Another WWE Release, WWE Holds Backstage Meeting With Frustrated Talent At Raw, Live Crowd Reactions Manipulated, FCW Now NXT Wrestling, HBK Nixed From SummerSlam?, Jericho Leaving WWE, Who Saved AW's Job But What Resulted In His Firing, TNA Trying To Re-

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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 11, 2012 to Friday, August 17, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!

Table Of Contents
WWE News
TNA News
Ask WNW

WWE News

- John "Bradshaw" Layfield continues his Seven Summits for Kids climbs and has started training for his next two mountains: Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Aconcagua in South America. JBL is slated to begin his Kilimanjaro climb in about six weeks. Click here for coverage by dot com.

- Wrestling News World reader David H sent word that WWE will tape Smackdown on October 2nd from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The advertised dark match main event is Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton in a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship.

- WWE is doing an angle here on dot com where Booker T says Alberto Del Rio'sSummerSlam match is off due to his "attack" on Sheamus at the end of this week's Smackdown.

- Abraham Washington literally spent hours on Twitter, berating everything involving WWE over his release announced on Friday. Washington blamed his release on Linda McMahon's campaign for United States Senate. The following Tweet is from his Twitter account:

- The official WWE website has announced that Shawn Michaels will be appearing on Raw next week. The article goes on in the excerpt below:

WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels will be in attendance at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, this Monday to support Triple H with his final preparations for The Game's impending clash with Brock Lesnar at the 25th Anniversary of SummerSlam.

In addition, the article also announces expected appearances from Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Click here to read the full article.

- Wrestling News World readers Logan Walker and CJ Blaze sent word that WWE developmental Diva Ivelisse Vélez, better known as Sofia Corte, announced via Twitter she has been released by WWE. The following is from her official Twitter account:

Ivelisse is best known by WWE's audience as a contestant on the latest version of WWE Tough Enough.

- Chris Jericho did a Q&A session with his Twitter followers on Sunday. In it, he commented on the WWE release of Abraham Washington and gave four guys he would like to face that currently work for TNA Wrestling:

- The Twitter account of Abraham Washington, located at Twitter.com/AWPromotions has been suspended. AW has opened up an account under his real name at Twitter.com/BJRatedR.

- Ashley Fliehr, the real-life daughter of Ric Flair currently working in Florida Championship Wrestling under a WWE developmental contract, wrote the following on Twitter:

- Former WWE Tough Enough contestant Ivelisse Vélez, who was recently released by WWE, says she was screwed by the company:

- Variety has an article online on "WWE Saturday Morning Slam" entitled "WWE goes kid-friendly for CW Saturdays." You can read it at this link.

- Good Records is promoting Chris Jericho for an appearance at their offices Monday night after WWE Raw to hand out and sign copies of Fozzy's new album "Sin And Bones." For those in the Dallas area interested in attending, click here for more information.

- WWE has announced a new live event from the Civic Center in Florence, South Carolina on December 2, 2012.

- The Los Angeles Times has a brief article online featuring a Q&A with Dolph Ziggler to promote SummerSlam. Below is an excerpt:

Q: What are the odds of you cashing in your “Money in the Bank” briefcase at SummerSlam?

Ziggler: SummerSlam is a grand stage, and I will find a way to steal the show that night one way or another, but I am still brainstorming on the perfect time to cash in. This is the biggest step thus far in my career, so it will be done right and be memorable!

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice while you were a member of the Spirit Squad, what advice would you give?

Ziggler: Some advice i would give myself from the Spirit Squad years, try and get taller.... Oh, and don't invest in Facebook, ha ha! I pride myself on all the hard work I have put forward from Day One, but I would convince myself that the cream eventually rises to the top. Don't get too frustrated! I'm too good at this to be overlooked!

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- IGN.com has a new article online featuring a Q&A with Eve Torres to promote the premiere of "Stars Earn Stripes" Monday at 8 PM on NBC. Below is an excerpt:

IGN: A few weeks ago, RAW ended with you and AJ involved a tag match [teaming with Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, respectively] and it’s been pointed out that it was notable that there were two female wrestlers in the main event. Was that a cool moment for you?

Eve: It was an extremely cool moment. Not only was I in my hometown of Denver, Colorado, but there are is a very small number of women who have had that opportunity to main event RAW. To be one of those women was an honor for me, to be a part of that. It’s something that I can say that I’ve done and I’m very proud of.

IGN: A ton of classic WWE superstars were on RAW in the weeks leading up to the 1000th episode and then the 1000th episode itself. What’s it like when you have them backstage; some of the guys that we all grew up with?

Eve: Oh, it’s so awesome. Backstage, especially at RAW’s 1000th episode, I mean, everyone was there. It was just so fun to watch everyone interact, the old with the new, and have legends come in. It also reminded everyone where this all started and the history of WWE. It’s a big part of where we are today and the future of WWE and where it’s going.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz will defend against Rey Mysterio at SummerSlam.

- WWEannounced on dot com that WWE Studios will present a sneak peak of their latest feature film "The Day" at Regal Cinemas at LA Live in Los Angeles on Saturday. The screening will be introduced by Randy Orton and David Otunga with The Miz moderating a Q&A session with "The Day" stars Dominic Monaghan and Ashley Bell afterwards. SummerSlam Axxess ticket-holder have priority entry with the first 50 Axxess ticket-holders receiving VIP seating. Other screening passes will be free and open to the public.

- The commentary was audible in the arena during Ryback vs. JTG on this week's WWE Raw.

- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper returned on this week's WWE Raw for a "Piper's Pit" segment with Chris Jericho.

- There was a meeting backstage at this week's WWE Raw from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas with some of the undercard talent to try and calm them down about recent disappointing payoffs that have caused increased frustration. One of the concerns was frustrations boiling over onto Twitter and things becoming public as was the case last week with JTG. I'm told the frustration stems from undercard workers being upset about recent show payoffs. Perhaps the "straw that broke the camel's back" was when bonus checks for Wrestlemania XXVIII came in lower than expected for the aforementioned workers. "It's been a slow building thing," one source with knowledge of the meeting said. Two specific scenarios were described to me. One, there were members of the undercard that were not on the Wrestlemania XXVIII pay-per-view but did all the Fan Axxess stuff that were paid very little. Two, there have been situations with undercard workers doing promotional appearances for a show they ended up not getting booked for and getting paid very little. The response from the office was uncharacteristic as they met with the undercard at Raw and told them they understood the frustration and some of the policies would be re-evaluated, however, going public was not the way to handle it. The feeling from my source is morale had gotten so bad company officials realized they actually needed to try and placate the boys instead of just firing JTG for his Tweets. The reaction to JTG's Tweets from fellow undercard talent was very positive as I'm told most everyone "had his back."

- Brian Jossie, formerly known as Abraham Washington in WWE, told the Greenwich Time in a phone interview on Monday he wasn't terminated for his Kobe Bryantrape joke on live WWE television but rather his Tweet that was in support of Linda McMahon for Senate.

"That's how they show support for their employees who want to support Linda. They fire them. That's complete bull(expletive)," Jossie told the newspaper.

WWE spokesman Brian Flinn rejected Jossie's claims in a statement to the newspaper:

"WWE is a non-partisan organization. Superstars as well as employees are free to support any political party or candidate they choose," Flinn wrote. "Unfortunately, Brian Jossie, playing the character of A.W., was terminated because he continued to exhibit poor judgment by making offensive and inappropriate comments on live television and on social media."

Jane Geddes, vice president of Talent Relations in WWE, told Jossie he committed a major error with his Tweet:

"For some reason they don't want to associate her with anything to do with wrestling because it's in the past," Jossie said of McMahon, the company's former chief executive.

"Vince (McMahon) doesn't want any association with her campaign. They told me it's two totally different entities, which I didn't know. I thought I was doing a good thing."

Jossie told Greenwich Time several hours after he was warned to ceases his Twitter activity, he was informed his three-year contract with WWE was being terminated.

Click here for more coverage.

- Perhaps causing the commentary to be audible in the arena during Ryback vs. JTG on this week's WWE Raw, I'm told the "Goldberg" chants were killed by the company turning off the audience mics. They then piped in the "feed me more chants" to make it seem like Ryback drew a bigger reaction than he actually did. As for JTG getting the match and his Twitter comments being made storyline, it's a double-edged sword. On one hand he got on television but on the other hand, it was a job to Ryback. For more on the office's response to JTG's Tweets, check out this exclusive update on a meeting held backstage at this week's Raw.

- At this point Antonio Cesaro is seen as the favorite to beat Santino Marella for the WWE United States Championship in the SummerSlam pre-show match. I'm told the bout was originally scheduled for the pay-per-view, however, the thought of doing a title change on YouTube would help draw buzz. As we noted previously, Cesaro is seen as a "now or never" prospect and if they plan to develop him as a viable main eventer, they have to begin the build now and focus on getting him over in a bigger way over the next year. The company is high up on the size, look and in-ring talent of Cesaro and feel they can get him over in a short time. With all this being said, I'm not by any means confirming Cesaro over Santino for the title and can only report it was heavily talked about at this week's Raw. Plans change at the drop of the hate with Internet leaks being known to influence WWE's decision making.

- Sports Illustrated featured former WWE Diva Maryse in their "photo gallery of the day" and linked to this photoshoot. Maryse, the real-life girlfriend of The Miz, left WWE last year to pursue outside interests.

- In a move that's been talked about for years, Florida Championship Wrestling is now NXT Wrestling. WWE's official developmental website has been relaunched to reflect the change.

- The revamped official website for NXT Wrestling, the new name of WWE's developmental program, features staff bios. It's worth noting Terry Taylor, who ran Talent Relations in TNA, is officially listed as one of the trainers alongside Joey Mercury, Norman Smiley and Ricky Steamboat. Click here to view the new staff page.

- WWEannounced on dot com that Shawn Michaels will not be at SummerSlam as a result of the "broken arm" suffered at the hands of Brock Lesnar on this week's WWE Raw. WWE had been advertising Michaels to be in the corner of Triple H for his match against Lesnar at SummerSlam.

- Linda McMahon defeated Christopher Shays on Tuesday night in the Connecticut GOP Primary. She will represent the Republican party as the nominee in the General Election this November for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Joe Lieberman.

- After the angle in which Booker T stripped Alberto Del Rio of his World Heavyweight Championship opportunity at SummerSlam, the decision was overturned on this week's Smackdown. Sheamus will officially face Del Rio this Sunday at the pay-per-view.

- WWEannounced on dot com that Khloe Kardashian will be the Social Media Ambassador for next week's WWE Raw. (Thanks to WNW reader Logan Walker for sending this in.)

- Yahoo! has an article online reporting that Linda McMahon has spent $61 million so far to try and get elected to the United States Senate. You can read the article at this link.

- The Austin Chronicle has a new article online featuring quotes from Chris Jericho. Below is an excerpt:

Austin Chronicle: When you're thinking, 'OK, now's Fozzy time and now's WWE time," how do you make that decision?

Chris Jericho: It's really a decision that's made for me. Back in the 2000s for the first three Fozzy records, I did the WWE and Fozzy at the same time, which was fine. But when we were doing Chasing the Grail, our last record, in 2009, myself and Rich Ward, my partner in crime, were thinking, 'We've really got to take this to the next level, because this record is great.' I left WWE when Grail came out, went touring for 16 months, did 15 countries and amassed an even bigger fanbase than we had. It was a real credibility gain for us. Then when we started doing Sin and Bones, as the singer I write the lyrics and I record the vocals, which takes about 15 days. Other than that I had about nine months of doing nothing, so that's when I decided to come back to the WWE, knowing that when this record came out that I'd be finished for whatever indeterminate amount of time.

AC: How do you compare touring with WWE against touring with a band, just on a day-to-day grind basis?

CJ: It's probably harder in the WWE, because you're always alone and by yourself - least that's the way I travel. You have to arrange your own travel and arrange your own hotels and drive yourself. Whereas when you're traveling with the band you just get in the van and go. There's pros and cons to both.

I've been on the road since I was 19 years old, so I like being on the road, I enjoy being on the road, I understand the ins and outs of being on the road. So whether it's with Fozzy or the WWE, I'm comfortable. But it is more fun to travel with the band. You're with your buds, you have a good time, you relax, and when you're ready to be by yourself, you just go to your bunk, shut the curtains and you're fine. You don't have to worry about going through security or checking bags or getting rental cars. So that's one cool thing that's better about traveling with the band, for sure.

AC: How much pressure does that put on you, knowing that this run against Ziggler will be the last memory of people in the ring for you for a while?

CJ: These guys needs guys to work with. Once again, that's sounding egotistical, but after 22 years of being in this business, but there's nobody in this company who's been in the business longer - except for Undertaker. I've been wrestling longer than Kane, I've been wrestling longer than Triple H. I didn't request to work with Ziggler. At first, I thought it was Sheamus, than I was supposed to work with Daniel Bryan, and then they just told me, OK, you're working with Ziggler. I said, 'Great.' I will work with anybody, and I will do the absolute best I can to help that. I've been through this before. This will be the third time that I've left, and this may make people mad, but I've never been just a wrestler. I'm an entertainer. I do a lot of different things in that realm. I don't put myself in a box when it comes. So when I get a chance to work with a guy like Ziggler, I know what I can do with him. I know how good he is. He just needs somebody to help him. And when I'm putting together matches or doing promos with these guys, things that I just see as basics, they still haven't figured out yet. That's not a bad thing. That's just the experience difference, and that's why I can help, and I think that's why I can come and go from the WWE for years to come. I'm in the best shape of my life. I feel great. I'm enjoying this run, and if I didn't have a tour and a record coming out, I would stay. It's not like I can't wait to leave - in fact, it's the complete opposite. I'm a little sad to leave, in one way, but super-excited by the reason why I'm leaving.

I like the idea of passing the torch along and passing the experience along. That's the way I was trained. I grew up in Japan, and that's how they do it. Old guys teach the young guys, and that's the way it is. The business is more important than any single individual, and I've always felt that way. Haven't always been treated that way, but I've always felt that way.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The official WWE website has announced that Warner Bros. & WWE Studios will co-produce an upcoming Scooby-Doo animated movie. The feature, which involves a mystery at WrestleMania, is explained in the synopsis below:

WWE Superstars and Divas including Triple H, John Cena, Kane, The Miz, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella, Sin Cara and AJ Lee will appear in animated form and lend their voices to the project. WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon will also lend his voice and appear in animated form.

When Shaggy and Scooby win tickets to WrestleMania, the entire gang travels in the Mystery Machine to WWE City to attend the epic event. However, when a mysterious ghostly bear appears and threatens to ruin the show, Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred work with WWE Superstars to solve the case.

The feature will be distributed via DVD, Blu-Ray, Video on Demand, and digital download. Click here to read the full announcement.

- WWE issued the following press release regarding the new animated "Scooby-Doo" film with Warner Bros:

STAMFORD, Conn., August 15, 2012 – Warner Bros. and WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE) announced they will co-produce a Scooby-Doo animated feature that will find Scooby and the gang solving a mystery at WrestleMania®. The announcement was made today by Jeff Brown, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TV, Family & Animation, Warner Home Video and Michael Luisi, President, WWE Studios.

WWE Superstars and Divas including Triple H®, John Cena®, Kane, The Miz®, Brodus Clay™, Santino Marella®, Sin Cara™ and AJ™ will appear in animated form and lend their voices to the project. WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon® will also lend his voice and appear in animated form.

“We are excited to partner with Warner Bros. on this wonderful animated film,” said WWE Studios President Michael Luisi. “Kids and adults are going to enjoy seeing their favorite WWE Superstars in animated form join forces with an icon like Scooby-Doo to solve a mystery at the biggest pop-culture event of the year – WrestleMania.”

“Warner Bros. is thrilled to get into the ring with WWE Studios to bring fans an unprecedented animated adventure,” said Jeff Brown, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TV, Warner Home Video. “We’re excited to leverage the WWE’s family-friendly brand and passionate fan base and integrate some of the most popular WWE Superstars and Divas within the Scooby-Doo gang.”

When Shaggy and Scooby win tickets to WrestleMania, the entire gang travels in the Mystery Machine to WWE City to attend the epic event. However, when a mysterious ghostly bear appears and threatens to ruin the show, Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred work with WWE Superstars to solve the case.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will handle worldwide distribution on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital download. The film will be produced by Warner Bros. Animation. WWE will utilize its extensive global reach through its television, digital media and print assets to market the release of the film.

Bradley Buchanan, VP of Business and Legal Affairs negotiated on behalf of WWE Studios.

- WWE announced on dot com that Kevin Rudolf will perform "Don't Give Up" at SummerSlam on Sunday. The song is the official theme song of the show. Click here for coverage by the official WWE website.

- WWE has an article online featuring a Q&A with THQ'sCory Ledesma, the creative director on the WWE Games team, where he talks about WWE '13. Click here to read it.

- Speaking of WWE '13, THQ will reveal the entire roster for the game on Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 5 PM. The unveiling will be hosted by Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, CM Punk and Lilian Garcia. Click here and here for more information.

- The WWE developmental profile of Alberto Del Rio's brother, Memo Montenegro, is available at this link. Montenegro's real name is Guillermo Rodríguez. (Thanks to WNW reader Fernando for sending this in.)

- Donald Trump, who has donated to the Linda McMahon for Senate campaign, offered congratulations on Twitter:

- Vince McMahon was "hell-bent" on firing Abraham Washington the week following the Kobe Bryantrape joke on the July 30th episode of WWE Raw. As we reported last week, Vince was talked out of it by someone in his inner-circle. I'm now told the person that convinced him not to fire AW at the time was Stephanie McMahon as she felt the story hadn't died down yet and terminating his contract would just lengthen the news cycle. As for why AW was fired a week later, I'm told it was two fold. First of all, the original Kobe joke was no longer a current story in the mainstream media and Vince and Stephanie were in agreement that if he was let go now, it wouldn't have nearly the amount of mainstream press it would have had the week before. Secondly, I'm told a lot of people were upset with how AW handled himself at Raw last week. He already had a reputation for having a "big head" but the office was looking for him to show up humble and humiliated. Instead, the vibe was he acted like all had been forgiven, which rubbed some people at the top the wrong way. This angered McMahon and ultimately sealed AW's fate and I'm told nobody tried to talk him out of it this time. AW told the Greenwich Time on Monday it was his pro-Linda McMahon Tweet that caused the company to release him, however, I'm under the impression it had to do with his attitude behind the remark as I received the aforementioned information before the interview recapped here.

- World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, Hornswoggle, Eve and Alicia Fox visited patients at the Mattel Children's Hospital. You can view a photo gallery WWE uploaded on Facebook at this link.

- President Barack Obama made a statement to Entertainment Weekly'sNancy O'Dell referencing "WWF wrestling." The gaff, used to describe gaffes, is included in the comment below:

"We don't spend a lot of time worrying about the chatter and the noise and this and that," the president says. "I'm making conversations with [people on the campaign trail] and, as you've seen, the country isn't as divided with gaffes or some stray remark as Washington is. Most folks know that's just sort of a WWF wrestling part of politics. It doesn't mean anything, just fills up a lot of airtime."

Click here for more.

WWE of course has not done business as the "WWF" since May 4, 2002.

- TMZ caught up with WWE Champion CM Punk and asked him about WWE's decision to fireAbraham Washington. Punk said he doesn't like to see anyone lose their job, but that AW made a rape joke and there isn't anything funny about rape.

The Miami Herald has a new article up with quotes from WWE Divas Champion Layla. In the article, she discusses the WWE Diva Search, internal perceptions of the contestants, SummerSlam, and more. In the following excerpt, Layla discusses her rehabilitation following her injury in May 2011:

“After I went through surgery, with the rehab and all that stuff, I actually didn’t think I was going to come back,” Layla said.

“I was really scared because it wasn’t working. I did six months of rehab, and I didn’t tell people this, but I had to have another surgery. So I ended up having two surgeries, [one major reconstructive surgery] and one to scope the knee out in [September]. I just made up my mind then that I was going to get back in that ring and face my fears to prove that I can do it.

She also gives her thoughts on the current state of the Divas division:

“I feel like we are in a male oriented sport, but I think the girls are given time and eventually we are going to be given more time,” Layla said.

“It’s just like a roller coaster. It goes around all the time. I feel like people just try to find things to nitpick or say this or say that. We work about 51 weeks of the year sort of thing, so it’s going to rotate and come back. I just think it will eventually come back and the girls will get more time. I’m not frustrated. I’m ready to work and validate the divas. We have a strong division.

“I’m enjoying every second here. I’m in appreciation to just be here right now because I wasn’t for a while. I just think things will change with time, and people will see that. People are going to critique us regardless. They also have to understand that we have bad days, and we have good days. We have good matches. We have bad matches. We are human. Frustrated isn’t the word. I think more anxious and excited to show that the diva’s division is entertaining. We are sexy. We are powerful, and we are strong. We are very strong women, so that is what I want us to show, and we are also athletic, too.”

Click here to read the full article.

- The Los Angeles Times has a new Q&A online with The Miz to promote Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view. Below is an excerpt:

Q: You have mentioned before about your difficulties breaking in. What advice would you give a young wrestler trying to break into the business today?

Miz: I was told by a young Billy Kidman some great advice that I still believe. You have to stick with it. Too many times people have excuses on why they give up. But if you stick with it and work hard enough, you can make it.

Q: You left for a couple of months to make a movie. What’s it about and when can we see it?

Miz: "The Marine: Homefront" will debut in spring of 2013. I think it will be an absolute incredible movie and I can't wait for its release. It is about a Marine who just got home from a tour and one of his sisters gets kidnapped by terrorists. He then has to go in and save them. I think I play the best Marine of all of them but, of course, that's just my opinion.

Q: How did you come up with “I’m the Miz and I’m awesome” catchphrase?

Miz: The catchphrase just came to me. It's like when people ask me stupid questions and I look at them and go, "Really? Really?" I don't really know how I came up with it. It was the simplest thing at the time, who am I? I'm the Miz. What am I? I'm awesome. You will see first hand at SummerSlam on August 19!

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- United States swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte appeared at the SummerSlam Kick-off party sponsored by WWE and B.A. Star in Los Angeles on Thursday night. D.J. Pauly D was the DJ of the event as you can view a picture of Lochte's appearance at this link.

- Former WWE Tough Enough contestant and the real-life sister of Alicia Fox, Christina Crawford, has been released from her WWE developmental contract. Crawford worked under the ring name Caylee Turner.

SLAM! Wrestling has an article on an original WWWF title belt found in an attic. Click here to read it.

- WWEannounced Friday they have released their official mobile app. You can download it on iTunes here or on Google Play here.

Gordon Holmes has a new article online featuring quotes from CM Punk. Below is an excerpt:

Beef with The Rock:

Gordon Holmes: At Raw 1000 you shocked the world when you made the Rock eat your knee. What inspired that sudden move?

CM Punk: I don’t think it was sudden at all. I’d been very vocal about the Rock coming back and cherry-picking the days he comes in. So, when he comes in I’m going to smack him in the face.

Holmes: And how did it feel to finally act out on that?

Punk: It felt very good. It felt like instead of talking that I was backing it up with action.

Holmes: For those who are unfamiliar with your complaints about the Rock, why exactly did you make that move?

Punk: I just think there are a lot of people who work their asses off here. I’m here 24/7, 365 days a year and he’s here like three days a year. So when he comes in here and tries to lay claim to our success and things people have worked hard to establish, it’s a little offensive.

Heel turn:

Holmes: This past year has been pretty amazing for you. And all throughout this, I don’t want to say you were clean-cut, because you’re not, but you were clearly the good guy. Now there seems to be more shades of grey in your character. What is your goal with that?

Punk: I think the goal is to just be myself. Not try to play a character; I’m trying to be me. The best characters in wrestling and sports entertainment are just extensions of themselves. I think the Rock is a great character because that’s him. He’s larger than life. He dials himself up to eleven.

Holmes: But it does feel like there’s a bit of an edge after Raw 1000. Were you holding back before?

Punk: I wouldn’t say I was holding back. There are necessary evils to everything. And, it’s a television show. You can’t show all your cards. We need things to do on a weekly basis and this is a progression of the storyline.

Holmes: What kind of feedback have you been getting about the recent change?

Punk: It varies from extremely positive, like “Welcome back, Punk” to “You’ve turned your back on the WWE Universe.” I think it’s very interesting and dynamic because I really haven’t done anything bad.

Retirement:

Holmes: I was reading about your appearance at Chicago Comic Con, and you spoke of a retirement looming in the future. Is that accurate?

Punk: Well, eventually. I’m not going to wrestle forever.

Holmes: Well, yeah.

Punk: (Laughs) I would definitely say I’ve passed the middle point of my career for sure.

Holmes: What goals remain for you?

Punk: Not many. I kind of want to make a few guys and girls. And I think I’ve done a little bit of that with AJ (Lee). I want to make sure there’s a future for the wrestling business when I leave. I want to make sure there are people that fill that void.

Holmes: Are you someone who could just stop, or do you have some Terry Funk in you and we’ll see you two weeks after your retirement?

Punk: I don’t know. I can’t really figure that out. I’ve never done nothing, I’ve never had a break. Maybe I’d miss it in a year.

Holmes: Chris Jericho seems to do it right. It’s almost like he’s got a territory thing going on where he can wrestle, then take a break to let the people miss him, then come back.

Punk: I think that’s a smart thing for anybody. Look at anybody in our industry who’s been injured for any period of time. Like Triple H for instance, he tore his quad and when he came back the response for him was overwhelming. That kind of put him on a new level.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- WWE has posted a list of the "Top 50 Villains in Wrestling History" here on dot com. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper has the honor of being listed the "top villain in wrestling history" by being ranked #1 on the list.

One wrestler who isn't even on the list is William Regal - and he's not happy about it. Regal posted the following on Twitter in reply to John "Bradshaw" Layfield (who is ranked #12):

TNA News

- Tara claims WWE wouldn't allow their stars to appear at the Chicago Comic Con Wizard World Convention this weekend if Impact Wrestling stars were booked. The former WWE Diva says she was scheduled to appear on Saturday but it was nixed due to WWE's request.

- Velvet Sky is gone from TNA Wrestling but I'm told the company has been "desperately" trying to re-sign her. The issue is she does not want to re-sign until Chris Sabin's deal expires as well and both of them can see what kind of interest there still is from WWE (as the two are an item in real life). Both received feelers from WWE previously but TNA's lawsuit against WWE makes things tricky and is preventing WWE from signing anyone from TNA. My source cautioned not to be surprised if Velvet returns to TNA but she's in no rush to re-sign and doesn't want to end up in one company with Sabin ending up in another. TNA continues a "full court press" to get her to sign a new deal but so far, she's not caving. Another reason TNA wants her back is they feel if she re-signs, Sabin will re-up as well. I'm told company officials do not feel one will go to WWE without the other, which currently, is not even possible.

- Madison Rayne beat Brooke Tessmacher at TNA Hardcore Justice to win the TNA Knockout Women's Championship.

- Bully Ray wrote the following on Twitter regarding his elbow injury suffered at Sunday night's Hardcore Justice pay-per-view:

- KirsvilleDailyExpress.com has a new article online featuring quotes from Kurt Angle to promote Saturday's TNA live event in Ottumwa, Iowa. In the article, Angle reveals his current TNA contract is a part-time deal. Below is an excerpt:

“At the beginning there wasn’t much of a difference,” Angle said. “I came down here with hopes of building the program, which TNA has done an amazing job of doing, but having a lighter schedule, and that didn’t occur for four or five years. It kind of blossomed after I got here and we went from doing 25 house shows to 125 and one hour on TV to two hours. With the timing of me coming in and what was going on, they needed me to be full-time. My new contract is part-time.”

Angle signed the three-year contract last September. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Kurt Angle went on a Twitter rampage Monday night taking aim at WWE Champion CM Punk. The following Tweets are from the verified account of Angle:

- I was told by a worker last week that Claire Lynch, who is "pregnant" with AJ Styles' "child" in TNA storyline, actually works at Universal Studios as Olive Oyl on the park's Popeye Ride. Apparently this is something Lynch, whose real name is Julia Reilly, didn't want out and has tried to conceal.

- Kurt Angle has apologized for his comments directed towards WWE Champion CM Punk that he posted on Twitter late Monday night. Angle made it clear, however, he is not apologizing to Punk.

- ZOO Magazine has a new Q&A online with Kurt Angle. Below is an excerpt:

Would you consider training for the 2016 Olympics?
No! By that time I’d be 47, that’s definitely not an option for me. As I said, I found out that the requirements of the training was too much for my body to handle at this point in my career. When you make the Olympic team, that’s a milestone in itself and the training is unimaginable. The training you need to do is borderline abuse.

What are you looking forward to the most about the TNA 2013 UK tour?
When we come over to the UK the fans are a bit more vocal and I think that’s because we’re not here as much. I look forward to going up against the best with guys, such as AJ Styles, to really give the fans a match they'll love.

You recently did a parody video with Funny Or Die. How did that come about?
They actually contacted me after hearing I was training for the Olympics. But when I got injured, they said they would like me to do it and then air it just before the start of the Games. I thought it was quite an honour to have guys such as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay want me for a project. So they asked me to pick a partner and I chose RVD as my coach. I knew he’d do an excellent job and people don’t know him like I do, he’s a really funny guy.

You've also starred in a number of movies such as Warrior and next year you’ll star alongside Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Wahlberg in Pain And Gain. Will acting be your life after wrestling?
That’s what I plan on doing after wrestling. I’ve had a few movies. Last year I did Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night, with the producers of Men In Black and Superman Returns. I co-starred with Brandon Routh, but it didn’t do as well as they hoped. Right now, I’ve been in five big motion picture movies and hoping, God willing, it turns into something bigger where I can do a lot more acting. There is only one Dwayne Johnson, but then again there is only one Kurt Angle.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Crimson, who hasn't been booked recently on TNA television, worked the Ohio Valley Wrestling television taping on Wednesday night. The former undefeated TNA star went over Randy Royal and cut a promo about how the OVW Heavyweight Championship was his number one priority. After reports [from unreliable NEWZ sites] he was "sent" to OVW, TNA's official developmental territory, Crimson wrote the following on Twitter:

- The Daily Reporter has a new Q&A online with Gail Kim to promote Friday's TNA live event in Spencer, Iowa. Below is an excerpt:

Working for TNA Wrestling:

"I've always been happiest here," Kim said. "I've always felt this company was home."

"Sometimes in this business, longevity is an issue. It is a man's world in this industry. Companies like TNA put women's wrestling on a platform. The Knockouts division, you watch any of our matches, you'll say we're very physical. We want the fans to watch and say that was a great match. Not just for the girls, but that was a great match."

How long she plans on wrestling:

"Right now I feel so great," Kim said, despite having spent time recovering from a broken collarbone in the past year, taking her out of in-ring action. "It was so hard for me to sit back and watch everybody in the ring doing what I love to do. I'm going to try and do it as long as I can. I've been so lucky to be able to have done this for as long as I have. Every wrestler has a passion to do it as long as they can."

Greatest moment of her career:

"There's been so many, but my feud with Awesome Kong I think really left a mark with the fans. They will always remember that. It was physical."

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- Hulk Hogan will return to Impact Wrestling next week to join Sting in calling out the Aces & Eights faction.

- Miss Tessmacher defeated Madison Rayneduring this week's episode of Impact Wrestling to win the TNA Knockout Women’s Championship. Taryn Terrell (who was known as Tiffany in WWE) acted as the referee for the match. Click here to read this week's Impact Wrestling results.

- Former WWE Diva Taryn Terrell, known as Tiffany, made her debut with Impact Wrestling on this week's show. For those that didn't watch, Tiffany was the special guest referee in Madison Rayne vs. Miss Tessmacher which featured Tessmacher re-capturing the TNA Knockout Women's Championship.

- Eric Bischoff returned to TNA at this week's Impact, working backstage as he has been working on projects outside of the company.

- Shaun Ricker beat Sam Shaw in a dark match prior to this week's Impact. Ricker is known for his work in NWA Hollywood.

- The Daily Star has a new article online featuring quotes from Kurt Angle. Below are the highlights:

Brock Lesnar's final UFC fights; subsequent return to WWE:

“His last two fights, it wasn’t really the true Brock I know. I believe he never got back to 100% after his illness. He did the fights for the money. Don’t get me wrong, the other guys were awesome.

“He knew he was going back to WWE. Brock was as good an amateur wrestler as he was a pro-wrestler. As good as he was a pro-wrestler, he was just as good a pro footballer. As good as he was a footballer, he was just as good an MMA fighter. I’ve had the privilege of working a main event at Mania with him and I’ve sparred with him.

“Brock’s athleticism and wits amaze me. He has the whole package. He’s a marketer’s dream – one of a kind.”

Not ruling out a return to WWE:

“I’m really happy [in TNA]. It’s why I signed a long-term deal a year ago. The number one question I get asked is: When are you going back to WWE? I don’t plan on it but I never say no. I am treated well. I have more freedom to do other things too, so it’s a win-win for me and for Impact Wrestling.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Ask WNW

I have a bad feeling that Shawn Michaels might screw over Triple H at SummerSlam and then they'll probably wrestle each other either at the Royal Rumble or next year's Wrestlemania. What is your opinion on this theory?

Shawn Michaels has maintained he's retired from the ring and will not be wrestling again. Given how many wrestlers "retire" only to end up working again, I understand why we get so many questions about HBK's in-ring return. However, until Shawn says he wants to work again I'm taking him at his word. There were plans for Brock Lesnar to attack Shawn on Raw 1000 and it was talked about again last week so it will be interesting to see if things get physical on this week's Raw between Lesnar and Michaels.

What is your opinion of AW's release, was it justified or just WWE being paranoid?

The release of Abraham Washington didn't surprise me given the fact he wasn't an established star and made a joke that was in poor taste on live television. While the joke was in poor taste I was more offended at how dated it was more than anything else. It would have been a different story had AW been a big draw for the company but guys like him do not have a lot of leeway and one mistake, especially on live TV, usually seals their fate. What I found more outrageous was AW's behavior on Twitter following his release. He acted very immaturely and probably burned a lot of bridges. If AW ever wanted another shot at WWE he would have kept his mouth shut and continued to work hard.

Who makes the decision in WWE on when a talent is released?

WWE traditionally announces releases late Friday afternoon on dot com where there is as little of attention on them as possible. As for who makes the decision, it's Vince McMahon that has the final word on everything.

Randy Orton has had a couple good matches since returning. Has his stock risen with the company or is he still looked down upon for his recent attitude and infractions?

I heard so much from so many in WWE about how Randy Orton's stock has plummeted and things would never be the same after his second documented WWE Wellness Policy violation. However, he has returned in the top of the card and has been announced as the star in the second installment of the WWE Studios production "12 Rounds." Orton clearly still has some heat but any notion he's going to be buried and kicked out the door is unfounded.

There has been a lot of talk about who the top two guys in WWE are (John Cena, CM Punk and Randy Orton) but what about a guy like Sheamus who has been carrying Smackdown (Successfully), is all-around talented, no backstage heat or other previous incidents and appears as if he will be in WWE for the long run?

Sheamus is a main event talent in WWE and has proved he can work both as a heel and a babyface. He is in a great position moving forward but he's not yet seen as "the guy" or even one of the guys at this point. We can talk a lot about what makes John Cena and CM Punk the two top guys but the main factor is how much money they make the company.

Do you ever see Hulk Hogan ever returning to WWE to finish his career? In my opinion him and Vince McMahon are the ones that made WWE what it is today.

I see Hulk Hogan as one of the most influential figures in pro wrestling as I look at him as the Michael Jordan of the business, where he took pro wrestling to a place no one else could. As for a WWE return, at this stage in his career, I have a hard time believing he'd be able to wrestle in an effective capacity due to his back problems. Obviously I'm not going to say "never" because it's Hogan, however, his in-ring career is all but over. He currently has a good deal with TNA where he's in a limited role as an executive but being paid well.

Did Brock Lesnar come back to lose because so far he has no victories?

Brock Lesnar came back for $5,000,000. He'll do whatever WWE wants him to do as long as he collects his paycheck. It was a monumental mistake putting him under to John Cena at Extreme Rules, with even Hunter admitting privately it hurt his SummerSlam match. I will go as far as saying Cena over Lesnar at Extreme Rules was one of the worst mistakes in WWE . They had a ton of momentum with a returning Lesnar and crushed it almost immediately with a loss.

Is it just me or is it pretty obvious what the intended outcome of the Twitter polls as part of RawActive are?

Whether or not WWE legitimately counts all the votes cast for the Twitter polls, they are staged in that the company has a good idea as to how fans are going to "vote." It reminds me of the now defunct Cyber Sunday pay-per-view where fan voting was legitimate but WWE had a very good idea how fans were going to vote.

How many dates are on Brock Lesnar's WWE contract? Do you think an extension can be agreed upon?

Brock Lesnar's WWE contract was believed to include a minimum of two appearances per month with more on the build to Wrestlemania, however, the unexpected use of Paul Heyman has allowed WWE to preserve his dates at a slower pace. There are plenty of dates left for Lesnar to wrap up his program with Triple H at SummerSlam and move onto the next one and it will all determine which show they want him on as to how much he'll appear on television. Brock is the picture of indifference, doing exactly what is asked of him for his money. As for him inking an extension, it’s going to come down to how much WWE is willing to pay and what it will take to get Brock to accept. I’m sure he’ll have other offers out there but UFC doesn’t appear near as likely as it would have been six months ago.

Can you see Chris Jericho going over Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam?

There's a chance Chris Jericho goes over Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam but I think it has to be a "passing of the torch" with Ziggler going over Jericho. I understand Ziggler pinned Jericho on this week's Raw but I do not see the payoff in Jericho going over Ziggler. There is only one scenario I can think of that would have me OK with Ziggler going under and that would be getting “robbed” of a victory only to “cash in” later in the night, leaving as World Heavyweight Champion.

Is there any update on the WWE Network?

Last month I ran a detailed update on the WWE Network exclusively for WNW Premium Members at this link. This article includes pretty much everything you've been wondering, giving an in-depth look at what the company is thinking. With that being said, I'm sure at least some plans have changed regarding the network but I haven't heard yet. During this month's conference call with investors to discuss quarter two earnings, an investor was very stern with Vince McMahon over how little the company has disclosed regarding their cable network. McMahon backed down from the investor, promising an announcement for the next call in a few months.

How do you think Linda McMahon winning the Senate Primary will affect the future of WWE?

Linda McMahon has spent $61 million of the McMahon family fortune (this includes money spent on the 2010 run) just to get this far so her winning the primary was of no surprise if not completely expected. I don't see any immediate change and "more of the same" in terms of WWE PG and their toned down programming. The company wants to shy away from any negative publicity but even more so as Linda tries to secure a seat in the United States Senate.

I know Cody Rhodes has had a match in the last couple of weeks but what is his status backstage?

As we've seen on WWE television, Cody Rhodes is in a program with Sin Cara where he is trying to remove his mask. As for Rhodes being buried, it had to do with a positive Wellness test that he tried to deny. We have much more at this link. With that being said, Rhodes is currently a mid-card worker.

We have heard multiple times about a new WWE Championship belt. As CM Punk said the title needs to change and that left me with the impression that he will be the one to do it. What is going on with that and when can we expect to see the new WWE belt?

I have heard for years the company has considered replacing the WWE Championship "spinner" belt but Vince McMahon has kept it due to how well the belt sells. In recent months, CM Punk has continued to tease a new title belt (with rumblings as recent as last weekend) but it's become one of those things I'll have to see to believe.

I cannot stand how WWE is constantly ramming this social media craze down our necks with Twitter, Tout, etc. I feel it's starting to ruin Raw for me personally and I would like to know how you feel about it and why they are doing it?

I get annoyed with all the social media mentions as much as anyone else. Even before WWE's latest partnership with Twitter, I was beginning to wonder if the company was a silent investor. We know they are a $5 million investor in Tout which is why they heavily promote it. As for why it is done, it's free promotion. More and more people are turning to social media to stay informed with what is going on and share information and media with their friends. With that being said you can follow us on Twitter @wnwnews and on Facebook at Facebook.com/WrestlingNewsWorld.

What was the worst mistake in WWE history?

Normally I shy away from questions such as this because they are widely debatable, however, I have to think the planned "funeral" for the Mr. McMahon character that was scheduled the night we learned of the death of Chris Benoit (June 25, 2007) and his family was the worst mistake in WWE history. Not only that but the tribute show that replaced it as we learned of the heinous details behind the crimes Benoit committed in the final days of his life.

I think it was around this time last year that you said in your opinion Daniel Bryan was the best in ring performer in WWE. Who do you think is today, is it still him?

Daniel Bryan is still the best in-ring worker in WWE and has further solidified that argument by his work over the last year. Jim Ross recently said no one has been better in or out of the ring than Bryan. If anyone asks me why I'm so high up on him my answer is simple, Daniel Bryan is better than everyone else. Bryan has a rare five-star skill level in terms of in-ring work and has really elevated his game with his character

You have mentioned the lack of top heels but with CM Punk's turn, aren't there a lack of top babyfaces?

The top babyfaces in WWE going into SummerSlam are Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Triple H and John Cena. The top heels in WWE going into SummerSlam are Alberto Del Rio, Big Show, CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. The list is about even but will begin to change immediately after SummerSlam with Jericho leaving, Hunter going back behind-the-scenes, Lesnar taking time off and Wade Barrett returning. You could certainly make the argument there will be a lack of babyfaces after SummerSlam but look for the company to make adjustments to make up for the discrepancy.

What is the status of Zack Ryder?

Despite the support of the Internet, Zack Ryder has struggled to find a spot on WWE television. He's frustrated about it but it is what it is. WWE can't push everyone at once and are focused on other talents at the moment. With that being said Ryder is on this week's Smackdown but I'm not sure you're going to like the capacity in which he is used.

Why did WWE put the 3rd hour on Raw by putting more of the Breakfast Club (John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton, Big Show and Sheamus) than putting more of people who deserve to be noticed like Alex Riley and Drew McIntyre? They deserve more than being on Superstars and NXT.

The aforementioned "breakfast club" are the biggest draws in WWE and sell the most merchandise. Alex Riley has a bit of a wining streak going on but he had a big opportunity after breaking away from The Miz in 2011 and showed he had a lot of work to do in improving his in-ring work. Drew McIntyre has a large Internet following but he's nothing more than an enhancement talent at this point. As I mentioned above, WWE can't push everyone at once.

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