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Controversial Show On WWE Network, Two Leading Candidates To Land WWE's US TV Rights, Another Part-Timer Back For Wrestlemania, Details On Why CM Punk Felt WWE Had Intentionally Lied To Him, Undertaker Agrees On WM30 Opponent But Stumbling Block Remains

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Welcome to the Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, February 8, 2014 to Friday, February 14, 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

- CM Punk's appearance on Comedy Central's @midnight has been canceled. The former 434-day WWE Champion was scheduled to appear on the show with Chris Hardwick next Wednesday, February 12, 2014 but was pulled from the updated list of upcoming guests at this link. Thanks to WNW reader Jacob Gaitan for sending this in.

- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown is subtitled "AJ Lee Continues Her Dominance" and is online now at this link.

- Santino Marella did a WWE App exclusive interview with Emma at this link. If you were disappointed in the way she came across on Raw (like I was), watch this. It's a much better look at the character that drew significant intrigue at NXT.

- Sami Zayn returned to the ring at Friday night's WWE NXT live event in Crystal River, FL after missing time with a leg injury. The following is from Twitter:

- Speaking of Friday night's NXT live event, Scotty 2 Hotty made an appearance with Aiden English. - KDKA-TV, the CBS affiliate out of Pittsburgh, is reporting the decision to include Over the Edge 1999 on the WWE Network was made in the last two weeks. News broke earlier in the week that the show, which was the one Owen Hart tragically fell to his death on, would in fact be included on the WWE Network. The pay-per-view was never released commercially on VHS or DVD and encore showings were canceled. A WWE spokesperson confirmed in a statement to KDKA the PPV would air with portions "edited out of respect for Owen Hart.” Click here for coverage by KDKA-TV. - The eye injury that Naomi suffered on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw kept her off Friday night's WWE live event in Oakland, California. For what it's worth, she has removed the graphic photo she Tweeted of the injury from her verified Twitter account. Dot com reported she suffered a bruised orbital bone or a bruised eye socket, as well as a scratch on her cornea in the match against Askana. The injury occurred when she took a knee to the face. - Rey Mysterio Tweeted on Friday afternoon he was on his way to Oaktown for WWE's live event from the Oracle Arena. The problem is, Mysterio didn't appear on the show as advertised. We have quick results and this link and you can view his Tweet below:

- The Rock provided details on his second book via his Facebook page:

Amazing (and jarring) to go back and 'experience' my life again from 2000 to 2014.

Writing my 2nd memoir w/ Joe Layden (who also wrote "The Rock Says" in 2000).

Life of peaks and valleys (and a shot of tequila). Look forward to sharing it with you.

Holidays 2014.

- Jim Ross also gave an update on a potential book on his latest blog:

We had some discussions this week on a pending book deal and are interested but still want to make the best decision possible on the project. Allowing others to have complete autonomy on editing one's life story is an iffy proposition. Stay turned as I'm definitely writing my story but it will likely not be this year.

Click here to read the full blog.

- Rey Mysterio mysteriously Tweeted he was heading to Oaktown for Friday's WWE live event in Oakland, California. He ended up not appearing on the show. On Saturday night, WWE ran in Mysterio's hometown of San Diego, California. Mysterio didn't work that show either but was on WWE's show in San Jose, California. Mysterio teamed with Xavier Woods & Mark Henry to beat Alberto Del Rio & The Real Americans.

- The exclusive negotiating period between WWE and NBC Universal for the company's domestic television rights has ended. NBC Universal, WWE's current domestic TV partner, will have until February 14, 2014 to respond to WWE's final offer. After that, other networks will be able to submit offers.

The New York Postreported on Saturday the exclusive negotiating period ended without a deal and the pressure is on for a deal to get done in the next few days.

As we've reported several times, WWE is looking to significantly increase the amount of money they make on domestic TV licensing fees. The feeling within the company is they offer live sports programming that is in demand at a premium and they should have a lucrative deal like one of the major sports leagues.

I've been working on a story over the past week on who is interested and where Raw and Smackdown could end up. That article will run on Monday exclusively here on

- Daniel Bryan will appear on Total Access on the NFL Network tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET. Bryan is still scheduled to appear on tonight's episode of Monday Night Raw, however. Host Dan Hellie posted a picture of Bryan in the studio earlier today:

- Zeb Colter is set to be the next guest on Steve Austin's podcast. The two had the following interaction on Twitter earlier today:

- As we reported here on, an exclusive negotiating period between WWE and NBC Universal regarding a new deal for the company's domestic television rights has ended. We are able to confirm as of last week that WWE had begun negotiations with other entities as well.

WWE's attempt to enter into negotiations with the Turner networks went nowhere. The executives running TBS and TNT are still turned off by pro wrestling. The reason is they haven't forgotten about the WCW experience and it has more than a few people reluctant about getting back into the business.

The thinking within WWE was that they would have "a lot of suitors" lined up for their domestic television rights but so far, it's been NBC Universal and Viacom (the parent company of Spike TV) that have shown the most interest.

There has been some interest from Fox but there's been a lot of internal debate about whether it would do "more harm than good" to build Fox Sports 1 around WWE. We're told there is a lot of concern about the credibility of their news sports networks would be called into question if their highest rated show was WWE programming with predetermined winners and losers.

As for the interest from Spike TV, they feel like not only would WWE bring them ratings but they realize it would do a much better job than TNA Wrestling has done in helping them find an audience for their Bellator programming. Obviously with Viacom not only airing Bellator but also owning it, building the MMA promotion is extra important to them.

We're told Viacom feels that WWE helped put UFC on the map only for Spike to end up losing both franchises. They never have to worry about losing Bellator because they own it and using Raw or Smackdown as a lead-in would really help bring more viewers.

Another interesting note is that executives from Spike TV view Hulk Hogan and Sting as the biggest stars TNA has ever had. Hogan is back with WWE and WWE is close to signing Sting. Spike's faith in TNA is "lower than ever" and they're trying hard to land as much WWE programming as possible.

So while WWE was expecting several different suitors, right now it's NBC Universal and Viacom vying for their domestic TV rights. WWE is still accepting bids and someone could come out of left field.

- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown won the night on cable, doing an average viewing audience of 3,201,000 viewers on SyFy. You can see how the other shows on cable fared at this link.

- We are aware there are reports out there with the possible return dates of Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker in WWE. Since we cannot confirm those dates, we will not post them. However, we can provide updates on both.

Hulk Hogan is back with WWE and the plan as of last week was for him to return to the company and guest host Wrestlemania XXX. This was The Rock's role when he returned to WWE a few years ago and is the role tapped for Hogan. One issue regarding the Hulkster's return to his former employer was neither Vince McMahon nor Triple H wanted a contract for him to return contingent on a match at Wrestlemania. We're not saying there isn't a chance Hogan doesn't do something physical in his return to WWE, it's just the company didn't want a deal contingent on it. As noted, we cannot confirm a television return date for Hogan but he is expected back for the run up to Wrestlemania just as The Rock did a few years ago. WWE will also look to utilize Hogan as someone to entice lapsed fans to signup for the WWE Network. His inclusion on Wrestlemania XXX was seen as something vital to accomplish this goal.

The Undertaker is tapped to face Brock Lesnar in a match for the streak at this year's Wrestlemania XXX pay-per-view. He'll be returning to television in the build to the show to help promote it. Like with Hogan, we cannot confirm when this date will be.

- Frank Bullock, a member of WWE's ringside production staff, died over the weekend. He had been fighting cancer.

- WWE announced Lita as the third inductee into the Hall of Fame: Class of 2014 on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. Lita joins The Ultimate Warrior and Jake "The Snake" Roberts in this year's class. 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.

- In a backstage segment between Triple H and Batista during this week's WWE Raw, Triple H officially announced that Batista will face Alberto Del Rio at Elimination Chamber.

- Naomi's eye injury was worse than expected. The Total Divas cast member underwent a CAT scan when she got to her home doctor and it revealed a "small, minimally displaced fracture of the eye socket or orbit on the medial wall, which is the inside part of the socket next to the nose," according to The injury occurred during a match against Aksana on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw. She was off last weekend's live events due to the injury. Her real-life husband, Jimmy Uso, was given the weekend off to be home with her. Dot com has more at this link.

- WWE confirmed at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California that SummerSlam 2014 will emanate from the venue on Sunday, August 17, 2014. Tickets go on sale on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

- Rapper Wiz Khalifa was backstage at this week's Monday Night Raw and met with Triple H, Goldust, Big Show, and other WWE personnel. He posted about the meetings on his Twitter account.

- WWE Divas discuss Lita's upcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in this week's "Backstage Fallout" Raw. The video is available at this link.

- WWE has uploaded Lita's Class of 2014 WWE Hall of Fame announcement to YouTube. It is available at this link.

- Curtis Axel spoke about the anniversary of the passing of his father, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, via his Twitter account on Monday:

- After WWE Raw went off the air last night, Batista, John Cena, and Daniel Bryan faced off against The Wyatt Family in the dark match main event. The Wyatt Family was disqualified after teaming up against Daniel Bryan. After the match, Batista shook hands with fans at ringside while the crowd chanted "Yes" as John Cena and Daniel Bryan remained in the ring. The attendance for last night's show was 17,491. It was a legitimate sell-out.

Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles…

- Vince McMahon was reportedly not happy with the way this week's show came across, feeling it lacked star power in the middle.

- Daniel Bryan might end up pulling double duty at Elimination Chamber, working Kane as well as the Chamber match.

- Naomi is out a minimum of four weeks after her eye injury was worse than expected. Right now, no surgery is scheduled but it depends on her recovery.

- The big news coming from this week's show is Rob Van Dam back and is penciled in to work Wrestlemania XXX. As we've previously reported, Vince McMahon is high up on RVD and feels he is needed with the departure of CM Punk. We do not have information on a program as of this writing.

- Cody Rhodes is scheduled to see a doctor this week to see if he has just a strain in his knee or if there is a torn muscle or ligaments.

- We can confirm Steve Austin was backstage at this week's show.

- There was an interesting moment during this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles when Dean Ambrose was defending the United States Championship against Mark Henry. While the show was in commercial, the match continued on the WWE App.

When a loud CM Punk chant broke out, Seth Rollins got on the mic and said "CM Who?" He continued, "That's Dean Ambrose. That's the United States Champion." He told the crowd that's the man you all wish you could be and that's the man all your ladies want to be with tonight.

You can watch the footage here on dot com.

WWE hasn't been ignoring the chants for CM Punk as they've actually scripted The Shield to open live events by trash talking the former 434-day WWE Champion and explain that refunds are available through the second match.

- WWE has launched a weekly podcast on PodcastOne in the vein of Steve Austin & Chris Jericho, titled 30 Years Of WrestleMania. Hosted by Renee Young, the first episode features Shawn Michaels as a guest. Click here to listen.

- Big E Langston spoke with ahead of this week's Monday Night Raw, discussing his transition from fan to performer, common misconceptions about his work schedule, and more. Below is an excerpt:

Q: How much of a say did you have in your character?

A: There’s always give and take. The most successful characters and personas are extensions of the person who plays them. It’s pretty much me, for the most part. As a powerlifter, I kind of use those abilities in what I do now. It’s essentially me, but I’m still not sure how we came up with Big E Langston.

Click here to read the full interview.

- Last night's WWE Raw received an average viewership of 4,329,000. The show had some serious competition as it went up against the 2014 Winter Olympics which had over 22,000,000 viewers. Below is the hourly breakdown for Raw:

Hour 1 - 4,499,000
Hour 2 - 4,336,000
Hour 3 - 4,153,000

While the show slowly decreased in viewership in each hour, the show did not fall below 4 million unlike last week. We will update this post later with the final rating number.

You can see how the show did against the other competition at this link.

- WWE just released a press release stating that they will begin production for Jingle All The Way 2 and The Marine 4. WWE will be teaming up with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to produce these two movies. Filming forJingle All The Way 2 will begin in March featuring Santino Marella. The Marine 4 will begin filming this April and that will be featuring The Miz as well as Summer Rae. Below is the press release:

STAMFORD, Conn. / LOS ANGELES, Calif., February 11, 2014 – WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE) and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment today announced the next two films that will begin production as part of their continued collaboration. This March, cameras will start rolling on JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2, the sequel to the 1996 hit comedy JINGLE ALL THE WAY. Starring Larry the Cable Guy (Tooth Fairy 2, Cars) and featuring WWE Superstar “Santino Marella®” the film is directed by Alex Zamm (Tooth Fairy 2, Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts) and will release this 2014 holiday season.
Also announced is the fourth installment of THE MARINE franchise, the eighth collaboration between WWE Studios and Twentieth Century Fox including the theatrical releases of THE MARINE and 12 ROUNDS. Shooting this April, THE MARINE 4 will star WWE Superstar Mike “The Miz®” Mizanin, who will be the first WWE Superstar to reprise his role in THE MARINE franchise, and will also feature “Summer Rae™,” the first WWE Diva to be featured in a WWE Studios production.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will handle worldwide distribution for the pictures across all formats including Blu-ray, Digital HD and DVD. WWE will utilize its extensive reach of 650 million homes worldwide and more than 256 million social and digital followers to market the release of each film.

“WWE Studios is looking forward to continuing its long standing relationship with
20th Century Fox with both THE MARINE 4 and JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2,” said Michael Luisi, President of WWE Studios. “The Miz and Summer Rae will deliver the action and adventure that our audience has come to expect from THE MARINE franchise, and we are equally excited to bring the comedy of Larry the Cable Guy and WWE Superstar Santino Marella to our fan base with JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2.”

“WWE Studios remains a valuable partner and we are pleased to continue to bring these films to their legions of fans across the globe,” said Mike Dunn, President, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “We’re excited to be launching the fourth installment of the tremendously successful franchise, THE MARINE, and to have Larry the Cable on board for JINGLE ALL THE WAY 2, a perfect star for our first family comedy with WWE Studios.”

To read the full press release from WWE, click here.

-It appears as if Antonio Cesaro may be referred to as Cesaro going forward. His dot com profile reflects the change, as well as his Twitter profile and the Elimination Chamber match preview.

- Jim Ross gives his Raw thoughts, as well as reactions to the performances of Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and others at this link.

- There is a video of going around of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL apparently referencing the chants of "CM Punk" prior to this week's Raw taping in Los Angeles, California. They joke about changing the chant to "go away" and apparently some feel this is indicative of their feelings towards CM Punk. I'm not sure I agree but you can listen to the audio at this link. We noted here on how WWE used the CM Punk chants to get heat on The Shield.

- WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton will face Sheamus on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw as part of The Authority's edict to have him face all of his Elimination Chamber challengers in singles matches. He has Cesaro on this week's episode of Smackdown. So far, he's beat Christian but lost to Daniel Bryan and John Cena.

- The Bella Twins walk through how to use the WWE Network at this link.

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw ended up doing a 3.14 cable rating. Alex Barie broke down the viewership numbers at this link.

- Terry Funk told Fighting Spirit Magazine he thinks CM Punk will be back for Wrestlemania. You can read his quotes at this link.

- Daniel Bryan recently appeared on NFL Network to discuss the Seattle Seahawks. During the appearance, he rated a number of NFL beards and said cornerback Richard Sherman has everything needed to become a professional wrestler, and did an impression of Sherman's infamous postgame interview. Bryan judging NFL beards is available at this link, and Bryan's Sherman impression is available at this link.

- It appears as if Big E Langston will be referred to as Big E going forward. His Twitter account and dot com profile reflect the change, and readers have reported that he was announced as simply "Big E" during this week's Smackdown taping. Big E did an interview Monday in which he explained that people have always called him Big E, but the added Langston was "kind of random."

On a similar note, Antonio Cesaro had his name tweaked to Cesaro earlier this week.

- Rob Van Dam met with WWE officials backstage at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw regarding his new contract with the company. The last I heard the deal was either complete or close to it and he was penciled in to work Wrestlemania XXX.

Vince McMahon, who has always been high up on RVD, feels he's needed now more than ever especially with the loss of CM Punk.

Steve Austin was backstage at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw where he recorded an interview for his podcast with Zeb Colter.

- It was announced at Tuesday night's WWE Main Event taping in Ontario, California that the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be broadcast in its entirety on the WWE Network. The ceremony will take place the night before Wrestlemania XXX on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the New Orleans Arena.

This is also a talking point in this week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole. We'll have that tape with highlights online shortly.

Richard Reacts: This move is absolutely expected. One of the things the WWE Network does for the company is it gives them a tremendous amount of flexibility in terms of where they can broadcast their content.

- WWE taped pre-shows prior to this week's Raw and Smackdown tapings in Los Angeles and Ontario, California respectively. The tapings are being done as trial runs for the upcoming WWE Network with a panel comprised of Renee Young, Alex Riley, Booker T and Tensai. I believe Josh Mathews was on the panel on Monday night but don't quote me on that.

Alexander Rusev beat Dolph Ziggler in a dark match prior to this week's Smackdown taping in Ontario. After the taping concluded, Kane demanded Daniel Bryan come out and apologize to him. Bryan came out but beat him up to send the crowd home happy.

- This week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole is now online.

Cole opened by apologizing to Hunter, Stephanie McMahon and the WWE Universe for "his actions in this forum last week." He said he overstepped his bounds and pushed him on questions he shouldn't have. Triple H said he appreciated the apology but it was unnecessary because he was just doing his job. He would just ask in the future for him to be respectful of his "position of COO" and understand he cannot share everything in regards to business. Hunter reiterated he should ask him the hard questions but just be respectful of his role.

Triple H talked about Lita being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He confirmed for the first time ever the WWE Network will be showing the 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony live in its entirety. He ran through the inductions of The Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts and the aforementioned Lita.

The questions shifted to Batista, who Cole said would be in the Hall of Fame when it's all said and done. Cole said it seemed at Raw on Monday that Batista didn't seem to like Hunter's management style. Hunter called Batista a "hot head" and said they used that to their advantage in Evolution. He said he doesn't know if he's that upset of his management style because he got just what he wanted in Alberto Del Rio at Elimination Camber. It'll be up to him whether or not he's the same Animal he was four years ago.

Cole brought up Randy Orton's losses to John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Hunter said he wasn't disappointed but it wasn't ideal. Triple H said Cesaro might be his toughest challenge yet. He said he's the guy no one is going to see coming and if anyone takes him lightly, Cesaro is good enough to walk out of Elimination Chamber the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Triple H talked about Randy having the weight of the world on his shoulders headed into the pay-per-view. His job is to make everyone better and this whole process is to make Randy Orton grow and become better. He pointed to Orton's growth on Raw and said let's see if he grows and walks out of the Chamber WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Cole said if Orton doesn't grow and win the Elimination Chamber if whoever does go over, would Hunter consider him the new face of WWE? Hunter said absolutely he would view the winner of the Elimination Chamber the new face of the company.

You can watch this week's kayfabe Triple H interview at this link.

- Cody Rhodes and his wife Brandi Rhodes have launched a video blog on dot com. The first episode features their trip to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. Click here to watch.

- John Cena discussed his relationship status with Nikki Bella as well as Betty White's appearance on Raw and more in a recent appearance on E! News, available at this link or embedded below:

- WWE has uploaded the entirety of Daniel Bryan's appearance on the NFL Network, available at this link.

- Drew McIntyre posted a picture of himself receiving stitches over his eye following his match at this week's WWE Main Event taping:

Click here for full Main Event spoilers.

- Kofi Kingston recently appeared on The Wrestling Compadres podcast on Nerdist and named Rey Mysterio as his dream opponent at WrestleMania.Nigel McGuinness and Booker T also appear on the podcast. Click here to listen.

- The latest episode of WWE Inbox features workers pitching ideas for their own WWE Network shows. You can watch it at this link.

- Steve Austin used his time backstage at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles to form a "state of WWE" evaluation that's featured in his latest PodcastOne podcast.

Austin said Vince McMahon seemed preoccupied with a lot on his plate right now and that he conducted future podcast interviews with John Cena, William Regal, Big Show and Zeb Colter.

He said Cena wants new opponents and someone to fight for his spot. Austin assumes that Rey Mysterio had heat for being booked #30 in the Royal Rumble match, knowing that entrant would generate a heel reaction. Austin said there was a high degree of professionalism backstage but a lot of people afraid to speak up in fear of pissing someone off. He encouraged workers to start taking chances.

You can listen to the podcast in its entirety at this link.

- In addition to being upset about his placement on the Wrestlemania XXX card, issues regarding money, burnout, a possible injury, etc, we're told CM Punk had been upset because of his friends that he was pushing for WWE to re-hire (and was told they would be) had not been re-hired. The two workers in question revealed exclusively to are Cliff Compton (f/k/a Domino) and Luke Gallows. We're told Punk had pitched an idea for the two of them to return to WWE as a tag team and was apparently told they would be. When they weren't, he took it as another example of where the company has intentionally lied to or misled him.

- Goldust took to Twitter today to address any rumors of a match between Cody Rhodes and himself at WrestleMania XXX:

- The latest blog post from Jim Ross touches on the backstage environment, the lack of legitimate new top talent in the industry, and more. Below is an excerpt:

If any wrestling company fosters a backstage environment that does not encourage their talents to speak up and get more involved in their careers from a presentation and creative standpoint, that company is asking for hard times. In ring participants like to perform and to create or they wouldn't be in the biz. If one is a performer then they likely have an above average abundance of creativity. Any show business entity that stifles creativity from their performers is myopic.

Talents cannot be afraid to speak up but unfortunately because of the shrinking number of places a talent can work and earn a decent living the "don't rock the boat" philosophy seems to permeate the wrestling business.

Click here to read the full article.

- In a recent interview, John Cena spoke about his ChangeTime program, his status as a veteran within WWE, Total Divas, and more. Cena was asked the following about Daniel Bryan:

I don't know if you get enough credit for this, but one of the things that you do is when someone new is coming up and the fans are starting to grasp them, you go out there and you push them on the audience. Zack Ryder was a good example. Most recently Daniel Bryan has been a good example. He's one of the most talented wrestlers in the world. Is he someone you could see going the distance and maintaining his popularity as he continues to grow?

Cena: Predicting the next WWE Superstar is like predicting the crooked stock market at the turn of the 19th century. You just can't. That's what's beautiful about the WWE audience and that's why I love it so much. It changes every day, it changes every arena, it changes every city. I don't know who will be next, but I will keep trying to put people front and center so the WWE Universe gets a good look at everybody.

Cena was also asked about CM Punk's situation, to which he responded:

Don't even know. I think there's one dude who knows all the answers to that, and that's him.

Click here to watch the full interview.

- It's wedding season in WWE! Jey Uso was married on Thursday. Naomi, who is married to Jey's identical twin brother, Jimmy Uso, posted the following on Instagram:

The Miz is next as he'll marry former WWE Diva Maryse on February 20th in Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

- WWE and Mattelannounced on Friday a new multi-year extension of their toy licensing agreement through 2019. The two companies have worked together since 2009 and both are very happy with the results. You can read the official press release at this link.

- Rey Mysterio might have re-injured his left knee at Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Ontario, California. This is an ongoing issue that seems to come up in every Mysterio match but the problems with his left knee are well-documented. The former World Heavyweight Champion has torn the ACL in his left knee multiple times and has missed significant time because of it.

This possible injury occurred during a Fatal 4-Way match that also included Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston & Jack Swagger for the number one contendership to the Intercontinental Championship. The match will air on this week's episode of Smackdown.

Mysterio favored the knee after taking a bad bump, where he actually went to the floor and ripped off his knee brace. The interesting thing is no one has mentioned the injury within WWE and all we have is what the fans saw at this week's taping.

- The New York Post reported on Thursday that Shane McMahon, CEO of YOU on Demand, was almost defrauded out of $20 million as part of a deal with Darden Media Group to purchase Maxim magazine. According to the report, convicted stock swindler Calvin Darden Jr. was arrested on charges of duping investors into making them think his wealthy father was buying the magazine. Click here for coverage by the New York Post.

- We're told Undertaker has agreed to face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX in April. Right now, they're in the process of going over scheduling as Brock doesn't want to spend an entire week at Undertaker's hometown in Texas to go over the match like his recent Wrestlemania match opponents have done. According to a source with knowledge of the process, Lesnar doesn't mind going to Texas to plan the match but only wants to go for a couple of days. This isn't seen a major stumbling block and is something that is being worked out.

- WWEannounced on Friday they have declared their regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A and B shares of common stock. According to the release, "the record date for the dividend will be March 14, 2014, and the payment date will be March 25, 2014."

- Big Show has been doing media in India for WWE. You can view photos of him in the country at this link.

- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show is now online at this link.

- NBCUniversal has until midnight on Friday to accept or reject WWE's final offer to continue as their domestic television partner. If rejected, formal negotiations and bids with other networks can start taking place on Saturday.

We learned in December (through a Variety exclusive) that WWE had already reached out to or met with people from A&E, Disney, Viacom, 21st Century Fox and Discovery.

While WWE had expected a lot of suitors lined up for their domestic TV rights, we reported exclusively here on that it was currently a race between NBCUniversal and Viacom following an exclusive negotiating period with their current partner. WWE's talks with Turner and Fox were not believed to be significant enough to reach an agreement.

WWE is expected to select its media partners by March 4, 2014. Should a move happen, it would not go into effect until October 2014.

TNA News

- A 12 year old kid named Aidan Fradley was put into isolation by his school because he had the letters "TNA" shaved into the side of his hair. He was taken out of class because of this as he was about to head to London to go to TNA's show in Wembley Arena. The full article can be seen here from Daily Mail.


Dixie Carter responded to this news on her official Twitter account. She thanks Aidan for the support and is sending him merchandise. The tweet is below:

- Many have speculated about the TNA Wrestling PPV event that is scheduled for April 27, 2014. However, the speculation can end as TNA added VIP packages on ShopTNA and it features a package for the April 27th show. They are promoting the show as Sacrifice. The pay-per-view has been a staple in the company since 2005, but it was cut out of last year's line-up when the company only produced 4 live PPV shows for the entire year. The VIP package for the event can be seen here.

- TNA Wrestling just released a video on their official YouTube channel where MVP is talking to someone on the phone. After the call MVP reveals that Jeff Hardy will be returning to TNA television at Lockdown.

Jeff Hardy was written off television on the December 26, 2013 episode of Impact Wrestling as he couldn't travel with the company for their Maximum Impact Tour in the United Kingdom. Below is the video of MVP announcing Jeff's return or click here.

- TNA Wrestling posted their newest Impact Podcast and it features Magnus, Eddie Edwards, and Davey Richards. Click here.

- TNA posted another video which has Jeremy Borash explain in great detail about the Lockdown Fan Interaction event for Saturday, March 8, 2014. Borash states that the price for the event has been slashed and mentions all of the names that will be at the event and the merchandise you will receive. The top names advertised are The Great Muta and Jeff Hardy. Watch the video for all of the information here.

- An #Impact365 video aired earlier today showing Dixie Carter's reaction to the return of Jeff Hardy for TNA Lockdown. The video also has Dixie reveal that every match at the pay-per-view will be contested inside a steel cage. The video can be seen at this link.

- Devon Dudley discussed his TNA departure in a recent interview with Brady Hicks on the VOC Nation Radio Network. He said he was happy with his decision to leave and it's not that TNA was a bad thing, it just ran its course. Devon said his former tag team partner Bully Ray can be a prick and would be the first to tell you. He said Bully can be difficult when he wants to be. Dudley said TNA is going through growing pains and he has no regrets. He said he misses the company dearly but not enough to go back.

- James Storm is quoted by The Huntsville Item to promote TNA Wrestling's live event in the city on Sunday. In it, he sheds insight on the TNA family. Below is an excerpt:

“TNA is the best group going,” he said. “Everybody’s trying to make each other better. Sometimes, it’s tough brotherly love and some guys want to hear it and some guys don’t, but we’re all trying to put on a good show.

Click here to read Storm's comments in their entirety.

- Jeff Jarrett just shared a video on his official Twitter account where it shows him talking publicly for the first time since resigning from TNA Wrestling. The video has Jeff Jarrett stating that he thinks the wrestling business is just on a cusp of a "boom" as he mentions the upcoming launch of the WWE Network, AAA's expansion into the United States, as well as "the things he has been working on with his team". He also says that he is gong to be searching for indy talent in Japan, Australia, Mexico, Europe, and the United States. The video can be seen at this link.

Since Jeff resigned from TNA on December 23, 2013, there has been talks about him starting a new promotion with Toby Keith.

- Jeff Hardy will re-debut in TNA Wrestling under his old Willow the Whisp gimmick. The gimmick is something he used early in his career with OMEGA and again in 2003 when he first departed WWE.

TNA began airing vignettes on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling that were subtitled "Willow is coming…" You can watch it at this link.

Hardy was written out of TNA storylines because he was unable to travel on the company's European tour due to a past drug conviction. He'll be returning at Lockdown and was added to the #LockdownMiami Fan InterAction event.


Do workers in WWE and TNA care about their win/loss records?

The interesting thing about the pro wrestling business is that it is not objective. In sports, one team is better than the other and that is proven by the game/match outcome. In pro wrestling, the outcomes are scripted. While a winner and loser are predetermined, the worker that goes over is in a better position than the worker that goes under. So while a worker cannot "improve" their win/loss record per-say, they can have it impacted by their ability to get their character over.

How do you feel about all of Randy Orton's losses to his Elimination Chamber opponents headed into the pay-per-view?

Randy Orton losing in singles matches to his Elimination Chamber challengers is part of The Authority storyline leading into the pay-per-view main event in a couple of weeks. There are multiple ways to look at it but I believe Orton is being made to look like he doesn't have a good chance to win, only to surprise at the pay-per-view. The plan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania XXX is Orton vs. Batista so unless the company swerves (which is always a possibility), I think Orton will go over. I do not think the losses are a sign of WWE losing confidence in Orton as he is still the "1b" behind John Cena.

In the lead up to Wrestlemania, do you think it would be interesting to see the Undertaker somehow talk sense to Kane into becoming a monster again, making the transition from corporate Kane to the Big Red Machine?

The main focus for Undertaker will be on his Wrestlemania XXX match and defense of the streak. The plan as of this writing is for the streak to be on the line against Brock Lesnar. Undertaker is believed to be returning to WWE television shortly following Elimination Chamber to kick the program off. We can still not confirm an exact date. Whenever Undertaker is back there is always a connection to his "brother" Kane but they do like Kane as a heel right now. Kane is versatile and has turned as much as anyone I can remember.

Is there any reason Bad News Barrett isn't wrestling?

The last televised match I have for Bad News Barrett is a match on Smackdown all the way back in August. He is getting the talking segments on television, which allow for him to collect his appearance bonus. Barrett is working matches on live events so he is not injured. I do not have the exact reason why he has not been scripted to wrestle on television but perhaps they feel a better opportunity to get the gimmick over is to utilize him in the "bad news" talking segments.

When Raw goes to Chicago on March 4th, could you see the audience taking over the show in a big way and chanting for CM Punk all night long?

This is obviously an issue WWE is bound to have to deal with and will do so by turning off the house mics but I hope people get over it. Everyone knows where I stand on the CM Punk chants - I'm a huge fan of Punk but chanting for him is ridiculous. He left on his own terms and Vince McMahon has continually tried to convince him to come back. The assumptions formed by fans in regards to "how Punk was treated" are nothing more than assumptions and shouldn't be passed on as fact. Punk is one of my favorite workers of all-time but he made the decision to leave. WWE didn't want him to leave and has a Wrestlemania match for him if he comes back. If he doesn't, it's time to get over it and stop chanting his name. If you go to a show and chant Punk, you aren't a martyr voicing your opinion for change. This is not the same situation as Daniel Bryan. The fact that both happened back-to-back has some fans confused.

Will the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony be covered over the WWE Network?

Yes, it has been confirmed the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air live in its entirety on the WWE Network. This is something you can expect a lot of with the WWE Network. It gives the company guaranteed air time for events such as the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and also helps if WWE needs TV clearance for another live broadcast.

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2012: As far as I can remember, CM Punk has appeared a couple of times on both WWE TV and YouTube lately sporting Colt Cabana-themed t-shirts. Do you know if the company has any beef on that matter, or do they just let Punk do whatever he wants? - I haven’t heard specifically what WWE officials think of CM Punk sporting Colt Cabana merchandise but it’s a secret to no one that Punk has a lot of leeway in terms of gimmick freedom. Punk planned on leaving WWE last year but was talked into staying after the “leaving” storyline got over in a big way, clearly establishing him as a main event talent. Kevin Nash recently alluded to Punk’s creative freedom which you can read about at this link.

What is the point of this Willow character in TNA Wrestling? It's obviously Jeff Hardy so what gives?

If anything else, Jeff Hardy bringing the Willow the Whisp gimmick to TNA Wrestling creates hype. The vignette has been well-received amongst YouTube users and has fans talking. I thought the vignette was intriguing and I'm optimistic about the gimmick.

Does Undertaker have an active Performer's contract in WWE or does he just work in Wrestlemania payouts?

Undertaker is under contract with WWE. I'm not sure of the fine details as WWE does not disclose this information but I assume he has a deal where he collects a downside from the company. When he works a show, such as Wrestlemania, he's paid a show bonus based on a percentage. There have been issues regarding how much of a payout in the past but he is under contract. WWE locks performers such as Undertaker down under contract so they retain exclusive rights to their services.

Just so I'm clear - once the WWE Network launches - Raw and Smackdown will remain on the USA Network and SyFy respectively?

The existing television contracts for Raw and Smackdown will remain in place in the United States and in overseas markets on launch of the WWE Network. WWE is currently in the process of renegotiating their domestic TV contract so there could be a change of channel next fall but there was never a plan for these to become exclusive to the WWE Network. However, one thing the WWE Network gives the company is the ability to have guaranteed television clearance. Vince McMahon wants the WWE Network to be his legacy so the company is never in jeopardy of losing TV clearance and ending up like WCW. From everything I've heard, the TV networks are optimistic the WWE Network will actually increase interest and ratings. Replays for weekly WWE television will be available on-demand in the WWE Network tape library.

Whatever happened to John Morrison and WWE?

John Morrison quit WWE when his contract expired in November 2011. He's explored a possible comeback but from what I've been told, he wanted less and WWE wanted more. Morrison wanted a deal similar to what was given to Chris Jericho or even Rob Van Dam that gave him some flexibility. Vince McMahon wanted a full commitment and that's where things stopped. Morrison left WWE on good terms and there was never a problem with him. There were incidents tied to Melina but not with Morrison directly.

Do you personally believe CM Punk will come back before his contract is up?

The only person that knows the answer to this is CM Punk himself. Anyone that claims to have the scoop on Punk's departure is speculating. We can highlight all the issues Punk had prior to leaving WWE (and we uncovered another on Thursday) but the only person that knows his mindset is him. I'm sure his inner circle has an idea but his inner circle isn't talking. Every fan has an opinion about why Punk left but it's important to not confuse opinion with fact and the only fact we know is Punk isn't talking.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2013: Do you feel that a manager could help Ryback get more heat? Who would you pick to manage Ryback? - I haven’t given a lot of thought to Ryback getting a manager but so far, I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen with Ryback’s heel turn. He’s clearly far from perfect – his in-ring is lacking and he’s not exactly “steady” on the stick but he has the look and it’s enough for WWE to have confidence in pushing him as a main event talent. A lot of the other heels have mouthpieces right now so I’m not sure this would be the type of uniformity that WWE would welcome. If they did go in this direction, my picks are rather obvious. Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter are the two best heel mouthpieces in the company right now.

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