Batista Wins Royal Rumble, Original WM30 Plans For Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan Chaos, Two Immediate TNA Problems Solved For The Short-Term, Sting/WWE Update, CM Punk Walks Out Of WWE, What's Wrong With Kurt Angle, Rumored Match A Lock For WM30

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Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, January 25, 2013 to Friday, January 31, 2014 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

- Roman Reigns recently spoke with Peter Rosenberg about the Royal Rumble, the buzz around his future as a singles star, his family, and more. The interview is available at this link.

- Bad News Barrett and The Miz star in this week's "Backstage Fallout" Smackdown, available at this link.

- DirecTV has a new Q&A online with Ryback to promote Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view. He had some kayfabe comments in the piece, explaining he was "offended" over Batista being back in WWE because he's the one and only big guy in the company. He maintained that facing Undertaker at Wrestlemania is one of his goals and that he loves Curtis Axel. Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- Bad News Barrett says he's given up his spot in the 30-man Royal Rumble match. The following is from Twitter:

- The wedding of Jimmy Uso and Naomi was mentioned on this week's Smackdown. The couple was married last Thursday in Hawaii and footage was filmed for Season 2 of Total Divas. - Michael Cole wasn't at Tuesday's Smackdown taping from the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was replaced by Josh Mathews on commentary. This is also why Renee Young conducted this week's kayfabe Triple Hinterview that ran on Wednesday. The interviews are filmed backstage at Smackdown on Tuesdays. - Mark Madden interviewed Paul Heyman at this link. - The connected device WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Michelle Wilson "wasn't allowed to mention" at the WWE Network announcement earlier this month at CES in Las Vegas was in fact Apple TV. The word is the WWE Network could actually get a dedicated Apple TV channel and not just available through AirPlay from another Apple device. GearLive.com has more at this link. - Ryback told an interesting story in his recent Royal Rumble promotional interview with DirecTV. He said Arn Anderson (who works backstage in WWE as a producer) pulled him aside and told him that he needed to realize that he rose really fast and every time that happens, "you're going to hit eventually and you're gonna go down." Ryback said Anderson reassured him he would get back up and get back on top. He said he considered it a very serious and real conversation and thought at the time he wasn't going anywhere because AA has been around long enough to know how things work. - The latest blog entry from Jim Ross is online at this link. - Adventureland in Voorhees, New Jersey sent word they're hosting Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins on Sunday, March 23, 2014 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Tickets can be purchased at this link or by calling (856) 772-5900. You can also check out more about the appearance here on Facebook. - WWE NXT worker Alexander Rusev was on Friday night's WWE live event in State College, PA. He went over Zack Ryder via submission in a singles match and was introduced to the crowd with a vignette. You can check out his NXT profile at this link. - Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show at Royal Rumble is expected to be booked in a manner similar to what you'd expect from the post-UFC Lesnar. A match that's booked more as an MMA-fight rather than a pro wrestling bout, hiding obvious limitations. Lesnar is believed to be the healthiest he has ever been after diverticulosis prematurely ended his fighting career. He's less than three years displaced from having a foot of his colon removed because of the illness. - Speaking of Lesnar, while we've heard The Undertaker has grown weary of a singles match with him at Wrestlemania XXX, it's still not completely off either. The match continues to get talked about and was the "one sure thing" before rumblings that Undertaker might prefer a match with Daniel Bryan due to concerns with his artificial hips. - One of the points of discussion within WWE lately is how the upcoming WWE Network will "protect" B-level pay-per-views. The way things are currently structured, WWE relies on Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and Royal Rumble, their "big four" shows, to carry the pay-per-view business throughout the year. Obviously with the change, one thing to consider is B-level shows are going to be watched live by record audiences. This is part of the reason why WWE feels the Network is going to increase interest and in turn, increase television ratings. - I heard from someone that recently interviewed Ryback and was told he was "really cool." One of the knocks on the big man last year was he was aloof while doing media. I had a member of the international media come to me late last year, claiming they were so upset with Ryback after their interview they contacted WWE over it. - Sheamus continues to make teases on Twitter about his upcoming return to WWE. I cannot confirm whether or not he'll return at Royal Rumble and covered his injury at this link. However, I can confirm he's in the plans for an upper-level match at Wrestlemania. - Updating on the original Sin Cara (real name Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, a/k/a Mistico) claiming he owns the gimmick and plans to fight WWE for it, the company has no comment at this time. - Rumors of Hulk Hogan's return to WWE are still very hot and getting hotter. This has been the case for the past several months and while we still can't confirm a contract has been signed, the talk is he'll be utilized in some fashion at Wrestlemania XXX. - The plan as of this week was for The Shield faction to remain together through Wrestlemania XXX in April. That is obviously subject to change but the fact they have a confirmed promotional appearance together in late March is telling. - While Daniel Bryan's "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant is now a fixture in WWE, he revealed recently one of the catchphrases he came up with for his character was "tap or snap" but he couldn't use it due to copyright reasons. - Seth Rollins is making headlines for claiming the biggest mistake of his career was urinating under the ring in a match last week. You can watch the revelation at the 10:58 minute mark of this video. As seen in the video, Rollins claims that before the interview that only one other person knew about it. Remember John Cena is known for once defecating on himself during a bout. - Vince McMahon is high up on the Bad News Barrett gimmick and it's "full steam ahead" for the immediate future. Barrett has welcomed the gimmick change as he wasn't happy with the way his career was going when he was off the road dealing with work visa issues late last year. It is worth noting he's no longer listed as a 30-man Royal Rumble match participant here on dot com. He noted on Twitter he gave up his spot. - It's 100% confirmed that tickets for Wrestlemania XXX Fan Axxess will go on sale on Saturday, February 1, 2014 on Ticketmaster. The event will take place from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from Thursday, April 3rd through Sunday, April 6th. Included in the convention will be signings, photo opportunities, live matches, superstar Q&A's, memorabilia displays, a WWE Shop and more. Talent featured on advertising material for Axxess includes Triple H, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, AJ Lee and Mark Henry. - A lot of the what WWE workers do in their WWE App segments are actually ideas that are rehearsed and created during travel. The App segments are a big deal backstage at TVs. The company has a full staff dedicated to the App that includes their own writers, producer, cameraman and someone to fetch talent and handle technical support. WWE will continue to utilize their App as they look to integrate the WWE Network within it. - One thing that Rey Mysterio has eliminated from his in-ring arsenal is springboarding and jumping from the apron or the top rope in one jump. This is due to problems with his left knee that caused him to miss most of last year. - Revisiting an incident from last month, we have the full story on what happened between WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee and Michelle Beadle. Beadle showed up at the Tribute to the Troops taping with a group of women and walked past CM Punk and called him a "f*ck face." AJ, the real-life girlfriend of Punk, confronted Beadle over it. AJ didn't get heat as first thought as she had the protection of Vince McMahon, who really just wanted the story to blow over. It's believed WWE leaked variations of the story to either downplay it or make it seem like it was a planned angle. The only thing they didn't like was a celebrity was involved and the negative publicity. For those wondering, Beadle and Punk, who were at once considered friends, are no longer on good terms. - WWE will release "The Best of Raw & Smackdown 2013" in a one collection 3-disc set on Tuesday, January 28, 2013. The set features The Authority's rise, The Rock's return, John Cena's redemption, CM Punk's battle to be the best and Daniel Bryan's quest for gold. - Darren Young, who has a reputation for being shy and quiet backstage, spoke briefly about coming out in the February 2014 issue of WWE Magazine. In it, he revealed his tag team partner Titus O'Neil was very supportive of his decision to come out. - The WWE/Scooby-Doo animated film is titled "Scooby-Doo Wrestlemania Mystery" and will be available on Blu-Ray combo pack, DVD and digital HD on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. The core promotional material features an animated John Cena alongside Scooby himself. - Steve Austin appeared at the formal announcement of the WWE Network at CES earlier this month in Las Vegas as a personal favor to Vince McMahon. One thing WWE did for him was feature a complete writeup of The Steve Austin Show podcast in a recent issue of WWE Magazine. - Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis did a chat on Reddit at this link. In it, she recalled that she had breakfast with John Cena on numerous occasions when they were on overseas tours. She said they were friends back then but doesn't know what he's like now. Maria was asked about her beef with the Bella Twins, in which she responded by saying she pitied their insecurity. - Daniel Bryan returned to the ring at Saturday night's WWE live event in Canton, Ohio where he went under to Bray Wyatt in a steel cage match. He'll work Bray in a singles match at Royal Rumble. - Speaking of Bryan, the updated plans for Wrestlemania XXX do in fact have him in a program with Sheamus. The point to make headed into Royal Rumble is plans have Undertaker working Brock Lesnar and Bryan working Sheamus. Obviously that's subject to change but the first step towards Wrestlemania [and Wrestlemania storylines] begins on Sunday night. - Kevin Nash is in Pittsburgh and is part of a Royal Rumble after-party that is not affiliated with WWE. - Former WWE worker Gene Snitsky was backstage at Saturday night's WWE live event in Reading, PA. - There are plans for Ricardo Rodriguez to work on the Spanish announce team at Royal Rumble. - Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Goldust. In it, he explains his return was just a one shot thing that ended up earning him a contract. Goldust put over the WWE Wellness Policy, saying he's proof it works and that he's been sober for 5 1/2 years. He revealed he no longer has the dream of facing Cody Rhodes at Wrestlemania and wants to continue to be the WWE Tag Team Champions. Click here to read the article in its entirety. - Speaking of Goldust, Seth Rollins said his resurgence in his 40s might be the greatest comeback of all time. He talked to Digital Spy about Hulk Hogan possibly returning, Daniel Bryan's success and helping put the tag division back on the map. Click here to read it. - CM Punk was in attendance at UFC of FOX 10 Saturday night from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. I posted a photo of Punk in the audience in Twitter that you can view below:

- For those making a big deal about CM Punk appearing in the audience on-camera on UFC on Fox Saturday night as opposed to working one of the two WWE live events, it's of no use. Punk requested for the night off and it was granted. The first time he appeared in front of UFC TV cameras it was a big deal but now it's a situation where WWE doesn't make a big deal out of it at all.

- The position on AJ Styles within WWE is there's a lot of respect for his talent but he's still someone they would have to build "their way" at age 36. Styles is working the indies in hopes he raises his value and is able to get a better offer from TNA Wrestling. TNA still hopes to bring him back but it will be interesting to see if their offer increases now that they've signed The American Wolves and are very close with MVP.

- Onto Royal Rumble notes, it's the first step towards Wrestlemania XXX storylines and the next to last pay-per-view under the traditional WWE model. Batista is considered the favorite to win the Rumble match but as I've stated on numerous occasions, this is common sense based on his long-awaited return to the company. The company could opt to go in a different direction but based on the 20 announced entrants, Batista is the safest bet. There are arguments for up and coming workers like Big E Langston or Roman Reigns or for CM Punk, who is entering number one. The swerve many are hoping for is Daniel Bryan.

- Speaking of which, Bryan worked Saturday night against Bray Wyatt to give him a chance to brush off ring rust ahead of the singles match on pay-per-view. This is a program WWE is looking to blowoff before Wrestlemania. The creative team has been looking for something to reintroduce Sheamus with and one of the things that recently came up was to have Bryan seek redemption against a guy that's beat him on the show twice in the past three years. Shawn Michaels is currently not in the plans for Wrestlemania.

- Randy Orton is the favorite in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Royal Rumble against John Cena, based on the direction of proposed Wrestlemania plans. However, regardless of the outcome, the program that was used to unify the titles will be blown off before the show in April.

- Brock Lesnar is once again the favorite to challenge for "the streak" against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX. If Undertaker has signed off on the bout, which was long considered to be a "lock," before he was considered to be having second thoughts, there's no way Big Show could go over Lesnar at Royal Rumble. WWE realizes the quandary they're in as a result of bad booking but Lesnar will be in a top-level match at Wrestlemania.

- The New Age Outlaws are the favorites to win the WWE Tag Team Championship against Cody Rhodes & Goldust based on betting odds. Logical speculation would suggest to tease dissension between Rhodes and Goldust and do a singles program at Wrestlemania but it's something Goldust has backed off in recent weeks. Regardless, Goldust continues to get a tremendous amount of praise for his work and is credited for keeping his body in shape and "answering the call" when given a big opportunity.

- The biggest complaint regarding the proposed Wrestlemania XXX lineup is the lack of long-term planning. I spoke with a source last week that said they couldn't remember the last time things were so much up in the air. Vince McMahon is a guy that likes to have Wrestlemania plans ironed out several months in advance but this year it just hasn't happened. This year's show is particularly important, as WWE will use it as the main reason for people to subscribe to the WWE Network.

- Summer Rae, the valet of Fandango, will be featured as a cast member on the second season of Total Divas. It's unknown if she'll be an added cast member or if she'll replace Jo Jo Offerman, who was phased out in the latter part of Season 1. WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee recently revealed she was asked to be a cast member for Season 1 but declined.

- Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, known collectively as The New Age Outlaws, won the WWE Tag Team Championship in the Royal Rumble Kickoff in a match against Cody Rhodes & Goldust. The finish saw Billy Gunn blind tag in to the surprise of Rhodes, hit the fameasser and get the three count to win the titles.

- The announced attendance for the 27th annual Royal Rumble was 15,715. The show was a legitimate sellout from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

- We have complete Royal Rumble results at this link.

- Below is the complete order of entrants and order of eliminations for the 2014 30-man Royal Rumble match.

Order of Entrants:

1. CM Punk
2. Seth Rollins
3. Damien Sandow
4. Cody Rhodes
5. Kane
6. Alexander Rusev
7. Jack Swagger
8. Kofi Kingston
9. Jimmy Uso
10. Goldust
11. Dean Ambrose
12. Dolph Ziggler
13. R-Truth
14. Kevin Nash
15. Roman Reigns
16. The Great Khali
17. Sheamus
18. The Miz
19. Fandango
20. El Torito
21. Antonio Cesaro
22. Luke Harper
23. Jey Uso
24. JBL
25. Erick Rowan
26. Ryback
27. Alberto Del Rio
28. Batista
29. Big E Langston
30. Rey Mysterio

Order of Eliminations:

1. Damien Sandow eliminated by CM Punk
2. Kane eliminated by CM Punk
3. Alexander Rusev eliminated by a group (Cody Rhodes appeared to be last to touch him)
4. R-Truth eliminated by Dean Ambrose
5. Jimmy Uso by Dean Ambrose
6. Jack Swagger by Kevin Nash
7. Kofi Kingston by Roman Reigns
8. Dolph Ziggler by Roman Reigns
9. Kevin Nash by Roman Reigns
10. The Great Khali by Roman Reigns
11. Cody Rhodes by Goldust
12. Goldust by Roman Reigns
13. Fandango by El Torito
14. El Torito by Roman Reigns
15. JBL eliminated by Roman Reigns
16. The Miz eliminated by Luke Harper
17. Jey Uso eliminated by Luke Harper/Erick Roawn
18. Erick Rowan eliminated by Batista
19. Ryback eliminated by Batista
20. Alberto Del Rio eliminated by Batista
21. Big E Langston eliminated by Sheamus
22. Rey Mysterio eliminated by Seth Rollins
23. Luke Harper eliminated by Roman Reigns
24. Antonio Cesaro eliminated by Roman Reigns
25. Seth Rollins eliminated by Roman Reigns
26. Dean Ambrose eliminated by Roman Reigns
27. CM Punk eliminated by Kane (who came back out)
28. Sheamus eliminated by Roman Reigns
29. Roman Reigns eliminated by Batista

2014 Royal Rumble winner - Batista (also won in 2005 and entered 28th then as well)

- Daniel Bryan Tweeted the following after the strong crowd reactions for him hijacked both the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and the Royal Rumble match itself on Sunday night's pay-per-view from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania:

- Mick Foley Tweeted the following after Royal Rumble concluded:

- Batista was a complete heel following the heat he received from the live crowd for winning the 30-man Royal Rumble match. While he was making his way up the ramp, he mockingly did Daniel Bryan's "Yes" chant and flipped a member of the audience off.

- Mick Foley continued with his initial reaction with a blog on his Facebook page, where he expressed disgust over the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Foley said he never once lied during his two years as a WWE Ambassador about his enthusiasm for the product but now that he's no longer an Ambassador for the company, he's 1/6 as excited for Wrestlemania. He said he's "f*cking sad" for workers like Dolph Ziggler, CM PunkandDaniel Bryan, who have "no hope" of getting their shot at Wrestlemania XXX this year. You can read Mick's latest at this link.

- Roman Reigns received a lot of praise for his performance in the 30-man Royal Rumble match on Sunday night. The following reactions are from Twitter:

- Summer Rae confirmed on Twitter that she will be a Total Divas cast member on Season 2:

We broke the news just before Royal Rumblehere on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- We've heard from several readers that had problems with the official Royal Rumble Webcast on WWE.com, rendering parts of the show "unwatchable." Apparently some were given refunds but continued lagging issues is the reason why I stopped ordering the Webcast. This is an issue WWE must be 100% sure they do not experience with the upcoming WWE Network.

- The storyline surrounding Xavier Woods not entering the Royal Rumble match despite being advertised is that someone "stole" his spot.

- Kevin Nash Tweeted the following about his Royal Rumble moment:

- Jake Roberts Tweeted the following about not entering the Royal Rumble match:

- The talk about giving Roman Reigns a major singles push in WWE started in mid-December (before his singles match against CM Punk on "Old School" Raw) when his name surfaced as a potential opponent for Goldberg at Wrestlemania XXX. While Goldberg is not in the Wrestlemania plans, the push for Roman Reigns is still on. WWE has gone back and forth on what to do with The Shield, with cases being made to break them up or keep them together. The talk has spilled over to television as the indecisiveness can be tracked by anyone paying attention. WWE decided to start on separating Reigns from The Shield faction in the 30-man Royal Rumble match by highlighting his work, allowing for him to be the final elimination and breaking Kane's record of the most eliminations by one worker. While Wrestlemania plans for Reigns are unknown with Goldberg out, it's clear he's rose as the "top guy" from The Shield faction. The irony is that Reigns was considered to be the greenest of the faction and his work on the main roster has been better than anything he ever did in NXT. This is unlike a guy like Bray Wyatt, who drew extremely high marks in developmental after his run as Husky Harris.

- Daniel Bryan's biggest downfall in WWE is the fact that he is not vocal about his spot and is very easy going. This is why I pointed out in Ask WNW that Bryan's Tweets were certainly not like him. In addition to not being much for social media or technology, he isn't a guy to go management about the booking of his character, let alone the fans. The entire #YesMovement thing was started by Brie and Nikki Bella as a way to rally fans around him on social media. Bryan is aware that WWE never aspired for him to be a top guy. He's never been protected and was frustrated with his 18-second loss to Sheamus at Wrestlemania XXVIII a couple years ago. Bryan didn't like the way he was booked prior to main eventing SummerSlam last year or the job he did to Big E Langston the night after Wrestlemania 29. His mindset is that WWE sees him as a guy with niche appeal but isn't as marketable as a top guy. Nonetheless, Bryan remains patient with his spot and continues to work hard. All this being said, Vince McMahon was believed to have turned the corner on Bryan and has big plans for him. Regardless of what happened at Royal Rumble, he's still a guy the company is going to put more behind. However, whether or not they give him a legitimate main event push remains to be seen.

- For those that believe there were plans for a major angle featuring Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania XXX prior to Sunday night's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, you need to know what the plan was. The plan headed into the pay-per-view was for Bryan to work Sheamus in a redemption storyline. We first reported the news here and elaborated here but the gist was Shawn Michaels was not in the plans to work a match and they needed an opponent for Sheamus, so Daniel Bryan was the guy. The idea was Bryan would "seek redemption" over the worker that's beat him at Wrestlemania twice in the past three years. One of those defeats for the World Heavyweight Championship in 18-seconds.

While a program with an upper-midcard/main event level talent like Sheamus isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's not a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or challenging for "the streak" either. As of press time, those have been reserved for the Royal Rumblewinner Batista and part-time star Brock Lesnar respectively.

Royal Rumble is the launch pad for Wrestlemania, the self-proclaimed beginning of the Road to Wrestlemania. The workers that go over at the Rumble are the workers that go on to main event opportunities (and paydays) at Wrestlemania. Bray Wyatt? They want him in a program with John Cena, so he goes over. Orton, over. Batista, over. Daniel Bryan, well...

One source told me the plan was to open with Bray vs. Bryan and by the time Batista entered the Rumble match at 28, the "Yes!" chants would have died down considerably. They didn't want to book Bryan in the Rumble match because the thinking was there would be too much heat when he was eliminated. The plan was for Batista to return and go over for a main event opportunity at Wrestlemania. Yes, they still wanted to build Roman Reigns but the ultimate point was to set Batista up for a main event at the show in April.

Not only did the fans not forget but the crowd made WWE pay for it. Daniel Bryan chants hijacked the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and turned Batista, who was supposed to be a babyface, into an all out heel. It got so bad he was flipping fans off after the match, mocking the Daniel Bryan chants. WWE was in damage control mode. They blew the pay-per-view by thinking they could serve fans a strong dose of what used to work and it backfired.

The fact that Bryan immediately mentioned the crowd reactions on Twitter, which is completely unlike anything Bryan would actually do, gives me hope a worked shoot angle is coming.  Vince McMahon is a master promoter and will probably look to spin this hard. However, to assert this was the plan all along and the audience is getting worked to a new degree isn't just unfounded, it's flat out wrong.

I stated on Friday to not go into the pay-per-view expecting the miraculous Daniel Bryan swerve and that Batista was the clear favorite to win the Rumble match but that didn't stop what happened on Sunday night. Royal Rumble is meant to create excitement and momentum for Wrestlemania but instead of talking about Wrestlemania, everyone is talking about a major blown opportunity.

Have you ever heard the biblical adage that you reap what you sow? WWE has spent years pushing and pulling Daniel Bryan right back - times when it looked like the rocket push was coming, ended up in another unprotected job. What happened on Sunday was no different, except this time the fans didn't forget. Another "big four" pay-per-view job with Batista coming wasn't enough. The fans wanted Daniel Bryan and rest assure, WWE knows it. Will they alter from the planned Bryan/Sheamus match at Wrestlemania? We should find out soon enough.

- For those asking about Randy Orton's reaction to the crowd hijacking his WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Royal Ruble, I was told it was the "we want Eva/we want Divas" chants that really sent him over the top.

- Batista has officially been announced as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship challenge at Wrestlemania XXX on April 6, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

- Jim Ross is preaching patience to Daniel Bryan fans but I'm not sure that's going to work. You can read his latest at this link.

- The Miz is interviewed by Cleveland.com at this link to promote this week's Monday Night Raw.

- Evan Bourne Tweeted that he was still marching towards his WWE comeback. I was told he inquired about a return at SummerSlam last August but was told he wasn't needed.

- Brie Bella posted the following on social media:

- Last week's episode of Smackdown, the go-home to Royal Rumble, did an average viewing audience of 3,030,000 viewers on SyFy. You can see how the competition fared on cable at this link. The show ended up with a 2.15 cable rating. - Bret Hart, Bruno Sammartino and The Undertaker will all be signing autographs at Wrestlemania Fan Axxess over Wrestlemania XXX weekend, WWE has confirmed. There will be a presale beginning on Wednesday to obtain tickets to Wrestlemania Fan Axxess at 11 AM with the password WMAXXESS. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11 AM EST. - Kevin Nash isn't at Raw in Cleveland and wrote on Twitter he just landed in Florida. While under a WWE Legend's Contract, he worked the Royal Rumble on a per shot basis. - WWE announced in the opening segment o=of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that next month's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view will be headlined by Randy Orton defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the structure. Orton will be challenged by John Cena, Sheamus and Daniel Bryan as they all three won honors by beating The Shield (albeit disqualification on The Wyatt Family attacking Cena) on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. - WWE announced Jake Roberts as the second inductee into the Hall of Fame: Class of 2014 on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Roberts joins The Ultimate Warrior as he was announced on Raw a couple of weeks ago. The 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place the night before Wrestlemania XXX on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. - WWE announced that Christian will return on this week's episode of Smackdown. The company will tape Smackdown on Tuesday night from the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. Christian has been sidelined since August after suffering a concussion while working Randy Orton. - While I haven't heard if John Cena was legitimately injured in the main event of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, he appeared to get banged up in a spear spot with Roman Reigns. The spot looked awkward, where Reigns' head appeared to connect with Cena's knee/leg and Cena went to the outside for a couple of minutes. He ended up tagging back in and taking the match home but it was worth mentioning. I have my new "Richard's Notes From Raw" feature online which features complete results, my reaction and news that you can read at this link. WWE Raw TV notes from January 27th in Cleveland, Ohio... - Neither CM Punk nor Kane appeared on this week's Monday Night Raw as advertised. It's likely they were just given the night off or a victim to multiple show re-writes, which I'll have more on later. - Seth Rollins took a spill over the crowd barrier upon The Shield's entrance through the crowd. - The referee in the Divas match on this week's show was Dee Edwards. He's known on the northeast independent pro wrestling scene in the United States. - Cameras for Total Divas have been filming Summer Rae for about two months for her inclusion on Season 2 of the reality series, which premieres this March. - To follow-up on John Cena being banged up on the spear spot with Roman Reigns, he rolled to the outside and the referee called for the doctor. Cena waved off the attention (which was audible to people sitting ringside) and he was able to tag back in and take the match home. - After this week's show went off the air Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns left Seth Rollins with the babyfaces. Rollins ended up taking all of the babyface finishers to send the crowd home happy. There was no dark match main event. - Mick Foley followed-up on his epic Royal Rumble rant by clarifying it wasn't meant as a knock on Batista and also looked at the BBC covering Daniel Bryan's snub. You can read his latest at this link. - KENTA from Pro Wrestling NOAH is at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida where WWE officials will reportedly take a look at him. He's a helluva talent, who I don't think needs a tryout. Someone get this man a contract! - As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Christian will return at this week's episode of Smackdown after missing several months due to a concussion. You can watch the promo vignette for him at this link or embedded in the video below: - The 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction video for Jake "The Snake" Roberts is online at this link. - Jake "The Snake" Roberts Tweeted the following about his induction into the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame:

Ultimate Warrior, who had beef with Jake last week, Tweeted the following:

- Mick Foley Tweeted the following:

- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is now online at this link. - The biggest news backstage at WWE Monday Night Raw was how to handle Daniel Bryan after the debacle at Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Because of the magnitude of the story, I'm separating it from my weekly Backstage Raw News (that will run later on Tuesday) and running this on its own. We're told the company was "caught very off guard" by the Daniel Bryan reaction at the pay-per-view. As a result, Vince McMahon considered handling the situation of the utmost importance, even more important than anything related to Wrestlemania XXX. According to a source, Vince was concerned about the negative PR [from Royal Rumble] making it look like WWE doesn't know what it's doing at a time when they're in the middle of domestic TV negotiations and on the verge of launching the WWE Network. Vince McMahon put an edict out on Monday morning that the goal on this week's television was to get the crowd under control in terms of Bryan and work the reactions into the story to give the appearance to the media and investors that fans demanding more Bryan was by design and WWE is in control over the situation. There were several versions of the Raw script, with Vince continuously calling for more tweaks. The biggest thing he wanted was for the show to open and close with Daniel Bryan. He knew the crowd would be chanting for Bryan the loudest at those points whether he was out there or not. This is why Vince had all plans for this week's Raw thrown out and told creative to build around the reactions. Where this leaves plans for Wrestlemania is a bit more complicated. While the original plan was for Bryan to work Sheamus one source told me the match was "off" and another said it was "up in the air." As for Bryan winning the Elimination Chamber and defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Batista, we're told Vince was "having none of it" in creative meetings on Monday. I'm still sorting through my notes about Wrestlemania plans and will have more later in the week. - - Lilian Garcia noted on Twitter on Tuesday that she has signed for her 13th year of employment with WWE. You can check out a photo of her signing on the dotted line below:

- UFC President Dana White called Vince McMahon a maniac while discussing the WWE/UFC comparison. You can watch the comments at this link.

- WWE posted a video of Natalya posing for Flex magazine that you can watch at this link.

- Rob Feinstein, who co-founded Ring of Honor with Gabe Sapolsky and runs RFVideo.com, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon that he heard Sting signed a deal with WWE in the last 24 hours. Below is his post in its entirety:

I was just informed Sting has signed a deal with WWE in the last 24 hours. I still think personally he will show up after Mania since it seems like Undertaker vs Brock is what they are aiming for. Reminds me when everyone thought Brock would debut in Miami but they waited for Raw

This brought out the speculation with people claiming it's a Legend's Contract with limited appearances, etc. At this point I cannot independently confirm a deal has been signed. What I can report is that WWE has interest in Sting and a deal was his if he wanted it. TNA Wrestling has been working for more than a month to re-sign him and that deal was also believed to be there if he wanted it.

I've answered everyone that has asked me about Sting in that the ball is in his court and wherever he goes, it will ultimately be his decision.

4:45 PM EST January 28, 2014 Update: I checked with one of my lead sources and am still unable to independently confirm the deal. However, my source agrees with me in that Feinstein knows enough people where this isn't some type egregious claim. The last my source heard was Sting was leaning towards accepting a WWE offer but hadn't signed yet. However, that could have obviously changed at a moment's notice. End update.

Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Cleveland, Ohio…

- We're told WWE realized they had to "tread lightly" with Batista and Brock Lesnar on this week's Monday Night Raw given the fact fans want to turn them both. I heard there was a lot of angst over the 9 PM segment that involved Randy Orton, Batista and Lesnar because they were scared Batista would continue to get heat while Lesnar would end up the babyface.

What I didn't understand, as I noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, was the fact The Authority (Stephanie McMahon to be specific) called Batista a "friend of theirs" in the opening segment but in the 9 PM segment (the one everyone was worried about) Batista said he would come out of Wrestlemania XXX WWE World Heavyweight Champion and it didn't matter what The Authority thought.

- The major story out of this week's show was the situation with Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble and I detailed it as throughly as possible at this link. I'll add the feeling I got from speaking with sources is that Vince McMahon plans to "meticulously manage" the situation and feature Bryan more to appease the crowd. However, Vince was believed to be completely against putting Bryan in the title picture at Wrestlemania and while there was talk about switching up the proposed match with Sheamus, the most prominently talked about Wrestlemania match for Bryan was one against Triple H. I'll have more on this later. However, to be clear, the feeling I got (and reaffirmed with a source) was that WWE was looking for a way to contain the Daniel Bryan chants, not run with them.

- While neither CM Punk nor Kane were on this week's show, the preliminary plan was for them to face each other at Elimination Chamber next month.

- John Cena did not suffer a serious injury in the main event of this week's show. He waved off medical attention and was believed to be in pain but nothing more than that as of press time.

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw, the Royal Rumble fallout show, did an average viewing audience of 4,718,667 viewers on the USA Network. The show was the top program on cable. Below is how the numbers broke down by hour:

Hour 1 - 4,849,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 4,837,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 4,470,000 viewers

The show ended up with a 3.24 cable rating.

Click here to see how the competition stacked up.

- Jim Ross, who is operating under the "let's see how things play out" perspective, has a new blog entry on his official website where he put over the opening segment of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Below is an excerpt:

Enjoyed how RAW started and for all the Daniel Bryan conspiracy theorists that were very vocal Sunday night, Bryan's inclusion in segment one and in the last segment of RAW should provide some anxiety relief for those thinking that no one in a decision making position is aware that Daniel Bryan is 'over.'

Trust me, if WWE wanted to bury Bryan he would not have been in both the opening and closing segments of Monday Night RAW. I think that DB fans will be happy when this particular journey reaches its destination no matter how dysfunctional it may seem to be.

You can read his weekly Raw thoughts at this link.

- From one extreme to the other, Mick Foley put a baseball bat through a TV set in protest of Daniel Bryan not being included in the Royal Rumble match. You can watch it at this link.

- MTV's Guy Code has a new Q&A online with John Cena to promote his “10 Weeks BodyChange" program. In it, Cena explains the WWE rule above ribbing. He explains, don't rib unless you want ribbed, clarifying that's rules number one with his WWE buddies. You can read the piece at this link.

- SyFy announced on Tuesday they've ordered 26 new episodes of "Haven." The show features WWE Hall of Famer Edge in a recurring role. TV By the Numbers has the story at this link.

- My friend Ciprian Danciulescu sent me the link to a very interesting chart of the 2013 Monday Night Raw quarter ratings broken down by performer. The graph reveals the performers that increased the audience and the performers that decreased the audience, including and excluding the overrun segment. Below is the graph:

- Not to belabor the point but I want everyone to know where I stand on the situation with Daniel Bryan. It's not that I feel Vince McMahon is stupid, I think he's stubborn. I don't think there is some type of anti-Daniel Bryan agenda in WWE, in fact I believe the opposite is true. I think WWE wants Bryan to succeed and booked him in the most prominent segments on this week's Raw because of that. However, I still believe what the fans want for Bryan at Wrestlemania and the direction Vince McMahon sees are two different things. I hope I'm wrong and Bryan gets his shot in a top match at Wrestlemania XXX but that wasn't the vibe I got from speaking with people that heard about the updated plans. - For those that missed my update on the Sting to WWE rumors I added at this link, the last one of my lead sources heard was Sting was leading towards accepting WWE's offer. However, they had not heard a contract had been finalized but cautioned that could have changed at a moment's notice. Readers are already speculating about Sting's involvement at Wrestlemania and I would like to be able to confirm a contract before we go any further. - Antonio Cesaro and Christian earned spots in the Elimination Chamber match on this week's Smackdown. Cesaro and Christian will join Randy Orton, John Cena, Daniel Bryan & Sheamus in the structure to compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In addition, The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family was announced for the pay-per-view. - As of this writing, it appears as though CM Punk has been pulled from all shows leading up to Elimination Chamber, and all shows after Elimination Chamber to Wrestlemania. He is no longer listed as an appearing Superstar on any of the listings for house or televised shows on dot com. I am not going to speculate as to what happened at this point. I'm sure Richard will get to the bottom of this as soon as any information is known. - Following up on CM Punk being pulled from upcoming WWE shows, all we can do at this time is speculate. Punk has not had much contact with anyone since Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, however, I was told some things on Tuesday that could play into what has happened. The proposed plan for Punk at Wrestlemania XXX was for him to face Triple H in a singles match, however, the talk backstage at Raw on Monday night was the company might have to give that match to Daniel Bryan in response to the crowd hijacking Royal Rumble. As I reported in this week's Backstage Raw News, Vince was adamant about not changing initial plans for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania and the most prominently talked about match for Bryan at the pay-per-view was one against Hunter. Given the fact Triple H was CM Punk's proposed Wrestlemania opponent, this left him without a match. According to my source, Punk would then be bumped down the card to face Kane in the "6th match on the show" and he was very upset about that. Adding to the speculation is the fact Punk's WWE contract is up in July and he legitimately hasn't told anyone whether he plans to re-sign or essentially retire from the wrestling business. Those close to Punk have made it clear he hasn't been happy with the direction of his character lately and it's unknown if he's bored or just wants more but the feeling is it's not one of optimism or excitement. When Punk didn't appear on Raw as advertised on Monday night, I checked with multiple sources to find out if there was more to it or if he was simply "written out." This is when I was told the situation about Wrestlemania and the fact he had not been returning phone calls or text messages since Sunday. - Road Dogg & Billy Gunn, known collectively as The New Age Outlaws, are scheduled to defend the WWE Tag Team Championship on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw against Cody Rhodes & Goldust in a steel cage match. Their bout on this week's episode of Raw didn't see a conclusion when Brock Lesnar came out and interfered [giving an F-5 to Rhodes & Goldust] so Triple H set the match up on this week's episode of Smackdown. You can read my notes from Raw at this link and from Smackdown at this link. - Dot com is running a storyline that Brock Lesnar was "fined $10,000" for his "actions" against Big Show at Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view. You can read the kayfabe coverage at this link. - WWE will hold another set of NXT tapings Thursday night from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. The announced main roster guests are Goldust and Cody Rhodes. We'll have a reporter on the ground at the show and will have complete taping results on the show's conclusion. - Daniel Bryan beat Bray Wyatt via disqualification in a dark match main event following this week's Smackdown taping in Toledo, Ohio. The match was thrown out when Luke Harper & Erick Rowan interfered but Rey Mysterio and Sheamus came out and made the save. I'm doing a new feature where I'm posting my notes from this week's TVs. You can read them at this link. - Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were in-studio guests on Rover's Morning Glory. You can watch the interview at this link. - At some point between Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view and this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, CM Punk informed Vince McMahon that he was going home. This is where the story officially stops. Punk told Vince he was going home and was subsequently pulled from all upcoming WWE shows. While he was at one point still listed for Elimination Chamber, he's off that show as well. There are multiple theories surfacing about what happened but I'll reiterate they are theories as CM Punk himself has been strangely quiet since the pay-per-view on Sunday. The first theory deals with unhappiness over plans for Punk at Wrestlemania XXX. As I reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the proposed plan was to do Punk vs. Triple H at the show in April but the word at Raw was that match could be off in favor of Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H. This left Punk without an opponent, with Kane being a possible option on the Wrestlemania undercard. This was a plan Punk was reportedly not happy with. As to how WWE arrived at these plans, we need to go back. The first time John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (the current direction) came up for Wrestlemania XXX, it was quickly shot down. The plan for most of the past year was to do Cena vs. Triple H, however, they changed back to Cena vs. Wyatt, with the idea Triple H would work with Punk. Now, the situation with Daniel Bryan and you can see the point of contention we've been talking about with Punk as the "5th or 6th biggest match on the show," making Punk pretty much a complete afterthought. This could have been the "straw that broke the camel's back" with Punk opting to go home and sit out the remainder of his WWE contract that expires in July, rather than being shoved into the undercard on the biggest WWE show of the year. I spoke with someone close to Punk and was told to Punk it was never about the money, it was always about the business. Punk and Hunter haven't seen eye-to-eye on his character in a long time and as much as Punk and Vince have formed an awkwardly good relationship, things are not the same with Punk and Triple H. Punk was given last Saturday night off to attend UFC on Fox 10 in Chicago and while it was completely approved, there are some that will assert it still put him in a negative light. Vince McMahon is reportedly not giving up and wants the former 434-day WWE Champion on the Wrestlemania lineup. While this isn't believed to be a work, it certainly needs to be mentioned that given the nature of the business it could be or has the potential to become one if things are smoothed over. In fact, the wheels are already in motion for this to be used to give the impression that CM Punk is gone from the company, only to be reintroduced as Vince's guy at Wrestlemania. Allow for me to explain. The premise for the CM Punk vs. Triple H program at Wrestlemania was for it to be a feud over "control of the company" with Punk representing Vince McMahon and Hunter representing The Authority. In fact, this was the same premise for a potential Cena vs. Triple H program at the show this April. It wouldn't take much to tie in Punk's elimination from the Rumble [by The Authority's Kane, who was already out of the match] and Punk's cryptic Tweet to tell the story of Vince "bringing him back" to destroy The Authority. Again, a complete theory but it needs to be mentioned so you get both sides of the story. - To provide more perspective on the current situation with CM Punk and WWE, I want to go back to May 2013 when Punk was on his two-month hiatus from the company. At the time, Punk was in no rush to come back and hadn't given much thought about a return program. While Punk preferred to come back at SummerSlam, WWE wanted him for Payback in June in Chicago. As we saw, the latter is what actually happened. However, referencing our initial report on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Punk's main focus was Wrestlemania XXX. We were told at the time Punk felt like he "stole the show" with Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 and his goal was to get into "at least the second highest profile match" at the show this year. With his WWE contract coming up in July, Punk's underlying strategy was all about Wrestlemania. Knowing this information, it's certainly understandable about how being in the Wrestlemania undercard in his contract year could have been all it took for him to throw in the towel. In speaking with sources Wednesday morning, multiple people are saying Vince McMahon is hard at work in trying to get Punk back to make this all into one big angle. We have more about that at this link. - TMZ.com has picked up on the situation with CM Punk and WWE at this link. They report Punk was upset when he learned he would be facing Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX but we're told that's not completely true. We've covered the situation extensively here, here and here. - Speaking of TMZ, the news regarding Matt Hardy and Reby Sky is about as unflattering as possible. Brooks covered the initial story here but TMZ updated their coverage with graphic mug shot photos and audio of the 911 tape. According to the call, an employee of the Hampton Inn in Emporia, VA claimed a guest came into the hotel and said "somebody's beating the hell out of his wife a girl or something." You can follow the story at this link. - WWE has rescheduled their upcoming tour of Saudi Arabia from February to April. The new dates are April 17, April 18 and April 19. The change was made to accommodate the annual ceremony for the national Al Janadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival, which will also take place from the Green Halls Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the former dates. Click here for more. - Michael Cole returns in this week's kayfabe Triple H interview that's now online at this link. Below are the highlights: Cole opened by asking Hunter about not taking Paul Heyman up on either one of his offers regarding Brock Lesnar on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. While Triple H said either match (for the title versus Orton or against Batista) would have been huge for Raw, Randy Orton is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, he earned it, he deserves it. Dave Batista won the Royal Rumble and earned his number one contender spot, earned his right to be in the main event and challenge for the championship at Wrestlemania. Hunter proclaimed, if Brock Lesnar wants something around here, he's going to have to earn it. He continued with, "And the other thing on that is, I don't do well with or else." Cole asked why not allow Brock Lesnar an opportunity to qualify to go into the Elimination Chamber. Hunter said they gave him the opportunity but Paul Heyman, felt his client was above that. Hunter said that didn't set well with Brock so he made a statement. He said that's fine and Brock Lesnar probably won't show his face for a little bit. Hunter laughed about the beating that Lesnar put on Goldust and Cody Rhodes. He said they will absolutely get their opportunity and reiterated what we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com in that they'll be in a WWE Tag Team Championship steel cage match on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Triple H asked Cole if that settled the conspiracy theory about his connection to the The New Age Outlaws. Cole said it does. Triple H was asked if the reason he put The Shield in the main event at Raw was the hope they would qualify for the Elimination Chamber match and protect his pick for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Randy Orton. Hunter told Cole he needed a hobby or something to get off the conspiracy theories. He said there is only winner when you get in the Elimination Chamber and that one man will survive and that man will go on and defend the title against Batista at Wrestlemania. It's reiterated that the final two spots of the Elimination Chamber match will be determined in two "epic qualifying matches" on this week's episode of Smackdown. Triple H said he doesn't think it's a big deal The Wyatt Family cost The Shield a chance to qualify for the Elimination Chamber and he thinks everyone should just let that go. Cole said it'll be interesting to hear The Shield's take on that. Hunter said they're fine with it. Cole asked him about Jake Roberts going into the WWE Hall of Fame. Triple H said he's glad Jake has reached a place in his life where he can accept the rightfully due award of being acknowledged in the WWE Hall of Fame. - John Cena Tweeted the following:

As for CM Punk, the official Twitter.com/WWE account is no longer following him.

- Following up on Brock Lesnar's kayfabe $10,000 fine, Paul Heyman Tweeted the following:

- WWE and E issued an official press release about Season 2 of Total Divas on Wednesday. Joining the cast will be WWE Diva Summer Rae with JoJo Offerman, who was phased out of the latter part of Season 1, departing. JoJo remains under a developmental contract and is still working out at the WWE Performance Center. Season 2 of Total Divas kicks off on E on Sunday, March 16, 2014 on E at 9pm ET/PT. You can read the official press release at this link.

- WWE and BSkyB have extended their television distribution deal for another five years in the United Kingdom, carrying their partnership into a 30th year.

BSkyB will continue to carry Raw and Smackdown and will add WWE Main Event to its lineup. All 12 WWE pay-per-views will also be available on Sky Sports Box Office, including Wrestlemania.

You can read the official press release at this link.

While financial details of the new contract weren't disclosed, The Hollywood Reporternoted its value is believed to be approximately three times that of the previous five-year agreement. The old deal was reportedly WWE's biggest international TV rights deal at the time.

This deal was important to WWE and one they've been negotiating over the last several months. WWE's domestic partner will be chosen by the end of next month/beginning of March.

- Ryback wrote the following on Twitter regarding CM Punk'sWWE departure:

- Dolph Ziggler got some people talking with this Tweet:

- Video of CM Punk's appearance at the Portland Comic Con last weekend has surfaced online. You can watch it at this link. - CM Punk walking out on WWE the day after the build to Wrestlemania XXX began is obviously the biggest story of the week. Everyone is searching for clues with a lot of misinformation out there. One thing we can confirm is that Punk had been frustrated with the lack of long-term planning in storylines in the company. The constant booking on the fly bothered Punk as he felt it made storylines harder for the viewer to follow. Punk was believed to be burned out mentally and physically. The word on Wednesday was that Vince McMahon hoped to work things out to turn everything into a worked shoot angle. As one observer told me, what other choice do they have? - WWE's current deal with BSkyB runs through 2014 but we can confirm negotiations for a new deal began taking place several months ago, with talks being discussed with investors in October. The goal was to increase their rights fees dude to the higher demand for the popularity of live content. As previously reported, the new UK deal is believed to be three times of their last agreement and runs through 2019. The next international TV agreement WWE will look to get done is the agreement in India. - The Triple H: Thy Kingdom Come DVD sold 4,010 Blu Ray copies in its first week of release for $96,246. The set entered the charts at #18. - The WWE Network is still coming to the United Kingdom later this year or the beginning of next. BSkyB, like the USA Network, sees the WWE Network as complimentary to their content offering and do not feel it's going to cannibalize their WWE audience. They feel it will increase interest in the brand and fan engagement, resulting in higher viewership. This on the news that a new 5-year TV distribution deal with WWE has been reached. - Goldust is featured in the latest episode of WWE Inbox that you can watch at this link. - A lot of our readers in the United Kingdom want to know how the new five-year agreement with BSkyB impacts plans for the WWE Network, the short answer is it doesn't impact plans. WWE says they plan to make the WWE Network available to people in the UK at the end of 2014, beginning of 2015. The plan all along was to renew their distribution agreement with BSkyB and that deal is finally done. I contacted a WWE spokesman on Thursday, asking if there was anything else they could tell me and was told the company was not making any further comment at this time. - I posted a warning on my social media accounts on Thursday, explaining there is a lot of information about CM Punk and WWE being published that's speculation at best, misinformation at worst. I'm not making this claim for no reason. About 24 hours ago I received a strange email from an anonymous tipster, requesting that I post specific material in regards to the CM Punk story. While there's nothing to say this tipster didn't have valid information, there was nothing to prove it was valid either. There are people that I speak with on a regular basis that I know and trust, which is how I am able to accurately break big stories. There are other times we receive tips and while we take all tips seriously, unless I can confirm the claim, I'm unable to post that information. The claim sent to me nearly 24 hours ago had a specific agenda and that agenda was to spin the CM Punk story as a situation between Vince McMahon and Triple H. I'm going to include the tip below and then explain why you can't take such information as fact:

I have information direct from someone who works for WWE and inside WWE HQ in regards to the current situation with wrestler CM Punk. I was told Vince McMahon and Triple H are now at odds. Vince not only wants CM Punk to return for Wrestlemania but for the longterm as well, and today has enlisted the help of Punk's girlfriend to try to cool him down and convince him to return. From what I was told Punk's girlfriend is the only line of communication right now between Punk and WWE. Triple H on the other hand I was told is enraged at Punk and wants nothing to do with him and is urging Vince to wash his hands of him. So, there is a disconnect there between the two. I have no information at all on Stephanie's opinion.

While the above seems like a plausible theory, it's still a theory. There's an agenda here and that agenda is take a situation that saw CM Punk leave after meeting with Vince McMahon and turn it into a side story of Triple H versus Vince McMahon. Is this person sending this tip because they want to help get the inside information out or are they sending this information out because this is the information they want out? The truth is Punk is believed to have a better relationship with Vince than he does with Triple H. Punk said recently that he and Vince text one another and share the same trait of insomnia. Another source told me earlier in the week that Punk felt Hunter was playing favorites in his plans for Wrestlemania and because he wasn't considered a Triple H guy, he was getting a less than prominent spot on the Wrestlemania lineup. If anything at all, let this serve as a warning that until Punk speaks or he gives someone close to him permission to speak on his behalf, no one knows exactly what transpired. - The word on Roman Reigns is he has been "like a sponge" working with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and has listened to everything they've told him about getting better. We're told Reigns has a great attitude where he respects Rollins and Ambrose because they've "paid their dues" and he has been willing to learn with a very humble attitude. I joked with one observer about how what Reigns has done on the main WWE roster has been particularly impressive because he didn't do anything in his time in developmental that stood out. The observer responded by saying, that's because he didn't. - Jim Ross posted a blog on CM Punk's situation with WWE. He wrote he doesn't think Punk has worked his final match with WWE but he should take time off, even if that means he misses Wrestlemania. Below is an excerpt:

The news of the day surrounds the talented CM Punk unexpectedly walking away from WWE. Was it really unexpected? Likely not. Punk has not been a happy camper within WWE for quite some time. That point has been made abundantly clear on many occasions. He's tired, he's beat up, and he's not enjoying himself at work. Before everyone analyzes this matter to death, let's break it down into a few basic points some of which I can speak on from experience as the former head of talent relations for WWE. Matters such as this generally concern one or both of the Two C's....cash and/or creative. Punk is mentally and physically burned out and he's not having enough professional fulfillment to work through his issues. He needs a break. All talents are wired differently which is why they all cannot be managed the same or even treated the same in many instances. Recognizing when a talent is getting frayed around the edges is management's job. Once the problem is identified it is incumbent upon everyone involved in the equation to work together to solve the problem through compromise and respect but most of all communication. If the talent or the company is unwilling to compromise, then, most likely the problem won't be solved and, therefore, if a problem can't be solved there's only one other option to put in play and that is to eliminate the problem. Punk is a very cerebral talent who has earned his stripes the hard way and has more than paid his dues. He's earned super star status via having numerous, main event classic bouts in WWE rings on huge stages. Coming to WWE was the greatest thing Punk could have done for himself professionally. He's become globally famous and has made a handsome amount of money thanks to the WWE machine. The opportunities that WWE have provided Punk and then Punk maximizing those minutes and opportunities is what the synergy between a talent and a company should resemble. I do not think that Punk has wrestled his last match in WWE. I do feel that it's best for all involved for Punk to take much needed time off even if it means that he misses a WrestleMania.

Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety. - Would you like to 10 things that scare John Cena about women? Check out this feature on Glamour.com. - WWE issued a press release on Thursday to officially announce the official WWE App has surpassed 10 million downloads in 220 countries since it launched in April 2012. The company reiterated in the release it will be a key component in the delivery of the upcoming WWE Network. The company announced that more than 500,000 fans experience its second screen capabilities during the airing of Raw on Monday nights. Click here to read the release in its entirety. - The February 27, 2014 live episode of NXT on the WWE Network is being billed as the first NXT pay-per-view. The following has been announced for the show: * Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro in a Ladder Match * John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Kevin Nash and Paul Heyman will all be there as announced by JBL at Thursday night's taping. Additionally, there will be another taping the following night on February 28, 2014. Sheamus and The New Age Outlaws are scheduled to be at that show. - WWEannounced on Thursday they'll report their 2013 fourth quarter earnings and full year results on Thursday, February 20, 2014. Vince McMahon and George Barrios will host a conference call with investors at 11 AM EST to discuss the results. We'll be on the call, where we'll provide live coverage right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. - The Usos look back at their best match in the Money in the Bank 2013 Kickoff in the latest episode of WWE Behind the Match. You can watch at this link. - TMZ.com has a new video of UFC President Dana White where he says he thinks Brock Lesnar would like to fight when his schedule opens up. White said he feels Lesnar would like to "do both" [UFC and WWE]. You can watch the video at this link. We've traveled down this road more times than I can count but WWE would have to approve any fight that Lesnar wanted to do in UFC. WWE has the exclusive rights to Lesnar's services and that exclusively extends to MMA fights. However, I've been told WWE would allow for Lesnar to fight as long as it was against an opponent that he could easily beat. - Steve Austin appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show this week and took the time to discuss CM Punk's apparent departure from WWE. The video is available at this link. - UFC President Dana White was asked about CM Punk quitting WWE during media day for UFC 169 on Thursday. Below is a recap of his comments that can be heard at this link. White said he was with CM Punk all night last Saturday night for UFC on Fox 10. He said he likes CM Punk a lot and that he's a nice guy. When asked if Punk could start an MMA career at 35, White said 35 is a little late to get into the game but who knows if he can fight? When his training with the Gracies was brought up, White said, we'll see what happens. Dana seemed to not completely understand the fact Punk walked out on WWE on Monday. He questioned the reporter, saying, "he quit?" And followed-up by saying Punk hadn't said a word to him. White said CM Punk has not reached out to him and never said a word about it. He was with him on Saturday night, Punk just showed up and they talked about a lot of things but fighting was not one of them. - Triple H spent Thursday at the WWE Performance Center where he met with members of the international media and gave them a tour of the facility. He was backstage working at this week's WWE NXT tapings but did not appear in front of the live audience. - Speaking of the international media, they were at the WWE Performance this week as Pro Wrestling NOAH star KENTA was there. He has announced that he will make an announcement regarding his career on Monday, with the speculation suggesting he's headed to WWE. - Main WWE roster workers that appeared at Thursday night's NXT tapings are as follows - Emma, Summer Rae, Alexander Rusev, Antonio Cesaro, Justin Gabriel, Xavier Woods, JBL, Cody Rhodes and Goldust. - Charlotte, the real-life daughter of Ric Flair, and Sasha Banks botched their interference during Emma's match against Summer Rae that was taped on Thursday night. The match will air on the February 19, 2014 episode of NXT. - If you missed them, you can read complete NXT taping results at this link. - KENTA has updated his fans about his visit this week to the WWE Performance Center, where he explained he wasn't there for a WWE tryout but simply a workout where company executives were present. He said he's always wanted to give WWE a try so he used his time off to travel to the United States and work out at the company's developmental training facility. He concluded by thanking Pro Wrestling NOAH president Akira Taue for allowing him the opportunity. So based on this, rumors a WWE contract is imminent are premature as of this writing. You can read a translated version of his note below or click here to read it in its original format:

I am sorry for having you all confused over the various information about my visit in the US. As a matter of fact, I am in the States and joining the WWE training. But as for now, it’s not about getting a tryout or a contact. It is indeed true that I have always been yearning for a spot in WWE, and I’ve always wanted to give it a try sometime. After all, you only live once. “I should have given it a try.” “I should have chosen another way.” I’ve had those regrets when I was in my middle and high school, and even after I got in to this business. I just did not want to regret later about something I haven’t tried, so I used my time off to participate in the WWE workout. The executives were at the workout, so perhaps I may have left a mark. The place is full of competition and hungry guys. It’s not as simple as being good at Puroresu or having strength. There are so many guys with monster physique and guys who are way athletically superior to me. And even they don’t get into the big league. That’s how tough this place could be. I can easily imagine that surviving in this environment could be severe. And spending a few days in that environment became a really good experience for me. I’m sorry to have caused the confusion, but one thing I can say for sure is that “I’m glad I came”. I would like to work even harder making use of this experience. And lastly, I would like to thank President Taue for letting me take this chance.

Thanks to Twitter.com/puro_yottsume for Tweeting me this. - There's a lot being made of the crowd reactions at Thursday night's WWE NXT tapings from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida following the current situation with CM Punk walking out on WWE. I spoke with Wrestling News World'sScott Brooks, who was in attendance at the tapings, about the situation on Friday afternoon and here's what he told me: Backlash over CM Punk was evident at the taping with a handful of signs being confiscated. The name "CM Punk" was chanted throughout the majority of the show, with fans showing their support "in protest." Scott told me there was nothing overly notable in terms of a show disruption, just at times a couple of Punk chants would breakout during the matches. I was told it was nothing like the reactions that broke out for Daniel Bryan during the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and John Cena at Royal Rumble last Sunday. - The words that were used to describe the atmosphere in WWE after the Royal Rumble pay-per-view were "complete madness" and this was before the details began to break that CM Punk had walked out. The situation going into Raw was that Wrestlemania plans were being turned upside down on almost a daily basis and one source couldn't put enough emphasis on how "up in the air" things were this close to the biggest show of the year. - As of Monday afternoon, one thing that still had morale down (or at least sideways) amongst WWE talent was the fact the company had still not addressed how pay-per-view payoffs are going to be handled with the launch of the WWE Network. To say the roster is nervous would be a "huge understatement" and according to one observer, the longer the company waits to address it, the worse the roster is going to assume the news is. This issue has been held into question since the formal WWE Network announcement took place at CES earlier this month and it's an issue that preceded the chaos over Daniel Bryan and now the situation with CM Punk. - Finally, we're told the plan as of this week was to feature Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes on the Wrestlemania XXX undercard. Goldust has downplayed the match in recent media interviews but this was before Royal Rumble and the dissension began to be teased. We're told the fact Goldust eliminated Cody from the Rumble match made the plans a near lock. However, plans are always subject to change, especially after what I mentioned above. - CM Punk has been replaced by Ric Flair in his WrestleMania VIP Axxess time slot, the latest indicator of CM Punk's apparent departure from WWE. Axxess tickets go on sale to the general public tomorrow morning at at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT. Click here for more information. - The latest episode of "The JBL & Cole Show" is available at this link. - WWE began airing vignettes for Alexander Rusev on this week's episode of Smackdown. Rusev has been on the road with the main WWE roster on live events over the past couple of weeks and was an entrant in the 2014 30-man Royal Rumble match. Appearing in the vignette with him was his valet Lana. Her real name is C.J. Perry and she had pursued a career in music and acting before signing a WWE developmental contract in June 2013. She's originally from Moscow, Russia. You can check out her NXT profile at this link.

TNA News

- There is a lot of relief within TNA that they were able to secure taping dates from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for later this year. This was a deal that was just agreed upon this week and hinged on numerous factors. There is no-long term lease in place but this will prevent the company from being forced to tape television on the road. It will be interesting to see how the theme park being back in play as a potential location for the physical WWE Hall of Fame plays out. The stumbling block last year was exclusivity and should WWE get that exclusivity, TNA would obviously have to do something else. - TNA has a live pay-per-view scheduled for Sunday, April 27, 2014 from Universal Studios that will precede a set of Impact tapings. Details regarding the pay-per-view are unknown as of press time but the night before, they'll tape a "One Night Only" show to be carried later in the year. - I've been keeping tabs on TNA's deal with Spike TV and ran a lengthy exclusive here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Their deal is up in October 2014, which is the same time the new domestic WWE TV agreement will begin. What seems to be flying under the radar is the fact WWE is believed to have reached out to or met with representatives from Viacom (something we've mentioned and Variety also reported). If WWE and NBC Universal (their current partner) do not reach an agreement by February 14, 2014, WWE will be able to shop with another conglomerate such as Viacom. WWE will select their media partner(s) by March 4, 2014 so obviously TNA will know where they stand with Spike TV before their deal is up. - Kurt Angle announced on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch with Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer that he'll accept his induction into the TNA Hall of Fame on Sunday, February 1, 2014 at TNA's live event from the Wembley Arena in London, England. Angle explained there were things he wanted to accomplish before accepting his induction. The official TNA website has more at this link. After TNA's European tour, it will be time for Angle to slow down. He'll undergo arthroscopic knee surgery next month and the major point of discussion will be the fact his TNA contract is up in September. - I spoke with TNA Wrestling on Monday in regards to rumors of Vince Russo and MVP working for the company. A company spokesman clearly stated Russo is "not a TNA employee" and The Wolves were the most recent talent announcement. This obviously doesn't mean MVP hasn't signed, as we were told by a source under the condition of anonymity that the two sides were getting close several weeks ago. We haven't written anything about Russo lately but apparently there are rumblings he is once again involved in the TNA creative process. - Kurt Angle did a lengthy interviewed with The UK Sun at this link. There's a lot in there with Angle saying he hated to see Hulk Hogan leave TNA but it was a business decision and letting him walk was the right decision. He also revealed the desire to return to WWE is there. Angle is in Europe for TNA's tour before he takes time off to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery next month. Former TNA Champion Bully Ray Tweeted the following about CM Punk walking out on WWE:

- TNA Wrestling's 2014 Maximum Impact European tour officially began on Wednesday with a show from Dublin's National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. While the show is underway as of this writing, please feel free to submit a live report at this link if you attended. Furthermore, we're seeking reports from all TNA shows overseas.

- The latest Impact Podcast features Kurt Angle and EC3 and is online at this link.

- Speaking of EC3, we'll be speaking to him next week to promote the company's One Night Only #OldSchool pay-per-view that debuts on systems on Friday, February 7, 2014. We'll provide full coverage of the interview.

- Kurt Angle didn't work Wednesday night's TNA live event in Dublin, Ireland but did a run-in in the Bobby Roode vs. Gunner match. Reports are out he was seen limping and didn't look good. His knee is bothering him and he was scheduled to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on January 21, 2014, however, he rescheduled it to February 11, 2014 so he could make the overseas tour. Angle isn't being advertised for Lockdown because it's very unlikely he'll be ready.

- Gail Kim recently appeared as a guest on Wrestling with Rosenberg and she made some fascinating comments about the events that resulted in her quitting WWE the second time. Her final appearance on WWE TV was on the August 1, 2011 episode of Monday Night Raw when she infamously eliminated herself from a Divas Battle Royal. In the interview, Gail said she decided to quit WWE the day they introduced the angle to her that she would be Daniel Bryan's secret girlfriend in the program with The Bella Twins. She said that when she went in that day with her boyfriend/now husband Robert Irvine that she decided to go with the flow. Gail said the USA Network apparently didn't like the Bella Twins fighting over Bryan so her inclusion was the new direction. According to Gail, she was the third choice behind Sara Del Rey and Awesome Kong and they went with her because she was already on the roster. Once the angle concluded, she was frustrated about being phased out again. She said John Laurinaitis asked her if she wanted to train Divas at the company's developmental territory and she didn't want to do it. Her infamous exit was due to frustration, as we noted back when it happened. You can watch the entire interview at this link.

- TNA Wrestling issued a press release on Thursday, officially announcing their return to Glasgow, Manchester and London in January 2015. There will be another double TV taping again next year as full details are in the release printed below:

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING ANNOUNCES ULTIMATE SEVENTH ANNIVERSARY TOUR

TNA returns to Glasgow, Manchester and London in January 2015
Wembley event will be a double TV taping including Ultimate X match
Fans can get the best seats when ALL tickets go on sale on February 7
London (Thursday January 30, 2014): TNA IMPACT WRESTLING today announces its return to the United Kingdom in January 2015 for a seventh anniversary Tour, with huge live events coming to Glasgow, Manchester and London.

The Wembley event will be a double TV taping, including an Ultimate X match – TNA’s fan favourite speciality bout full of high-flying and death-defying action.

Tickets for the MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour go on general sale at 10am on Friday February 7. For the first time ever, ALL tickets will be on sale right away – meaning that fans can ensure they get the best seats by buying early. Prices start from just £20 (plus booking fee).

The announcement of the MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour comes as the superstars of TNA – including Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, James Storm, Bobby Roode, Mr Anderson, Velvet Sky and British World Heavyweight Champion Magnus – are taking part in the company’s 2014 Tour.

MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour tickets will be available via the TNA UK Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tnawrestlingukwww.gigsandtours.com/go/tna2015genwww.ticketmaster.co.uk/TNA-Wrestling-tickets/artist/1008830 or direct from the tour venues. Full details of the UK events are:

Thursday 29 January 2015 Glasgow The SSE Hydro www.thehydro.com

Friday 30 January 2015 Manchester Phones 4u Arena www.phones4uarena.co.uk

Saturday 31 January 2015 London Wembley Arena www.wembleyarena.co.uk

TNA IMPACT WRESTLING is broadcast on Challenge in the UK and Ireland every Sunday night at 9pm, as well as on Spike TV in the USA and more than 120 other countries.

There will be more exciting announcements and updates about the TNA MAXIMUM IMPACT 7 Tour throughout this year.

- TNA Wrestling issued a press release on Thursday, announcing they'll send 11 people from their talent roster to Japan for Wrestle-1's show on March 2, 2014 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena.

The event will feature TNA talent versus Wrestle-1 talent and taped for a One Night Only pay-per-view event later in the year. Additionally, The Great Muta is scheduled to be at TNA Lockdown in March.

Below is the release in its entirety:

TNA EXPANDS RELATIONSHIP WITH WRESTLE-1

IMPACT WRESTLING SUPERSTARS TO HEADLINE

MARCH SPECIAL EVENT IN JAPAN

NASHVILLE (January 30, 2014) – Building on the popularity of its programming internationally, TNA announced today it will send 11 of its Superstars to Japan for a special event with Wrestle-1, founded by the legendary Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta), on March 2 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena.

The event will feature matches pitting members of the TNA roster against Wrestle-1 talent. Cameras will capture all the action and the footage is scheduled to broadcast as a One Night Only Pay-Per-View (PPV) event later this year.

“The Japanese have an incomparable respect and appreciation for professional wrestling,” said TNA Executive Vice President John Gaburick. “As TNA continues our global expansion, we are honored to partner with Mutoh and Wrestle-1 to give our fans an exceptional night of unparalleled entertainment. We envision a long and successful relationship with Wrestle-1, as we partner to deliver innovative live events and programming for our fans across the U.S., in Japan and around the world.”

The TNA Superstars scheduled to appear on March 2 include World Heavyweight Champion Magnus, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Gail Kim, Austin Aries, Abyss, Kaz and Daniels, Madison Rayne and the recently signed The Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards.

Additionally, Mutoh, along with Wrestle-1 star Seiya Sanada, will be in Miami March 8-9 for Lockdown, where they are scheduled to participate in Fan InterAction and the Pay-Per-View event.

IMPACT WRESTLING and TNA PPV events air in Japan on Nippon Television Network’s channel G+.

- The broadcast team for Thursday's Impact Wrestling taping in Glasgow, Scotland is comprised of Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash. The storyline is Taz is "on assignment" in the United States and he will be Tweeting throughout this week's broadcast. The following is from Twitter:

- MVP debuted with TNA Wrestling at Thursday's Impact taping in Glasgow, Scotland, being revealed as the mystery investor. The segment will air on this week's show following the main event. Before taping his debut, MVP Tweeted the following:

As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the two sides had agreed on money as of Tuesday but there were minor details still being worked out to make the debut a reality. TNA’s pursuit of MVP has been quite the process but the departure of AJ Styles was believed to be a big break through. We’re told this is when they bumped their offer to MVP, with some of the money that had been earmarked for AJ becoming available to get a deal done. Dave Lagana, who works a creative writer in TNA, had pushed for MVP as he feels the former WWE superstar is someone he can build around. - Former TNA worker Jessy Sorensen did an in-depth interview with Monster Factory Radio at this link. Below are some notes: Sorensen claimed that Dixie Carter and Bruce Prichard told him to send his medical bills to the TNA office but they kept being returned to him and his mom. He said his mother lost the restaurant she owned due to bankruptcy as she filed bankruptcy because she wasn't able to afford his medical bills. He said TNA Chief Financial Officer Dean Broadhead and Dixie Carter called and offered him a position as a good will ambassador. Sorensen said he was excited and fully onboard with it. However, the job ended up being where he would fetch talent for their segments at TVs for the six months he was there. Sorensen said his guaranteed pay was $30,000 a year and said checks were always late. His contract was he got paid at the end of the month but the checks didn't usually come until the 18th when they were supposed to be there the 30th of the prior month. He said when he was working there, he managed a gym where he and Garett Bischoff worked out and waited tables at night. Sorensen reiterated he was working three jobs. Jessy told a story about arranging for a child with brain cancer to come visit TVs. He said the child, named Nathan, was given first class treatment by many of the workers. AJ Styles gave him gloves, Jeff Hardy decked him out, Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan all greeted him. Christy Hemme walked him down the ramp. However, he said what really "pissed him off" was they didn't film it and he had to explain to the child's mother it wasn't going to be on TV. Sorensen revealed he had a bad feeling he was going to be one of the releases. He was sitting at catering with the Hebners at TVs and he told them he didn't know what it was, but he had this feeling he was going to be released. Jessy recalled that Earl Hebner told him there's no way he'd be one of the releases because of the negative press. Jessy said Bob Ryder called him and informed him that TNA was canceling his contract early. He said Ryder told him it was Dean and Dixie that made the decision but he knew he'd been wanting to wrestle again, so maybe this was the opportunity to do that and maybe come back and wrestle for TNA again one day. Jessy said he wanted to wrestle for them then and had been bugging people for months to let him do it. He said he was told to stay out of the ring and stop sending videos of him in the ring. He talked about Kurt Angle flying down and spending time with him in the hospital. Jessy said Angle told him he'd be back in 4 months and the next day that he was able to walk again and everything started to come back. Sorensen said when he worked for Ring of Honor that Dixie wanted him to talk to John Gaburick but he said John never got back to him. He went from 215 lbs to 165 lbs when he got hurt. Jessy said he was never supposed to do production but be a good will ambassador. Dixie said they gave him a job in production to give him job skills to help him get a better job after this. Sorensen said it was "really shitty" that when he was waiting tables at the restaurant next to Hogan's Beach that fans would come in and notice him. Sorensen said that no wrestler that's "busted their ass" to get there, to get to TV, should be able to make more money working indies. He said a lot of people had second jobs and were struggling. Sorensen said he and Zema Ion [his opponent when he got hurt] don't even talk anymore. He said Zema came to the hospital one time but they had roomed together for a live event prior to the injury happened in their match at Against All Odds 2012. Jessy said Zema apologized to him later but he felt it was BS because Zema claimed he had lost his number. Sorensen said Dakota Darsow called him after his match against Ion on the December 7, 2012 episode of Impact and told him that he got Ion back for him. You can watch highlights of that match at this link. Jessy said that Zema and Darsow had a long talk about it, where Zema told him he didn't really know what to say to Sorensen. Jessy said he wasn't mad at Zema and they're cool now, he just wanted to feel like he cared. He reiterated they don't talk anymore. - Jeff Jarrett remains active scouting talent both domestically and internationally for a proposed new pro wrestling promotion that is being financed by a group headed by country music star Toby Keith. Our friend Josh Stewart of Newsday got the following quote from Jarrett but no confirmation on anything:

“I can tell you I'm making good progress, so, stay tuned!”

Plans for the project have been incredibly quiet. We first heard on Christmas Eve 2013 that the fear within TNA Wrestling was Jarrett was looking to start a new promotion with the Toby Keith group, the group that was interested in purchasing TNA Wrestling. You can read our initial report from Christmas Eve at this link. For insider information on the Toby Keith group looking to purchase TNA, you can read that story at this link. We're told this was the "only offer TNA had" for a potential buyer and there is significant funding behind this group. The aspirations have been described as very big, with them not only looking to sign top talent [for a proposed new promotion] but that they're pursuing a national TV deal in the US as well.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling from Glasgow, Scotland did an average viewing audience of 1,449,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show ended up with a 1.14 cable rating. You can see how the show stacked up to the competition on cable on Thursday night at this link.

- A female wrestler from Germany known as Alpha Female debuted with TNA Wrestling on the current European tour. She worked a match taped for Xplosion at Thursday's taping in Glasgow, Scotland and worked Friday in Manchester, England. Her debut gimmick is as the bodyguard of Chris Sabin with her programmed against Velvet Sky. Female's debut will air on the February 13, 2014 episode of Impact. You can check her out on Facebook and Twitter as she stands 6'1 at 190 lbs of solid muscle. The February 13, 2014 episode of Impact Wrestling will also feature the in-ring TNA debuts of The Wolves and MVP. The Wolves taped a match against Samoa Joe & Zema Ion and BroMans, while MVP faced Rockstar Spud.

- In an update on Alpha Femaledebuting with TNA Wrestling, the word is she has commitments in Japan until the summer and will return there as she is one half of the Stardom Tag Team Champions. She has not signed a TNA contract, despite being featured on the February 13, 2014 episode of Impact. She is also the Ring Wars cover girl.

- We're told TNA Wrestling is hoping to beef up both their tag team and Knockouts divisions with cheaper and younger talent. Dragon Gate USA promoter Sal Hamaoui let it slip on social media that TNA has signed SHINE star Santana Garrett. The company wasn't happy about the information getting out as they've been trying to keep the signing quiet. According to a source, TNA had been courting the second generation star most of last year and there was also WWE interest. We're told she actually agreed to a contract in November but TNA had kept it quiet. It's been Christy Hemme that TNA is relying on to help resurrect the division. Hemme has picked up considerable backstage responsibilities in working with the Knockouts and is very high up on Garrett. The reason why she hasn't debuted on television yet is because Hemme hasn't finalized plans for her. Garrett has actually been featured on TNA television before, appearing as the valet of Orlando Jordan in 2010 and most recently working the Knockouts Knockdown "One Night Only" pay-per-view.

Ask WNW

Was it just me or was the Royal Rumble a let down, with the exception of Roman Reigns and the Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt singles match? It just felt like Batista was thrown in to win it, anticlimactic if you will.

I warned everyone on Friday that if you're going into Royal Rumble expecting some kind of miraculous swerve, you were setting yourself up to be disappointed. I also noted on numerous occasions that Batista was favored to win the Rumble match and would get complete protection to build momentum with his return. However, the crowd didn't care that Bryan wasn't advertised for the Royal Rumble match. They didn't care that Batista was favored or Randy Orton and John Cena had another match for the WWE title, all they cared about was Daniel Bryan getting his moment. That moment didn't come and it backfired on WWE. Vince McMahon is a smart man and part of me believes this is all part of an angle (more on that later) but WWE ended the night with egg on their face. Regardless of what anyone says, when a crowd turns that hard on one of the biggest matches of the year, it's a serious problem. Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt opened with a match that was impossible to follow and Roman Reigns is getting his shot. Other than that, this was a "by the book show" that I'm not sure created the momentum towards Wrestlemania that the company was looking for.

Are the powers that be in WWE really listening to their fans? I mean you hear all the higher ups say it's the fans that decide what really happens. Then why does it seem like the chants for Daniel Bryan have fallen on deaf ears?

As soon as the Royal Rumble pay-per-view ended, Daniel Bryan Tweeted an apology to his fans and told them to keep voicing their opinions. You can read the Tweets here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Anyone that knows anything about Bryan, knows this isn't like him. He's not the type of guy that's going to go to Twitter (of all places) to express disdain over the booking of his character. It's likely that Vince McMahon or one of the other higher ups told him to play it up on social media. It's also feasible that Bryan is just that frustrated but I continue to hear there are big plans for Bryan. There's no way WWE is going to ignore what happened at Royal Rumble and I fully expect angles to capitalize off the strong reaction. The problem is it might have been at the cost of one of the biggest shows of the year.

Is RVD still under contract with WWE? If yes, when will he come back?

Rob Van Dam does not have an active WWE Performer's Contract but he's believed to be in negotiations for another one. When he returned to the company last summer, the deal was a short-term agreement for him to work three months. He worked his time and left. It's unknown what the length of the new deal will be but Vince McMahon is an RVD fan and he is expected back.

After Bray Wyatt's singles match at Royal Rumble against Daniel Bryan, has he finally proven that he can perform at a brilliant level?

Bray Wyatt put to rest any rumblings that he can't work at Royal Rumble on Sunday night. He was given an opportunity with the best worker in the world and made good on it in a big way. The bout, which was easily his best in WWE to date, will raise expectations for him. I grew very frustrated with people that accused he couldn't work, especially when the critics came out in droves following his match at SummerSlam. The point of emphasis was on his gimmick, not his in-ring work. However, when the point of emphasis shifted, as it did at Royal Rumble, he passed with flying colors.

This question was Tweeted to me @wnwdotcom using the hashtag #AskWNW… What are your thoughts on NAO winning the tag belts at Royal Rumble? #AskWNW

The 15-year-old in me popped for it. Cody Rhodes and Goldust took their reign as WWE Tag Team Champions about as far as they could take it and what a better way for the company to capitalize on two other guys that tapped into Goldust's anti-aging serum? After Goldust eliminated Cody Rhodes from the Royal Rumble match later on in the night, speculation is going to increase that this is the year WWE finally does Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes, so we'll see what happens.

From the Ask WNW vault…

January 2013: How do WWE officials feel abut tattoos on wrestlers? - About 10 years ago WWE officials discouraged workers from getting ink, however, tattoos are so popular now, nothing is said. The company includes wrestler tattoos on their merchandise and have features like this on dot com.

I would love to see JBL return as a wrestler, but do you see it happening anytime soon?

Before JBL returned to WWE on a full-time basis in November 2012 as a commentator, he had actually pitched some ideas to have one final run as a wrestler. He ended up getting the commentary gig and it's the best of both worlds. JBL is able to be around the business and collect a paycheck without taking bumps. He retired from the ring due to back problems and any run for him to return to the ring would have been a part-time run where he would have risked further damage. JBL is in great shape and could probably work another match, although I'm not sure the risk outweighs the reward. I know people like to criticize his work on commentary but I'm a big fan. Without him, Raw would lack in humor and money quotes.

With Christian coming back this week, why not make him a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble?

WWE nixed Bad News Barrett and Xavier Woods to put Kevin Nash and El Torito in the 30-man Rumble match. They wanted to bring Dolph Ziggler back because he was cleared and Sheamus also had the green light. The decision had to do with position scarcity and also how they wanted to bring Christian back. The decision was made to advertise his return for Smackdown, giving viewers a reason to tune in to this week's broadcast. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, one concern Vince McMahon has with the roster getting top-heavy is there are too many guys for the number of available spots. Putting Christian on Smackdown gives the company an opportunity to showcase him without getting lost in the shuffle. Last week, Vince was telling members of the creative team to brainstorm about how they could feature more guys without a logjam.

Last year The Rock came in after being gone for a year, took the title off CM Punk after his long reign, headlined Wrestlemania and walked away. It appears Batista is about to do the same and Brock Lesnar has been doing that too. How do all the hard working full time wrestlers feel about these things backstage?

Batista's WWE contract is a two-year deal and is believed to be more of a full-time Performer's Contract rather than a part-time agreement like what you mentioned. I can tell you there continues to be dissension from full-time workers about part-time talent coming in for the big Wrestlemania payday. This is always going to be the case when large payouts are given to guys not in it for the long haul; however, my position is a little bit different. As a fan I want to be entertained. I hate to say it but The Rock and/or Brock Lesnar are guys I would rather see in main event matches over guys that haven't proven they can get over at the same level. If a full-time worker doesn't want to lose their spot to a part-time worker then they have to prove they're capable of moving the needle. I understand that's easier said than done in a business that's not objective but as a fan; I want Wrestlemania as loaded as possible.

When The Shield first debuted Roman Reigns seemed to wear the label of being the most green and the biggest project. Now he seems to be the frontrunner for a major push. What changed his career outlook?

Not only was Roman Reigns labeled the greenest of The Shield faction, he was the greenest of The Shield faction. Consider the fact that Seth Rollins (Ring of Honor) and Dean Ambrose (CZW/Dragon Gate USA) had already proven they could be very successful, albeit on a much smaller scale, Reigns was simply a WWE developmental talent. Reigns was impressive enough to get called up but he wasn't exactly tearing the house down either. The feeling is that Reigns' work on the main roster has been the best work of his career, where he literally saved his best work for the biggest opportunity. I believe what sets Reigns apart from many of the up and coming workers is his look. He just looks like he belongs. Not just his frame but the entire package. Some guys just have "it" and watching in him the ring with John Cena on Raw, he just looked like a top spot fits him. I expect a major push to come his way later this year.

From the Ask WNW vault…

September 2012: Is there any particular reason WWE had Daniel Bryan stop with the “Yes, Yes, Yes” chants? After all, it’s the main reason he got over. - No, no, no! WWE tinkered with turning Daniel Bryan babyface but ultimately wanted him to remain heel. The logic behind “no, no, no” is simple. Chant the opposite of what the fans are chanting to get heat on him. Because Bryan plays his character so well, it worked to perfection. I disagree the “yes, yes, yes” chants were the main reason he got over, he got over because of how well he plays his character not any particular chant.

Did CM Punk take his ball and go home?

Basically, CM Punk took his ball and went home. However, I want to use the lead question of Ask WNW to try and clear up as much as possible. This isn't something that just suddenly happened and Punk flipped out and quit the company. Punk has been unhappy with the direction of his character for months, with people speculating it was either out of boredom or the fact he just wanted more. One of his biggest goals for this year was to be in one of the top matches at Wrestlemania XXX. We've gone as in-depth on it as possible, touching base with multiple sources, despite the fact Punk isn't talking to anyone. You can catchup on our coverage here, here and here.

I will add that Punk was never told 100% that his proposed match with Triple H at Wrestlemania was off but word going around backstage at Raw was that Daniel Bryan might get that match in response to what happened at Royal Rumble. The word regarding Punk was that his issue with Kane might stretch to Wrestlemania when it was originally supposed to be blown off at Elimination Chamber, leading to the Punk vs. Hunter bout at the show in April. Punk went directly to Vince McMahon and wanted assurance that he would be in a top match at Wrestlemania or otherwise, he was going home. According to a source, Punk felt Triple H was playing favorites with Batista coming in, going over at Royal Rumble and onto the main event at Wrestlemania XXX. Punk felt he wasn't one of Hunter's guys. Vince originally suggested Triple H vs. CM Punk at Wrestlemania so they could play off some of the real-life heat as an option for Triple H if they went with John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (which is where they are now going).

We're told Vince is not giving up and wants Punk on the Wrestlemania XXX lineup. WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee, who is Punk's real-life girlfriend, is seen as the company's only line of communication to him at this time.

What's the future of the WWE United States Championship? Dean Ambrose hasn't defended the title since October.

I have Dean Ambrose's last WWE United States Championship defense the night after WWE Hell in a Cell, on the October 28, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw. Since then, he's defended the belt on live events but he hasn't defended it on television or pay-per-view. Let's also consider that Big E Langston hasn't made a TV or PPV defense of the WWE Intercontinental Championship since the December 30, 2013 episode of Raw and you'll see both secondary titles are essentially inactive. There were rumors WWE might unify them in the first part of this year, but so far nothing. I can't tell you for sure what will happen with either belt but I will let this serve as caution for anyone that suggests WWE should introduce more titles. I would favor a unification of the WWE United States and WWE Intercontinental titles because it could be an attempt to reset the prestige to the secondary title. If WWE does in fact remain with only one world title, the profile should be raised. However, let's not forget that Randy Orton is still carrying both title belts as of this week.

Why do people go nuts for Triple H but hate on John Cena? It's not like Triple H had a wide array of offense, both have charisma, yet I can't remember anyone booing Hunter like they do Cena.

Triple H got his fair share amount of heat when he was on top in the early 2000s, regardless if he was babyface or heel. However, John Cena gets the heat because there is a segment of WWE's audience that are burned out on his character and compare it to a modern day Hulk Hogan. While I'll be the first to admit I'd like to see more progression for the Cena character, I am completely aware that WWE needs Cena. I did a radio interview on Wednesday where I asserted that post-Andre the Giant, WWE's Mount Rushmore of "faces" is Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena. I know that's going to be debated but when you look back and see where Cena is compared to those before him, that's his spot. No one works harder than John and no one is more important. This will not last forever but I believe when Cena's run is over and we look back, we'll look back on this era as the era of John Cena. As I get older and the longer I cover the business the more I respect and appreciate what John Cena has done.

How much of a failure do you think Curtis Axel's push was? I mean he was repackaged, had Paul Heyman behind him, was competing in matches with Triple H and John Cena only to become an afterthought who wasn't even in the Royal Rumble match.

Not only was Curtis Axel not in the Royal Rumble match, he and Ryback didn't even have their entrances televised when they "did the honors" to the Usos Monday night on Raw. It's been quite the free fall for both workers, however, it's Wrestlemania season and even guys that were working in the middle of the card are going to take a backseat to Wrestlemania programs. But make no mistake about it, there were huge aspirations for a repackaged Curtis Axel. He was seen as a guy with limitless potential but it just didn't translate.

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2012: Do you believe that the CM Punk craze has worn off like the Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin craze in their respective sports? - This is an interesting perspective, as I’ve never thought about it like that before. CM Punk is not currently at the level he was this summer. Punk peaked at Money in the Bank in July and has leveled off to where he is now. He has clearly established himself as a main event talent and he’s not going back to the mid-card like he did after previous title reigns. Punk was the Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin of the summer but it’s “breakout moments” like this that demand the attention of the public. The key is getting the public’s attention and being able to keep it for as long as possible. He made everyone take notice and advanced his career because of it. Being WWE Champion at Wrestlemania is a very desirable position but the show is being centered around two main events – John Cena vs. The Rock and The Undertaker vs. Triple H with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee. WWE is giving these matches priority which is why you may notice a lack of hype for Punk vs. Chris Jericho.

Don't you think it's incredibly selfish of CM Punk to walk out on WWE the way he did at a crucial time of the year for the company supposedly because of "poor booking" ? WWE gave the man a title reign that lasted 434 days and now because he's not happy at this moment in time with his spot and he walks out?

I don't think it's fair to start making assumptions on what happened with CM Punk until we find out what happened. The only thing we know is CM Punk met with Vince McMahon at Raw on Monday and after the meeting, he left. That's it. We've brought to light as much information as possible, reporting things we know before this happened and what we know about the current direction of Wrestlemania but it's still too early to say who is in the right and who isn't at this time. I encourage you to make sure you are up to date with our coverage, which has been very extensive. I'll provide those links below:

CM Punk Upset Over Wrestlemania XXX Plans, Latest Update On Being Pulled From Shows

Extensive Update On CM Punk Leaving WWE & Being Pulled From Shows – Backtracking The Plans For Wrestlemania & How Punk Ended Up An Afterthought, Examining The Possibility Of This Being A Work Or Becoming One With What We Already Known About Original PPV Plans

Exclusive Details On CM Punk’s Goal For The Year & Why Being In One Of The Wrestlemania XXX Main Events Was So Important To Him

Comprehensive CM Punk/WWE Update That’s Gone Viral

One Thing CM Punk Was Upset With In WWE

Kaitlyn left WWE for being unhappy with her direction. CM Punk left because he was unhappy as well. Dolph Ziggler has also been vocal about being unhappy at times. Do you think this could turn into a trend where superstars unhappy with the company may choose to leave and join another ship similar to what happened in WCW? I know, there is no competition now for WWE but maybe with this top talent leaving, they may actually give WWE some competition?

I'll caution that every situation is different. Kaitlyn, while not optimistic about her direction, wanted to pursue opportunities that she couldn't pursue while under WWE contract. Dolph Ziggler is still with WWE and despite frustrations, there's no reason to talk about his future at this time. As for CM Punk, we do not know the full story. Was he happy with his Wrestlemania direction? No he was not. Was he happy with the direction of his character? No he was not. However, I implore everyone to realize we do not have enough details about the story to make a sweeping judgment call at this time. As for some mass exodus threatening the stability of WWE, allow me to pose a question. Where is all this talent going to go? Did you hear that? Crickets. TNA isn't an option. They just let guys like Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles, who they've spent a tremendous amount of money and resources on, walk because they couldn't afford to pay them. These names are leaving, knowing they aren't just leaving WWE but they're leaving their pro wrestling careers as they know them.

CM Punk's contract is up in July and even if he didn't walk out at Raw, there's still chance he retires. Kaitlyn, while she had shown improvement, her departure wasn't even a blip on the radar. WWE is on the brink of a very profitable domestic TV distribution contract that is going to compliment the upcoming WWE Network. They're set and those that aren't on board are just going to be left behind. I don't want this to sound like I want workers to leave, as I'm frustrated for many of the reasons Punk is frustrated, but WWE is so much bigger than one worker and they're not getting any smaller.

If WWE were to do one of their polls to find out who fans would like to see fighting for the title at Wrestlemania, I would suggest Batista would finish way behind Daniel Bryan and CM Punk in the voting. Do you think WWE messed up by asking their established stars to take a backseat to Batista? After all, Batista is not The Rock. You could argue that even at the height of Batista's popularity (around Wrestlemania 21) he was never as over for as long a duration as Daniel Bryan or CM Punk are right now.

I agree 100% that Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are more popular than Batista and I don't think it's even close [especially amongst older fans]. I spoke about this in a media interview on Wednesday, where I expressed this uprising going on amongst many WWE fans. This uprising is comprised of people that are looking for something different, a new star to get behind. They see Batista or even John Cena as the "old way" and they want to root for Daniel Bryan. It's how CM Punk catapulted himself to the main event scene a few years ago. However, I also do not believe this makes stars such as Batista or Cena irrelevant. Batista popped Raw viewership in a big way when he returned and we saw post-SummerSlam how badly this company still needs John Cena. It's a delicate mix between the old and new and the part-time talent that creates the best shows. The fan in me wants as much relevant talent as possible and while I want Bryan and Punk to have featured spots, I'm still very interested in Undertaker defending the streak and seeing the spectacle of Brock Lesnar in a WWE ring.

I know you have already stated that no one knows the full story about CM Punk but with the feature story on TMZ and the WWE Twitter unfollowing him, isn't it feasible to suggest it's all a work?

The TMZ story and WWE unfollowing CM Punk on Twitter have been the very things some people have pointed at to solidify this isn't a work. I'll tell you that I truly believe WWE hopes they can get everything sorted and turn it into one big work but again, we really don't know just how bad the damage between Punk and WWE is because we don't know the full story. TMZ's report seems to imply that Punk quit because he feels it should be him and not Batista challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania but we know this isn't true based on Punk's appearance at the Portland Comic Con on Friday night. Punk said he felt Daniel Bryan should be headlining Wrestlemania because it's a Daniel Bryan year. We have footage of that appearance online at this link. Again, we also know Punk wasn't happy with his Wrestlemania direction but asserting that he got his Wrestlemania plans and just up and walked out is based on nothing more than speculation. I'll repeat one more time - we know CM Punk met with Vince at Raw on Monday. After the meeting, Punk went home.

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2012: Why does Vince McMahon and the WWE want mainstream exposure for their company? I don’t see what they get out of it and as much as I know, the media will just forget about them like 5 seconds later. - Any time WWE can generate attention from the mainstream media, it’s free promotion. WWE embraces any opportunity they can to draw a buzz from the mainstream media and get their product in front of as many eyes as possible. On the flip side, WWE tries to limit negative attention at all costs.

Is CM Punk officially gone from WWE? If so, is there anyway he could turn this around and get back on good terms with the company?

CM Punk is under WWE contract through July and they're not going to release him. So technically, until July, Punk is still with WWE. We're told Vince McMahon wants Punk back for Wrestlemania XXX and will try to get him on the card.

With the information you have released concerning CM Punk, is it possible this is one beautifully played out work for his character and match at Wrestlemania?

It's my belief WWE will do all they can to turn this situation with CM Punk into a work, culminating with a big match at Wrestlemania. However, based on the facts as I understand them, this is a situation where Punk legitimately walked out. The more people analyze and the longer this story lingers, the more theories that will develop. All we know for sure is Punk met with Vince McMahon at Raw on Monday and went home afterwards. We've reported as many details before and after the situation but the fact of the matter is Punk isn't talking right now.

Will Batista wrestle on Raw anytime soon? Will he make appearances on Smackdown?

Batista is believed to have more of a full-time agreement than some people might think. While he's not advertised for this weekend's live event loop, he is scheduled to work live events in a couple of weeks. With that being said, I don't see any reason why we wouldn't see him wrestle on Raw and make occasional appearances on Smackdown. However, I can tell you he's not on the booking sheets for upcoming episodes of Smackdown as of this writing.

Wouldn't it make sense to split the WWE and World Heavyweight titles again with the main event scene now so crowded? Even without CM Punk, the top is crowded.

Vince McMahon was concerned last week about the company being overcrowded at the top. It's a good problem to have, especially after CM Punk walked out on Monday. The fact WWE has still has Randy Orton carrying both belts indicates to me there is a possibility. Last week Vince instructed the writers to find ways to feature more talent. I think this is one of the reasons why Christian's return wasn't on Raw but scheduled for Smackdown instead.

If the rumors are true and CM Punk went home, do you see him going to TNA? Could they afford him and when would he be allowed to sign?

CM Punk isn't going to TNA Wrestling. As I mentioned in the lead, he's under WWE contract through July so he's untouchable until then. TNA would then have to be able to make a competitive offer and given the fact they're in a situation where they just let Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles walk (as well as Sting?) and they've just let some of their biggest names go because they didn't want to pay them. If they wouldn't pay guys they've invested a tremendous amount of time, money and resources on, I wouldn't expect them to make a competitive offer to someone of CM Punk's caliber.

From the Ask WNW vault…

October 2008: Considering his heel work in the past, do you see a heel turn for CM Punk in the near future? I understand with WWE going PG, they obviously want to keep role models for kids and Punk's 'straight edge' gimmick is ideal with that direction. However, anyone who's seen Punk as an 'I'm straight edge and that makes me better than you' heel can't deny he makes a good heel. Anything in the cards? - From what I was told, CM Punk is still one of Vince McMahon's favorites so I do not see any changes to his current gimmick. That's not to say that they couldn't turn Punk heel down the road but right now they like the direction that he is going on with Kofi Kingston as his partner and there is talk of an eventual Randy Orton vs. CM Punk feud.

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