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McMahon Orders A Top Name Be Protected; Rebukes HHH, Punk Undergoes Emergency Knee Surgery, Raw Rating Tanks, Major Shift In Plans For Ryback, The Rock On Raw, Cena Nearly Joined The Marines, 3 Top Names Want To Return To WWE But Vince Won't Budge

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Welcome to the Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure.

This week's edition covers news from Saturday, December 1, 2012 to Friday, December 7, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW

WWE News

- WWE Champion CM Punk did a Q&A with his followers on Twitter. Below are some highlights:

- WWE filmed a segment with Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal on Bourbon Street in New Orleans a couple weeks ago.

- We've had a lot of questions from readers wondering who are the next WWE developmental prospects in line for main roster call-ups. While several different names come to mind, Corey Graves worked Friday's Raw live event in Asheville, North Carolina against Zack Ryder. You can view his profile at this link.

- Ryback cut a promo following his WWE Championship match against CM Punk at Friday's live event, saying he will beat Punk for the title at WWE TLC and when The Rock asks if he smells what he is cooking, he will answer "Feed Me More!"

- Speaking of Friday's live event, Matt Striker worked as ring announcer.

- WNW reader Dave L sent word The New York Times reported that WWE has received $16.5 million from the state of Connecticut in corporate income tax credits, rebate or reductions from 2010-2011. You can view the full chart for the state of Connecticut at this link.

The New York Daily News has an article online featuring quotes from AJ Lee. Below is an excerpt:

“I’m not the sexy girl. I’m more youthful and innocent, the girl who wears jeans and T-shirts and sneakers.

“But fans have accepted that I’m a tomboy. There’s a different group of people who find that attractive.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- After missing last week's TVs, Randy Orton is back on the road with WWE this weekend and worked Saturday night's Smackdown live event in Columbia, South Carolina. Orton faced Alberto Del Rio as we'll have full results online shortly.

- CM Punk did not work Saturday night's Raw live event in Roanoke, VA as he was in New Orleans for the Wizard World Comic Con.

WWE developmental Diva Paige worked Saturday's show in Columbia, teaming with Layla against Natalya & Aksana. Paige is 5'8 from Norwich, England. You can view her profile at this link.

WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres was protected in a Divas tag match at Saturday's Raw show in Roanoke. Shoe worked with Rosa Mendes against Kaitlyn and AJ Lee. It's unknown if Eve is working banged up but she had limited physical involvement and was scripted to "walk out" on Rosa.

- Former WWE developmental talent Kevin Matthews unloaded on NXT trainer Bill DeMott over the weekend on Twitter. Matthews claimed he was going to expose every "crooked" thing DeMott did and put it out there. DeMott responded with the following Tweet:

- Byron Saxton has apparently been released from his WWE developmental contract as his profile has been removed from the official NXT website. Saxton is known by the WWE audience as he had runs on ECW and the original NXT as a commentator. In his most recent gig, he was a ring announcer on the December 6th episode of WWE NXT which is yet to air.

Update: Saxton has been moved to the Administration page on the official NXT Wrestling website. He's listed as a Creative Assistant so it appears he remains with WWE.

- To follow-up on former WWE developmental worker Kevin Matthews unloading on trainer Bill DeMott, I had a chance to go through some of his Tweets and at the very least his rant is entertaining. Below is a sample:

- WWE has announced the following live events:

  • February 8, 2013 from the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff, Missouri
  • March 2, 2013 from the K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Tickets for the 2/8 show go on sale in an online presale on 12/12 and the 3/2 show goes on sale on 12/15.

- For those that missed it, we updated our article on Byron Saxton. While his developmental profile has been removed, he's been added to the NXT administration as he holds a role as a creative assistant.

- Gabe Tuft, known as Tyler Reks during his time with WWE, has been making waves on Twitter by shooting on John Cena, giving his opinion of his former co-workers, and more. Some of the tweets are compiled below:

In addition, Tuft sounded off on who was responsible for stopping his MidCard Mafia video series:

Click here to view more of Tuft's tweets.

- We're told Vince McMahon has issued an edict that Mick Foley's character is to be "protected more" after years of Triple H and others trying to bury him whenever possible. There was a funny incident at a recent meeting where Hunter reportedly made a snide comment about Foley and Vince "put his foot down" and let everyone know that if they are going to put Foley in the Hall of Fame next year (as planned), his character needs to start being better protected until then. While this plan is obviously subject to change, right now Foley is considered a 2013 inductee thus the "protect Foley" initiative is in full force.

- John Laurinaitis is at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina for this week's WWE Raw. This doesn't necessarily mean he'll return to television as he has been working as a producer backstage but has been off the road recently due to shoulder surgery. Reports he was released from the company were unfounded and never reported here at

- WWE pay-per-views are now available for order on their official iPhone and Android Application.

- WWE Champion CM Punk admitted at a weekend appearance at the Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans he watched TNA on occasion. He also said he's never met Bobby Roode but knew Kevin Steen personally.

- George Barrios, who is WWE's Chief Financial Officer, participated in the UBS NYC Media Conference Monday in New York City to discuss the company's business model. You can view a Powerpoint of the presentation at this link.

- WNW reader TL sent word that WWE will run a live event in Turkey on February 23, 2013. Tickets go on sale Friday. Click here for more information.

- Barbie Blank, formerly known as Kelly Kelly, just wrapped an appearance on MTV2's "Guy Code." The episode is due out in February.

- Natalya and David Otunga are scheduled to host a "be a STAR" anti-bullying rally at Mary Ford Elementary School in North Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday.

- Mick Foley has booked several dates for his comedy tour overseas. Check them out at this link.

- Ric Flair recently claimed he'll never wrestle again. It seems like we've heard that before?

- Last week's Smackdown did a 1.81 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 2,500,000 viewers on SyFy.

- It was announced on this week's WWE Raw that John Cena will face Dolph Ziggler in a Ladder Match for the Money in the Bank briefcase at WWE TLC.

- WWE uploaded an exclusive interview with John Cena following this week's WWE Raw. In it, Cena says he'll be eyeing Big Show's World Heavyweight Championship if he beats Dolph Ziggler for his MITB briefcase at WWE TLC. You can watch Cena's comments at this link.

- There was no dark match main event following this week's WWE Raw.

- Speaking of this week's WWE Raw, we heard there was a setup change which caused fans to have to change their tickets.

- The Poughkeepsie Journal has a Q&A online with Shawn Michaels. In it, Michaels is asked how he is enjoying retirement. Below is his response:

I’m enjoying it immensely. It works for me. I’m a lazy person by nature, so retirement is right up my alley. I would have done it sooner, obviously, but apparently you have to work before you retire, so it would have been in my best interest to get that out of the way. I’m enjoying it very much.

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

- The Poughkeepsie Journal has a new Q&A online with Barbie Blank (formerly known as Kelly Kelly). Below is an excerpt:

Life after WWE, how’s it going for you so far?

Barbie Blank: It’s going good. I’m just relaxing at home. It’s nice to take a break and just be able to live a normal life and being able to do whatever I want to do.

Any desire to get back in the ring now?

BB: You never know. Right now, I’m kind of healing my neck that was kind of a problem for a while. Just resting up and you never know.

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

WWE Main Event is currently scheduled for pre-emption on December 12, 2012 in its normal timeslot on Ion Television due to the 12/12/12 Sandy Relief benefit concert. The show is scheduled to air at 6:30 PM and again at midnight.

WWE has announced a live event from the JQH Arena at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri on February 9, 2013.

- Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald has a rare Q&A online with Ryback to talk about being a DLC in WWE '13. In it, he talks about breaking in as well as why he first debuted in WWE as Skip Sheffield. Below are the highlights:

“…Everything takes time. I knew I was going to catch on right away, but it does take time to get going. It is good people anticipated and wanted to see me on it, and WWE and THQ gave them that. So that is always great to see.”

“I had to write a letter to the news on why I loved wrestling, why I wanted to be a wrestler, who I wanted to meet, etc.,” Ryback said. “I had won probably around 20 something tickets through the news contest and all the radio contests in town. I took all my neighborhood friends and went to the show that day. I got to be the guest bell ringer and got to go in the ring before the show when they announced my name. That was probably the exact point where I knew this was pretty cool and that I could do this one day.

“I believe it was Dr. Tom Prichard and Chris Candido of the Bodydonnas versus Barry Horowitz and somebody else. That was the match I was the guest bell ringer. I think the main event that night was Bret Hart versus Diesel in the steel cage.”

“I was in Deep South Wrestling with Bill DeMott, and that was very aggressive and very boot camp style,” Ryback said. “That made me mentally tougher than anything. Maybe I didn’t get the ring psychology, but I got certain aspects down there that I wouldn’t change for anything. That is a big part of who I am. Then I went down to OVW with Al Snow. That was more psychology based. That was a little bit more on the mental side and more behind the scenes. That’s what I got from him more than anything, not much in-ring stuff. That’s probably on me, too, in that regard.

“I was gone for about a year-and-a-half before I got signed by FCW. Dr. Tom Prichard was by far my best trainer, as far as understanding talent. He polished me and got me ready. Put them all together, and this is what you get. A lot of guys are rushed up way too early. You need to be put through some things before you are put up there. You have to know how to react and handle the pressure.”

“That’s something [Skip Sheffield] you can blame Dusty Rhodes for,” Ryback said. “I was Ryback...It’s my name and what I believed in. Dusty Rhodes pushed to get that taken away and wanted me to do something different. Again, everything happens for a good reason. I don’t regret any of it, as it allowed me to do something a little different. I’m Ryback now, and that is pretty much all that matters to me. There is no looking back, as far as that is concerned.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- TMZ has updated their Ric Flair divorce coverage with the following statement from The Nature Boy's attorney:

Ric "denies the claims, contends there was marital and other misconduct on her part, and looks forward to the issues being resolved in court."

- The Rock is advertised for the January 28, 2013 episode of WWE Raw from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the night after his WWE Championship match at Royal Rumble 2013.

- WWE's official website wrote that CM Punk is undergoing emergency surgery Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida. The article states that Punk took a flight to Florida late last night to meet Dr. James Andrews for a consultation. They decided that the WWE Champion needed to have surgery right away. Richard posted an article on the site days ago reporting that CM Punk was working through a knee injury. We will post anymore information when it becomes available. To view dot com's article, click here.

- We noted earlier here on that WWE claims over on dot com that CM Punk is undergoing emergency knee surgery Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida.

I've checked around to confirm whether or not the surgery was legitimate and at this point all of my sources are as surprised as we were. We noted last week Punk was working through some knee pain. He's been seen visibly limping backstage but wasn't believed to be seriously injured. The Champ had some fun with the Internet with a Tweet regarding x-rays.

Hopefully we'll have more information later.

3:12 PM EST Update: People close to Punk are under the assumption he either had a scope or something was found during an examination by Dr. James Andrews Tuesday at the Andrews Institute in Pensacola. Punk had been working through pain but was determined to work through it.

- WWE updated their story on CM Punkhere on dot com. The WWE Champion underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee under Dr. James Andrews. The procedure was done to train a cartilage tear in Punk's knee.

Below is an excerpt from their update:

“CM Punk underwent knee surgery today to remove a piece of torn meniscus that had locked up his knee,” said Andrews’ colleague, WWE physician Dr. Chris Amann. “The surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews, went smoothly and CM Punk is expected to make a full recovery.”

In an update from my sources, I noted it was believed the procedure was a minor scope.

- This week's WWE Raw only did a 2.55 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 3,437,000 viewers on the USA Network. Here's the viewership by hour:

  • Hour 1: 3,580,000
  • Hour 2: 3,370,000
  • Hour 3: 3,360,000

Monday Night Football on ESPN delivered fierce competition with an average viewing audience of 16,210,000 viewers. Not only is the horrible number cause for concern but the show continues to lose audience as it progresses.

John Cena was battling an illness at WWE Raw but nothing that will keep him from working the pay-per-view.

- Rey Mysterio missed WWE Raw due to a personal issue and could miss further time as well. The issue is undisclosed.

- The WWE TLC main event has been changed. As Brooks noted, it was announced at Tuesday night's WWE television tapings that Ryback will now pair up with Team Hell No to face The Shield.

Punk, who was originally scheduled to defend the WWE Championship against Ryback, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday in Pensacola, Florida. We have the latest details at this link.

- How bad was this week's WWE Raw rating? The show did the worst average viewership of any Raw this year, including less viewers than the October 22nd Raw that did the lowest Raw rating in 15 years for a non-holiday episode (2.48). That show averaged 3,553,000 viewers. While this week's show was rated higher at 2.55 it only averaged 3,437,000 viewers.

- CM Punk is expected to be fine following his knee surgery on Tuesday. The feeling is Punk could work WWE TLC if he had too but WWE officials don't want to take the chance of blowing up the planned Royal Rumble main event against The Rock. Word is the company plans to give Punk ample time to rest his knee to assure he's 100% for a match they've pseudo promoted for months. It probably doesn't hurt that it also alleviates them from another very difficult creative situation. The replacement match is at this link if you haven't seen it.

- Tammy Sytch tried to get a judge to modify the protective order Damien Darling has against her so she could visit him and they could hash out their problems. Her request was denied and she's still banned from making contact. TMZ has the story here. Sytch has been arrested several times this year in part due to her troubled relationship with Darling.

- Corey Graves, who was on the road with Raw last weekend, worked a dark match prior to Tuesday's tapings in North Charleston, SC. He went under to Ted DiBiase.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online with his Raw thoughts that you can read at this link.

- It was announced during this week’s Smackdown taping that Antonio Cesaro will defend his United States Championship against R-Truth at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs.

- Richard wrote that the CM Punk vs. Ryback TLC Match for the WWE Title will no longer happen because of CM Punk's recent surgery. The following match has been announced:

  • Ryback and Team Hell No vs. The Shield

Since then, WWE posted an article on their official site which showed a letter from Vince McMahon in response to the match change. The 6 man tag team match will now be in a TLC Match. The letter from the chairman is below:


- WNW reader Dale sent this link which goes to an IGN interview with Ryback. In it, he says Undertaker at Wrestlemania would be his dream match.

WNW reader GodSent83 sent this link to an ESPN Q&A with Ryback.

- Josh Stewart sent in this link which goes to a photo gallery of Jake "The Snake" Roberts in DDP's "Accountability Crib."

- WNW reader Fernando sent this in… The official NXT website features a new talent named Sylvester Lefort. Lefort, whose real name is Tom la Ruffa, is from Nice, France and is an alumnus from Lance Storm's Storm Wrestling Academy.

- WNW reader Megamoe Hunaidi sent word that Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns have been added to the WWE roster over on dot com.

- The WWE TLC lineup has undergone an overhaul much like that of Survivor Series last month. Following this week's changes, below is the updated card:

Ladder Match for MITB Contract
- John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler (contract holder)

Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
- Big Show (c) vs. Sheamus

6-Man TLC Match
- Ryback, Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. The Shield

WWE United States Championship Match
- Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. R-Truth

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
- Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Wade Barrett

WWE TLC 2012 will take place Sunday, December 16, 2012 from the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- Paul Heyman says he was interviewed by dot com for a piece on WWE's infamous ECW December to Dismember 2006 pay-per-view which ultimately resulted in his departure from the company. Heyman Tweeted about the interview:

- In addition to the claims of his wife Jacqueline Fliehr, The Charlotte Observerreported on Wednesday that Ric Flair has a federal tax lien for $237,436 in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties and owes the North Carolina Department of Revenue $41,358 in taxes, penalty and interest.

- WWE has announced a live event from Assembly Hall at the University Of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois on February 9, 2013.

- Believe it or not, The Great Khali is now on Twitter @GreatKhaliSays.

- WCSC out of North Charleston, SC has an article on David Otunga and Natalya at Mary Ford Elementary School on Tuesday. The two represented WWE in a "Be a STAR" anti-bullying rally. Click here to read it.

- Former WWE Diva and the real life fiancee of Cody Rhodes, Eden Stiles has launched her own swimwear collection. You can check it out at this link.

- Former WWE developmental worker Kevin Matthews is not backing off Bill DeMott. On Wednesday, Matthews posted a photo on Twitter of what appears to be a naked wrestler giving another worker a stink face in the corner of the ring while DeMott stands on the outside at the old Deep South Wrestling training center.

Included with the photo is the following caption: "nothing like forcing your MALE TALENT TO TRAIN BUTT NAKED WHILE YOU WATCH AND LAUGH!"

You can view the explicit photo below:


WWE shut down DSW in 2007 and replaced it with their current Florida Championship Wrestling/NXT system. DeMott was let go once this was done but was brought back in 2011 for the revamped Tough Enough. He was promoted as the head trainer for WWE developmental in May 2012.

Last week, a disgruntled Matthews promised to expose DeMott.

- Our friend Josh Stewart has a new article online over on Newsday with quotes from Mick Foley talking about his children's book that was done in affiliation with WWE. You can read it at this link.

- There was a segment taped at the beginning of this week's Smackdown taping where Big Show and Sheamus "agreed" to a no contact order until WWE TLC. The night concluded with Sheamus beating Show via disqualification in a dark match main event.

- As of Wednesday, December 5, 2012 CM Punk is the longest reigning WWE Champion in the modern era at 381 days. The record was previously held by John Cena at 380 days.

- Last month we reported here on Premium about candidates to carry Smackdown if Sheamus doesn't work out as hoped. I'm told when the WWE Hell in a Cell buyrate came in better than expected, some in the company were pushing for Smackdown to be built around Ryback next year. The idea was to have Ryback as the "face of Smackdown" much like John Cena is for Raw. Right now Ryback is "penciled in" to win the Royal Rumble and there have been ideas pitched for him to win the World Heavyweight Championship from either Big Show or Mark Henry at Wrestlemania 29. Plans are always subject to change until they actually happen but it's worth knowing the company's current thinking and and current direction.

- Remember Nick Carter? He's currently using his Twitter account to push for WWE to sign his girlfriend Lauren Kitt. You can view his account at this link and Kitt's account at this link.

- While Ryback was clearly the most promoted, other stars released in the WWE '13 DLC Pack 2 on Tuesday include AJ Lee, Drew McIntyre, Natalya, Tensai and Yoshi Tatsu. They are all available for purchase while Ministry Undertaker was released as a free download.

- I'm proud to announce we launched a sister site located at The website includes relevant news feeds, news archives for WWE Wrestlers and tons of new insightful blogs.

- Speaking of new blogs, do you ever wonder about WWE stars and Divas getting romantic with one another? Check out the first installment of When Stars & Divas Mark Out. The first edition features AJ Lee's wrestler boyfriend and many other WWE wrestlers and Divas photographed together. Check it out now at this link.

Lilian Garcia returned to WWE at this week's Smackdown taping from North Charleston, SC.

Garcia had been off the road since late October after being struck by a car in Los Angeles. The accident caused damage to her neck that prevented her from flying. She Tweeted the following on Tuesday afternoon:

- George Barrios, Chief Financial Officer of WWE, wasn't the only familiar name that spoke at the 40th annual Global Media and Communications Conference on Monday in New York. Shane McMahon spoke on behalf of You On Demand where he is Chief Executive Officer. The Hollywood Reporter has the story at this link.

- WWE has announced a live event from the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 5 PM. Tickets go on sale Friday, December 14, 2012 at 10 AM.

- Below is the official pay-per-view promotional poster for WWE Royal Rumble 2013:

- It was announced at the end of this week's WWE Main Event that Ryback vs. Alberto Del Rio will headline next week's show.

In addition, the December 12, 2012 edition of WWE Main Event is currently scheduled for preemption due a Hurricane Sandy benefit concert. Click here for more information.

- Shaul Guerrero, who was released from WWE developmental in September, Tweeted she would like to return to WWE one day. The Tweet is below:

Guerrero is the real-life daughter of Eddie and Vickie Guerrero and was known in Florida Championship Wrestling as Raquel Diaz.

- The Rock is currently advertised for the 1/7, 1/21 and 1/28 episodes of WWE Raw. He is not advertised for the 1/14 show which is the 20th anniversary of the series.

- WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios reiterated the company's commitment to Raw remaining three hours and their investment in Tout at the UBS NYC Media Conference Monday in New York City. You can view the full transcript of the presentation at this link.

- Lilian Garcia posted the following on Twitter regarding her return to WWE:

- WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres is currently banged up. We noted she was protected at shows over the weekend. She was in North Carolina on Monday where she visited the National Guard on behalf of WWE.

- Gerald Brisco was at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, MN last weekend to scout collegiate amateur wrestlers at the Oklahoma State at Minnesota meet. One match in particular he was interested in was Alan Gelogaev (OSU) vs. Tony Nelson (Minn). For more on the matches, click here.

- Last week's WWE Main Event featuring John Cena vs. Damien Sandow drew a viewership of 1,250,000 viewers which was 50,000 more than the week prior which was headlined by Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz.

- Alberto Del Rio told The Miami Herald he's driving his 1965 Ford Mustang at the January 8th Smackdown taping in Miami, Florida. Unlike the usual cars WWE rents for him, Del Rio owns this one and is going to give it to his father. You can read his comments to the publication at this link.

- In addition to the topics we noted earlier here on, WWE's Chief Financial Officer George Barrios spoke on the WWE Network at the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City on Monday. Below is an excerpt from the transcript:

We have talked about us going to market a network in one of three models. A dual-stream network, fully distributed, advertising and affiliate fee. A pay network, similar to an HBO model where the consumer would bear all the economic burden, no advertising primarily and then over-the-top. So the willingness to pay is both an indicator of the intensity to watch the show and that’s applicable to all three that willingness to pay also is applicable for the second and third one where it would be more of a direct-to-consumer economic model.

As we looked at all three of them and this is the underpinning for all three models in the other data that I just mentioned. We just believe there is too much there potentially not to keep pushing at it. The drag on earnings is painful. It's painful to investors. It's painful to us but we just believe payoff could be too large so we are going to continue to push on that.

You can read the full transcript at this link.

- Big E Langston beat Seth Rollins to win the NXT Championship after hitting the Big End at the WWE NXT tapings Thursday night from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. The Shield interfered but the majority of the NXT roster chased them away and Big E kicked out of Seth Rollins' Shiranui attempt.

Langston countered a second one into the Big End. The roster celebrated with Langston as Triple H and Dusty Rhodes came out and raised his hands up. We have photos below:

- It was announced at Thursday's WWE NXT tapings from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida that Shawn Michaels will be a guest at the next set of tapings on Thursday, January 10, 2013.

- CM Punk isn't expected to be taken off television as WWE wants to keep him in front of the camera as he recovers. The decision to pull him from in-ring action was made by Vince McMahon because they don't want to risk the planned Royal Rumble main event match against The Rock.

- WWE is expected to heavily promote the January 14th episode of Raw from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas as it is the 20th anniversary of the series. This is the only episode of Raw in January in which The Rock is not being advertised but it's unknown if that will change. Several former talents from over the years are expected to appear or at least make cameos on the show.

- Alex Riley worked Thursday night's WWE NXT taping and wrote the following on Twitter:

- John Cena nearly joined the military before ever going into professional wrestling. Cena told The Virginian-Pilot:

I was literally about to join the Marine Corps (Officer Candidate School) when a buddy asked me if I wanted to be a wrestler. I thought I would literally last two weeks in there and the Marines would always be there.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Last week we reported here on Premium about Vince McMahon feeling like he had been pushed around too much when negotiating with CM Punk last year. This caused him to start pushing back with other stars looking to return, including John Morrison.

I'm told Vince is continuing to "stick to his guns" with another recent example dealing with Steve Austin. The meeting we reported on between Austin and Vince was held at the behest of Austin and although they are still far apart on money, Vince feels like Austin blinked first and he really got off on Austin being the one to ask to come back to the table.

Another name that wants a short run to lead up to Wrestlemania 29 is Chris Jericho. However, so far, Vince is saying no because he feels like Jericho isn't willing to make a big enough commitment to the company. There have been plenty of times in recent years where Vince gave Jericho a lot of leeway, but Vince is really gung-ho right now on repairing what he sees as damage done to his negotiating leverage.

- The Connecticut Weekender has a new Q&A online with Heath Slater. Below is an excerpt which features Slater legitimately answering a question, contradicting himself then flipping to complete work mode. Judge for yourself:

Take us through the infamous night of June 7, 2010, the Nexus invasion.

It was amazing man, it was great.

Was there anything that was off limits?

They told us nothing. They told us to go out there make sure it looks like a bomb went off. So we did. You have big guys, who basically have been given the worst food possible, locked into a broom closet, changing, we had no room and treated like crap. Sometimes, you know guys, if you don’t lock the cage, basically, if the dogs get out of the cage, the dogs are going to bite. That’s exactly what we did. We all came together and we were tired of it, we shouldn’t be treated like that. We destroyed the WWE ring and John Cena and CM Punk and anyone else who got in our way.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The Altoona Mirror has a new article online featuring quotes from Bret Hart. Below is an excerpt:

"I think that in the end when you weigh it all up, I'm grateful for all wrestling gave me, and I think my dad and brother Owen would say the same thing," Hart said. "I'm proud of everything I did. After dealing with what happened with my brother Owen over the years, I've come to see it was a horrible accident, and I don't think [WWE owner] Vince [McMahon] would want something like that to happen. It wouldn't be advantageous to anyone.

"We were hurt by that, though. I don't think my dad ever got over what happened with Owen. It had a rebound effect with my dad and Davey. I think my dad and Davey would have lived a lot longer if not for Owen dying."

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Evan Bourne, who is rehabbing a career-threatening foot injury, graduated to the treadmill on Friday. He was also able to resume squatting. Bourne suffered a LisFranc fracture dislocation in his foot in a car accident in March.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online where he gives his thoughts from this week's WWE NXT taping. Click here to read it.

- WWE featured an article on dot com with Lilian Garcia talking about her return to the ring after getting struck by a car in October. You can read her comments at this link.

TNA News

- There is going to be a charity event in Durham, North Carolina on Tuesday January 15, 2013. This event is titled Chinlock for Chuck. The event it to help Chuck Coates, a former professional wrestler, as he battles Hodgkin's Lymphoma. So far, the event is advertising TNA Wrestling stars Jeff Hardy, James Storm, Gunner, and Christian York. Other stars that are booked are Matt Hardy, Shane Helms, and CW Anderson. If you want more information about the event, click here to visit the website or their Facebook page at this link.

- Scott Steiner and TNA Wrestling are close to a settlement in his lawsuit against them over accounting royalties. A hearing scheduled for last Friday was canceled at the request of TNA. Steiner still has open litigation against TNA as there is a suit/counter suit over him ripping Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff on Twitter as well as a suit that he was injured while working with an impaired Jeff Hardy.

- Hulk Hogan is listed as #24 of "The Least Influential People of 2012." Below is what they wrote of the Hulkster:

When I was a kid, I wanted to be just like Hulk Hogan. Funny how getting caught banging his best friend's wife on tape and then finding out that his best friend was allegedly the one taping it has now diminished my admiration. Kudos to Hulk for having a big ol' d***, though. That thing is thicker than a turnbuckle.

Click here to read the post in its original form.

- The Movie Channel has announced they'll be airing "Santa With Muscles" starring Hogan. The following times are scheduled and are being circulated by Devin Cutting:

  • December 8th - 3:50 PM
  • December 12th - 8:40 AM
  • December 17th - 7 AM
  • December 23rd - 12 PM
  • December 28th - 7:30 AM

- TNA Wrestling has a new article online featuring quotes from Chavo Guerrero on their official website. Below are the highlights:

Coming to TNA Wrestling

“Winning the TNA Tag Team Championship so fast (after arriving in the promotion) proves that, yeah, I came here on a mission – to be a major player right off the bat, and I’m not done yet,” Guerrero said. “Coming to TNA was something I wanted to do when I looked at the roster. It really is a great, great roster, without question the best roster of any wrestling company in the world.

“There are so many people on the roster who I have never wrestled against, and I want to wrestle so many of them, such as AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, and even Sting.

“There are so many in TNA who I could have five-star matches against.”

Remembering Eddie Guerrero:

“Eddie was such a good performer. So good, in fact, that he didn’t even know how good he was,” Chavo Jr. said. “He just loved to compete in the ring; that was his home. His addiction was being in that ring, in front of the fans.

“Eddie was a hard guy to get to know. But once he knew you, and liked you, he’d give you the shirt off his back – and I saw it happen many, many times. He wore his heart on his sleeve, and I think that came across on TV.

“Eddie wasn’t just my uncle, he was like my big brother to me.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The TNA Wrestling's January pay-per-view, Genesis, poster has been revealed. The PPV will be live on Sunday January, 13, 2013 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The poster is above. Click on the image to see it full screen.

- Kurt Angle's wife, Giovanna Angle, sent some tweets out the past couple of days on her official Twitter account. The tweets mention that the couple sold their mansion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I asked her where they are going to relocate and she said that they will be staying in Pittsburgh. Her tweets are embedded below:

- There has been a lot of talk recently that Eric Young would be leaving TNA Wrestling as there was going to be a second season of Off the Hook: Extreme Catches on Animal Planet where he would host the show. Eric wrote on his official Twitter page that he is not going anywhere. His tweet is embedded below:

Velvet Sky returned to TNA on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling. To read how Velvet returned, check out full Impact Wrestling Results by Alex Barie.

- For those who missed Impact Wrestling, Devon beat Samoa Joe to become the Television Champion. Check out the full results of the show here.

- There were two new matches announced during Impact Wrestling for TNA Final Resolution, which will be live this Sunday. The new matches are below:

X-Division Championship
- Kenny King vs. Rob Van Dam (c)

8 Man Tag Team Match
- Aces & 8s vs. Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Wes Brisco, and Garett Bischoff

TNA Final Resolution 2012 will take place Sunday, December 9, 2012 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- Dixie Carter posted the following updates on Twitter:

- Tickets for TNA Lockdown went on sale Friday here on Ticketmaster. The show will take place Sunday, March 10, 2013 from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

To clear up confusion from readers, the Alamodome will be setup for around 4000 fans as the venue is capable of holding over 70,000.

The promotional poster for the show is below:

- James Storm is currently working with torn cartilage between his two lower ribs.

- There are no TNA live events this weekend before Sunday's Final Resolution pay-per-view on Sunday. Alex posted several videos previews to get you ready for the pay-per-view at this link.

- Christopher Daniels discussed the parallels between comic books and pro wrestling in an interview with Ain't It Cool News. You can read their article at this link.


What are your thoughts on how the media, NFL, fans and Kansas City Chiefs are talking about the player who killed his girlfriend and then himself on Saturday? It seems unfair that the WWE was look down at so much for how they honored Chris Benoit and now the NFL is faced with the same type of tragedy and it's ok to talk about him in a positive light.

Many Kansas City Chiefs players are reacting like many of the WWE stars did when they learned of the news of Chris Benoit. The link between Jevon Belcher and Chris Benoit is that both were liked and respected by their co-workers. This has caused a lot of grief but the other side of that is the very violent crime that preceded the suicide. The one break Belcher is going to get over Benoit is that Benoit killed a child - his own child. Crimes against children are much more heinous and perceived as such by the media. I've heard from many readers clamoring over the unfair media coverage but the fact of the matter is Benoit's crimes were worse because they involved the murder of a child.

It seems like all the titles in WWE except the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship have lost the importance. It was great when there were two tag titles and every title had its own share of rivalry. Why not nowadays?

I disagree in part with this. Kane and Daniel Bryan have restored the prestige of the WWE Tag Team Championship from recent years with their current reign. WWE has made rebuilding the tag division a priority and most fans notice and respect these changes. The WWE Intercontinental Championship holds less significance [than it used too] because there are two world titles. The less titles, the more prestige the belts hold. I do, however, like the two world titles because it creates more opportunities in the top of the card that wouldn't exist if there were only one. I would not be against eliminating the United States Championship and feel WWE did the right thing by eliminating one of the women belts and the other set of tag titles. Longer reigns are also important when building prestige and there will be a big payoff to whoever beats CM Punk for the WWE Championship.

Is CM Punk such a 'jerk' in real life like he is in the WWE?

I always say the best gimmicks are real-life personalities turned up to the max. That's what you see with CM Punk and it's no surprise the gimmick has connected with the WWE audience. Punk is very outspoken and opinionated as a result has the tendency to rub people the wrong way. He's always had his fair share of detractors backstage but it hasn't stopped him from rising to the top.

What was it like backstage when CM Punk started that rant on WWE Raw last year?
Was everyone watching? Was Vince fuming?

CM Punk's worked shoot promo was approved and it was very well received by everyone backstage. This is talked about on the new CM Punk DVD that I recommend checking out for the firsthand account of the reaction. Vince McMahon wasn't fuming; he was seeing dollar signs!

Recently you talked about the main event scene on Smackdown. You mentioned that there's feeling that nobody can carry Smackdown. Isn't Randy Orton someone that could carry Smackdown?

Smackdown is perceived as Randy Orton's brand, however, there is a lack of faith in having him put it on his back due to Wellness problems. It would be inaccurate for me to state there was no confidence in Orton but he's clearly taken a hit due to his two strikes. As for the future of Orton, watch this and tell me a heel turn isn't near.

Has WWE lost faith in Dolph Ziggler? What do you think about putting the MITB briefcase on the line at WWE TLC?

Dolph Ziggler is nearing a pay-per-view match against John Cena, one month after being the "sole survivor" at Survivor Series. Ziggler's stock is trending up in WWE. I do not like the MITB briefcase being on the line at WWE TLC, especially against John Cena, because remember he won the WWE Championship shot that he lost on the 1000th episode of Raw last summer. I've heard a little bit about the company's thinking but I'm not sure I understand.

What is Jeff Jarrett up to these days?

Jeff Jarrett is still involved with the business side of TNA Wrestling as the last we heard he was looking for new investors. The company is currently highlighting his program with Kurt Angle on their "Unfinished Business" PPV series.

Which member of The Shield do you think has the most potential?

This is a question that's too early to answer because we haven't seen enough of any of them. Roman Reigns is the greenest of the trio as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have already had runs as top guys in other promotions (Dragon Gate USA and Ring of Honor respectively), however, Reigns has a great look. WWE's developmental system is very well stocked and these are three of the best. Take a look at WWE's top prospects from the original Nexus and you can see more of what I'm talking about.

Richard, why is it that most internet wrestling fans think Sting would want to go to WWE? The question of him leaving TNA for the WWE comes up every year and is answered the same way every year. He stays where he is. Why risk what he has created over 25+ years for the potential of VKM burying him like so many other former WCW or TNA talents?

The reason it comes up is because there is continually interest from both WWE and Sting. The closest they ever got was two years ago when Sting nearly signed to do a Wrestlemania program with Undertaker. Sting is 53-years-old and he knows he's at the end of his career and it's coming down to the final chance. I'm not saying it would ever happen but the fact of the matter is there is legitimate interest from both sides, not just members of the IWC clamoring over a dream match.

With CM Punk being ruled out of the TLC PPV, do you see him defending his WWE Championship before the Royal Rumble?

As I reported here, the outlook of CM Punk's injury is good. My wife is a Registered Nurse and told me normal recovery time for arthroscopic knee surgery is about six weeks. CM Punk felt like he could work in under two but WWE didn't want to take the risk. The company has pseudo promoted Punk vs. The Rock for the WWE title at Royal Rumble for months so I look for them to be very careful with him before then.

What's your Mount Rushmore for WWE Divas?

I used to hate this question for WWE wrestlers but when I included it, a great discussion ensued. Everyone is open to their own opinion but my Mount Rushmore of WWE Divas would be Tammy Sytch, Trish Stratus, "Sensational" Sherri Martel and Mae Young. Tammy Sytch created the modern day Diva, Trish is my pick for the top women's wrestler in the history of the business, while Sherri and Mae created opportunities that paved the way for them to be successful.

Why didn't WWE throw out the Hell in a Cell decision of CM Punk over Ryback, to keep Ryback's undefeated streak intact? They could have easily done it saying there was a tainted referee then at the Survivor Series, Ryback doesn't really lose the triple threat match or get pinned, so they could still keep the fact he hasn't been pinned or submitted still going.

I don't really see the point in this. Either build Ryback as an undefeated monster or don't. The entire thing has been very poorly executed. WWE pushes him hard yet refuses to let him go over in a legitimate match after being built for months as the undefeated superstar in squash matches. This doesn't mean I'm a big fan of Ryback either; he's got a good look but I haven't seen enough to form an opinion. If he was going to be booked against Punk then he had to go over. If not, the entire gimmick has been a waste of time. WWE figured out a way to keep it going and so far it hasn't backfired but it doesn't change the fact it's poor booking.

It's been occasionally mentioned on-air that winning a championship (in WWE) means the champion gets paid more money while he's the champion. Do champions really get paid more or is this just part of the story?

All title reigns are scripted just like everything else, however, champions usually do make more money because they sell more merchandise and are featured more prominently than those lower on the card. There is not some type of "championship clause" in a contract that stipulates someone is to be paid more if they have a title reign. Pro wrestling is a lot like a soap opera or movie, everything is scripted but the characters with feature roles make more money than those in supporting roles. This holds true with downside guarantees, bonuses and merchandise.

Do you think that John Cena will win Dolph Ziggler's MITB briefcase at WWE TLC meaning he might go back to the Smackdown main event?

I've said this before with his match against Chris Jericho at SummerSlam and WWE decided to put Ziggler under to Jericho only to put him over the next night, however, it's Dolph Ziggler's time. It's time for WWE to use this match as a "passing of the torch" and a way to get Ziggler some momentum before a legitimate main event run. If not, I don't see what the purpose was in having him win the Money in the Bank briefcase. It goes back to the Ryback mentality. Either push him or don't. It's mind boggling how WWE will show enough confidence in a mid card talent to prepare them for a main event run then pull back at the last moment. WWE needs stars now more than ever and continuously burying potential up and comers while relying on past names like The Rock and Brock Lesnar is no way to do business. They should utilize this time while they have these former headliners to build some more major stars to carry the company into the future. More and more I see WWE going for the "right now" instead of worrying about what's going to happen in five years. The drop-off in viewership should be enough to get the company's attention but so far it's been more of the same.

Could CM Punk lose the WWE Championship because of his knee injury? Is the injury even legitimate?

Anything is possible but right now there are no plans to take the WWE Championship off CM Punk. Vince McMahon wants to do The Rock vs. Punk for the title at Royal Rumble so they wanted to make sure Punk is healthy. So to answer the second part of your question, yes the injury is legitimate and the thinking was it was better to do the scope now and give him time to rest rather than risk a major injury before the pay-per-view next year. Should Punk not be able to work next month there is a contingency plan that we revealed here. In this article we also explain Vince McMahon's conversation with Punk about not working WWE TLC.

With the January 14th episode of WWE being the 20th Anniversary, will there be anything special or surprises that you know of?

WWE has reached out to some former names about possible cameos for the 20th Anniversary of Raw but we haven't heard much more. The Toyota Center, which will be hosting the show, doesn't acknowledge the milestone on their event information page. One thing I found of note was this is the only show in January in which The Rock is not advertised as I reported here on

Why do you think the WWE is giving their new performers such as The Shield or Ryback (even if he's technically been in the WWE for a while but his gimmick is quite recent) the opportunity to main event PPVs this quickly when they have a locker room full of talented proven superstars who have been waiting for their push for years?

WWE knows what they have with the current main roster and are looking for new major stars. Vince McMahon is very high up on Ryback and feels he has the potential to be a major money draw. The Shield are three guys that were standouts in developmental and the company has explored ways to introduce them to the main WWE audience for several months. How far they go depends on the response but WWE is looking to produce more major stars.

If Kaval would have been properly utilized would he have still left WWE?

Kaval left WWE because he didn't like it - from the politics to the travel schedule. He also felt the company wasn't behind him and ended up requesting his release. This is something that bothers me with newer talent. In this business a worker has to work through low points to get the high points. Take The Miz for example. He was one of the most hated guys in the business, constantly ribbed, even to the point of not being allowed to get dressed with the rest of the roster. He didn't quit, continued to work hard and is now in a good position. WWE isn't for everyone but in order to "make it" a worker has to be prepared to handle tribulations. For more on Kaval and his release, you can read his comments at this link.

How important are non-televised live events for WWE and TNA?

Live events are very important in terms of generating revenue and creating brand awareness. Touring cities is how the companies keep their names out there and generate revenue in the process. They also provide workers a non-televised opportunity to prepare for bigger matches and rehearse in front of a live audience. Match outcomes at live events are not as important as many people have a bad habit of assuming what happens at live events is indicative of what will happen at TVs or PPVs.

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