Latest Details On CM Punk Leaving WWE, Kurt Angle Having Knee Surgery Next Week, Updated Plans For Wrestlemania XXX, Hogan's Role In WWE Revealed, Another Name Rumored For Hall Of Fame Induction

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Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, February 1, 2014 to Friday, February 7, 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

- Tickets for Wrestlemania XXX Fan Axxess officially went on sale on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM EST. You can purchase tickets to the individual sessions here on Ticketmaster. Wrestlemania XXX Fan Axxess will take place on Wrestlemania XXX weekend from April 3, 2014 through April 6, 2014 from the New Orleans Convention Center in Louisiana.

- WWE has opened an international office in Mexico City and have appointed Rodrigo Fernandez as General Manager of the company's efforts in the country. This is part of WWE's strategy to localize business in key international markets to enrich local relationships in the country.

- Speaking of WWE and Mexico, Sin Cara, the former Mistico, has signed with Richard Negrín's World Wrestling League. He was introduced under the Sin Cara name and gimmick with the mask and all. Expect this to be an issue as the former is fighting WWE for the gimmick as he claims ownership to it. WWE is moving forward with Hunico under the Sin Cara mask and gimmick. Thanks to Wrestling News World reader Guillermo Urena for his help with this.

- WWE will return to the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida for Monday Night Raw on July 21, 2014.

- The Times-Picayune out of New Orleans has an article online featuring quotes from Sgt. Slaughter to promote tickets for Wrestlemania XXX Axxessgoing on sale on Saturday. You can read it at this link.

- Dean Ambrose talked about the natural evolution of The Shield faction in WWE at this link. Ambrose admitted at the time of their debut he'd been in developmental for over a year and was ready to pull his eyes out, so he jumped at the tiniest of opportunities. Ambrose said The Shield wasn't pitched to them but something that happened over time. He said they just kind of made it up as it went along from the attire to the entrance through the crowd.

- Daniel Bryan spoke about finishers with the same publication at this link. His favorite finisher of all-time is the Superkick but he also loved Dean Malenko's Cloverleaf. He named Hogan's Legdrop and the Rock Bottom as two he never really liked.

- Mick Foley spoke briefly about his TV protest over the booking of Daniel Bryan with our buddy Josh Stewart at this link.

- Summer Rae is introduced to E!'s "Total Divas" audience at this link.

- Dolph Ziggler turned some heads with his promo on the WWE App that aired after his Elimination Chamber qualifying match against Antonio Cesaro on this week's episode of Smackdown. You can watch it at this link.

- The heel turn of Titus O'Neil is featured in this week's installment of Backstage Fallout Smackdown at this link.

- Speaking of the heel turn of Titus O'Neil, Darren Young wrote on Twitter he required 8 stitches after being busted open in the segment that aired on this week's episode of Smackdown.

- Nikki and Brie Bella were at Maxim Magazine's Super Bowl party in New York City on Friday night.

- Diamond Dallas Page will pitch DDPYoga to investors on the February 21st episode of ABC's "Shark Tank."

- Below is the updated Elimination Chamber pay-per-view lineup after the airing of this week's Smackdown:

Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
- Randy Orton © vs. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Christian vs. Antonio Cesaro

Six-man Tag Team Match
- The Wyatt Family vs. The Shield

WWE Elimination Chamber 2014 will take place on Sunday, February 24, 2014 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Following up on the original Sin Carausing the name and gimmick in Richard Negrín’s World Wrestling League, that's apparently not going to happen. While Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde has signed on to work for WWL, I received a Tweet stating they'll look to utilize him in a different gimmick to avoid problems with WWE.

The following is from Twitter:

Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde apparently plans to fight WWE over the Sin Cara name and gimmick but WWE had no comment when we reached out to them. We can confirm WWE owns the "Sin Cara" trademark after a search of The United States Patent and Trademark Office and the company plans to move forward with Hunico under the mask. Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde's WWE Performer's Contract expired and was not renewed, making him free to work wherever he pleases. - As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the World Wrestling League has announced the signing of the original Sin Cara (real name Luis Ignascio). They told us that he would likely work under a different name to avoid problems with WWE but you can view a photo of the announcement they sent us below:

WWL President Richard Negín and Sin Cara

WWL President Richard Negín and Sin Cara

The original Cara's contract with WWE expired earlier this year and was not renewed. - Alistair Overeem called out Brock Lesnar after beating Frank Mir at UFC 169 on Saturday night. In his post-fight interview, Overeem commented, "I heard there's word Brock Lesnar is about to come back to UFC. Well I'll be here waiting for him." You can watch Overeem's comments at this link. If this is the first time you're hearing about this, allow me to catch you up. Lesnar is under WWE contract so they would have to approve any fight in the UFC. UFC President Dana Whitesaid he believes Lesnar wants to do both UFC and WWE. While that might sound completely egregious, the word from one of my lead sources is that WWE would allow for Lesnar to fight but they'd want him in a fight he was essentially guaranteed to win. With that being said, I don't expect Lesnar to fight for UFC while under WWE contract. That just doesn't seem like something Vince McMahon would be willing to do, especially with the risk of Lesnar losing and hurting his ability to draw. - UFC President Dana White stated emphatically at the UFC 169 post conference that Brock Lesnar is not coming back to the octagon. Below is an excerpt from coverage by FoxSports.com:

"Brock Lesnar is not coming back. Brock Lesnar is not fighting," White said at the UFC 169 post fight press conference. "I mean does he want to come back? I mean we've talked about him wanting to come back. He feels like he wasn't 100-percent while he was here and he feels like he sold himself a little short and all the stuff that I've told you guys before, but no he's not (coming back).

The rumors have been rampant for the past few weeks but they were fueled by Alistair Overeemcalling Lesnar out after his victory over Frank Mir on Saturday night. In that update, I explain the rumors and how they play into Lesnar's contract with WWE. You can read our update at this link. - John Cena Tweeted on Saturday that he and Antonio Cesaro worked out at the WWE Performance Center. They were in town as WWE ran at the Amway Center in Orlando on Saturday night. We have live results at this link. - WWE NXT Diva Emma was in the crowd at Saturday night's WWE live event in Wichita, Kansas during the Tamina vs. Natalya match. This is part of her gimmick as it has already debuted on WWE television. - Alistair Overeem was asked about calling outBrock Lesnar after his UFC 169 victory in the post-fight press conference. He responded by saying he heard there was talk of Brock coming back and that he'd be waiting for him. UFC President Dana White was pressed if Overeem knew something the public didn't and White reiterated Lesnar isn't coming back [to UFC] any time soon. - John Cena was pulled from Sunday's WWE live event from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri due to an apparent injury. While details remain sketchy as of press time, it was announced that Cena wouldn't be on the show as advertised and fans were given until the end of the second match to get a refund. John worked WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton at Saturday night's WWE live event in Orlando, Florida. He went over via disqualification in the bout. Cena was replaced on Sunday by Daniel Bryan. Mick Foley posted his thoughts regarding CM Punk's apparent departure from WWE in a YouTube video available at this link. Earlier this week, along with a tweet blasting the Royal Rumble, Foley gave brief thoughts on Punk's departure:

- Daniel Bryan is happy for the Seattle Seahawks as Super Bowl XLVIII Champions and they respect him as well. You can see an exchange on Twitter embedded below:

- Hulk Hogan's Super Bowl commercial that featured a cameo from Sgt. Slaughter is online at this link.

- Mick Foley checked in with his thoughts on CM Punk leaving WWE in a new video posted at this link. Below are the highlights:

Foley said for Punk the sky should have been the limit and it has not quite been. He agrees there have been decisions made regarding Punk's direction that he doesn't agree with.

He said he knew Punk was thinking of leaving and was looking forward to leaving at least for awhile. Foley said he told him to take some time off to rest. He said Punk would always tell him that he's not him and once he's done, he's done.

Foley said when he speaks with Punk [and he will] and if the rumors are true and the plan is for him to face Triple H at Wrestlemania, he'll tell him to look at it as an opportunity to make a bunch of money and an opportunity to give people some of the pipebombs they've been missing. Foley said he could tell some of Punk's promos lately have been lacking and he could tell his heart wasn't in it.

Mick talked about his experience working with Punk. He said Punk would be given things from the writers that featured derogatory things about his weight. Foley said Punk would crumple them up and throw them in the trash and say he was Mick Foley and if people can't tell you've put on some weight there's a problem there. But Punk told him he wasn't going to draw attention to it.

Foley said he'd love to see Triple H vs. CM Punk go head-to-head at Wrestlemania and he loves that side of Punk, where he feels he's going to steal every show. He said he wishes Punk would come back.

- John Cena was pulled from Sunday's WWE live event in Kansas City, Missouri after suffering an eye injury in a match against Randy Orton at Saturday night's WWE live event in Orlando, Florida. The spot where Cena was injured was obvious to the audience and as we reported earlier, the match was even paused for a brief second where he was evaluated in the ring by medical personnel. Cena's eye was swollen shut on Sunday and he was set for re-evaluation on Monday. His status for this week's Monday Night Raw in Omaha, Nebraska is currently unknown, however, he was on the booking sheets prior to the injury. The injury did require WWE to offer refunds to the sparse crowd in Kansas City on Sunday as Cena had been a focal point of the advanced promotional material.

- Vince McMahon remains focused on trying to convince CM Punk to come back to face Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX. The plan for Punk to face Hunter at the show is still on if Punk will return. While there was talk backstage at Raw last Monday the bout [against Triple H] could be given to Daniel Bryan, it's unknown if that even made it to Punk before he decided to go home. As far as Punk was concerned, he was set for program with Hunter at Wrestlemania but met with Vince at Raw and left. The issue is one that has split many in WWE. The people that like Punk don't blame him for leaving, while his detractors don't miss him.

WWE has moved on under the assumption that CM Punk won't be back and had to offer refunds over the weekend. That didn't stop the company from not mentioning it as they scripted The Shield to bring up his "going home" in a show-opening promo.

The news is coming out that Punk had been vocal to friends about being frustrated over his direction and he was thinking of leaving the company.

- Both WWE live events on Super Bowl Sunday in Lakeland, Florida and Kansas City, Missouri respectively had weak gates. While the former was a smaller venue that was downsized, the crowd was still light. The show was headlined by Kane vs. Big Show in a steel cage match that reportedly left a lot to be desired.

- In an update/correction to an earlier item, WWE Extreme Rules will not take place from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington on Sunday, May 4, 2014. The following was posted on the venue's Facebook page when a fan asked about tickets:

Unfortunately we do not have WWE on May 4th. We are aware of the rumors that have been circulating. We love having the WWE and WWE Fans in our building and can't wait to have them back!

- Stephanie McMahon Tweeted the following photo of WWE's new corporate jet prior to flying to Omaha, Nebraska for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw:

WWE purchased the new jet last year and more details are available at this link. - Damien Sandow was quoted about WWE's "be a STAR" anti-bullying campaign at this link. - TMZ is reporting that Nikki Bella has been taking prep classes at a San Diego real estate school to get prepared for her real estate licensing examine. According to their report, she'll do this on the side. Former WWE Diva Maryserecently revealed she is pursuing a career in real estate. - Bleacher Report features a story on Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider being photographed shirtless with the WWE title belt around his waist after his team won the Super Bowl on Sunday. You can check it out at this link. - February 2014 is one of the biggest months in the history of WWE and is sure to change the business forever. In addition to the company launching the long-awaited WWE Network on Monday, February 24, 2014, they will also look to determine their future on cable television. NBC Universal, WWE's current domestic television partner, will have until February 15, 2014 to accept or reject WWE's final offer to extend their agreement. WWE is currently looking to significantly increase the $139.5 million they earn each year for domestic TV licensing fees. While the belief within the television industry is that NBCU won't let WWE go, the company will be able to negotiate with other networks if NBCU rejects their final proposal. Outside bids are due on February 28, 2014 and WWE is set to select its domestic TV partner by March 4, 2014. Any move, should there be a move, would happen in October 2014. It is interesting to note there are a couple of tie-ins with TNA Wrestling here. First, TNA's domestic TV deal with Viacom's Spike TV is up in October 2014. Should WWE and NBCU not renew their agreement, there are already rumors Viacom could make a play to re-acquire WWE programming. Spike TV carried Monday Night Raw from 2000 to 2005. In fact, industry insiders claim there has already been informal contact between WWE and Viacom executives. Even if WWE renews their agreement with NBCU, there could still be a problem for TNA. The New York Postreported that NBCU was thinking about pitching a physical WWE Hall of Fame from Universal Studios in attempt to retain the rights to its programming. One of the hold ups on a physical Hall of Fame at Universal has been the theme park's reluctance to give WWE exclusive rights there. TNA is currently using Universal Studios as their "hub" for taping their material and while they have dates confirmed through May, there is no long-term lease agreement in place. - Mick Foley wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that WWE has asked him to do a Raw wrap-up show on dot com. He explained this as the motivation for his video on CM Punk that I recapped at this link. Click here for Foley's latest in its entirety. - Last week's episode of Smackdown continued the show's upward trend with an average viewing audience of 3,027,000 viewers on SyFy. The show did a 2.18 cable rating. This is certainly the direction WWE wants as they're in the middle of domestic television negotiations. You can see how the other shows did on cable at this link. - Take-Two Interactive has confirmed that WWE 2K15 will be released sometime in their 2015 fiscal year, which runs from April 1st, 2014 to March 31st, 2015. It's believed the release will coincide with the holiday spending spree. Gaming Blend has the story at this link. - Stephanie McMahon ran into Stacy Keibler at the VH1 Blitz Concert in New York City last month. This has resulted in rumors starting up once again that WWE is interested in Keibler returning to the company. The following is from Stephanie McMahon's verified Twitter account:

The last time WWE pursued Stacy Keibler, it was to possibly be included as a cast member on the Total Divas reality series. However, Stacy wasn't in favor of the travel schedule and just wanted a contract with very limited dates. The tabloids continued to connect Keibler to her former employer, even after the two sides had stopped talking.

- HollywoodLife.com is reporting that Betty White, 92, will guest star on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw live from Los Angeles, California. You can read their exclusive report at this link. 9:56 PM EST Monday, February 3, 2014 Update - WWE confirmed the news on this week's broadcast. End update.

- Mark Henry will return to Monday Night Raw on next week's show from Los Angeles. He hasn't been on television since Brock Lesnar "dislocated" his elbow in the Kimura lock. He was on live events over the weekend.

- WWE continued to air vignettes for Alexander Rusev and his valet Lana on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.

- Naomi took a knee to the eye during her match against Aksana on this week's Raw. The injury occurred when she was going for a sunset flip but Aksana dropped the knee. They went home following the the spot and she was rubbing her eye afterwards.

- This week's episode of Smackdown will be headlined by WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Christian. It'll be a non-title bout and part of The Authority's challenge to Orton to have him face his Elimination Chamber opponents. WWE will tape this week's Smackdown on Tuesday night from the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA. We'll have complete spoilers here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- John Cena appeared at this week's Monday Night Raw in Omaha, Nebraska after the cameras stopped rolling. When the show went off the air, Randy Orton and Kane continued their assault on Daniel Bryan and Cena came out and made the save. Since the crowd assumed he wasn't there, he got a huge pop when he came out and hit the Attitude Adjustment on both Orton and Kane.

Twitter user Mark Freund, who was in attendance, described the reaction:

John's status was in question after being pulled from Sunday's WWE live event in Kansas City due to an eye injury he suffered the night prior.

My complete notes from this week's show featuring results, my reactions and news is online now at this link.

- Roman Reigns needed eight stitches above his right eye after the 6-man tag match on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. You can view a photo he Tweeted of the stitches below:

Reigns was busted open while working with Big E Langston. - WWE continues to distance from CM Punk, removing his image from the Raw graphic on the WWE App and on the official TV opening. As we've noted, the company is moving on under the assumption he won't be back. - Some are claiming that WWE ejected fans from the CenturyLink Center Omaha at Raw that were chanting for CM Punk, that didn't happen. The company had event staff confiscating signs and the most epic one can be viewed at this link. - The new Jim Ross podcast on Podcast One will debut on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 with Steve Austin as his first guest. The podcast will be named after his former column on dot com, the "Ross Report." - Mark Henry, who is scheduled to return to Monday Night Raw next week in Los Angeles, was backstage at this week's show in Omaha, Nebraska. - The WWE Network will be available on Apple TV for those that have a second generation or later black Apple TV and are a subscriber of the service. There are apparently plans for a WWE Network App on Apple TV that is set to launch with the network itself. - Elijah Burke (f/k/a D'Angelo Dinero in TNA) is featured here on the WWE YouTube channel, where he talks about Black History Month. - This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled "Sheamus Makes a Statement" and is online now at this link. - John Cena's eye is improving after suffering an injury while working against Randy Orton at last Saturday's WWE live event in Orlando, Florida. The following is from Twitter:

As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Cena was reevaluated on Monday and saw an optometrist.

- Scott Fishman of the Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Jim Ross. In it, he explains that he's just a WWE fan now. You can read the article at this link. Speaking of JR, his Raw thoughts are online at this link. Also, for the love of God buy some sauce.

- WWE covered Naomi's eye injury here on dot com. According to their report, she suffered a bruised orbital bone or a bruised eye socket as well as a scratch on her cornea in her match against Aksana on this week's episode of Monday night Raw. We first noted her injury at this link and followed up in this week's Backstage Raw News.

- If you don't follow me on social media, below are my thoughts on the CM Punk "protests":

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,207,333 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour: Hour 1 - 4,428,000 viewers Hour 2 - 4,221,000 viewers Hour 3 - 3,983,000 viewers Raw finished up with a 3.15 cable rating. The show placed second on cable for the night. You can see how the competition did at this link. - WWE has released a complete list of the available WWE, WCW & ECW pay-per-views available on the forthcoming WWE Network. Some readers have asked if the WWE Network would include the Over The Edge 1999 pay-per-view, during which Owen Hart tragically died. The list confirms that the pay-per-view will be available in some form. Click here to view the complete list. - Naomi posted a graphic photo of her injured eye, the result of a botched knee drop from Aksana on Raw, to her Twitter account:

- WWE has posted photos of Roman Reigns getting stitched up backstage at Monday Night Raw at this link. Reigns suffered the injury in the 6-man tag team match in a spot with Big E Langston.

- New details are emerging that CM Punk left the Royal Rumble pay-per-view with a head injury. He apparently underwent ImPACT Testing and was within normal levels. There were reports last week that he was overheard in a backstage argument with officials regarding his health but we are still unable to confirm whether or not that actually happened. The Punk issue seems to be a polarizing issue with readers and I want to make something very clear. WWE is better off with CM Punk. I want him on the roster and feel that better long-term planning and utilization of his character and skills could have resulted in him even surpassing his popularity in 2011. I also think a WWE fan that buys a ticket should have the ability to chant whatever they want at shows. However, this entire notion that "fans are sending WWE a message" by chanting "CM Punk" at WWE events is rather absurd. CM Punk left. We can all debate why he left but the fact of the matter is, no one knows exactly why he chose to walk out. However, WWE didn't want him to leave and Vince McMahon was trying to get him back. But at this point the company is moving on without him.

- It was announced at this week's Smackdown taping in Des Moines, Iowa that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton will face John Cena in a non-title match on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles.

As the storyline goes, Orton has to face all of his Elimination Chamber challengers in singles matches. He faced Daniel Bryan on this week's Raw and Christian on this week's Smackdown.

Cena missed this week's episode of Raw after suffering an eye injury at a live event over the weekend. It also caused for him to be pulled from a live event on Sunday in Kansas City.

Also announced for next week's episode of Raw in Los Angeles is the television return of Mark Henry and Betty White as guest star. Make plans to join our "Open Thread" right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com for streaming live results and your discussion.

- WWE Extreme Rules 2014 will take place from the Izod Center in Easter Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday, May 4, 2014. The event has been confirmed here on the venue's website. Tickets are scheduled to go on sale on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 10 AM. Advertised for the show are John Cena, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, Big Show, The Shield, The Wyatt Family and the return of Batista.

- For those that missed it earlier, John Cena will return to Monday Night Raw next week from Los Angeles and has been announced in a non-title match against Randy Orton. Cena was held off of last Sunday's WWE live event in Kansas City, Missouri due to a eye injury he suffered Saturday night in Orlando, Florida. Cena was unable to go on Sunday because the swelling was so bad it obstructed his vision. He traveled to Raw and appeared off-camera but was not scripted on the broadcast due to the injury.

- There is some surprise over WWF Over the Edge 1999being included on the WWE Network. This is the show from the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri where Owen Hart tragically died after he fell from the rafters when a planned spot where he was to descend into the ring went horribly wrong. I would expect heavy edits as the show was never released commercially on VHS or DVD and Vince McMahon received a lot of criticism for continuing the show after Owen had died.

- Alexander Rusev beat Tyson Kidd in a dark match prior to this week's Smackdown taping. After the taping concluded, Daniel Bryan beat Bray Wyatt via disqualification after interference from the Wyatt Family. The Usos made the save to end the show. I have my comprehensive Smackdown notes online at this link.

- WWE examines the Ring of Honor influence here on dot com. Seriously. Daniel Bryan, Antonio Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Colt Cabana and Gabe Sapolsky are all featured and comment in the piece.

- Congratulations to WWE's Scott Stanford for being nominated for an Emmy as part of his work as a sports anchor. The following is from Twitter:

- Batista threw a mic after his confrontation with Alberto Del Rio on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw and the pieces of the stick went everywhere, including into the audience. I'm not sure why I'm noting this but enough people in attendance mentioned it to the point where I thought I'd include it. - Regarding The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX, this is a bout Undertaker pitched to WWE officials prior to his match against CM Punk at Wrestlemania 29 in 2013. Over the course of the last year, the bout has only hit one significant speed bump and it happened after Undertaker had more hip surgery. We were told at the time Undertaker had grown hesitant of a bout with Lesnar, feeling he might not be able have a good match with Brock given his more physical style. However, that match has been very much back on in recent weeks and as I mentioned in Wednesday's Ask WNW, is something that's on as of today. - We continue to get emails from readers that want to know the latest on Hulk Hogan and Sting. They're two different situations. Hogan isn't talking with TNA and WWE is looking to sign him to a contract that will based around merchandise and licensing opportunities. Going back to the earliest mentions of a possible Hogan return, neither Vince McMahon nor Triple H wanted a deal for Hogan being contingent on a Wrestlemania XXX bout. However, one of the reasons why their interest is so high is because they feel he can entice lapsed fans to subscribe to the forthcoming WWE Network. As for Sting, he was believed to be getting close to a WWE contract a couple of weeks ago. However, as of TNA's European tour, there were workers that thought there was still a chance he return to TNA Wrestling. TNA made re-signing Sting a priority late last year and were not asking him to take as significant of a pay cut as what someone like AJ Styles or even Hogan were asked to take. I also heard the new Jeff Jarrett promotion felt they had a chance to land Sting but I just find it hard to believe that Sting would want to join a startup at this juncture of his career. If I had to make a bold prediction, it would be that Sting was headed to WWE but nothing is done until a deal is signed. - One of my Twitter followers asked me about a rumor about Alberto Del Rio possibly leaving WWE. To accurately address this, we need to go back a couple of years. Del Rio has a history of getting upset and threatening to leave when things don't go his way. Remember the closed door meeting he had with Vince McMahon after he was pulled from No Way Out due to concussion symptoms but scheduled for TVs? The one thing to note here is WWE has never seen Del Rio as someone in it for the long-haul but more as someone they could push immediately as a top star but would ultimately retire and return to Mexico. - Chris Jericho hosts Chavo Guerrero in a new episode of "Talk is Jericho." Click here to listen now. - JBL announced what's in store for NXT Arrival live on Thursday, February 27, 2014 on the latest episode of WWE NXT. You can watch his promo at this link. - Josh Stewart of Newsday has a new piece featuring quotes from Jim Ross to promote his upcoming spoken-word tour that begins with two shows at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City on March 1, 2014. In it, JR sheds more light on the event that resulted in his departure from WWE. The event was a "30 Years of WrestleMania" symposium by 2KSports to promote the new WWE 2K14 video game the night before SummerSlam on August 17, 2013. JR clarified it was 2KSports that hired him to moderate the Legend's panel, not WWE. Below is an excerpt from the Newsday piece:

"I knew that when it was over, a lot of the top WWE officials were very anxious to get Ric Flair out of the facility," Ross recalls. "So I knew there was some concern there, but I didn't know that the concern involved me. A story started out of misinformation that I had been drinking with Flair all day. And the issue was that if they [WWE officials] had checked their schedule, I had been booked all day with WWE activities and SummerSlam that had nothing to do with Ric Flair."

JR explained there was no script, no teleprompter and no producer. Making matters worse, Ric Flair, who was on the panel, was clearly inebriated.

"My job was to keep the rudder in the water," Ross said. "I didn't do that. And so, the decision was made that we part ways. And to be honest with you, and this is not looking back, or trying to cover somebody's tracks, or cover my own [behind], I was really looking for an opportunity to move on. I wanted to get into the podcast business, I wanted to get into one-man show stuff . . . I wanted to look at other opportunities, like this Fox Sports thing that I'm doing now. And I knew I couldn't do those things while I was under contract to the WWE. But to be honest, to be totally frank with you, I had such a loyalty to that company, and I still do, that after 20 years I didn't know how I was going to say goodbye."

Ross went on to discuss what separates CM Punk from the rest of the current WWE locker room and why he has been his favorite worker to watch in the ring over the last few years. Click here to read the article in its entirety. - This week's kayfabe interview with Michael Cole and Triple H is now online. Below are the highlights: Cole opened by asking Hunter about Kane getting involved in the main event at Monday Night Raw. While Cole clearly put the blame on Kane, Triple H put the blame on Daniel Bryan. Triple H said there would be an "internal investigation" but Daniel Bryan attacked him. He does't know why Kane was down there but is sure he had a good reason. Hunter, in-character, pushed Cole to move on. Triple H said Daniel Bryan put on an impressive and stellar performance on Raw. He said Randy Orton, maybe not quite what he would expect from the "face of the WWE." Cole asked Hunter why he and Stephanie McMahon "decided" for Orton to run the gauntlet against his Elimination Chamber challengers. Hunter said while Orton might be the most talented guy in the locker room, sometimes he lacks confidence. So Orton, like a child, is forced by Triple H, the adult, to get in uncomfortable situations to give him a chance to be as good as he believes that he is. Hunter said he came up short on Raw and he'll be expecting big things in his match against Christian on Smackdown. He said it's his job to get talent to reach their peak, sometimes with them kicking and screaming. Triple H officially announces that Orton will face John Cena next week on Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles. We ran this here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. After the interview, Triple H apparently "curses" at Cole in a rant that's bleeped out. Hunter gets in Cole's face, pointing his finger at him. Click here to watch the latest kayfabe interview in its entirety. - Evan Bourne was spotted at the WWE Performance Center this week and is training in anticipation for his return to WWE television. He posted the following photo of a sign at the WWE Performance Center: - We're able to confirm the current plan is for Hulk Hogan to "guest host" Wrestlemania XXX, a gig similar to what The Rock did when he returned a few years ago. Another thing WWE is working on is giving Hogan at least one original series on the upcoming WWE Network, if not more. As we've reported previously, the main reason WWE is so interested in him is his ability to entice lapsed fans to subscribe to the service. One project being pitched is the "History of Hulkamania." The show would air weekly and would feature Hogan as the host. The idea is he would talk about a match or a moment from the tape library and add his commentary. According to a source, WWE is hoping to secure interviews with Hogan's opponents from the past and incorporate them into the show as well. There are other ideas being kicked around and nothing is set in stone. We're told there is still a lot of debate as to how much time WWE should spend repurposing the old footage as opposed to simply digitizing and uploading old shows "as is." The debate is, how many fans will want to watch "specials" about old shows or old matches as opposed to simply watching the old shows and old matches. WWE really has to decide the best way to devote their resources as only a small percentage of their tape library has been digitized. - WWE will make its debut on PS4 and Xbox One with WWE 2K15, Take-Two Interactive has announced. We noted earlier this week there were plans to release a new game in Take-Two's 2015 fiscal year. Sales of WWE 2K14 exceeded the game maker's expectations. - Rob Van Dam was asked on Twitter if he was "returning before Mania." His response was, "I hope so." You can read the Tweet below:

We noted RVD was trying to get a deal done before Royal Rumble but was certainly looking to be back in WWE by Wrestlemania XXX in April.

- Kofi Kingston is quoted at this link where he talks about his awesome Royal Rumble spots and when he comes up with them.

- Paul Heyman is featured in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch at this link.

- John Cena has full medical clearance from the eye injury he suffered last Saturday night in a match against Randy Orton at the WWE live event in Orlando, Florida. Not only has it been announced that Cena will face Orton again on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw but he's also scheduled for the following live events this weekend:

Friday from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA
Saturday from the Sap Center in San Jose, CA
Sunday from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA

Cena took it upon himself to announce his availability Thursday on his verified Twitter account:

Cena was pulled from last Sunday's WWE live event in Kansas City, Missouri due to the injury and the company offered refunds. He didn't appear on-camera at this week's Raw in Nebraska but made an appearance when the cameras stopped filming.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry on his official website where he dives further into CM Punk's situation with WWE. JR says he doesn't condone anyone walking away from their job or commitment no matter the situation unless one is completely physically and/or mentally unable to perform. He said that he guessed that was the case with Punk but he simply didn't know. We can confirm Punk left Royal Rumble banged up but at this point we still don't have complete details about why he left. You can read JR's latest at this link but only after you buy some BBQ products at this link.

- JoBlo.comreported exclusively on Thursday there are already plans for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 some time in May 2016. The film, which features Batista as Drax the Destroyer, is due out in theaters on August 1, 2014. You can read JoBlo.com's report at this link.

- WWE posted a new WWE Network commercial on their YouTube channel that you can watch at this link.

- Adam Copeland, a/k/a WWE Hall of Famer Edge, was on George Stroumboulopoulos in Canada. Below are the highlights:

Adam said the opportunity to play Dwight Hendrickson on Haven was given to him two days after he retired from WWE. They brought him in for a couple of scenes, then a couple of episodes and was then invited to join for the next season as a recurring cast member.

Copeland talked about being smart and saving his money. He said if they could give a class to people coming into the wrestling business about how to manage their money and keep it all in check. He said from day one he was always Adam, he never introduced himself as Edge.

Adam said he never wanted to be Mickey Rourke of "The Wrestler" and you never realize when you're immersed in it how crazy the schedule is. He said he's glad he's done and realizes what a slippery slope it could be with pills. Copeland said he never had a problem but after surgeries he would take them and saw how it could happen.

Edge talked about traveling with Tommy Dreamer and there being times where he would have to carry his bags. He made a comparison to Brett Favre and said did he still have it or did he have flashes of it? Adam said the neck forced him to go out on top.

He talked about getting the opportunity to work with Hulk Hogan in WWE (in 2002). Edge said Hogan was very easy going and he went back to being 10-years-old.Ada

Edge confirmed he and Beth Phoenix welcomed their first child six weeks ago.

You can watch the interview at this link.

- WWE issued a press release on Friday, touting the fact that John Cena has passed Kobe Bryant as the most-liked active US athlete on Facebook with more than 18.6 million followers. TV By the Numbers has the release in is entirety at this link. While congratulations are in order, the phenomenal Leo Messi has 53,753,317 likes as of this writing.

- Episode #63 of The JBL & Cole Show is now online. You can watch it at this link.

- The Bella Twins and Natlaya talk about what they're excited to see on the WWE Network. You can watch at this link.

- Triple H paid "extra attention" to KENTA'svisit to the WWE Performance Center a couple weeks ago. We're told Hunter was impressed with his skills but after feeling so burned by the effort put into Mistico (the original Sin Cara), only for him to be a "bust over and over," Triple H isn't eager to get behind another international sensation. However, unlike Mistico, who was known for having a big head, KENTA is known for his humility and is well-liked. Daniel Bryan reportedly put in a good word for him based on working together in the Ring of Honor/Pro Wrestling NOAH days. It's unknown with KENTA will get a contract offer [from WWE] but our source said Triple H was leaning towards "no" as of press time.

- We are able to confirm that WWE has contacted Scott Hall about a possible Hall of Fame induction but that's all we have as of this writing. The position within WWE on Hall has changed tremendously since he cleaned himself up with Diamond Dallas Page.

- Madison Square Garden sent out an email blast on Friday, announcing that Daniel Bryan will be on the Saturday, March 8, 2014 WWE live event from the venue in New York City. The email reads as follows:

Yes! Yes! Yes! Daniel Bryan is coming to The Garden!

WWE is returning to The World's most Famous Arena, just four weeks before WRESTLEMANIA 30 on Saturday, March 8th with WWE LIVE: Road to WrestleMania!

Also see John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, The New Age Outlaws, The Rhodes Brothers, The Miz, Kofi Kingston and many more!

The preliminary plan is for Bryan to face off against Kane in New York City.

WWE will be running another crew with Christian, Sheamus, Big Show and The Shield on the same night from the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

TNA News

- Kurt Angle is still scheduled to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on February 11, 2014 despite what was taped for upcoming episodes of Impact Wrestling on TNA's European tour. The surgery will be to repair cartilage tears and is expected to carry a recovery time of 6-8 weeks. There has been confusion as to whether or not Angle would be featured on the March 9, 2014 Lockdown pay-per-view due to the surgery and he can still be considered as doubtful for the show. As for Angle getting into an argument with "Big" John Gaburick over the booking of his character, as some reports suggest, Kurt told me himself that didn't happen. We first broke the news of Angle's knee surgery here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Kurt Angle went on the record with Alex Barie on Monday to dispute rumors that he had a backstage argument with TNA executive "Big" John Gaburick on the company's current European tour. Below is his direct quote:

"Reports couldn't be any less true. I did not argue with Big (John Gaburick). Everything is fine."

It wouldn't be hard to come to the conclusion that all hasn't been well with Angle and TNA lately but it would be irresponsible for us to not publish Angle's side of things when he gave Alex a direct quote on the matter. Kurt did push his knee surgery back to go on TNA's European tour and anyone that saw him over there could tell you he was hurting.

As Alex noted on Monday, Angle's arthroscopic knee surgery is still set for next week.

- Dixie Carter Tweeted the following:

- A preview of this week's episode of Impact Wrestling showcases the debut of MVP in the company and can be watched at this link. - TNA announced on Monday that MVP and The Great Muta have been added to their Lockdown Fan InterAction event on Saturday, March 8 in Miami. You can read updated details at this link. - Kurt Angle publicly addressed his arthroscopic knee surgery for the first time on Twitter on Tuesday night. Angle Tweeted:

- Alex Barie broke the news of the surgery on January 14, 2014. The procedure was pushed back so Angle, who will undergo the surgery on February 11, could work the TNA European Tour. We also heard directly from Kurt, where he debunked rumors of a backstage argument with “Big” John Gaburick.

I was at today's conference call for TNA Wrestling's One Night Only: #OldSchool, which will begin airing on pay-per-view this Friday. Ethan Carter III was answering people's questions and I was there on behalf of TNANews.com. Below is a quick recap of the main highlights:

He heavily put over TNA Wrestling by saying they are the ones who actually gave him a shot and now he is fully running with the ball.

Ethan stated that he was anxious and nervous when he first started in TNA Wrestling but that diminished and he can now be himself.

When asked what the difference between working in TNA compared to WWE, Ethan stated that he is actually getting on television on TNA. He is getting noticed while that barely happened during his time in WWE.

He also stated that he will prove WWE (the naysayers) wrong.

He stated that being on NXT Season 4 was fun and working with Daniel Bryan (who he says is one of the best workers in the world) was great. They came up with unique things.

Ethan did hint at a future baby face turn.

He said Sting, RickRude, and Mr.Perfect were his favorites when he was a child. He also pointed out Stone Cold Steve Austin during The Attitude Era and the awesome work he did. He praised the work of Edge/Christian, Eddie/Chavo Guerrero, and Kurt Angle.

Ethan says Kurt Angle is one of his idols in this business and working with him is great.

I asked him about a possible match against Kurt Angle at Lockdown. He stated, "There's a lot of television left."

I also asked Ethan about the Television Title and whether it should be used. He told me that the titles in the company right now work and having one more would water it down.

- The following storylines advanced on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling:

Abyss beat Eric Young in a Monster's Ball match. However, EY pulled his mask up and Abyss looked in a mirror to see Abyss and Joseph Park are one in the the same.

Zema Ion cashed in his Feast or Fired briefcase for a shot at the X Division Championship but went under to Austin Aries.

Samoa Joe was forced to face off again for the number one contendership of the TNA Championship. He made Bobby Roode tap out in his Rear Naked Choke.

MVP cut his first promo in TNA Wrestling that you can watch at this link or embedded in the video below:

http://youtu.be/eAnNORaha6I

Alex Barie has complete results at this link and my notes are available at this link.

Announced for next week's show is Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson and Chris Sabin vs. Velvet Sky. We have complete taping results at this link.

- MVP debuted with TNA Wrestling on a handshake and hadn't signed a contract as of Thursday. He told The American out of the United Kingdom that WWE was his goal and Japan was his dream. The former WWE United States Champion said it was a correctional officer that introduced him to pro wrestling. You can read more at this link.

- Samoa Joe will challenge Magnus for the TNA Championship at Lockdown next month. As the storyline goes, Joe proved again this week he is the number one contender. Lockdown will take place on Sunday, March 9, 2014 in Miami, Florida.

- James Storm was interviewed on TNA'sEuropean tour. You can watch it at this link.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling, taped last week from Glasgow, Scotland, did an average viewing audience of 1,481,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show did a 1.24 cable rating. You can see how the show fared on cable at this link.

Ask WNW

What's the most realistic best case scenario for WWE's popularity by the end of 2014?

While I obviously don't have a crystal ball big enough to predict the future for WWE, it looks bright. The long-awaited WWE Network will launch later this month and it's expected to increase product interest and viewer engagement. In addition to giving fans 24/7 365 day access to the company, it's also expected to greatly increase the number of people that watch their pay-per-view events. WWE and their current television partners are optimistic this will increase ratings and spike viewership. Another thing WWE has in the works this year is their new domestic TV deal which will be decided on by March 4, 2014. All things considered, WWE is growing and getting an even bigger monopoly on the pro wrestling business.

Did CM Punk walk out and quit WWE or is he just taking a break?

CM Punk walked out on WWE but remains under a Performer's contract that is set to expire in July. The belief from those close to him is that mental and physical burnout resulted in his decision to go home. We're now learning that friends of his knew he was considering leaving and that consideration has now been realized. As of Monday morning, WWE was operating under the assumption he was gone and was moving on without him. The belief is the proposed Wrestlemania XXX match against Triple H is still there if he comes back but obviously that's not going to stay like that forever. We have another update you can read at this link.

What's the latest on Sting right now?

Like WWE is doing with CM Punk, TNA Wrestling has moved on under the assumption that Sting is gone. The belief is Sting is getting close to signing a WWE contract, however, we haven't been made aware of any plans to utilize him at Wrestlemania. My hunch is that WWE will look to utilize Sting as a focal point in attracting former lapsed WCW fans to entice them to subscribe to the WWE Network.

Can you give us more information on Wrestling News World in the Apple App Store or in Google Play?

I actually spent part of the weekend making modifications to our Dirt Sheet app that is available in both the Apple App Store and in Google Play. The App features everything you could possibly be looking for in a pro wrestling App, including breaking news alerts via push notifications. It's compatible with tablets as well as you can install for free in the Apple App Store at this link or in Google Play at this link. I also recommend checking out the Wrestling News World App in iTunes at this link. If you've been using one of our Apps and enjoy it, please take a minute and submit a review for us.

From the Ask WNW vault…

October 2011: Do you think Sin Cara (blue) could end up with a title opportunity? - The original hope for Sin Cara was to make him the second coming of Rey Mysterio; however, WWE officials learned very quickly that was much easier said than done. It’s going to take patience to get Sin Cara to that level and I’m sure some in the company already doubt his ability to ever be a main eventer. Rey Mysterio is a very rare talent as I feel he’s one of the best workers in pro wrestling history.

How does WWE plan on handling the March 3, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw in Chicago, Illinois? I can see the crowd chanting CM Punk for three straight hours.

It's probably safe to assume WWE is happy this taping is still a month out to give the CM Punk story a chance to cool down, however, fans are going to have to get over it. I'm very high up on CM Punk, I agree with Mick Foley in the sky should have been the limit and his booking did him no favors. That still doesn't change the fact that he quit. It's fun to see an audience passionately chant for someone and the message sent about Daniel Bryan [at Royal Rumble] was a case of WWE reaping what they had sown, however, Punk still quit. At some point it has to get a little monotonous chanting for a guy that chose to leave and has no chance of appearing. Monday night on Twitter there was one person responding to all of my Tweets about Raw with #WeWantPunk when it hit me how ridiculous that was. It's not WWE refusing to give the fans Punk, he left on his own terms.

Rumor has it that security was telling people to stop chanting for CM Punk and taking Punk signs away. How much truth is there to this and under first amendment rights can a crowd member be thrown out for not stopping a Punk chant?

Fans were not ejected for chanting CM Punk at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Omaha. Apparently there were some claims on Twitter that started to make headlines but they were not based on fact. WWE and event staff were confiscating CM Punk signs in order to try to keep the attention off the story of him leaving the company. WWE did make other efforts to control the crowd chants and I'll have more in this week's Backstage Raw News.

How about the show Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton put on at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw?

One would be hard pressed to criticize WWE for giving Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton more than 27 minutes on free TV that saw Bryan pin the WWE World Heavyweight Champion clean. We can all be hesitant about WWE finally giving Bryan a protected run as a top guy but you're not going to see anything bad from me about this one. This was the right move and a case of Vince McMahon listening to his audience. We also need to give Bryan and Orton a tremendous amount of credit. They've had a lot of matches with one another and to be able to produce material that still tells a story and is new and is refreshing is no easy task. The main event was by far away the best thing on this week's Raw and if you missed it, you need to go back and watch it. You can read my complete notes from this week's Raw including my full analysis on the main event at this link.

What is your perspective on Bray Wyatt's promos?

Bray Wyatt's promos are creepy, far out and always leave me wondering, "what was that about?" That's exactly what WWE is going for and Bray does a great job of capturing the gimmick and portraying it in a way where it appears to be an extension of his real-life persona. This is how the best gimmicks are created and the entire Wyatt Family gimmick carries a level of mystique we haven't seen in quite some time. What makes it even better is the fact Bray can actually work as he proved at Royal Rumble. His future should be very bright.

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2013: When will WWE realize Undertaker should always go last at Wrestlemania? Every year the crowd dies down after his matches no matter what happens next. - I agree, The Undertaker is impossible to follow at Wrestlemania. We’ve seen him do what he did at Wrestlemania 29 before (saving the show with an outstanding match) yet we all wondered going in what CM Punk would be able to get out of him. Here’s a guy that works one match a year and consistently puts on “match of the year” candidates. Following his match against CM Punk, the conversation has shifted. We need to start having serious debate on whether or not Undertaker is the greatest of all-time. I almost feel bad for even doubting what we would get out of the bout this year. Undertaker not only showed he hasn’t “lost a step” in the ring but his physical conditioning was very good as well. He certainly looked the part and did not disappoint.

What are the updated plans for Wrestlemania XXX?

Plans for Wrestlemania XXX have been more "up in the air" this year than some of my sources can ever remember. Vince McMahon likes to have Wrestlemania planned up to a year in advance but this year it just hasn't happened. From not getting part-time talent locked down to other issues, the plans have constantly changed. However, the plans for the show as of this writing are to do Randy Orton vs. Batista, Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker, John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H. I was told they were looking at doing Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio pitched a match against Alberto Del Rio. Obviously these plans are subject to change with the only "sure thing" being Batista challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in response to winning the Royal Rumble.

Why hasn't Damien Sandow received a push at all? It seems that the WWE is burying him.

When Damien Sandow won the Money in the Bank briefcase last year, many thought the push was on. WWE extended it out only for his "cash in" attempt against John Cena to be unsuccessful. When the bout took place, the feeling was it was evaluation by losing. However, Sandow has remained a staple of the WWE undercard with no clear path for a push in sight. We could say the same thing about Dolph Ziggler, who has been forgettable since his brief run as World Heavyweight Champion. I can't provide a definitive answer as to why this is but can only speculate he is not someone Vince McMahon sees money in at this current juncture. Wrestlemania season is also a poor time for new elevations as even upper mid card workers are forced to take a backseat to the Wrestlemania headliners.

I was under the impression that the MVP name and rights were owned by WWE. So how is it being used in TNA?

We cleared this up at this link. WWE owns the trademark to Montel Vontavious Porter, so apparently it's OK to use the initials MVP. MVP is a big part of TNA's plans going forward and is someone the writers are looking to build around.

What happened to the story where Brock Lesnar wanted an opponent on Raw the week before? Everyone assumed at the time that he would face Batista at Elimination Chamber but now it seems Alberto Del Rio will be doing that.

WWE progressed this in last week's kayfabe Triple H interview. The storyline is The Authority was willing to give Brock Lesnar a chance to qualify for the Elimination Chamber match but due to Paul Heyman giving them "two choices," they took it as Lesnar felt he was "above" qualifying. Hunter, in-character, said he doesn't do well with "or else" and that Brock probably won't show his face for a little bit. He also laughed off Lesnar "attacking" Cody Rhodes and Goldust. The plan even before Royal Rumble was to do Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio at Elimination Chamber, which is something I expect them to stick with.

What was up with The Miz running out during Titus O'Neil's squash match against Zack Ryder on this week's episode of Raw?

Some of my Twitter followers thought The Miz was "pulling a CM Punk" by coming out and grabbing the headset on Raw but this was a scripted segment. He'll return to the ring on this week's episode of WWE Main Event, which was taped Tuesday night in Des Moines, Iowa.

From the Ask WNW vault…

February 2012: With many wrestlers releasing books over the years, which have you liked the most and which have you liked the least? - I read a lot and while not a comprehensive list, I can give you some recommendations and some books to avoid. Some of my favorites have been Bret Hart’s autobiography, Chris Jericho’s “A Lion’s Tale” (I’m currently reading his second one), The Stone Cold Truth and Eric Bischoff’s “Controversy Creates Cash.” Bret Hart’s book is one of the best pro wrestling books ever penned, giving readers a complete look inside the business. While I don’t agree with all of Hart’s personal opinions, he provides a detailed account of how things work. Chris Jericho’s books are filled with humor and are very fun to read. Steve Austin’s story is interesting how he rose to stardom and while I skipped the beginning of Bischoff’s book (because I don’t care about his upbringing), his prospective on how things went down in WCW is interesting. My book to avoid would be “Ring of Hell” by Matthew Randazzo V. This book is what they are currently making a biopic about and I felt that not only was the research light, it was written to portray Vince McMahon and the pro wrestling business in a negative light.

Has the whole CM Punk thing kind of just been blown over? Has everyone given up on him returning? I feel like it was the biggest story for a couple days and now no one seems to care.

The story of CM Punk's WWE departure has started to cool but I wouldn't say it's over. The last detail we were able to confirm was that Punk left the Royal Rumble pay-per-view banged up. WWE is moving on under the assumption that Punk is gone and isn't coming back but he remains under contract through July. Rumors that have him in MMA fights or even pornographies (trust me, they're out there) are premature as WWE has the exclusive rights to his services throughout the duration of his contract. Once Punk's WWE contract is up, he'll be free to do what he wants.

Hypothetically, if Daniel Bryan and Triple H face off at Wrestlemania XXX, what is the chance that Hunter goes over in the match? Moreover, would WWE have the guts to do something like that after the recent fan backlash that has occurred?

WWE seemed to take a step forward in Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan [at Wrestlemania XXX] in this week's kayfabe interview with Michael Cole. For those that have been paying attention, this is a change from the progression they were going with in Triple H vs. CM Punk. As noted here in Ask WNW, the plan as of this week was for Bryan to essentially replace Punk at the show in April. It's premature to start talking outcomes without a match announced. I like to take things one week at a time and I feel better about Bryan's status on WWE television after pinning Orton clean on Raw this week.

With the inclusion of Jake Roberts in the Class of 2014 Hall of Fame, can you see WWE utilizing him as a possible manager for The Wyatt Family?

Jake Roberts has had informal contact with Bray Wyatt as apparently Bray has consulted Jake for some of his promo work. However, I do not think the Wyatt Family needs a manager. The group is getting over and accomplishing their goals every week on their own. Adding Roberts would only take the attention off the new up and comers and put it on someone that is not in the long-term plans. I am very happy to see Roberts take his place in WWE Hall of Fame and think his story to sobriety is a great one.

Why has WWE not acknowledged the departure of CM Punk?

Technically CM Punk is still employed by WWE. As I mentioned above, his contract is through July. There are not plans to release him from that contract and this will prevent him from working with other entities. Obviously Punk could request his release but I'm not sure that would make sense considering right now he'll get paid for doing nothing. WWE is moving away from CM Punk under the assumption he isn't coming back. They don't want him to leave and didn't plan on him leaving but it seems as though he's made his decision. Several months ago Triple H enacted what I like to call the "no fire edict." This is a policy where the company allows for contracts to lapse and not renew them as opposed to terminating them early. This way the company doesn't have to acknowledge releases and it saves them the negative public relations hit of addressing them. This is why the release of the original Sin Cara was so quiet.

From the Ask WNW vault…

July 2012: Throughout the past several weeks we’ve heard from WWE names about their favorite Raw moments. What is your favorite Raw moment? - As a long-time wrestling fan, I have many favorite Raw moments but for the sake of conversation I will mention a few. One of my best memories of the Attitude Era was Steve Austin driving the beer truck in the arena and hosing Vince McMahon. A lot of my favorite Raw moments from the Attitude Era included Austin as it was edgy programming that was very entertaining. The night that Shane McMahon showed up on WCW Monday Nitro was a memorable one as it was something I don’t think anyone would have imagined just five years prior to it happening. As for a recent memory, CM Punk’s worked shoot promo on Raw last summer was one of my favorites and elevated him to an entire different level.

Has your opinion changed at all over the last two week as to whether or not CM Punk walking out is a shoot or a work?

We've reported that CM Punk walking out was a shoot since the beginning. We did highlight how it could become a work and that is what WWE had initially hoped for. The hope was they would be able to convince Punk to come back only to return in a program that had a lot more hype around it. However, since then, WWE has moved further and further away from CM Punk. I opened the week by reporting WWE was moving on under the assumption Punk was gone and wasn't coming back and that's exactly how we'll close it. The new piece of information we were able to confirm this week was he left Royal Rumble banged up with an apparent head injury.

Does the Road to Wrestlemania XXX not seem as interesting or appearing as it has in years past?

WWE blew a major opportunity with Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble. He was the guy everyone wanted to see go over in the 30-man bout and challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXX, however, the decision was Batista was getting that match and WWE didn't waver from it. The company paid for their own stubbornness as the fans turned hard on the show and they've been in damage control mode since. However, Bryan opened and closed Raw the next night and went over Randy Orton clean in a main event match this week. While I still wonder if Bryan is going to get a protected run as a top guy, it does seem like the message has been received. As for the build the pay-per-view itself, it's still very early with no matches announced. Things got off to a disappointing start with a bad Rumble pay-per-view but with the WWE Network coming, I'm still looking forward to it.

Is Sting finished with TNA Wrestling?

The overwhelming belief is Sting is finally headed to WWE. As I wrote earlier in the week, TNA has moved on under the assumption he is gone and not coming back. However, I'll tell you there are those in TNA Wrestling that still believe there's a chance he does in fact return. I can also confirm there was interest in Sting in the new Jeff Jarrett/Toby Keith project although I would be surprised if he chose to join a startup this late in his career.

What are a few of your favorite moments in professional wrestling?

When I think of my "favorite moments," I like to think of the moments that had a long-lasting major impact. Hulk Hogan's body slam on Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III, Scott Hall showing up on WCW Monday Nitro, Hogan turning heel on Team WCW at Bash in the Beach 1996, Steve Austin's bloodied face while working Bret Hart, Shane McMahon showing up on Nitro in 2001, Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 19, Shawn Michaels retiring Ric Flair at Wrestlemania XXIV, Undertaker retiring Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXVI, CM Punk's pipe bomb promo in 2011 and The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII. I'm sure I missed more than one but can you tell I'm excited to go back and watch the tape library with the WWE Network?

From the Ask WNW vault…

March 2012: How does The Rock vs. John Cena compare to Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania X8 a decade ago? - I actually think The Rock vs. John Cena is a bigger match and has more hype surrounding it than Rock vs. Hogan. Hogan was already out of his prime by the time the Wrestlemania X8 match happened and this isn’t the case with Rock and Cena. Rock is not even 40 yet (Hogan was 48) and can still compete at a very high level. The Rock vs. Cena is unique in that you have one of the biggest stars of the Attitude Era versus the biggest star of today yet the former is still young enough to work at a top level. I’m not saying it’ll be the best Wrestlemania match ever, it might not even be the best match of the night, but I do not recall another bout having as much build and hype as Rock vs. Cena.

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