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 15, 2014 to Friday, February 21, 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!
- Eva Marie vs. Alicia Fox was edited off this week's episode of Smackdown. The bout was taped last Tuesday from the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. If you missed our taping results, Eva went over Fox and generated some heat when she came out.
- The Miz spoke about his Raw interruptions after beating Fandango in this week's episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown. You can watch now at this link.
- Jack Swagger beat Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry and Kofi Kingston in a Fatal 4-Way Match that aired on this week's episode of Smackdown to become the number one contender for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Swagger will face Big E for the title at this month's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
- Drew McIntyre noted on Twitter recently that 3MB visited the rehearsal space of the band Tool and they performed for them.
- Scott Hall Tweeted the following:
The speculation is obvious as Jake Roberts and Amy "Lita" Dumas will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year over Wrestlemania XXX weekend. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com on February 7, 2014 that WWE had contacted Hall about a possible induction this year.
The 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. It will broadcast live on the WWE Network and we'll have exclusive coverage here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Scott Hall Tweeted the following to us regarding a possible WWE Hall of Fame induction:
As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Hall fueled rumors of his induction when talking about Twitter verifying his account along with 2014 WWE Hall of Fame inductees Jake Roberts and Amy "Lita" Dumas. We also referenced our February 7, 2014 report, where we confirmed WWE had contacted him about an induction.
In other news regarding Hall, he's booked for the Pro Wrestling Report's fourth annual Shenanigans Event in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 4, 2014 (Wrestlemania XXX weekend). While Hall Re-Tweeted a post about a Q&A he'll be doing with Kevin Nash as part of the event on February 12, 2014, he claimed on Saturday he had no knowledge of the booking. Below is the Tweet he Re-Tweeted:
Below are the strange Tweets where he denies being booked for the event or having knowledge of it:
For details on PWR's Shenanigans World Order & After Party, click here.
February 15, 2014 3:10 PM EST Update: Hall posted this follow-up on Twitter:
- Summer Rae Tweeted the following about her inclusion in The Marine 4:
Brooks Oglesby ran the story here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com as both Summer Rae and Miz will be featured in The Marine 4, which will begin filming in April.
- Cody Rhodes and his wife Brandi greeted fans at Friday night's WWE NXT live event Largo, Florida. Cody even worked an angle in the ring. You can check out all the action here on the NXT Instagram.
- WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E talks about Black History Month at this link.
- Remember former WWE 'Spirit Squad' member Mikey? Alfonso Castillo from Newsday caught up with him where he talked about rooting for Dolph Ziggler. You can read the article at this link.
- WWE sent out an email blast on Saturday, informing fans it's not too late to enter to win a trip to Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans through the Wrestlemania Reading Challenge. The Wrestlemania Reading Challenge is a partnership between WWE, We Give Books and YALSA and is for kids ages 4-18. All participants that have completed the registration process have the chance to win prizes including a trip to Wrestlemania XXX, a school visit from a WWE Superstar, or grants for public schools and libraries. Click here to register now.
- The Miz, Maryse and Alicia Fox attended the Cartoon Network's Hall of Game Awards on Saturday night. You'll be able to watch them on Monday at 7 PM/6 CT. Click here for more.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry on his official website where he talks about MVP in TNA, why Kurt Angle shouldn't wrestle much these days, Hulk Hogan and Sting in WWE and more. You can read it at this link but buy BBQ sauce first.
- Did you know Big Show likes to shake his big butt and make kids laugh? That's what he said in a new promotional interview while in India at this link.
- Naomi saw an eye specialist last week and it was determined she will not need surgery, according to a new update on WWE.com. However, the break has caused communication between her sinus cavity and the back of her eye socket. Due to the damage, she cannot travel on an airplane and is expected out another 4-6 weeks. Naomi suffered a displaced fracture in her face during a match against Aksana on the February 3, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw.
- Batista worked his first WWE live event since returning to the company earlier this year on Saturday night in Phoenix, Arizona. The wrestler turned actor (turned back wrestler) beat Alberto Del Rio via disqualification in a singles match.
Del Rio got disqualified when he used a chair but Batista hit the Batista Bomb for good measure. He was over with the live crowd and Tweeted the following about the show:
- WWE recently reached out again to Karl Anderson and Prince Devitt from New Japan Pro Wrestling. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, neither is interested in signing right now. We're told the issue has to do with the "terrible reputation" that WWE NXT has amongst the boys. One observer commented, "everyone there is miserable and they hate doing [Bill] DeMott's drills." The complaints have gotten so widespread that guys with solid gigs elsewhere are turning down offers. The feeling is they might feel differently if they were assured respective roles on the main roster but they don't want to go to the WWE Performance Center for "seasoning" when they know the "misery" that awaits them.
- ESPN is working on an E:60 special on WWE NXT and had cameras filming at the latest television tapings from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. The following is a photo from the verified E:60 Twitter account:
An air date for the program is not yet available.
- Dolph Ziggler and Big E talk about what they're excited to see on the upcoming WWE Network in a new video posted by WWE at this link.
- Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were with Fraser Kilmister or Lemmy from Motörhead over the weekend. Below is a photo:
- Michael Cole posted a new blog here on LayfieldReport.com. He talked about his work at WWE NXT being the most satisfying part of his career and how Renee Young will host a pre show for the upcoming NXT Arrival pay-per-view on the WWE Network. Cole also blogged on mountain climbing and more. Click here to read it.
- WWE has released new Daniel Bryan merchandise as part of the "Yes Movement." Many observers feel the merchandise will help him become the company's top merchandise seller, thus crossing the "final hurdle" in terms of being a main event draw. Below is a photo of one of the shirts:
You can purchase the new merchandise at this link.
- With CM Punk gone, WWE's interest in Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho has "shot up immensely." RVD was backstage at Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles last week and is penciled in for Wrestlemania XXX. Things with Jericho haven't gone as smoothly.
We're told Chris feels like he has a lot of leverage now but his issues really haven't been about money. Jericho usually likes to intricately plan his returns and so far he's been upset with the lack of organization on WWE's part in terms of figuring out who his potential opponent(s) would be. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Jericho doesn't want to come back unless he knows who his Wrestlemania program will be with.
While WWE is still sorting out the lineup for the show in April, right now none of the "big names" are in need of an opponent. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt is pretty much a done deal, Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan is where they're leaning, with Batista challenging Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and of course the aforementionedBrock Lesnar vs. Undertaker. If they would decide to put Bryan in the title match and make it a triple threat, it would free up Hunter but Jericho wouldn't be getting that match. Vince McMahon still hopes CM Punk comes back and even if he doesn't, it's not likely they'd go Hunter vs. Jericho.
So far, the only bout we've heard pitched is Jericho vs. RVD but that hinges on a number of factors.
- Summer Rae spoke about her inclusion on Season 2 of Total Divas with College Times. In the piece, she discussed fans getting a chance to see what her relationship with Fandango is like behind-the-scenes. She credits his post-Wrestlemania 29 popularity for helping her career. Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- MTV News was given access to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. In their piece, John Saboor and Triple H are shown. In it, Hunter explains the importance of charisma. Adrian Neville is interviewed, where he says this is what he has always wanted to do. Emma said the facility is everything they could have asked for, Paige said it was amazing. Stuart Tomlinson, the former goalie, spoke as did Sami Zayn. William Regal put over Hunter's vision and said the Performance Center offered developmental talent anything they could have ever wished to have. You can check out coverage by MTV News at this link.
- Jim Ross has a new Monday blog online where he touches on numerous topics, including the match he'd like to see at Wrestlemania XXX... Mark Henry vs. George Zimmerman. You can read his latest at this link but don't even think about touching that mouse until you buy some BBQ sauce.
- TMZ Sports caught up with Paul Heyman in Hollywood on Friday night. He was with supermodel Ellie Gonsalves and talked about why they shouldn't expect Brock Lesnar to travel there anytime soon. You can check out their coverage at this link.
- WWEannounced Monday before this week's episode of Raw that The New Age Outlaws will defend the WWE Tag Team Championship against The Usos at Elimination Chamber on Sunday.
- WWE announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw the Elimination Chamber Kickoff match will be Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback.
- Zeb Colter & Big E star in this week's "Backstage Fallout" Raw, available at this link.
- John Cena was the latest guest on The Steve Austin Show, speaking candidly with Steve Austin about his position in the company, why some Superstars aren't breaking through to the next level, what goes through his mind when the crowd hijacks a match, why he's learning Mandarin, and much more. In addition, Cena invited Austin to get back into the ring at WrestleMania 31. Below are some excerpts:
On getting mixed reactions:
I think a lot of the reason the reactions are the way they are is, for quite a few years, WWE didn't step up to the plate and correctly build new superstars and correctly provide new main event talent. I often tell people that I'm working with, if they're in the ring, and half the fans are cheering me, and the other half are booing me, shouldn't you be the one that's mad? Because they're not noticing you at all. People talk about being a babyface and being a heel. What happens when there's no one? Right now I'm very excited, not only for stuff like the WWE Network, but I think we are on the cusp of getting a true all-star lineup for the first time in a long time. We have a lot of guys who, if not making some noise, that are about to make some serious noise. And I think you'll see that go away. And I'm objectively looking at it, because when you have one dude, and you're trying to make superstars off of that dude, a majority of the audience just recognizes that one guy. And that's why when you have a feud with Daniel Bryan or a feud with The Rock, you don't hear the "Let's go Cena, Cena sucks" as much. It's cheer for one guy, boo the other guy. But when it's a one-man party out there, often times, the crowd is attached to the one man.
On how much creative input he has in regards to his character:
Oddly enough, you hear these stories about guys planning their own future or whatever. I'm not really good at quote unquote booking stuff. I don't understand - I don't want to say it doesn't interest me, but I'm good with "Hey, we have this for you." Okay, I'm gonna take this, I'm gonna try to make it great. [...] That's actually helped me in a way, because I never look forward to this or hang my hat on "Well, I got this great idea and they didn't use it." So many guys are like, "Oh, they didn't use my idea." They just don't do that. You have to be able to take the steak that they give you, even if it's Waffle House-thin, and make it taste good. So I get excited about working with new guys or giving new guys an opportunity. There's also so many people that will say, "Oh, he's just hogging the spotlight. He won't even give anybody a chance." I could give you a list as long as the Constitution of "Please, let's do this! I think this guy has potential, let's go with him," and that started back in Albany with Edge when we did the Elimination Chamber when he won his first championship. Every single person who had a thought on that told me not to do it, but I thought it was gonna be great.
Advice to talent about pitching ideas and reaching the next level:
If I could use your airtime, because hopefully some of my colleagues are gonna be listening: people think [Vince McMahon] is unattainable. And this is an individual business. It's built on individual personalities. I am the guy who's the total other way. I'm a company guy. I'm a team guy. But if you're an individual and you have something you believe is successful, why don't you take it to your boss? Why don't you take it: "I have this, I want to do this." Let him say no. But a lot of people get stuck at that door, and that's where the gossip sites or whatever develop this black cloud of "Oh, there's this sort of politics and there's this sort of BS." The politics for me at the end of the day is to make sure our bottom line is the best it can be. So if I got a guy who I think is gonna make some noise out there, why wouldn't I? No matter what he looks like, no matter what he works like. We're in the business of making individuals, and all Creative can do is do its best to estimate what that individual wants to say. And a lot of times, you've got someone who isn't you trying to create for you, and if you don't take your destiny into your own hands, you're gonna be reading off the paper.
Click here to listen to the full interview.
- After this week's Raw went off the air, Cesaro put Dean Ambrose in the Giant Swing. When he got up, Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on him. John Cena then hit the Attitude Adjustment, followed by Daniel Bryan's running knee to send the crowd home happy.
- We have complete Raw results at this link and my notes are online at this link.
- We're less than one week away from the launch of the WWE Network. You can watch a new commercial at this link. I want to take a second to address some rumors I've been asked about on my Twitter account located at Twitter.com/wnwdotcom. CM Punk hasn't been granted an early release from his WWE contract. I'm not sure where this started but the last we heard, Vince McMahon was still hoping/trying/praying to get Punk back. The company is moving on under the assumption he's gone and not coming back but that's where it stands. He still isn't talking and Colt Cabana has questioned whether or not he's alive.
Vince McMahon is not looking to purchase Newcastle United. The UK papers have had some fun with the rumor but there's no substance to it. If you hear something and want to know what I've heard about it, feel free to Tweet me at Twitter.com/wnwdotcom.
- Variety has an update on WWE's ongoing negotiations for a new domestic television distribution agreement. According to their report, WWE and NBCUniversal stepped away from negotiations without a new deal. Below is a statement the company issued to Variety:
“WWE’s exclusive negotiating period with NBCU for our flagship television programs, ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown,’ has now expired,” “While we were unable to reach an agreement with NBCU during this period, we have certainly appreciated our long and productive partnership. With year-round, live programming that is highly coveted by programmers, distributors and advertisers, we are extremely excited about our future. We look forward to engaging with potential partners who recognize the value of having the #1 show on cable and live content delivered 52 weeks a year.”
WWE is free to negotiate with other companies and a new deal with NBCU could still be reached once WWE explores all of their options. Variety reports that WWE is considering multiple plans for its shows and that includes airing them all with a single family of networks or splitting them up across multiple network owners.
The main goal is still to significantly increase the $139.5 million in TV licensing fees that WWE currently earns each year for their shows. They want to get closer to the deals that the major sports organizations command for live programming. WWE will also offer up Smackdown as a live show, a change from the current format where the show is taped earlier in the week before it airs Friday nights on SyFy.
Both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown will continue to air on the USA Network and SyFy in their current form through September 30, 2014.
Click here for coverage by Variety.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Denver, Colorado…
- Cesaro received a standing ovation for his match against John Cena when he got to the back. One observer said that Daniel Bryan hugged him and told him that everyone was glued. The feeling regarding Cena backstage was similar to a feeling I espoused on Twitter. Everyone likes to knock John Cena but the fact of the matter is his in-ring work only improves. He's not built the same way as the rest of us and can work despite whatever frustrations there are with his character.
- One idea pitched for Wrestlemania XXX had Dean Ambrose facing Roman Reigns, however, I was told not to be shocked if they did Sheamus vs. Reigns and blew up The Shield after the match.
- The directives on commentary regarding Daniel Bryan have changed for those that haven't noticed. Certain negative comments such as short, goat, ugly and small have been dropped. We're told the push is on.
- Vince McMahon isn't happy with Batista not being over. We're told there is a continued frustration that he isn't being perceived as more when he his penciled in for one of the Wrestlemania XXX main events after a near 4-year absence from the company.
- I heard some chatter in regards to Darren Young vs. Titus O'Neil being added to the Elimination Chamber lineup, with some suggesting it's going to be five minutes of the dreadful "CM Punk" chants.
- AJ Lee asked for the weekend off, which was why she wasn't on the live event loop. She did not ask for Monday off as the Divas had a very limited spot on the show with the only segment being the stuff between Emma and Summer Rae.
- As I killed off earlier, CM Punk wasn't released from WWE over the weekend. The rumor was not only incorrect but it made zero sense. If WWE released Punk from his contract early, it would make him available to work outside of the company and Vince McMahon still hasn't given up on bringing him back. Further, it's believed WWE would not want to acknowledge that Punk was no longer under contract, something that would surely rattle investors at an important juncture in the company's history. The feeling is WWE will simply pay Punk his downside throughout the duration of his contract that runs through July.
- Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald has an article on Titus O'Neil following an interview that was conducted with him after a Be a STAR anti-bullying rally in Miami last month. Varsallone notes O'Neil's story as his mother, Daria, was raped and became pregnant with him. Rather than choosing to have an abortion, O'Neil was born. Prior to becoming a WWE superstar, O'Neil was an Arena Football player and a graduate of the University of Florida where he was also a football player. Click here to read the article.
- We're told WWE reached out to Ring of Honor about a possible agreement to use footage of theirs for specials of past workers such as Cesaro, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan. Apparently the interest in the footage has to do with features that highlight a particular worker's rise to WWE through the independent promotion.
- Mattel will release an ECW CM Punk action figure as a Ringside Collectibles exclusive. You can check out photos of the figure at this link.]
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown featuring WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Cesaro in a non-title match did an average viewing audience of 2,831,000 viewers on SyFy. You can see how the competition did on cable at this link. The show ended up with a 1.98 cable rating.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online with his thoughts from this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. You can read the blog at this link but please do not read it until you buy a container of BBQ sauce.
- Mattel unveiled a lot of their new WWE toys at the 2014 New York Toy Fair. We noted earlier about the ECW CM Punk figure that's a Ringside Collectibles exclusive, Punk is also included in several of their new lines. Mattel will also be releasing their first Edge figure since his retirement, which has some believing he's signed a Legend's contract with the company. Click here for WWE toy photos from the New York Toy Fair.
- USA Today features an article about Daniel Bryan's Yes Movement trickling over to mainstream sports. Bryan is quoted in the piece, super humble as always. Stephanie McMahon is also quoted. Click here to read it.
- WWE now has Cesaro conducting backstage interviews with superstars in German and Ricardo Rodriguez conducting backstage interviews with superstars in Spanish.
- Edge joins Renee Young on the latest 30 Years of WrestleMania podcast to speak about his daughter, his favorite WrestleMania memories and more. In addition, he says Christian would be his first choice for a dream WrestleMania opponent, as well as Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and The Rock. Click here to listen to the full podcast.
- John Cena won the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Award for "Rumble Royalty" earlier this week, beating out Daniel Bryan, The Miz & Randy Orton. In addition, Miz and Alicia Fox presented the "Whoa-Ment" award, won by Auburn cornerback Chris Davis. Click here to watch.
- It's with heavy heart I must announce that Nelson Frazier Jr. has passed away at the age of 43. Known by fans as Mabel, Big Daddy V, and Viscera, Frazier had a storied career with the WWE. His agent Eric Simms announced on Twitter and Facebook that he passed away from a massive heart attack.
- For those that missed the news that broke in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Nelson Frazier, Jr. (a/k/a Big Daddy V and Mabel) has died. Details are sketchy as of press time but the early word is that he suffered a heart attack. He celebrated his 43rd birthday on Valentine's Day 2014. Frazier had three separate stints with WWE with his final match for the company being on an episode of ECW on SyFy, where he lost to CM Punk in a Money in the Bank qualifying match that aired on March 11, 2008. He was drafted to Smackdown in the 2008 WWE Supplemental Draft but was released on August 8, 2008, without ever working a match on the brand. In recent years he had worked internationally, including a stint with All Japan Pro Wrestling as Big Daddy Voodoo and later as Big Daddy.
- Jim Ross had Steve Austin as the first guest of his Ross Report podcast at this link. In it, Austin and JR talked about Undertaker's undefeated streak at Wrestlemania and agreed it should never end. Austin said the reason WWE didn't announce his retirement was because Vince McMahon felt it would kill their IPO as they were going public at the time.
- After WWE stopped filming this week's episode of Smackdown from the World Arena in Colorado Springs, The Wyatt Family came out and attacked Sheamus (who had just faced Christian). Daniel Bryan came out and made the save but Kane came out to neutralize him.The Usos came out and the babyfaces cleared the ring with all but Erick Rowan left. The babyfaces hit their finishers on Rowan to send the crowd home happy. There was no dark match main event.
- WWE will air the first ever live NXT pay-per-view on the WWE Network on Thursday, February 27, 2014. The show will be called NXT Arrival and will feature a 30-minute pre-show beginning at 7:30 PM EST hosted by Renee Young with a panel comprised of Paul Heyman, Bret Hart and Kevin Nash.
- The official trailer for Marvel'sGuardians of the Galaxy featuring Batista as Drax the Destroyer is online at this link.
- While Dish Networktold me they were showing the WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on Sunday, we've received contact from readers that have been told otherwise. A quick look on their official website shows no Elimination Chamber listing, despite listings for TNA Lockdown and upcoming UFC shows. Given this information, I would consider the availability of Elimination Chamber on Dish Network doubtful. If you were planning to order through the provider, you may want to make other arrangements. The speculation here is obvious in that the provider isn't carrying WWE's pay-per-views due to the launch of the WWE Network. While they haven't come out and said that, their lead competitor, DirecTV, stated they would need to “quickly re-evaluate the economics and viability of their business” with WWE following the announcement of the WWE Network. With that being said, DirecTV does in fact have plans to carry Elimination Chamber on Sunday.
- Wrestling News World reader Donald, a Dish Network customer, was told on Monday they would be carrying WWE Elimination Chamber on Sunday. However, after continued reports of the provider dropping the pay-per-view, Donald went back to customer support for an update. Dish told him this time they would not be carrying the pay-per-view and it was WWE's decision, not theirs, because WWE was launching their own streaming service.
We all know this is a blatant lie by Dish Network as the WWE Network won't launch until Monday and the company wanted to keep their existing pay-per-view deals in place. This is a situation where Dish Network isn't getting their way and in turn is giving their customers the shaft.
Below is Donald's conversation with a Dish Network customer support representative in its entirety:
- This week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole is now online. Below are the highlights:
Hunter said he believes the entire world is ready for The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber and says when two of the most powerful forces in WWE history collide, it's armageddon. He said he hopes everyone walks away from the match on Sunday.
Cole ran through the Elimination Chamber participants to get Triple H's thoughts on them. He mentioned the fact that Randy Orton is 0-5 inside the Chamber and asked Hunter for his thoughts. Triple H said he might be 0-5 but he's the most experienced and has everything to lose, which makes him very dangerous.
John Cena has won three Elimination Chambers, Cole said many would think he was the favorite. Triple H said Cena's "never give up" motto will be tested on Sunday because the first time he hits the steel, all his prior Chamber wins go out the window.
Triple H said this is the kind of environment that Sheamus thrives in. He said there is nothing worse than a guy that likes what's happening to him and because of that, he's dangerous inside the Elimination Chamber.
Cole said Christian isn't getting any younger, the injuries are catching up to him. Hunter said desperation makes you dangerous. He said Christian is a man with nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain and he'll do anything to win the match on Sunday.
Hunter said suddenly Cesaro is on a different playing level than he was just a month ago. Triple H said there is something to be said about momentum and it's very dangerous to stop an object moving forward.
Michael said Daniel Bryan has won an elimination match before but there's been speculation that Kane has been sent out by Triple H to damage Bryan for Sunday. Hunter said conspiracy theories aside, let's face it, Daniel Bryan is an underdog. It's how his whole career has been and his fans love the fact he's an underdog. He said the WWE Universe will have a lot to get behind if they expect him to succeed on Sunday.
Cole asked Triple H for his prediction on who would win the Elimination Chamber match. Hunter said The Authority is prepared to make whoever walks out of Elimination Chamber the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, the new face of WWE. When Cole questioned if he meant anyone, Hunter mimicked Bryan's "Yes" pose and said yes.
You can watch the interview in its entirety at this link.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,364,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:
Hour 1 - 4,662,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 4,296,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 4,134,000 viewers
The show was Monday's top rated cable program with a 1.4 adults 18-49 rating, down from the 1.7 adults 18-49 rating the show posted last week.
Click here for more information.
- WWE released the following statement regarding Dish Network not carrying Sunday's WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view:
All WWE cable and satellite partners are providing WWE Elimination Chamber this Sunday with the exception of DISH. If you are a DISH customer, you can purchase WWE Elimination Chamber online at http://WWE.com/PPV. Click here for more info on How To Watch: http://wwe.me/tNQ4j We’re hopeful that DISH will re-consider carrying WWE Elimination Chamber and other PPV events in the future, especially WWE WrestleMania XXX.
Earlier this week, a representative from Dish Network falsely claimed that the pay-per-view would be available on their network.
DirecTV and other providers are expected to carry the pay-per-view at this time. Click here for more information.
- The USA Network will air a one-hour special of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony immediately following the April 7, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. As we've reported several times and was outlined in the official WWE Networkprogramming release, the ceremony will be available live in its entirety on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 9 PM EST on the WWE Network.
- WWE will report their 2013 fourth quarter earnings and year end results on Thursday prior to market open. A conference call with investors hosted by Vince McMahon to go over the results will take place at 11 AM EST. I'll be on the call on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com and will have exclusive live coverage.
- Vince McMahon Tweeted the following about Daniel Bryan's "Yes Movement":
- The New York Post covered WWE's negotiations for a new domestic television distribution agreement at this link.
- For those that missed it, Dish Networkisn't carrying WWE Elimination Chamber on Sunday. They claimed in a statement to Zap2it they'll continue to consider the value of WWE pay-per-views on an event by event basis.
They posted the following on their Facebook page:
"DISH will not offer the 'WWE Elimination Chamber' PPV on 2/23. WWE is not willing to adjust their PPV costs to satellite and cable companies, which is unfair to their customers. We need to re-focus our efforts to support partners that better serve DISH customers. Other satellite and cable companies, including DIRECTV, have also expressed they may no longer provide WWE PPV events in the future."
This is a case where the satellite provider is pouting over the forthcoming WWE Network. Elimination Chamber isn't being offered anywhere else any cheaper. It's a move that's become far too common from a cable/satellite company and the people that are getting the shaft are their customers.
- WWEreported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 and full year results on Thursday. In them, official pay-per-view buy rates for the quarter were announced. There were some ugly numbers that you can view below:
WWE Battleground - 114,000 buys
WWE Hell in a Cell - 228,000 buys (compared to 199,000 in 2012)
Survivor Series - 177,000 buys (compared to 208,000 in 2012)
WWE TLC - 181,000 buys (compared to 175,000 in 2012)
This of course is all about the change with the launch of the WWE Network but it's safe to say WWE is probably less than thrilled with the way Battleground and Survivor Series performed.
- WWE hosted a conference call with investors on Thursday morning to discuss the company's 2013 fourth quarter earnings and year-end results. You can go over them at this link. Pay-per-view buyrate data for the quarter is broken down at this link. Representing WWE on the call was Vince McMahon, George Barrios and Michael Weitz. I was on the call on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com and compiled the following notes:
We're introduced to the Webcast portion of the presentation. I'm on the audio call, not the Webcast but they're just going through the slides posted on the corporate WWE website. Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement.
Vince McMahon wished everyone a good morning. He said their results are in line with expectations and said they are down as the company continues to invest. McMahon said live event attendance increased 2%, their weekly TV audience is up 14,000,000 viewers and their social media followers are up 87%. Vince talked about the new content deal with BSkyB in the United Kingdom and Thailand. He said both deals are better than what they were in the past, three and seven times more than what they were. These are now the number one and number three TV agreements outside the United States.
Vince brought up Total Divas and the new toy product in the construction line they have high hopes for. He mentioned new animated film content with the Flintstones and Scooby-Doo. McMahon put over the WWE Performance Center and partnerships with blue chip companies such as Kraft and Post cereal.
Regarding domestic television negotiations, Vince confirmed the company's exclusive negotiation period with NBCUniversal has expired and they're out in the marketplace for the first time in a long time. He expects negotiations to be completed by the end of April, maybe a little later. Vince said their deal in India is coming up and they are looking to increase licensing fees.
Vince said the WWE Network goes live on Monday and put over the content and pay-per-views. He said majority of providers have agreed to carry Wrestlemania and will do other shows on a month-by-month basis.
George Barrios took over the call and gave his presentation. The call was then handed over to a Q&A session with investors.
How many bidders do they have for domestic TV rights? George Barrios wouldn't disclose that information. He said they were optimistic considering that all of their shows are up for re-negotiation at the same time for the first time ever.
Barrios said WWE has closely monitored the social media reaction to the WWE Network and it's been very positive. He wouldn't given a target number for expected WWE Network subscribers by Wrestlemania XXX but said they would feel good ending the year with one million subscribers.
I was briefly disconnected but Barrios confirmed they're still talking with NBCU regarding domestic television rights.
Vince McMahon said CM Punk is taking a sabbatical. He preceded the answer by saying they're really excited about Wrestlemania XXX. We have a story with the full quote at this link.
One investor wants to know why they're continuing the movies. Vince McMahon said they have a third business model and this one is working and making money for them.
George Barrios said that most of their current pay-per-view providers have agreed to carry Wrestlemania XXX. He said they won't go into specifics but they have 85% of US households covered.
The call was then ended.
- Zack Ryder has advice for Justin Bieber in the latest episode of WWE Inbox that you can watch at this link.
- Vince McMahon was asked about CM Punk on Thursday's conference call with investors. He said Punk is "taking a sabbatical, let's put it that way." We have complete coverage from the call online at this link.
- Vince McMahon expects negotiations for WWE's domestic television rights to be completed by the end of April but perhaps a little bit longer. The company's exclusive negotiating period with NBCUniversal has ended and they are out in the marketplace, accepting bids from all interested parties. WWE's main goal is to significantly increase the amount of money they make each year in domestic TV licensing fees. We can confirm they are still talking with NBCU.
- Most of the satellite and cable companies that currently carry WWE pay-per-views have agreed to carry Wrestlemania XXX in April. However, the shows will then be evaluated on a show-by-show basis each month. We don't have a list of providers that have agreed to carry Wrestlemania but the word from WWE is that 85% of households will be covered if they want to order the show traditionally. One note to make here is there are providers refusing to carry the show with the launch of the WWE Network.
- There isn't a lot of attention being paid to the disastrous buyrates of WWE Battleground and Survivor Series respectively. This is because after Elimination Chamber, the company's model will completely change with the launch of the WWE Network. Individual pay-per-view buys will no longer be a good indicator of a show's success, considering the company is using their live pay-per-views as the focal point of the WWE Network.
- WWE does not have a target number of WWE Network subscribers by Wrestlemania XXX in April, however, they're hoping to have 1 million subscribers by the end of the year. If they reach that, they will consider the launch to be a success.
- Below is the weekly programming lineup for the upcoming WWE Network. All shows will have premiered by March 6, 2014. This schedule does not include live pay-per-views and special airings (such as the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony) but is the live programming that will air each week:
11:00 AM ET - This is NXT (starting February 24)
7:30 PM ET - Raw Pre-Show
11:05 PM ET - WWE Raw Backstage Pass
9:00 PM ET - Wrestlemania Rewind (starting February 25)
10:00 PM ET - WWE Countdown (starting February 25)
9:00 PM ET - Best of Raw (starting on a special day/time on February 28 at 4:30 PM ET)
8:00 PM ET - WWE Legends' House (starting April 10)
9:00 PM ET - WWE NXT (starting March 6)
10:00 PM ET - WWE Superstars (starting February 27)
7:30 PM ET - Friday Night Smackdown Pre-Show
10:00 PM ET - WWE Smackdown Backstage Pass
1:00 PM ET - Best of Smackdown (starting March 1)
8:00 PM ET - Beyond the Ring (starting March 1)
- The Los Angeles Times is reporting that NBCUniversal and WWE are "far apart on price" regarding a new domestic television distribution agreement. According to their report, they've retained Chris Bevilacqua, head of media advisory firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures, to negotiate the deal.
Click here for coverage by the LA Times.
For more on when to expect WWE to announce their new domestic television deal, click here.
- The new Total Divas trailer for Season 2 makes interesting use of Fandango. The following is from Twitter:
We break the new trailer down here at DivaKnockout.com.
- WWE posted a new photo gallery of 2014 Hall of Fame inductee at this link.
- For those that missed our coverage from Thursday's WWE conference call with investors, one caller sternly asked Vince McMahon why WWE continued to do movies. They even brought up the failure of the XFL and said WWE realized they had failed and rightfully moved on.
Vince answered directly, explaining the company was on their third business model for films and this one was working. As we've noted several times, the company made money with The Call and it made them bullish on WWE Studios moving forward.
Variety wrote a complete article about it that you can read at this link.
- The Total Divas cameras are filming in Cabo as Natalya and The Bella Twins have shared hot photos on their social media accounts. We have the coverage at the following links on DivaKnockout.com:
Natalya Shows Off Bikini From CaboMore Bikini Photos – The Bella Twins & Natayla Partying In Cabo
- Big Daddy V's wife, Cassandra Frazier, spoke with TMZ about her husband's death. She said he had lost 100 lbs. after doctors told him his blood pressure was too high and it was affecting his diabetes. He had cleaned up his diet and lost most of the weight in the last 6 months, according to the TMZ report. Big Daddy V, whose real name is Nelson Frazier Jr, died suddenly on Tuesday due to a massive heart attack. He was only 43. You can read coverage by TMZ at this link.
- WWE announced on Friday that CFO George Barrios will participate in the 2014 KeyBanc Consumer Conference on Thursday, February 27, 2014 in New York City. You can read the press release at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Jake sent word that Kane appeared on local Minneapolis/St. Paul TV in-character to promote Elimination Chamber in the city on Sunday. The media took place at 6 AM.
- Wrestling News World reader Mike sent us this link that goes to the dot com profile of Lana. Lana is the valet of Alexander Rusev.
- The Miz and Maryse were married in the Bahamas on Thursday. WWE names in attendance included Zack Ryder, John Morrison and Kelly Kelly. We have more coverage here on DivaKnockout.com.
- Remember that Diamond Dallas Page will be featured on Friday night's episode of Shark Tank on ABC. The show airs at 10 PM/9 CT.
- Kofi Kingston talks about the matches and moments he's eager to watch on the WWE Network at this link.
- TMZ Sports photographed Hulk Hogan, in full Hulkamania gear, training at the WWE Performance Center. They reported that Hogan will re-debut with WWE on the February 24, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They also note he's scheduled to appear at Wrestlemania XXX in April. You can read their coverage at this link. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Hogan was in fact back with WWE and the plan as of early this month was for him to guest host Wrestlemania XXX.
- The Great Khali became a United States citizen on Thursday. You can check out a photo Tweeted out by Ranjin Singh (David Kapoor from WWE creative) below:
- Sheamus talked about the surgery to repair his torn labrum being the first surgery he's ever had with Chad Dukes. He said he had just been waiting to come back [to WWE] and that Royal Rumble was the right time. You can listen to the complete interview at this link.
- Natalya was a guest on Chris Jericho's "Talk is Jericho" podcast that was released on Friday. I listened to it through and posted a lengthy recap at this link. It's well worth going out of your way to listen, especially if you want to hear about life today as a WWE Diva.
- The biggest story we've been tracking is WWE's negotiations for a new domestic television agreement. While the company just recently announced their exclusive negotiating window with NBCUniversal has expired, they've been talking with other companies since the beginning of February. Other entities were unable to submit formal bids on the company's programming until the "exclusive" period had ended. WWE rejected NBCU's final offer, which was expected, and is now "out in the marketplace" with all of their television. While much of this is all formalities, a major development has occurred. We're being told that Viacom has had a major shift in their position. According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations, there is serious discussion of dropping out of contention for WWE's domestic television rights. The reason is Viacom knows the amount WWE wanted from NBCU and it was lower than the number WWE had made it known they wanted from Viacom. Viacom reportedly feels WWE has been "toying with them" to put pressure on NBCU. There have been discussions within Viacom about a new direction. We're working on these details and will have them available in the coming days here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Mark Henry stated in a media interview to promote next week's Smackdown taping in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that he'll retire from professional wrestling when his next contract expires. His new deal, signed last summer, expires in June 2016. You can read the promotional interview where he disclosed this information at this link.
- WWE confirmed on dot com on Friday afternoon that Hulk Hogan has returned to the company and will host Wrestlemania 30 on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
He will appear on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Green Bay, Wisconsin and will serve as a promotional mechanism for WWE Raw Backstage Pass, a new show that premieres live on WWE Network following Raw.
Below is a quote from Vince McMahon that was included in dot com's coverage:
“We are thrilled that Hulk Hogan has returned home to WWE,” WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon said. “It’s fitting to have him help us celebrate 30 years of WrestleMania and usher in a new era with the launch of WWE Network.”
They also quoted Hogan:
“Words cannot express how excited I am to be back in the WWE family,” Hogan said. “I only have one question for the WWE Universe: Whatcha you gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild as the host of WrestleMania 30?”
Click here for coverage by WWE.com.
- Once the official announcement from WWE about Hulk Hogan coming back to the company, Hogan took to his official Twitter account to give his thoughts about returning to WWE and hosting Wrestlemania 30. Below are his tweets:
Hulk Hogan is coming back to WWE after being gone from the company since 2007. Hogan arrived in TNA Wrestling in 2010 and remained there until September 2013. There has been tremendous speculation about his future, but it is finally revealed.
- TNA is using social media to advance the Dixie Carter/MVP angle. You can check out the latest step at this link
- Wrestle-1 has announced the following matches for the March 2, 2014 TNA "One Night Only" pay-per-view taping:
TNA Champion Magnus vs. KAI
TNA X Division Champion Austin Aries vs. Seiya Sanada
TNA Tag Team Champions BroMans vs. Shuji Kondo & Kaz Hayashi
You can read official details on the taping that will take place in Japan at this link.
- Garett Bischoff confirmed in a new interview he still has an active contract with TNA Wrestling. He said he was "hoping soon" when asked when he would return to television but said he was waiting for something to come along and he was an opened-minded person.
- Kurt Angle is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery that he underwent last week. The surgery was a simple clean out procedure and was a success. Angle is already rehabbing the injury and expects to return to TNA Wrestling after next month's Lockdown pay-per-view. There has been some confusion about whether or not Angle would be back in time to face Ethan Carter III at Lockdown on March 9, 2014 in Miami, however, he currently plans to return after the pay-per-view.
- TNA Wrestling will return to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida next month for another set of Impact tapings. They'll also tape in April and in May. The shows will be filmed in Soundstage 20, located next to the Blue Man Group Theater. Entrance to the tapings is free, however, it doesn't include entrance to Universal Studios Resort. You can get addition details at this link.
- Independent pro wrestler Bruce Santee was arrested on Monday on a charge of Written Threats to do Bodily Harm. Santee was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by police on Sunday. Following the traffic stop, Santee took to Facebook where he posted the officer's name and offered $100 to anyone that would kill them. He was taken into custody by detectives from the Pinellas Park Police Department and released from Pinellas County Jail after posting bond. Santee, 35, is from St. Petersburg, Florida and known for his work in the NWA and Full Impact Pro. He worked for TNA Wrestling in 2004 and 2006.
- One of the angles TNA is pushing for this week's episode of Impact Wrestling is Bobby Roode's future with the company. The storyline is Roode has "had enough" of Dixie Carter and is mulling retirement. Since the show was taped last month we know how things end but you can read TNA's coverage here on ImpactWrestling.com. You can read the segment this results in at this link.
- The opening of this week's episode of Impact Wrestling is online at this link.
- The latest Impact Podcast features Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme with Gunner and The Bro Mans. You can listen at this link.
- Following this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, the following bouts are set for next month's Lockdown pay-per-view:
Steel Cage Match for the TNA Championship
- Magnus © vs. Samoa Joe
Lethal Lockdown Match
Winning team receives complete control of TNA.
- Team Dixie vs. Team MVP
TNA Lockdown 2014 will take place Sunday, March 9, 2014 from the BankUnited Center in Miami, Florida. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- The Herald-Dispatch has a new article online with TNA Champion Magnus to promote Friday night's TNA live event in Huntington, West Virginia. Click here to read it now.
- In addition to TNA in Huntington on Friday, they'll run Beckley on Saturday and Morgantown on Sunday. This is a loop they've done in February the past few years and it's been somewhat successful. More details on the shows are online at this link.
- The newest Willow vignette is online at this link.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,100,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show ended up with a 1.0 cable rating. The show was not listed in the top 100 shows on cable for the day on TV By the Numbers.
- TNA Wrestling has added the following match to their TNA Lockdown match card:
Steel Cage Match for the Knockouts Championship
- Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne (c)
Lockdown will be live on March 9th and we will have exclusive coverage of the pay-per-view right here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
Speaking of Lockdown, TNA made a mini website for the upcoming pay-per-view where you can keep up to date with the match card as well as watch videos of past Lockdown matches. The website can be seen here.
Will The Undertaker retire after Wrestlemania XXX?
One thing I've always pushed back on is predicting when a worker will retire. The Undertaker is 48 years old and has a good amount of miles on his body. However, every time people think he's done he comes out and steals the show at Wrestlemania. There was some concern about facing Brock Lesnar this year but Undertaker has agreed on his opponent and is a lock for the show this year. Rather than trying to predict when Undertaker will hang it up, realize you are witnessing history every time he performs.
Will WWE Network subscribers have to pay for on-demand content or is it all part of the package?
There are no plans to "upsell" WWE Network subscribers with the on-demand content. The $9.99/month subscription with a 6-month commitment will cover all of the expenses the subscriber will endure for access to the service.
What absurd reason did Triple H possibly have for not signing such great talents in Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards?
From what I was told, Triple H was concerned about the reputation Davey Richards has for being hard to deal with. There was also a notable blown spot in one of their tryout matches at the WWE NXT tapings. Eddie Edwards didn't share the same reputation as Richards but the interest in them was as a tag team. Their gig in TNA Wrestling is actually better for them as rather than heading to the Performance Center for seasoning, they're enjoying a prominent spot on TNA television.
What are your thoughts on the current push of Cesaro?
I'm enjoying Cesaro's push on WWE television with an interest being put on the Giant Swing. My thoughts on it are "it's about time" as Cesaro is a guy that has Daniel Bryan potential. I can tell you WWE is high up on him but it will be interesting to see how far it goes this time of year. Wrestlemania season is always hard for newer main event talent to emerge on the scene due to the focal point being on Wrestlemania main events.
From the Ask WNW vault…
July 2007: What happened to Claudio Castagnoli? Didn’t he get a WWE developmental deal? - Castagnoli was given a WWE developmental deal in November 2006; however, he was released before he started to work in their developmental territories. His release remains somewhat of a mystery as it was thought that it had something to do with his work visa and legal status in the United States, however, Castagnoli denied these claims. He said that he wouldn’t have been able to work in Ring of Honor had he not had a visa. Today Castagnoli continues to work the independent wrestling circuits in the United States, recently qualifying for the third round qualifier for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight title.
Do you see Bray Wyatt winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the future?
I'll remind you I don't have a crystal ball to predict the future, however, I can tell you the future looks bright for Bray Wyatt. He's a guy that received high marks during his time in developmental between his run on the main roster as Husky Harris and the repackaging of his character. Everyone, including John Cena, raved about his work and felt he had a lot of potential. We've begun to see some of that potential realized with his mysterious promos and his stellar pay-per-view match with Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble. As I stated in Monday's Premium Mailbag, I was frustrated with people that were judging Bray's in-ring on his Ring of Fire Match against Kane at last year's SummerSlam. That match wasn't supposed to be about in-ring work but rather the spectacle of the flames, which were awesome. The naysayers were just looking for a reason to be overly critical of the product and I tried as hard as I could to push back on the notion that Bray couldn't work. My prediction is that Bray is a key player in WWE going forward and the sky is the limit.
Is Cesaro a babyface or a heel?
Cesaro has been an obvious heel in his run as a member of The Real Americans tag team, however, he seems to be a babyface in this new push we're trying not to get overly excited about. His updated move set alone suggests a turn and he played the role of a babyface when cameras stopped filming at Raw on Monday. As I stated in my Raw notes, his match against John Cena was an obvious Raw Match of the Year candidate and he's really answered when called upon.
Is Christian now a heel?
Everyone wants to know the roles of the Elimination Chamber challengers and based on this week's Monday Night Raw, Christian is a heel. As I stated on Twitter during this week's show, I prefer the "dangerous" version of Christian. He's talented enough to be a heel or babyface but I feel he's more effective as a heel. Some fans have begun to bail on Christian out of frustrations regarding his health but as we saw on Raw, he still has it.
Was there a particular reason why there was so many backstage interviews on this week's Raw? Or was it just a case of it been a way to build up the Elimination Chamber match?
WWE put on an urgent effort to promote the Elimination Chamber on this week's Monday Night Raw and as I noted, it was necessary. There was enough good content on this week's broadcast for a really solid two-hour broadcast but the three-hour format watered it down. Nonetheless I feel the goal of building the pay-per-view was accomplished.
From the Ask WNW vault...
January 2014: Earlier in the week you partly attributed Dolph Ziggler’s recent “demotion” to his injuries. With all that we now know about concussions and their long term affects, couldn’t WWE get accused of fostering a culture where performers feel forced to return from head injuries too quickly or else face similar “punishments” to those received by Ziggler? - Remember when Fandango suffered a concussion last summer? While many were praising WWE for their quick and prompt response by removing workers from cards at the first sign of a concussion, one backstage source expressed concern. I was told WWE being quick to remove workers that experience concussion symptoms could mean fewer people coming forward if they were to suffer a head injury. Dolph Ziggler’s concussion, the result of an errant Jack Swagger kick, came at a horrible time. Following a long wait to become World Heavyweight Champion, the reign was quick and largely forgettable. However, injuries are part of the business – they always have been and they always will be.
Would you say that Batista's return to WWE has been a flop so far?
Batista's return to WWE has been a disappointment so far. While this may surprise some of you, I'm actually a fan of Batista. I think he's got a great look and sufficient work and I love the fact he proved haters wrong in landing a major movie role. The timing for his return was just bad because of the way WWE was refusing to protect Daniel Bryan. Batista ended up getting in the crossfire and is almost the poster child for the way things used to be. With the rise of talent like Daniel Bryan, the WWE fan base has sent a message. That message is overall ability supersedes looks. Again I'll state, I think Batista's work is fine but it's just the perception his look brings. It also doesn't help things that he won the Royal Rumble and Bryan wasn't even an entrant. We have more on Vince McMahon's reaction to Batista here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
With all signs currently pointing to Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania XXX, that must mean The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber will be a blowoff match. How do you feel about this? Would you rather see a rematch between the two factions (possibly with some sort of gimmick) at Wrestlemania, or Bray vs. Cena?
If WWE goes forward with the plan to do Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania XXX, they could always do Erick Rowan & Luke Harper vs. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose. I've heard Roman Reigns' name come up in singles matches, although one proposed opponent was actually Ambrose. The first time I heard the plan of Cena vs. Wyatt, I was completely against it. However, after seeing how ready Bray is to take the next step in his work at Royal Rumble, I'm for the match. Bray Wyatt could use the opportunity to really help his career - the real question will be whether or not WWE has enough confidence to put him over Cena at the biggest show of the year.
Am I wrong or does the hype surrounding the match between The Shield and the Wyatt Family seem to be bigger than the Elimination Chamber match itself?
There is a lot of excitement about The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber and I think the build has been brilliant. I'm not sure the hype completely overshadows the Chamber match, considering the winner will go on to headline Wrestlemania XXX but it is at the least a close second. WWE has a big opportunity to showcase six up and coming stars with Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt potential future headliners.
All I've been hearing on sports shows is people talking about who they would put on their Mount Rushmore in sports. Who is on your Mount Rushmore in wrestling?
I've had this question before and I even brought it up in a media appearance last month. It's a hard thing to do but if I had to choose four names for my pro wrestling Mount Rushmore it would have to start with Hulk Hogan. I know there are a lot of stars that came before him and equally good arguments to go with them but Hogan is the reason we have pro wrestling in its current form as a staple of mainstream entertainment. He helped usher in the pro wrestling boom of the 1980s and again in the 1990s. Regardless of what you think about Hogan, there's just no getting around it. After Hogan, I go to the most successful era in pro wrestling and that is the Attitude Era. The Attitude Era took the foundation laid by Hogan and brought the business another step forward. Steve Austin and The Rock are responsible for leading the charge. Like with Hogan, there are others that preceded it and others that participated in it but it was Austin and Rock that led the charge. That leaves us to today where WWE has become more than a professional wrestling company and now an entertainment juggernaut. They are less than one week away from making history with the WWE Network and now have a grasp on the business like we've never seen before. No one has played a bigger role in setting up WWE for this success than John Cena. John is as hardworking as it gets and has been a phenomenal face for the WWE brand as they went from a TV-MA adult wrestling show to a family friendly entertainment empire. That leaves my wrestling Mount Rushmore with Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena. This is going to be controversial and I am by no means trying to slight any worker by excluding them. However, I am taking the biggest faces and putting them together to create what I feel are the four people most responsible for where the business is today. Let’s keep in mind this is also a change from my Mount Rushmore in November 2012 as I am replacing Undertaker with John Cena. This is not only because of Cena's career over the past couple of years but also where he has taken WWE as they launch the WWE Network.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: What’s your Mount Rushmore for WWE Divas? - I used to hate this question for WWE wrestlers but when I included it, a great discussion ensued. Everyone is open to their own opinion but my Mount Rushmore of WWE Divas would be Tammy Sytch, Trish Stratus, “Sensational” Sherri Martel and Mae Young. Tammy Sytch created the modern day Diva, Trish is my pick for the top women’s wrestler in the history of the business, while Sherri and Mae created opportunities that paved the way for them to be successful.
Are reports out of the United Kingdom about Vince McMahon being interested in purchasing the Newcastle United Football Club true?
No, there is nothing to these rumors. The rumors started a few years ago and was rehashed by the UK media. I'm not sure why the story was brought back but sources within WWE are outright denying it. The story doesn't even make logical sense as Vince is in the process of launching the WWE Network and in the midst of domestic TV negotiations. These are two issues the company is already facing enough pressure from investors, Vince wouldn't want to add another purchase to that. It'll be interesting to see if this is brought up in Thursday's conference call. I'll be on it and report everything that happens right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
Dot com has a nice piece on Sting now online, is there any update on his status?
Ric Santos highlighted dot com's piece on Sting here at TNANews.com. The line in there that has everyone talking is this - “He’s a true legend with a constant drive to always be one step better than the day before. His best days may still be yet to come.” The rumor is Sting is WWE bound, it's now just a question of when. Some have speculated there is no rush on a deal because Sting isn't in the plans for Wrestlemania XXX but perhaps that's what WWE wants fans to believe to use his debut as a surprise. However it happens, I'm expecting it to happen but I cannot independently confirm a contract has been signed as of press time.
Let me get this straight, I have Dish. Will I or will I not be able to purchase Elimination Chamber on PPV?
Dish Network will NOT be carrying WWE Elimination Chamber on Sunday. This is a case of a satellite provider being upset over the upcoming WWE Network and deciding to screw their customers as a result. Dish has told repeated lies over the situation. When trying to make me a Dish customer on Tuesday, they told me they would be showing it. However, they later told customers they would not be carrying it but it wasn't their decision. They told Wrestling News World reader Donald it was WWE's decision because they were launching their own streaming service. This is a lie as not only is the WWE Network not launching until the day after the pay-per-view but it was WWE's desire to leave existing pay-per-view agreements in place. Dish now says they'll continue to consider the value of WWE pay-per-views on an event by event basis. If I was a Dish customer, I'd be switching providers immediately.
Will Elimination Chamber be available for viewing the following day on WWE Network?
It was my initial understanding that WWE pay-per-views would be available on-demand on the WWE Network immediately following their live airing. However, that is obviously not possible since the WWE Network doesn't launch until 9 AM EST the day after the pay-per-view. The current rumor is the pay-per-view will not be available on the WWE Network for a month. So based on that, it doesn't look like Elimination Chamber will be available on Monday. Given what's going on with Dish Network, I hope WWE is able to get the show on the Network sooner.
Have you heard if more than one person will be able to login to the same account for the WWE Network at the same time?
This is a feature that Netflix introduced, where apparently there can be simultaneous sign-ins on the same account with a cap. The rumor is the WWE Network will allow two simultaneous sign-ins on the same account. I cannot independently confirm at this time but we'll see soon enough. However, based on the rumor, yes.
From the Ask WNW vault…
August 2013: Is this the year WWE returns to a TV-14 product, leaving the PG initiative in the dust? - WWE remains committed to their PG initiative. Do you want to see one of the reasons why? This link goes to a list of corporate sponsors WWE has attracted since going PG. Let’s also not forget WWE’s ability to market to an entire family. If the WWE Network ever gets launched I do think we could see some of the past TV-14 moments airing later at night.
Do you think Willow the Whisp will have success in TNA?
My opinion on Jeff Hardy bringing Willow the Whisp to TNA Wrestling hasn't changed since last week. I think the gimmick creates a renewed interest in Hardy and the fact it's been well-received online makes me optimistic. Jeff is already a top guy in TNA so he's going to be a top guy no matter what but this should help add to the intrigue of his talent. I am able to confirm that Hardy is under TNA contract through February 2015.
What's your prediction for The Shield vs The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber on Sunday?
Based on the fact WWE is teasing dissension in The Shield, I have to think The Wyatt Family is the favorite going into the pay-per-view on Sunday. I see the dissension with Roman Reigns costing The Shield the match but everything hinges on where they want to go for Wrestlemania. Given the fact Bray Wyatt is penciled in to work John Cena, he must be protected. With that being understood, WWE will have to make a decision whether to break Roman Reigns away from The Shield at Elimination Chamber or extend the inevitable breakup to Wrestlemania. I would be surprised if The Shield go over based on those factors.
Does anyone know if there will be commercials on the WWE Network? Either before, after, or during any show. If there are, that's the game changer for me.
WWE gave the following answer to that question in their Network Q&A - "Most WWE programming on WWE Network is commercial-free. However, there will be limited promotional content and advertising within and between select programs." Limited commercials do not bother me in the slightest given the price tag of the WWE Network. There are commercials on the pay-per-views that carry a much heftier price now, so what's limited commercials for $9.99/month?
Do you see any chance in Christian winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Elimination Chamber?
Based on what I know about the direction of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for Wrestlemania XXX, I think there is little to no chance of Christian going over in the Elimination Chamber. However, I'll caution that a swerve, no matter how unlikely, is always possible. Just when you say something is impossible, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels hugging in a WWE ring goes through my mind. My favorites to go over in the Chamber match on Sunday are as follows in this order - Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, John Cena, Christian and Sheamus.
From the Ask WNW vault…
February 2013: Does this “I am God” angle by CM Punk mean that talks with The Undertaker are improving? It seems this angle would lead to a program with Taker. Best in the World vs. Best of the Underworld. - The plan for CM Punk’s “I am god” storyline is to lead to a Wrestlemania 29 program with Undertaker. You picked up on the hints this Monday, as they were planted to do just that. I expect Undertaker back on television on next Monday’s “Old School” Raw to kickoff the month long build. Some are saying Undertaker is confirmed but I don’t feel comfortable using that type of language giving the rate things change. We can pencil in Punk vs. Undertaker for Wrestlemania but let’s also remember pencil can be erased. We pulled an interesting clip from September where Punk said challenging for “the streak” doesn’t interest him. Some accused this was out of context and pointed to the fact that things change and while they do, this wasn’t out of context. Punk was asked what was next for his career and whether or not challenging “the streak” was something he would like to add to his resume. He wasn’t asked specifically about Wrestlemania 29 this year. Click here for more.