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, February 4, 2012 to Friday, February 10, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA Impact Wrestling News
- Ask WNW
- One of the new features on the official WWE YouTube channel, Backstage Fallout, features backstage interviews from Superstars and Divas after their matches. In this weeks episode, Natalya, Sheamus, and Cody Rhodes are all interviewed. The video is embedded below:
- TMZ has a new article online with pictures on Kris Kristofferson's son "Big Country" Jody Kristofferson working in Florida Championship Wrestling. You can read it at this link. Remember it was Triple H that inked Kristofferson to a WWE developmental deal after he was impressed with his work and by the fact his father is famous.
- Layla and Sgt. Slaughter were recently on NBC Miami to promote Wrestlemania XXVIII. Layla said she's been training to return to the ring but wouldn't disclose if she would be back for the pay-per-view. Click here for coverage by NBC Miami.
- WWE will sponsor the Wrestlemania Pro-Am Golf Tournament on Friday, March 30th on the famous TPC Blue Monster at the beautiful Doral Golf Resort & Spa in southwest Miami. The event is being hosted by the Miami-Dade Sports Commission and is closed to the public. Limited playing spots are available. The cost per foursome is $2,500 and includes breakfast with a WWE superstar, Diva or legend, a gift bag and awards luncheon. Click here for more information.
- Kofi Kingston spoke at an event in Topeka, Kansas sponsored by the Army National Guard on Friday. Below is video from the event:
You can read an article that accompanies the video at this link.
- The first episode of "Are You Serious" features Road Dogg and Josh Mathews and is embedded in the video below:
- SyFy has scheduled another live Smackdown special for Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 8 PM EST. The special will take place from the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Illinois. Click here for local event information.
- Our friend Josh Stewart has a write-up about Ted DiBiase's "DiBiase Posse Parties" that he hosts outside WWE events. He has high hopes for the one at Wrestlemania.
"It's just starting to catch on; it was just kind of a slow build, and hopefully it continues to catch on. I wonder if I could have the biggest international tailgate party ever at WrestleMania," said DiBiase of WWE's defining show on April 1 in Miami. "I bet we could set some kind of Guinness World Record."
Click here to read the full article.
- Maryse recently participated in an interview with Wrestling101, in which she discusses her release from WWE, her future, and more. When asked to describe her WWE debut in 2006, she responded:
Hard because I couldn’t understand anybody, but I learned so much. I learned how to listen carefully to everything, every detail, and I think that I needed a character that people could relate to, without speaking, which is very hard. I developed a heel persona and everything about Maryse was presentation, facials, gestures….. Over the years, I learned how to work a live crowd and perfect my craft. I believe that Maryse’s persona was the best female persona in years within the WWE.
When asked about the state of the current Divas division, Maryse said:
There is a lot of potential right now in the Womens Division, but a lack of investment from the management! They deserve better. It’s hard to make a crowd relate to you and be behind you or against you with a 2 minute match every week with no microphone time. Once again, you have to be able to speak to make people relate to you! Hopefully it will change over time!
Maryse was also asked what she thought when she was released by WWE last year, to which she responded:
Wow, I do not have to travel 300 days a year anymore! I felt FREE.
Click here to read the full interview.
- WWE is advertisingShawn Michaels for the February 13th Raw Supershow from the Valley View Casino in San Diego, California.
- WWE posted the following on their official YouTube channel:
Natalya, Sheamus and Cody Rhodes react to WWE SmackDown events.
- WWE will tour the Middle East this week with three Raw live events in Abu Dhabi. The Miz did an interview with the Khaleej Times to promote the shows. Below is an excerpt:
What do you make of the UAE?
I have no idea what to expect really, but I know we have lots of great fans out there and I am sure they cannot wait to get a look at The Miz. They will not be disappointed, I can assure you.
What can the crowd in Abu Dhabi look forward to on the night?
Watching WWE on television is great, but live it is so much more. It’s like being at the best rock concert ever and I promise anyone who comes will leave being a WWE fan for life. The fans will see incredible matches with a mix of unbelievable athleticism mixed with soap opera, mixed with comedy, mixed with drama. Having been a fan myself, I guarantee they will never have experienced anything like this before.
Click here to read the interview in its entirety.
- The Miz filmed a cameo in a movie called "Stainless Steel" and also features WWE'sMatt Striker and Layla. The flick is due out in August.
- Brodus Clay has been working longer matches on live events to give him an opportunity to sharpen his in-ring skills as the squash matches booked for television do not provide much of an opportunity.
- Not only will the scheduled liveSmackdown on February 21st be an integral part in building the Wrestlemania XXVIII lineup two days after WWE Elimination Chamber, SyFy will be using the program to help in the Nielsen ratings sweeps which are measured this month.
- WWE could be on the verge of a roster raid as I can confirm they have contacted wrestlers currently working for Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate USA and other prominent independent promotions. Multiple sources tell me on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com that WWE has begun to look for talent for a proposed WWE Network show centered on cruiserweight talent. Rumors began to make rounds last week about the show after a couple independent workers leaked word to some publications they were contacted by WWE about their respective contracts. I'm told officials in both ROH and Dragon Gate are concerned about losing some of their top guys, however, I can confirm that no one with a valid ROH Wrestling contract has asked for their release... at least not yet. A source within WWE tells me the company isn’t at the point of offering contracts because with the delay of the WWE Network launch, a start date for filming the prospective series has yet to be set. I'm told the company is more or less "snooping around" to fully evaluate their options. I can confirm WWE is searching for guys right at the 200-pound range with high-flying arsenals.
- Eve suffered a broken nose on tonight's edition of WWE Raw Supershow during the eight-Divas tag team match. The injury occurred after she was stiffed by Beth Phoenix. Eve went to the back after she tagged out as she was bleeding heavily and required treatment.
- During the main event of this week's Raw Supershow, R-Truth attempted an over-the-top-rope somersault plancha onto The Miz, but Miz failed to break his fall. This caused R-Truth to land hard on his back, making his head whip back onto the floor. This effectively removed him from the match and required officials to help him to the back. However, the following update has been confirmed by the official WWE Twitter account:
Click here for more information.
- As announced on this week's Raw Supershow, John Cena will serve as the Honorary Starter of the 54th annual Daytona 500 on February 26. Cena was invited to the NASCAR event by racer Carl Edwards, who said: "I am honored to come here on behalf of NASCAR and everyone at the Daytona 500 to invite you, John Cena, to be the honorary starter, to wave the green flag for the 54th running of the Daytona 500 on February 26th," to which Cena accepted. Click here to read the full announcement.
- John Cena, The Undertaker, The Miz, & Kofi Kingston are the four nominees for this year's "Here to Rumble" Award in the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards. The fan-voted award for the Superstar with the best entrance. The Hall of Game Awards will be hosted by Shaquille O'Neal, and air on February 20th at 7 PM/6 PM CT on Cartoon Network. Click here to vote.
- WWE has signed Danielle Moinet to a developmental contract. Moinet is a former model and Lingerie Football League player and will be working in Florida Championship Wrestling as Summer Rae. (Thanks to WNW reader Fernando for sending this in.)
- As the storyline goes, John Laurinaitis remains the Interim Raw GM after his "presentation" on Monday. You can read the kayfabe coverage by WWE at this link.
- The latest edition of "WWE Download" with Dolph Ziggler is embedded in the video below courtesy of the official WWEYouTube channel:
- Triple H met with The Miz about failing to catch R-Truth after his over-the-top-rope somersault plancha on last night's Raw Supershow. Truth is fine after the spot but Hunter was "pretty upset" over it and let The Miz know as much backstage.
- Chris Hero was at Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa yesterday and has agreed to a WWE developmental deal. The company has been interested in him for months but the last time they tried to sign him, his testosterone levels came back elevated. Everything came back fine after the latest round of testing and he now has a contract.
- After last night's WWE Raw Supershow went off the air, John Cena beat Kane in a dark match main event.
- The latest edition of "Backstage Fallout" from last night's WWE Raw Supershow is now online. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, Tamina and David Otunga are featured. You can watch in the video embedded below courtesy of the official WWEYouTube channel:
- Kharma wasn't backstage at last night's WWE Raw Supershow and was actually visiting her old publicist Shannon Rose at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Florida. At this point it's unknown when Kharma is going to return full-time to WWE television.
- Last week we reported that Lilian Garcia's husband Chris Jozeph said on AfterBuzz TV's post-Raw Supershow program that Evan Bourne is "in rehab right now." Jozeph admitted last night he was misinformed and Bourne is not in a rehabilitation facility. For the record, neither I nor WrestlingNewsWorld.com reported that Evan Bourne was in rehab. We simply posted Jozeph's direct quote and took it none further.
- The newest series on the official WWE YouTube channel, WWE Toyz, debuted its first episode yesterday. The episode chronicles Alberto Del Rio going on a luxury car shopping spree. The video is embedded below:
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson recently took part in an interview with MovieFone, in which he discusses topics such as his current acting roles and main eventing this year's WrestleMania. Below are some highlights:
Now with this incredibly busy slate of action movies, how are you finding time to train for a WrestleMania main event?
You fit it in, that's what you do. I make sure there's a ring on location with me, anywhere that I shoot. I had a ring down in New Orleans, when I was preparing for the Madison Square Garden event. I have a ring down in Florida, a ring down in Louisiana; there's always a ring close by. In order to prep for WrestleMania, it's a lengthy training camp that requires daily work inside the ring because you can't simulate the physicality of professional wrestling.
But is your opponent John Cena really going to be that much trouble?
The only trouble he's going to have is removing my size 15 boot from his ladyparts.
I think that's what a lot of people wanted to hear.
That's right -- I'm excited about all the projects you just mentioned. I'm excited about WrestleMania; to be able to go back, team up with Vince [McMahon] and make a big vision like that come to life and create the biggest match-up of all time is very special to me. There's countless matches that have moved me and inspired me, and we're going to do something very special down in Miami, my hometown, sold-out Sun Life Stadium. Boots to John Cena's ass.
In addition, The Rock took part in a short interview with CNN in which he discussed how to win his heart. Click here to read it.
- The following press release hit the wire today:
LONDON, Feb 08, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- WWE and BALTIJOS TV (BTV) today announced a television distribution deal that will bring WWE's flagship weekly television program, WWE Raw(R), to Lithuania.
Under this new agreement, a one-hour international version of WWE Raw will be available immediately in one million Lithuanian households every Friday at 10:30 p.m. The WWE Raw television franchise is an exciting mix of in-ring action and compelling storylines featuring WWE Superstars like John Cena(R), CM Punk(R) and The Miz(R) that have become global icons. In the United States, WWE Raw is the longest running weekly episodic program and is consistently among the top five most-watched, regularly scheduled entertainment programs on cable television.
"We are extremely delighted to partner with WWE," said Liutauras Elkimavicius, CEO of BTV. "Our viewers are very excited to see WWE Raw and we're proud to say that BTV will be the channel to bring it to them."
"This new agreement with BTV significantly bolsters WWE's presence across the Baltic region," said Senior Vice President & Managing Director of WWE International, Dominic Hayes. "WWE Raw airing on a free-to-air network enables WWE to expand our brand and build strong business relationships throughout Lithuania."
- Episode two of WWE Inbox is featured in the video embedded below courtesy of the official WWE YouTube channel:
- The Rock is being advertised for WWE Raw Supershow the night after Wrestlemania XXVIII. The advertised dark match main event for the show is John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk & Big Show vs. Kane, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan & Mark Henry
WWE Raw Supershow the night after Wrestlemania XXVIII will take place from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on Monday, April 2, 2012. We'll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- The Raw crew begins a 3-show tour of Abu Dhabi tomorrow from the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex. No Divas are on the tour due to the strict dress code in the Islamic land. If you attend any of the shows, please submit a live report.
- The following is from the official Twitter account of Mick Foley:
- Wrestling News World reader Carl Dantes sent this in... Meet Shawn Michaels in person on Saturday Feb. 11th from 10-11am and he will be signing at the Big Game Forever's booth #140 in the 6th annual Western Hunting & Conservation Expo at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. There's a $20 admission fee but other than that it is open to the public.
- Confirmed inductees for the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2012 are Edge, Mil Mascaras, The Four Horsemen and Mike Tyson. Names rumored to join them include Ron Simmons and the late Yokozuna. As for the inductors, the plan is for Steve Austin to induct Tyson, Shawn Michaels and Triple H to induct the Horsemen, Alberto Del Rio to induct Mascaras, JBL to induct Simmons and for The Rock to induct Yokozuna. The 2012 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will take place the night before Wrestlemania XXVIII, Saturday, March 31, 2012 from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
- WWE Legend's House won't be waiting on the WWE Network I have learned. The latest plan is to bring the show to SyFy with a prospective premiere date of April 17, 2012. The show began filming last week in Rancho Mirage, California.
- The Quicken Loans Arena website has updated the promotional information for the March 12th edition of WWE Raw Supershow. In addition to The Rock being advertised, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker are all advertised to appear.
- The Rock is doing media rounds today to promote "G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation 2012." Wrestling News World reader Eric Cyrus sent word he was on SportsCenter this morning on ESPN and talked about his match with John Cena at Wrestlemania XXVIII.
- John Cena, Kane, John Laurinaitis, WWE Champion CM Punk and R-Truth were part of a promotional press conference today in Abu Dhabi. Cena and Kane did an angle that the official WWE website covered at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Logan Walker for sending this in.)
- MLW Radio has a conversation with former MLW Junior Heavyweight Champion Sonjay Dutt. We touch on his time in MLW, TNA, what he's up to now, his favorite video games, whether he would want his daughter to wrestle and more. Available now for free on MLW.com and iTunes.
- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper wants to do a "Piper's Pit" segment with John Cena and The Rock leading into Wrestlemania XXVIII. Piper spoke to The Miami Herald about why:
“My point with this Piper’s Pit with Cena and The Rock is it would get huge ratings,” Piper said. “It would help WrestleMania 28 itself, but more than that, with the exception of me who started 14 years before the WWE, everyone in that ring has been made by wrestling. There is no outside interference.
“The number that we could get on that piece of work in itself would outshoot anybody in the outside world that they would bring in. It wouldn’t get even close to that number because they have no history. It was kind of like when they put Drew Carey in the Hall of Fame last year, and everybody booed him. He is on the outside. This would be home grown, homemade and so strong it would blow everybody out of the water.”
Read more from Piper at this link.
- WWE didn't ignore the risky R-Truth spot from Monday's Raw Supershow that left The Miz with backstage heat. The company website posted an article on their official website, playing up the spot by writing:
R-Truth performed a slingshot somersault over the top rope onto The Miz, who was outside the ring. Although the aerial attack glanced The Miz, R-Truth ended up receiving the brunt of the impact, falling back-first onto the floor. At that point, the referee decided R-Truth was no longer able to compete, and WWE officials helped him to the locker room area.
WWE officials do not believe any injuries sustained from the fall will keep R-Truth out of action.
Continuing along with their push of Truth, the company posted video footage of him in last year's Elimination Chamber match. You can watch the footage embedded below:
- The National Newspaper has posted footage from today's WWE press conference in Abu Dhabi. You can watch the footage embedded in the videos below:
WWE superstar John Cena performs Attitude Adjustment on Kane at top of Burj Khalifa
The WWE RAW World Tour will be held for the first time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, at the Zayed Sports City from February 9 to February 11.
- The Rock recently took part in an interactive chat on ESPN Sportsnation to talk about his upcoming match at WrestleMania XXVIII against John Cena, as well as to promote his movie, Journey 2. When asked which he finds more demanding, being in the ring or in front of the camera, he responded:
"Being in front of the camera is more demanding in terms of the time. My movies take anywhere from 10-16 weeks to film. Months to promote. Almost a year of editing and 12-14 hour days. There is nothing like the thrill and emotional connection with the fans that's like being in the ring that can never be duplicated. I love making movies, but there's nothing like being in the middle of the ring with a microphone in my hand or competing with my fellow wrestlers."
He was then asked about his busy schedule working as an actor and preparing for his WrestleMania match, and about his predictions for the match, to which he responded:
My schedule has never been busier. It's a daily challenge to balance all of the endeavors that the brand is extending into, film, TV, producing, and the continuous physical prep for my WrestleMania return. I'm fortunate in that as busy as I am and as my team and brand continue to build out and up, that I have incredible support group around me. I have surrounded myself with brilliant people that are much smarter than I am with what they do that have allowed me to achieve my goals.
You're only as good as the people you have around you and I've got incredible go getters, doers, proud members of #TeamBootsToAsses that bring it every day.
My prediction for WrestleMania: I have three goals. To put on the biggest match the world has ever seen and will ever see again. To put on the greatest WrestleMania of all time. And with the WWE superstars who are on the card, from CM Punk to the Undertaker to Triple H just to name a few, I'm confident in saying that this will be the greatest WrestleMania of all time. Last, and most important, if we accomplish the first two than the third one will come true is to entertain the fans like they've never been before.
On a personal note, there is no greater opponent for me for this WrestleMania than John Cena.
Click here to read the full chat.
- Former WWE Tough Enough contestant Jeremiah Riggs will be returning to his Mixed Martial Arts roots. Wrestling News World reader Bradley Webber sent word that Riggs will face the undefeated Trey Houston at Bellator 61 on March 16, 2012. Jeremiah discusses his return at this link.
As noted earlier, R-Truth is in Abu Dhabi with the Raw crew and participated in a press conference earlier in the day.
- "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, died on February 10, 2003, nine years ago today. His son Michael McGillicutty took to Twitter today to reflect:
- Embedded in the video below is the latest episode of Z! True Long Island Story, featuring Zack Ryder:
- The Daily Star has a new article online featuring quotes from Mick Foley. In it, he speaks on his inclusion in the 30-man Royal Rumble match:
“I had to sit back afterwards and think about all the things that had transpired in the five or six minutes I was out there. I realized just how much fun it was at that point. I had some great reactions from the other wrestlers and my children.
“I’m on a need to know basis going forward, I'd like to get involved in some way. I can’t wrestle very often any more.
Apart from the run-in, the Rumble was the perfect way to play to my remaining strengths and not expose my many weaknesses!”
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- WWE has announced the May 14th edition of Raw Supershow will take place from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tickets go on sale February, 25, 2012.
- Congratulations are in order for Heath Slater as he and his wife are expecting their first child. Slater and his high school sweetheart were married late last year in his home state of West Virginia.
- SyFy issued the following press release on the upcoming SuperSmackdown Live:
SYFY PRESENTS "SUPERSMACKDOWN LIVE" TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21 AT 8PM
NEW YORK - February 10, 2012 - Following the strong ratings of Syfy's first two SuperSmackDown Live specials, Syfy and WWE today announced the next WWE SuperSmackDown Live special will air Tuesday, February 21 at 8PM (ET/PT).
SuperSmackDown Live will feature WWE's biggest Superstars and Divas, including World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Big Show, Sheamus, Mark Henry, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes and Alicia Fox.
The special will encore in SmackDown's regular time slot on Friday, February 24 at 8PM (ET/PT).
The episode of SuperSmackDown Live on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, became Syfy's top SmackDown telecast ever among Adults 18-49 with 1.64 million viewers.
TNA Impact Wrestling News
- TNA Champion Bobby Roode received a huge endorsement today as The Rock put him over on Twitter. The following is from Rock's official Twitter account:
- While WWE is looking to add talent for their prospective WWE Network program centered on cruiserweights, TNA Impact Wrestling has been holding steady lately. I'm told TNA is still focused on cutting spending and getting their roster expenses under control. Rather than a talent raid that WWE is exploring, TNA has been focused on bringing in guys that are relatively cheap from schools such as the Team 3D Academy. One source points at Jesse Sorensen as a talent working for TNA at a reasonable rate while also helping bolster the X Division. Paranoia has declined significantly in recent months backstage in TNA as they don't feel the need to have "everyone locked up" to prevent a raid of their roster. However, both Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA are concerned about losing some of their top guys to WWE. The fact WWE is not only "snooping around" has officials concerned but also the fact that the prospective program goes right at their style of wrestling. As a result, my source tells me both promotions are going to be a lot more careful about letting talent "slip through the cracks." ROH has done all they can do to "lock down" top talent by securing most top guys to contracts, however, at the end of the day they are threatened by the spending power of WWE.
- While he hasn't been around long, I'm told Dave Lagana is already rubbing people the wrong way backstage in TNA Impact Wrestling. Brought on to help launch the Ring Ka King project in India, Lagana is a former member of the WWE creative team. My source tells me there has been some talk of trying to replace him although I was cautioned that it's doubtful Lagana is aware of that talk. The position hasn't been described as particularly desirable as Lagana basically got a job no one wanted. Nothing is set in stone that Lagana will be forced out, however, it certainly seems like he made the wrong person mad and they are lobbying for the company to replace him.
- The latest edition of TNA Spin Cycle features JB with Eric Young, Magnus, Robbie E & ODB. You can watch it embedded in the video below couresty of the company's official YouTube channel:
Are there any plans to have a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania XXVIII this year?
I have heard rumors that WWE officials were thinking about bringing back the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania this year; however, I have been unable to confirm them through my sources. Last year was the first Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania XX in 2004 (the gimmick debuted at Wrestlemania 21 in 2005) that did not feature a Money in the Bank ladder match and I felt it was badly missed. The thinking behind taking it off the undercard is there is no need for it given the fact there are other matches that can be promoted and WWE can save the gimmick for the new Money in the Bank pay-per-view. When WWE created the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in 2010 they still had the match at Wrestlemania and that's the way I feel it should be handled this year.
Why did WWE put The Great Khali in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber Match?
We've had plenty of discontent readers email in, fuming over WWE's decision to push The Great Khali upon his return to the company. All I can tell you is Vince McMahon has always liked Khali because of his size and international appeal in India. At one point last year further expansion in India had become a priority, however, McMahon cooled on the idea later in the year and was willing to part ways with Khali. I can only speculate but perhaps WWE has taken notice of TNA's early success with Ra Ka King and are re-thinking their decision.
What's the latest on the launch of the WWE Network?
The proposed April 1, 2012 launch date of the WWE Network has been delayed. The hang-up has to do with the lack of clearances on cable and satellite systems. WWE went forward with a plan to promote the network despite no firm plan of clearances in hopes the public demand would help speed up negotiations with provides. So far, no firm clearance plan is in place so the launch date has been pushed back. I'm hoping we will find out more in the investor conference call with Vince McMahon later this month.
Why did WWE release John Morrison?
John Morrison left on his own terms; WWE did not release him and actually offered him a new contract that he turned down. With his contract coming up, Morrison was suffering from burn out, nagging injuries and had issues with Melina (his real-life girlfriend) no longer being with the company. I heard he had plans to go to TNA Impact Wrestling with Melina but haven't heard anything new in awhile.
If WWE hadn't already brought Hunico to the screen after the Blue vs. Black Sin Cara angle, do you think they would have told the audience Sin Cara's injury wasn't as severe as it is and thrown Hunico back under the mask to keep the character on TV?
That's an interesting thought and we probably will never know. Sin Cara has been one of the biggest disappointments I can remember. Triple H was heavily behind giving him a huge push to ultimately replace Rey Mysterio. His in-ring work was sub-par, he failed a WWE Wellness test and then he suffered a serious knee injury. I don't know if he'll be able to turn it around but the company clearly saw it's not easy to replace a guy like Mysterio.
Do you have injury updates on Alberto Del Rio, Christian and Rey Mysterio?
Alberto Del Rio is expected back this month, Christian is on the booking sheets for live events in April and Rey Mysterio is targeting Wrestlemania as his return date. With that being said I would be surprised if Christian is unable to go for Wrestlemania although his high ankle sprain was severe as I was told he could "barely walk" early last month.
Do you think AJ Styles will ever leave TNA for WWE?
While I cannot confirm AJ Styles' contract status I believe his current deal is up with TNA Impact Wrestling this summer. If that is the case AJ might choose to explore his options but I don't know what the interest would be like in WWE. I can confirm that WWE is "snooping around," looking for new talent. You can find out much more at this link.
Why not have Kevin Nash face off against The Undertaker and still include Triple H and Shawn Michaels?
There are a few of you out there that would like to see Kevin Nash vs. The Undertaker but I'm not one of them. Nash's knees are as bad if not worse than Undertaker’s knees and while he and Hunter had a decent match at WWE TLC, I don't think it would go over well at Wrestlemania. WWE is going to do Hunter vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania this year with the storyline set to progress on next week's Raw Supershow with Shawn Michaels.
Is Kane going to be programmed with Mark Henry - after all, it was Henry that "injured" Kane 6 months ago?
I can confirm there was a preliminary plan to program Kane with Mark Henry after Kane's feud with John Cena. I don't know if WWE wanted to save it for Wrestlemania XXVIII but that's what the timetable suggested. However, the feud is in doubt because Mark Henry is currently injured. He has been working through a groin injury that cost him the World Heavyweight Championship (he was opposed to dropping it at WWE TLC) and then hurt his knee. The reason why WWE didn't program Kane with Henry upon his return is they wanted to finish out Big Show vs. Henry because so much time and resources had been spent on it and they wanted to give Cena something to do before Wrestlemania while keeping Kane in the main event at the same time.
With less big names in WWE wouldn't it make more sense to eliminate one of the world titles and just go back to one brand?
Completely nixing the brand extension and consolidating the world titles would not be a good move. There will be fewer opportunities to develop new stars and it would be counter to WWE's strategy of creating competition within itself. The people that say they want to see the brand extension end and the titles consolidated are the same people sick of John Cena. Shrinking the main event scene in WWE is going to mean more of guys like Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk and less of guys like Daniel Bryan. I like the approach WWE has taken with Raw being a "Supershow" and Smackdown being it's only brand. It provides an opportunity to get talent from both brands on the flagship show while at the same time allowing for opportunities for further talent development.
What is the difference between the WWE Network and the company's new YouTube programming?
WWE's nine (technically eight) new YouTube shows are basically a trial run for new WWE Network original programming as they show the company's ability to produce a wide array of cheap original programming. The difference is going to be that the WWE Network will be a television network whereas their YouTube channel is obviously exclusive to the Internet. Let me take this opportunity to also state I feel WWE's new YouTube programming is taking a good idea and over doing it. Someone needs to stress quality over quantity. Zack Ryder had a great idea that got him over but his show blew up because it was entertaining, not because it was a wrestler in front of a camera. He wasn't the first to have success with an online show either, remember the stuff The Miz and John Morrison did through WWE? Ryder's case is original because he was a nobody and forced the company to pay attention to him but he's a rare case and I think it had more to do with his natural charisma and talent than anything else.
Is the banning of chairs to the head more symbolic than effective? They haven't banned kicks and GTS's or DDT's. The wrestlers can't protect themselves from that every time, especially not with the way Dolph Ziggler sells the GTS.
Unprotected chair shots to the head are much riskier and much more dangerous than a kick, GTS or DDT. There is absolutely no reason for any organization to allow them especially with all that is known about concussions and their effects on the human brain. There are ways to sell all of the maneuvers you mentioned that can be protected. A chair shot doesn't offer that.
Following The Miz's failure to catch R-Truth on Monday, does the WWE have some sort of disciplinary system in place for this or is backstage heat usually enough to make the talent realize their actions aren't acceptable?
When a worker messes up to the extent The Miz did on Monday night, they will hear about it. If something like this happens at a live event, the producers will talk with the worker about it and if it's bad enough, will report back to upper management. Triple H met with The Miz backstage about the spot with R-Truth on Monday and wasn't happy about it. As far as disciplinary systems are concerned, it depends on the incident. Mistakes can hurt a worker's status and can alter the way they are booked. It could be something as simple as doing a couple of jobs or as serious as dropping a title.
Are there plans to have a guest host at Wrestlemania XXVIII this year like The Rock did for Wrestlemania XXVII last year?
There was talk during the NBA lockout of bringing in LeBron James to guest host Wrestlemania XXVIII this year as WWE has been interested in him for years. When the lockout ended so did the plans and WWE began negotiations with Shaquille O'Neal to do a possible celebrity bout with Big Show. It appears that is the direction they are going in with a mainstream celebrity but there could always be someone else added for the guest host role.
What type of relationship does The Rock have with Yokozuna where he will potentially be inducting him into the WWE Hall of Fame this year?
Yokozuna's real name was Rodney Agatupu Anoaʻi – he was a member of the famous Anoaʻi family and was cousins with The Rock. As of yesterday the rumored plan was for The Rock to induct Yokozuna posthumously into the WWE Hall of Fame, however, he has not been officially announced.
Do you think John Cena is being hid in the background too much before Wrestlemania due to his big match with The Rock; to some fans it appears WWE are making him appear weak?
I haven't been a fan of John Cena's program with Kane but everything that has happened is going to play a role in the direction WWE is going to go in with his character while feuding with The Rock. Cena won't be in the background much longer as he'll be front row and center with The Rock advertised for numerous editions of Raw Supershow's heading into their Wrestlemania XXVIII main event.
With many wrestlers releasing books over the years, which have you liked the most and which have you liked the least?
I read a lot and while not a comprehensive list, I can give you some recommendations and some books to avoid. Some of my favorites have been Bret Hart's autobiography, Chris Jericho's "A Lion's Tale" (I'm currently reading his second one), The Stone Cold Truth and Eric Bischoff's "Controversy Creates Cash." Bret Hart's book is one of the best pro wrestling books ever penned, giving readers a complete look inside the business. While I don't agree with all of Hart's personal opinions, he provides a detailed account of how things work. Chris Jericho's books are filled with humor and are very fun to read. Steve Austin's story is interesting how he rose to stardom and while I skipped the beginning of Bischoff's book (because I don't care about his upbringing), his prospective on how things went down in WCW is interesting. My book to avoid would be "Ring of Hell" by Matthew Randazzo V. This book is what they are currently making a biopic about and I felt that not only was the research light, it was written to portray Vince McMahon and the pro wrestling business in a negative light.
We haven't seen Abyss in over a month. Is he legit hurt?
Abyss is currently on granted time off. When he requested the time off he was expected to return at the end of this month so if I had to guess I would project his return to be any time after Sunday's Against All Odds pay-per-view.
I would rank Austin Aries as one of the best workers in TNA Impact Wrestling. How did the company feel about him working with WWE for their WWE '12 video game?
As far as I know TNA had no problem with Austin Aries providing dialogue for the Jacob Cass character in WWE '12. They probably encouraged it as another revenue stream for him to earn money. Guys like Aries aren't making a lot working in TNA as it's not near at the level of WWE. I agree his work is great but just because he's on television doesn't mean he's making a large salary.
What's WWE merchandise selection like at live events?
There is merchandise at all WWE live events. The assortment and selection varies based on location but you can always expect to see merchandise at any event you attend.