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 2, 2013 to Friday, February 8, 2013 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
- For those who missed this week's Smackdown (full results available here), Jack Swagger made his return to WWE TV this week. Although he had been gone from WWE TV since September of 2012, he had been appearing at live events.
- Zack Ryder announced on his Twitter account that his first single, "Hoeski," will be released on iTunes this Monday.
-Cody Rhodes had the following to say on Twitter about his real-life brother Goldust's entrance into this year's Royal Rumble match:
-This week's WWE Saturday Morning Slam will feature Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder. Click here to see who picked up the win.
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent word Gavin Reid's (real name Steve Evans) profile has been removed from the NXT Wrestling website, most likely indicating his release.
- Christopher Nowinski is featured in the January 31, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone magazine talking about concussion. Wrestling News World reader Dave L notes that he is quoted at length about his work with other athletes as well as with the families of athletes who have passed away due to concussion related injuries. Nowinski's WWE career was ended premature due to concussions.
- Ric Flair is advertised to appear at the February 24, 2013 WWE NXT live event in Melbourne, Florida. He will join he daughter, Charlotte, in signing autographs for fans prior to the show.
- WWE Hall of Famer, Jim Ross sent a tweet out from his official Twitter page. He reveals what his passion is right now and whether or not he is retired. The tweet is embedded below:
- Chris Jericho has been added to the 2/9 and 2/10 WWE Raw live events next weekend. John Cena isn't scheduled and The New Age Outlaws will work all three Raw shows next weekend. Click here for WWE's schedule.
- Wrestling News World reader Brandon van Reenen reporting… On tonight's episode of WWE RAW, it was announced that WWE will be returning to South Africa with 5 shows scheduled for July and August. No details have been released yet, but BIG Concerts (the company responsible for WWE tours in South Africa) had said that pricing and other details will be announced soon. Tickets go on sale on February 25th. There is also a short segment during episodes of RAW, SmackDown, NXT, Afterburn and Bottom Line hosted by Renee Young that will feature additional comments by WWE superstars about the upcoming tour.
- WWE officials contacted Goldust late about working last week's 30-man Royal Rumble match. They pitched the chance to work with Cody Rhodes in which Goldust obviously found appealing. He continues to hope to be brought back for an actual program with Cody, however, that's not currently in the plans.
- A lot has been written about The Undertaker working/not working Wrestlemania 29 this year. We wrote a significant update here, detailing the issues are over money and not over Undertaker's health. Reports stating that Undertaker working the show is contingent on his health are only telling part of the story. Undertaker is banged up but would be willing to work for the right amount of money. From what we're told Undertaker understands he only has a couple of big matches left and doesn't want to get "third from top money," behind The Rock and Brock Lesnar.
- Bret Hart recently opened up here and here with his thoughts on Triple H. Some have labeled the comments shocking. Below is how Bret Hart ended his 2007 "Hitman" autobiography:
Shawn Michaels found religion and settled down with an ex-Nitro girl. Over time he seems to have convinced himself that it was me who screwed him over at Survivor Series. To me, Shawn will always be a phony, a liar and a hairless yellow dog. The difference between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels is that I'd have never done to him, or to any of the boys, what he did to me. Hunter dumped Chyna, became famous as Triple H, married Vince's only daughter, Stephanie, and is poised to become the master and ruler of the wrestling world. More wrestlers have died: Road Warrior, Hawk, The Wall, Bossman, Herc, Eddie Guerrero, Earthquake, Chris Candido, Bam Bam Bigelow, Ernie Ladd, Bad News, Sheri Martel, Chris Benoit, Brian "Crush" Adams - and more will die. When I got into the business, wrestling was all about trust and respect, and doing the honors meant something. I'll never forgive Shawn, or Hunter, for killing the business that so many of us gave our lives for. Although pro wrestling will never truly die, but always morph into something else, the business that I knew and loved and gave all I had is dead and gone forever. I escaped with my head up and my conscience clear.
This is why I believe what happened on WWE Raw on January 4, 2010, when Bret returned to WWE and hugged Shawn Micheals was proof that truly "anything can happen" in this business.
- David Otunga accompanied his fiancée Jennifer Hudson to Super Bowl XLVII yesterday, as Hudson performed "America the Beautiful" prior to the game. Otunga took pictures from the field and uploaded them to his Instagram account. Click here to view them.
- Zack Ryder's single "Hoeski" is now available on iTunes. Click here for more information.
- Chris Jericho recently answered questions from followers on Twitter. Below is an excerpt:
- The Rock wrote the following on Twitter over the weekend:
This is certainly a play on The Rock's detractors as he was criticized by some for his run last year which saw him make big money for a part-time run. The critics accused him of being "cold," doing his segments and not interacting with anyone backstage. The Rock responded by saying those people didn't understand the big picture.
I've never read too much into the criticism and felt it was more jealousy than anything else. This type of thing has followed Rock every time he's worked for WWE since having success as an actor, including when he returned to induct his father and grandfather into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
- Alex Riley went under to Tensai on weekend live events where he was pinned twice and lost a "dance off" in the same segment on each show. Riley mentioned what was scripted on Twitter:
- R-Truth (and Little Jimmy) are heading to Qatar on Monday to do promotional work for WWE. Speaking of Truth, he's now on Instagram at Instagram.com/RonKillings1.
- Roman Reigns, a fan of the San Francisco 49ers, had some fun with the power outage at the Super Bowl Sunday night in New Orleans. When the lights went out in the Superdome, Reigns Tweeted the following:
- Pro Wrestling Syndicate announced via Facebook that WWE pulled Terry Funk from their April 4th and 5th in New Jersey. It's believed Funk will partake in Wrestlemania Fan Axxess and induct Mick Foley into the WWE Hall of Fame on Saturday night in New York City. The promotion, who is featuring Bret Hart and "Superstar" Billy Graham, announced no other talents are in jeopardy of being pulled. For more on their shows, click here.
- CM Punk continues to taunt Twitter followers about returning to the ring three weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Check out this Tweet:
While no one but Punk can say how much pain he's in, he's at least accentuating his heel character with this. Punk's procedure wasn't serious but clearly provides him an opportunity to get even more over as a heel. There's no denying he's a company workhorse, capable of handling intense pain without meds.
- Mick Foley's proposed program with Dean Ambrose was nixed last year after he received information from a neurologist he shouldn't wrestle again. Foley stated at a comedy show in Adelaide, Australia on Monday there was a plan for him to work Ambrose at SummerSlam 2012 as Mankind with a fake Dude Love coming out and attacking Ambrose during his entrance. Mankind, with the blessing of Undertaker, would enter through the ring. Foley also admitted Ambrose went too far with the family mentions during their Twitter war.
- I'm still awaiting confirmation on Vince McMahon needing legitimate hip surgery. This is believed to be the reason why WWE did the "broken left hip" injury angle on last week's WWE Raw. Vince was reportedly open to the F5 bump from Brock Lesnar due to the fact he was already undergoing the knife.
- Bruno Sammartino will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6, 2013 from Madison Square Garden in New York City, ESPN has confirmed.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Madison Square Gardens is the biggest thing in my life,” Sammartino said in an exclusive interview for ESPN Playbook. “Any time that people feel that you accomplished enough to enter into a Hall of Fame, of course this is a tremendous, tremendous thrill for me. I had a lot of my success due to appearing at the Garden. I wrestled there over 200 times, it’s where I won the title, and it’s where I picked up 630-plus pounds of Haystacks Calhoun.”
Bruno credited Triple H for explaining to him the company's new PG initiative, resulting in him changing his mind after initially rejecting an offer to be inducted.
“But as Paul explained to me, WWE made a lot of other changes. There’s no more profanity, there’s no vulgarity in the current product, and that stuff had bothered me as well. When Paul first spoke to me and told me all the changes, I started watching it again and I was very convinced that they are doing amazing things. I see the wrestlers and all the changes they made. There’s no profanity, there’s no vulgarity, and it’s a family-friendly program. That’s what it used to be, and that’s a huge role in the whole factor.”
ESPN also got quotes from Hunter regarding the induction:
“From a legitimacy standpoint, it’s important for us to get Bruno in,” Levesque said. “He’s one of the biggest names there has ever been in the business. So for us to not have him in there, for the legitimacy of the whole thing, it was a major issue. For me, the more important thing was that nobody deserves to be recognized for being a big star and paving the way for the stars of today more than Bruno. Everything that we have today in the business, Bruno was a cornerstone of that foundation. He truly is a living legend.
“As we started getting into Hall of Fame season, it’s almost like this storyline wrote itself. To have Bruno Sammartino brought into the Hall of Fame in Madison Square Garden, a building he sold out more than anybody in the world, that’s a remarkable achievement. It was an opportunity to honor Bruno, but it was also an opportunity for our fans.
“There has been this bad blood between Bruno and the WWE for years, and we’re not trying to hide any of it, but I just felt like we are at a point where a lot of it can be resolved. Our wellness program and the way our programming is now, a lot of people are unaware of it, so I felt like if I could get Bruno on the phone and I could run down a list of those things that he didn’t like, I could show him how we changed. We’re PG, family-friendly entertainment with a wellness program that is truly based on the wellness of our performers. We want them to be healthy and live long, productive lives. So I just felt that if Bruno knew about those things, he might feel differently, and eventually, that’s what came to be.”
Hunter also said he discouraged both Vince McMahon and Bruno from speaking over the phone and that they should get together in the same room where they can shake hands.
We reported a couple weeks ago here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium that Triple H had put forth an intense effort to get a deal done that would place Sammartino in the WWE Hall of Fame. Sources told us that Hunter was confident at the time a deal would get done. They were right.
- Vince McMahon underwent hip surgery on Friday and is on crutches backstage at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia at Monday's WWE Raw taping. The guy doesn't take time off as the company capitalized on his real-life health with the F5 angle on last week's show.
- WWE has announced a live event from the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury, Maryland on March 24, 2013.
- Arda Ocal wrote on his Twitter that Bret Hart was scheduled to undergo another knee surgery on Monday.
- Dot com has coverage of Bruno Sammartino going into the WWE Hall of Fame this year at this link. I would expect a televised announcement on this week's WWE Raw.
- We have photos of Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio arriving at this week's WWE Raw in Atlanta, GA on our Instagram account. Make sure you give us a follow.
- WWE issued a press release Monday on Bruno Sammartino being inducted into their Hall of Fame over Wrestlemania 29 weekend. The release features comments from Vince McMahon.
“Having sold out more than 200 shows at Madison Square Garden and being the longest reigning WWE champion in history, Bruno Sammartino is truly ‘The Living Legend,’” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment to have Bruno take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.”
The entire release is below:
STAMFORD, Conn., February 4, 2013 – WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced today that Bruno Sammartino will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at Madison Square Garden.
Sammartino, nicknamed “The Living Legend,” is a two-time WWE Champion and the longest reigning WWE Champion in history, holding the title for a combined 11 years. His first title reign began on May 17, 1963, where he defeated “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers at Madison Square Garden. After losing the Championship in 1971, he regained the title on December 10, 1973, defeating Stan Stasiak at Madison Square Garden, holding the Championship until April 30, 1977. When he retired from the ring, Sammartino became a color commentator for WWE’s syndicated Superstars program and stepped back into the ring on special occasions. After his departure in 1988, Sammartino was openly critical of WWE, and for many years declined the offer to be inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame, citing concerns with WWE’s content and culture.
“For my fans around the world, I am pleased to be joining the WWE Hall of Fame, especially at Madison Square Garden,” said Bruno Sammartino.
“Having sold out more than 200 shows at Madison Square Garden and being the longest reigning WWE champion in history, Bruno Sammartino is truly ‘The Living Legend,’” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman and CEO. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment to have Bruno take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.”
Tickets for the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are currently available through all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. All tickets are subject to service charges and facility fees. For more information on Bruno Sammartino, please visit www.BrunoSammartino.info.
- We're told there was a conference call on Saturday night that included Bruno Sammartino, Triple H, Bruno's attorney and WWE's attornies to finalize a deal to get him into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. All parties went into the call under the impression if the deal wasn't finished that night, the deal was off as WWE was simply running out of time to adequately promote Bruno's induction.
Nothing was easy, not even the call on Saturday, as Bruno originally had plans he was reluctant to cancel. WWE made it clear they needed to get on the phone and hammer out the minor details of the deal that had been holding things up. Bruno ended up agreeing, much to the relief of Triple H.
Obviously the call ended up being successful but things really came down to the wire. Hunter was confident he could get the deal done and had a lot of extra motivation when Vince McMahon originally thought a deal would be impossible and didn't think Hunter could pull it off. We're told Vince was very impressed that Triple H got the deal done and even a little jealous he was able to do it without much involvement on his end.
Once the deal was finalized, Bruno and Hunter kayfabed everyone on how the conference call went as WWE didn't want the story out until Monday. They allowed for ESPN'sJohn Robinson to interview Bruno and Triple H about the deal to increase the mainstream exposure.
- Last week's Smackdown did a 2.03 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 2,973,000 viewers on SyFy.
- Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio are two of the six participants that will be in the six-man Elimination Chamber match at the pay-per-view to determine the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 29. Elimination Chamber 2013 will take place Sunday, February 17, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Update: Daniel Bryan was also announced as a participant later in the show.
- Jack Swagger's ankle lock finisher is now called the Patriot Act following the repacking of his character.
- We're posting photos from this week's WWE Raw taping here on Instagram.
- Mark Henry returned to WWE on this week's Raw following Daniel Bryan's victory over Rey Mysterio. Henry took out Bryan on his way to the ring and worked on Mysterio when he got there. Sin Cara came out to make the save but was given the World's Strongest Slam. Mysterio got up but also took the big man's finisher. He continued to make light of Mysterio and Cara to make a statement and end the segment.
Henry has been off WWE television since April 2012 after having surgery. He had several setbacks from the injury and was believed to be in a contract dispute with WWE. He wanted assurance he would get another run at the top or was threatening retirement.
The last we heard Henry planned to honor his contract through Wrestlemania 29.
- Following this week's WWE Raw below is the updated lineup for Elimination Chamber:
WWE Championship Match
- The Rock (c) vs. CM Punk
World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Big Show
Elimination Chamber Match
Winner gets a World Heavyweight Championship shot at Wrestlemania 29
- Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton vs. TBA vs. TBA vs. TBA
6-Man Tag Team Match
- John Cena, Ryback & Sheamus vs. The Shield
Elimination Chamber 2013 will take place Sunday, February 17, 2013 from the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- After this week's WWE Raw went off the air CM Punk said that he and Dolph Ziggler are friends and fans paid to see them. Punk challenges John Cena and Ryback to a tag team match, as Big E Langston and AJ Lee come out with Ziggler.
The match went on until 11:30 PM EST when Ryback tagged in Cena and he hit Five Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment on Ziggler to win the match. Cena greeted fans at ringside after the match.
- After Raw went off the air, John Cena announced that he, Ryback, & Sheamus are challenging The Shield to a 6-man tag match at this year's WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. The video has been posted to the official WWE website, as well as a backstage interview with Mark Henry and more. Click here to watch the video.
-Zack Ryder's single, "Hoeski," has cracked the Top 100 on the iTunes Pop Charts. Click here for more information.
-Mick Foley was recently interviewed by Richard Fidler of ABC Online out of Australia. In the interview, he discusses the parallels between wrestling and comedy, the origin of the Mankind character, Tori Amos, his work with RAINN, and more. Click here to listen to the interview.
- WWE Tweeted the following photo of Vince McMahon prior to having hip surgery:
The storyline is McMahon underwent a total left hip replacement on Monday due to Brock Lesnar's F5 from last week. In reality, he had surgery last Friday and it was similar to the procedure Undertaker had done prior to returning for Wrestlemania XXVII last year. Vince was backstage early at Monday's Raw in Atlanta, personally overseeing pre-tapes and calling the shots. He was on crutches but was still very "hands on."
- Chili from TLC, Lil' Scrappy, Bobby V and Armond Smith and Byron Bell from the Carolina Panthers were in attendance at this week's WWE Raw in Atlanta.
- The run sheet for this week's WWE Raw featured Wade Barrett vs. Chris Jericho and Randy Orton vs. CM Punk, with the assumption that Orton would win the WWE Active voting. When Jericho won the fan voting, which was legitimate, the script was flipped and it actually resulted in Jericho going under to Punk when he was scripted to go over Barrett. We'll have more about the internal reaction later but one thing that was a notable blunder was the WWE Active voting. The WWE App overloaded and wouldn't allow people to vote so they promoted voting on dot com.
- Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston appeared after this week's WWE Raw went off the air as Ziggler teamed with CM Punk for the dark match main event. You can read more here and view photos here.
- Vince McMahon was one of only a few backstage in WWE that felt The Rhodes Scholars should be broken up. Vince changes his mind on tag teams on a weekly basis but more than anything, wants to push Damien Sandow as a singles star. Vince is high up on his work and grew impatient with him in a tag team.
- "Adorable" Anthony Andrews and "Marvelous" Michael Stevens were the "fans" used in CM Punk's promo on this week's Raw. Both were call-ins that are active on the Georgia independent scene.
- Ryback had a breakdown in his match against Antonio Cesaro as he was supposed to take the match home after the power bomb. This explains the second "meat hook clothesline."
- Vince McMahon was said to be pleased with the aggressiveness shown by Jack Swagger in his repackaged gimmick. The feeling is this is what Swagger was missing and there was talk of dumping the singlet in favor of more non-traditional ring gear.
- We're told Daniel Bryan was looked at by medical staff backstage after Mark Henry tossed him into the barricade. Some saw it as reckless and Mark isn't exactly the most-liked guy right now with his "main event or nothing" attitude. However, no one said anything to him about it backstage.
- We noted earlier that WWE expected Randy Orton to win the WWE Active poll as CM Punk's opponent. When he lost in favor of Chris Jericho, we're told it accentuated his disconnect with the audience.
- Some were joking that if The Miz even remotely potatoed Brock Lesnar, Brock would have just killed him. Many laughed when Lesnar chucked the chair at him. As my source put it, no matter what Miz does in the business he's always going to have the "you didn't pay your dues" stigma.
- It looks like WWE is going the direction we reported, putting The Shield against John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus at Elimination Chamber. The only question seems to be whether or not it will be in the Chamber structure itself or just a traditional 6-man tag team match.
- WWE announced on Tuesday that Stephanie McMahon and John Cena will take part in a panel discussion at SXSW 2013 in San Francisco to discuss how WWE uses social media to connect with fans. Below is the official press release:
Stamford, Conn., and San Francisco, Calif., February 5, 2013 – WWE, (NYSE: WWE) a sports entertainment company, and Echo, the first and largest real-time web platform provider, today announced that they will share the strategies behind WWE’s award-winning digital programs at SXSW 2013. The panel will feature a candid discussion with WWE Superstar John Cena, the third most followed U.S. athlete on Facebook and Twitter with more than 17 million fans combined, and provide insight into how the 10-time WWE Champion utilizes social media to extend WWE’s brand and connect with fans. WWE recognizes the tremendous opportunity that social media presents to extend storylines, deliver exclusive content and develop new characters, while enabling fans to connect directly with their favorite Superstars and WWE. With more than six hours of domestic weekly programming, 300 live events each year and broadcast in more than 145 countries, WWE is in a unique position to unite the web, mobile, television and live audience experiences under an integrated digital strategy, with the goal of building the ultimate interactive experience for fans. Last year, WWE launched an unprecedented second screen experience, “WWE Active,” on its WWE flagship app, which has been downloaded more than 3.5 million times since its debut. This panel will explore how WWE is leveraging creative, media, technology and talent to become one of the most widely respected and successful brands in social TV. Date/Time: Saturday, March 9, 11:00am – 12:00pm CST Location: Sheraton Austin Capitol, 701 East 11th St, Room EFGH Title: Get Ready to Rumble! How WWE Is Crushing Social TV Description: With more than 137 million social media fans, WWE ranks among the world’s digital leaders. WrestleMania 28 generated 110 worldwide trends and the hashtag #WrestleMania was mentioned more than 610,000 times on the day of the event. Learn how WWE’s integrated marketing and content strategy is connecting Superstars directly with its fans, extending storylines and delivering exclusive content and real-time experiences that dominate social television. Moderator: Khris Loux, Co-founder and CEO, Echo Panelists: John Cena, WWE Superstar and 10-time WWE Champion Stephanie McMahon, EVP, Creative, WWE Perkins Miller, EVP, Digital Media, WWE
- This week's WWE Raw did a 3.56 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 4,810,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the by hour breakdown:
Hour 1 - 4,863,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 4,857,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 4,711,000 viewers
Not the 5,000,000 plus the show did last week but another strong effort.
- WWE is running an angle in which Booker T has suspended World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio from this week's Smackdown in response to his attacks on The Big Show over the past week. This week's Smackdown tapings will take place in Jacksonville, Florida, and we will have full results later this evening. Click here to view the announcement.
- WWE Champion The Rock wrote the following on Twitter regarding not being at this week's WWE Raw:
As he mentioned, he's scheduled for next week's Raw in Nashville. He's also scheduled for next Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Little Rock, Arkansas. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Bret Hart underwent knee surgery on Monday. He posted a photo of his scar that you can view below:
- WWE has confirmed The Shield vs. John Cena, Sheamus & Ryback in a six-man tag team match for Elimination Chamber. The match was announced after Raw went off the air and we snuck it into our updated lineup. - Many have asked why Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston were not on this week's WWE Raw yet used in the dark match main event. The fact of the matter is they simply weren't scripted into the show. - Jim Ross posted a new blog on his official website where he gives his thoughts on this week's WWE Raw and on Bruno Sammartino being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Click here to read it. - Mark Henry earned a spot in the Elimination Chamber match on this week's Smackdown. Henry joins Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and Daniel Bryan in the chamber, as well as two currently-unannounced competitors. The winner of the match will compete for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIX. Click here to view full spoilers for this week's Smackdown. - WWE is officially advertisingJohn Cena and Triple H for the April 9th Smackdown taping in Boston, MA. This is the first episode of Smackdown following Wrestlemania 29. The Rock is advertised for WWE Raw the night prior in East Rutherford, New Jersey. - Raw and Smackdown are Jericho for the next two months as Chris Jericho is advertised for tapings leading up to Wrestlemania 29 this year. He is also officially advertised for both Raw and Smackdown following the pay-per-view. There will be a break, however, as Jericho will join Fozzy for a tour of Australia beginning on February 23, 2013. As of this writing Jericho isn't scheduled for the following WWE TV tapings during that time period:
- February 25th Raw in Dallas, TX
- February 26th Smackdown in Oklahoma City
- March 4th Raw in Buffalo, NY
- March 5th Smackdown in Albany, NY
Jericho is scheduled for the March 9th Raw live event in Broomfield, CO.
For all of Fozzy's tour dates, click here.
- A deal seems to be getting closer for Wrestlemania 30 to be held at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. I heard the Superdome became a favorable venue due to a tax credit WWE would get for bringing the show to the city. Nothing is official although if a deal gets finalized, WWE will hold a press conference announcing New Orleans as the host city over Elimination Chamber weekend. WWE Elimination Chamber 2013 will take place from the New Orleans Arena on February 17, 2013. Apparently the other location in the finally running to host Wrestlemania 30 is Madison Square Garden in New York City but the quandary is obvious in that this year's show will be hosted in the New York/New Jersey area.
- Ric Flair will appear on truTV's Lizard Lick Towing next Monday night at 10 PM.
- WWE Hall of Famer Dory Funk Jr. was backstage at Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Jacksonville, Florida.
- Readers often email asking for updates on Sara Del Rey. Bill DeMott wrote on Twitter this week that Del Rey is "doing marvelous work" with the NXT Divas.
- Dot com has a new article online feature quotes from Bruno Sammartino and Triple H regarding Sammartino's upcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. Below is an excerpt:
WWECLASSICS.COM: What are your thoughts on Bruno’s previous reluctance to be inducted? TRIPLE H: Bruno has had his gripes about the company in the past and they were completely justified. But we’ve changed, we’ve grown and we’ve evolved as a company. We’ve evolved as a business. And I felt like if Bruno knew those things and was comfortable with those things, I felt like he would want to be involved. [Wrestling] is in your blood. It’s who you are. And it was important for me for a lot of reasons to have Bruno back with WWE.
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- TMZ has picked up on the 77-year-old gunshot victim, Thomas Dotterer, that was shot in the face when the Syracuse liquor store he was working at was robbed. Dotterer told the media he was more upset that his favorite wrestler CM Punk lost the WWE title at Royal Rumble than he was getting shot in the face. TMZ notes Punk personally called Dotterer and WWE is offering free tickets to him the next time they run in Syracuse. Click here for coverage by TMZ.
- Wrestling News World reader Brandon van Reenen sent in the following:
WWE will be holding five events in South Africa later this year. The details are as follows:
- Tuesday 30 July and Wednesday 31 July in Cape Town, Western Cape at the GrandWest Arena
- Thursday 1 August in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal at the Westridge Stadium
- Friday 2 August and Saturday 3 August in Johannesburg, Gauteng at the Coca-Cola Dome
Although there is currently no listings at WWE.com for the event, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Big Show, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Justin Gabriel and Alberto Del Rio have been announced via a video promo on WWE TV. Tickets go on sale on Monday 25 February and are available via Computicket.com as well as Computicket outlets.
- Tyson Kidd wrote the following on Twitter:
- Chris Jericho wrote the following on Twitter:
- WWE has added TNA Champion Jeff Hardy to their Alumni section here on dot com. This will create some speculation with Hardy's contract with TNA Wrestling expiring and WWE being interested. We reported in January here on Richard's Backstage Blog that WWE had sent out feelers to gauge Hardy's interest in returning. Hardy was believed to be close to re-signing with TNA although that was when TNA's litigation against WWE was still ongoing.
- Andrew Judelson, hired in January 2012 by WWE as Executive Vice President of Sales & Partnership Marketing, has left the company to take a job in sales for IMG College. Judelson is a former employee of Sports Illustrated and the National Hockey League.
- The emergence of Bo Dallas was one of the reasons the Intercontinental Cup was called off after officially being advertised. There are still plans to do it in the future although calling it off was the right move after booking Dallas over Wade Barrett clean.
- John Cena, Ryback & Sheamus vs. The Shield will just be a 6-man tag team match and not an Elimination Chamber match.
- WWE announced on Thursday they'll report their 2012 fourth quarter earnings on February 28, 2013 before market open. Vince McMahon will host a conference call with investors to discuss the earnings at 11 AM EST. We'll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- WWE Champion The Rock posted the following on Twitter:
The Rock will headline Wrestlemania 29 and Bruno Sammartino will headline the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame.
- As noted earlier this week, R-Truth has been in Qatar doing promotional work for WWE. He posted the following on Twitter on Thursday:
Truth has been out of the ring since suffering a lacerated knee at WWE TLC in December. He's expected back this month.
- While John Cena, Ryback & Sheamus vs. The Shield is currently scheduled as a traditional 6-man tag team match at Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, there's still talk about putting it in the actual Chamber structure. The main problem is who goes under as it's still early for The Shield to lose and Cena can't be pinned. Ryback and Sheamus are both in need of momentum as they take a backseat to the part-timers.
- There is some concern over the World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 29. The talk leading up to now has been for either Randy Orton (as a heel) or Sheamus to defend the strap, however, the problem is obvious in that Alberto Del Rio is champion and neither Orton nor Sheamus have signs of a program. Dolph Ziggler cashing in at Elimination Chamber has been brought up but doubted because of a lack of confidence in Ziggler defending at Wrestlemania. Ryback is a dark house but like Sheamus and Orton, is completely out of the mix for the World title.
- CM Punk, WWE's new 1b, remains the odd man out for Wrestlemania opponents as WWE want to do Punk vs. The Undertaker but Taker hasn't committed. It's becoming "crunch time" for a decision by Undertaker so WWE can explore ways to book Punk.
- WWE developmental talent Kassius Ohno (formerly known as Chris Hero) lost some teeth in a match with Xavier Woods at a WWE NXT live event on Thursday, February 7, 2013. Ohno posted the following on Twitter:
CM Punk weighed in on what happened:
Another photo is included above. Short story - pro wrestling isn't for everyone.
- All for the love of the business… Vince McMahon had dot com post photos of his hip surgery from last week to further the injury angle with Brock Lesnar. You can view them at this link. While the storyline is Lesnar "broke" McMahon's left hip and he required a full hip replacement, that's not believed to be the surgery that was actually completed. The procedure that was done was to fix the top of McMahon's hip joint and was not a full replacement. The surgery was done last Friday and Vince was at TVs this week on crutches.
- Brock Lesnar is not advertised for WWE Raw for the next two weeks after appearing the past two weeks. He is advertised for the February 25th episode in which The Rock is not being advertised. It certainly looks like WWE is using Lesnar on Raw when The Rock isn't able to appear. The only episode where both Lesnar and Rock are being advertised before Wrestlemania 29 is the April 1st show from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Obviously this is subject to change but WWE is rotating the part-time talent so they either have Lesnar or The Rock on shows leading up to Wrestlemania.
- For those that missed this week's Smackdown, Mark Henry earned a spot in the upcoming Elimination Chamber match at the WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Henry joins Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, & Rey Mysterio, as well as two still-unannounced competitors. Click here to view full results from this week's Smackdown.
- Kid Kash officially confirmed his departure from TNA Wrestling on his Twitter account. Kash's contract was up and he wasn't offered a new one. He is now accepting independent bookings through PWA Bookings.
- The Big O from Zack Ryder's former Z! True Long Island StoryYouTube series tried out for TNA Wrestling at their Gut Check tryout camp on Saturday.
"You've got to have good basics - a good foundation," Ohriner told The Fayetteville Observer. "You definitely want to show off what you can do, but for me it's always about safety first. And once you earn that trust between you and your opponent, then you can cut loose a bit more."
Click here for more, including quotes from D-Lo Brown.
- The Orlando Sentinel obtained a quote from a Universal Studios spokesman on Friday regarding TNA Wrestling leaving the theme park after eight years.
“We are grateful for the partnership we’ve had with TNA,” Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said Friday. ”We look forward to the opportunity to work with them again in the future.”
Click here for more.
- We do not cover independent news so you may not be familiar with the name Steelhorse Vachon. Vachon, a student of TNA's Devon, called the police after being stiffed in the eye by Steve Taylor during a match with Vintage Wrestling on January 20, 2013. Police responded to the complaint and while wrestlers were interviewed, Taylor wasn't arrested. As it turns out, Vachon was actually being used regularly as a masked member of the Aces and Eights. Unlike other locals that had little chance of being signed, we're told there were actually talks about signing him and leaving him in the faction after being unmasked. However, when TNA Wrestling found out about Vachon calling the police about being potatoed, they cut ties with him completely.
- Dixie Carter, TNA President, just wrote on her official Twitter page that the company will be bringing their ReACTION show back for everyone to watch, but it will be strictly an online Youtube series. It will start mid-February.
TNA ReACTION was a series that was developed by Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey as they have their own production company together. The show aired during the 2010 year, but it never reached beyond that... until now. Below is Dixie's tweet:
- TNA Wrestling sent out the following on Tuesday:
UK FANS: February is ‘TNA in the UK’ month on Challenge TV and sees the launch of a brand new two-part show – TNA Backstage Pass. Taking you behind the scenes on The Road To Lockdown Tour, the program will be broadcast on Challenge at 11pm on Sunday February 10 and Sunday February 24. Dominic Wilkins, Scheduling Manager for Challenge, said: “Challenge has been working extremely hard with TNA to find more ways to bring exclusive content to the amazing British fan base. “Hot on the heels of the incredibly successful TNA Wrestling: British Boot Camp, we are incredibly excited to broadcast Backstage Pass - the first time fans will get to see what goes on behind the scenes on the TNA UK Tour. “This cements our growing commitment to TNA and British wrestling fans.” February 6 11pm TNA Xplosion February 10 9pm TNA IMPACT WRESTLING from Manchester (show 2) February 10 11pm TNA Backstage Pass episode 1 February 13 11pm TNA Xplosion February 17 9pm TNA IMPACT WRESTLING from London (show 1) February 20 11pm TNA Xplosion February 24 9pm TNA IMPACT WRESTLING from London (show 2) February 24 11pm TNA Backstage Pass episode 2
- The latest episode of TNA Spin Cycle is online at this link. - Watch Jessie Godderz take on Garett Bischoff in an Xplosion match at this link. - Velvet Sky was interviewed by the Big WrestleShark Show. In the interview she credited Madison Rayne for talking her into returning to TNA Wrestling and claimed she never "considered the competition." She said she's going to push TNA to bring back Angelina Love and reunite The Beautiful People until "they get tired" of her asking. Click here to check out the interview in its entirety. - TNA Wrestling isn't completely finished with Universal Studios. Devin Cutting sent out an alert on Wednesday that the company will tape One Night Only pay-per-views from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida on the following dates:
- March 17, 2013
- March 23, 2013
- March 24, 2013
Two pay-per-views will be taped each day with the first taping beginning at 1 PM EST and the second beginning at 7 PM EST.
- TNA Wrestling announced on Wednesday they have suspended the Gut Check Challenge due to voting issues. Below is the official release:
A MESSAGE TO OUR LOYAL FANS REGARDING THE GUT CHECK CHALLENGE In January, we launched the Gut Check Challenge as an online competition to give many independent wrestling stars a chance to showcase their talents and potentially earn a spot on the IMPACT WRESTLING roster. However, due to a number of issues with the voting - and in fairness to all the competitors - we have decided to suspend the Gut Check Challenge. We will be re-launching the contest in the near future with a new voting system that will eliminate the voting issues. Stay tuned to our website for updates - and thank you for your continued support of TNA and IMPACT WRESTLING!
- TNA Wrestling is looking for an Advanced Promotions Marketing Manager as they updated their job listing page on their official website. They opened this job once the announcement was made that Impact Wrestling will be going on the road. The job includes an extensive travel plan, grabbing sponsors, analyzing sales, and a lot more. If anyone is interested in the career or want to see more about it, check it out here.
- TNA Wrestling's lease with Universal Studios expires on March 31, 2013. This is believed to be the reason the company is taping six "One Night Only" pay-per-views there in March. As we reported on Wednesday, TNA will tape two PPVs per day on 3/17, 3/23 and 3/24.
- Richard Grayinformed everyone earlier that TNA President, Dixie Carter will be live on Bellator MMA tonight to reveal some big news. The first part of the news was about upcoming venues that will hold Impact Wrestling as they head on the road. We will have more about that subject later. The main and biggest news, in my mind, was the update on Jeff Hardy. She said Jeff will return to the show on February 28th and he signed a new deal with TNA Wrestling. This is a long term deal. She said he will be with the company for many years to come. Here is a tweet that Impact Wrestling just sent out:
Many people were speculating whether or not Jeff Hardy will re-sign with TNA Wrestling or if he will go to WWE. With WWE posting Jeff in their alumni section as well as posting several videos of him on Youtube, article can be seen here, lots of people thought that WWE and him were close to signing. In reality, that may have been the point where they knew Jeff no longer had an expiring contract.
- TNA President, Dixie Carter, appeared on Bellator MMA tonight where she announced that she signed Jeff Hardy to a long term contract, you can read the story here. She also announced new road dates for Impact Wrestling. The three confirmed arena appearances are:
- 3/28 in Jonesboro, Arkansas at the Jonesboro Arena - Tickets on sale on February 26, 2013
- 4/11 in Corpus Christi, Texas at the American Bank Center - Tickets on sale on March 25, 3013
- 6/6 in Duluth, Georgia at the Gwinnett Center - Ticket information TBA
- The big news coming out of Thursday was that Jeff Hardy has agreed to a contract extension with TNA Wrestling. The signing is actually a victory for Hardy as he inked a deal for two years. We reported in December that TNA wanted Hardy to sign a 3-year extension with the third year being a the company's option. Based on the way this was announced, it appears this is the two-year contract Hardy was seeking.
- Hulk Hogan questions why Dixie Carter is in the wrestling business and gives his thoughts on TNA cutting their pay-per-views in a new interview with the Daily Star. Below are the highlights:
“It’s either hold ’em or fold ’em. You’re either in the wrestling business or not.
Is Dixie Carter really in the wrestling business, or this is just a hobby? You either make the move or you don’t.
You’re at that point now. It’s the same place we were with WCW – you either run with the big dogs or be a little dog and stay on the porch.
“The destiny of this company is in her hands. It can stay TNA, a powerful little company, or she can make the decision to move on to greatness.”
Thoughts on TNA cutting back to four major pay-per-views:
“To limit to four major PPVs will give us a chance to make the wrestlers more important to give the fans a chance to choose who they love. I think it gives you a chance to sink your teeth into the characters and the company.”
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did a 1.04 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 1,410,000 viewers on Spike TV. Bellator MMA, that proceeded Impact, averaged 807,000 viewers.
With Brock Lesnar signing a new WWE contract is it possible we may see him as either WWE or World Heavyweight Champion?
We actually heard (and reported here) that Brock Lesnar's new WWE contract included a title reign. Check out that article for all of the perks in his new contract as the dollar amount was reported to be "in the millions." Vince McMahon has clearly changed his mind in strapping part-time talent but The Rock as WWE Champion is a great example. Rock is doing all kinds of media right now with the WWE title belt. It's free promotion that only increases what he's worth to the company. Whoever takes the title off Rock, even if it's John Cena, gets a burning torch.
What is the best way to get in to TNA or WWE?
Making it to TNA or WWE is not easy. In fact, your chances are actually better at playing professional sports than they are in making it in mainstream pro wrestling. However, if you have the talent and the training, TNA and WWE are always looking for new workers. In fact, just this weekend WWE held tryouts at their development facility while TNA ran a Gut Check tryout camp in Fayetteville, NC. I penned a long article on this very subject here: How Do You Get In The WWE
With TNA Wrestling leaving Universal Studios and touring on the road weekly, does this make it less of an alternative for former WWE wrestlers looking for a lighter schedule?
TNA Wrestling moving their television out of Orlando and touring on the road absolutely changes the dynamics of the company, however, the schedule will not be as stringent as that of WWE… at least not yet. Sure, it won't be as fun for the top workers that were able to fly out to Orlando twice a month, check in at the Doubletree and fly home but they aren't running near as many dates as WWE. This could obviously change but for now TNA still provides a lighter schedule, even by moving out of Orlando. The plan since the beginning has been to grow large enough to tour their television as taping from Orlando provided them a state-of-the-art facility with lower costs and a guaranteed audience.
Are you as happy as me to see Jack Swagger return?
Jack Swagger is a tremendous in-ring talent with a great look. His problems have always been with his mic work and backstage attitude. Mic work is something that can be improved and if Jack is able to remain humble and work hard he has a tremendous upside. I was actually told Swagger was ready to quit and Vince McMahon promised to put him back on television. Swagger's wife disputed the claim but things have played out exactly how I was told.
Does having pay-per-views like Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell and TLC hurt the prestige of the gimmick matches and cause them to lose luster?
No, I like the way WWE has handled their B-level pay-per-views with the gimmicks. I'm not a big fan of gimmick matches but when used correctly, they work. WWE has been able to integrate the gimmicks into their B-level shows, making them more meaningful and giving viewers a reason to order, without killing the gimmick matches themselves. They've done this by putting the gimmicks on one or two "main event" matches of the show but not making every bout on the card a gimmick. I do not feel the gimmicks should be completely exclusive to their respective pay-per-views as I would have no problem with a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania. That was talked about for this year's show but upon last check, they've decided against it.
Given these two factors: 1) The huge pop Goldust got at the Royal Rumble and 2) This past Super Bowl pitting two brothers against each other drawing the largest crowd in Super Bowl history, is Vince McMahon giving any more thought to a Wrestlemania matchup between Cody Rhodes and Goldust?
Vince McMahon was said to be pleased with the work between Goldust and Cody Rhodes at Royal Rumble and not completely opposed to the brother vs. brother appeal. However, as of this writing, Goldust is not under WWE contract and there are no plans for this match at Wrestlemania. The fact people continue asking me tells me there is interest in it and no one can deny the pop at Royal Rumble.
Do you know the real reason behind the Twitter exchange between Trent Barreta and Kofi Kingston?
I asked around to see if anyone knew the reason why Trent Barreta called Kofi Kingston an "a-hole" and no one knew. "I didn't think Kofi had beef with anyone," one source commented. Your guess is as good as mine and if we find out, we'll update. You can see how it went down at this link.
With Brock Lesnar's return on WWE Raw and his subsequent "attack" on Mr. McMahon, do you see another feud with Triple H at Wrestlemania?
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 29 seems to be the direction they are going but nothing is final until it actually happens.
With his Wrestlemania status still up in the air, we can at least get our Undertaker fix by talking about him. Given the circumstances with Brock Lesnar's new WWE contract and The Rock back again this year, is there anyone you would deem worthy of ending "the streak" at Wrestlemania?
I've always gone on record in writing that I felt Undertaker deserved the right to retire undefeated at Wrestlemania. His career was Hall of Fame worthy before putting together four near perfect Wrestlemania matches four years straight (sorry, I strongly disagree with Bret Hart's comments). However, as is the nature of this business, things have changed. My argument has always been there isn't anyone big enough on the WWE roster worthy of such a rub. The only situation I would be in favor of ending "the streak" would be for it to propel a superstar to the next level. I now believe there is one superstar on the roster capable of ending "the streak" and reaping tremendous benefits from it. That superstar is CM Punk. The Punk haters (and there are many) are going to jump down my throat for this but Punk has already etched himself in WWE history with a 434-day WWE title reign and is primed for a massive passing of the torch. He hasn't yet reached the top (still behind John Cena in the pecking order) and this is exactly what he would need to take him to the peak of his WWE career. Whether or not it will happen is an entire different story as Undertaker working Wrestlemania this year is still up in the air, however, the chips have aligned for a very historic moment.
Is there any reason why there was no Dolph Ziggler on Raw? I realize that there's a lot of new storylines popping up but I'd choose anything involving Dolph over three separate "satellite transmission" segments with the Big Show in a hotel room.
Dolph Ziggler wasn't scripted for this week's WWE Raw and I have no clue why he wasn't. It'd be silly to say time constraints and the argument there were other segments they wanted to highlight really isn't valid either. Knowing how stressed and burned out the writers stay, maybe they forgot about him? This wouldn't be the first time something like that happened and Vince McMahon was working just days after having surgery. The Big Show segments were horrible and a complete waste of time as they all could have been wrapped into one (did we really need to see him get a plate of room service?). They did Del Rio vs. Big Show at Royal Rumble last month after Del Rio already beat Show on television so it's not like the program needed the extra build either. Sometimes things make no sense and Dolph Ziggler not being used on this week's Raw was one of them.
How much power does WWE possess exert over contracted talent when it comes to media appearances?
WWE stars have to be careful they get approval for any appearances that are not setup by the company. Failing to do so could breach their contract, resulting in termination or getting in the company doghouse. Workers under WWE performer's contracts are not permitted to just appear wherever they want without approval and most are booked through the office. Someone asked about Zack Ryder appearing on Colt Cabana's podcast and it probably doesn't hurt that Colt is best friends with CM Punk.
When is WWE coming to South Africa?
We actually reported over the weekend (with the help of WNW reader Brandon van Reenen) that WWE will run five shows in South Africa in July and August. Details will be announced soon as tickets are scheduled to go on sell on February 25, 2013.
I know a lot of people in the internet community think Zach Ryder is being underused and I suppose that's debatable. What I'd like to know is how does a WWE employee in the PG era put out a song called Hoeski? Isn't it more than just a bit offensive and a major step backwards for the treatment of women as sexual objects?
Fans of Zack Ryder will respond to critics by telling them to lighten up and "Hoeski" is just an entertaining joke. I'm personally not offended by it, however, it would be remiss to not call it for what it is… hypocritical. It's not that it's in violation of the PG initiative but WWE runs Be-A-Star anti-bullying rallies. The rallies are very important and are about showing tolerance and respect. However, there is nothing respectful or tolerant about calling someone a hoeski. Again, it doesn't offend me, it's just extremely hypocritical.
It's too early to know for certain but it looks like a Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H rematch at Wrestlemania 29 is a good possibility. How do you feel about that potential matchup? Would you rather see Brock face one of the younger guys on the roster? If so, who?
With Brock Lesnar under WWE contract for another two years after Wrestlemania 29, pairing him off against Triple H doesn't seem to make much sense. Lesnar beat Hunter at SummerSlam, the match drew a good buyrate, why not move onto something else? I actually wouldn't mind Lesnar vs. Ryback, however, Hunter has pretty much "laid claim" to working Brock again at Wrestlemania and that seems to be the direction they are going. My top match would have actually been Lesnar vs. The Rock but that was taken away with the rematch against John Cena.
Do you have the presale password for the April 8th episode of WWE Raw the night after Wrestlemania 29 from the IZOD Center?
The presale password to obtain tickets for WWE Raw the night after Wrestlemania 29 from the IZOD Center is RAWROCK.
Who will be the head of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class? Bruno Sammartino or Mick Foley? Was Triple H's hard work to get Sammartino into the HoF motivated by his opinion that Foley doesn't have the look of a star and he needed a bigger name to head up this year's class?
Bruno Sammartino is the head of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class, however, younger fans may not recognize him like they would someone like Mick Foley or Trish Stratus. There are not very many lists you can put together that do not have Bruno at the top. As for the second part of your question, Mick Foley has always downplayed a beef with Triple H but you accurately summed up Hunter's opinion of him. However, Bruno is the one name WWE has targeted for this Hall of Fame for several months and was discussed before Mick Foley. Foley was actually brought up after Vince McMahon thought Sammartino was off the table.
What happened to the production of WWE Scooby Doo?
WWE's joint production with Warner Bros. Animation and Hanna-Barbera for Scooby Doo: The Curse of the Ghost Bear is due out on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital download next year. WWE personalities that did voiceover work for the film last August include Triple H, John Cena, Kane, The Miz, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella, Sin Cara, AJ Lee and Vince McMahon. This is something WWE is looking at doing more of.
I'm glad Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff were finally revealed as members of the Aces and Eights faction. Is it just me or is this the worst kept secret in recent memory?
The Aces and Eights faction is a great storyline to spark viewer interest but TNA has hung with it for too long. I'm not saying Aces and Eights should be disbanded but they've waited too long to reveal its members. Everyone knew Brisco and Bischoff were behind the masks but TNA wanted to keep their identities unknown in hopes that it would keep viewers tuning in to find out.
How long is Randy Orton going to be a mid card performer? In my opinion Orton still gets the second biggest reaction behind John Cena then maybe CM Punk. When will we see him back in the main event picture?
Randy Orton's stock has fallen significantly since his "second" WWE Wellness policy violation in May 2012. There has been a disconnect between Orton and the WWE audience and that was made abundantly clear with the WWE Active voting on this week's Raw when Chris Jericho beat out Orton to face CM Punk. Orton isn't going anywhere but he's clearly not the "1b" he was prior to the latest strike. I can't tell you if/when he'll be rebuilt in the main event but a complete heel turn would be a good start.
With all the resentment towards The Rock, I am wondering why there isn't the same level towards either Triple H, The Undertaker or especially Brock Lesnar? Hasn't The Rock been more involved the passed three years then all of them?
Every name you mentioned has their critics but the critics of Triple H are the most quiet as he's going to be Vince McMahon's successor. It's also worth pointing out that while Hunter hasn't been actively involved in storylines, he's been more involved than anyone in the past three years as his backstage duties and responsibilities have increased significantly. Undertaker is very well respected and doesn't receive the same type of heat as Rock or Lesnar because he's still seen as a "WWE guy." It's not that Undertaker doesn't want to work the full-time WWE schedule; he's physically unable to do so. As I've noted on numerous occasions, criticism of The Rock is based on jealousy. Rock is a huge draw and his reign as WWE Champion is a good thing for the business. As for Brock Lesnar, he has his fair share of detractors for making millions of dollars for a part time schedule but the fact of the matter is he can outdraw the majority of the WWE roster. Lesnar is a guy that has minimal involvement with his storylines and matches and is basically there to collect a paycheck. He hates life on the road but has earned his money.