Major WWE Controversies, Spike TV To Add Pro Wrestling?

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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, February 7, 2015 to Friday, February 13, 2015 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
- Other News
- Ask WNW & Premium Mailbag

WWE News

- The February 7 episode of WWE Smackdown garnered an average viewing audience of 2,441,000 viewers on SyFy. The show was Thursday’s highest rated cable original. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 18-49 for the whole day at this link. Viewership was down (-511,000) from the prior week’s live Smackdown and the least watched show since the return to Thursday nights.

- Diamond Dallas Page is currently in an intensive care unit at an Atlanta hospital after developing serious throat issues, including vocal cord swelling and subglottal tracheitis. DDP posted an extensive update on his health via Facebook, available at this link and embedded below:

- There were two notable returns at Saturday’s WWE live event from the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.Randy Orton returned in a match against Kane. For those wondering, Orton worked as a babyface and went over. Bo Dallas also returned, cutting a promo and going under to Sin Cara. Orton has been off WWE TV since early November to film the starring role in the WWE Studios production The Condemned 2. He returned briefly for WWE’s holiday live events but was taken back off the road due to a reported deviated septum. Orton’s return to television is imminent. Dallas has been out since early November due to a left foot injury.

- This week’s episode of After Total Divas is online at this link.

- Diamond Dallas Page has been discharged from the Intensive Care Unit at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and was cleared to return home. DDP has an appointment on Wednesday and will likely have surgery on Thursday or Friday.

As Brooks noted, DDP was hospitalized over weekend due to complications from serious throat issues.

His latest blog from Facebook can be read in its entirety below:

- Wrestling News World reader DJ Quicksilver Tweeted me details of a confrontation with The Big Show on Monday morning in Columbus, Ohio (the host city of this week's Monday Night Raw).

According to Tweets made by Quicksilver on Twitter, Big Show became enraged and shouted obscenities after DJ informed his tour bus driver of sleeping regulations at a property that he secures. Apparently, Show was upset because he claimed the windows of his bus were dented because of Quicksilver knocking on them.

The following is from Twitter:

Click here to load Tweets (if not loaded)

While it’s important to remember there are two sides to every story, Big Show is no stranger to controversy. Former WWE employee Andrew Green filed a lawsuit against WWE and Big Show over a backstage incident at Royal Rumble 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. Interestingly enough, this alleged incident featured Show "shouting obscenities" and also making physical threats. In that lawsuit, Green claimed he was unable to continue working for WWE because he was uncomfortable working around Big Show and other wrestlers. You can read more about that at this link. - The Usos tweeted on Monday afternoon that their father Rikishi will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. You can view the tweet below:

WWE.com posted the following:

As first tweeted by The Usos, the latest WWE Hall of Fame inductee will be their own father, Rikishi. The news will be confirmed tonight on Raw with a formal announcement. Check back with WWE.com later during Raw for updates and more information regarding Rikishi's WWE Hall of Fame induction.

You can view the post on dot com here.

Randy Savage and Arnold Schwarzenegger have already been confirmed to be inducted this year.

The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place the night before Wrestlemania 31 on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California.

- David Otunga has seemingly replaced Alex Riley on the WWE Raw Pre-Show panel. Otunga appeared alongside Scott Stanford and Corey Graves last week and once again tonight.

- John Cena noticeably had red markings around his right eye on this week's Raw. WWE turned it into a storyline following a poke to the eye from Rusev.

- WWE began airing return vignettes for Sheamus. You can watch the vignette below or at this link.

- Seth Rollins was the victim of a hack attack on his Twitter and Instagram accounts tonight. The hacker posted a nude picture of recently signed NXT Diva Zahra Schreiber. While the picture has since been taken down off of his social media accounts, they are still active on his social media feed on Dot Com.

In the same realm, his fiancee Leighla Schultz either was hacked as well or intentionally leaked a pair of nude pictures of Seth Rollins on her Instagram account. Obviously, the offending pictures have since been deleted.

Update @ 11:28 EST:As of now, WWE has removed Seth Rollins Twitter feed from his Dot Com profile page. There is no acknowledgement of the hack on their website either as of this writing.

- Seth Rollins issued the following about the nude photos of WWE NXT Diva Zahra Schreiber posted on his verified social media accounts and the nude photos of him posted from his fiancée’s social media accounts:

Click here to load Tweet (if not loaded)

This is a wild one. First, nude photos of Schreiber showed up on the verified accounts of Rollins, which made it onto WWE.com. For those that don’t know, dot com carries the social media feed of their superstars to boost their popularity. The company yanked Rollins’ feed entirely to get the images off the official website. While Jesse Sherwood noted in our original report that Rollins was a victim of a hack, posts from his fiancee Leighla Schultz, tell a different story. Check out these screen shots sent to Wrestling News World: Obviously, it looks like the photos of Schreiber (across the Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts of Rollins) resulted in Schultz posting the nude photos of Rollins and teasing him about it. I’m told Vince McMahon “blew a gasket” over the whole thing but do not have an update beyond that. - As first noted here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Rikishi is the third announced inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015. He is expected to be inducted by his sons, Jimmy and Jey Uso, who dot com credited with breaking the news on Monday afternoon. You can watch Rikishi’s Hall of Fame video at this link. Recapping the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015, ”Macho Man” Randy Savage inducted by Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Celebrity Inductee) and the aforementioned Rikishi inducted by The Usos. - For those that missed it on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, Sting has “accepted” Triple H’s challenge to confront him at WWE Fastlane. WWE set it up by having Hunter give Sting until the end of Raw to respond to his challenge and did this angle. Sting was not at Raw in Columbus, Ohio and instead, the company used an extra dressed like him in the segment above. The following has been announced for WWE Fastlane: No. 1 Contenders MatchWinner will face Brock Lesnar for WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31 - Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan WWE United States Championship Match - Rusev (c) w/Lana vs. John Cena WWE Divas Championship Match - Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige Triple H and Sting will go face-to-face in what we’re expecting as the “next step” in their match at Wrestlemania 31. WWE Fastlane 2015, the inaugural edition, will take place Sunday, February 22, 2015 from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. - A number of readers have sent this poll on WWE.com that asks respondents who is more deserving of a WWE World Heavyweight Title Match at Wrestlemania 31 - Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns. At press time, Bryan was up 82% to Roman Reigns at 18%. Richard Reacts: This poll is interesting and indicates Daniel Bryan has all the momentum. It’s a fascinating situation because I don’t believe that to be entirely true. Reigns is over and from a lot of readers that I’ve heard from, they’re fine with Reigns getting the spot. WWE is at least considering putting Bryan in the title match at Wrestlemania 31, however, no one I’ve spoken with seems to believe Reigns will be completely taken out of the match. If anything, Brock Lesnar will defend in a triple threat involving both Reigns and Bryan. What’s interesting about that is that scenario doesn’t seem to appease anyone. - Triple H commented on the nude photos scandal involving Seth Rollins in a conference call with members of the media on Tuesday to promote WWE NXT TakeOver: Rival. Hunter called it a “Colby Lopez (Rollins’ real name) situation” and said it was an “unfortunate personal incident.” Triple H mentioned that Rollins has apologized. - Dot com ran a kayfabe update on the eye injury to John Cena that reassured he will be ready to face Rusev at Fastlane later this month. Below is an excerpt from their coverage:

Seth Rollins controversy

“John Cena had been [competing during] last weekend’s Live Events when he sustained a corneal abrasion during his Live Event matches. This evening during the attack by Rusev, John Cena’s injuries were exacerbated,” WWE physician Dr. Chris Amann confirmed to WWE.com. “As mentioned [on commentary], those injuries were a scratched cornea and a ruptured blood vessel.”

CLICK HERE for coverage by WWE.com. Cena was off the road this past weekend, so I’m assuming this happened the week before that. Again, Cena is fine for his match against Rusev at WWE Fastlane in a couple weeks. - Triple H noted on a conference call on Tuesday that they’re waiting on the light bulb to go off with Hideo Itami. He spoke on the transition being rough in regards to his move from Japan to Florida. In other interesting remarks, Hunter said he would like to see NXT as a full touring brand by 2016. He said Vince McMahon hasn't watched NXT with him but usually has it on when he's working. Hunter said Vince is proud. - This week’s episode of Total Divas garnered an average viewing audience of 1,080,000 viewers on E. This was down (-127,000 viewers) from a couple weeks ago when the show was head to head with the Royal Rumble. Obviously competition was stiff with the 2015 Grammy Awards airing on CBS (they did an average viewing audience of 24,820,000 viewers). TV by the Numbers has the top 100 cable shows among adults 25-54 for all of Sunday available at this link. - To confirm what we wrote earlier, The Usos will indeed induct their father, Rikishi, into the WWE Hall of Fame. They talk about it in this Raw Fallout video. Below are more Raw Fallout videos: Problems in the Rhodes family: Raw Fallout, February 9, 2015Ambrose has strong words for Barrett: Raw Fallout - February 9, 2015 - Remember the story we ran on Monday about Big Showallegedly hurling expletives at one of our readers for telling his bus driver he couldn’t sleep where he was? Well, here’s the WWE/USA Network response. Kind of… "I Won't Stand For..." | Big Show of WWE - Bray Wyatt’s not-so-subtle callout of The Undertaker form this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw is online at this link. I cannot confirm Undertaker for Wrestlemania 31 but it’s clear Wyatt/Undertaker is the current direction. - This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,658,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the audience broke down each hour: Hour one - 3,786,000 viewers Hour two - 3,670,000 viewers Hour three - 3,518,000 viewers This was down sharply (-631,000 viewers) from the week prior. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows in adults 18-49 for all of Monday at this link. - Darren Young, who is openly gay, Tweeted his displeasure for WWE running shows in Abu Dhabi. In comments posted to this verified Twitter account on Tuesday, Young wrote,

Why do we bring the best entertainment into a country like abu dhabi and they look down upon women and gays? I get it! #MillionsofDollars

Young later deleted the comments and followed with: Click here to load Photos/Tweets (if not loaded)

WWE issued the following statement:

WWE does not discriminate against individuals regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation, and we continue to proudly support Fred Rosser (aka WWE Superstar Darren Young) for being open about his sexuality.

Unfortunately, WWE cannot change cultures and laws around the world, and thus we did not send Fred Rosser to the United Arab Emirates for our upcoming events for his own protection.

WWE also fully supports Fred Rosser’s right to express his views on personal social media accounts rather than WWE’s corporate platforms.

Homosexuality is a crime in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. WWE will run live events there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. These shows also do not include any Divas based on the strict laws for how women are to dress and conduct themselves.

- Dusty Rhodes is set to be inserted into the ongoing storyline dissension between Gold and Stardust. Rhodes Tweeted that he will be at Monday Night Raw in Orlando, Florida:

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- Joan “Chyna” Laurer did an interview with Vince Russo, where she accused Triple H of slapping her when she confronted him about his relationship with his now wife, Stephanie McMahon. Chyna accused Hunter of feeling so bad about it that he cried and that was the end of their relationship.

Hunter issued the following statement in response to allegations through WWE:

"The false statements and reckless allegations made by Joan Laurer (aka Chyna) on a recent podcast about a physical dispute are a complete fabrication. While Joan has had significant struggles in life, this does not justify making such claims."

If you want more detailed recaps of what Chyna said that prompted the statement, visit the links below:

CLICK HERE for coverage by CagesideSeats.com.

CLICK HERE for coverage by DailyDDT.com.

- WWE Money in the Bank 2015 will take from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, June 14, 2015. There is currently a presale ongoing with the password MITB.

- Shawn Michaels did a Q&A with Newsday to promote his new "Wrestling For My Life" book that you can read at this link.

- Diamond Dallas Page said Bubba Ray Dudley was stuck on a bus for like 7 hours the day of the Royal Rumble to remain hidden from the fans. DDP talked about that and much more in an article by The Miami Herald at this link.

- This week’s sit-down Michael Cole interview with Triple H focuses on Wednesday’s NXT TakeOver: Rival show. Hunter placed big expectations on the show, saying it’s probably going to outdo anything the fans have seen before. You can watch at this link.

Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Columbus, Ohio...

- The final word on the Seth Rollins nude photos scandal is that Vince McMahon wasn’t upset at Rollins personally but he was upset. We’re told Vince was upset it happened, the fact one of the NXT Divas was exposed nude and most of all, upset the photo of Zahra Schreiber was available on WWE.com. Internally, this is considered a private matter and that everyone should respect Rollins in handling it himself.

- Vince McMahon is credited with the idea of having Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns forced in multiple segments on both shows this week. We’re told he wants them to be the centerpiece of WWE Fastlane, however, critics currently see all characters as secondary under Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

- Sheamus was at Raw but as noted, Sting was not. The “Sting” that showed up in the ring with Triple H was Cody Hawk (a local independent worker).

- The way John Cena is being booked with the “old man stuff” is to make him look more vulnerable and make him more “likable.” WWE officials want more heat on Rusev.

- The outcome of Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan at WWE Fastlane has not yet been finalized.

- The official trailer for the Universal Pictures comedy, “Trainwreck,” featuring John Cena is now online at this link. In the trailer, Cena is one of Amy Schumer’s dates at a movie when a moviegoer calls him Mark Wahlberg and tells him to shut-up. Cena fires back that Wahlberg weighs like 150 pounds and it looks like he ate Mike Wahlberg. The film hits theaters on July 17, 2015.

- Sasha Banks beat Charlotte, Bayley, and Becky Lynch in a fatal four-way match to win the NXT Women's Championship at NXT Takeover: Rival. This is Sasha's first title reign, ending Charlotte's reign since May 29th.

- Kevin Owens beat Sami Zayn by referee stoppage to win the NXT Championship in the main event. Zayn won the title in December at Takeover: R Evolution.

- Finn Balor beat Adrian Neville to become the new number one contender to the NXT Championship.

- WWE announced in their 2014 financial results the WWE Network had 816,000 subscribers at year-end. This means they gained at least 184,000 subscribers from December 31, 2014 to January 26, 2015 (the day they announced they reached 1 million subscribers) to take them to one million.

Also reported in the results was traditional pay-per-view buys for the following shows:

WWE Hell in a Cell - 83,000 traditional buys (compared to 114K as Battleground in ’13)

Survivor Series - 100,000 traditional buys (compared to 177K the year prior)

WWE TLC - 39,000 traditional buys (compared to 181K the year prior)

Below are the updated traditional pay-per-view buys since the inception of the WWE Network:

Wrestlemania XXX – 690,000 buys
Extreme Rules – 108,000 buys
WWE Payback – 67,000 buys
Money in the Bank – 122,000 buys
WWE Battleground – 99,000 buys
SummerSlam – 147,000 buys
WWE Night of Champions – 48,000 buys

The reason we aren’t listing the pay-per-views before Wrestlemania in the table is because they do not draw fair comparisons because of the evolution of the WWE Network. However, Royal Rumble did 467,000 buys and Elimination Chamber did 183,000 buys.

- The WWE Network is receiving more intentional distribution.

WWE announced on Thursday a new five-year partnership with OSN, the leading pay-TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, to distribute the WWE Network as a premium, linear channel. CLICK HERE for more information.

Additionally, Rogers has reached carriage agreements for WWE Network with multiple television providers. In addition to customers that have Rogers and Eastlink, the WWE Network is now available through Canadians with Cogeco Cable Canada, Shaw and Shaw Direct, TELUS Optik TV and TELUS Satellite TV and Videotron. CLICK HERE for more information.

- Vince McMahon was asked about the #CancelWWENetwork Twitter controversy that was a result of fans rejecting this year's Royal Rumble pay-per-view during a conference call on Thursday with investors. Vince said such controversies are good for WWE and the vocal minority didn’t like the creative. He said “Santa Claus didn’t come for that pay-per-view, so that’s really what that was for them.” McMahon noted that fans who say they won’t be back are usually back the next week.

- We received a significant update on WWE Network subscriptions on Thursday as WWE reported their 2014 quarter four earnings and complete 2014 year-end results.

As we previously noted, the WWE Network had 816,000 subscribers at the end of 2014. On January 26, 2015 they announced they reached 1 million subscribers.

WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios noted on a conference call with investors on Thursday the service has reached 1.4 million unique subscribers but not all are active. He mentioned that 70 percent of the people that signed up for the free month of November converted into paid subscribers in January.

- Finn Balor continues to impress following WWE NXT Takeover: Rival. He Tweeted this:

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- Paul Heyman Tweeted this: Click here to load Photo/Tweet (if not loaded)

Below are post-match reactions from WWE NXT Takeover: Rival:

Baron Corbin reflects on his brawl with Bull Dempsey: February 11, 2015
Blake & Murphy welcome all challengers: February 11, 2015
Sami Zayn is helped from ringside: February 11, 2015
Kevin Owens lets his NXT Championship victory sink in: February 11, 2015

- John Cena, Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler were present at a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Thursday to promote WWE's live events in the city. Cena noted the company is being “extra cautious” with his eye injury, which is a scratched cornea. Cena said it’s an injury he’s had before and while he’s fine to compete, he’s dealing with blurry vision. John didn’t work WWE live events last weekend. He also announced the WWE Network is coming to the Middle East and North Africa. You can watch that announcement at this link. We have more about that at this link.

- Ric Flair and Larry Zbyszko were in attendance at WWE NXT Takeover: Rival on Wednesday night from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.

- The woman that jumped on Tyler Breeze during his ring entrance was developmental Diva Gionna Daddio.

- Big Cass & Enzo Amore beat Aiden English & Simon Gotch in a dark match prior to Rival.

- WWE will hold another set of NXT television tapings on Thursday night from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Our very own Scott Brooks will be in attendance and will file a report upon the show’s completion.

- Sami Zayn, who was part of an injury angle following Rival, is on WWE's tour of Abu Dhabi. He Tweeted this:

Click here to load Photo/Tweet (if not loaded)

- WWE reported here on dot com that Dave Batista is rumored to land the role as The Kurgan, the main villain of the "Highlander" saga. If true, this will be yet another major movie role for Batista, who broke out as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy last year and is also Hinx in the upcoming James Bond film Spectre. - WWE talent talk about their celebrity valentines in the latest WWE Inbox. You can watch at this link. - You can watch fallout of Sasha Banks winning the WWE NXT Women’s Championship at this link. - Below are preview clips for Sunday’s episode of Total Divas: Alicia Fox joins Rosa Mendes on a girls' night out: Total Divas Preview Clip: February 15, 2015: The Bellas join David Hasselhoff at the music awards: Total Divas Preview Clip: February 15, 2015 - WWE is teasing The Authority will “deal with” Big Show on next week’s episode of Monday Night Raw in Orlando, Florida in response to what happened on this week’s Smackdown. They question whether it will be a Show vs. Kane program, Show will be “fined” or “outright fired.” You can read kayfabe coverage here on dot com. See also - WWE Smackdown Results (2/12/15) – Tag Team Turmoil or Turmoil In The Authority - We previously notedDusty Rhodes is scheduled for next week’s Raw in Orlando to be inserted into the Gold & Stardust dissension storyline. Stardust Tweeted this: Click here to load Photos/Tweets (if not loaded)

News and notes from February 12 WWE NXT tapings…

- Rhyno returned to WWE at Thursday night’s WWE NXT tapings from the camp of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. As Scott Brooks noted in his spoiler report, the bout is scheduled to air on the February 18, 2015 episode of NXT. There’s always a possibility the match was just dark but if it airs, it will air next week.

- Brian Kendrick also returned, facing Finn Balor in a match scheduled to air on the February 25, 2015 episode of WWE NXT.

- Adam Rose, Alex Riley and Sin Cara all worked the tapings, for different reasons of course. Rose is lost on the main roster, Riley is looking to get back into the ring and Cara is a dual main roster/NXT star.

- WWE will hold another set of NXT tapings from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL on Wednesday, February 18, 2015. As of now, that taping is sold out.

This week’s episode of Smackdown Fallout features The Miz and Damien Mizdow at this link.

This week’s episode of The JBL (Not Cole) Show is now online at this link.

- This week’s episode of WWE Smackdown garnered an average viewing audience of 2,596,000 viewers on SyFy. That number is +155,000 viewers from the week prior, despite scoring a lower adults 18-49 rating. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 18-49 for all of Thursday at this link.

Other News

- Last week’s episode of Impact Wrestling garnered an average viewing audience of 525,000 viewers on Destination America. That number was up +94,000 viewers from the week prior. The replay airing that proceeded the first run broadcast garnered an average viewing audience of 166,000 viewers.

- We’re told Spike TV has very quietly taken some wrestling related meetings. While they’re posturing like they have no interest in the wrestling business, they must be willing to at least consider it because they are taking meetings.

New Japan Pro Wrestling’sTV deal in the United States with AXS TV is short term, as the promotion is weighing their options for US distribution. Jeff Jarrett is trying to sell Spike on an Americanized version of New Japan under the Global Force Wrestling banner. However, we’re told officials from NJPW have spoken with Spike without Jarrett.

The ball got rolling due to the great reception the Wrestle Kingdom 9 show did last month, with Jarrett trying to sell Spike on the idea the NJPW style would be complimentary programming with Bellator MMA. As noted, Spike is listening but they’re still not over their dealings with TNA Wrestling. Jarrett’s relationship with NJPW is interesting because they have nothing to lose by allowing him to try and get them TV deals, but with them still trying to get deals on their own, Jarrett could end up with nothing.

That's why Jarrett pushed hard to lock up AAA as a backup plan, but it didn't work. So far, he hasn't been able to get a deal done with them.

- TNA Wrestling made a significant offer to acquire the services of former WWE star Alberto Del Rio. According to a source, TNA was willing to let Del Rio do Mixed Martial Arts on the side but would not allow him to work for Lucha Underground. This was the deal breaker and why he did not end up signing. As for numbers, we’re told TNA offered $6500 per shot with 65 dates per year. This would have made him the highest paid talent in TNA and Destination America would have kicked in money on the deal, similar to what Spike TV did for bigger name talent in the past.

- Destination America credited Impact Wrestling for helping them record their best January ever. Below is the official press release:

DESTINATION AMERICA SCORES BIG WITH FIRST MONTH OF PREMIERES FOR IMPACT WRESTLING

More than four million viewers tune in during first four weeks of premieres

(Silver Spring, MD) - Destination America recorded its best January ever in Prime HH delivery with premieres of Impact Wrestling. The all-new season kicked off on Wednesday, January 7th, with Impact Wrestling LIVE, ranking as Destination America’s best Wednesday evening in network history for delivery of M25-54. The show also ranked as the 6th most social television program for the evening with #DestinationIMPACT reaching a collective 73M impressions on Twitter.

Premieres of Impact Wrestling settled into their regular Destination America timeslot on Fridays beginning Friday, January 16th. For the month of January, Impact Wrestling ranked as the #9 series in ad-supported cable for delivery of M25-54 on Friday nights. On Friday, January 23rd, the network garnered its highest rated and most watched Friday evening in network history for delivery of P25-54 and M25-54, ranking as the #3 sports telecast in cable (behind only NBA Basketball and the X Games on ESPN) and out-delivering networks including A&E, NGC, ESPN2, TNT and FXX among M25-54.

Throughout January, Impact Wrestling posted record-breaking numbers, delivering an average of 276K viewers among P25-54.

Continuing to build momentum, Destination America’s Impact Wrestling recorded its best premiere to date on Friday February 6th delivering an average of 345k P25-54, while earning a 0.85 rating among M25-54. Since premiering on the network in January 2015, 4.2M unique viewers have watched Impact Wrestling on Destination America.

CLICK HERE to read the piece in its original format.

Ask WNW

Is Batista still under WWE contract and if so, what are the chances of a return?

There are currently no plans for Batista in WWE, as his acting career has “taken off” following his role as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy last year. Batista’s latest high profile role is as Hinx in the new James Bond film Spectre. Further, he’ll reprise the role of Drax the Destroyer in a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. When he left WWE last August, it was believed to be a temporary situation but after he landed the role in the James Bond film, the consensus was he was finished wrestling.

Batista has stated he would like to return to WWE but would want more creative control over the booking of his character. I know there is speculation that suggests he’s still under WWE contract and I cannot confirm or deny that speculation. What I can tell you is WWE quietly moved Batista’s profile to the Alumni section of their official website several months ago and going forward, he’s focused on acting. I wouldn’t mind seeing him return but WWE would have to come up with something better than the disastrous run he had last year.

I feel that the "this is awesome" chant in the middle of an exciting match takes something away from it. Thoughts?

I disagree. I think a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd in the middle of a hot match is exactly what everyone in WWE strives for. Not just the performers but the writers and management staff as well. When the crowd “accepts” a match and shows their approval by rewarding the work of the talent, the energy translates to the TV/PPV broadcast. The workers in the ring know it and that only makes them work harder.

It’s fair to say the chant shouldn’t be overused but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a crowd chant “this is awesome” and disagreed. If the workers in the ring can get the crowd to chant “this is awesome,” they have succeeded.

I think WWE NXT is amazing and think they are putting on a great show every week. As good as Adrian Neville, Hideo Itami, Sami Zayn are, can you see them headlining Wrestlemania one day or just being solid mid-card performers? Due to his size, I have a hard time seeing Neville as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

This is a very valid point and I do not believe you are alone. Vince McMahon has a certain vision of what he believes makes up a main event superstar and his vision often times favors talent that “look the part” more than they “work the part.” This is why we have “controversies” over certain pushes, like we’ve seen with Roman Reigns. I’ve had people close to NXT tell me that workers like Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn are better suited to stay in NXT, where they are pushed as top stars as opposed to risk getting buried after a main roster call-up.

When the idea of keeping someone in developmental seemed bizarre when it was first mentioned to me, as we’ve seen with the evolution of the WWE Network, it’s not the worst thing possible. However, all NXT workers want their shot on the main roster because it’s there they’ll have the chance to become household names and make very good money. I see both sides of the argument and think that while it won’t be easy for Neville or Zayn or even Itami to “break through,” I believe they at least deserve that chance.

While Vince is still as stubborn as ever, who would have thought independent standouts like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Luke Harper would be prominently featured on WWE television? Evan Bourne had developed quite a following himself before he got in trouble by smoking synthetic marijuana. As we saw with Justin Gabriel, sometimes it just doesn’t work out no matter how talented a worker is, however, we can’t definitively say a worker will or won’t "make it" until given the chance.

That’s why I am all for seeing Neville, Zayn, Itami or anyone else that might not be the prototypical size getting a chance on the main WWE roster.

Why is John Cena competing for a midcard title in this program with Rusev for the United States Championship?

WWE is utilizing John Cena to hopefully help in the development of Rusev. If it restores prestige to the United States Championship, that’s fine but the goal is to help progress Rusev. I realize some are going to see a United States Championship match as “beneath” Cena but the way Rusev has been booked, makes it anything but. I don’t really care about the title, I just want to see Rusev go further than Bray Wyatt did after a program with John Cena last year.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2013: With Dean Ambrose getting a singles match against The Undertaker on this week’s Smackdown, is this a sign that Vince McMahon and Triple H see him as the breakout star in the group? - All three members of The Shield are held in high regard. While the feeling before they debuted was that Roman Reigns had the most to prove, even he has drawn high marks from those within WWE and all are highly touted young workers. The fact Undertaker worked a singles match against Dean Ambrose goes to show how much he thinks of them as we heard he put the trio over in front of everyone after the match on this week’s WWE Raw. I don’t mind the classification of Ambrose as #1, Seth Rollins as #2 and Roman Reigns as #3 but I think all three are held in equal high regard and are looked at as future superstars as singles performers.

Do you see Seth Rollins getting in major trouble following the nude photo scandal?

Triple H addressed the Seth Rollins controversy in a conference call on Tuesday. He said it was a “Colby Lopez (Rollins’ real name) situation” and that it was an “unfortunate personal incident.” Clearly, WWE is backing away from Seth Rollins the performer and putting this on Colby Lopez the person.

This is actually what I expected the response to be but was told early Monday from someone that knows Rollins that Vince McMahon “blew a gasket.” Apparently McMahon was more upset about the nude photo of NXT Diva Zahra Schreiber being on dot com than anything else. I expect this to be the end of it. I’m sure Rollins will be spoken with about keeping his social media accounts secure but it’s probably embarrassing to him.

I certainly do not think Rollins should suffer any ramifications because of it and think it’s unfortunate for everyone involved. I think there is a lesson to be learned -- for everyone reading, not just WWE talent -- and that is to not take photos you do not want leaking out to the pubic. If they don’t exist, they cannot leak.

How did John Cena suffer his eye injury?

WWE claims the injury happened at live events and was “exacerbated” by Rusev’s “attack” on Raw. Cena was off this past weekend and I’m assuming the eye injury is why. The stuff with Rusev was a work to continue to promote their match for the United States Championship at Fastlane. As we reported Tuesday morning here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Cena’s status is not in question and he is scheduled to wrestle at the pay-per-view.

Is there really a possibility that Sting and Undertaker work Wrestlemania 31 and they don’t face one another?

Not only is it possible that both Sting and Undertaker work Wrestlemania 31 and do not work one another, it is likely. Sting is scheduled to face Triple H at Wrestlemania 31 and will confront him face-to-face at WWE Fastlane. It’s the match Hunter had his heart set on and continually pitched. As for Undertaker vs. Wyatt, I can still not confirm Undertaker for the show but can confirm he’s who Wyatt is talking about in his promos. It looks like Undertaker will respond at some point and we’ll get that match in addition to Hunter vs. Sting at Wrestlemania 31 next month.

Do you expect The Usos to get any heat for leaking the WWE Hall of Fame induction of their father Rikishi?

The Usos were given the green light to Tweet about Rikishi’s Hall of Fame induction on their verified Twitter account on Monday afternoon. In fact, dot com credited them for “breaking the story,” kind of like they did for TMZ over “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Trust me, when WWE does that, it was for a reason. There is no heat on Jimmy or Jey Uso and they will induct their father into the WWE Hall of Fame over Wrestlemania 31 weekend.

From the Ask WNW vault…

January 2013: Is there any hope of having Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust at Wrestlemania 29? - It sure doesn’t look like it as Goldust worked the 30-man Royal Rumble match under a per shot deal. He still wants a Wrestlemania match against Cody and confirmed that here. Last year he tried to rally his Twitter followers into pushing WWE for the bout but it never happened.

I have just seen the trailer for Trainwreck featuring John Cena. Noting his clean skin WWE image, I was surprised to see him in a sex scene. Would WWE have had to approve this scene prior to Cena signing on?

WWE isn’t involved in “Trainwreck” as it’s a Apatow Productions/Universal Pictures production that features John Cena as one of Amy Schumer’s dates. We posted the clean trailer at this link and the “red band” trailer — that features the Cena sex scene - is online at this link or embedded in the video below:

http://youtu.be/v_yfdk_jSN8

Since it’s not a WWE project, I can’t imagine them having any say in what one of their independent contractors can and cannot do. It’s my assumption Cena was free to do whatever after they signed off on his inclusion. Regardless, Vince McMahon approves:

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Kevin Owens has been booked very dominant so far. He's been in control for most of his match time, his last two opponents have needed medical attention and he's already the champion --after 2 months and less than a handful of matches. Do you know if he's on the fast track to the main roster or if he's going to be the "Lesnar of NXT?”

I can’t give you a timetable for the call-up of Kevin Owens but can tell you that Triple H is very much on board. The feeling is Owens doesn’t require much development or “seasoning” because he already gets it. Even though Owens has only been working in NXT for a couple of months, he’s seen as one of the most “main roster ready” prospects.

The Owens-to-Lesnar comparison was brought up on commentary at Rival as the domination of Owens was likened to Lesnar's domination of John Cena at SummerSlam, prior to Zayn's comeback. It's clear, WWE is already protecting Owens, even in developmental.

With that said, what about Finn Balor? I can’t see much left for him to accomplish down in Florida either. Balor has everything he needs to head to the main roster and be a really big star. On the flip side, Hideo Itami is having a harder time with the adjustment. It’s something Hunter brought up in his conference call and even referenced during commentary in his match on NXT Takeover: Rival.

After watching the 4-way NXT Women;s Title match it reminded me of the great women’s wrestling from the early 2000s. With Triple H stating he would want more of a focus on women’s wrestling, do you think we will see a resurgence?

Triple H understands the NXT audience is different from the main WWE audience. The demographic is tighter and the people that love and follow NXT, are the same people that love and follow Ring of Honor (or other wrestling-heavy promotions). It seems like I write this every time there is an NXT Takeover show but the only way I see a change to Divas matches on the main WWE roster is if a philosophical change is made in the way WWE pushes female talent. Given that we’re in the Total Divas era of drama, sex appeal, etc, I am not expecting that philosophical change any time soon.

I agree the WWE NXT Women’s Championship match at Takeover was fantastic and must-see TV. The WWE Network is worth NXT alone.

As much as it excites me to say that I am attending Wrestlemania 31, the little kid inside of me wishes The Undertaker and Sting were having their dream match. Do you have any insight as to why it appears WWE is doing Triple H vs. Sting and Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt instead?

I was told that Triple H wanted a match against Sting, regardless of The Undertaker's status for Wrestlemania 31. Below is an excerpt from a Backstage News update I ran on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on December 10, 2014:

Right now, Vince and Triple H are hoping The Undertaker can be convinced to work Wrestlemania 31 next year but are not in agreement on what his match would be if he did return. Vince wants to do The Undertaker vs. Sting, but with The Rock likely unavailable, Hunter needs a big name opponent and he wants to face Sting.

They have planted the seed for a Triple H vs. Sting match because Vince has no objection to that match if Undertaker doesn’t return. However, if Undertaker does return, Vince doesn’t want Triple H vs. Sting. Hunter wants a match against Sting whether Undertaker returns or not.

At the time, Hunter had talked about putting Undertaker in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns (which goes to show how long the triple threat rumblings go back) but right now, Wyatt vs. Undertaker is most likely.

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2013: What happened to the high flying indy worker PAC? - PAC signed a WWE developmental contract in July 2012 and is currently working in NXT Wrestling as Adrian Neville. You can check out his recent work set to air on WWE NXT in the taping results posted here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

With a more capable WWE-style wrestler under the mask in Hunico, why does WWE not push Sin Cara for their Hispanic target market? I was under the impression the push for the character stopped because Mistico could not adjust to the American style of wrestling, whereas Hunico has it hands down.

I wish I could explain the logic of every push/de-push in WWE but unfortunately, I cannot. I can tell you WWE kept the Sin Cara gimmick after the departure of Místico because of its popularity among the company’s younger audience and the fact they can market the Lucha Libre mask. Hunico has had moderate success under the Sin Cara gimmick as he’s one of the few talents working in both NXT and on the main roster and not being completely buried. That’s not to say he’s part of some type of push but it could be worse for him.

Cara working down in NXT is part of what WWE had originally intended to do with the gimmick on their cruiserweight show, which has fallen by the wayside as NXT develops into a stand alone brand. However, I agree that WWE could do a lot more with the gimmick and can't explain why they do not.

Seeing as how vocal fans have become when Daniel Bryan isn't involved in the main event/title picture, is it possible that his popularity is actually a problem for the WWE?

If WWE would do a better job of listening to their fans, they wouldn’t have this problem. But as we’ve seen on this week’s TV, they company has no issue featuring Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns in multiple segments. More on that at this link.

With Sting working Wrestlemania and The Undertaker possibly working, do you see them setting up a match with a one year build, like the first time we saw The Rock vs. John Cena?

Some have speculated that Sting vs. The Undertaker could be in the plans for Wrestlemania 32 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas as Undertaker’s “retirement” match but I’m not so sure. While Undertaker is currently listed as “likely” for the show this year, he’s not yet confirmed. Sting is confirmed but we have to remember Sting is 55 and will be 56 by Wrestlemania 31 and Undertaker is 49 and will be 50 by Wrestlemania 31. When you’re in your 50s and competing at WWE’s highest level, there is no guarantee for another match, not to mention another match another year out. We’re just going to have to wait and see but understand the current plan for this year is Sting vs. Triple H and Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt.

Obviously Bray Wyatt's promos over the course of the past few weeks have been hinting at a Wyatt vs. Undertaker match at Wrestlemania 31. I keep seeing articles saying the Undertaker's status is still unconfirmed. My thing is I don't feel WWE would go to such lengths to promote this match if Undertaker wasn’t a definite to work. Has this happened before where the creative team had to suddenly pull the plug on a feud?

In 2011, WWE did a cryptic campaign to bring back The Undertaker for Wrestlemania XXVII featuring the song “Ain't No Grave” by Johnny Cash. The videos left people guessing whether they were for Undertaker or Sting. While the videos were first intended for Undertaker, so much buzz was created that WWE tried to sign Sting then. But in the end, they didn’t get a deal done and Undertaker was brought back under it and went on to face Triple H.

That’s as close to a switch as I can give you but it does show that WWE is able to change plans. A similar situation happened last year when WWE started from scratch with the Wrestlemania card after the Royal Rumble backlash. I still believe Undertaker is coming back to feud with Bray Wyatt, WWE is just in no hurry with it. The only reason we aren’t saying Undertaker is confirmed is because no one has specifically told me he is 100 percent. Until they do, I’ll list him as likely.

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2014: In the wrestling business there are a lot of things wrestlers do they’re probably not comfortable with. The risk is obvious as spots are limited enough and if they refuse to do something, they risk losing the opportunity. What do you think about people agreeing to go forward with stuff like Vince McMahon’s “kiss my ass” club? - For those that missed it, Jim Ross was on ESPN’s “Highly Questionable” (video & recap) and discussed being a charter member of Vince McMahon’s “kiss my ass” club, joining in his home state of Oklahoma in front of friends and family. JR said the play was called and he didn’t audible but Vince is a “clean freak” and everything was clean when he joined. That’s good to know and the predicaments that performers are in when asked to do things they aren’t comfortable with are well documented. Just look at what happened the night Owen Hart died. By all accounts, he didn’t want to do the stunt and wasn’t comfortable but he got talked into it anyway. Thankfully I’ve never been in a situation where my job asked me to do something I wasn’t comfortable with doing. There are multiple ways to look at it, including asking the rhetorical question of, how bad do you want it? I would like to think I’d never kiss a grown man’s ass on live television, however, would I feel differently if I felt my career was on the line? I’d like to say no but I’m careful not to judge people in seemingly impossible situations.

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