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, December 7, 2013 to Friday, December 13, 2013 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!
- This week's "WWE Backstage Fallout" Smackdown features Ryback, Curtis Axel & Big E Langston, and is available at this link
- The official WWE website has changed Wade Barrett's name on his Superstar bio to Bad News Barrett after he worked under the new gimmick on this week'sRaw and Smackdown. Barrett has also reflected the gimmick change on his Twitter page.
- For those that missed our live results, Alexander Rusev from WWE NXT is on the road with the main roster this weekend. Rusev went over Zack Ryder via submission in a bout Friday night in Stockton, California. He's been in the company's developmental system since 2011.
- Locations for Wrestlemania 31 and Wrestlemania 32 have already been determined and an announcement is expected sooner than later. This is a shift as WWE is looking to build even more momentum for the host cities.
- We reported Saturday morning here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that WWE was expected to announce the locations for Wrestlemania 31 and Wrestlemania 32 sooner rather than later, that announcement is expected for next week.
WWE will hold Wrestlemania 31 in 2015 from what will be the new home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. An official announcement is expected at the beginning of next week.
- Jen and Sylvia Soska, who are in the upcoming WWE Studios sequel, See No Evil 2, were in attendance at Saturday night's WWE live event in Vancouver. Speaking of which, Jen and Sylvia talk about their respective roles in the film at this link.
- World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were among WWE names training at Mark Bell's Super Training Gym in Sacramento, California on Saturday afternoon.
- Booker T and Sharmell are scheduled to attend Sunday's Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers NFL game on Sunday.
- Titus O'Neil was in attendance at Saturday's Winnipeg Jets at Tampa Bay Lightning NHL game.
- WWE will return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 16, 2014.
- WWE has signed former Port Vale goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson to a developmental contract. Tomlinson retired from football last summer due to a knee injury. He's 28-years-old and appeared on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine after working as a male model. Tomlinson met with company officials during the most recent European torn. StaffsLive has more at this link.
- WWE posted a funny video of "musical" performances from various segments over the years and titled it "WWE The Musical." You can watch at this link.
- World Heavyweight Champion John Cena was among the WWE names at Candlestick Park for the Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers NFL game on Sunday, NBC Bay Area is reporting. We noted on Sunday morning that Booker T and Sharmell were expected to attend.
The big news breaking over the weekend is that Wrestlemania 31 will take place from Levi's Stadium, the future home of the 49ers, in Santa Clara, California in 2015. WWE officials visited 49ers headquarters in August where 49ers CEO Jed York and city leaders pitched the venue for Wrestlemania. Santa Clara mayor Jamie Matthews and executives from the 49ers later traveled to WWE headquarters in Connecticut where they met with Vince McMahon.
Levi's Stadium beat out Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field as host of Wrestlemania 31.
Click here for coverage by NBCBayArea.com.
- Matt Striker shoots on JBL and the current indy scene in a new video posted at this link.
- WWE is coming to Saudi Arabia for the first time ever next year. The tour will be a three show loop from Green Halls Stadium in Riyadh. The dates are February 13, February 14 and February 15. Tickets go on sale on December 16, 2013 through Ticketmaster. (h/t to Wrestling News World reader Saleh for the assist.)
- The DVD for the WWE Studios film Christmas Bounty includes a trailer for the company's upcoming animated Scooby-Doo film.
- CM Punk Tweeted the following, which is pretty hilarious:
- Wrestlemania 32 is slated to take place from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in 2016. This of course is the home of the Dallas Cowboys. We've been reporting all weekend that Wrestlemania 31 will take place from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. WWE has confirmed that story here on dot com.
- After working as Sin Cara on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw, Hunico worked as Hunico at Saturday's WWE live event in Vancouver and Sunday's show in Yakima, Washington against Xavier Woods. Below is a photo from Twitter:
- Professional skateboarder and reality star Bam Margera was in attendance at WWE's live event in Spokane, Washington on Sunday. We'll have results from that show online shortly.
- There will be a press conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California on Tuesday at 11 AM PST to officially announce the city will host Wrestlemania 31 in 2014. A number of top WWE stars will be in attendance as well as mayor Jamie Matthews and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York.
- Tickets for WWE Elimination Chamber 2014 go on sale Saturday, December 14, 2013. The show will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2014 from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- As suspected, the only thing that has saved Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, or the original Sin Cara, from getting released from his WWE contract is Triple H's new don't fire anybody edict. We're told Vince McMahon pushed to just fire him and pointed to issues with injuries, his attitude, in-ring work, etc. but Hunter is holding steadfast to the policy of just letting contracts run out unless what the worker does is something really egregious. At this point, Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde's contract isn't expected to be renewed and there are others as well.
- WWE is still hot on talent in the independent scene in the United States. One name they are currently targeting is a worker by the name of Ricochet. His real name is Trevor Mann and he's known for his work with CHIKARA, Dragon Gate, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and New Japan Pro Wrestling. We're told the company hopes to have a developmental deal in place before the end of the year.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown posted an average viewing audience of 2,837,000 viewrs on SyFy. This number was up from the week prior but down from the impressive audience of 3,106,000 from a couple weeks ago. The show ended up with a 1.98 cable rating. To see how the show stacked up to the competition on Friday night, click here.
- Lilian Garcia's eBay auction to raise money for Susan G. Komen is now online at this link.
- Details on how you can be on Steve Austin's new Broke Skull Ranch reality show are available at this link.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online at this link. In it, he mentions there is a deal in place for him to start his own podcast early next year.
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango will take place on the WWE TLC Kickoff show, as announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The Kickoff will feature a panel comprised of Josh Mathews, Booker T, Mick Foley and The Miz. WWE TLC Kickoff begins at 7:30 PM EST on Sunday, we'll have the stream along with complete live coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- For those that missed it, Sin Cara went over Alberto Del Rio clean for the second week in a row on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Cara was once again portrayed by Hunico/
- The Rock Tweeted the following about winning the "LOL!" Moment of the Year Slammy:
- WWE is reporting that Alberto Del Rio suffered a concussion during his match with Sin Cara on this week's Monday Night Raw. The injury occurred during the top-rope sunset flip powerbomb spot at the conclusion of the match. Del Rio is set to undergo an ImPACT test tomorrow. Click here for more information.
- In an interview on the official WWE website, Christian revealed that he welcomed his first daughter into the world during his time away from the ring. Click here to watch the interview.
- Tickets for the upcoming WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view are set to go on sale Saturday, December 14 at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT. The event will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2014 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Click here for more information.
- Natalya took part in an interview during WWE's recent overseas tour, discussing having Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart as a father, her relationship with Tyson Kidd, and more. The interview is available at this link.
- A script from the September 25, 2000 episode of Monday Night Raw has leaked online. This isn't the first time an actual WWE run sheet has made it onto the Internet but I thought some of you might be interested. Click here to check it out.
- World Heavyweight Champion John Cena beat WWE Champion Randy Orton via disqualification in a dark match main event following this week's Monday Night Raw. The bout was thrown out when Orton used a chair. Daniel Bryan came back out, then Booker T. They did some Spinaroonis with John Laurinaitis coming out for one and then Titus O'Neil. Stephanie McMahon, while reluctant, also did one for the live crowd. CM Punk then came out and did a Spinarooni to end the crowd home happy. Video of the show after it went off the air is online at this link.
- WWE will return to Bakersfield, California with a live event on Sunday, February 9, 2014.
- A photo of El Torito unmasked with Drew McIntyre at the WWE Performance Center has leaked online at this link.
- The Rock said it was truly his honor to do "the honors" to John Cena at Wrestlemania 29 after winning the Match of the Year Slammy. The following is from Twitter:
- WWE issued a press release on Tuesday, announcing the 2013 Slammy Awards set a new record with 1.64 million votes via their app. They noted it was an 180 percent increase from last year's record-setting awards show. The word making rounds is voting was indeed legitimate. Click here for a list of winners.
- There will be a press conference on Tuesday from the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA at 11 AM PST to officially announce Levi's Stadium as the host of Wrestlemania 31 in Spring of 2015. Scheduled for the conference are Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York, Vince McMahon, World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, Stephanie McMahon, San Francisco 49ers Tight End Vernon Davis and other dignitaries. The event is not open to the public and will outline the show, which of course has a tremendous economic impact.
- There was a funny blooper on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that I happened to catch and post on Twitter. You can view it below:
Backstage news from Slammy Awards Monday Night Raw in Seattle…
- As illustrated on this week's show, the wheels continued to be placed in motion regarding a breakup of The Shield leading into their 3-on-1 handicap match against CM Punk at WWE TLC. At first many backstage thought it was too early and not the right time to break up the faction. Apparently, this has changed. We're told Triple H is "ready to move forward," however, the faction's destruction is by no means "set in stone" for the pay-per-view. The biggest point to note here is the uncertainly from week to week.
- The seed for Shawn Michaels vs. Daniel Bryan was watered yet again on this week's show with both Vince McMahon and Triple H desiring the bout at Wrestlemania XXX next year. We're told both have talked to Shawn about "coming out of retirement" for the match and he does seem more receptive then he was at first. Originally, Shawn wasn't believed to have put much thought into it.
- Following up on a point I addressed in Tuesday's Ask WNW, we're told there have been no mentions of a new title belt being created for a Unified Champion. One key observer pointed to the fact they have heard of no information of a new title being made by Mattel for the company's toy lines. This same observer points to all the mentions of "never seeing both belts again" as a possible setup for a large swerve.
- For those that didn't notice, all of the talk of Sin Cara looking new, fresh and "like a different man" were ribs at WWE replacing the character.
- Big E Langston was once again out of place on commentary and Vince McMahon was upset at the creative team this time. Apparently Vince gave the OK for Langston to use his comedy and apparently they didn't get the memo. One source commented, "he played robot once again."
- Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart had a lengthy conversation backstage and while this isn't news, workers were snapping photos of them together. We're told it really came across well and added to the respect of both.
- We're told the fact there wasn't even a pre-recorded message featuring The Rock in case he won a Slammy (which of course he did), is very telling about his current status with WWE. There are currently no plans to utilize him any further.
- WWE is moving "full steam ahead" with the Brodus Clay heel turn and he's believed to be reverting back to the monster gimmick.
- Note from Richard:I made a slight error, as the following statement was meant to reflect Daniel Bryan and not Brodus Clay as the original format of this post suggested. I apologize for the mistake. We're told one longtime official approached Triple H backstage and questioned why they weren't riding his momentum. They reiterated to Hunter that Bryan is the hottest he'll ever be and they need to be taking full advantage of it.
- We're told Randy Orton got irritated during John Cena's promo in the overrun segment. This is something that used to happen early in his career when he was known for getting frustrated with crowds. Cena was "straight shooting" during the promo with Daniel bryan because he knew what the crowd wanted and how not to get booed. One observer called it a brilliant move and said it was one of the best promos Cena has had in years, maybe ever.
- Despite his appearance on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, we do not have a further update on Christian at this time.
- This week's episode of Total Divas did an average viewing audience of 1,202,000 viewers on E! You can see how the show stacked up to the competition at this link.
- WWE NXT worker Alexander Rusev worked a dark match prior to Monday Night Raw in Seattle, going over Zack Ryder. No matches were taped for WWE Superstars.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is now online at this link.
- Wrestlemania 31 will take place on Sunday, March 29, 2015, according to a report by the San Jose Mercury-News. As we've been reporting, the event will take place from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Tickets won't go on sale until late 2014.
- The Steve Harvey Show posted David Otunga's appearance on the show online at this link.
- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw featuring the 2013 Slammy Awards did an average viewing audience of 4,152,333 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:
Hour 1 - 4,218,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 4,177,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 4,062,000 viewers
While the final hour was the lowest-watched, it did score the highest rating in the 18-49 demographic. You can see how the show stacked up to the competition at this link.
The show ended up with a 2.84 cable rating.
- WWE names at Tuesday's Wrestlemania 31 press conference in Santa Clara, Cailfornia included Vince McMahon, John Saboor, World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, Big Show, Sheamus, Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio, Fandango, The Great Khali, The Bella Twins, R-Truth and Summer Rae. As previously reported, Wrestlemania 31 will take place Sunday, March 29, 2015 from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
- One of the selling points for Wrestlemania 31 will be as the most technologically integrated Wrestlemania experience ever. This due to Levi's Stadium being located in Silicon Valley, which is also set to have the latest and most updated technological features of a sports stadium. The logo for the show is above and is courtesy of WWE.
- Another post show video from this week's Monday Night Raw shows CM Punk in the ring, in his underwear, doing Spinaroonies. You can watch it at this link.
- A WWE Tag Team Championship match was added to the WWE TLC pay-per-view lineup at Tuesday night's Smackdown taping. Goldust & Cody Rhodes will defend in a 4-Way Tag Team Match against the teams of Big Show & Rey Mysterio, Ryback & Curtis Axel and The Real Americans. We broke the news of the match's addition in last week's Backstage News from Rawhere on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium.
- The McFarlane Toys online store is now selling a limited-edition Undertaker statue at this link. The statue is limited to 850 pieces and each one is individually and sequentially numbered. Each statue includes a Certificate of Authenticity
- Jake Roberts recently revealed on Twitter that he's had "no contact from WWE at all" regarding working the 30-man Royal Rumble match as a surprise entrant. Roberts had set that as a personal goal that gained steam but I never heard there was WWE interest. Anything is still possible with the pay-per-view still over a month out.
- WWE used their superstars as ambassadors at Tuesday's Wrestlemania 31 press conference in Santa Clara, California. Sheaus, Mark Henry and The Bella Twins greeted patrons at the venue and signed autographs for fans. Alberto Del Rio, John Cena and Stephanie McMahon all met with local media personalities for promotional interviews.
- The logo for Wrestlemania 31 (displayed above) features a red "play button" to symbolize the tech prowess in Silicon Valley. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com,one of the selling points for Wrestlemania 31 will be as the most technologically integrated Wrestlemania experience ever.
- Believe it or not, Steve Austin said in a recent episode of his podcast that Vince McMahon is interested in appearing as a guest. He said they're looking for a time they can get together to record.
- Speaking of both podcasts and Steve Austin, part of his chat on Chris Jericho's podcast is online at this link.
- Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from The Miz. In it, Miz talks about his February 2014 wedding to Maryse and the fact they both want children. You can read the piece in its entirety at this link.
- A new press release for AJ Styles went out this week to promote the forthcoming release of his autobiography. The book will be released early next year by VIP Ink Publishing. The press release also reiterated Styles is accepting bookings through Bill Behrens.
- The latest Impact Podcast features Mr. Anderson, Gail Kim and DJ Zema Ion and is online at this link.
- WWE CFO George Barrios was a presenter at the UBS 41st Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. He spoke about a number of topics, including the WWE Network and the company negotiating their new domestic television contracts. The transcript of his presentation is available at this link.
- DK Publishing announced on Wednesday they will release WWE 50, a new book that celebrates 50 years of WWE history. You can read the press release at this link.
- There's currently a presale ongoing to obtain tickets to WWE Elimination Chamber 2014. Click here to buy tickets using the password CHAMBER. WWE Elimination Chamber 2014 will take place on Sunday, February 23, 2014 from the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.
- Dot com posted a new Q&A article with Sheamus. In it, he talks about undergoing surgery to repair his torn labrum and how it was the first surgery of his life. Sheamus noted there is still no timetable for his return to the ring. Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Triple H is looking to sign more tags teams to developmental contracts as WWE is still in need of more bodies to fill the rings at the Performance Center. While Triple H genuinely wants to revamp and refocus on the tag team division, he sees signing tag teams as a way to reach their desired end of the year capacity at the training complex twice as fast.
In a quick update on WWE signing Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards, neither have contracts yet. Basically the holdup has to do with the reputation of Richards, which isn't good. We're told Triple H heard stories of Richards "being an erratic head case" and he wanted to see how he adapted to being in developmental for a few weeks before committing with a contract. This is why Edwards and Richards have basically been under a brief trial run with the company.
As for Edwards, he has a reputation for being a total pro but apparently the company wanted to wait and sign them both at the same time. Everyone is high up on the actual in-ring work of The American Wolves but there have been questions about Richards' attitude and behavior.
- Triple H's weekly kayfabe interview with Michael Cole is now online. In it, he continued to say there will be on winner in the title match at WWE TLC and that man will be the Champion of Champions. Hunter commented on the crowd response for Daniel Bryan on this week's Monday Night Raw but wouldn't on CM Punk striking him. He said he wants Randy Orton to apologize on Smackdown for what he did to Stephanie. You can watch the latest at this link.
- A script for Royal Rumble 2013 has leaked online. You can check it out at this link.
- The Telegraph News out of Australia has a new article online featuring quotes from Kofi Kingston. In it, he talks about his eight-month old son. Click here to read it.
- While the word was that Santa Clara, CA narrowly edged out Philadelphia, PA as the host city for Wrestlemania 31 in 2015, that's not exactly the case. The ABC affiliate out of Philadelphia obtained a statement from WWE where they state the city didn't bid on Wrestlemania 31 or Wrestlemania 32 because "because the facilities necessary to host ancillary events weren't available."
Executive Director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress, Larry Needle, told the outlet that WWE sent the city a request for a proposal for the events a few months ago. After discussing the idea with officials from Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Convention Center, and Comcast Spectactor, it was determined the venues were not available on the specified dates. This is why a bid was never made.
Click here for coverage by WPVI-TV, the ABC affiliate out of Philadelphia.
Wrestlemania 31 will take place on Sunday, March 29, 2015 from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Wrestlemania 32 will take place in 2016 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. An official announcement regarding Wrestlemania 32 hasn't been made.
- TVGuide.com posted the cover art for WWE's Scooby-Doo! film titled "Scooby-Doo Wrestlemania Mystery." You can check it out at this link.
- This week's episode of WWE Inbox features Xavier Woods and is online now at this link.
- Below is a photo from Wednesday's WWE Tribute to the Troops taping. If you attended, please feel free to submit a spoiler report.
- There is currently a presale to obtain tickets to the episode of Monday Night Raw the night after Wrestlemania XXX. You can buy now at this link using the password CHAMP. The show will take place on Monday, April 7, 2014 from the New Orleans Arena.
- WWE Main Event will not air on Ion Television on Christmas Day or New Years Day. The show will resume airing in its normal timeslot on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.
- Eve Torres posted a new #AskEve video following her appearance on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. You can watch it at this link.
- There is currently a three-day WWE tryout camp taping place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. The company is actively looking to ink new developmental talent to get the facility operating at 100%.
- Big Show admitted he only slept four hours in two days on this week's loop but said visiting with the troops pumped him up for the Tribute to the Troops taping. You can read an article about WWE taping on the base at this link.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online where he touches on a number a topics. Perhaps the one of most interest is WWE possibly signing AJ Styles. He wrote a deal would be a long shot at best. Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety.
- Rey Mysterio takes fans Behind the Match when he beat Kurt Angle and Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 22 for the World Heavyweight Championship at this link.
- John Cena, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Triple H are scheduled to take part in what is being termed a "groundbreaking announcement" by Vince McMahon and WWE at the Encore Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.
As we reported earlier this month, speculation suggests the announcement will have something to do with the WWE Network. However, we are unable to confirm any further details at this time.
- WWE NXT worker Buddy Murphy suffered a broken jaw in a bout at Thursday night's NXT live event in Tampa, Florida. The injury occurred in a tag team match where Murphy teamed with Danny Burch to oppose Mason Ryan & Jason Jordan.
Murphy noted on Twitter he's seeing a surgeon on Friday regarding the injury. The following is from Twitter:
- Episode 55 of The JBL & Cole Show is subtitled "Sleepless in Seattle" and is online now at this link.
- Below is a photo of World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and Daughtry visiting troops prior to Wednesday's WWE Tribute to the Troops taping:
- The WWE Network logo was designed by John Lefteratos and he talks about the process including whether or not the network will ever come to fruition. You can listen to it at this link.
Also online are various drafts of the WWE Network logo that you can at this link.
As we pointed out earlier in the week, the WWE Network is featured in the logo for Wrestlemania 31, which you can view above.
- The Houston Press has a new article online featuring quotes from Roman Reigns to promote Sunday's WWE TLC pay-per-view. You can read it at this link.
- The Derby Telegraph has an article on WWE signing goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson to a developmental contract. Click here to read it in its entirety.
- Watch John Cena address recipients of the Purple Heart Medal at this link.
- Comedian Jim Norton watched this week's episode of Impact Wrestling and proceeded to rip it apart in an appearance on The Opie & Anthony Show. You can listen to it at this link.
- Kurt Angle will make an appearance on a children's television series in India, while he's there doing media for TNA Wrestling. He'll appear on "Baal Veer," where he'll be doing a fight scene.
- The Tennessean has a new article online featuring quotes from Dixie Carter on the rumors of Billy Corgan being a potential buyer for TNA Wrestling. We never put much into the story but here's what Dixie had to say about it:
“Since we have been in business going on 12 years now, this has been an ongoing (speculation), ‘Oh, we’re going out of business. We’re not going to make it,’ ” Carter said. “Ever since we started, people were taking odds on how long we would last. This last time I think a lot of it was perpetuated by a story that Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins was going to buy it.
“I texted Billy and I said, ‘Oh really, so you’re going to buy my company? Are you excited? That’s cool.’ And he said, ‘Oh, don’t you love rumors.’ ”
The article goes on to discuss TNA's new #Impact365 strategy and how badly the pro wrestling business needs it to pay off, a sentiment that more than a few of us share. You can read the piece in its entirety at this link.
- The big story making rounds in TNA Wrestling right now is the future of AJ Styles. His short-term contract extension that he signed back in August is up later this month. He worked last week's Impact Wrestling tapings and was "taken care of" in storylines. You can read how it all went down at this link.
While negotiations are likely to continue, the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on money. This has been the case with a number of TNA contracts lately and is what resulted in Hulk Hogan's departure. No name is immune to TNA's spending cuts and they're determined to lower the rate of every contract because they do not feel that ratings or product interest hinges on one particular worker.
Another thing hurting AJ Styles' leverage is the lack of interest from WWE. While people in WWE respect Styles and his body of work, he's seen as a guy they'd have to "start from scratch on" at 36-years-old. I'm told interest would be higher if they had a firm timeline on their prospective cruiserweight show on the WWE Network. Since they do not, interest is minimal at this time.
If Styles is unable to reach an agreement with TNA, which appears to be the case, he'll seek work on the independent scene immediately and is being represented by Bill Behrens. His final match in TNA as of now will air on the January 9, 2014 episode of Impact Wrestling.
- Hulk Hogan had a bit of a crisis on Twitter earlier on Monday as he apologized for being advertised for TNA Wrestling's tour of the United Kingdom next year. He Tweeted:
Once questioned, Hogan clarified:
Hogan and social media makes for entertaining times. The bottom-line is TNA wanted Hogan at a lower pay rate and he was having none of it. He's finished with the company as they aren't bending on their budget cuts. The last we heard he remained in negotiations with WWE but that neither Vince McMahon nor Triple H wanted a deal to be contingent on him getting a match at Wrestlemania XXX.
- Kurt Angle and Gail Kim are in India doing media for TNA Wrestling. Angle was quoted by the Business Standard, saying the company was scouting talent in the country.
"We want to promote wrestling in India. I think we are going to become successful and the most effective way to promote in India is to see who the next talent from India is,"
"TNA is looking for a wrestler here from India. We are going to obviously have a competition and we will see whom we can get from here. The best thing to do for the country is to recruit from the country. Our first step is to see whom we can get, what wrestler we can get from India to be part of our roster."
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Jeff Hardy discusses his music and his new album "Plurality of Worlds" at this link.
- Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald conducted several interviews with TNA talent at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. He posted them on his YouTube channel that you can watch at this link.
- TNA is reportedly interested in Puerto Rican wrestler Sebastian Guerra. Guerra is a bigger worker at 6'4 290 lbs. and is known for his work in the International Wrestling Association and the World Wrestling Council.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Magnus their "Most Improved Wrestler of the Year" for 2013. Magnus commented on the honor, saying 2014 will be his standout year.
- TNA posted a new #Impact365 video of Jessie Godderz on the set of his new ESPN show at this link.
- In another #Impact365 video, Kurt Angle is shown behind-the-scenes of a video shoot in India. Click here to watch.
- We're being told that Jeff Jarrett has been acting as a liaison for a group considered to be interested into buying into TNA Wrestling. The group, financed by country music star Toby Keith, is said to be a serious candidate to purchase majority ownership of the promotion from Panda Energy.
According to a source who spoke under the condition of anonymity, Toby Keith's camp feels the asking price, believed to be in excess of $10 million, is too high.
The rumors surrounding Bill Corgan buying the promotion were unfounded, however, we're told TNA embraced the attention they got from them. Serious consideration is being given by the Carter family about unloading the company if they are able to land a deal in the low eight figures.
While the talk over the last couple of years was that Jeff Jarrett, who is still a minority owner of TNA Wrestling, has been that he was looking to bring on a new investor, the Carter family has indeed put a price tag on majority ownership. However, unless the price comes down, a deal is unlikely to get done.
As for Corgan, he's had nothing to do with the potential purchase of TNA and is actually shopping a reality show about his own Resistance Pro wrestling promotion. We're told footage was recently shot for a pilot and that AMC was a network that was being targeted.
The media attention generated by the TNA rumors may be incorporated into the pilot and they did film segments with Corgan where he gave his thoughts on the whole thing.
- For those that missed this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, Madison Rayne appeared for the first time since giving birth earlier this year. She appeared in a video interview with Jeremy Borash and later in the ring during a segment with ODB, Gail Kim and Lei'D Tapa.
- Austin Aries beat Chris Sabin to win the TNA X Division Championship. Both the segment with Rayne and the X Division title match were taped on November 23, 2013 in Orlando, Florida.
Click here for complete results for this week's episode of Impact Wrestling.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,318,000 viewers on Spike TV. This was one of the best numbers the show has posted since September. The show ended up doing a 1.11 cable rating.
With Triple H's "don't fire anybody" edict, do the workers waiting out their contract get paid to do absolutely nothing? Or are they still called on to work live shows and do they still need to at least show up to Raw and Smackdown? If not, how does this benefit WWE?
This is something flying completely under the radar but something we've been on top of since its implementation (See also - Triple H Calls For Major Change In Philosophy With How WWE Handles Releases, The New Edict That Will Shock You; Two WWE Stars That Are Ready To Return But Have No Return Plans & Why They Might Be On Their Way Out Of The Company). Right now there is a list of inactive workers in WWE that have medical clearance but simply aren't being used. The latest to draw a lot of attention is Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, the original Sin Cara, that was quietly replaced on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Triple H's thinking is they are high profile company and a job creator. If they're successful, how do they look when they publicly acknowledge releases? As stated, the edict does not apply to developmental talent as WWE doesn't have to acknowledge those releases. To answer your question, a worker continues to collect their downside until their contract expires, essentially being paid to do nothing.
Is it looking more like Sheamus will return to WWE as a surprise entrant in next year's 30-man Royal Rumble match?
It's possible that Sheamus returns to WWE in the Royal Rumble match but I haven't heard that as of press time. I'm told both Vince McMahon and Triple H are highly anticipating the return of Sheamus and have plans to insert him back into the top of the card. When he suffered the initial injury, a torn labrum at Money in the Bank, estimates had him out anywhere from December (this month) until February.
Triple H said in a kayfabe dot com interview that guaranteed one champion walking out of WWE TLC. Do you see a swerve and Hunter himself winning the belt?
Ask WNW readers pick up on everything and this is a great point and a feasible scenario. I'm on record as to writing a screwy finish seems to be inevitable in the booking of John Cena vs. Randy Orton at WWE TLC. Multiple finishes have been discussed but I am not aware of one that has Hunter walking out as champion. There has been nothing in the booking of the WWE title with The Authority over the past several months to suggest there will be a clean outcome.
In what direction do you see Fandango moving in the next year: forward, backwards or stagnant? Vince McMahon obviously saw a lot of potential in him initially but he's been insignificant lately. In retrospect, do you think it was a mistake having him go over Chris Jericho at last year's Wrestlemania?
Fandango is a midcard gimmick, nothing more and nothing less. He's 0-4 in his last 4 televised singles matches and worked the weekend live event loop going under to The Great Khali (where he also competed in a mixed tag match). I don't see him as someone that is going to emerge on the main event scene but I don't see immediate regression either. I wouldn't say Fandango over Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 29 was a mistake because it at least gave WWE the opportunity to push him. Fandango's music and gimmick got him over in a big way following the pay-per-view and WWE did a good job of taking full advantage of the opportunity. Not everyone can work in the main event but that doesn't mean they are useless either.
Every creative plan in the WWE has to be approved by Vince McMahon. Does everything published on WNW or its sister sites have to be approved by you before making it to the world wide web?
Every story that I run involves a judgment call on my behalf. I actually got heat from one reader when they learned there is information that I receive that I do not publish. It's essential for me to sort out what needs to make it to press from what I need to wait on or just ignore completely. I do this for the credibility of the website. The majority of publications will run anything by anyone and will do zero "leg work" to find out if what they are posting is actually true. It's funny because we get emails about "developing stories" all the time and they go something like this. TNA Wrestling is for sale. Billy Corgan is buying TNA Wrestling. Janice Carter says TNA isn't for sale. Rumor killer on Billy Corgan buying TNA. It's ridiculous how reckless the reporting was on that story. One sweeping statement, fueled by conjecture and unfounded Tweets, turned into something it wasn't. Does that mean we never make mistakes? Absolutely not, I'm only human. However, I would never run a story of that magnitude without double-sourcing the information. Some readers might have wondered why we didn't have the story when it was everywhere else but I refused to post something until I knew what was true and what wasn't. As for blogs and opinions and stuff you might find at WWENews.net or TNANews.com, I leave that completely up to Kendra Bunyon and Alex Barie respectively.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2010:When is Batista coming back to WWE? - While the word was Batista would return to WWE for a "retirement tour" after some time away, that isn't looking as likely as he pursues a deal with the Strikeforce MMA promotion. If he hits a snag in his MMA plans, a return to WWE certainly has not been ruled out. WWE would welcome Batista back with open arms at any time as company officials claim they were surprised by his sudden retirement despite the fact we reported he was leaving for months.
Do you believe WWE will introduce a new championship Belt at TLC to signify the new Undisputed Champion and retire the old belts?
I still think we need to be careful assuming that Triple H is going to "follow through" with the unification of the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship at TLC. It seems inevitable, especially given the billing for the last two weeks, but there is more than enough evidence to be suspicious of some type of screwy finish. If WWE does indeed unify the titles on Sunday, I could not fathom them scrapping the newly designed WWE title belt. So much went into the belt The Rock debuted earlier this year, not to mention it cost the company more than $50,000.
I know Shawn Michaels said he will honor his retirement, but after the ending to this week's Raw, do you see it possible that he has one more match, teaming with Triple H to take on CM Punk and Daniel Bryan?
I heard that Vince McMahon wants to do Shawn Michaels vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania XXX next year but that Shawn wouldn't commit. WWE continues to tease the bout, with the Sweet Chin Music on this week's episode of Monday Night only furthering speculation. At this point it's completely up to Shawn Michaels whether or not he wrestles again but I can tell you WWE would welcome it.
Since when would any fan want Stephanie McMahon to win a Slammy? Are the Slammys staged?
Stephanie McMahon got my vote for "Insult of the Year!" In my opinion, her slapping Big Show and "degrading" him on live television was a very well done segment. I actually laugh every time I see the tape because of the all the stereotypes that it follows. As for voting, people are always going to accuse it's rigged because it's WWE. I have no evidence to prove it is or that it isn't. However, I can tell you when WWE has done votes in the past (both on their App and on dot com), the results have been legitimate.
Since WWE is touring Saudi Arabia next year, do you think they will bring the Divas?
WWE will not bring the Divas to Saudi Arabia due to their strict observation of the dress code in the Sharia (or law of Islam). The company is committed to global expansion or more specially, expansion in the Middle East. They view Saudi Arabia as a largely untapped market with nearly 30 million people.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: How legitimate was the voting for the Slammy Awards on Monday night? - WWE used the Slammy Awards as their first big opportunity to promote their new App. From everything I’ve heard it worked great and the goal of widespread downloads was accomplished. I haven’t heard how legitimate the voting was but I can tell you in the past, when WWE has done polls, the voting has been fairly legitimate. The only time in recent memory where I can recall a poll being fixed was the Kane over Daniel Bryan Twitter poll from Raw a few weeks back.
How much did John Cena and Randy Orton break kayfabe in the final segment of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw?
John Cena broke kayfabe when he singled out Daniel Bryan to appease the crowd. Cena knew the only way he was going to get cheered was to involve Bryan so he improvised. The move was called "brilliant" backstage and he received high marks for the promo. Some were calling it one of his best promos ever. As for Randy Orton, he got legitimately upset at the crowd as we have more on his reaction and the aftermath at this link.
Is Rey Mysterio going to get a run at the World Title anytime soon?
There might not be a World Title following Sunday's WWE TLC pay-per-view! I don't see Rey Mysterio getting back into the title picture until he's able to work for an extended period of time without injury. Even then, his days as a consistent main event talent could be over. Furthering the point, and I know it's one that I can't get off of, if there is only one Unified title after Sunday, there won't be as many opportunities for talent like Mysterio in the top of the card.
I noticed that CM Punk seemed to not appear on the majority of the final Raw segment on Monday after he was seen making a face when Triple H was talking. The camera seemed to block him out. Was there any heat on him for doing that?
I didn't notice the face but I wasn't made aware of any backstage heat. WWE wanted the focus of that segment on the Randy Orton vs. John Cena match at TLC on Sunday and I feel the segment more than delivered. Say what you want about John Cena but he knew what he had to do and he hit one out of the park. Given the way the crowd reacted for Daniel Bryan, there were more than a few people backstage urging they do more with him immediately. He's over like rover folks.
What would you think of Daniel Bryan challenging Undertaker for the streak?
The plan is still to do Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX and I would be surprised if it was changed. I wouldn't be interested in Daniel Bryan challenging Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Following Undertaker's victory this year against CM Punk, he has more than earned the right to retire undefeated. A loss wouldn't do Daniel Bryan any good as he is still looking for his Wrestlemania moment. The past three years have seen him bumped to the pre-show, put under in 18 seconds and work an undercard tag match. Push Daniel Bryan!
If somehow AJ Styles were to be signed by WWE, do you think he would be assigned to developmental or be able to go straight to the main roster? I read about the cruiserweight show but he's recognizable enough by a good majority of fans to get a reaction on Raw or Smackdown.
Knowing how WWE perceives TNA talent, I would assume he would be sent to the WWE Performance Center to be seasoned the way they see fit. I've written a number of AJ Styles updates, many that reveal the way WWE sees him. Styles is respected but seen as a guy they'd have to start from scratch on at 36-years-old. Obviously things could change depending on the opportunity but that was what I heard a couple months ago.
From the Ask WNW vault…
March 2012: Do you believe that the CM Punk craze has worn off like the Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin craze in their respective sports? - This is an interesting prospective, as I’ve never thought about it like that before. CM Punk is not currently at the level he was this summer. Punk peaked at Money in the Bank in July and has leveled off to where he is now. He has clearly established himself as a main event talent and he’s not going back to the mid-card like he did after previous title reigns. Punk was the Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin of the summer but it’s “breakout moments” like this that demand the attention of the public. The key is getting the public’s attention and being able to keep it for as long as possible. He made everyone take notice and advanced his career because of it. Being WWE Champion at Wrestlemania is a very desirable position but the show is being centered around two main events – John Cena vs. The Rock and The Undertaker vs. Triple H with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee. WWE is giving these matches priority which is why you may notice a lack of hype for Punk vs. Chris Jericho.
With Triple H focusing on growing talent through the new WWE Performance Center, does this mean we will see an end to WWE signing ROH talent, despite success with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Sami Zayn?
No, quite the opposite in fact. WWE is as active as I can ever remember in scouting the independent scene for talent. The WWE Performance Center is still not up and running at 100% capacity and they're pushing for that towards the end of the year. Triple H wants more bodies training in their 7 rings and the company is actively looking. There is currently a 3-day tryout camp ongoing at the WWE Performance Center and we posted details about the next big indy name likely to sign at this link. The process is still as follows - 1) Workers are scouted 2) Workers are signed pending a physical 3) Once signed, workers are assigned to the WWE Performance Center 4) Workers are seasoned and called up when ready.
Why would WWE offer Sting a contract instead of AJ Styles? Sting said the last time he had negotiations with WWE was two years ago. Surely the same amount of today's WWE audience who knows who Sting is the same amount who knows AJ Styles.
This is a completely hypothetical situation at this time because WWE is not free to negotiate with neither Sting nor AJ Styles until their current contracts are up with TNA Wrestling. Styles is down to "days" left on his deal but I'm still unclear on the exact expiration of Sting's contract. Back to your question, I can't begin to explain the WWE reasoning to everything but I will argue Sting is a bigger draw than AJ Styles. While Styles is portrayed as "big deal" in TNA Wrestling, he's virtually unknown everywhere else. Sting has been in the business for decades and is an established household name despite not working for Vince McMahon and WWE. A lot of readers get confused about the size of TNA because we cover the news together. TNA is a much smaller promotion than WWE or WCW was back in the 90s. Just because a worker is prominently featured on their programming does not mean the rest of the world knows who they are.
It seems inevitable The Shield will breakup soon but do you think they should? I say if it's not broke, don't fix it.
Steve Austin and Chris Jericho recently had a discussion about tag team wrestling on the new "Talk is Jericho" podcast. In it, Steve Austin made a good point about how there are certain guys designed to be tag team wrestlers. Jericho talked about how Marty Jannetty and Jim Neidhart were unable to achieve the same level of success of their respective partners (Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart). The reason I mention this is there are some guys better suited for a career as tag team performer. I do not feel this is the case for the members of The Shield faction. Two out of the three (Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose) have already been featured prominently as singles competitors (albeit outside of WWE) and flourished. Roman Reigns, whose stock has surged over the past year, is being thrown around in "future WWE Champion" discussions. Back to the question, I feel like it's too soon to blowup the faction and I hope if WWE does indeed go forward with splitting them up, it's done over the course of time. The subtle teases lately are a nice touch but it would be a mistake to hotshot it and end up doing irreparable damage.
Do you have any idea of Paul Heyman's current status with WWE?
I'm told there are plans for Paul Heyman to return to WWE television and that it's just a matter of time before it happens. My source says Heyman has been more involved behind-the-scenes than Triple H would like people to believe but his official title is still as an on-screen talent.
From the Ask WNW vault…
February 2012: With all the risks that the WWE Network could be a failure, is it going to be a big blow to the WWE finances just like the XFL was? - Some people close to WWE feel that if the WWE Network fails it could be the one project that could land Vince McMahon in financial trouble. The XFL would have continued if it weren’t for problems with television clearance. While NBC nixed their coverage after the premiere season due to low ratings, the XFL still had clearances on UPN and TNN. However, UPN demanded that Smackdown be cut to 90 minutes if they were to going to continue broadcasting XFL games. Vince McMahon didn’t want to cut Smackdown and thus pulled the plug on the league. While the XFL under performed in the ratings, it wasn’t a big blow financially for WWE as it was financially solvent. What troubles a lot of people about the WWE Network is the lack of clearance gained. Company resources are being pooled together to create new original programming, however, the network hasn’t gained enough clearance to make its projected April 1, 2012 debut date. The idea was for WWE to begin promoting the launch of the network in hopes the fan response would be enough to gain support on both cable and satellite systems, but as of this writing, there are major questions about clearance.
You mentioned that WWE sees AJ Styles as a guy they’d have to start from scratch on. Would that be the same for guys like Samoa Joe or James Storm?
WWE wants to train their talent their way. That means that almost any talent, regardless of past success, has to go to the WWE Performance Center to get seasoned. It sounds ridiculous that someone like Samoa Joe or James Storm would need seasoned and they probably wouldn't require much but that's the way WWE does things. There are exceptions with stars that have previously worked for WWE and are coming back. Names like Christian and Rob Van Dam fall into this category. Jim Ross wrote he would consider Styles a long shot in WWE because WWE wants to create their own stars and those stars come from the WWE Performance Center. Again, signing Styles and sending him to developmental would be "starting from scratch."
The overrun of this week's Monday Night Raw seemed to lay the groundwork for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to feud with Triple H and Shawn Michaels respectively, culminating at Wrestlemania. Is there any chance that happens?
I can tell you the matches Vince McMahon wants at Wrestlemania XXX are Daniel Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels and Triple H vs. John Cena. I'm not sure where that leaves CM Punk and obviously there is an issue whether or not Michaels will actually agree to a match. I agree the ground work is laid for the feuds you mentioned but we'll have to wait and see how the storyline develops. I think it's likely to see Triple H feuding with Vince McMahon for "control of WWE," culminating at Wrestlemania but we'll have to see 1) if that 's the direction they go and 2) what workers that involves.
Daniel Bryan is the most over superstar in the last several years. Never mind his hometown reaction, he gets that reaction everywhere. Clearly the fans want him as champ, yet why are they holding him back?
Daniel Bryan is more over than any worker on the WWE roster. You're exactly right, he gets the response that he got on Monday night everywhere they go. As I like to say, he's over like rover. I can't tell you exactly why Daniel Bryan isn't WWE Champion. A lot of people will write that Vince McMahon doesn't see him as a big attraction but I'm not sure I believe that. Bryan is still working in the main event but the company is pushing Randy Orton as WWE Champion. However, there are people backstage in WWE that feel they need to be doing more with Bryan because he won't get any hotter than he is right now.
If you could call up one singles star, one tag team and one Diva from WWE NXT, who would you choose?
If I got to make the call I'd pick Sami Zayn (the former El Generico), The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) and Paige. They've been the most impressive and are the most main roster ready stars. However, as is the case with any prospect, I would like to see each call up done gradually and in the right situation. I'm diametrically opposed to force-feeding NXTers to the main roster.
From the Ask WNW vault…
May 2009: What are your thoughts on WWE splitting up The Miz and John Morrison? - I felt it was needed and their tag team had run its course. Both The Miz and John Morrison have bright futures in WWE and need to get their chance as singles workers. A lot of readers compare Morrison to a young HBK and I can see the similarities. The Miz has worked hard to get where he has which is why he has a tremendous upside as well.