Talent Concerns Over WWE Network, Ultimate Warrior To Hall Of Fame, Two TNA Releases, Daniel Bryan Turns On Bray Wyatt; Suffers Concussion, Kurt Angle To Have Knee Surgery, Mae Young Dies, How Vince McMahon Went To Great Lengths Over Leaks, Ryback Unveils

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Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, January 11, 2013 to Friday, January 17, 2014 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!

Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW

WWE News

- The Dayton City Paper has a new Q&A with WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose to promote the January 20, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. In it, Ambrose is asked what it's like working for WWE. Ambrose answered by saying it's surreal to travel the world on someone else's dime but you're never really home. He said if you like being at home, WWE is not for you. Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- JBL and Michael Cole go old school in the latest episode of The JBL & Cole Show that you can also watch at this link.

- Jake Roberts recently did a Google Hangout with fans. You can watch him answer questions at this link.

- Booker T's Reality of Wrestling promotion received local television clearance in Houston, Texas. You can watch Book make the announcement at this link.

- WWEannounced on Friday they have secured a new five-year exclusive television distribution agreement that will make CTH the home of all WWE programming in Thailand.

- While the upcoming domestic WWE TV deal is getting all of the attention, the company's deal with Sky in the United Kingdom is coming up at the end of this year. Negotiations have been underway for the past several months.

- Sami Zayn appeared with a crutch early on during this week's WWE NXT tapings, however, later in the night in a a segment where his rematch was announced against Antonio Cesaro for the 2/27 show, he was in the ring unassisted.

- Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee says he's modeled his whole personality after The Rock. In a new article by Yahoo! Sports, McAfee's brief experience in the ring that preceded his NFL career is detailed at this link.

- WWE posted an article on dot com titled "9 facts you NEED TO KNOW about WWE Network," touting attractive aspects of the forthcoming network that will change the pro wrestling business forever. Below are the highlights from the piece:

WWE Network costs less than two five dollar footlongs
Touting the price, WWE explains a subscription runs for six months at a time. They compare how the price of 6-months of the WWE Network is the same price as a single Wrestlemania ordered from a local cable or satellite prover, noting it's a "steal even Cryme Tyme couldn’t pull off."

WWE Network integrates into the WWE App
There is no separate App for the WWE Network on devices compatible for the WWE App. There will be an update to include it.

WWE Network supersizes Raw and SmackDown
There will be live Pre-Shows and Post-Shows for Raw and Smackdown, setting the stage and tying up the chaos each episode. Replays of the shows will also be offered, freeing up DVR space.

WWE Network has the cure for the common show
The company touts "unrestrained, uncensored and unedited" past programming "just the way you remember it." They say this is for fans of the Attitude Era before WWE went TV-PG.

WWE Network gets Extreme with the Big Boys
The WWE Network will include all past WWE, WCW and ECW pay-per-views.

WWE Network takes you to NXT
The company's developmental programming will be included.

WWE Network is available on most major platforms
The WWE Network will be available on "Desktops/Laptops, iOS and Android phones, Sony PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, Roku, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire."

Click here for coverage on dot com.

- Wrestling News World reader Stan Hain sent world that it was announced Friday that Ricochet will challenge Johnny Gargano for his title at the Dragon Gate USA shows over Wrestlemania XXX weekend. This indicates Ricochet didn't land a contract with WWE as expected. Ricochet was at WWE's tryout camp at the WWE Performance Center last month and was believed to be very close to landing a developmental contract.

- Michelle McCool recently underwent wrist surgery to help with chronic pain caused by carpal tunnel and/or arthritis.

- While Dolph Ziggler is on the mend following normal results of an ImPACT concussion test, there's a lot of chatter regarding his future moving forward. One observer noted that even though neither one of his last two concussions were his fault, he's going to have to alter his in-ring style.

- WWE and Mattel will be releasing a special line of two-packs featuring Scooby-Doo and WWE wrestlers.

- There were a series of strange Tweets made from the verified Twitter account of Ryback located at Twitter.com/Ryback22 following Saturday night's WWE live event in Buffalo, New York. After the live event, which saw Ryback and Curtis Axel go under to The Prime Time Players, the former number one contender spent time Tweeting nonsense on the social media platform (nonsense on Twitter?). The Tweets appeared to be satirical in nature following his controversial match at last Monday's WWE Superstars taping that left Dolph Zigglerwith a concussion. Ryback has already re-formatted his Twitter account, however, his activity is archived here on dot com.

- Namoi (real name Trinity McCray) filmed a music video at The DrYnk Soho in Tampa, Florida on Friday. The video will be for her upcoming single titled, "Dance All Night." Fellow Total Divas cast members Natalya and her real-life boyfriend Jimmy Uso were at the taping. Below is a photo:

- Jim Ross wrote a piece on FoxSports.com regarding the Ric Flair/Carolina Panthers controversy from last week. You can read it at this link. Speaking of Ross, he noted in his new blog he hasn't signed a contract with FoxSports.com but they are close. JR also discusses his upcoming podcast for Podcast One.

- Ryback continued his bizarre (heel?) behavior on Twitter throughout Sunday, even after pulling double duty at WWE's live event Sunday in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Ryback teamed with Curtis Axel to go over The Prime Time Players and 3MB and went under to WWE Tag Team Champions Goldust & Cody Rhodes later in the night. While Ryback has already deleted all of his Tweets from Sunday but they are archived here on dot com. This update is an update to an earlier item, See also -Ryback Causes A Stir On Twitter After WWE Live Event, where people were talking about his future with the company.

- Dot com featured Jake "The Snake" Roberts in a new article posted at this link to discuss his return to WWE at last week's "Old School" episode of Monday Night Raw. Below are the highlights:

Diamond Dallas Page called Jake on Saturday and told him WWE wanted to speak with him about an opportunity.

WWE flew Roberts into Washington instead of Baltimore. They hid him in one of the busses until 10 minutes before his return on the show. He was told what he'd be doing on the show at approximately 5 PM, after being there for four or five hours. Roberts said the down time was good because it gave him time to reflect about where he'd been and what got him there. WWE provided him a number to call if he needed anything as well as food.

Other than DDP, Mark Carrano from Talent Relations, the person that booked his travel, Triple H and Vince McMahon were the only people aware of his return. They smuggled him into the Gorilla Position. Roberts said shaking Vince's hand again was "really big" for him.

Roberts told the official WWE website he really appreciates CM Punk so much more than than he ever has. He put him over for kneeling down over at the side and allowing for him to have his moment on last week's show. Roberts said he's an "old fart" who screwed up what he had and Punk didn't have to do that.

Jake said he would love to appear at Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania XXX later this year because he wants to leave the business on his own terms.

- Jack Swagger's recent drug arrest kept him off WWE's live event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Sunday. As a result, Antonio Cesaro (Swagger's tag team partner) faced Fernando (of Los Matadores) in a singles match. We have quick results from the show at this link. Swagger was arrested on February 19, 2013 in Mississippi and charged with possession of marijuana, speeding and Driving Under the Influence. It was the drug charge that kept him out of Canada but he was found guilty of DUI. You can read our coverage from last year at this link.

- WWEannounced on Monday that tickets for the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony will go on sale Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 11 AM EST. The ceremony will take place from the New Orleans Arena the night before Wrestlemania XXX on Saturday, April 5, 2014. No inductees for this year's class have been announced as of press time.

- Lilian Garcia will handle the ring announce duties for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Providence, Rhode Island. I haven't heard where Justin Roberts will be as of this writing.

- R&B singer Ray J was photographed leaving a gym in Los Angeles with Cameron over the weekend. Speculation suggests he'll make an appearance on Season 2 of Total Divas. Remember when John Cenacalled out Ray J?

- Wrestling News World reader Dustyn sent word that WWE will return to the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Friday, March 7, 2014. Click here for ticket information, as they'll go on sale on Saturday with a presale earlier in the week.

- While this might come as a surprise, we're told the WWE talent roster isn't as excited as everyone else regarding the WWE Network. From the workers we've heard from, there is concern regarding pay-per-view bonuses and their biggest payday of the year - Wrestlemania - being effected. We're told there was no explanation given to workers prior to the WWE Network announcement was made last week and it's a topic Vince McMahon is scheduled to address Monday at Raw in Providence, Rhode Island. According to a source, it's likely WWE didn't address the issue with talent before the announcement because of an overwhelming paranoia regarding leaks. WWE took extreme measures last week to assure the content of the WWE Network announcement was not leaked. While the confirmation of the announcement was accidentally leaked the day before, we'll have more later this week about the ridiculous measures to the company took to keep their announcement off the Internet.

- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,816,000 viewers with a 1.96 cable rating on SyFy. Click here to see how the show stacked up against the competition for Friday night.

- The Winnipeg Sun is reporting that Chris Jericho is "bringing the WWE to Winnipeg." The company has announced a live event scheduled for March 7, 2014 from the MTS Centre in Manitoba. Jericho does not currently have a WWE contract but that could obviously change as we get into Wrestlemania XXX season. He is not, as of this writing, included on the official list of advertised talent. However, given how the company spoiled Batista's return with advanced promotional material, it's feasible it could happen again. 6:32 PM EST January 13, 2014 Update: A WWE spokesman told me the newspaper made an error and there is nothing to Chris Jericho being advertised of this writing. It's part of this particular person's job [in WWE] to make sure that information in regards to the company is correct and I trust their word. End update.

- Hulk Hogan was at Affiliate Summit West at the Paris in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday, we are able to confirm. Hogan was at the booth for Hostamania, where he was meeting fans and taking pictures.

Unlike reports last week hinging on tips from anonymous sources, former Wrestling News World co-owner Ryan Gray was there and snapped a photo. You can view it below:

I tried to get Ryan to wait in line and meet him [to get a cool photo for the site] but he declined.

- WWE announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that the Ultimate Warrior will be the first inductee into the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame.

The 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place from the New Orleans Arena the night before Wrestlemania XXX on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Tickets go on sale on Saturday.

CM Punk Tweeted his support of the induction minutes after it was announced in addition who he thinks should also be inducted. The following is from Twitter:

- WWE announced the following entrants for the 30-man Royal Rumble match on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.

CM Punk
Rey Mysterio
Kofi Kingston
Fandango
The Miz
Big E Langston
R-Truth
Cody Rhodes
Goldust
Xavier Woods

These entrants join Batista and Alberto Del Rio as they've already been announced.

WWE Royal Rumble 2014 will take place Sunday, January 26, 2014 from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Make plans to join us for exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- WWE NXT Diva Emma made her Raw debut on this week's show from Providence, Rhode Island. Emma was shown in the crowd holding a sign that read "#EMMAtaining" during the tag team match with WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee & Tamina opposing Naomi & Cameron.

Emma has been on the road on main roster live events over the past couple weeks and teamed with Natalya to oppose AJ Lee and Tamina at a show last weekend.

- Billy Gunn & Road Dogg will face WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust in a non-title match on this week's episode of Smackdown.

Below are news and notes from this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Providence, Rhode Island. We'll have Backstage Notes from the show online later in the week:

- This week's show was a legitimate sellout from the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. They didn't announce a number but did announce this week's show was episode #1077.

- The official sponsor for Royal Rumble 2014 is Jackson Hewitt Tax Services.

- Billy Gunn and Road Dogg, known collectively as The New Age Outlaws, worked this week's show with CM Punk in a match against The Shield. Both Gunn and Dogg work as producers backstage in WWE. In a swerve, the tag team left Punk when he was going for a tag. This resulted in Punk being pinned by Roman Reigns and assaulted after the match.

- WWE reiterated the WWE Network will include every WWE, WCW and ECW on-demand. We all have serious doubts about the company including WWF Over the Edge 1999, the show in which Owen Hart died on. The company never released the pay-per-view on VHS or DVD (which absolutely was the correct move).

- Jerry Lawler returned to announce following last week's absence due to a stomach bug.

- Lilian Garcia worked as the show's ring announcer in place of Justin Roberts. This was expected as we reported here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- This was the first week since September 2013 WWE didn't have to oppose stiff competition on ESPN. Monday Night Football has concluded and last week was the 2014 BCS National Football Game.

- This week's Monday Night Raw marked 211 days of the WWE Divas Championship reign for AJ Lee. It was noted on commentary that's only 5 days off Maryse's longest reign ever.

- WWE NXT Diva Emma was in the crowd for the Divas tag team match between AJ Lee & Tamina vs. Naomi & Cameron. She was spotlighted on commentary and shown holding a sign that read "#EMMAtaining." Emma has been on main roster live events over the past couple weeks and teamed with Natalya to oppose AJ Lee and Tamina at a show last weekend.

- The Ultimate Warrior was officially announced as the first inductee into the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame. We have more at this link.

- CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Big E Langston, R-Truth, Xavier Woods, Cody Rhodes & Goldust were all announced as 30-man Royal Rumble match entrants. Batista and Alberto Del Rio have already been announced.

- Randy Orton "attacked" John Cena's father after getting rolled up by Kofi Kingston in a surprising finish to their singles match. Cena's father was sitting at ringside and spotlighted by Cena earlier in the night. Cena Sr. is a trained professional wrestler and a regular on the northeast independent scene. The angle was done to make things "personal" headed into their rematch for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble. The kayfabe update on Cena Sr's condition was he possible suffered a "fractured orbital socket" but "his heart was OK."

- Matthew Mulligan, Michael Hoomanawanui, Cari Kalama and James Develin of the New England Patriots were guests at this week's show. Stephanie McMahon Tweeted a photo at this link.

- Batista will make his return to WWE on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw from Wright State University's Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio.

- The New Age Outlaws will face WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust in a non-title match on this week's episode of Smackdown.

- The overrun segment of this week's show featured Daniel Bryan unloading on Bray Wyatt with his kicks, much to the appeasement of the live crowd. Bryan took off his Wyatt Family jump suit to reveal his ring gear and had the entire sold out crowd doing the "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant.

- Daniel Bryan separated from The Wyatt Family faction following the steel cage main event on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. In the bout, Bryan teamed with Bray Wyatt in a rematch from earlier in the night against The Usos. The bout wasn't the story but was won when both the Usos escaped over-the-top of the steel cage structure.

After the match, Bryan ended up unloading on Bray Wyatt [after Bray called him a coward] and ripped off his Wyatt Family jump suit, exposing his ring gear. The crowd came absolutely unglued, with the sold out Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence doing the "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant in unison as the show went off the air.

Allow my reaction from Twitter bring you into the moment:

- Wrestling News World reader Jason sent word that you can pre-order the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Blu-ray and DVD at this link. The PPV will be released on February 25, 2014.

- After this week's Monday Night Raw went off the air, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton was scheduled to face John Cena in a dark match main event. Since Cena "left" earlier in the night, Orton declared himself the winner. Cena hit the ring and got on the mic. He told Orton his dad said he hit like a girl, which resulted in Orton retreating. Cena introduced the New England Patriots in attendance to end the taping.

- This week's Batista's return vignette is online now at this link.

- Video of the memorable segment involving Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt that ended this week's episode of Monday Night Raw is online at this link.

- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is now online at this link.

For those that missed it on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, The New Age Outlaws left CM Punk in their match against The Shield when Punk was stretched out for a tag. Renee Young asked the Outlaws for comment [on Backstage Fallout] when Road Dogg responded by saying he had time for a quick word, a matter of time he had time for two words - before walking off.

The angle will continue as The New Age Outlaws will oppose WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust on this week's episode of Smackdown.

The storyline suggests The New Age Outlaws were "doing Triple H a favor," presumably laying the groundwork for a potential Hunter vs. Punk program. Punk was an announced entrant for the 30-man Royal Rumble match.

- Vince McMahon will host a conference call with investors on Tuesday morning to discuss to the WWE Network. I'll be on the call on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com and will have live coverage throughout.

- Lita answered some questions on the official website of Trish Stratus at this link.

- The consensus regarding the WWE Hall of Fameinduction of the Ultimate Warrior is "it's about time." Almost everyone I've heard from feels it's long overdue and it absolutely was deserved. Warrior reached an agreement with the company in recent weeks but their relationship was very much repaired when he agreed to do the WWE 2k14 video game.

Backstage news and notes from Monday Night Raw in Providence, Rhode Island…

- The script for this week's show was finalized on Monday morning and not touched after Vince McMahon gave it the final approval.

- Daniel Bryan wasn't originally scheduled to turn on Bray Wyatt until Wrestlemania XXX. However, the decision was made over the weekend to turn him because WWE didn't want to miss their opportunity. We're told what happened at the Michigan State University game last week provided the company further proof they needed to be taking full advantage of the Daniel Bryan character. Also, as I've been reporting, Bryan isn't being blamed for the SummerSlam debacle last August.

- As for the response to Daniel Bryan on this week's show, it was compared to CM Punk's "pipe bomb promo" in 2011.

- The new plan does have CM Punk vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX, as we suspected after the tease made in the backstage segment with Kane. Speaking of Punk, he was thanked for being patient and this is being seen as a "main event opportunity" for him at the biggest show of the year.

- Ryback "getting heat" from all three commentators, including Jerry Lawer'selevator joke, was a directive from Vince McMahon. Ryback's bizarre weekend on Twitter did nothing to improve his declining stock within the company. In addition to being seen as someone that is eccentric, we're told any time he's given an opportunity, he gets a big head and his ego ruins it. We're told Vince has officially soured on him.

- As for Vince McMahon addressing how show bonuses would be impacted by the forthcoming WWE Network, I wasn't given any information. There were rumors swirling the planned meeting had been canceled but this will be a topic the company will have to address with their talent roster.

- WWE Superstars and Divas react to the new WWE Network at this link.

- WWE NXT referee Shawn Bennett debuted on this week's Monday Night Raw in Providence, Rhode Island. According to Twitter, he's booked for Tuesday night's Smackdown taping in Worcester, MA.

- Newsday's Josh Stewart has a new article online featuring quotes from former ESPN executive Larry Mann about the forthcoming WWE Network. You can read it at this link.

- WWE will release a new Ultimate Warrior DVD on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 to coincide with his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. The company will also release a Paul Heyman DVD, titled "The Paul Heyman Story," in August.

- Vince McMahon noted in Tuesday's conference call that WWE is in the negotiating window for their new domestic TV deal. He hopes to re-sign with NBC Universal, their current domestic television partner, to keep Monday Night Raw on the USA Network. NBC Universal has to accept or reject WWE's final offer by February 15, 2014. If they reject it, other entities will have until February 28, 2014 to submit bids. WWE is hoping to announce their new deal in April or May and it won't take effect until October.

- One of biggest possible changes in regards to WWE's "core programming" of Raw and Smackdown is there's a chance Smackdown could become a live two-hour show. A move from tape would likely mean a new night and WWE asking for more compensation to offset the increased production cost.

- Jim Ross checked in with a new blog on his official website where he gave his thoughts on this week's Monday Night Raw and details on his upcoming Wrestlemania XXX weekend shows. Click here to read his latest.

- We noted earlier that WWE plans to release "The Paul Heyman Story" on DVD and Blu-Ray in August. Heyman posted an anti-climatic teaser for the piece at this link.

- WWE posted a farewell message from Kaitlynhere on dot com. Below are notes regarding her future:

Kaitlyn will be getting married and is planning her own wedding.

She is getting back into the fitness industry and will be working with a new company called Prime Nutrition. Kailtyn's fiancé PJ Braun is president of the company.

Kaitlyn will also be developing her own fitness line for women into fitness with curves.

The former WWE Divas Champion quit the company last week and finished up at last week's television tapings.

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,403,667 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show's viewership broke down by hour:

Hour 1 - 4,399,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 4,598,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 4,214,000 viewers

Raw won the night on cable without the stiff competition from ESPN. As previously noted, this was the first week since September 2013 they haven't faced significant competition from the sports network.

It is of note that the average viewership was down from last week's "Old School" episode, which was up against very significant competition.

- Daniel Bryan Tweeted the following in response to the memorable segment that closed this week's episode of Monday Night Raw:

Obviously Bryan is working when talking about bringing "down the machine," however, humility is one of the things that makes me root for him that much more. Bryan is a guy that is known for downplaying his own accomplishments and maintaining a humble attitude. I've spoken to people that have told me success hasn't changed him a bit.

- I am able to confirm through a WWE spokesman that Daniel Bryan suffered a concussion on Monday night. The injury apparently happened during the steel cage tag match main event on this week's episode of Raw. The bout saw Bryan team with Bray Wyatt to oppose The Usos in a re-match from earlier in the show. He went on to have one of the best segments in Raw history after turning on Bray Wyatt. So far, neither dot com nor Bryan have acknowledged the injury. Bryan did post a storyline-driven Tweet [about the segment] that you can read at this link.

- WWEconfirmed Tuesday night on dot com that Mae Young has died. She was 90-years-old.

Young had been in failing health and there were inaccurate reports she had died last week. WWE noted she was the "oldest living squared circle personality."

Stephanie McMahon paid tribute to Young on Twitter shortly after the news broke:

- The wrestling world is grieving the loss of Mae Young as the legendary female wrestler died Tuesday at the age of 90. After WWEconfirmed the news on dot com, Vince McMahon issued the following statement:

"There will never be another Mae Young," said WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. "Her longevity in sports entertainment may never be matched, and I will forever be grateful for all of her contributions to the industry. On behalf of WWE, I extend our sincerest condolences to her family and friends."

There was a heartwarming moment backstage at the March 4, 2013 "Old School" episode of Monday Night Raw where Vince and Triple H presented Mae Young with a Divas Championship belt that Stephanie McMahon had made for her in honor of her 90th birthday. You could really tell how much Mae meant to Vince and the moment revealed a rare softer side of the WWE boss. You can watch the moment at this link or embedded in the video below:

WWE posted the following video tributes that I would expect to make it to television:

In Memory of Johnnie Mae Young

A tribute to the one and only Mae Young (1923 - 2014)

Below are news and notes from this week's Smackdown taping at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts:

- Daniel Bryan did not work this week's taping after being diagnosed with a concussion on Monday night. Details regarding the injury are not available as the only thing we can confirm as of this writing is the injury did in fact occur, as a WWE spokesman responded to our request for confirmation just after 8 PM EST on Tuesday night.

- Alexander Rusev was at this week's taping and worked a dark match prior to the cameras started filming against Tyson Kidd. He went over via submission. Rusev has been on the road with the main WWE roster at live events over the past couple of weekends. You can check out his developmental profile at this link.

- After this week's taping, CM Punk beat The Shield in a 3-on-1 handicap dark match main event.

- Add Bad News Barrett as an entrant in the 30-man Royal Rumble match.

- The Bella Twins served as ring announcers for Fandango vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston, Askana served as ring announcer for The Usos vs. The Real Americans and Eva Marie severed as the ring announcer of Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio.

- WWE NXT Diva Emma was in the crowd with her #Emmataining sign that she had Monday night at Raw.

Complete Smackdown taping results for this week are available at this link.

- WWE followed-up on Daniel Bryanturning on Bray Wyatt on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in a segment taped for this week's episode of Smackdown on Tuesday night.

In the segment, Bray came out with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan and said that he gave Bryan a chance but now he will burn. Below is an excerpt from our spoiler report by Brooks Oglesby:

The Wyatt Family comes to the ring and Bray Wyatt cuts a promo. He talks about being saved by Sister Abigail before addressing Daniel Bryan attacking him on Raw. Bray says he gave Bryan a chance, but now he will burn.

As reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Bryan didn't work this week's taping after being diagnosed with a concussion.

You can watch the segment from Raw at this link.

- Based on the Twitter activity of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, it's clear that WWE wants to do something with him at Wrestlemania XXX. What that will be, I cannot confirm as of this writing. Speaking of Piper, he noted he was headed to Orlando to do something with WWE Legends' House and was recently a guest on Steve Austin's podcast.

- The second part of Chris Jericho's interview with Bret Hart is online at this link.

- Remember that January 22, 2014 is WWE night at the Cleveland Cavilers home game against my beloved Chicago Bulls. The company is scheduled to send Dolph Ziggler and The Miz, both from Cleveland, the make an appearance. Click here to buy tickets.

- John Cena is scheduled to appear on Katie Couric's syndicated show on Wednesday. You can watch a preview at this link.

- Jim Ross starts his podcast with Podcast One in February. The current plan is for new episodes to be released every Wednesday.

- As we've been reporting, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have been encouraging (begging?) Vince McMahon to take some time off after dealing with another bout of diverticulitis, however, he continues to go "full speed ahead" with the announcement of the WWE Network and upcoming TV licensing deal. We're told as the announcement of the Network launch got closer last week, Vince became "downright obsessed" with it being as big of a surprise as possible. McMahon wasn't happy that so much information about the Network had leaked before he had the opportunity to announce it himself.

In the weeks leading up to the International CES in Las Vegas, Vince had people in the company monitoring websites and social media accounts of former employees to try and find out who was leaking information. False information was circulated to see what would leak, so the source could be traced.

Last Wednesday afternoon in the hours before the formal WWE Announcement, Vince McMahon held a conference call with several people in the company he suspected were responsible for the leaks. According to a source with knowledge of the call, Vince told them false details to see if any of it ended up reported online.

Vince McMahon told the LA Times they had deals with major distributors to launch the WWE Network as a linear network but he wouldn't sign them (much to the chagrin of his staff). Well, on the call Vince "lied to several people" and claimed there had been a breakthrough in negotiations and the WWE Network was going to launch in a traditional model after all. Vince wanted to see if the information relayed on the call made its way online.

From what we've been told, a lot of the people Vince suspected of leaking information from the WWE office had done nothing of the sort. Our source said most of the leaks about the WWE Network had come from people in the cable industry as well as people associated with MLB Advanced Media. These people "were not as careful about the details," as Vince would have preferred.

- This week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole is now online. Below are the highlights followed by the video:

Cole questioned Hunter about his absence from this week's Monday Night Raw and transitioned into The New Age Outlaws walking out on CM Punk during their match against The Shield. Hunter said he and Stephanie McMahon have a lot of responsibilities and there was nothing to their Raw absence. As for Punk, he said Punk's paranoia was to blame and The New Age Outlaws are grown men that think for themselves. He said he likes CM Punk but questioned if he had a personality issue that caused people to walk away from him.

Hunter called Randy Orton's storyline attack on John Cena's father an ugly situation. He said Randy knows how to reach him if he needs to talk to him. Triple H said they're going to investigate what happened and "handle it internally."

Regarding Ultimate Warrior's WWE Hall of Fame induction, he said time heals all wounds. Triple H said Warrior is one of the biggest WWE superstars of all-time and should be in the WWE Hall of Fame. He said it's best for business and his acceptance speech is going to be awesome. Hunter said that alone will be worth the price of admission.

The interview concluded with Hunter and Cole plugging the return of Batista on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw.

You can watch this week's interview at this link.

- Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard" has a new Q&A online with the Ultimate Warrior. In the piece, it's mentioned that Sting is still wrestling and he's asked if he has a big match left. Warrior responded by saying not the 90s version of The Ultimate Warrior but he's still very intense. He said he thinks something "could be arranged." You can read the piece in its entirety at this link.

- Speaking of the Ultimate Warrior, TMZ Sports caught up with Hulk Hogan at LAX and he said Warrior is a good choice for the WWE Hall of Fame. He said kids aren't going to want to go to school anymore with the WWE Network. You can watch the encounter at this link.

- John Cena was in New York City on Wednesday, making media rounds about his "10 Weeks Body Change" fitness program. You can watch appearances here and here.

- Hulk Hogan Tweeted on Wednesday that he's filming a Super Bowl commercial. The following is from Twitter:

Hogan was in Las Vegas earlier this week at Affiliate Summit West with Hostamnia and was filmed by TMZ at LAX.

- Bad News Barrett is officially an announced entrant in the 30-man Royal Rumble match. We previously noted in our news and notes from this week's Smackdown taping.

- Ultimate Warrior Tweeted the following about his upcoming WWE Hall of Fame induction:

- Ric Flair was in attendance at UFC Fight Night 35 in Georgia on Wednesday. Dana White Tweeted the following photo:

- AJ Lee Tweeted the following about becoming the longest-reining WWE Divas Champion:

- We continue to receive emails regarding Evan Bourne's status with WWE. As we reported exclusively here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, Bourne inquired about a return at SummerSlam last August but was told he wasn't needed. Bourne is still hoping to return to WWE and remains under a Performer's Contract. He's been out since early 2012 after consecutive WWE Wellness Policy violations followed by a Lisfranc injury suffered in a car accident. He returned to the ring at an NXT live event in March 2013 but hasn't been seen since. A quick look at Bourne's verified Twitter account, shows he remains actively engaged Tweeting about things related to WWE.

- The Prime Time Players answer questions from fans in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch it at this link.

Both Titus O'Neil and Darren Young Tweeted they received awesome news about the WWE Network. You can read their Tweets below:

In the above video, O'Neil says Dave Batista is one his closest friends and he would like to pay him back for getting him into this business by facing him.

- For those that missed this week's episode of WWE Main Event (results/video highlights), Ryback did a lap around the ring after every match, including the Bad News Barrett segment.

This is the new wrinkle for Ryback's character as he's booked to be an "insane" heel. At one point the question was raised on commentary if viewers had heard of a "paranoid schizophrenic," (implying that's what Ryback was). This explains the bizarre social media behavior now coined as "Tweet and delete."

Many fans started to question the stability of the former number one contender when he went on a bizarre Twitter rant after Saturday night's WWE live event. The Tweets continued on Sunday and even seemed to get personal after this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.

As it turns out, the entire thing is an elaborate work to try and generate heat virally. Apparently we weren't the only ones that thought Ryback had "lost it" as people within the company had questioned his eccentric behavior. Ryback is cordial at shows, however, he's not close with anyone and generally keeps to himself.

- While Twitter continues to be used as a tool to build storylines and accentuate fictional characters, one remark from Batista didn't sit well with his co-workers. After a kayfabe exchange with Alberto Del Rio, Batista Tweeted:

Seems 2 me that some C level stars in a B level star era have bought into their own hype. Don’t turn a work into a shoot. #realitycheck

As we originally reported, the Tweet was deleted minutes after it posted but it didn't take long for the word to circulate. Basically the remark was seen as the "back in the day" mentality that most current workers outright reject. Batista has always been opinionated and is no stranger to backstage controversy, so the remark was not surprising. The returning World Heavyweight Champion has been one of the loudest critics of the company's PG era and downright mocked The Miz defending the WWE Championship in the WrestleMania XXVII main event.

- We're told a lot of undercard talent in WWE is less than thrilled that Michael Hayes is back. The company's head producer returned earlier last month after a suspension that resulted in a rehabilitation stint.

Apparently there are those hoping he wouldn't be back because they don't enjoy working under him. However, we're told Hayes has been a model citizen since returning to WWE and hasn't displayed any outlandish behavior on the road. According to a source close to Hayes, he realizes he was close to getting fired last year and is now on his best behavior.

- UFC President Dana Whitecontinued to tease the idea of Brock Lesnar fighting again Wednesday night after UFC Fight Night 35, implying there's a possibility a deal could be worked out with WWE. We covered this last week after a Tweet made by Los Angeles Times sports writer Lance Pugmire that claimed White and Lesnar were "talking."

WWE issued an exclusive statement to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, confirming they have exclusive rights to Lesnar's services and that exclusivity extends to ultimate fighting competitions.

However, a source with knowledge of the situation, told me that WWE would allow Lesnar to fight for UFC if he was "guaranteed to win." They doubted there was a possibility of it actually happening as Lesnar usually backs off wanting to fight again after the initial urge to return.

The bottom-line is Lesnar is contractually bound to WWE and any fight for UFC would have to be approved by them throughout the duration of the agreement.

- Mick Foley wrote on his Facebook page that his WWE contract is coming up but the two parties plan to continue to work together on a case-by-case basis. Foley explained the difference (other than not getting a weekly check) is he'll work prospective WWE projects around his schedule rather than vice versa.

Foley said WWE has expressed interest in working with him on live shows and "and a WWE produced, first-class, multi-media one-man Mick Foley show" has always been his long-term goal.

Click here for the latest directly from Mick.

- Ric Flair is scheduled to serve as grand marshal at Zaxby's Speedfest on January 26, 2014 at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Georgia. Philly.com has more at this link.

- Lisa Marie Varon (f/k/a Victoria) was quoted in the Chicago Tribune talking about the WWE Network and her restaurant The Squared Circle. You can read it at this link.

- Jim Ross remembered Mae Young in a new blog entry at this link, his new blog today is located at this link.

- John Cena was a guest on "Watch What Happens Live" with Andy Cohen. He talked about preparing for matches, kayfabed on his relationship with Nikki Bella and more. You can watch video highlights at this link.

- Jimmy Uso and Naomi were married on Thursday in Hawaii. The ceremony was taped for Season 2 of Total Divas. Below is a photo of the happy couple from Instagram:

- Steve Austin said in Episode 82 of his podcast that he would like to be in New Orleans for Wrestlemania XXX but there's nothing official in place at this time.

- The Miz and Maryse will be getting married in the Bahamas next month.

- JBL plans to climb Mount Elbrus against this summer. He failed to reach the summit a couple years ago due to weather.

- Byron Saxton has a Q&A online with NXT Diva Sasha Banks online here at dot com.

- Jack Swagger was featured on Kavita Channe's 2014 NFL Conference Champs Picks at this link.

- CM Punk & The Miz are scheduled to be panelists on the February 12 episode of @midnight, a late-night show on Comedy Central in which panelists perform improv comedy. The show has an interactive component, and Superstars such as Punk and Dolph Ziggler have live-tweeted along with the show. In addition, Chris Jericho is set to be a panelist on the March 3 episode. Click here for more information.

- Mae Young's funeral will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 from the Dunbar Funeral Home in Columbia, South Carolina at 2 PM. There will be a visitation on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 from 5-8 PM at the same location. For more information, call 803-771-7990.

- We've had some readers ask about tickets for Wrestlemania XXX Fan Axxess. They're scheduled to go on sale February 1, 2014. Axxess is scheduled to take place from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana over Wrestlemania XXX weekend.

- Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that the temporary order banning Gawker.com from posting excerpts from the Hulk Hogan sex tape should be reversed. Hogan's legal team got the temporary injunction in April 2013, saying Gawker should remove both the video and written description of the tape. However, Gawker fought back and won. The Tampa Bay Times has more at this link.

- Speaking of porn (how do you like THAT transition?), Dolph Ziggler was at the Adult Video News Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday night. Ziggler is currently off the road after suffering a concussion last week in a match against Ryback.

- Cody Rhodes is featured in this week's episode of The JBL & Cole show now online at this link.

TNA News

- Dixie Carter posted the following on Twitter:

While Carter's Twitter is kayfabe to accentuate her heel character on TNA television, it's more legitimate than one might think. TNA is looking to sign new talent despite their tight budget and they are looking to build around some of their young superstars (such as TNA Champion Magnus).

- DothanEagle.com published a Q&A with James Storm to promote the TNA live event in the city this weekend. Below are the highlights:

Storm said despite his persona, he doesn't go home and have his kids retrieve him beer from the refrigerator. He never drinks when he's home, he just hangs out with his kids. Storm said he lost his father at an early age and wants to be there as much as he can.

He said working alongside Gunner while he's improved has been cool.

Storm joked there's more "rednecks that watch" their show than anything so he should be back in the singles ranks as the TNA Champion.

He said the people have kept him dedicated to TNA for 12 years, specially citing Jeff Jarrett and Dixie Carter. Storm said the company has been loyal to him when he's had the opportunity to do other things.

When asked about the status of TNA and rumors of problems, he said that's above his pay grade. Storm said Dixie Carter always looks after her wrestlers and does what is best for the company.

Storm said he would like to see TNA sign Roderick Strong and The Young Bucks. He said he and Bobby Roode pushed for matches with the Bucks when they were with TNA but it never happened. They had one match at a live event and that was the end of it.

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety.

- Samoa Joe was featured on episode 110 of MLW Radio with Konnan and MSL. You can listen at this link.

- Jeff Hardy made TMZ Sports over a situation involving the health of his dog.

- It's a busy week for TNA Wrestling. They'll tape the two-week Genesis themed episode of Impact on Thursday night in Huntsville, Alabama followed by a three-show live event loop in Alabama and Georgia.

- There's photos making rounds on social media mocking TNA for their scaled back live events. I'm not sure what the point is as it sure makes a lot more sense to run smaller venues than book expensive venues the company has no shot at selling out. TNA admitting they're a small company trying to grow sure beats them trying to compete with a company they have no shot at overtaking.

- Dixie Carter announced Monday on Twitter that TNA Lockdown 2014 will take place on Sunday, March 9, 2014 from the BankUnited Center at the U in Miami, Florida. Tickets go on sale on January 24, 2014. The following is from Twitter:

- TNA Wrestling has recently updated their official roster page and removed the profiles of both Jay Bradley and Wes Brisco. While it is mere speculation right now, it looks to be the same case when Mickie James and Mr. Anderson's profiles were both removed after their contracts expired. 10:30 AM EST January 14, 2014 Update by Richard: I can confirm both have been released from TNA Wrestling. End update.

- Former world heavyweight champion boxer Riddick Bowe wants to wrestle and he's asking his fans to push Dixie Carter to give him a chance [in TNA Wrestling]. The following is from Bowe's verified Twitter account:

Bowe, 46, hasn't boxed professionally since 2008 and lost in his first attempt at kickboxing last June.

- I can confirm that Kurt Angle will be having knee surgery on February 11, 2014. The procedure was originally scheduled for January 21, 2014 but it was rescheduled so he could make the upcoming TNA "Maximum Impact" European tour.

I was told that he will be having simple arthroscopic surgery on his knee to have it cleaned up because of cartilage tears. Recovery for this type of situation usually lasts 6 to 8 weeks, and with Lockdown being three and a half weeks away from surgery day, a match very well could be out of the question.

I currently have an article up on TNANews.com discussing this topic. Feel free to post a comment to share your thoughts.

- James Storm told Ring Rust Radio it was a dark day for TNA Wrestling when AJ Styles left because Styles helped build the company. Storm said he doesn't know the situation with contracts and stuff but when someone thinks of TNA, they think of AJ Styles. Storm said hopes they can reach a new agreement for Styles to return.

In the same interview, Storm said he's been working for the past 3-4 weeks with a hairline fracture in his ankle.

- TNA Wrestling has posted the opening video of the Genesis themed episode of Impact at this link.

- TNA posted a few #Impact365 videos, questioning what is in store for Magnus, Robbie E and Bobby Roode at Genesis. You can watch them at this link.

- Dixie Carter teased that Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards will debut with TNA at this week's Genesis themed episode of Impact Wrestling. The following "hint" is from Twitter:

While Carter gave nothing more than a "hint," The American Wolves had been the rumored names over the past few days. Make sure you join us Thursday night starting at 8:30 PM EST for our Impact "Open Thread" featuring streaming live results and your discussion right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards are expected to debut with TNA Wrestling at this week's Genesis themed Impact taping in Huntsville, AL, as we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. For those who thought they were under WWE developmental contract, that wasn't the case. The American Wolves were brought in on a "trial" basis as Triple H was unsure about signing Richards because he has a reputation of being hard to deal with. Edwards is a different situation but apparently WWE was looking to sign them together.

- Dixie Carter Tweeted the following:

- Recently released TNA talent Jay Bradley told Between the Ropes that Dixie Carter has become the IWC's scapegoat. You can listen to the full interview at this link.

- Kurt Angle named the 10 best cities to wrestle in at this link.

Below are news and notes from this week's TNA Genesis themed Impact Wrestling taping from Huntsville, Alabama:

- Madison Rayne beat Gail Kim to win the TNA Knockouts Championship in a match that aired on the Spike TV broadcast. Wrestling News World's Ric Santos wrote the following about the bout: "This was probably the match everyone had a problem with. Madison Rayne picked up the win and the Knockouts title in a very uneventful matchup which, obviously, left much to be desired." Click here for complete analysis by Santos.

- Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, known collectively as The American Wolves, made their TNA debuts as expected. In a backstage segment with Dixie Carter, they played up they were signed to the company by a new investor.

- The following matches are announced for next week's part 2 Genesis themed episode of Impact Wrestling:

Magnus vs. Sting for the TNA Championship w/Sting's TNA contract on the line
Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries for the X Division Championship with Velvet Sky locked in a cage at ringside.
Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Roode in a steel cage match
Gunner vs. James Storm w/Gunner's title shot briefcase on the line

The show was taped Thursday night and we have complete taping results online at this link.

- Speaking of the above match where Sting's TNA contract is "on the line," it's that time of year again. Sting works year to year to keep his options open, knowing there will always be WWE interest to possibly use him at Wrestlemania. I heard a couple of months ago WWE was indeed interested but as the case each year, it's completely up to Sting. Our last backstage update on Sting noted that he'll be expected to take a pay cut in TNA but it won't be near as significant as some of the others.

- There were a lot of people congratulating Ken Anderson backstage as his wife gave birth to twins (Prescott Liberty Anderson & Pearce Remington Anderson) this week.

- While TNA Wrestling hasn't completely given up on re-signing AJ Styles, there's been no movement over the last week. If Styles doesn't come back to the table soon, the company plans on spending the money on other talent.

One name drawing interest is Chris Hero (f/k/a Kassius Ohno) but so far that interest hasn't been mutual. We're told Hero really hopes to return to WWE one day and feels any deal with TNA would hinder those aspirations. According to our source, TNA would pay Hero more than their standard lower level contract and see him as a guy like ECIII that they could quickly turn into a key player.

It's interesting to note I received this information before the news broke that company had signed Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards. I'm not sure if money used on their contracts was part of what was set aside for Styles but the word is The American Wolves have reached an agreement with TNA Wrestling.

- This week's Genesis episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,316,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show did a 1.08 cable rating. You can see how the competition for the night stacked up on cable at this link.

Ask WNW

Is Ryback trying to get himself fired from WWE with his bizarre behavior on Twitter?

For a main roster worker in WWE to actually get fired today, they would have to do something "so egregious" that an immediate termination was unavoidable. Otherwise, they'll be taken off the road and paid the duration of their contract and it will not be renewed upon its expiration. As for Ryback's behavior on Twitter over the weekend (stories here and here), I'm not sure it's anything more than him "working as a heel." The problem is I'm not sure he's getting the right kind of heat. Ryback is keeping himself in the public eye, while also hushing the talk about the spot that caused Dolph Ziggler's concussion and the joke about Lilian Garcia [from last week] but the response I've seen isn't good. The behavior underscores a point I made in October, where I explained why Ryback was not ready for the main event. If it's attention he's seeking, then mission accomplished. Anything else and he's failed miserably.

Will Dish Network carry WWE Network?

No. I've answered this one a lot but some people still do not understand so to explain, let's dig a little deeper. The WWE Network is launching as an over-the-top service, not as a traditional network. What does that mean? Over-the-top content is the delivery of video and audio over the Internet without a multiple system operator being involved in the control or distribution. One point you're going to see me make a lot as we approach the launch of the WWE Network is why I think this is absolutely the right move. I posted the following on Facebook over the weekend:

There's a point you're going to see me make a lot as we approach the launch of the WWE Network. The best thing for the consumer is the fact it's going to be an over-the-top service. I know, it doesn't work for everyone. However, the prices are going to be lower and distribution is going to be wider.

My biggest concern was WWE struggling to get clearance on cable and satellite, only to fail to attract people to it (Oprah Winfrey's Network is a good example of this). If the biggest issue you have is an Internet connection or a connected device, these are both issues that you have the power to fix. Cable and satellite companies would have the ability to control distribution and set their own prices.

Bypassing them is the best thing for the consumer and it's why my opinion of the WWE Network has done a complete 180. The service is revolutionary and as long as there are not issues with performance (such as lagging), WWE will have hit a grand slam.

With WWE being able to control their programming through the WWE Network, could we see Monday Night Raw revert back to a TV-MA or TV-14 show?

WWE's core programming will remain on cable as the company is nearing a monumental TV licensing agreement in the United States that is going to increase the amount they make in television licensing fees. If the deal that NASCAR got is any indication (10 years worth $8.2 billion), WWE is about to land a deal that is going to make them more dominate than ever before. Because of this, WWE will not be altering the rating of their core programming. The WWE Network does make the company completely independent of television networks, only increasing their leverage in negotiations with them. Now, WWE will no longer be at the mercy of the networks and will no longer be at risk of losing everything by losing a television deal. As for the WWE Network, there will be content that is rated outside of the core PG initiative but it will air in select time slots with the appropriate advisories. WWE Network will also include parental controls for those with children.

In Friday's Ask WNW, you said you weren't offended by Ryback's Lilian Garcia joke, you just felt it was unnecessary. The joke, apparently started by Triple H regarding the face of Garcia, essentially means that one of the higher ups in a multimillion dollar company is "bullying" a female employee based on her looks. How can WWE promote anti-bullying behavior for children while such a high-ranking company official apparently condones such sophomoric behavior?

The Lilian Garcia joke is one apparently started by Triple H and has been a talking point for years in the WWE locker room. In 2010, Mick Foley publicly denounced Hunter for using the joke, stating that he didn't understand why someone in Triple H's position would not only condone such behavior but why he would get satisfaction from demeaning someone like Lilian Garcia. Garcia responded, thanking Foley for standing up for her. I by no means condone the joke nor do I find it funny. One of the lowest things a human being can do to another human being is tease them based on looks. I also understand the other side of this that it's just a joke and everyone in their life has been given a little grief from time-to-time. Given the fact that Lilian Garcia is a beautiful woman, it's not as mean spirited as it could be if it wasn't someone as blessed with the looks of Garcia. However, make no mistake about it, this type of humor is categorically opposed to WWE's Be-A-Star anti-bullying campaign and I'm sure Triple H wasn't a fan of Ryback bringing it back up on live television. Vince McMahon is known for having a sophomoric sense of humor, however, I wonder what he thinks of the public image this gives his company. We can poke holes in the WWE anti-bullying campaign all day long but I've come to accept the campaign for what it is. Be-a-star is more about creating an acceptable image to the public rather than highlighting how things actually work on WWE television or behind-the-scenes.

Have you heard anything about Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde - the original Sin Cara?

Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde isn't expected back in WWE as the company is moving forward with Hunico as Sin Cara. There really isn't much more to say other than it just didn't work out and WWE liked the gimmick's marketability too much to discard it. WWE has apparently chose to let Luis sit at home until his contract runs out rather than terminating him. Public releases of main roster stars is something that Triple H no longer wants to do unless it's unavoidable for public relations reasons.

If the WWE Network is successful, do you see WWE including Wrestlemania 31 and Wrestlemania 32 at no additional charge? I feel that Wrestlemania XX will be one time deal to start
up the network.

Everyone is waiting for the "bait and switch" because the WWE Network seems too good to be true. All 12 live pay-per-views, exclusive first-run original programming, on top of the largest and most appealing pro wrestling tape library on the planet for a meager $9.99/month with a 6-month commitment (billed monthly). However, the fact the WWE Network logo is incorporated into the Wrestlemania 31 logo tells me the show is going to be a staple of the network to entice people to signup. Even if the price of the WWE Network doubles (which I don't expect it to do any time soon), it would still be significantly less than the current going rate to buy the pay-per-views on their own.

Wrestlemania 31

From the Ask WNW vault…

September 2013:How can WWE promote Ryback and Triple H as bullies alongside their Be-A-Star anti-bullying campaign? - There has been a lot of discussion about the characters of Ryback and Triple H playing the roles of antagonists that bully in light of WWE’s commitment to eliminate bullying. I will admit there is plenty of hypocrisy in the anti-bullying efforts; however, I am not bothered or “offended” by the characters of Ryback and Hunter. In order to have a protagonist you have to have an antagonist. There has to be a villain for every hero. Villains have to do villainous things to make people buy into their characters. It’s essential that wrestling fans understand the difference between what is make believe and what is real-life. Now on the same notion, there are roads that shouldn’t be traveled. For me, it’s a case-by-case basis. One program I found particularly disgusting was the Piggy James stuff from several years back. Yes, this was “part of the show” but I hated the message it sent.

I totally popped for Daniel Bryan turning on Bray Wyatt on this week's Monday Night Raw but I must know. Was this the plan the whole time or did WWE realize what an epic fail it was to kill his momentum?

Was it an epic fail? I'll argue Daniel Bryan is more over today than he was before he was paired with The Wyatt Family. The brief moment of outrage seemed to do nothing to "cool" Bryan's momentum and actually increased it when it was thought he had peaked. I'll have more details on the creative side of things online later on Tuesday but there's one thing I always urge readers to do - that's to have patience. We have to see how things play out before we label something as an epic fail or resounding success. The paranoia within the IWC regarding Bryan isn't unjustified but there's one thing I've been saying since this summer - Vince McMahon realizes he was wrong about Daniel Bryan and sees him as a top guy.

Do you think WWE could have done something more with John Cena vs. Randy Orton now that Orton has "attacked" Cena's father?

The booking of this program between John Cena and Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is unique in that it's been booked backwards. What I mean by that is they started with the TLC gimmick match and are reverting back to a traditional singles match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in a couple of weeks. There are multiple reasons for this but the build to the match at WWE TLC was great and they can now blow the program off in the shadow of the 30-man Royal Rumble match in a pay-per-view featuring a Brock Lesnar singles match and the return of Batista. I have no problems with the backwards booking in this specific case.

What will happen to Raw after the WWE Network launches in the United States? Will it still be watchable outside of the US?

All WWE television contracts will remain in place following the launch of the WWE Network. Vince McMahon said in a conference call on Tuesday morning that WWE and the USA Network feel the Network will improve television ratings because it's going to increase interest. The USA Network does not currently air any replays of Raw so the company doesn't expect the fact that replays will air on the WWE Network will result in any cannibalisation.

What's Jeff Hardy's contract status with TNA Wrestling?

Jeff Hardy signed a contract extension with TNA Wrestling in February 2013, believed at the time to be a deal that was for two years. Even if the second year was an option year, he's locked in through next month. Hardy was written off television to avoid problems with the upcoming European tour (he was advertised last year, then pulled when he couldn't get clearance to travel because of a past drug conviction).

With WWE announcing on Raw that every pay-per-view they along with WCW and ECW ever produced, does that include WWF Over the Edge 1999 (the show in which Owen Hart died on)?

As I noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, I do not expect WWF Over the Edge 1999 to be available on the WWE Network. The show was never released commercially on VHS or DVD, nor should it have been. Some readers suggested WWE could air it with an advisory but I don't see WWE touching that and think it will be left off the forthcoming Network.

From the Ask WNW vault...

June 2010: At the end of Fatal 4 Way everybody was chanting Daniel Bryan! Do you see WWE bringing back Danielson soon? - I had a very similar question last week. Out of all of the workers that have recently been released, I think Bryan Danielson has the best chance of being brought back because of the support from the fans and the locker room. A lot of people were upset with how he was let go and the fans made their opinion very clear to WWE officials at the end of Fatal 4-Way last night. Bryan commented on the chants this morning. Read what he said at this link.

With Kofi Kingston going over Randy Orton on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, do you see WWE giving him an opportunity at the top of the card?

The story that Kofi Kingston's victory over Randy Orton on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw told was that it was a "fluke that enraged" the WWE World Heavyweight Champion enough to "seriously injure" John Cena's father. The booking was not meant to convey an elevation of Kofi, although a clean victory over the current champion on television never hurt anyone. Kofi Kingston is a great talent; he's someone that I've had the opportunity to interview. He handles himself well outside of the ring and has the ability to get over as both a babyface and a heel. He has all the tools for a bigger role but I haven't heard of any immediate plans.

Will WWE air the Hall of Fame Ceremony in its entirely on the WWE Network the night before Wrestlemania XXX?

If I had to guess, I would guess that WWE will air the Hall of Fame Ceremony live on the WWE Network. I haven't heard any plans as of this writing but it only makes sense. WWE has streamed the ceremony [in its entirety] live on dot com before so I couldn't imagine why they wouldn't want to utilize the WWE Network for more exclusive live programming. One thing the WWE Network will give the company moving forward is guaranteed television clearance whenever they want it, which only helps them when negotiating TV contracts. Up until this point, WWE has been at the mercy of the networks because it would be catastrophic if they would lose domestic television clearance.

Will a separate subscription be required for each device to utilize the WWE Network?

One WWE Network subscription gets you access on all devices. For example, if you purchase your subscription on your computer, you can enter your username and password on the WWE App and be able to watch on your phone.

Is Kane finished wrestling?

No, Kane is still an active wrestler with a Performer's Contract in WWE. He still routinely works matches on live events and his role as a member of The Authority is just his current storyline direction.

From the Ask WNW vault…

December 2008:I recently read that Jim Ross was impressed with the work of Sheamus O'Shaunessy down in FCW. I've been a fan of his work and gimmick for quite a long time now and was wondering what your thoughts are on him and also if there are any plans to call him up to one of the 3 main rosters? - I think that Sheamus is very talented with an excellent look. I haven't seen much of his work on the mic, so I cannot judge him there. Sheamus is exactly what Vince McMahon is looking for in terms of size as he is 6'6, 290 lbs. He recently dropped the FCW Heavyweight Championship but he held it for almost 3 months. Do not be surprised if he gets called him soon although I have not heard any concrete plans.

Do you think WWE should unify the WWE Intercontinental and United States titles respectively?

Yes, I've long been an advocate for unifying the two secondary titles in WWE. Consider the fact the WWE United States Championship hasn't been defended by Dean Ambrose on television since October 28, 2013 and you'll realize how little the title means. Apparently they're considering doing a program between Ambrose and WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston before Wrestlemania XXX but plans are always subject to change.

Can you tell me a little more about the Legends' House reality series on the WWE Network?

WWE Legends' House was taped at the former house of Harpo Marx in Palm Spring, California in early 2012. The show is a comedic reality series. Roddy Piper actually Tweeted about the show nearing its debut in November 2013. You can watch the official trailer at this link or embedded in the video below. We've also included the official preview:

Coming in April: WWE Legends House — WWE’s greatest Legends reunite for a new title – only this time, they’re competing outside of the ring. Imagine a beautiful house in the suburbs – perfectly furnished, with gorgeous landscaping, a lovely pool and quiet, respectable neighbors. WWE Superstars from the past including "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Tony Atlas and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan will turn the neighborhood upside down as the house staff tries their best to keep these Legends on time, on speaking terms, and out of trouble in this new reality show.

I realize Randy Orton "attacking" John Cena's father on Raw was scripted, what would happen if a Superstar ever really went after a fan at ringside?

The last incident I can remember between a WWE wrestler and a member of the audience happened at the October 8, 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw with CM Punk in Sacramento, CA. We covered it here, here, here, here and here. The gist of it was someone was pushing Punk in the audience, he reacted without thinking and knocked a guy's glasses off. The guy Punk shoved wasn't the guy that shoved him, he just ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. No disciplinary actions were taken against Punk as Vince McMahon blamed security for being out of position. While I don't condone the wrestlers using violence against members of the audience, Punk was just defending himself. People need to be careful treating these guys like it's some sort of video game because people like Punk aren't going to to take it. However, the standard protocol for a fan getting physical is to let security and police handle it. It usually results in the fan getting thrown out and they are also subject to criminal charges.

Is it just me or is Big Show's character ridiculous? A few months ago he was crying because he had to hit Dusty Rhodes. This week he tormented Zeb Colter before knocking him out. It's bad enough he's probably turned heel or face more than anyone in wrestling. How are the fans supposed to care about his character one way or the other?

WWE relies on their audience having a short memory so they can turn characters when storylines see fit, however, the booking of Big Show has been especially bad. Let's not forget the storyline excuse of Big Show sitting out this summer (he was injured) was that he had an "ironclad contract" where he could choose his dates. However, he returned in a vulnerable role where he was facing "financial problems" and had to act as The Authority's muscle against his will. I blame it on short-term booking and not looking at the full picture when writing storylines. However, I have to give Big Show credit, he has the ability to get both characters over.

If I miss Raw, Smackdown or a pay-per-view I can DVR it to watch it later. Will there be any kind of feature like that with the WWE Network?

You will not have the functionality to record programming like you would with a DVR, however, replays of shows will be available shortly after their initial airings. For example, Raw and Smackdown will be available in the archive after they air live as will any WWE Network original program. The same goes for pay-per-views. The USA Network isn't worried about this hurting their ratings because the majority of the Raw audience watches live and WWE's programming has a reputation for being "DVR proof."

From the Ask WNW vault…

April 2010: What do you know about the supposed WWE cable network? -Vince McMahon wants to start his own basic-tier cable network. As far as I know they want to feature entertainment programming and not all wrestling. WWE wants to leave Raw on the USA Network and now Smackdown on SyFy. McMahon is good friends with NBC Universal Chairman Dick Ebersol and there's been talk of Ebersol and the brass at NBC Universal teaming with WWE to launch the network. This is something McMahon has wanted to do for years but it is now getting much closer to becoming a reality.

With the stipulation in Sting's match on next week's Genesis episode of Impact Wrestling, does this mean he's on his way out? Do you see him jumping to WWE?

I briefly mentioned Sting's status at this link, however, allow me to elaborate. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on December 19, 2013 that re-signing Sting had become a top priority in TNA Wrestling. Fresh off losing Hulk Hogan and AJ Styles, Sting is a talent seen as one of the biggest reasons why the company has been able to land so many desirable television contracts in overseas markets. Because of the aforementioned departures and the fact that Sting is still considered the face of TNA, they really do not want to lose him. While it's believed Sting is being asked to accept less money than he's been making, it's not considered to be a huge drop. Sting intentionally works on a year-to-year basis to keep his options open so it will ultimately hinge on what he wants to do. TNA is aware that Sting will command a lot of interest from WWE, especially around Wrestlemania season with the forthcoming WWE Network. He is one of the few guys that could leave TNA and walk directly into a prominent spot in WWE.

Will the WWE Network have every past episode of Monday Night Raw and Smackdown available when it launches?

No, all past episodes of Monday Night Raw and Smackdown will not be available upon launch of the WWE Network. The company is going to launch the Network with 1500 hours of on-demand programming of material that has been digitized from their tape library. Material will routinely be added and episodes of Raw and Smackdown will be available for replay on the network after their initial airing.

You've stated before that you think that Undertaker should retire with the streak unless it would benefit a future superstar and elevate his career. What would your thoughts be on Roman Reigns challenging for and ultimately ending the streak?

The only time I've advocated ending the streak was last year's bout against CM Punk. Punk was already etched in WWE history with the 434-day WWE Championship reign and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take him to iconic status. After the match happened, I was glad WWE went ahead and put Undertaker over. The fact he can still go at such a high level has made me back off any notion of ending the streak. It's a record that deserves to remain intact and it would be the wrong move to end it. Roman Reigns has a tremendous amount of potential but the risk doesn't outweigh the reward in a prospective Wrestlemania match that has him going over Undertaker. Undertaker has suggested two opponents that I know of - Brock Lesnar and Daniel Bryan. I still expect the former to happen but I don't think anyone would mind if Bryan got the nod.

Aside from Vince McMahon, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, who are the people backstage in WWE who have a lot of influence, not including top talent?

I always point to Kevin Dunn when people ask who the "next man up" is on the executive food chain backstage at WWE shows. Dunn is the executive producer of WWE programming, a member of the company's board of directors and an executive officer. He is Vince's "righthand man" at TVs and holds a tremendous amount of power and influence. Jane Geddes, who fans are familiar with through Total Divas, is also high up on the pecking order as is Sean Clearly, who is the new Senior Vice President of Talent Relations.

From the Ask WNW vault…

August 2012: I thought Kane’s part in the anger management class segment was funny but didn’t WWE put the mask back on him to portray him as an evil monster (and not comedic relief)? - One could argue no one has booked with more inconstancy in WWE history than Kane. The character goes from evil to comedy in one week with absolutely no reason. How about Kane the commentator? Kane fans get furious when I say this but he’s a reliable veteran the company puts in to “fill the gaps.”

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