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, January 12, 2013 to Friday, January 18, 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
- WWE developmental Diva Skyler Moon has been released from the company. Moon, who had been away from the company due to a health issue, resurfaced backstage at this week's WWE Raw.
- WWE has announced a March 31, 2013 live event from the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York.
- The January 11, 2013 episode of WWE Vintage Collection featured the following matches as transcribed by Devin Cutting:
- Kane Unmasks (June 23rd, 2003)
- Kane & X-Pac vs. The APA (August 9th, 1999)
- Steve Austin Confronts Mike Tyson (January 19th, 1998)
- Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (June 24th, 1996)
- Mankind vs. The Road Dogg (December 28th, 1998)
- Bret Hart vs. Rocky Maivia (March 30th, 1997)
- Zack Ryder's "Long Island Story" YouTube show is apparently ending with this week's 100th episode.
- Vickie Guerrero's daughter and former WWE developmental Diva, Shaul Guerrero, was at Friday night's WWE Raw live event in Austin, Texas with her mother.
- WWE developmental worker Bo Dallas replaced the injured Tyson Kidd (torn meniscus) at Saturday's Smackdown live event in Alexandria, LA and tagged with Justin Gabriel. They went over 3MB.
- WWE producer Jamie Noble replaced Santino Marella at Saturday's WWE Raw live event in Laredo, TX in a match against Tensai. I have not heard the reason why, however, Noble filled in on holiday shows when there was an injury.
- We noted here on Sunday that Santino Marella was replaced by Jamie Noble at Saturday's WWE Raw live event in Laredo, Texas. The same situation took place Sunday night in Corpus Christi. Santino was injured Friday night in a match against Tensai in Austin, Texas. The early word is some type of head/neck injury although the severity is not yet known.
- WWE didn't acknowledge the release of Trent Barreta on dot com. This is something they've shied away from with their last several releases (the release of Kharma comes to mind) as one observer commented about how it makes the company look bad. There was was speculation the releases were "ignored" during the Linda McMahon Senate campaign as she was being billed as a "proven jobs creator" but that wasn't the only reason. The feeling has been to quietly remove the profile of terminated stars rather than tout them with official announcements.
- Bill DeMott responded to a rumor he was fired by WWE [as head developmental trainer] on Twitter by saying there was "no truth" to it. While we never ran the rumor here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, there has been controversy surrounding DeMott due to allegations brought against him by former developmental worker Kevin Matthews.
- Sin Cara confirmed on his Twitter account on Monday that he is Houston, Texas, the site of this week's 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw. It's unknown if Cara, who is currently recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, will work the show or is just backstage visiting.
Cara was backstage at the 12/29 WWE Raw taping in Washington, D.C. but wasn't used. We can confirm there has been internal influence from Triple H on Cara to return early. You can read more about that in our Backstage News section at this link.
- We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Santino Marella suffered a head/neck injury at Friday's WWE Raw live event in Austin, Texas.
Santino, has confirmed he suffered a neck injury in his match with Tensai, and wrote the following on Twitter:
- WWE Saturday Morning Slam is moving to 10:30 AM as part of The CW's "Vortexx" lineup. WWE confirmed the move with the following Tweet:
- WWE sent out early promotional material for their Royal Rumble 2013 DVD and it may have spoiled a major creative plan. Under the "Key Selling Points" for the DVD, the following bullet points are made:
- The Road to Wrestlemania begins here!
- Historically the highest selling pay-per-view release, behind only Wrestlemania
- Royal Rumble 2012 sold over 33k united in first 8-wks
- Buzz is already building after the main event match-up announcement placing two mega-watt Superstars face-to-face for the first time since Wrestlemania 28
The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship
The folks over at WWE DVD News have the information located at this link. Obviously this lines up with a plan Vince McMahon has been hot on for the last several months but by no means confirms it. Since the information wasn't sent directly to us we can only go with what the folks at WWE DVD News reported. Further, plans like this are always subject to change and sometimes do when they are leaked online. - Last week's WWE Smackdown got the largest viewership for a Friday show in months! This past week's show scored 3,130,000 viewers. That can be easily credited to The Rock's return to the show in over 10 years. The rating for the show will be announced later. - Kaitlyn beat Eve Torres to win the WWE Divas Championship on the 20th Anniversary episode of WWE Raw. We broke the news of the title change last Thursday here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium. While new rumors have surfaced Eve is finishing up with WWE, we heard the plan was to switch the title on Raw and switch it back fairly quickly. - 14,426 was the announced attendance for the 20th's Anniversary of WWE Raw. The show was a legitimate sellout from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. - Last week's Smackdown ended up doing a 2.2 cable rating to accompany the 3,130,000 viewers that Alex noted earlier. WWE will not only attribute the stronger number to The Rock but announcing the World Heavyweight Championship change ahead of time. - 3MB and ZZ Top are scheduled guests for this week's episode of "The JBL & Cole Show". We'll post the show here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com on Friday. - King Kong Bundy will not enter the WWE Hall of Fame despite the rumor he started. - As expected, Ric Flair appeared on the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw as a guest on Miz TV with The Miz. - The following title matches were added to Royal Rumble on the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw:
- Kane & Daniel Bryan will defend the WWE Tag Team Championship against Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow
- Alberto Del Rio will defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show
WWE Royal Rumble 2013 will take place Sunday, January 27, 2013 from the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
- The official WWE website is running a story about Eve Torres quitting the company. While the kayfabe reasoning involves her outrage over her treatment on Raw, her contract was coming up and she chose not to re-sign, instead taking time off to focus on her upcoming wedding with Rener Gracie.
- WWE has released Brandon Carter, also known as TAC, from his developmental contract. Carter is a former offensive lineman in the National Football League.
- When the 20th Anniversary episode of WWE Raw went off the air The Rock started towards the back when CM Punk got on the mic. He told Rock to just bring it. They fought again and Rock ended up hitting Punk with a Rock Bottom to end the taping.
- WWE will run a Smackdown live event from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Thursday, July 25, 2013. The presale to obtain tickets is now underway at HoustonToyotaCenter.com with the password HOUSTON.
- Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels are at the Sands Expos & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Shot Show this week.
Austin made reference to missing Raw's 20th Anniversary on Twitter. Below is his Tweet:
- Wade Barrett was added to the 30-man Royal Rumble match on this week's WWE Raw. The following participants are now confirmed for the match:
- Wade Barrett
- Heath Slater
- Jinder Mahal
- Drew McIntyre
- Antonio Cesaro
- Dolph Ziggler
- Randy Orton
- John Cena
21 spots remain open. - Kamala is the latest name rumored to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. Mick Foley's induction was formally recognized on this week's WWE Raw. - As of this writing Steve Austin is not in the plans for Wrestlemania 29. - We reported on Monday that Hulk Hogan filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Florida, alleging the clinic performed unnecessary surgeries in 2009 that damaged his career. TMZ is reporting, through Hogan reps, the useless surgeries cost him a contract with WWE worth $50 million (including appearances) for a retirement match against John Cena at Wrestlemania. - We're told Alberto Del Rio opened the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw with Vince McMahon as a sign of endorsement. Vince was very happy with the way Del Rio got over with the crowd. One observer says it's no coincidence Randy Orton went on after Del Rio as Vince wanted to compare both reactions and also send a message to Orton. - Speaking of which, we're told Orton went under to Wade Barrett as part of a possible heel turn. Tension between Vince and Orton remains regarding the direction of Randy's character and McMahon isn't completely happy with his attitude. Ultimately it's believed that Orton will get a run as a top heel later this year. - The usage of Ric Flair in the Antonio Cesaro/The Miz program further shows how high Cesaro is on the WWE radar. We're told Cesaro was praised for his mic work against Flair as Ric was paired with Miz to help his "failing" babyface turn. - The original plan was for Eve Torres to work through January although as we first reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, the plan going back to last week was Kaitlyn going over for the belt. As it turns out, Eve is leaving early and will be working with the Gracie family as the face of their women's line. - One observer commented on CM Punk's reactions from WWE Raw and how even in a program with The Rock he still gets a babyface pop. Like with Punk merchandise, his fans stay loyal and everyone has accepted he's extremely over. - This week's 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw did a 3.24 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 4,550,000 viewers on the USA Network. We're told Vince McMahon was hoping for a 3.5 cable rating with no competition but those in the company feel it's going to take some time to build the audience for the build to Wrestlemania 29. Below is the viewership by hour:
- Hour one - 4,500,000 viewers
- Hour two - 4,680,000 viewers
- Hour three - 4,470,000 viewers
“I’ve always considered myself a workhorse, and I’ve definitely used that word to describe myself over the last two years,” Kidd said, reflecting on Punk’s carefully chosen terminology. “I go out there and give it my all every single match — and I’ve been doing that for 17 years. Whether in WWE or Japan or Europe or back home in (Calgary, Alberta’s) Stampede Wrestling, it’s always been the same story. In a worst-case scenario, I will outwrestle everybody on this show. Anyone that’s gonna outwrestle me had better perform after me, because I’m going to outperform everybody that I saw before me.”
Kidd also noted that this is his first sidelining injury in 17 years of wrestling. Click here to read the full story.
- Arda Ocal sent in a great info graphic with full stats for WWE Raw from last year. Sheamus had the most wins with 76 while Dolph Ziggler had the most losses at 56. Take a look at it at this link.
- Brooks Oglesby recapped a dot com Q&A with Tyson Kidd at this link. In the article, WWE claims he'll be out six to eight months with ligament and meniscus tears in his right knee and a fracture in his tibia plateau. I was told directly from a WWE spokesman he has a torn meniscus and the company expected him out for 6 months. Take from that what you will but there has been some clear miscommunication with the severity of this injury.
- The presale password for the March 16th WWE Raw live event in Providence, Rhode Island is WWEPROV. The presale starts Wednesday at 10 AM on Ticketmaster.
- The Phoenix News Times has a new Q&A online with Ryback. Below are the highlights:
If he feels overexposed after the big year in 2012: Not at all. I feel 2012 was just a warm-up as far as I'm concerned. There's so much more to Ryback than people know yet. We started at the very basic level and we built patience with people. Becoming WWE or World Heavyweight Champion: You know, I just did my goal board for 2013 [with] 13 of my goals for this year and becoming the WWE and World Heavyweight Champion are my main goals. So no, the chase is great, but for my ultimate goal and what I want to accomplish here in the WWE, being WWE champion is something that's going to be a big part of that. And I believe it's going to bring me to a whole other level. Its a responsibility that I welcome with open arms. Stealing the show in a match against The Shield at WWE TLC: Daniel Bryan is one guy that I'm pretty close with in the WWE, him and Wade Barrett. But to be a part of that match with Kane and The Sheild...I firmly believe that those three men [are] extremely talented and when they eventually go on their own, all of them are going to be a big part of the WWE for many years to come. So to go out there and have that kind of match with everyone, it's a tremendous honor. And it was a very physical hard-hitting match. And that crowd in Brooklyn was hot. It felt good to be a part of that. Goldberg: I was a fan of his. I think was unbelievable and exciting and fun to watch. But I truly, truly love this and have a passion for this and want to be as great as this as I could possibly be. I love money and want to make millions upon millions of dollars, and I'm going to. But at the end of the day, I'm going to be in WWE. I've said it at the beginning, I want to be part of WWE for the rest of my life. And I don't know Bill Goldberg personally, so I don't know exactly how he feels about wrestling and whatnot, but I can just tell you how I feel, and I think at the end how I feel is what's going to be what separates me from Goldberg ultimately when my career is winding down. He was a huge draw and hopefully I can be as big if not bigger of a draw as he was in his prime. It motivates me and I look forward to outdoing him in any way possible. It's never been a negative thing in my mind.
Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.
- Former WWE star Sho Funaki was backstage at Tuesday's Smackdown taping in San Antonio, Texas. You can view a photo Natalya Tweeted with him below:
- The Calgary Herald reports the historic home where Stu Hart trained his sons and other wrestling stars is listed online for rent. The rent is $10,000 month and is fully furnished with 6 bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms. You can read their story here and see a photo of the house here.
- ESPN lists WWE Champion CM Punk atop The Rock in their latest WWE Power Rankings(ESPN has WWE power rankings?). You can check out the list at this link.
- We noted earlier that Funaki was backstage at this week's Smackdown taping in San Antonio, TX. Dot com posted a "where are they now?" feature with Funaki and Taka Michinoku, known collectively as Kaientai, at this link.
- The latest installment of Pro Wrestling Goes Mainstream is online here at WrestlingNews.net.
- We're told Ryback was very unhappy with Alberto Del Rio beating Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship on last week's Smackdown. Ryback had been under the impression that he would be beating Big Show for the title at Wrestlemania 29.
My source says this could still be the case, or they may go in another direction, but Ryback was hoping the company had plans to keep the title on Show until they had a main event match at Wrestlemania.
One observer reminds there is a lot of time between now and then, so the company could put the belt back on Big Show, but we're told Ryback voiced his displeasure over the situation to a few people backstage.
This same observer says they wouldn't be surprised if WWE was testing Ryback by teasing him with the title and seeing how he reacts when plans appear to change. There is a lot of nervousness about how he'll handle the pressure and responsibility if/when he's really given the ball and depended on to carry one of the brands later this year.
- WWE developmental talent Leo Kruger worked a dark match against Alex Riley prior to this week's Smackdown taping in San Antonio, TX. Riley went over in the match. Kruger, whose developmental profile is located here, was on last weekend's Smackdown house show loop.
- Dot com has an article online on Zack Ryder reaching 1 million Twitter followers. Below is an excerpt:
“I was not surprised at all,” Ryder said of reaching one million followers despite not appearing on the 20th Anniversary of Raw. “I want to thank my Zack Pack, without them I would be nothing and I knew it was only a matter of time.” Hedidadd a special word of thanks for The Miz, who convinced him to join Twitter in 2009, but Ryder didn’t hide his glee in surpassing The Awesome One’s follower count. “Now I’m a #SevenFigureBroski and he’s not even at a million yet.”
Follow us at @wnwnews and you can read the full article at this link. - Edge noted on his Twitter account he's back to full workout and mountain biking two months after undergoing neck surgery. - The following names are rumored inductees for the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2013:
- DeGeneration X - Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman, Billy Gunn and Road Dogg
- The Kliq - Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman
- Bob Backlund
- Bruno Sammartino
If DX or The Kliq are to be inducted, they'll co-headline with Mick Foley, who I can't help but feel will be getting slighted. This will also ensure a second induction for Shawn Michaels, which happened with Ric Flair last year.
- Edge discusses going from the ring to acting in a new interview with Forbes at this link.
- WWE will be holding a presale to obtain tickets to Wrestlemania Fan Axxess next week. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, January 26, 2013.
- A man was arrested in Corpus Christi after police suspect he sold fake tickets to Sunday's WWE Raw live event in the city. Caller.com has the story at this link.
- Someone, somewhere speculated that Rey Mysterio's absence from WWE was Wellness-related, prompting former WCW star Konnan to issue a statement on MLW Radio.
"Somebody seems to think that Rey was suspended for the wellness policy. Absolutely incorrect. He is dealing with a family situation right now and he does have permission to be out. They know what's going on and he will be back soon. He is not injured. He doesn't have any drug issues - and I'm not covering for him because he's my boy… but he's cool, he'll back soon."
The new episode of the free weekly podcast MLW Radio is available for free at www.MLW.com and on iTunes (search: MLW Radio). Archives include conversations with the Ultimate Warrior, MVP, Billy Corgan, among others.
- Mick Foley says Terry Funk will be inducting him into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6, 2013 from Madison Square Garden in New York City:
- Los Angeles Magazine has a new Q&A online with Eve Torres promoting WWE Raw's return to the Staples Center for a live event on Friday night. The problem is obvious in that Eve finished up with WWE on this week's Raw, so why the interview? As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, Eve was planning to work through January but chose to leave early. We have more on her decision and creative plans that were altered at this link. - Below is The Rock's upcoming movie release date schedule:
- "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" on March 29, 2013
- "Pain and Gain" on April 26, 2013
- "Fast and Furious 6" in May 2013
- "Hercules" on August 8, 2014
- Speaking of The Rock, he will star in a "Got Milk?" advertisement that will air during Super Bowl XLVII. The commercial is funded by The Milk Processor Education program and will air during the second quarter of the game. Rock Tweeted a photo from the commercial's shoot that you can view below:
A trailer for "Fast and Furious 6" is also expected to air during the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 3, 2013.
- We heard The Rock and CM Punk are being allotted more than 20 minutes ring time for their WWE Championship match at Royal Rumble.
- WWE is promoting a new dimension to their live events called VIP Experience. Here's the company's description of the experience:
WWE VIP Experiences include one premium ringside or lower bowl seat, a backstage meet-and-greet and autograph opportunity with WWE Superstars, a photo with the WWE Championship Title, exclusive WWE merchandise and much more! Please note contents vary based on VIP Experience package selected.
The first events the packages are available are the March 15-17 shows in Bridgeport, CT, Providence, RI and Binghamton, NY. The WWE Superstar VIP Experience Package tickets are $599 while the WWE Enhanced VIP Package tickets are $249.
Click here for more information.
- WWE is officially advertisingRey Mysterio for Friday night's WWE Raw live event from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. He's not advertised for any shows, including next week's TVs, following this appearance. As we've noted, Mysterio is taking time away from WWE to deal with a personal family issue.
- As of this writing the plan is for Ric Flair to work both WWE Raw and Smackdown next week. He'll then head overseas to work for All Japan Pro Wrestling on January 26, where he is scheduled to team with Keji Mutoh (The Great Muta) against Tatsumi Fujinami & Seiya Sanada.
- Trent Barreta, who was released from WWE last week, had strong words for Kofi Kingston on Twitter. Here's a recap:
- Jim Ross wrote in a new blog entry that WWE has signed Oregon State's Clayton Jack to a developmental contract. Gerald Brisco has been scouting wrestlers at the school for quite some time. As for Clayton, he's a 6'5 heavyweight from Vacaville, California. Click here for more.
- Speaking of JR's latest blog, he has full WWE Raw thoughts in it as you can read his latest at this link.
- Tyson Kidd underwent surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus and possible torn ligaments on Thursday. Kidd touted on his Twitter account that he woke up at 6 AM for one final cardio session before having the surgery. He then posted the following Tweet:
The injury occurred during a WWE holiday live event in December. We were told [by a WWE spokesman] he suffered a torn meniscus and was expected out for six months. Dot com posted a story, detailing a more severe injury but still listed a 6-8 month timetable.
- OSUBeavers.com has a new story on WWE signing Clayton Jack to a developmental contract. They report the deal is for three years and was offered to him after being scouted by Gerry Brisco last year. Jack chose to stay in school before signing. You can read the article at this link. You can read our initial coverage at this link.
- Curt Hawkins returned from his knee injury Thursday at a Smackdown live event in Anchorage, Alaska. He went under to Justin Gabriel.
- WWE Champion CM Punk was photographed at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy with Al Bundy… view the photo here.
- Curt Hawkins debuted a new look in his return match at Thursday's Smackdown live event in Anchorage, Alaska. Check it out at this link.
- Undertaker and Ric Flair have been announced for separate Wrestlemania Fan Axxess sessions. For the latest VIP Superstar Schedule, click here.
- Jim Ross says Notre Dame's Manti Te'o needs to man up and explain what in the hell happened, amongst other things in his latest blog on JRsBarBQ.com. Click here to read it.
- There was some chatter online a couple of weeks ago that WWE was looking at potential partners for the WWE Network to lighten the financial burden. WWE then tried to get word out they were not looking for partners even though they were. Dave Meltzer, who first reported the story, ran a retraction from his original report.
We're told the company "freaked out" when word leaked because they didn't want potential partners to know they were soliciting other offers. The main deal WWE was hoping to get done would have been a partnership with DirecTV where the network would have been exclusive to the satellite provider domestically, much like they are with the NFL's Sunday Ticket package. However, we're told DirecTV was not willing to help fund the network.
Our source notes DirecTV was looking to offer WWE a very favorable split of the subscription revenue, much more than WWE would typically receive from cable or satellite providers. What DirecTV would get out of it would be the incentive for wrestling fans to switch to DirecTV while WWE would get to keep the lion's share of the money generated by the network, while also finally having an agreement with a major carrier so they could actually launch the network.
The downside is a deal of this nature would surely alienate the other providers which WWE still depends on to help promote their pay-per-view events. WWE wanted a multimillion annual rights fee for exclusivity of the service to help offset some of the costs of launching the network.
The last we heard, the DirecTV deal was dead and WWE was looking at other potential partners. This is what resulted in the Meltzer report, followed by a retraction with WWE frantically looking to erase word they were looking at possible network partners.
- While it was assumed but not official, TNA Wrestling notified VIP ticket holders of Genesis on Sunday night that it will be the only live pay-per-view held at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida this year. Lockdown, Slammiversary and Bound for Glory will all be held on the road. The only confirmed location is for Lockdown which will be held from Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday, March 10, 2013.
- The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Hulk Hogan has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Tampa-based Laser Spine Institute, saying the clinic performed unnecessary surgeries that damaged his career. The lawsuit claims the Laser Spine Institute performed multiple unnecessary endoscopic surgical procedures that further destabilized his already existing injured back. Hogan also alleges his likeness was used for an endorsement without payment or permission. Click here for more.
- TNA Wrestling has a closer look at Gut Check participant Brian Cage on their official website at this link.
- Matt Morgan worked TNA Genesis with a back injury. The injury occurred at the TNA Jokers Wild Tag Team Tournament taped on Saturday. Click here for full taping results.
- TNA Wrestling's lawsuit against WWE was dismissed in a Nashville, TN court on Wednesday. TNA filed the motion for dismissal, stating terms had been reached by all parties and they agreed to drop the litigation. Legal fees were paid by the respective parties.
TNA filed the lawsuit in May 2012, alleging former office employee Brian Wittenstein provided WWE with confidential information and trade secrets. The litigation claimed WWE used the information in an attempt to poach their roster.
As a result, WWE initiated a hiring freeze where they would not hire anyone with an expiring TNA contract. Not only that but WWE refused to hire anyone that had been employed by by TNA Wrestling while Wittenstein was an employee there.
This is believed to be the reason why Ric Flair is appearing on WWE TV without a contract and why some TNA names re-signed rather than attempting to go to WWE, despite interest in their services.
- TNA Wrestling announced Gut Check Challenge on Thursday. Below is the official press release:
TNA IMPACT WRESTLING is launching The TNA Gut Check Challenge, creating an interactive experience by letting fans decide the one previous “TNA Gut Check” participant who is most deserving of appearing on IMPACT WRESTLING’s “TNA Gut Check” segment on Spike TV. First Round voting will begin Saturday morning at ImpactWrestling.com ImpactWrestling.com will host the TNA Gut Check Challenge with fans interacting to decide the ultimate winner. A tournament format will be open to past participants in the “Gut Check” seminars with videos, short bios and more. This format will give fans a direct impact on who wins the Gut Check Challenge. Fans will learn about the different participants and ultimately choose their favorite to advance. The tournament will be staged in rounds with fans voting to decide who will advance in each round until the final matchup – and winner - is ultimately decided. In the spring of 2012, IMPACT WRESTLING brought “TNA Gut Check” to Spike TV. This competition sees an aspiring wrestler get a chance to tell their story, have a match and be evaluated with the ultimate goal of earning an IMPACT WRESTLING roster contract. Alex Silva, Taeler Hendrix, Sam Shaw, Wes Brisco, Christian York, Crimson and Jesse Sorensen have all passed their “TNA Gut Check” to earn a spot on the Impact Roster. Now the competition is getting even bigger. The judging panel (Sr. VP of Talent Relations Bruce Prichard, Sr. Director of Talent Relations Al Snow, and former Two-Time World Champion Taz) will evaluate wrestlers’ performance and give their final verdict on IMPACT. Fans are asked to answer this one simple question: Which participant is most deserving of appearing on the “TNA Gut Check” segment on Impact Wrestling? For more information on the TNA Gut Check seminars, visit TNAGutCheck.com Follow The TNA Gut Check Challenge on Twitter with others fans at #GutCheckChallenge
- The focal point of this week's Impact Wrestling is the "wedding" segment between Bully Ray and Brooke Hogan. The company did a "bachelor party" Wednesday night at Rick's Cabaret in New York City. Tommy Dreamer was in attendance amongst others and wrote the following on Twitter:
Dixie Carter Tweeted a photo of Brooke's "wedding" dress that you can view below:
Alex Barie will be covering the angle Thursday night as part of his live Impact Wrestling coverage at 8 PM EST here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- With the Bully Ray/Brooke Hogan "wedding" angle airing on this week's Impact Wrestling, it's appropriate to note there was a lot of chatter at last weekend's TNA pay-per-view tapings about the increased role of Mizz Hogan. We're told the Knockouts in particular are upset about her continuing to receive a more prominent role. The plan right now is for her to end up as the leader of Aces and Eights to feud with Hulk Hogan, word of which was going around the locker room and added to the agitation. One person backstage said "there are many strong against" the idea of revealing Brooke as the leader of the faction, but Hulk is really pushing for it. If it does happen, and Brooke is revealed the leader, it will be seen as Hulk Hogan getting his way despite strong opposition.
- Brooke Hogan made a radio appearance in Boston on Thursday to promote the wedding angle with Bully Ray on this week's Impact Wrestling. In it, she claimed Hulk Hogan had no knowledge of her joining TNA and didn't know until her first appearance. She claimed Dixie Carter booked her and kept it a secret from her father. Brooke also claimed to be legitimately in love with Bully Ray and said she was turned on by his muscular tan arms.
- Bully Ray also played up the legitimacy of the wedding angle in media appearances this week. When appearing on "Busted Open" with Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman, Ray put over CM Punk, the new pay-per-view schedule and suggested that TNA should run in more major markets.
- We have a photo of Bully Ray at his "bachelor's party" here at WrestlingNews.net.
- TNA Wrestling issued the following press release, announcing the extension of their TV distribution agreement in Australia:
IMPACT WRESTLING and FUEL TV AUSTRALIA are delighted to announce a two-year contract extension that will see the stable of TNA Wrestling programming continue weekly on Australian Pay-Television.
IMPACT WRESTLING is home to Hulk Hogan, “The Icon” Sting, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle and some of the most talented figures in professional wrestling. Since June 2011 IMPACT WRESTLING has called Fuel TV home in Australia and today's announcement will see this partnership continue with the new agreement.
In addition, two new shows from TNA will debut on Fuel TV with ‘Unfinished Business’ – an in-depth look at historic feuds and moments in IMPACT WRESTLING history – and ‘British Boot Camp’, a thrilling six-part entertainment series following four aspiring British wrestlers as they embark on their ambition to join TNA's wrestling roster.
Adam Howarth, Fuel TV channel manager Australia says: "As a channel dedicated to young males, we've been overwhelmed by the audience reaction to TNA Wrestling, so we are thrilled to announce this extension to our deal. Foxtel subscribers will get more TNA Wrestling on Fuel TV than ever before, including the flag-ship 'Impact Wrestling' weekly show. And they still get the pay-per-view shows over on Main Event. Foxtel is an awesome one-stop-shop for TNA fans."
TNA Executive Vice President, Andy Barton added: “We have a large and vocal fan base in Australia and we are very pleased to announce the continuation of our relationship with Fuel TV. Fuel is a valued partner and the home of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING in Australia”.
How long do you see Alberto Del Rio's latest title reign last? Has the company finally put some faith in him?
I was surprised to see Alberto Del Rio go over at last week's Smackdown taping so it's almost like a state of shock I find myself in with his booking. Some have speculated Del Rio winning the title is a way to get the belt on Dolph Ziggler but I haven't heard anything to back that. WWE is clearly pushing Del Rio as a top babyface in the company and it will be interesting to watch the progression on Raw.
After the way The Shield tore the house down at the TLC PPV in December, it seems that they are more than capable of holding their own in the ring. Why has WWE kept from booking the Shield in matches on television?
WWE knows that Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are capable of working at a very high level and even Roman Reigns impressed everyone at the pay-per-view last month. Their booking on television has to do with their storyline of "fighting for injustice" and it has nothing to do with a lack of confidence in their in-ring skills.
Since every aspect of the Royal Rumble match is planned out, I was wondering if it was the same with other multi-participant matches, such as Money in the Bank and Elimination Chamber, or are they improvised with certain spots in mind?
All matches in WWE are 100% scripted whether they involve two participants or forty (as was the case with the Royal Rumble match a couple years ago). As I mentioned last week, it would be a disaster if the producers just let workers "wing it" live in the ring. There is a plan for all matches, it begins with the creative team and goes to the producers who communicate the plan with the workers involved. It's then up to the workers to collaborate on what spots will be done to make the match work.
Has Bill DeMott been released from the WWE?
I never heard anything from my sources regarding Bill DeMott and was confused with reports of his termination. At the same time his release was being reported, DeMott posted a photo of him with Michael Cole, JBL, Road Dogg and Scott Armstrong on Twitter. DeMott responded to reports, saying there was no truth to them.
Will Edge be on the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw?
Edge will not appear on the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw due to a "loss in the family." You can read more at this link.
Are you as frustrated with the booking of Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena as I am? I mean two weeks in a row he hits every one of his signature moves on Cena and he kicks out. Cena hits one AA and match over. Why can't Dolph win clean, just once?
The program of Dolph Ziggler and John Cena has been phenomenal with excellent in-ring work and certainly the "match of the night" on the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw. Ziggler got the victory at WWE TLC, albeit dirty, but it's not like Cena has gotten all the wins. WWE is hesitant to put Cena under because they don't want to do any damage to future programs. If the plan leaked out on Monday is any indication, they want Cena to look strong heading into Wrestlemania for another match against The Rock. The thinking is a loss from Cena won't make Dolph look bad because he isn't yet at Cena's level.
Why would the WWE put on a complete mess of a show and completely letdown all of the fans with no Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels or any other returning superstar right before a key pay-per-view?
WWE clearly wanted to focus on CM Punk vs. The Rock - the main event of Royal Rumble - which was seen in the closing segment of this week's show. There was a change in thinking sometime along the way as many thought this show would be loaded with past talent. I'll admit it was a letdown without some of the names you mentioned, but it's all part of the process to sell Royal Rumble and of course Wrestlemania. I disagree the show was a "complete mess" as Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena alone was pay-per-view quality. We also got a title change and an appearance from The Rock. One thing that may become problematic is the The Rock not wrestling I feel you would have had a completely different opinion of the show had Rock not appeared on Raw and Smackdown last week. This shows just how quickly a past star returning goes from a surprise to something expected. He's going to need to wrestle on Raw and/or Smackdown to keep fans interested.
What are the chances of Brock Lesnar signing a new contract with WWE after Wrestlemania 29?
WWE was pleased with the impact Brock Lesnar had on the buy rates for Extreme Rules and SummerSlam and are interested in signing him to a new contract after Wrestlemania 29. Some were hopeful they would be able to get him at a cheaper rate but I haven't heard anything in quite some time.
I haven't heard much on Scott Hall since the special on ESPN's E:60. Is he still in the business, and has he had any success in fighting his demons?
The last update I heard on Scott Hall wasn't a good one. WWE wanted him to return to rehab because he was drinking again. The latest is Diamond Dallas Page moving in to do DDP Yoga with him and try and help like he has done with Jake Roberts. Hall has alienated so many people that care about him through his actions, it will be interesting if DDP can make a difference.
Do you think that the work leading up to CM Punk vs. The Rock has made this match more anticipated than The Rock vs. John Cena match at Wrestlemania?
I want to first clarify The Rock vs. John Cena II for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29, although heavily rumored, is not confirmed. Following the awesome mic work from CM Punk and The Rock on last week's WWE Raw, there were a lot of people wishing it was for Wrestlemania rather than Royal Rumble. This is a good problem to have and just raises the bar for potential Wrestlemania main events. I want to go on record now in saying I believe Wrestlemania 29 will be the biggest ever.
Why did Eve Torres leave WWE?
The WWE contract of Eve Torres was coming up and she wanted to pursue outside endeavors, including marrying Rener Gracie. Several WWE Divas have chosen to leave lately and I think it has to do with how they are used in the company along with the grueling WWE schedule. Being on the road 300 days out of the year, living out of suitcase is a tough life that really takes its toll. Combine that with getting banged up in the ring and the fact WWE Divas have a very limited role, it's not very desirable. Divas like Eve feel they have established a large enough following and fan base to try something else that doesn't require the same grueling schedule.
Why did John Cena mention Braden Walker on Raw? Are they friends or was creative just looking to take a shot at him?
Braden Walker was a legend that ruled the world in 2008… OK maybe not. Chris Harris' WWE gimmick, Braden Walker, became infamous when he showed up out-of-shape and overweight and lasted only a couple weeks. Let's just take a moment to remember him:
Do you think that Triple H will be inducted to the Hall Of Fame this year?
There are new rumblings about inducting the Kliq into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. I think it's a mistake because Hunter is someone that should be the face of a class and headline the Hall of Fame himself. It would be somewhat of a rib on Mick Foley, considering Hunter never viewed him as a big star. File it as rumor for now and we'll hope WWE waits before inducting Triple H.
Do the WWE Superstars/Divas get to choose who do they want to be on the road with?
Yes, WWE Superstars and Divas can choose who they want to travel with, if anyone at all. Most travel in pairs so they can split expenses as none of the domestic road expenses are covered by WWE.
I'm probably the 100 person to ask you this, but now with the lawsuit dropped from TNA, what wrestlers do you see jumping ship to WWE?
We're just getting the details about TNA Wrestling settling their lawsuit with WWE. When I first heard the news, I thought of Velvet Sky, who reportedly had interest in going to WWE but decided to re-sign with TNA due to the ongoing limitation. It's too early to tell the impact this will have but one name that has patiently waited is Alex Shelley. Throughout it all Shelley was adamant he wasn't going to re-sign with TNA, as he was going to work independent dates while waiting for Chris Sabin to get healthy. His thinking was to go to WWE with Sabin and that could now be a possibility (assuming Sabin decides to cut ties with TNA, which could become more complicated given Velvet Sky's situation). Given the fact TNA is using Tommy Dreamer (who appeared for WWE a month ago) in the Brooke Hogan wedding angle, I would look for them to immediately lock Ric Flair up in a contract. I can't help but think TNA is using Dreamer because of his WWE appearance.
Has Michael Cole become more tolerant to listen too ever since Jerry Lawler had a heart attack?
It's amazing what a real-life situation can do for someone's public perception. Viewers sympathized with Michael Cole when Jerry Lawler went down on the live episode of WWE Raw on 9/11 and as a result, he was able to restore his image amongst many fans. Prior to the incident, Cole had struggled to connect with the WWE fan base and stepped into impossible shoes as the replacement of the beloved Jim Ross. I also think it's worth noting that commentary has gotten better over the months. I am high up on the three-man booth of Cole, JBL and Lawler as they work well together. It also doesn't hurt that Cole is no longer overexposed by working Smackdown.
I thought the Diva's Title match was one of the best divas match in a long time. What's your opinion on the match between Eve and Kaitlyn from Raw this past Monday? Did they get any high remarks backstage?
Eve Torres and Kaitlyn worked hard in the five minutes they were allotted to do the Divas title change on this week's Raw. While Eve originally planned to work through January, we can confirm the title change was scheduled as early as 1/7 (we broke it on 1/10). They deserved more time but Eve wanted to give her fans something to remember and Kaitlyn wanted to use the match to catapult her stock in WWE. No one mentioned the match to me but the fact that we're talking about a five minute match squeezed into the middle of an episode of Raw as one of the best Divas matches in a "long time," goes to show the current state of the division.
With Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix and now Eve Torres leaving WWE, do you think more Divas will be headed out the door because of not being utilized on TV for example the extremely talented Alicia Fox and Natayla?
I do believe the way the Divas are consistently underutilized played a part in the departures of the aforementioned Divas, however, the women you mentioned were on the road continuously for several years. It's easy to get burned out, and the WWE lifestyle certainly takes its toll, especially when one wants to do anything other than wrestle. The full-time WWE schedule allows for one thing… wrestling. Other than that, there's no time for anything, including outside projects or even a family life. With that being said, I can't predict the future as to what other Divas will do as some (such a Kaitlyn) are using the opportunity to raise their stock in the company.
If Undertaker is to work Wrestlemania 29, when do you see him returning to WWE television?
I would expect Undertaker back anytime after Royal Rumble, as there are at least preliminary plans for him to return and defend "the streak" at Wrestlemania 29 this year. A lot of people hoped he would make a cameo on the 20th Anniversary of Raw, given he lives in Texas, but for whatever reason it didn't happen.
Did this Monday's 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw fall horribly flat in comparison to Raw 1000 last summer?
Raw's 20th Anniversary was a disappointment if one was expecting several cameos from past stars, however, I thought it was a pretty good show. As I noted earlier in the week, we saw great wrestling, a title change and an entertaining segment between The Rock and CM Punk. Expectations seemed to be unreachable based on the anticipation of several names from the past appearing. The fact of the matter is both Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels were never scheduled to appear and WWE wanted to stay the course with the build towards Royal Rumble.
I've read if Brock Lesnar re-signs with WWE he'll work CM Punk at SummerSlam and Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, true or not?
No creative plans for Brock Lesnar have been discussed past Wrestlemania 29 this year. That's not to say Vince McMahon (and others) haven't thought of the possibilities if they can re-sign Lesnar for another year but be careful what you read online. While we have a pretty good idea the plans for Wrestlemania this year, nothing is 100% set in stone.