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Chaos At Raw After Set Catches On Fire, Randy Orton Returns, AW Embarrasses WWE With Dated Kobe Bryant Joke, Top Matches Confirmed For SummerSlam, WWE Star On "Endangered Species" List Following Public Comments, Does CM Punk Have Heat With Jerry Lawler?,

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Welcome to the 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, July 28, 2012 to Friday, August 3, 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

WWE News

To recognize the 30th anniversary of the famous incident on The David Letterman Show, Jerry Lawler discussed his legendary feud with Taxi star Andy Kaufman in an interview with the official WWE website. Lawler went in-depth on his relationship with Kaufman, how Kaufman got involved in the wrestling business, how unscripted the Letterman incident was, and more.

In the following excerpt, Lawler explains what has made the rivalry so legendary, as well as Kaufman's impact on the industry, which leads to him saying that Kaufman should be in the WWE Hall of Fame:

WWE CLASSICS: Out of all the great rivalries in wrestling and all the great pop culture moments, what is it about this one incident that 30 years later people are still so fascinated by?

LAWLER: It was the first time something like that had happened. I don’t know if I should tell this or not, but one night I was flying back on the plane with Vince McMahon. And he said, “You know, King, I’ve never told you this before, but I was so jealous when you got Andy Kaufman and did all that stuff with him down there in Memphis. Because he was from New York, and I thought we could have done all that stuff up here.” But he also said, “But I’ll be honest with you. There’s no way on Earth we could have done it as well as you guys did it.”

WWE CLASSICS: Wow. It would have been a totally different dynamic.

LAWLER: Yes, but it would have been a first. Vince loves firsts. To this day, you hear on Monday Night Raw that you’re going to see something for the first time ever. That’s big. And this was the first time any big deal Hollywood star was involved to that extent in wrestling. Vince realized, everybody realized, because it got so much national exposure. Everything back then was still regionalized. Cable TV hadn’t hit yet. The country was divided up into wrestling territories because of TV coverage. Once Vince saw you could use a Hollywood star to get that nationwide exposure, here comes Cyndi Lauper with Captain Lou and Wendi Richter, and then Mr. T gets brought in. The ball got rolling, and it hasn’t stopped to this day. Just in the past year, Hugh Jackman was in there punching Dolph Ziggler.

WWE CLASSICS: Yeah, you really could argue that Andy Kaufman is responsible for all of that.

LAWLER: I really feel, in my heart of hearts, that he was responsible for that. I certainly believe that Andy Kaufman deserves a spot in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Without a doubt, we would not be where we are today without his involvement. I really feel that way. Even at Raw 1,000, we had Charlie Sheen challenging Daniel Bryan to a match. It’s Andy Kaufman revisited as recently as last night.

Click here to read the full interview.

- IGN has posted a new article with quotes from Charlie Sheen. In the article, Sheen discusses how serious his remarks about meeting Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam were. In the following excerpt, Sheen explains his role at Raw 1000 and clarifies his remark:

“Well, the numbers worked for us. Because I cancelled Twitter, I had to do that as a backup plan. It was fun. It was the deepest into that world I’d ever gone. And I guess the guy who was egging me on is a real problem. And he and I will solve that later. Print that.”

Sheen then added, “It was a promotional tool for our show [Anger Management] and I think everybody is going to win on that one. But it was exciting just to step into a different world that I didn’t ever really believe existed – and still don’t!”

When I asked him if perhaps he might look to solve those issues at a televised event on August 19th (as in, SummerSlam), Sheen replied, “Oh, there’s gonna have to be a lot of money on that one, but yeah, if it’s the right look at that moment, sure, why not?”

Click here to read the full article.

- ABC News recently posted an article providing more information on The Great Khali's recent surgery to have a tumor removed. The article explains the potential risks of Khali's acromegaly, WWE's wellness policy, and more. Khali is reportedly recovering well, and is expected to be released from the Universary of Pittsburgh Medical Center as early as Monday.

In addition, the article explains that WWE could potentially be in legal trouble for failing to address conditions such as acromegaly in its performers (as performers such as Andre The Giant have reaped size-related benefits from acromegaly), but notes that WWE's legal team is notoriously effective. The article continues in the excerpt below:

Dr. Bryan Donohue, a UPMC cardoiologist and WWE's cardiovascular consultant since 2008, said in his experience, WWE has never put commercial interests above the health of its performers, adding that many WWE executives are former wrestlers.

"The narrative is obvious, that the interests of WWE are antithetical to those of the talent, but I've found that they've been very responsive to things I've asked them to do," Donohue said. "I've never experienced any pushback on any issue."

While Donohue said he could not comment on Singh's case, he said the decision to operate on a pituitary tumor does not follow reflexively from a diagnosis of acromegaly. The timing, especially for adults, can be influenced by a range of factors.

Braunstein, the Cedars-Sinai endocrinologist, said he has seen several acromegalic patients who have refused surgery and even a growth hormone-reducing medication in hopes of preserving their gigantism. When he tells them that acromegaly shortens life expectancy, they often "shop around for other doctors," he said.

Click here to read the full article.

- The daughter of Ric Flair, Ashley Fliehr, has reported to Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa, Florida. Fliehr agreed to a WWE developmental deal in May.

- A pyrotechnic malfunction occurred during a test prior to this week's Raw taping from the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. The malfunction caught the set on fire and the building had to be evacuated. The doors were not reopened until just after 7:15 PM EDT. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler opened the show live on the USA Network, recapping the chaos and showing footage of the fire.

- WWE has posted coverage of the Raw set catching on fire at the US Bank Arena. Below is their report:

From dot com (story link):

CINCINNATI - During rehearsal for tonight’s Monday Night Raw at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, there was a minor incident involving the show’s pyrotechnics. As a precaution, the limited number of people in the building during the incident were successfully evacuated, and the fire marshal has given a safety clearance for the show to proceed as scheduled at 8/7pm CT . There were no injuries.

- Fox 19 out of Cincinnati posted the following report:

From Fox 19 (story link):

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - US Bank Arena is being evacuated for a fire on the stage at the WWE Raw SuperShow on Monday night.

The small fire broke out around 6:30 p.m. It is believed pyrotechnic effects went wrong. Everyone is being evacuated at this time.

FOX19 has a crew on the scene and will give updated information as soon as it becomes available.

- TMZ picked up on the story and posted the following:

From TMZ (story link):

DO YOU SMELLLLLLL .... something burning?

TMZ has learned ... the Cincinnati Fire Department raced to the US Bank Arena moments ago after a fire broke out on the stage at WWE rehearsals for tonight's "Monday Night Raw."

A rep for the WWE tells us the fire began due to a "minor incident involving the show's pyrotechnics" ... and as a precaution, the "limited number of people in the building during the incident were successfully evacuated."

The rep tells us no one was injured in the blaze ... and there was no major damage to the arena. We're told the fire marshal has since inspected the damage and gave the all-clear for WWE to proceed with tonight's event.

- WWE has made an official announcement regarding John Laurinaitis stepping down from his role as Senior Vice President of Talent Relations. I'm not sure why an announcement was made now considering that Triple H has been running Talent Relations for the last several weeks, however, you can read it below:


Effective immediately, John Laurinaitis is resigning from his position as Senior Vice President of Talent Operations. Following his very public firing at June’s No Way Out, Laurinaitis continued to work behind-the-scenes in his corporate role. After eight years of service in talent relations, he’s “burned out” and now hopes to concentrate on what he knows best: putting together matches and working with WWE talent as a producer.

- Randy Orton returned to WWE on this week's episode of Raw by squashing Heath Slater in his latest "open challenge." Orton has been gone for 60-days, after being suspended on May 30, 2012 for his second documented violation of the WWE Wellness Policy.

- Abraham Washington made a very dated joke regarding Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during Kofi Kingston vs. Titus O'Neil on this week's Raw. Washington, who is mic'd while at ringside with his "clients," told the crowd that Titus was "more unstoppable than Kobe Bryant in a Colorado hotel." AW was making reference to the sexual assault allegations brought against Bryant in the summer of 2003 where a 19-year-old hotel employee filed a sexual assault complaint. The case was later dropped when the accuser refused to testify . A civil suit was later filed by the woman in which Bryant settled out of court and issued an apology but admitted no guilt. Michael Cole later apologized for "remarks made by A.W." but didn't specifically reference the joke.

- John Cena and Big Show will challenge CM Punk in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. Already announced for next month's pay-per-view is Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar and Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship.

- TMZ has picked up on the situation involving the sexual assault joke made by A. W. during last night's Raw. In the excerpt below, the article explains that, along with the apology from Michael Cole, further action has been taken:

A rep for the WWE has issued a statement to TMZ ... telling us, "A.W. made an inappropriate comment and WWE immediately apologized."

The rep adds, "WWE has taken appropriate action in the matter." It's unclear what kind of "action" the org. has decided to take.

Sources tell us A.W. "felt horrible" after he made the comment ... claimed he simply "got caught up in the moment" ... and realizes the comment could be hurtful to rape victims and their families.

A.W. immediately apologized to WWE honchos, including the McMahon family, and several wrestlers ... and has also vowed to refrain from making similar comments in the future.

Click here for more from TMZ.

In addition, A. W. had the following to say on his official Twitter account:

- John Laurinaitis appeared in front of the live crowd at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio after this week's Raw went off the air. Laurinaitis tried to hit John Cena with a steel chair but got an Attitude Adjustment. Big Show met the same fate to end the taping.

- Wade Barrett, who has been off WWE television since February due to a dislocated elbow, now has a beard.

- For those that missed the storyline WWE is doing with Alberto Del Rio, he says he's not wrestling until SummerSlam because he's only working title matches.

- Vince McMahon was livid backstage at this week's Raw after Abraham Washington's off-color comment regarding sexual assault allegations brought against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. This and the fact the show nearly missed its live start time due to a fire, it's safe to say the second week of three-hours was extremely hectic.

- WWE Raw is no longer called Raw Supershow, beginning with the 1000th episode last week.

- WWE has a new video on dot com of Randy Orton discussing his return to the ring against Heath Slater on this week's Raw. Orton said he is "very rested" after his 60-day "vacation" and poked fun at the fire at Raw. He said Slater is the reverse of the Legend Killer and commented that he got his "ass kicked" last week in his hometown of St. Louis and is going to get his "ass kicked" when he flaps his gums about Orton. Randy said he feels the best he has felt in his entire career. You can watch the video at this link.

- The plummeting stock price of WWE hasn't been easy for investors (even with someone like me with a small position currently down over 37%) but the Greenwich Time reported today Vince and Linda McMahon are down $500 million. Critics of the McMahons have asserted they care more about winning a Senate seat than they do about their shareholders. WWE has fired back by pointing towards the horrible year by WWE Studios as the reason for their stock slide. Click here for coverage by the Greenwich Time.

- The workers that played the white coats on this week's WWE Raw were Jamin Olivencia (OVW profile), Matt Mason (Twitter), Joey Vengeance (Twitter) and Dylan Bostic (Facebook).

- There are two separate stories making rounds as to what caused the fire at this week's Raw. One is the pyrotechnics accidentally fired during rehearsal while the other is they were set too close to the side panels.

- WWE developmental talent Andre Tyson, who works as MVK Valkabious, was arrested in Leeds, England over the weekend for assaulting a man following a bar incident on Sunday. The Yorkshire Evening Post is reporting the scuffle broke out in one of the booths at the back of the bar and resulted in Tyson reportedly admitting guilt. You can follow Valkabious on Twitter at this link.

- WWE sent out a text alert to mobile users on Tuesday, teasing Booker T as the new Smackdown General Manager. Below is the text in its entirety:

Mr. McMahon will name the new General Manager of Smackdown at tonight's live event, and there is strong speculation it will be Booker T.

Make sure you join us here at for exclusive live play-by-play coverage of this week's Smackdown taping.

- Matt Bloom, who works as Tensai in WWE, caused a stir with a video he posted on his Tout account late Monday night. In the video, while traveling with his manager Sakamoto, Tensai said it is "very, very dangerous to drive with a Japanese person." He then slapped Sakamoto while he was driving and told him "to open his eyes" as they traveled to Smackdown in Indianapolis.

The remark was meant to enhance his storyline in demeaning Sakamoto. Once the video was removed, WWE issued the following statement:

"While in character, Lord Tensai (Matt Bloom) clearly took his storyline too far and he will be reprimanded for his inappropriate comments.”

While the Tout has been deleted, Tensai's Tweets regarding the matter are embedded below:

Bloom even Tweeted former WWE star Taka Michinoku who trained Sakamoto:

- I'm told Yoshi Tatsu is on the "endangered species list" as he continues to publicly complain about his spot in the company. While Tatsu is a classic case of "creative having nothing for him," the office is aware of his comments and are not happy about them.

- WWE officials are still trying to decide what to do with Tyson Kidd. He's grown on many of the producers and the writers have tried to keep him looking legitimate each week. Right now the big debate seems to be whether to put him in a tag team or have him continue as a singles competitor.

- While some people are getting worked, I'm assured there is no legitimate heat between WWE Champion CM Punk and Jerry Lawler and the stuff on Raw was a complete work.

- Booker T is the new General Manager of Smackdown. As previously reported on Wrestling News World,WWE sent out a mobile alert earlier today saying that there was "strong speculation" that Booker would be chosen. In addition, Booker T has appointed Theodore Long as his "senior advisor."

- WWE will be returning to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana for this year's WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view. Tickets will go on sale Saturday, August 4 at 10 AM. The password for the pre-sale is SERIES. This year's WWE Survivor Series will be held on Sunday, November 18. We will have full coverage of the event here at

-Tickets for WWE Hell in a Cell will go on sale Saturday, August 4 at 10 AM. The pay-per-view will be held at the Philips Arena in Atlanta Georgia, and will have full coverage. Click here for more information.

- WWE announced on dot com that WWE Studios has teamed with Pathe for a horror film called "No One Lives" that will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Brodus Clay is featured in the film in his first supporting role. The film festival runs from September 6th to September 16th and is the first WWE Studios flick at TIFF. Click here for coverage by dot com.

- I'm told there is a considerable amount of burn out amongst many members of the WWE writing team, almost to the point where they are having a hard time keeping up with gimmicks and angles from one show to the next. Remember there was a lot of opposition from writers about WWE Raw expanding to three hours due to added stress and the extra work it would require of them.

- There is no long-term plan in place for Daniel Bryan's character and while the company wants to do a celebrity angle with Charlie Sheen for SummerSlam, Sheen is seen as so unreliable WWE is having a hard time putting anything together. As one source pointed out, if WWE can't rely on him to post Tweets how can they rely on him to appear at a major pay-per-view?

- The plan is for WWE Champion CM Punk to re-join the Raw crew on the touring schedule now that Randy Orton has returned. I heard Punk actually requested to be placed back on Raw live events because he wanted to be with the company's top brand and feels it offers him a better opportunity in terms of drawing power. Punk's move isn't seen as a backseat to Orton but a call of his own. While Orton really wanted to come back heel, he's not in a good position to negotiate right now and Punk told the office he'd go heel and play out real-life gripes. He wasn't worried about it hurting his merchandise sales either because the feeling was his fans were going to be his fans no matter what.

- Chris Jericho did an interview with where he revealed he is finished with WWE as of August 14, 2012 when Fozzy's new album "Sin and Bones" comes out. Jericho noted he'll be "done with the WWE" and "full-time" with Fozzy until the album cycle and touring is done. Below is an excerpt from the interview:

It goes without saying you are a busy man with many irons in the fire at any given point. Is it safe to say Fozzy became a top priority for you?

Yeah, it has been since “Chasing The Grail” came out in 2010. That was the point when we decided that we had something really special here and we could really do something with this and it became time to put all of our effort and focus into the band. I was gone from the WWE for a year-and-a-half when “Grail” came out. During that time, we toured 16 countries and built up a really good fan base everywhere. When it came time to make “Sin and Bones,” I knew I would have about six months of free time. I came back to the WWE and as of August 14, 2012, when “Sin and Bones” comes out, we go on the road with the Uproar Tour. At that time, I am done with the WWE and it is full-time with Fozzy until the album cycle and touring is done. Like I said, this is something I have been doing since I was 12 years old — it is part of who I am. I think I am very fortunate to have had two dreams that have come true, both of them in these very big ways. Fozzy is slowly catching up to where I am wrestling-wise. If I were to retire tomorrow, I would be very happy with all the things we have done as a band. We have worked really hard to get here and have all the pieces of the puzzle there and ready — it has been a whirlwind! I want to continue to build on those achievements!

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

It is interesting to note that Jericho is officially advertised for SummerSlam on August 19, 2012.

- Abraham Washington'sbad joke regarding the sexual assault allegations against Kobe Bryant from this week's WWE Raw was brought up on ESPN's "Around the Horn" on Wednesday.

- It was announced at Wednesday night's Florida Championship Wrestling show in Tampa that The Undertaker and Michelle McCool are expecting their first child. The announcement was made by FCW President Steve Keirn in front of the live crowd as Undertaker was there for an autograph signing.

- In their 2012 second quarter earnings, WWE released the official buyrate for every pay-per-view in the quarter. The numbers are as follows with the previous year in parenthesis:

  • Wrestlemania XXVIII - 1,217,000 buys (compared to 1,059,000 last year)
  • Extreme Rules - 263,000 buys (compared to 209,000 last year)
  • Over the Limit - 167,000 buys (compared to 140,000 last year)
  • No Way Out - 194,000 buys (compared to 170,000 last year as Capitol Punishment)

Click here for the full press release.

- As noted earlier here at, The Undertaker and Michelle McCool are expecting their first child together. FCW President Steve Keirn, who made the announcement at a show in Tampa Wednesday night, also noted McCool was due "any day now." The show, which featured an Undertaker meet and greet, featured proceeds going to The Angelus, a group that volunteers to raise money for handicapped children. Undertaker drew big, with over 500 fans attending at the Dallas Bull in Tampa. He greeted fans prior to the show and appeared after a Fatal 4-Way tag team match, "blowing the roof off the place."

- Vince McMahon and WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios hosted a conference call with investors on Thursday morning to discuss the company's second quarter earnings for 2012. I was on the call on behalf of, below are the highlights:

Michael Weiz, from investor relations, opened the call by reading a prepared statement.

Vince McMahon said the company was "essentially flat" for the quarter which was "nothing to write home about." McMahon put over the increase in pay-per-view buy rates from the prior quarter, which are up 17%. He said they've had a decrease in consumer products, which he blamed in part, due to the cancelation of the WWE All-Stars 2 video game (which was released in the same quarter last year). McMahon said live event attendance and television ratings were also essentially flat. He quickly reiterated the success of Raw 1000 and the expansion of the show to three hours. McMahon said the third hour would present them with a new audience.

McMahon laughed when he mentioned the re-mastery of "No Holds Barred" starring Hulk Hogan and said it has done very well.

Vince said the new WWE Main Event show on Ion television the company will begin producing in October will give them an audience they do not currently have (click here for more details).

He put over the company's programming on YouTube and massive social media numbers. McMahon also discussed their backing of Tout. He said the company ran shows in Russia and had an "OK" debut in Brazil. Regarding the WWE Network, Vince said he hoped by the next conference call (to discuss third quarter 2012 earnings) they would be making an announcement regarding distribution but gave no specifics.

McMahon handed the call over to George Barrios who went over financials. Barrios talked about the company going from 4 hours of original programming each week to 6 hours each week with the expansion of Raw and the new one-hour of WWE Main Event (he didn't factor in WWE Superstars or WWE NXT). He said that the Tout app was downloaded over 30,000 times after the airing of WWE Raw.

Barrios noted the re-mastery of the 1989 WWE movie "No Holds Barred" starring Hulk Hogan, which cost less than $100,000, is expected to make $300,000. He said the company is pleased with DVD sales of the film. Barrios followed by going over the new WWE Studios films under the new strategy. It was noted the self-financed film "Barricade" will be released in September.

Barrios said they feel it's not in the best interests of the company's shareholders to discuss specifics of the WWE Network. He reiterated WWE is currently in negotiations with top cable and satellite carriers.

After Barrios continued to go on and on, the call went to a Q&A with investors:

The range of options for the format of the WWE Network: George Barrios reiterated there are three models still being considered for the WWE Network which include broad/basic distribution, a pay TV format and a third "over-the-top" format. He said WWE continues to have discussions internally and externally and that's all they can say at this point.

What drove the increase in PPV revenue: George Barrios noted that WWE has seen a 27% to 34% buy increase over the past year in High Definition pay-per-view buys, which carry a $10 up charge.

Why the decrease in live event attendance domestically?: Barrios blamed it on Smackdown being "a little bit" behind from where the company would like it to be. He said they've tried to close the gap with the production value of the live event shows compared to television and pay-per-view production.

What is WWE's percentage in Tout?: The company has not disclosed how much of the company they own of the company but their investment amount was $5,000,000.

Update on WWE Superstars & WWE NXT: Barrios talked about Superstars and NXT still being produced and distributed internationally. He detailed the revamp of NXT and put over the partnership with Full Sail University. Barrios said the shows are currently not licensed in the United States but that may change going forward.

What does the programming structure look like for the WWE Network. We know about "Legends House" but don't know about anything else and that's part of the reason people are so concerned about the spend: George Barrios said there will be some element of live programming and put over the 30,000 hours of digitized programming in their tape library. He pointed towards the battles between Vince McMahon and Ted Turner and said they've developed a "compelling show" called "Monday Night Wars."

The shareholder said the company can do better about helping investors understand what the company is doing with the WWE Network. He explained how frustrating it is watching the stock price, not knowing about what is happening with the new venture and said they need to say more.Note from Richard: I want to emphasize the investor was very stern with the lack of transparency regarding the WWE Network. He made it clear he was very frustrated and Vince McMahon said little to reassure him.

Fully expecting to Vince McMahon to fire back, he meekly said they hoped to have an announcement for the WWE Network for the next conference call.

Regarding the programming (specifically mentioning Raw and some of the pay-per-views) getting edgier: Vince said it is an evolvement, the writing of the shows has been considerably better and there is no subject matter they cannot touch on these days but they do it in a more-sophisticated PG manner. Vince put over the company's commitment to TV-PG and talked about the opportunities it has opened up for them. When the investor pressed that the company has done a "little better on the P side rather than the G side," he was able to get McMahon to admit the company went too far at one point with their PG commitment.

- Rey Mysterio, who has been doing promotional work for WWE in the Philippines, is featured in this article by the Manilla Bulletin Publishing Corporation.

- The password to obtain tickets in the WWE Hell in a Cell presale is ATLANTA. The presale begins Friday morning as the pay-per-view will take place Sunday, October 28, 2012 from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.

- For those that missed it in my WWE Investor Conference Call recap, WWE's initial investment in Tout was $5,000,000. They would not disclose how much of the company they own.

- WWE sent out the following survey:

Imagine a weekly, half hour WWE television show on Saturday mornings that included highlights of the best action and funniest moments from recent WWE events and from the past. The show would feature fun segments with WWE Superstars both in the ring and behind the scenes to give viewers a chance to get to know them even better. Every episode would also include one action-packed match featuring different WWE Superstars each week.

Based on this description, please rate the following show titles on a scale of 1-5 (5-excellent; 4-good; 3-neutral; 2-fair; 1-poor):

  • WWE Saturday Morning Slam
  • WWE Jakked
  • WWE Amp'd
  • WWE Supercharge
  • WWE Turbocharge

- WWE Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment have announced Randy Orton will star in "12 Rounds: Reloaded," the second installment in the "12 Rounds" franchise. Orton will play an EMT who finds himself caught in a deadly 12-round game of cat and mouse with a vengeful man tied to the paramedic's past. Principal photography will begin September 26th in Vancouver as this is the second of a three-film deal between WWE Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Click here for coverage by dot com.

- During an interview with The Hollywood ReporterVince McMahon said UFC'sratings were "abysmal" while doing promotion for the 1000th episode of WWE Raw last month.MMA reporter Ariel Helwani spoke with UFC President Dana White recently and asked him about McMahon's comments. Here's an excerpt:

"Vince keeps talking shit about us. I don't know why. There's a lot of things I could say about the WWE but I would never. I don't know why he's trying to kick us in the balls. I like Vince. I have a good relationship with Vince… I think it's in his nature… as a competitor, as a human-being, it's the way Vince is built. You know, whatever."

- has a new article online on Mark Henry visiting the 2012 Olympic Games in London. You can read it at this link.

- Chris Jericho said on Twitter he'll never wrestle outside of WWE. Below is the Tweet:

TNA News

- Chris Van Vliet of CBS-19 recently conducted an interview with Jeff Hardy, in which he discussed his facepaint, performing in front of a live audience, the state of TNA Wrestling, if he has retirement plans, and more. He explains his mindset in the following excerpt:

"Once I get out there, it's just in my blood to perform the way I perform, but I don't see myself wrestling until I'm 60 years old or anything like that. But, if I'm 55 or 56-57 and I feel pretty good - you know, I can't put a number on it. It's always gonna be a love of mine, and I hate it just enough, I think, so I'm at that perfect level. But yeah, I don't put a number on it. I don't know how I'll continue to do what I do."

- Rob Van Dam recently took part in an interview with the Phoenix New Times, and discussed a variety of topics, including the pinnacle of his career, Ryback using the same designer for his tights, and more. In the following excerpt, Van Dam explains the differences between TNA and WWE:

How is TNA different from other wrestling companies, like the WWE?
"In Total Nonstop Action, individual wrestlers have a lot more freedom to artistically express themselves versus WWE. When we have our matches, they are known to be more athletic, more competitive in nature, and that's what wrestling fans really appreciate. And the fact there's more of a focus on wrestling in Total Nonstop Action over the other major company on TV. Whereas WWE has been known to feature more of the 400-pound giants that aren't necessarily going to [perform] quite as impressively. TNA focuses more on the wrestler's abilities and skills and gives them a chance to shine out there in front of the fans."

Are there other differences?
"It's also more of an up-close-and-personal experience where wrestlers are more accessible and there's a lot of times spent on meeting the fans. And Bound For Glory will be no different and we'll be there on October 14 with a big meet-and-greet. The day before that is also something called 'TNA Fan InterAction,' which all the top stars will be there as well. People can meet and talk to their wrestlers and get their photos taken with 'em."

He also revealed that he and Ryback have the same airbrush artist, in the following excerpt:

Fans have been comparing WWE's Ryback to you because of your similar taste in wrestling tights. What do you think about that?
"Well, the truth is that Ryback reached out to me and asked for permission to use the same airbrush artist that I use, Joe Holland in Savannah, Georgia. The guy's been making me the same outfits since like 1995 and he doesn't do a lot work for wrestlers. And I'm all for anyone that can make more business off of things they do for me. Ryback has my blessing [and] I'm flattered that he's a fan of mine. He's been very respectful in reaching out to me. I haven't met the guy but have nothing but respect for him."

Click here to read the full interview.

- The power struggle in TNA Wrestling continues and a potentially major story is developing behind-the-scenes. I'm told Dixie Carter's mother, Janice, continues to demand that costs be cut and has gone as far as threatening to shut down the entire company if it cannot be run more efficiently or if a buyer cannot be found. One source, speaking to me under the condition of anonymity, says Jeff Jarrett has been actively trying to bring on new investors in hopes of keeping TNA afloat and regaining more control over the company operations. Jarrett has found a Nashville-based restaurant chain that is owned by a large investment group and has been working feverishly on a deal that would see that group possibly buy part or all of TNA, with Jarrett wrestling away control of the company from the Carter family. Dixie Carter is adamant she doesn't want to sell TNA but Janice is believed to feel otherwise so it's a very complicated situation. One of the ways TNA has been trying to reduce spending is by lowering the value of all performer's contracts in renegotiations. Not only is this being done to save money in the short-term but also to make the company look more attractive to potential investors.

I'm told "all of this" is being done against Dixie's wishes but things have gotten to the point where the Carter family is getting tired of "pouring money into a black hole."

- The stipulations for the 20-point Bound for Glory series matches at TNA Hardcore Justice were announced on this week's Impact Wrestling. They are as follows:

  • AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Kurt Angle vs. Samoa Joe in a Ladder Match
  • Bully Ray vs. James Storm vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Robbie E in a Tables Match
  • Rob Van Dam vs. Magnus vs. Mr. Anderson vs. "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero in a Falls Count Anywhere Match

TNA Hardcore Justice will take place Sunday, August 12, 2012 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- TNA Wrestling has partnered with Twitter where they are embedding their live "during the commercial" stream from their YouTube channel on their official Impact Wrestling Twitter page. TNA President Dixie Carter commented on the partnership with the following Tweet:

- To follow-up on the power struggle in TNA Wrestling that has Janice Carterthreatening to pull the plug on the entire company, I'm told one of the reasons TNA is fighting WWE over Ric Flair and a few others with the Brian Wittenstein lawsuit is because they are trying to prove to potential investors their roster is not only of value but WWE won't be able to just come along and pluck from it. The litigation has created an interesting consequence as TNA is trying to cut everyone's pay whose contract is up for renegotiation and if a worker doesn't want to re-sign, they have no where to work. Not only is WWE not signing anyone from TNA because of the lawsuit but they are telling people who have worked for TNA in the past but haven't worked there at all in the last year or two that if you've worked for TNA at any point while Wittenstien was there (which was a while), WWE won't touch you until the lawsuit is over. So there are a lot of workers completely irate that there's a hiring freeze on one end with TNA on the other side trying to make steep pay cuts across the board wherever possible.


Was CM Punk's attack on The Rock a heel turn or just a statement?

There has been talk for the last several weeks of turning CM Punk heel so when he attacked The Rock to conclude last week's 1000th episode of Raw I figured it was the company pulling the trigger. After speaking with my sources, I was able to outline the premise of the heel turn and wrote a detailed article here on Premium. Some people pointed out the fact Punk didn't work as a heel on this weekend's live events but that means nothing. Live events are outlined several weeks in advance and are not always indicative of what is going on with current story lines.

I was wondering why WWE would have both Sheamus and CM Punk on tour with Smackdown?

WWE booked CM Punk to tour with Smackdown in place of Randy Orton. Punk is seen as number two behind Cena so the thinking was to separate the two as the main draws of the company. With Orton returning, he's scheduled to begin touring again with Smackdown and Punk going back to Raw. Orton's first tour as the "face of Smackdown" is next week's loop in Japan.

Why is Brock Lesnar part-time or what does he do when he's not working for WWE? He obviously doesn't have UFC commitments.

Brock Lesnar despised the travel schedule in WWE and left because he hated life on the road. When he negotiated his return, he wanted as much money for as few dates as possible. Given his drawing power, Lesnar was able to work out a lucrative deal like we've never seen before. One thing everyone needs to understand is Lesnar is not engaged what-so-ever with what's going in WWE. He's there for the money and will do whatever they want to collect his check, even if it involves going through with ridiculous stunts to try and "work the Internet."

I thought bringing The New Age Outlaws and Sean Waltman back to D-Generation X for one night was great but where you surprised to see Waltman involved given his personal problems ? Also do you think he may have been intoxicated I thought he looked very awkward and out of place.

Sean Waltman is friends with Triple H so I wasn't surprised to see his involvement. As I've previously reported, Waltman would probably be a hired employee if it were not for issues that make him a "risk" for the company. As for Waltman's state at Raw, I don't know what his condition was and refuse to speculate.

Were you surprised that Randy Orton was not immediately placed into a storyline on Raw? Do you think he'll have a match at SummerSlam?

WWE wanted to bring Randy Orton back on the live show and give him a chance to work. While his stock has fallen due to heat from his second documented WWE Wellness Policy violation, there are preliminary plans to book him in the top of the card. Orton is advertised to appear at this week's Smackdown taping so perhaps he will get a storyline there. I would be surprised if Orton were left off the SummerSlam card.

With his feud with CM Punk behind him, what is next for Daniel Bryan?

Based on what WWE did on this week's Raw it appears WWE is rehashing the program between Daniel Bryan and Kane, perhaps for a match at SummerSlam. As is the case with Orton, both Bryan and Kane are advertised for this week's Smackdown taping so we should get further clarification of the direction WWE intends to take after the show is taped.

Can you explain why even though WWE Raw is now an hour longer they still can't find time to slip in one Divas match?

We have had a lot of readers email in and ask about the Divas and there is no way I can explain the thinking behind not featuring even one Divas match. WWE doesn't highlight their Divas based on in-ring work and some would probably point to AJ's increased role on television as the highlight from the Divas.

Do you see Damien Sandow getting a massive push in the future?

WWE officials are high up on Damien Sandow and I'm a fan of the gimmick. I can't help but see Hunter Hearst Helmsley when I look at Sandow but he has a long way to go before he reaches that level. As for a monster push, it depends on the reactions he draws from his current push before being elevated.

Since Bret Hart and Vince McMahon have been able to have a working relationship for the last few years, why hasn't Owen made the Hall of Fame yet? He has enough credentials to make it and was one of the best in-ring workers from 1993 until his tragic death in 1999.

It's hard for me to answer questions that relate to Vince McMahon's mindset because with Vince you never know, however, I don't think it's Bret Hart that has caused Owen Hart to be a Hall of Fame snub. Owen's widow, Martha Hart, filed and won a wrongful death lawsuit against WWE after his death and still has pending litigation against the company over unpaid royalties. When WWE uses the likeness of Owen Hart they have to compensate Martha and that doesn't seem to be a desirable thing to do after they have paid her millions.

Who are the Aces and Eights and when will they be revealed?

There are four names I can confirm have taken part in the group. Those names are Mike Knox, Luke Gallows, D-Lo Brown and Wes Brisco. D-Lo isn't expected to be a full-time member and the rumored name to be the leader of the group is Jeff Jarrett. As for when their identities will be revealed, I'm under the impression it's imminent.

Is CM Punk still the number two behind John Cena with Randy Orton back?

I heard prior to Randy Orton's suspension that CM Punk had surpassed him as the number two guy behind John Cena and when Orton was suspended, that position was sealed. However, from what I'm seeing now, I do not believe WWE has given up on Orton and may in fact just have been trying to scare him. WWE had replaced Orton with Punk on Smackdown live events but with Orton back, Punk is back touring with Raw and Orton is already working in the top of the card in Smackdown (as he was expected and as we had reported).

It seems that every dark match main event after Raw features John Laurinaitis. What is the reasoning behind this?

WWE is trying to squeeze every bit of heat they can out of the John Laurinaitis character. Vince McMahon was very pleased with how Big Johnny got over and they've used him in dark match main event situations and at live events. Once described to me as one of the most resilient people in the business, Laurinaitis was able to keep a job as a WWE official as a producer after essentially being forced out of running Talent Relations by Triple H.

Is it just me or is Kane's character ridiculous? In the past few years he's gone from putting The Undertaker in a vegetative state to playing trombone with Santino, back to being a disturbed monster... now he's a face again? Do you find the frequent switches make it hard for fans to care about him one way or the other?

It's interesting you mentioned Kane as I was just told this week by one of my sources how Kane is an example of the writers being "burned out," floating the character with no direction. To his credit, Kane is a reliable veteran that can work as a babyface or a heel but he never got over to the point where he could carry things as "the guy." As a result he's worked in the mid-card and in the main event, having a decent amount of success in both but it does become confusing to keep up with.

When Chris Jericho finishes up with WWE in a couple weeks, is he finished for good?

I am under the impression that Chris Jericho's WWE contract is out of dates after SummerSlam. Based on what he, he intends to leave before then. The door will always be open for Jericho to return but it would be great for Dolph Ziggler to go over in their program and would be somewhat of a "passing of the torch."

How much time do you spend a week or in a day getting information about what's going on in WWE and TNA?

I work 12+ hours most every day, with the exception being Saturday's or non-PPV Sunday's. Time off is important but it's very important to me to keep my readers in the know all the time. There is a tremendous amount of information thrown at me every day and it's my responsibility to sort through it, follow-up on leads and post detailed and accurate information. I pride myself in giving readers an experience that is better than anything else out there but I couldn't do it without your support.

What has happened to Jack Swagger?

Jack Swagger hit a snag during his run as World Heavyweight Champion with behavioral problems backstage and has never been able to recover. As of mid-July there were no creative plans for him.

What's up with Matt Morgan? I haven't heard or seen anything on him in months. Is he returning to TNA or headed back to his WWE roots?

Matt Morgan has fulfilled all of his contractual obligations with TNA Wrestling and he certainly wants people to believe he's headed back to WWE. I have heard WWE has interest in Morgan, however, the ongoing litigation is blocking TNA stars with recently expiring deals from signing. I have more about how the lawsuit is hurting talent in a story at this link.

Can you see Wade Barrett returning to face Randy Orton at SummerSlam?

Wade Barrett is advertised for next week's Smackdown tour in Japan. He hasn't worked since dislocating his elbow on Raw back in February. A program with Randy Orton is possible but I can't confirm it's going to happen at SummerSlam.

What were the plans for The Nexus?

The original Nexus ran its course with WWE getting every ounce of momentum they could out of the faction. Once that was finished it was revamped with CM Punk as the leader but meant to be much more mid-card in scale. Once that ran its course, the faction was split and the members went their separate ways, some finding success with others getting "future endeavored." Given the success of Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett and Skip Sheffield, it's safe to say the original faction was very talented as I have gone on record numerous times in saying that if the group created one star it was a success.

WWE seems to really be leaning towards Daniel Bryan vs. Charlie Sheen at SummerSlam but is that really a good idea considering Sheen isn't very dependable?

If anyone could get anything out of Charlie Sheen in the ring it would be Daniel Bryan but I would be surprised if WWE tried to do a celebrity match due to the unreliability of Sheen. If they are able to get a deal done, look for Sheen to be involved in some type of role that would feature him as a ringside bystander. For more on Sheen, SummerSlam and Daniel Bryan, read this article on Richard's Backstage Blog.

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