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, November 30, 2013 to Friday, December 6, 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!
- The latest episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown is subtitled "Zeb's Thanksgiving Leftovers" and is available online at this link.
- We continue to receive a lot of questions regarding the status of Christian. Aside from celebrating his 40th birthday on Saturday, there's not an update. Christian publicly addressed his health in appearance at the October 10th NXT tapings from Winter Park, Florida where he said he was not medically cleared to compete. Christian suffered a concussion during a bout with Randy Orton on the August 26th episode of Monday Night Raw. The injury came at a particularly bad time for Christian as he returned in June after missing nearly a year due to a legitimate shoulder injury. Speculation suggests he's due back next month or the early part of next year, however, there is nothing concrete as of press time.
- WWE is running a humorous poll over on dot com. The official website asks - Which of these was the biggest blunder in sports-entertainment history?
The choices are as follows:
The Shockmaster's debut
Papa Shango's voodoo curse on Ultimate Warrior
The hiring of Mike Adamle
The Kennel from Hell Match
Sycho Sid speaking on the mic
The lights going out at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog
Mr. McMahon's Million Dollar Mania giveaway
WWE's Brawl for All tournament
Formation of The Dungeon of Doom
Scott Steiner speaking on the mic
Results are not available after voting but there are some real gems here. Ouch to Mike Adamle, Sid Vicious and Scott Steiner. Remember Vince McMahon's big giveaways? Sheesh, good times!
- We have some updated sales information on WWE Studios projects.
The Call sold 468,917 DVD units from June 30th to August 4th for a gross of $8,513,782. The film also moved 133,371 Blu-Ray units for $3,142,841.
Dead Man Down sold 188,501 DVD units from July 14th to August 4th for a gross of $3,418,711. The film moved 94,905 Blu-Ray units for $1,824,178 during the same time period.
12 Rounds 2 has made $1,504,252 since its release in June. That number breaks down into $919,421 in DVDs and $584,831 in Blu-Ray units.
The Marine 3 has made $3,301,185 since its release in March. That number breaks down into $2,570,365 in DVDs and $730,820 in Blu-Ray units.
Both 12 Rounds 2 and The Marine 3 cost $1.5 million a piece to make, so the former has at least made back its production budget and Marine 3 has doubled it.
- WWE will tape Tribute to the Troops 2013 on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 from Hangars 3 & 4 at McChord Field in Washington. The taping is scheduled to begin at 7 PM local time with The Bella Twins, John Cena, CM Punk, The Miz and R-Truth being the focal points of local advertisements. Click here for local event information. WWE Tribute to the Troops 2013 is scheduled to air on Saturday, December 28, 2013 on NBC.
- The Rock, who starred alongside Paul Walker in the Fast & Furious movies, Tweeted the following about Walker's death:
Walker died suddenly and tragically in a single car crash on Saturday. He was a passenger in the vehicle.
Rock has been filming "Fast 7" with Walker in the Atlanta, Georgia area. The film is scheduled for release some time next year.
- Adam Pearce Tweeted the following on Sunday:
Pearce is expected to work this week at the WWE Performance Center as a guest trainer.
- WWE has officially announced that their Classics On Demand service will officially be ending on January 31, 2014. Click here for the official announcement. We broke the news on November 17, 2013 here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. We also noted how the announcement could have implications for the WWE Network as the last time WWE was in the process of ending the service (a couple years ago), it was due to the imminent launch of the WWE Network. However, WWE was quick to issue a statement, reassuring that no launch date for the WWE Network has been set.
- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper Tweeted the following:
Piper is talking about WWE Legends' House, a reality show produced by WWE to air on the upcoming WWE Network. Production for the show began in January 2012 in Palm Springs, California. Filming began in early February of that year at the former house of Harpo Marx. Confirmed cast members include Gene Okerlund, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Hillbilly Jim, Howard Finkel, Jimmy Hart, Roddy Piper, Pat Patterson and Tony Atlas.
WWE was at one time believed to be shopping the series to the networks with their plans for a network delayed due to the lack of carriage agreements.
- We have an update on Ryback following his 2-4 record in televised/pay-per-view singles matches for the month of November. We reported a couple weeks ago here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that Vince McMahon was indeed entertaining the thought of doing Ryback vs. Bill Goldberg at Wrestlemania XXX next year. The only hangup seemed to be Goldberg's reluctance to return as a heel.
In speaking with sources, I'm told the word is Ryback wants the match "really bad." He knows that it would be a big match and figures he would be going over. My source says he's been doing all he could for months to subtly stir up interest, in addition to lobbying for it behind-the-scenes.
There's a story making rounds that he has heat in WWE for imitating Goldberg's move set without permission. At this point, a deal isn't done with Goldberg and WWE is going back and forth on whether they want to do the match or not. The office really felt like Ryback was going into business for himself by trying to build interest in a match that may not happen. Furthermore, the feeling is that Ryback knows it's a match he'd be booked to win and wouldn't be so eager to see the match happen if he was the one who would be getting pinned.
So the reason he's been "pinned to death" in recent weeks is a humbling of sorts as Wrestlemania XXX plans hang in the balance.
- Jim Ross has no plans to attend this week's Monday Night Raw in Oklahoma City. JR has Tweeted to fans that he'll be watching from home and posting live Tweets.
- Booker T and his wife Sharmell were in attendance at Sunday's NFL game between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans.
- Gerald Brisco was scouting talent for WWE on Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
- WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas has a masochistic fetish. Well, that trickled over to an incident with former WWE Divas Jillian Hall at WrestleCade 2013 that you can watch at this link.
- Daniel Bryan will be featured on Steve Austin's podcast in a new episode set to hit the Internet on Tuesday. Chris Jericho's podcast, also on the PodcastOne platform, is scheduled to premiere on Wednesday with Austin as his guest. Jericho's show is titled "Talk is Jericho."
- See No Evil 2 starring Kane is in post-production and the first trailer will be out soon. The WWE Studios project is due out next year.
- Former WWE Tough Enough winner Maven Huffman admitted to using steroids during his run with the company in the early 2000s. Maven made the admission in an "Ask Me Anything" chat on Reddit a few weeks ago. He said he needed to get bigger in a short period of time and that steroids aided his career, adding he'd do again.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online on his official website that you can read at this link.
- Below is a photo of John Cena and Daniel Bryan with The Bella Twins on Thanksgiving. Cameras for E!'s Total Divas were there filming for the show:
- Jim Ross is scheduled to hold two "An Evening with Jim Ross" live events on Saturday, March 1, 2014 from the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. The shows will be at 4 PM and 8 PM and tickets go on sale Friday.
- Wade Barrett is scheduled to be at this week's Monday Night Raw in Oklahoma City. I haven't heard if there are plans to use him. He's been dealing with work visa issues that are now sorted.
- WWE named The Shield their "Rookie of the Year" here on dot com. The trio beat out The Wyatt Family, Fandango, Big E Langston and Curtis Axel.
- Lilian Garcia has donated items worn on WWE television to auction off on eBay with proceeds benefitting Susan G. Komen. The auction will take place on December 9, 2013 at 1 PM EST. Click here for more information.
- WWE is interested in University of Tennessee at Chattanooga linebacker Gunner Miller. According to an article by TimesFreePress.com, Gerald Brisco has been scouting him and he had a tryout scheduled for this month. The tryout was pushed back to June due to a stinger injury. The tryout will take place at the WWE Performance Center in June.
- Mickie James is scheduled to play a concert at Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday, January 17, 2014. Click here for more information.
- Michael Hayes, who is in charge of the WWE producers, is at this week's WWE Monday Night Raw from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Hayes has been away from the company in rehab for problems with alcohol.
- CM Punk will face Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in a 3-1 handicap match at WWE TLC.
- Damien Sandow, who beat Dolph Ziggler on Raw to become the number one contender for the WWE Intercontinental Championship, will face Big E Langston at the pay-per-view.
- WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. World Heavyweight Champion John Cena is officially being billed as a unification match. The company is currently asking fans via an App vote what the new champion should be called. The Unified Champion, the Undisputed WWE Champion or the Undisputed World Champion.
- Wade Barrett debuted his "Bad News Barrett" character on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. From a podium, similar to what Michael Cole used as the voice of the Anonymous Raw General Manager, Barrett hosted the segment, where the company flashed the hashtag #BadNewsBarrett.
In the segment, Barrett said he had some good news and bad news. The good news was they were live on Raw. The bad news they were stuck in an arena full of hillbillies and overweight miscreants who had to name their city after their state just so they could remember it.
Barrett debuted the character on The JBL & Cole Show as you can watch it in action at this link.
Barrett has been off shows in the United States recently due to work visa issues. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, those issues are now sorted.
Below is the Twitter reaction from the gimmick:
- It was announced in a backstage segment on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw with Kane and Daniel Bryan that Bryan will face Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match at WWE TLC.
- Natalya will challenge AJ Lee for the Divas Championship at WWE TLC. WWE TLC 2013 will take place Sunday, December 15, 2013 from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. We’ll have exclusive live coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Click here for other matches announced for the show.
- Sin Cara returned to WWE on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, pinning Alberto Del Rio clean. This was Cara's first televised match since the August 20, 2013 Smackdown taping in Bakersfield, California.
December 2, 2012 10:20 PM EST Update:The Sin Cara character was portrayed by Jorge Arias, who is better known as Hunico. We do not have any further information at this time. End update.
December 2, 2012 10:30 PM EST Update:Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, the original Sin Cara, is not at Monday Night Raw. He Tweeted the following less than one hour ago:
- WWE held an App Vote on this week's Monday Night Raw asking fans what they think the winner of WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at TLC should be called.
The results of the poll are as follows:
Unified Champion 38%
Undisputed WWE Champion 31%
Undisputed World Champion 31%
What does the vote mean? Evidentially not much. It was said on announce they're sure The Authority will keep the vote under consideration. As the storyline goes, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have "guaranteed" one unified champion after the pay-per-view in two weeks.
WWE is really focusing on the attraction of a unification match, even going as far as calling it the greatest match in the company's history.
- The Miz recently sat down with Sam Roberts to take part in an extensive interview spanning his role in "Christmas Bounty," his relationship with Maryse, why he doesn't consider his recent actions to be turning heel, his concussion at WrestleMania XXVII, and more. The interview is available at this link.
- WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios is scheduled to participate at the UBS 41st Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City on December 10, 2013. The Webcast to watch his presentation will be located at this link.
- For those that missed the Bad News Barrett segments with Wade Barrett on this week's Monday Night Raw, you can watch one of them at this link.
- There were no dark match main events following this week's Raw taping.
- The official theme song for WWE TLC is "Never, Never" by KoRn.
- Throughout this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, WWE announced categories for this year's Slammy Awards. The Slammy Awards will be the theme of next week's show from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. The categories are as follows:
Extreme Moment of the Year
Insult of the Year
Double-Cross of the Year
This Is Awesome Moment of the Year
LOL! Moment of the Year
Match of the Year
Total Diva of the Year
Superstar of the Year
Voting will take place on the WWE App as the company continues to make their App an integral piece to viewing their programming.
- WWE updated their Key Performance Indicators on Tuesday. In them, they reveal buyrate estimates for WWE Battleground and WWE Hell in a Cell.
The two pay-per-views drew an estimated 363,000 buys combined. How that averages out, I'm not exactly sure but I can tell you that WWE Battleground was one of the lowest bought pay-per-views since WWE Over the Limit 2011, which drew 140,000 buys. Hell in a Cell was up slightly from last year, which drew 199,000 buys.
You can evaluate WWE's Key Performance Indicators at this link.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled Funky Breakup and is online at this link.
- The Miz is featured in a new episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch at this link.
- WWE's annual letter to former talent has already gone out. The letter notifies talent of their right to fully-funded rehabilitation for substance abuse issues. In addition to paying for rehab for former talent, the company provides a 24-hour hotline. The letter was signed by Triple H.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Oklahoma City...
- One of the bigger stories coming out of this week's show was Hunico back under the Sin Cara mask. This will most likely be the plan moving forward. Had WWE wanted to hide Hunico's identity as Cara they could have easily covered up his arm tattoo. The fact they made no effort to cover up the tattoo is indicative of where WWE stands on Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, formerly known as Mistico, and the original Cara. As we reported, Mistico wasn't at Raw and was actually eating dinner in Mexico when the match aired.
- Cody Rhodes suffered a minor arm injury but it wasn't said to be serious.
- We're told Wade Barrett's "Bad News Barrett" gimmick wasn't well-received backstage.
- There was talk of adding a 4-way Tag Team Championship Match to the WWE TLC lineup. As was evident with the booking of this week's show, Vince McMahon is back on his tag team kick.
- Booking on the fly has been thrown into plain sight yet again with the booking of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. One observer commented about how WWE "gutted" the long-term booking of their program, which originally had them feuding with The Wyatt Family and ultimately leading to a program between themselves. In a week, WWE has blown off Punk/The Wyatts and moved him to The Shield while also moving Bryan away from Punk and moving him to the Wyatt Family. The plan for CM Punk going forward is to possibly align him with other babyfaces to continue the program with The Shield. There has been talk about breaking up the Shield but many feel it's just way too early for that.
- The feeling backstage was that Big E Langston was uncomfortable on announce. The company did not want him to do his comedy commentator gig because WWE officials felt it would take away from his character and make him look like a joke.
- WWE did a backstage segment at this week's Monday Night Raw where Brodus Clay and Tensai "made up" after dissension was teased was on the air. You can check out the segment at this link.
- Daniel Bryan's appearance on The Steve Austin Show is now online. In it, Bryan said he and Brie Bella haven't set a wedding date but are looking at the weekend after Wrestlemania XXX because they're both off. Click here to listen now.
- Last week's Thanksgiving themed episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,641,000 on SyFy. While down from the previous few weeks, this wasn't a bad number considering it was the day after a major US holiday. The show ended up scoring a 1.86 cable rating. You can see how the night stacked up at this link.
- WWE has announced that Jerry Lawler and Booker T will be hosting the 2013 Slammy Awards on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The show will emanate from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington.
Speaking of the 2013 Slammy Awards, The Brooklyn Brawler, who works for WWE as a producer, Tweeted the following:
Voting for the 2013 Slammy Awards will take place through the WWE App. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- WWE announced at Tuesday night's Smackdown taping that Bret Hart, Christian, Eve Torres and Shawn Michaels will present Slammy Awards on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw from Seattle, Washington. They'll present for the following awards:
Superstar of the Year presented by Shawn Michaels
Match of the Year presented by Bret Hart
This is Awesome Moment of the Year presented by Christian
Total Diva Award presented by Eve Torres
- Speaking of legends returning, Booker T is scheduled for the following Monday Night Raw tapings - January 6th, January 13th and January 20th. Mick Foley is scheduled for the January 7th Smackdown taping in Philadelphia. You can check out all the list of advertised talent here on dot com.
- Chris Jericho's first episode of his "Talk is Jericho" podcast is now online at this link. His first guest is Steve Austin.
- The movie ticket service Fandango is opposing WWE's trademark of the name. I'm not sure what happened but WWE was originally set to spell Fandango with a second o, Fandangoo, to avoid this but ended up going with the former. Apparently their legal team feels they'll win the opposition.
- The Miz filmed a segment with The Muppets and celebrity chef Gorden Ramsey on Tuesday. You can watch a video of The Miz with The Muppets posted by WWE at this link.
- Jim Ross updated his blog with full thoughts from this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Click here to read it.
- Tyson Kidd beat Justin Gabriel in a dark match prior to this week's Smackdown taping.
- WWE is scheduled to hold an exclusive event on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas with Vince McMahon present. The event will take place the same week as the 2014 International CES consumer and electronics trade show, which will be in town and is something WWE has had a presence at for the past few years. Some are speculating the event is "something big" because of McMahon's scheduled appearance. The company would normally send CFO George Barrios or another executive for such an event. Obviously when one thinks of big announcements and WWE it's hard not to think about the proposed WWE Network.
- With Jorge Arias or Hunico portraying the Sin Cara character on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, much has been written and speculated about the future of Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, also known as Mistico, in WWE. No official release has taken place and WWE might opt to let his contract lapse rather than making an official release.
As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, Hunter's new is edict is essentially - don't fire anybody! He would rather allow for contracts to run out and not re-sign talent, as opposed to making a publicized cut. Triple H feels releases are bad for business because they bring negative publicity on a successful company seen as a job creator. As noted in the original article, this edict doesn't apply to developmental talent and only talent that has made it to the main WWE roster.
Back to Sin Cara, there is a ton of irony here. Hunico actually worked as Mistico in Mexico before the original Sin Cara worked as Mistico. Their roles have essentially flipped as now Hunico is portraying a character that was played by the same guy who played his character in Mexico after him.
WWE likes the Sin Cara character because it's marketable and sells a lot of merchandise. This is why they decided to replace Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde rather than eliminate the character completely.
- After this week's episode of Smackdown was finished filming, there was an in-ring confrontation between Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt. Wyatt told Bryan to join them or be forced to join them. The Wyatt Family beat up on Bryan before Big Show made the save, giving the babyfaces the advantage and sending the crowd home happy.
- I mentioned in Wednesday's installment of Ask WNW that I've been made aware of multiple finishes concerning the finish of John Cena vs. Randy Orton at WWE TLC later this month. The original plan was indeed for Cena and Orton to simply swap titles but when people started to figure that out quickly, the plan was changed. This is also the reason WWE went from teasing unification to point blank stating it. I do not know the finish they are using as of press time but I'm told there are multiple alternative finishes under consideration.
- In an update on Hulk Hogan's negotiations with WWE, we've mentioned how neither Triple H nor Vince McMahon want his deal with the company to be contingent on a match at Wrestlemania XXX. WWE feels they have a lot of leverage because they can pay Hogan more than TNA and it's not like Hogan was eager to wrestle there anyways. So the word within WWE is that Hogan won't turn down the opportunity to return even if he's not happy with his role at Wrestlemania XXX next year.
WWE is looking for Hogan to have a "major role" in terms of being featured on the programming on the WWE Network and hope his presence will entice older fans to check out the service even if they have no interest in the current product.
The same goes for Bruno Sammartino. WWE is hoping to use him as an asset in a similar fashion but they do realize that he has far less mainstream name brand value compared to Hogan. Also, given his age, there's no way the company can rely on Bruno still being alive to continue to film new content consistently for the next 5-10 years.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,541,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:
Hour 1 - 3,616,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 3,560,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 3,447,000 viewers
The show did a 2.65 cable rating.
There's no sugar coating this as it's a horrendous number for WWE and the lowest viewing audience of the year. You can see how the competition stacked up at this link.
- This week's episode of Total Divas did an average viewing audience of 1,443,000 viewers on E!, a significant rebound from last week that saw the series score under 1 million viewers for the first time in its history.
- WWE just announced on their official website that there are now 12 categories revealed for the WWE Universe to decide Monday on Raw at 8/7CT. The full awards are below:
Superstar of the Year
Match of the Year
Diva of the Year
Insult of the Year
Double-Cross of the Year
"LOL!" Moment of the Year
"This Is Awesome" Moment of the Year
Extreme Moment of the Year
Trending Now (Hashtag) of the Year
Beard of the Year
Fan Participation of the Year
Breakout Star of the Year
- This week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole is now online. In it, Hunter talks about the differences between the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. He vows The Champion of Champions will be crowned at WWE TLC. You can watch the interview at this link.
- WWE issued a press release on Wednesday, noting the promotions of Michelle Wilson, George Barrios and Stephanie McMahon. The key name here is Stephanie McMahon. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on October 28, 2013 that Stephanie McMahon had stepped down as the head of creative. The move was described as something that she welcomed, where she wasn't forced to shoulder so much responsibility in regards to the quality of the programming. At the time, Vince McMahon had taken back the reigns as the head of creative. WWE wanted to keep the move quiet because they didn't want to paint Stephanie in a negative light. It looks like this release is a way to acknowledge the change and announce the new positions.
- WWE issued a press release on Tribute to the Troops 2013 2013 on Wednesday. In it, they announced that Daughtry will perform on the special set to air in a one-hour timeslot on NBC on Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 8/7c. WWE will tape Tribute to the Troops 2013 on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 from Hangars 3 & 4 at McChord Field in Washington.
- The nominees for the 2013 Superstar of the Year Slammy are as follows:
The award will be presented by Shawn Michaels, who will be returning for next week's Monday Night Raw broadcast in Seattle, Washington.
- The nominees for the Total Diva of the Year are as follows:
The Bella Twins
Cameron & Naomi
The award will be presented by a returning Eve Torres.
- The nominees for the Doublecross of the Year Slammy are as follows:
Triple H screwing Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam
Shawn Michaels screwing Daniel Bryan at Hell in a Cell
The Mark Henry and John Cena retirement angle
Paul Heyman screwing CM Punk at Money in the Bank
The award will be presented by The Shield.
- Booker T was in attendance at Wednesday's Phoenix Suns at Houston Rockets NBA game doing promotional work for WWE TLC.
- Arda Ocal has a new article online featuring quotes from Sgt. Slaughter. In addition to working as an ambassador for WWE, Slaughter scouts talent at independent events for the company. You can read the article at this link.
- WWE has signed Randy Orton's 18-year-old cousin Jasper Orton to a developmental contract, according to a report being attributed to Dave Meltzer. Jasper is currently dealing with a meniscus injury.
- WWE posted video of John Cena signing autographs at Kmart in New York City a couple of weeks ago to promote his "Never Give Up" clothing line. You can watch it at this link.
- We've spent a lot of time dissecting possible plans for Wrestlemania XXX, well here was the direction the company was headed in prior to this week's television tapings:
John Cena vs. Triple H
Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan
Vince McMahon is less than thrilled with this lineup and it's obviously very subject to change. In fact, we're unaware of the direction of where WWE plans to go with both Punk and Bryan as they switched directions on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
As for Cena/Triple H, it's something that Triple H wants to do and it's why there is no push to sign Hulk Hogan on the contingency of a Wrestlemania match. Undertaker/Lesnar is something Undertaker has pushed for even prior to Wrestlemania 29 this year.
- WWE is circulating a statement that reads the creative team now reports to Triple H. While I'm sure this is the case, Vince McMahon took back the reigns as the head of creative back in October. At the time, WWE wanted to keep the fact that Stephanie McMahon was no longer running creative out of the public eye because they didn't want to paint her in a negative light. Stephanie was receptive of stepping down as head of creative as the job was stressful, time consuming and resulted in her having to shoulder a tremendous amount of blame. You can read our original article from October 28, 2013 at this link. You can read details on Stephanie's promotion at this link.
- Earlier on Thursday, we linked to an article that Arda Ocal wrote featuring quotes from Sgt. Slaughter. In that article, Slaughter didn't care to open up on the booking of Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. Below is an excerpt:
On Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler:
"I don't think he's [Daniel Bryan is] being treated fairly. [The people at WWE] are making him work awfully hard to be successful and he's not letting them down. He's working harder than ever. He's like a giant slayer. He takes on the biggest and the best. Kind of like Dolph Ziggler -- he's another talent I thought he wasn't being used right, and I brought it up in several production meetings that they shouldn't do his character as they were.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- CM Punk, who is currently working through a rib injury, Tweeted the following:
- Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard profiles Big E Langston's video game debut in WWE 2K14. In it, Langston reveals some advice that John Cena gave him. Below is an excerpt:
As your video game debut reminds us, you’re still pretty new in the wrestling game. What’s the best advice you’re received about life in the WWE?
From John Cena, I learned about the importance of timing and the moment. There are things you can let get away from you, and things might happen out of nowhere, but it’s all about owning the moment. When you’re out there in front of the crowd, it’s about taking that chance or doing something special so you go from just being a guy to being someone important.
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
As we've been reporting since May, Big E Langston is a guy that Cena has been looking out for and has been grooming him "every step of the way." They've been close since Langston was called up to the main roster and Cena sees him as a future headliner.
- We reported earlier this week that WWE has scheduled an exclusive event on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 from the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas with Vince McMahon. The word going around is that will have something to do with the proposed WWE Network.
Details remain sketchy but apparently the idea is an announcement in January and a launch some time in the first quarter of next year. While February 2014 is the general assumption for a launch date, we cannot confirm that at this time.
Furthering speculation is the impending discontinuation of WWE Classics On Demand. We broke the story here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that WWE will pull the plug on the service on January 31, 2014. This drew a response from WWE, confirming the service would not exist beginning in February but that no launch date for the proposed WWE Network had been set.
10:50 AM EST UPDATE:WWE has requested we attach the following statement, as they are not ready to commit to a launch date, format of distribution and the role of pay-per-view:
“In addition to not being able to confirm timing of WWE Network launch, WWE is still considering all options for distribution, pricing and role of pay-per-view.”
- Wrestling News World reader Aaron Cook sent this in… WWE will be returning to The Lakeland Center in Lakeland, FL for a live event on Sunday Feb 2, 2014. Tickets go on Sale Friday December 13 at 10:00 AM.
- Larry Sharpe discussed his Monster Factory pro wrestling training center with John Corrigan of The Temple News. In it, he said that Gerald Brisco, who works as a talent scout for WWE, told him that he should talk with Triple H about coming to check the center out. You can read the article in its entirety at this link.
- Our thoughts are with WWE Hall of Famer Jim Duggan as he's scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery on Friday.
- WWE has posted the 2013 Slammy nominees for Match of the Year presented by Bret Hart and Insult of the Year presented by The Miz. They are as follows:
Match of the Year - Presented by Bret Hart
Undertaker vs. CM Punk (WrestleMania 29)
John Cena vs. The Rock (WrestleMania 29)
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (Battleground)
Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules)
Insult of the Year - Presented by The Miz
Stephanie McMahon insults Big Show
AJ goes off on "Total Divas"
Paul Heyman's insults toward CM Punk
Zeb Colter's insults
The nominees for Superstar of the Year, Total Diva of the Year and Doublecross of the Year are located at this link.
Richard Reacts: I know you didn't ask, but I'll give them to you anyway. My pick for MOTY is Undertaker/Punk and Stephanie McMahon insults Big Show for Insult of the Year. Daniel Bryan is my pick for Superstar of the Year, AJ Lee for Diva of the Year and the Mark Henry/John Cena retirement angle for Doublecross of the Year.
- WWE issued a fan survey on Friday to gauge interest in a number of projects. The survey asked about a WWE-themed retail store, an animated movie, a fitness DVD and WWE sponsored dinners to raise money for charitable organizations.
- Jim Duggan is out of shoulder surgery and posted a photo here on Facebook.
- Kane's problem with bears is the subtitle to this week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show that you can watch at this link.
- Metro out of the United Kingdom interviewed Bret Hart to promote his inclusion in WWE 2K14. When asked about the Montreal Screwjob, Hart said that he's calmed down a lot. He said he wouldn't change anything he did in terms of his own conduct but that he regrets all of it. Hart admitted that he wished he never would have left WWE. He also said Antonio Cesaro is one of the best wrestlers going. Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- The Miz is featured in a "Muppisode" with the Muppets at this link.
- TNA Wrestling is moving in a different direction with live events next year. The company is running in high schools and community centers with shows in Arkansas and Tennessee. The January 3, 2014 show in Batesville, Arkansas will emanate from Southside High School.The following night, TNA will run from the Earl Bell Community Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The night after that, on Sunday, January 5, 2014, TNA will run from Jackson Northside High School in Jackson, Tennessee. The new wrinkles are part of TNA's new creative direction and attempt to drastically cut spending.
- According to Tweets made by the marketing manager at Sony SIX (India's Premier Sports Entertainment Channel), TNA Wrestling is set to tour India. No other details are available as it's unclear if the company will be running shows in the country or sending stars to the country. The following is from Twitter:
- The following matches have been announced for TNA Wrestling's December 29, 2013 Hardcore Justice pay-per-view in Lowell, Massachusetts:
Steel Cage Match
Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson
Ethan Carter III vs. Tommy Dreamer
X Division Xscape
Samoa Joe vs. Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries
Full Metal Mayhem
Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Eric Young & Abyss
- Journey of a Frontman has a new interview online with Bad Influence. Click here to read it.
- TNA Wrestling will be sending Kurt Angle and Gail Kim for a promotional tour of India next week. The following is from Twitter:
- Speaking of Gail Kim, she really put over Taryn Terrell in Part 2 of The Miami Heard's article on women's wrestling. Click here to read it.
- Bill Apter interviews Devon at this link.
- Taz is a scheduled guest for an upcoming episode of Steve Austin's podcast. For those that missed it, Austin's podcast featuring Daniel Bryan as a guest was promoted on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
- Kurt Angle is featured in a new Web series called "Horse Cops." You can watch the first episode at this link.
- TMZ caught up with James Storm recently and he said he popped a guy's eye out of socket in a bar brawl. You can watch the footage at this link.
- Last week's Thanksgiving episode of Impact Wrestling did less than 921,000 viewers with a 0.70 cable rating. The number was atrocious and not just because it was a holiday either. The number was the lowest audience they've attracted since the Monday night experiment in 2010 and the lowest Thanksgiving on record. By comparison, the show drew 1,187,000 viewers on Thanksgiving 2012 and 1,405,000 viewers on Thanksgiving 2011.
- Xtreme Tiger from AAA worked a match against Zema Ion that was taped for Xplosion at Wednesday night's TNA tapings. He competed under the name Ultimate Tiger.
- The latest Impact Podcast features Eric Young, Rockstar Spud, Robbie E and James Storm and can be listened to at this link.
- Things got a little better for Impact Wrestling as this week's show did an average viewing audience of 1,241,000 viewers on Spike TV. The competition wasn't as strong and TNA saw their viewership numbers return to over one million after last week's troubling Thanksgiving slide.
What's up with Kofi Kingston, why hasn't he won a world championship yet? I thought his best push ever was late 2009 where he had a hot feud with Randy Orton, I mean he could've easily gotten it... I think Randy Orton blew it for him when he told WWE he wasn't ready... What do you think?
What Randy Orton did (or didn't do) to Kofi Kingston's push several years ago is a moot point. WWE doesn't see Kofi Kingston as a main event talent, at least not yet. I compare Kofi to John Morrison in that he just goes out and outworks the entire roster. My label for him is the WWE workhorse. I'm a huge Kofi fan. He's over with the audience and he has great in-ring work. He's a likable guy and someone I've had the privilege to interview. I can't explain why WWE doesn't see him as more than they do but there are a lot of factors that stop a talent from reaching the main event. With that being said, Kofi routinely gets on television and is prominent mid-card programs. While he doesn't have a top spot in the company, he doesn't have a bad one either. Not everyone can be pushed in the main event and if WWE unifies their world titles there are going to be a lot more people wondering about the lack of top pushes.
Who is your favorite tag team in WWE right now and who would you like to see in an extended feud for the tag belts?
There are lot of good tag teams in WWE right now with Vince McMahon restarting on his love for tag team wrestling (something that seems to change by the week). The show stealers as we've come to know them are Cody Rhodes & Goldust and Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns. They've had some spectacular matches lately, full of everything that I love about this business. My favorite emerging team is Jimmy & Jey Uso as they have excellent in-ring chemistry and bring back an element to the product that's been lacking. As for an extended program, I've really enjoyed the aforementioned program of the Rhodes brothers versus The Shield members. Anything involving The Usos would be entertaining but it's hard for me to give you an exact program I would like to see regarding tag team performers.
With all of the hype surrounding Hulk Hogan and Bill Goldberg, I can't help but notice that WWE is looking to go all out for Wrestlemania XXX. I can't say I don't blame them and I know you have been hearing this question a lot, but with the state of TNA in limbo right now, do you know the status of Sting and his negotiations with TNA? Or maybe WWE?
You are correct in that Vince McMahon wants to go all out for Wrestlemania XXX. The problem is that nothing is definitive and that's left him frustrated headed into the end of the year. Sting's contract with TNA Wrestling is believed to be up some time this month although we do not have further details at this time. There is WWE interest but there's been WWE interest in Sting for the last several years. Sting puts himself in this position by working year-to-year in TNA so he has the option to try WWE if that's what he decides. I can confirm that WWE has spoken with Bill Goldberg and Hulk Hogan about returning. Both are stories we are following in our Backstage News section. Make sure you check out our Cyber Monday special if you aren't yet a WNW Premium Member.
If a lack in faith prevents Daniel Bryan from becoming a long-term champion, why is Randy Orton a multi-champion when he has never really drawn for the WWE? Does Randy Orton sell out arenas? Do crowds throughout the world cheer profusely for Orton? The fans have been behind Randy at certain points of his career, but as a lifelong fan, I can't honestly say that he has been the reason anyone has ever spent $50 on a PPV. The same can honestly be said about numerous other stars including Del Rio, Big Show, JBL and Sheamus.
Easy partner! Randy Orton seems to be getting a lot of heat today from readers. I'm on the opposite end of this. I see Randy Orton as a top guy and as a draw for WWE. We can all debate how much of a draw that he is - because he isn't at the level of John Cena - but he's still a main eventer. Please be careful with your assumption that there's a lack of confidence in Daniel Bryan. I know there are places that write this conjecture but I've heard nothing of the sorts. Everything I hear is that Vince McMahon is high up on Bryan and admitted he was wrong about him. Yes, he's out of the WWE title picture but it was time to move on after a lengthy program with Orton that was hampered by bad booking.
From the Ask WNW vault…
September 2010: Why is Kofi Kingston not a main event talent? - Kofi Kingston has been close to getting a push in the main event a couple times but has been held back for one reason or another. Kofi is a guy with great talent and seems to have a loyal fan base so it's certainly not out of the question he'll get elevated before the end of the year. Last year I spoke with Kofi about his position in WWE and he clarified more in which you can read here.
Will Hunico be playing Sin Cara moving forward?
Hunico was indeed under the Sin Cara mask on Monday Night Raw this week and this appears to be the plan moving forward. The fact WWE put him over Alberto Del Rio clean tells me they still have big plans for the Sin Cara gimmick. It appears that Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, the original Sin Cara, is finished with WWE. I'll have more on all of this in this week's Backstage Raw news.
With WWE TLC taking place in Houston, what are the odds Undertaker makes a surprise appearance?
While anything is possible, I wouldn't count on seeing The Undertaker until the build to Wrestlemania XXX next year. If WWE was going to use him on pay-per-view prior, it probably would have been at Survivor Series. As we all saw, that was not the case as Undertaker recently had another surgery that is not expected to impact his status for next year's pay-per-view.
Do you see a possible outcome for the WWE Championship/World Heavyweight Championship match at TLC? For example, both men grab a championship so WWE still has two champions?
When WWE first announced the TLC main event, they were vague in the wording. While the assumption was it would be a unification match, they didn't come right out and say it. That changed on this week's episode of Raw, with WWE moving forward that it would be a unification match. They even held an App vote with fans saying they wanted the new champion to be called the Unified Champion. The Ask WNW mailbox was filled with scenarios, thoughts and ideas but the bottom-line is no one knows where they are going. Based on the way WWE has booked The Authority angle, there is good reason to suspect a screwy finish. However, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon "guarantee" one champion after the pay-per-view.
What's your take on the build to WWE TLC?
I Tweeted Monday night that the build to WWE TLC has been "much better" and it's the first pay-per-view in months that has seemed relevant. Hot shot or not, the fact of the matter is this card features a match that is a "big deal" and I think it will help the show's buy rate. We've talked a lot about pay-per-views being attraction-driven and the unification of the WWE and World Heavyweight titles is a big attraction. People that do not like Cena and do not like Orton are going to moan, groan and complain but if you do not like Cena and you do not like Orton, what are you doing watching WWE? They are number one and number two respectively. How WWE books the bout will have major implications on what I think of TLC and even though I'm not thrilled with a match this big being a hot-shotted gimmick match, it's much better than the monotony we've endured since SummerSlam.
From the Ask WNW vault…
June 2008: I agree that in today's day and age, the Intercontinental Championship belt has turned into an afterthought; once a stepping stone for a superstar, the IC belt has turned into nothing more than a prop that is held by upper level mid-card workers. I think one of the reasons for this is because that WWE has two World Championships as well as the ECW Championship. Factor in the United States Championship belt and you have a ton of championships. I think that it would be refreshing for Shawn Michaels to get a run as IC Champ and like you said - maybe restore the belt's image but I haven't heard anything either way. It's really frustrating how WWE utilizes their titles with them rarely being defended and with Champions getting beat clean in non-title matches.
Do you think having one member of The Shield win the Royal Rumble would be a good way to break them up?
I think it's too soon. Not only too soon to breakup The Shield but too soon to put one of them in the main event at Wrestlemania. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have proved they are all very talented and capable on the big stage, however, WWE gets in trouble when they try to do too much too soon. It's time for some storyline progression with the faction but if it were up to me I'd do it slowly over the course of the next 6 months, leading to an eventual breakup. Once the faction splits, it'll be proving ground for each in singles competition. I just think that would be a better scenario then risking a rocket pack push flopping and doing irrefutable damage to one of their respective careers.
Should we expect Vince McMahon do to whatever it takes to have Hulk Hogan and Bill Goldberg at Wrestlemania XXX?
As ridiculous as this question sounds, you wouldn't believe how true it is. Vince McMahon is reportedly frustrated at being unable to nail down plans for a big Wrestlemania main event and that frustration is starting to bleed over into negotiations with the aforementioned names. WWE has considered doing Ryback vs. Bill Goldberg at Wrestlemania and they're interested in Hogan. Neither Vince nor Triple H are sold on Hogan working a singles match but they would like for him to at least appear on the show. As for Goldberg, there are creative hangups and there are Ryback hangups. We've been tracking both stories but it's interesting you brought this up because some believe Vince is starting to act out of desperation.
The talk is out there about a possible swerve in the TLC match between WWE Champion Randy Orton and World Heavyweight Champion John Cena at the pay-per-view next month. Do you think Triple H would "screw over" Orton and possibly set the wheels in motion for him to help Cena and turn him heel?
I've been made aware of multiple scenarios for the TLC match at the pay-per-view, one I'll have more on later in the week but I'm not holding my breath on a John Cena heel turn. WWE has had opportunities to turn Cena before and it's been considered but never made it to fruition. Once something is talked about and debated for so long I finally concede to "I'll believe it, when I see it." That's the case with Cena turning heel.
I'm hearing the word "epic" and "historic" to describe the unification match at WWE TLC, but didn't Chris Jericho already make HISTORY in two EPIC matches to be come the only and first time ever UNDISPUTED CHAMPION?
Everyone wants to talk about title unification. I've never seen a topic come up so often in the 6+ years I've been doing Ask WNW. Literally almost every question I've received for the past couple weeks has had something to do with it. So with that disclaimer, Chris Jericho beat The Rock for the World Heavyweight Championship and Steve Austin for the WWF Championship at Vengeance 2001 on December 9, 2001 to become the first ever Undisputed Champion. WWE has been here before but they're hyping the match at WWE TLC to sell the attraction of the pay-per-view. Pay-per-views are bought on the attraction and the fact of the matter is people care about this show because they care about this match. Words such as "epic" and "historic" are used to hype it and it's working. I'll admit that I'm more interested in WWE TLC then I have been in any pay-per-view since SummerSlam. How WWE books Orton vs. Cena will determine what I think of the pay-per-view.
From the Ask WNW vault…
April 2008:Is Hulk Hogan still on good terms with WWE or is he out again? - I'm not sure. Hogan and Vince McMahon are always going to have an up and down relationship. Both have tremendous egos and feel that the other one owes them something. I guess it depends on the day of the week on what the relationship is like. Hogan obviously wanted a WrestleMania payout but as we all saw that didn't happen.
In Wednesday's installment of Ask WNW, you wrote about Vince McMahon being desperate to bring in big name talent for Wrestlemania XXX. It's only been the last few years that McMahon has built the show largely around part-timers or ex-stars making a one-time appearance. Before that, the Wrestlemania cards were always made of the existing talent. If the storylines were there, do you think it would be possible to put together a great show centered around the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Sheamus, one that could rival past years in terms of buy rates?
Vince McMahon has changed his position on part-time talent, mostly due to the success the company has seen in bringing back stars such as The Rock and Brock Lesnar. Because of this success, it's changed the priority of bringing back stars. Yes, WWE could still put together a great show centered around their full-time talent but there's been a shift in philosophy for Wrestlemania. The company already has The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar so even if no other deal is made, these are names that are still going to be on Wrestlemania XXX.
Since WWE are unifying the WWE and World Championship do you think WWE needs to bring back old belts like the Hardcore or Cruiserweight?
While WWE is pushing hard in storyline there will only be one champion after WWE TLC, we need to be careful operating under the assumption the titles will in fact be unified. It seems imminent but if the booking of the past several pay-per-views is any indication, there is no reason not to expect a screwy finish involving The Authority. As for WWE bringing back past titles, I'm against it. The company can't utilize the titles they currently have so there's no reason to add more to the mix.
What are your thoughts for the programs of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan? I'm not that interested in these programs and feel it's only being done to try and elevate the Shield and Wyatt family. Both Punk and Bryan deserve something more major leading into the major part of the PPV year for WWE.
I didn't like the tag match at Survivor Series where CM Punk & Daniel Bryan opposed Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. There wasn't enough build and the members of The Wyatt Family haven't accomplished enough to warrant such a match. As for this new direction where each are opposing different factions, it's exactly that - a new direction. I'm willing to see how it plays out but there has been a shift when the plan at one time was to end up in a Punk vs. Bryan program at Wrestlemania XXX.
What's the deal with the Brodus Clay/Xavier Woods program? Are they thinking about turning Clay heel and getting him away from the Funkasaurus gimmick?
The stuff between Brodus Clay and Xavier Woods is just an undercard program to introduce Woods to the WWE audience. WWE is clearly teasing a break away for Brodus Clay but it hasn't happened yet.
From the Ask WNW vault…
April 2011: How many buys do TNA pay-per-views buy? Do they make a profit? - When TNA was considering stopping pay-per-views and airing three-hour live specials on Spike TV they were drawing less than 10,000 buys per show. This is a tremendous loss and makes it impossible to make money. Buy rates climbed up following the Hardcore Justice show they did last August so it was determined to continue to run on pay-per-view. TNA is not a public company so they do not release their buy rate numbers so it is impossible for me to give you exact numbers as they are kept secret. However, we can look at some of the percentages for conversions and I'll give you some numbers to think about. A well-watched edition of WWE Raw does an average audience of around 5,000,000 viewers. A well-watched edition of Smackdown does close to an average audience of 3,000,000 viewers (last week's Smackdown featuring the send-off for Edge did an average viewing audience of 2,982,000, a very strong number). The average pay-per-view buy rate for the three WWE pay-per-views in quarter four of 2010 did 197,000 buys (click here for the breakdown of numbers). Last week's TNA Impact did an average viewing audience of 1,540,000 viewers. There are several variables to factor in when considering how well a pay-per-view does but hopefully those figures will give you an idea. It should be noted that Wrestlemania is a different animal as WWE's goal is to do at least 1 million buys each year for their biggest show of the year but it's a mark they've missed over the past few years. The numbers for this year's Wrestlemania XXVII are not yet available.
You are probably sick of all the Sting questions but my question is about him going to the WWE and not wrestling Undertaker or Hogan but what are your thoughts on him vs. Triple H?
There is really no point in talking scenarios for possible Sting matches in WWE because he's currently with TNA Wrestling. Should that change, we can open it up. However, I do not see a fit in Triple H for an opponent. The match I would like would be Sting vs. The Undertaker but it's a moot point for as long as Sting is working for another organization. Click here to find out who is likely to face Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX.
Are there too many pay-per-views in WWE and would the company benefit from eliminating some of them?
This was the thinking in TNA Wrestling. They thought if they eliminated some of their pay-per-views it would make the ones they had more meaningful and would give them more time to build. While the company doesn't release their buyrate data publicly, from everything I have heard, buys have remained virtually unchanged if not decreased. In short, it didn't work. Pay-per-views are based on the attraction and as long as there is something to buy, people will buy. At one time I would have written that WWE had too many pay-per-views and eliminating some would be a good idea. However, TNA has shown that's not the solution. The solution is to give fans something worth buying and they will buy.
Who do you label the biggest failure - Wade Barrett or Ryback? And what do you think of the "Bad News Barrett" gimmick?
I have to say Ryback because he's been given more opportunities. The booking hasn't been good but Ryback has been in situations where he should have been able to take the leap (e.g. going over clean against Chris Jericho at Money in the Bank) and hasn't. Wade Barrett has had opportunities but not near at the same level. The "Bad News Barrett" gimmick came off as awkward on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. I want to give it some more time but if how it got over out of the gate is any indication, there's no reason to be overly optimistic.
Does the original Sin Cara just not want to work for WWE anymore?
Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde is likely finished with WWE but remains under contract. I've speculated that WWE will simply allow for his contract to run out and choose not to re-sign him as part of Triple H's "don't fire anybody" edict. Just to note, the edict does not apply to developmental talent. Alvirde in WWE just didn't work. While he had a tremendous amount of success in Mexico, he struggled to adjust to the WWE style (which is basically completely backwards) and battled injuries and even a Wellness suspension. If he does depart WWE as expected, I think he'll resume a successful career in Mexico.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: I know it’s still very early on in their WWE careers and you don’t like answering questions like this, but if you could only pick one, who do you think has the brightest future? Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, The Shield, Big E Langston? - In my opinion I think they all have bright furthers, but there’s just something about Cesaro that reads face of the company to me. What I don’t like about this question is it’s impossible to give a satisfactory response. We haven’t seen enough of any of them (in WWE) to gauge their longevity. It’s also important to remember that looks can be deceiving as two years ago Wade Barrett seemed ready to break out and heading into 2013, he’s nothing more than a midcard talent. However, based on what we have seen, Antonio Cesaro is the “right now” prospect high on the WWE radar but even he has many hurdles to cross before entering the main event. Sandow is a guy Vince McMahon likes but he hasn’t come close to reaching his full potential. The Shield tore down the house at WWE TLC in a match of the year candidate although it’s still a very small body of work to make any sort of long-term judgment. I’m unable to judge Big E Langston at all until I at least see him work a match.