery is required, yet there's been absolutely NO surgical procedure talked about, do you think that the second surgery is a fabrication to allow Bryan to make a surprise return?

Daniel Bryan addressed his health in a press conference after he helped police apprehend a robber last month. In that press conference, he offered some good news about the situation. Bryan said a proposed second surgery would be needed to repair a nerve injury in his elbow, which obviously is different from the procedure done in his neck in May. We covered this news at this link and the press conference at this link. To the best of my knowledge, that procedure has not been completed as he continues to undergo physical therapy as part of his rehabilitation. I hope Bryan is closer than expected but I do not have a timeline as of this writing. However, to answer your question, I don't believe the proposed second surgery is a fabrication. Bryan is dealing with nerve injuries, which are unpredictable and impossible to accurately assess how long they will take to heel.

I agree that Hulk Hogan should not be in a major competitive role. However, I would like to see one last match with John Cena. I see Cena as the Hogan of this era. I would even be satisfied with an exhibition match where Cena would defend the title at a PPV against some other superstar. The match could be a no disqualification match. That could set up a match for Cena vs. Hulk earlier in the night where its a "open shoot" and Cena clearly allows Hulk to win the title just to retire immediately after the match and Cena and whoever can win it in the main event. If anyone in my opinion deserves to retire as champion it's Hulk. Your thoughts?

No offense but that sounds horrible. It would demean the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, John Cena and do nothing for anyone. Hulk Hogan is still the most recognizable name in pro wrestling and another "title reign," isn't going to do anything to help or hurt that. Hogan is retired and should be used like other retired wrestlers are used. Sporadic appearances to help promote the WWE Network are a great way to use Hogan. As we saw with the viewership data from this week's Raw, tactful use of Hogan is a good thing. Hogan was overexposed in TNA and it did nothing for Hogan or for TNA. I am completely against Hogan wrestling again because I do not believe he is healthy enough at 61 to carry a match that anyone wants to see.

I am Canadian and disappointed with the deal WWE has made with Rogers. I would like to order the WWE Network just like everyone else. After Raw two weeks ago, I take it you were not impressed with WWE's shameless sales pitch of $9.99. I agreed at the time. Now If find myself enjoying it. It reminds me of DX selling there merchandise. Has your opinion changed as well?

I want to first note the WWE Network is different in Canada. Not only is it a Pay-TV channel on Rogers but initial reports indicate the on demand library is not available and it's $11.99/month. As for the $9.99/month mentions, I still have multiple issues with them. A little bit of humor is never a bad thing and it's important to not be too harsh on something meant to be funny. However, WWE struggles with moderation. A couple of mentions to be used as comedy is fine but I feel the company continues to overdo them. Additionally, the WWE Network isn't technically $9.99. It is but with a 6 month commitment. If you're in the US and you just want to buy for one month, it's $12.99/month. In Canada, it's different. Let's not also forget that a lot of people still don't understand the WWE Network is an over the top service available on Apps and online. Unless of course you're in Canada, where it is available on cable but only Rogers cable systems. It's all very confusing and I believe this is part of the reason why WWE has struggled to gain subscribers.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2013: Looking back at superstars such as Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin, each of them had to start from the bottom and work their way up to become the “top guy” in the company. When the time was right, they were given their chance and made the most of it to become the stars that they were (and are) known for. With that being said, there is no question that John Cena is “the guy” in WWE at the moment, and probably will be for some time. However, are there any superstars on either the active or developmental roster that you believe has the “it” factor to take over the reigns when Cena’s time is over? - There is just no way to predict the next Steve Austin or John Cena. I heard a WWE investor ask Vince McMahon this very question a couple years ago and Vince laughed it off. By comparison, take a look at pro sports. Even though next year’s NBA Draft class is expected to be one of the most talented classes in many years, it’s still impossible to predict there will be another LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. Everyone with a WWE developmental contract has potential because it takes a lot just to get to that point. However, it all comes down to the right situation, which includes a level of reliance on the creative team. Austin was “Stunning” Steve Austin before he was ever Stone Cold. He had the talent but he also relied on the right creative opportunity. There’s a lot that goes into making a mega star and because there are so many factors, it’s literally impossible to predict.

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