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 18, 2013 to Friday, January 24, 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!
- There are certain things that can set a pro wrestler off and apparently mentioning Isaac Yankem is off limits for Kane. Kane hung up on The KiddChris Show out of Cincinnati, Ohio when his evil dentist gimmick of the 90s was brought up to start his interview to promote Saturday's WWE live event in the city.
You can listen to what happened in the player below:
If the player doesn't load, click here to listen now.
Joe Villa, who handles Talent Marketing Inquiries for WWE, was left in an awkward position after The Big Red Machine abruptly ended the interview. As you heard in the player above, one of the hosts said that was the first guest that's been "just a complete ass" and said "what a clown."
Richard Reacts: That was one of the funniest things I've ever heard. I'm not sure why Kane was so grouchy but that was epic! How about the Ric Flair impersonation at the end of that? Listen to this all the way through, you'll be glad you did!
- All three members of The Shield faction will be in the 30-man Royal Rumble match. We'll have an updated list of participants online soon.
- As first reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, WWE NXT Diva Emma was on this week's episode of Smackdown. Emma's appearance was similar to what she did on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, appearing in the crowd with her "#Emmataining" sign.
- Brock Lesnar is booked for next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Dayton, Ohio, as announced by Paul Heyman on this week's episode of Smackdown.
- The April 28, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw will take place from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The presale password to obtain tickets is STLRAW.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown is online at this link.
- Tickets for the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony go on sale at 11 AM EST on Saturday morning. You can purchase tickets at this link. The first inductee has been announced as The Ultimate Warrior. Click here for more. The 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 5, 2014 (the night before Wrestlemania XXX) from the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- WWE Studios and Relativity and Blumhouse Productions announced a partnership on Saturday to release Intrepid Pictures’ Oculus. The supernatural horror film was directed by Mike Flanagan and stars Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff. The complete press release can be read at this link.
- Daniel Bryan did not work Saturday night's WWE live event in Hammond, Indiana due to the concussion he suffered at last week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Bryan was also pulled from last week's Smackdown taping because of the injury. Bryan remains officially advertised for Sunday's WWE live event in Kalamazoo, Michigan but it's unlikely he appears.
- The Bella Twins attended the 19th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards last Thursday night. Below is a photo from the red carpet:
Speaking of The Bella Twins, Brie had her bachelorette party over the weekend. The following is from Instagram:
- Cameron (real name Ariane Andrew) did a photoshoot for the cover of Rolling Out Magazine. Below is a preview from Twitter:
- WWE NXT worker Tyler Breeze worked Saturday's WWE live event in Hammond, Indiana. He went over Justin Gabriel in a singles match.
- Jim Ross posted a new blog entry on his official website at this link.
- Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson has been in the news after hie home was burglarized last week where the thief escaped with over $250,000 in cash as well as jewelry and a gun. Steve Austin Tweeted the following to him:
- Below is a photo of Scotty 2 Hotty, Billy Gunn, Emma and Tensai from backstage at Saturday night's WWE NXT live event in Daytona, Florida:
- Jimmy Wang Yang was backstage visiting at Saturday night's WWE live event in Cincinnati, Ohio. Justin Roberts posted the following on Instagram:
Yang teased on Twitter that he'd be at this week's Monday Night Raw in Dayton, Ohio:
- Titus O'Neil noted on Instagram that Ohio State Buckeyes head football coach Urban Meyer and his family would be his guests at Sunday's WWE live event in Columbus, Ohio. You can view a photo of O'Neil with Meyer and tag team partner Darren Young at the OSU facilities below:
O'Neil played football for University of Florida, where Meyer was the former coach.
- There continues to be a lot of speculation regarding Daniel Bryan's status for next week's Royal Rumble pay-per-view after suffering a concussion on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Bryan hasn't worked since Raw last week as a result of the injury. His clearance hinges on passing an ImPACT concussion test and being asymptomatic. All creative plans for Bryan will be on hold until those two things happen.
Dolph Ziggler, who is also out with a concussion, saw his ImPACT concussion test results within normal limits, however, he wasn't even cleared for light cardio because he was still experiencing concussion symptoms. Ziggler saw Dr. Mark Lovell at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a standard procedure for a worker that has suffered a second concussion within an annual year.
WWE's concussion management program is detailed at this link.
- Daniel Bryan was replaced by Big Show in a match against Bray Wyatt at Saturday's WWE live event in Hammond, Indiana. Fans had the option to a refund if they claimed it before the second match. More than a few people questioned the booking, which saw Show go under Wyatt clean when he's scheduled to oppose Brock Lesnar next Sunday at Royal Rumble.
- Speaking of Bryan and Bray, WWE is already starting to explain Kane "locking the cage" to keep Luke Harper and Erick Rowan out of last week's Raw main event as he put the team over in 2-on-1 handicap matches "setup" by Brad Maddox at live events in Cincinnati and Columbus.
- The Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer was in attendance at Sunday's WWE live event in Columbus, Ohio. We reported earlier here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com that Meyer and his family were guests of Titus O'Neil. Meyer took photos with wrestlers at the show.
- Sheamus' Twitter account has been formatted and his name has been changed to "404." You can check it out at this link.
- Dot com ran a "where are they now?" interview with Maryse at this link. Maryse, who lives with The Miz in Los Angeles, will get married to the former WWE Champion on February 20th in Paradise Island in the Bahamas. She recently started to pursue a career in real estate and while her fashion line is going well, she's really focused on the former.
- Former WWE Diva Eve Torres and her fiancé Rener Gracie welcomed Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and their daughters Aurora Rose and Murphy Claire at a self defense seminar over the weekend in California. Below are some photos:
Triple H and Rener Gracie:
Stephanie McMahon choking Eve Torres:
A rare photo of Aurora and Murphy with Rener Gracie:
- We're told negotiations between WWE and Bill Goldberg are not going well. Not only has Vince McMahon lost interest in Ryback (Goldberg's potential opponent) as a show headliner, but there's now a hangup over money.
In recent months there was a hangup over creative and the two sides were believed to be "within reason" on money. However, we're told Goldberg budged on his price and when WWE didn't agree, he upped his asking price. So while things were initially looking good from a monetary prospective, they're now described as "far apart" once again.
Add to this to the fact Goldberg has little interest in a match against Roman Reigns and the deal isn't looking good. Goldberg is believed to have other opportunities on the table and at this point a deal for him to work at Wrestlemania XXX does not look like it's going to happen.
- TMZ Sports caught up with Hulk Hogan over the weekend. A photog asked him if the rumors are true that he's returning to the WWE at 60-years-old. Hogan brushed him off but you can watch the footage at this link.
- Speaking of coverage by TMZ Sports, the publication covered Brie Bella's bachelorette party at this link. Brie and Nikki Bella celebrated at Prep Kitchen in San Diego, California on Saturday night and all the girls took a photo with Daniel Bryan beards.
- Mistico, the original Sin Cara, is scheduled to begin wrestling in Mexico at the beginning of next month. WWE is letting his contract lapse and are not interested in re-signing him. The plan going forward is for Hunico to work as Sin Cara.
- The Miami Herald has new article online featuring quotes from Jim Ross. Click here to read it.
- Heading into his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, an infamous story regarding the Ultimate Warrior is being revisited. It was long rumored that Warrior demanded more money from Vince McMahon to work SummerSlam 1991, leading to his suspension from the company after the show. Letters from Warrior and Vince McMahon have surfaced online, showing Warrior asked for more money nearly two months before the show. You can read the letters in PDF format here and here. Thanks to @davidbix for making these available
- MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman spoke out about the forthcoming WWE Networkhere on Deadline.com.
- Wrestling News World reader Kyle Long sent word that WWE was referenced on Monday's episode of "Around the Horn" on ESPN. They mentioned Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his infamous post-game rant on Sunday as playing the role of a heel in a WWE promo.
- Jake Roberts had an interesting comment on the Ultimate Warrior being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during an interview on the Busted Open radio show. When it was stated that Warrior's career couldn't be compared to his, Roberts said, "I know, man! I know that. But maybe they’re taking in assholes and not great talent. I don’t know."
For more on Busted Open and the interview itself, click here.
- WWE has announced that Cody Rhodes & Goldust will defend their Tag Team Championships against The New Age Outlaws on the WWE Royal Rumble Kickoff, set to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. WWE Royal Rumble 2014 will take place on Sunday,January 26, 2014 from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Batista returned to WWE in the opening segment of this week's Monday Night Raw. The company has been running vignettes for his return shortly after news accidentally leaked online late last year. Batista came out and told WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton that he was back to win the 30-man Royal Rumble match on Sunday and to win the title at Wrestlemania XXX. He told Orton to "deal with it." Batista hasn't been on WWE television since 2010.
- On this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, Daniel Bryan announced that he will face Bray Wyatt at this year's Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Earlier in the night, Kane announced that CM Punk will be the first to enter the Royal Rumble match.
-Below is an updated list of announced entrants for the 2014 30-man Royal Rumble match following this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw:
CM Punk (entering #1)
Alberto Del Rio
Big E Langston
Bad News Barrett
-Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels & Hacksaw Jim Duggan will make up the pre-show panel at the Royal Rumble Kickoff, set to take place at this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
- After WWE Raw went off the air last night, John Cena continued to celebrate with the crowd till Damien Sandow interrupted. Cena ended up giving the Attitude Adjustment to Sandow to send the crowd home happy. There was no dark match main event.
- Batista returned to WWE last night and is featured in this week's Raw Backstage Fallout. The video can be seen at this link.
Backstage news and notes from Monday Night Raw in Dayton, Ohio...
- The New Age Outlaws are back in WWE storylines because of how well they were received in their return and the company figured they could utilize them to make up for their shortage of heels. Both Road Dogg and Billy Gunn work backstage as producers so they already travel to TVs on a weekly basis.
- We're told Vince McMahon wasn't a fan of the skinny jeans that Batista wore on this week's show. Apparently he told someone he should never wear those again. It's unknown if Vince saw them before Batista appeared live but Vince thought they made him look small and the appeal in Batista has always been in his size.
- Rob Van Dam is hoping to get a new contract with WWE done in time for Wrestlemania season. While he wasn't "super happy" with his last run, he has plenty left in the tank and knows it's best if he can work something out prior to Sunday's pay-per-view. Vince McMahon is a fan of RVD, which makes things easier.
- WWE held a meeting with the Divas backstage in Dayton and it was a "very positive one." We're told they were praised for how much improvement they've all made and how much better the competition has been. Officials are thrilled with how seriously the main roster Divas take their work and their training to continually get better. Specific Divas put over for their work included Brie Bella, AJ Lee and Natalya for always making others better and constantly getting better themselves.
- There is still hope that Sheamus will be healthy enough to return as a surprise entrant in Sunday's 30-man Royal Rumble match, however, it's still up in the air as of Monday. Sheamus' torn labrum injury is a case-by-case situation as some athletes recover in 12 weeks and others take a full 6-8 months. It's complicated because some days it feels great and others it feels awful. Another issue is given the physicality that Sheamus takes, his risk of re-injury is high.
- The Ultimate Warrior responded to the comment of Jake Roberts regarding his WWE Hall of Fame induction on Twitter. You can read his Tweets below:
As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Roberts was asked about Warrior's induction on the Busted Open radio show. When it was stated the two career's couldn't be compared, Roberts said:
“I know, man! I know that. But maybe they’re taking in assholes and not great talent. I don’t know.”
- This Sunday will mark the twenty-seventh annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Den of Geek! takes a look back at "The 20 Worst Royal Rumble Moments" at this link.
- For those wondering why Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards were not signed by WWE, I was told Triple H had concerns regarding the attitude/behavior of Richards. While there is a story making rounds over an errant in-ring spot in one of their WWE NXT matches, I can only imagine that didn't do anything to help their chances. The story coming from Richards and Edwards is the TNA deal was better for them.
- WWE recently surveyed fans on dot com, asking if Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman would make a good WWE superstar following his post-game rant on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The majority of respondents felt that he would. Why was pro wrestling the first thing I thought about after watching the now infamous post-game interview with Erin Andrews?
- I heard Colin Cowherd put Vince McMahon over on Tuesday's episode of his show. Because I'm out traveling, I didn't hear what he had to say but one of my Twitter followers provided a recap:
- The January 17, 2014 episode of WWE Smackdown received an average viewing audience of 2,916,000. That is up from last week's numbers. The rating hasn't been released yet, but we will update when it becomes available. Check out how the show stacked up against the competition at this link. The show ended up getting a 2.11 cable rating.
- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper was a guest on this week's edition of Steve Austin's podcast, and expressed interest in facing Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania XXX. He explained that his feud with Hogan never had closure in the excerpt below:
"First of all, from a fan’s perspective and from the WWE Universe and Vince, it never had closure. The business that would be done, the interviews and stuff would be coming from the heart. You could try to raise the bar of the WWE entertainment machine in our sport if they let us go toe-to-toe and don’t script us. Then the fan will see really how it got started and why and see the conclusion. They're asking, can I get in shape? I'm already in shape. They're asking Hogan, but there's a fear, I guess, of whether we could pull off the performance."
Click here to listen to the podcast.
-This week's Smackdown dark match main event featured CM Punk defeating The Shield. Prior to the taping, Naomi defeated Emma in a dark match.
- Jim Ross gives his thoughts on Batista, Daniel Bryan & more in his latest blog, available here.
- WrestleMania XXX Axxess is scheduled to take place from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana over Wrestlemania XXX weekend. Tickets for the event will go on sale Saturday, Feb. 1, at 11 a.m. ET/10 a.m. CT.
The first session of Superstar signings begins on Thursday, April 3 at 6 p.m., with sessions available through the day of WrestleMania XXX. WWE has released this year's pricing information for each session, available below:
GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS — $45
General admission tickets include:
- Autographs and professional photos with WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends
- Enjoy viewing matches, Q&As and contests in the main ring
VIP TICKETS — $95
VIP tickets include:
- Autograph and professional photo with a VIP WWE Superstar
- Exclusive VIP line at the event entrance
- (1) 8x10 glossy photo of the appearing Superstar
PREMIUM VIP TICKETS — $175
Premium VIP tickets include:
- Autograph and professional photo with a Premium VIP WWE Superstar (VIP Superstars to be announced)
- Exclusive VIP line at the event entrance
- (1) 8x10 glossy photo of the appearing Superstar
- (1) Copy of the "WWE 50" book
Click here for more information.
- The Chicago Tribune reports that the second annual WWE Payback pay-per-view will once again take place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Click here for more.
- Goldberg denied any negotiations with WWE Tuesday afternoon on his Twitter account:
- Chris Jericho interviews his father, Ted Irvine, in the latest edition of the Talk is Jericho podcast. Click here to listen.
- The card for Wrestlemania XXX remains up in the air headed into Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view, mainly because The Undertaker still hasn't committed to a singles match against Brock Lesnar.
There was some chatter last week about Undertaker possibly facing Daniel Bryan and as of this week, that match is starting to look more likely. This is also part of the reason why WWE has "sped up" Bryan's program with Bray Wyatt.
As we've previously reported, the program between Bryan and The Wyatt Family was scheduled to go through Wrestlemania, however, with Bryan emerging as the lead contender to face Undertaker, that angle has to be blown off before the pay-per-view this spring. By all accounts Undertaker plans to work Wrestlemania, he's just concerned about a match with Brock Lesnar.
Undertaker feels he wouldn't be able to accommodate Lesnar's more physical style (in part due to two artificial hips) and the bout would be limited. However, we're told Undertaker feels Bryan can work around his limitations and get a "great match out of him" whereas a bout against Lesnar would not be as much of a sure thing.
- WWE announced today that they have signed a multi-year deal with DK Publishing to publish and market a multitude of titles based on WWE events and superstars! Below is the official press release.
Indianapolis, IN and Stamford, Conn., – January 22, 2014 – DK Publishing and WWE announced today that they have entered into a multi-year global agreement to publish and market titles based on WWE events and WWE Superstars. The agreement will include up to 18 DK releases over three years, including the two upcoming commemorative books WWE 50: Celebrating 50 Years of Sports Entertainment, which chronicles the company's 50 year history and 30 Years of WrestleMania, the ultimate guide to WWE’s annual pop-culture extravaganza. DK will also publish a new line of children’s books focusing on the careers of John Cena®, Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson and other top WWE Superstars, as well as sticker books, autobiographies and various historical guides. The agreement is worldwide and also includes digital rights and various subsidiary rights. "The multi-year publishing partnership between WWE and DK will bring a diverse and exciting line of print and digital books to WWE fans,” said Alex Allan, Global Publisher of DK. “Our new product line, WWE Books, will combine exciting content from WWE with DK's award-winning and visually-stunning illustration and design," said Mike Degler, Publisher of BradyGames, who brokered the deal. “WWE is committed to delivering a wide array of content on many different platforms, and this partnership will give our fans another way to experience the greatest moments, events and Superstars in WWE history,” said Casey Collins, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products, WWE. “With DK, we can build on the success of our popular WWE Encyclopedia and provide a variety of compelling content for years to come.” About DK Publishing DK is the bestselling and award-winning publisher known for informing, entertaining, and educating global audiences through beautifully designed content. DK also publishes the Eyewitness series for children and Eyewitness Travel Guides. BradyGames, Alpha Books, and Rough Guides are also available from DK, a division of Penguin Group. About WWE WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 150 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Munich and Tokyo. Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.
The press release can be found here.
- WWE posted an interview with Batista in which he discusses his Jiu-Jitsu training with Cesar Gracie and the reason he returned to WWE - to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Click here to view it.
- Triple H discusses Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, CM Punk & Batista in this week's kayfabe interview with, now available at this link.
- Chris Van Vliet from WOIO-TV met up with both The Miz and Dolph Ziggler who were in Cleveland for WWE Night at the Cleveland Cavaliers game. Below are excerpts to some of the responses Chris received:
Dolph Ziggler on his concussion: "I'm actually feeling pretty good. I've had a couple of weeks to rest and not fall down (laughs). I'm back at the gym, I'm feeling good and really looking forward to getting back into the ring real soon." Whether or not Dolph Ziggler will be back in time to enter the Royal Rumble: "I wish I had some kind of answer for you. I've got through a couple of different tests and they've all been coming back very positive and I'm healing very well. On Sunday I'll be there to get checked out." Which Superstar they would love to see return in a WrestleMania dream match: "I'd want to see Ultimate Warrior come back and give like three clotheslines and a splash. And literally run around shaking the ropes and run back. That's all I want. All I want is to hear the music, run down, three clotheslines and a splash. 1,2,3. Run, boom, done. See ya, bye and I'm the happiest person in the world." What it means now that the titles are unified: "It makes it a lot harder. It makes it a bigger target for that champion and it makes it even more important for this Royal Rumble coming up to win it because then you go on to main event WrestleMania and go for that WWE World Heavyweight Championship. No longer do you get a choice when you're a Money In The Bank winner, because you're going for that title." Why WWE isn’t addressing the fact that Chris Jericho unified the titles as the Undisputed Champion: "It's a different era now, a different time, a different generation and I think in this new era it is a huge deal."
The full interview reveals how excited they are for the WWE Network, their favorite wrestlers as kids and their impressions of some WWE legends. You can watch the full interview below or at this link.
- WWE wanted a great turnout for a Batista returned and they got it on this past week's episode of WWE Raw. The show received an average viewing audience of 4,869,000. Below is the hourly breakdown:
Hour 1 - 5,249,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 4,995,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 4,363,000 viewers
The bright side shows a huge turnout in the Batista's return as more than 5 million people watched, but almost 1,000,000 people changed the channel two hours later.
You can see how the competition stacked up against the show at this link.
The show ended up getting a 3.46 cable rating.
- Jim Ross took part in an extensive interview with The Masked Man of Grantland last week, and discussed his lengthy career, the infamous WWE 2K14 panel at SummerSlam last year, and his opinions on the current product. He also noted that he is under a Legends agreement with WWE, and named Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt as two Superstars that have "it." Below are highlights:
On today's announce team:
Occasionally, you wonder if the announce team remembers they’re watching a match. Today’s trend in wrestling seems to be more narratives. A lot of the subtle, fine points of the art form, of applying holds and focusing on a body part and why are they doing something and what could this be leading to, are often ignored. But if you have movement on the screen and you’re talking about something else, there’s a disconnect. It’s like it’s third-and-12 and they’re throwing the ball and you’re talking about the second half of the doubleheader — it’s related to the game but it’s not related to the moment. I always wanted to create the ability to suspend the viewers’ disbelief and get lost in the process of what these great athletes are doing. And it’s certainly not a knock on any of the current broadcasters, because this is what they’re obligated to do. They have many more masters to serve than I did. There are so many things that they have to service, whether it be the app, or a movie, or in-show sponsorships, or whatever. The guys are just doing their jobs. But I’ll say this — back when we were getting the highest ratings, the sound of the show was different. And maybe egocentrically, I like that soundtrack better.
On the SummerSlam panel:
You were last seen as a WWE employee at SummerSlam, hosting a rather controversial panel discussion for WWE 2K14, where Ric Flair seemed to be, shall we say, overly animated. The rumors are that gig got you fired. I don’t think you have to be a Mensa member to figure out that it had an influence on decisions that were made. I was working with the developmental kids [in NXT] and enjoying that, and got called in for that job. It was a very unique night, to say the least. Ric was coming off maybe the most traumatic time of his life. [Flair's son had recently died of a drug overdose.] In hindsight, it might not have been the most timely booking, to get him in that environment. And then you can look at the other side and say maybe it’s a good thing to get him out around friends. As it worked out, you’d probably lean more to the former than the latter. But here’s the deal: I was conductor of a runaway train. I was supposed to keep it on the tracks and that didn’t happen. So I don’t have any issues taking responsibility. Did I envision that it would help facilitate my exit? No. But I could see the thinking behind it. But honestly, people might not believe this, and I don’t want to give one of those eye-rollers, but it really came at a good time. My health is good, I just celebrated my 62nd birthday, I got a lot of projects going. I’m going to start a podcast soon with the same company that does Austin and Jericho. I’m excited about that. I got Live Nation working with me on one-man shows and, of course, we start out the way we want to start out, in New York City, Saturday, March 1, at the Gramercy Theater.
On developing new stars:
How do you think [WWE is] doing developing new stars? It’s imperative to get new faces in that upper echelon. There’s no timeline for that. You can’t say, “Oh, we’ll get this done in six months or a year.” You have to constantly be finding out who has ring presence, who can produce bell to bell, who can deliver a believable promo, who stays out of trouble, who stays healthy, who isn’t a headcase away from the arena, those types of things. There’s so many unknown elements that you can’t control. I see that the WWE is trying very diligently to get the Shield headed in the right direction. All three of those guys are probably going to be big stars. Reigns seems to be the guy that’s leading the charge there, but I think the mistake people would make is that he’s going to be the only star out of the Shield. I think Bray Wyatt has the it factor. He’s got that 300-pound body that’s got a second gear. He’s got that great, almost Jake the Snake–like delivery. I know that they have high hopes for him. There’s a lot of really good young prospects down in Orlando, and the future is bright.
Click here to read the full interview.
- Daniel Bryan took part in an interview earlier this week with 97.9 WGRD out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the interview, he discussed his his abrupt exit from The Wyatt Family, his frustrations with backstage politics, and more. In addition, he admitted that he still feels as if WWE doesn't see money in him. The interview is available at this link.
- This week's kayfabe Triple H interview is with Renee Young, not Michael Cole, and is online at this link. Below are the highlights:
Young asked Hunter if Randy Orton made things right with him on Raw. Triple H said he would let everyone know after Royal Rumble if Randy made things right.
He said Brock Lesnar was the most amazing and intense athlete he's ever been in the ring with. Hunter said Big Show has been in the business for 20 years and rises to the level of his opponent and Lesnar is going to take Show a place he's never been before.
Young asked Triple H about the conspiracy against CM Punk and entering the Royal Rumble match as number one. He dismissed it, saying being number one should be no problem and he'll have the opportunity to show he's the best in the world.
Triple H said Batista looked incredible on Raw and he knew that he would return in top form. He said he made his intensions clear, he wants to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He said it's premature to even ask the question if Batista has what it takes to be the "face of WWE." Hunter said he has a lot of hoops to jump through before he's even in that conversation and he has a lot of work to do.
When pushed, Hunter said Batista being the "face of WWE" wouldn't be that hard to imagine if he won the Royal Rumble and went on to win the title at Wrestlemania.
- Kane vs. CM Punk is on the booking sheets for live events on the Road to Wrestlemania. Thanks to WNW reader Alex for his help with this information.
- Jim Ross is officially under contract with Fox Sports and penned his first piece where he looked at Royal Rumble memories at this link.
- Zeb Colter is featured in this week's episode of WWE Inbox that you can watch at this link. We also have it embedded in the video below:
- I was on Scoop and Score with WVU beat writer Mike Casazza on Thursday morning where we talked about the Royal Rumble, WWE and college athletics and more. You can listen at this link. I come on at the 30-minute mark.
- Batista had a message for the "negative smarks" on Twitter, you can read it below:
- LeBron James posted a video on Instagram where he showed off the WWE title belt The Rock sent him:
- WWE has a "where are they now?" piece online with Snitskyhere on dot com.
- WWE Extreme Rules 2014 will emanate from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington on May 4, 2014.
- One of the points of discussion backstage at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Dayton, Ohio was the recent influx of talent in the company. With "all hands on deck" for Wrestlemania XXX, WWE has reset the top of the card with Randy Orton, John Cena, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar and Batista. Add these names to workers such as Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and Christian coming back along with Big E Langston, The Miz, The Prime Time Players, The Shield and The Wyatt Family andVince McMahon is concerned about guys getting lost in the shuffle. The word was put out to brainstorm about ways to feature more guys, whether it be having angles play out on live events or even go back to more of a brand extension type setting, WWE has reversed their problem of depth to kickoff the new year. Let's also not forget about the impending returns of The Undertaker, Rob Van Dam and the possibility of any other part-time talent for Wrestlemania this April. This is also believed to be one of the reasons why Randy Orton is still carrying both title belts in case they would decide to split the titles once again. The bottom-line, however, from Triple H's prospective is they are at too important of a time in the company's history with the launch of the WWE Network and their biggest show of the year to be in a situation where they end up short on top guys due to injuries or people leaving the company for one reason or another.
- Jim Ross officially joined Fox Sports today and has posted his first article, which deals with his fondest Royal Rumble memories. Click here to read.
- Santino Marella, who was sidelined for much of 2013 due to a neck injury, posted the following updates on his Twitter account:
- Seth Rollins discusses traveling with championships, his early dreams of becoming a wrestler, reading fan fiction of himself and more in an interview on Talking With Soup, available at this link or embedded below:
- Tensai took part in an interview on the official WWE website regarding his career and recent stint at the NXT commentary booth. He goes on to say that his goal is to eventually become a regular commentator on NXT before going on to be announcer on Raw or Smackdown. Click here to read the full interview.
- To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the birth of Hulkamania, WWE interviewed The Iron Sheik about Hulk Hogan, losing the title, today's talent, and more. Click here to read the interview.
- While there are rumors implying the contrary, I'm told Sting has not agreed to a deal with WWE. We can, however, confirm there is strong interest from WWE as TNA Wrestling is also looking to re-sign him. In fact, we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on December 19, 2013 that re-signing the Stinger had become a priority in TNA. As almost everyone knows by now, Sting works on a year-to-year contract to keep his options open this late into his career.There is also interest from the new promotion by Jeff Jarrett and Toby Keith. While there isn't much known about the new project, I've heard enough to report it has legs. The promotion has solid financial backing and aspirations of overtaking TNA as the number two mainstream wrestling promotion in the United States. Back to Sting, there are people within WWE acting on "more of a hunch," feeling that a deal is imminent. However, there's nothing to report as of press time other than it's ultimately up to Sting as there is still interest across the board.
- WWE has posted interviews with Cody Rhodes, Titus O'Neil & Kane, in which they discuss their favorite Royal Rumble memories. The video is available at this link or embedded below:
- CM Punk, AJ Lee, Kofi Kingston & Fandango went up against Chris Hardwick and the Nerdist team on the latest edition of "WWE Outside The Ring."
- NBC Universal's exclusive negotiating period for WWE's domestic television rights ends on February 1, 2014 and the New York Post is reporting the company is considering a deal sweetener. According to the report, that sweetener is a physical Hall of Fame at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
The hot topic in WWE in addition to the launch of the forthcoming WWE Network is the company's upcoming historic domestic TV licensing agreement to remain on cable television. WWE is looking to more than double their current $140 million-a-year deal as investors criticize their programming is vastly undervalued. While Vince McMahon hopes to remain with NBCU, WWE has the right to accept or reject their offer by February 15, 2014. At that point other companies would be able to bid until February 28, 2014 and WWE must make a decision by March 4, 2014 for a potential move this fall.
The interesting thing regarding a physical WWE Hall of Fame at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is negotiations for such a venue are not new. The hangup on a deal getting done last year was the fact WWE wanted exclusive rights to the theme park, a move Universal was reluctant to grant unless WWE agreed to tape a show there. They had a good relationship with TNA and didn't want to blackball them without a full commitment from WWE.
The fact that TNA does not have any upcoming dates at Universal Studios to tape Impact is telling as Universal might be reluctant to book Impact TVs until NBCU is able to finish negotiations with WWE for a new domestic TV licensing agreement.
Click here for coverage by the New York Post.
- Goldust Tweeted the following:
- Roman Reigns discusses the Royal Rumble, Richard Sherman and more with Chad Dukes at this link.
- Seth Rollins is featured in a new video interview at this link.
- Triple H talks about WWE's relationship with Full Sail University and their developmental program at this link.
- CM Punk's annual interview with Ariel Helwani is online at this link.
In it, Punk said he was given Saturday off to attend UFC on Fox 10. He confirmed his WWE contract is up in six months and refused to discuss his future. Punk said he threw his name in the hat to induct Ultimate Warrior into the Hall of Fame because of their similarities and this weird relationship they've formed.
He admitted he's like Vince McMahon in that he doesn't sleep and they text at weird hours of the night. Punk talked about the Michelle Beadle/AJ Lee incident, said there was still a lot of time before his Wrestlemania XXX program and more.
- Everyone in WWE will admit Daniel Bryan is the most over member of the talent roster. As we previously reported, Bryan's turn on Bray Wyatt was accelerated for a couple of reasons. The first reason was company officials were almost embarrassed about the Michigan State University video that went viral. Another reason is the possibility of facing Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX. Undertaker has personally pitched Bryan as an opponent, feeling he can have a great match with him even with his two artificial hips.
- With Daniel Bryan possibly working Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX, Brock Lesnar is left without a match. There's been talk of doing Lesnar vs. Batista at the show, with multiple scenarios pitched. One had Orton going over John Cena at Royal Rumble, losing to Lesnar at Elimination Chamber and Lesnar defending against Batista at Wrestlemania (who, under this scenario, would win the Royal Rumble match on Sunday).
- The new plan is for Triple H to face CM Punk at Wrestlemania XXX as opposed to the original plan of Hunter vs. John Cena. This frees Cena up to do something with Hulk Hogan but we're told WWE remains "very nervous" about putting Hogan in a match. Cena would welcome something with Hogan so he doesn't end up the "odd man out" of the pay-per-view of the year.
- Any report claiming to know the long-term status of CM Punk is unfounded. Punk's WWE contract is up in July 2014, however, he's not telling anyone what he's doing. For those that don't remember, Punk was as good as gone before the "pipe bomb promo" that changed everything a few years ago and he went back and re-signed. We're unaware of WWE trying to re-sign Punk at this moment but I'm sure a plan is in place.
- Batista is not just under a part-time contract with WWE as he signed a two-year deal where he is essentially a full-time worker. Speaking of Batista, he continues to push the envelope on Twitter. After raising some eyebrows with his comment about "C level stars in a B level star era," he Tweeted Wednesday that negative smarks could suck his balls. The Tweets have since been removed. What's interesting is Batista is an outspoken critic of WWE's PG direction, however, he's still expected to go along with the initiative. While Vince McMahon wasn't thrilled with Batista's skinny jeans, his return is credited for spiking the Raw audience over 5 million viewers.
- To update on an earlier item, WWE has still not addressed pay-per-view bonus checks with their workers in regards to the forthcoming WWE Network. Vince McMahon was believed to have scheduled a meeting but canceled it. Workers remain skeptical about the Network until that issue is addressed.
- If Hulk Hogan does find himself in some fashion on the Wrestlemania XXX card, it will make some people unhappy. There are still rumblings from full-time workers very critical of guys coming in for Wrestlemania paydays and taking spots away from guys that are there all year long. However, let's also not forget, there remains a lot of talk about how Wrestlemania pay will be effected by the WWE Network.
- We're told there are no booking plans for Big Show after his program with Brock Lesnar and his Wrestlemania XXX plans are still up in the air.
- The Straits Times has a new article online featuring quotes from Daniel Bryan. In it, Bryan said he believes the vocal support from the fans has resulted in WWE putting him at the top of the card. He admits the company doesn't think he's what a WWE superstar should look like. The interview was a part kayfabe exchange, where Bryan said he's "trying to get involved" in the 30-man Royal Rumble match but Triple H doesn't want him anywhere near it. You can read the piece in its entirety at this link.
- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show with Cody Rhodes is now online at this link.
- WWE has recently changed their stance on stars attending UFC shows. Once considered a big deal, now the company doesn't mind their stars popping up in front of UFC cameras. CM Punk noted he'll be at Saturday's show in Chicago, while stars like Undertaker have been known to attend UFC events in the past. Ric Flair, while not under an active WWE contract, was at UFC Fight Night 35 a couple of weeks ago.
- Dot com has an article looking at the story behind the Royal Rumble match. Featured in the piece is comments by Pat Patterson, Jim Duggan, Jake Roberts, Tito Santana, Harley Race, Bret Hart and Hillbilly Jim. Click here to read it.
- Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, the original Sin Cara and former Mistico, is officially a free agent. He appeared on a Mexican Lucha Libre show on Thursday where he claimed that he owns the rights to the Sin Cara character and he's going to fight WWE for it. You can watch the appearance in Spanish at this link. He will have quite the fight on his hands as WWE is moving forward with Hunico as Sin Cara and have plenty of money and power to fight him.
- According to a Retweet of Curt Hawkinson Twitter, he's part of a pro wrestling academy out of Long Island, New York.
- Roman Reigns recently spoke with Peter Rosenberg about the Royal Rumble, the buzz around his future as a singles star, his family, and more. The interview is available at this link.
- Bad News Barrett and The Miz star in this week's "Backstage Fallout" Smackdown, available at this link.
- Jeremy Borash was at an event with Guy Fieri and Robert Irvine over the weekend in Santa Rosa, California. Below is a photo from Instagram:
Irvine is the real-life husband of Gail Kim.
- Tommy Dreamer worked as a road agent at last Thursday's Genesis themed Impact Wrestling tapings in Huntsville, Alabama.
- The official preview for Lockdown 2014 is online at this link.
- Former TNA commentator Todd Keneley appeared on The Shoot radio show where he addressed the TNA departures of Hulk Hogan, Jeff Jarrett and AJ Styles. Below is a recap that Gary Cantrell sent us:
The interview can be heard at this link starting at the 15-minute mark. Here are some of the highlights from the interview: On Hulk Hogan's departure: "I think it was time. I think Hulk went in there and did everything he could do to help the TNA brand and he did a lot of good for them in terms of opening that door to different media channels and a lot of international business. I think he played a solid role. Hulk wasn't just a figure head. He was in those meetings, he was in creative meetings, he was taking time, he was helping guys fine tune the little nuances in ring and on the mic. He was very active, so anyone who thinks Hulk was there just sitting there collecting a check is wrong and i can tell you that first hand." On Jeff Jarrett's departure: "That one was definitely a big head turner, i mean here's a guy that really put himself out there, founded that company, took a chance did the weekly PPVs, got on Fox Sports at one point, eventually teamed up with the Carters, got on Spike TV. You think about the roller coaster this guy went through and the sacrifices he made to keep that company around is unbelievable so to walk away from it it's got to be for a good reason one would think. You read the rumors that he's going to start his own thing and we'll see. I honestly hope he does, because the more variety and more opportunity for talented people in this business to get work, be seen and make a living the better. He's obviously got a great mind for the business, but yeah that's one where if you followed TNA from day one then he's the guy who started it all so you gotta look at it and say whats going on here." On AJ Styles's departure: "Time will tell whats really going on there. Obviously as much as Jeff Jarrett founded TNA and is synonymous with TNA in terms of a in ring competitor he's been labeled at times the poster boy of TNA wrestling, AJ Styles is another guy that you just saw his career, you basically him basically grow up in the business in TNA. They were the ones that really gave him a big opportunity to shine and you saw him go from X Division competitor to holding tag team gold all the way to becoming World Champion. He's a guy you can't help but respect, a guy that has tons of class, hard worker, great attitude in terms of working with people. So another guy just like Jarrett where you like wow if they really let him go whats the deal." In this 45 minute exclusive interview, Todd also talks on a variety of other topics such as his time in Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, working with Matt Striker, Daniel Bryan's story line direction, Royal Rumble predictions, The Wolves in TNA, his take on whether Jeff Jarrett & AJ Styles leaving TNA are a work, and more.
- MVP wrote the following on Twitter:
Apparently the rumor making rounds is the former WWE star has signed a deal with TNA Wrestling. While that's clearly not the case, this rumor isn't completely off base. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on January 6, 2014 that while TNA was trying to re-sign AJ Styles, they were simultaneously pursuing MVP. They were believed to be getting close when that report was filed so while he might not be signed yet, he could be on the verge of doing so.
- Dixie Carter announced that presale for TNA's upcoming pay-per-view event Lockdown starts tomorrow. Below is the tweet:
To start getting your tickets, simply visit this link. Lockdown will be live March 9, 2014 and we will have live coverage right here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- While we do not have the exact figures, we're told TNA Wrestling's offer to Chris Hero (f/k/a Kassius Ohno) was better than what Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards received. According to a source, Richards had burned enough bridges and didn't have a lot of leverage. The deal ended up being the best for Edwards as well since there wasn't interest in him without his tag team partner, regardless of having a different reputation in many circles. Another reason TNA extended offers to The American Wolves is they know their tag division is sparse and they were looking for some good talent that wouldn't be too expensive. The company reached out to The Young Bucks but they were believed to have been offered less than what Richards and Edwards ultimately agreed on. At this point they aren't expected back.
- The only serious offer the Carter family had to purchase controlling interest of TNA Wrestling was the group financed by country music singer Toby Keith. TNA's deal with Spike TV is up in the fall and obviously if they would fail to get a new agreement, it would be a situation like what happened with WCW and the value of the company would plummet. There's a very interesting tie-in to all of this as the wheels are in motion for a potential new promotion involving Jeff Jarrett and Toby Keith. That project has a lot of money behind it and they're believed to be interested in the Spike TV contract. A wild card in this is Eric Bischoff, who was well liked by the Spike TV executives, but is on his way out of TNA. It's unknown at this point how this will impact negotiations.
- Sting has updated his social media profiles to fuel speculation about his future. After finishing up his latest year-to-year contract with TNA Wrestling, Sting rehashed this quote from WCW:
"The only thing that's for sure about STING is nothing's for sure"
TNA Impact Wrestling TV news and notes…
- The big storyline coming out of this week's show was Sting "losing his contract" after being defeated by TNA Champion Magnus. The stipulation was made due to Sting's uncertain contract status that could potentially be used to end his tenure with TNA Wrestling. The Stinger has fueled speculation about his future but we have a behind-the-scenes update at this link.
- Austin Aries beat Chris Sabin to win the X Division Championship. The bout was taped last week in Huntsville, Alabama.
- For those that missed it, The Wolves announced the mystery investor that brought them in will be revealed on next week's episode of Impact Wrestling live in Glasgow, Scotland. You can watch the vignette at this link.
- Also announced for next week in Glasgow, Eric Young & Abyss challenging The BroMans for the TNA Tag Team Championship.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling, the second part of TNA Genesis 2014, did an average viewing audience of 1,555,000 viewers on Spike TV. This was the best viewership the show has garnered since the January 31, 2013 episode. You can see how the competition stacked up on cable at this link.
- TNA Wrestling has announced they will be taping Impact from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida in March, April and May. The following dates are currently set for the theme park later this year:
MARCH 13 – IMPACT LIVE
MARCH 14 – IMPACT Taping
MARCH 15 – IMPACT Taping
APRIL 10 – IMPACT LIVE
APRIL 11 – IMPACT Taping
APRIL 12 – IMPACT Taping
APRIL 26 – One Night Only Taping
APRIL 27 – TNA Pay-Per-View Event
APRIL 28 – IMPACT Taping
APRIL 29 – IMPACT Taping
MAY 7 – IMPACT Taping
MAY 8 – IMPACT Taping
MAY 9 – IMPACT Taping
This comes fresh off the news that Universal Studios had become part of WWE's negotiations with NBC Universal for a new domestic television deal, as the New York Postreported on Friday that a physical Hall of Fame from the theme park could be added to sweeten their deal with the company. Negotiations for a physical WWE Hall of Fame from Universal Studios hit a stumbling block last year when WWE requested they have exclusive access to the park.
Universal, who have enjoyed a good working relationship with TNA, balked at the idea of exclusivity unless WWE agreed to tape a show there. This was believed to be a deal breaker and we hadn't heard anymore regarding the physical WWE Hall of Fame at the theme park until the report from the New York Post on Friday.
When TNA hadn't announced any dates from the theme park, the thinking was they were essentially blackballed out until WWE made a decision. The news of the tapings doesn't mean a deal for a physical WWE Hall of Fame is dead. Until WWE signs an agreement with Universal, the park is free to host whoever they want. However, multiple sources within WWE have stated the company would want to be the only wrestling promotion in the theme park should they agree to have their physical Hall of Fame there.
- Kurt Angle is scheduled for TNA's upcoming European tour but as Alex Barie first reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, he'll undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on February 11, 2014. The projected timetable for his return is 6-8 weeks, meaning he's likely off Lockdown. Angle's TNA contract is up in September 2014 following a three-year extension he signed in 2011.
- The way the release of the original Sin Cara (real name Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde) was handled was part of the "no fire edict" where WWE doesn't release main roster stars but rather allows their contracts to lapse and doesn't re-sign them. Not only that but it would have been a confusing situation for the company to address considering they're moving forward with Hunico as Sin Cara. I contacted WWE's public relations department about the original Cara claiming to own the gimmick and fighting for it but haven't heard back as of press time.
- Hulk Hogan is very much in play for Wrestlemania XXX but I'm still not aware of a deal being signed. Neither Vince McMahon nor Triple H want a contract with Hogan being contingent on a match at the pay-per-view but it's still something that's been discussed (and continues to be discussed, apparently). The company really wants Hogan to be part of the WWE Network to entice older fans that might have left the product to come back.
- Goldberg claims he hasn't had any negotiations with WWE about returning for Wrestlemania XXX. I've been told by multiple sources negotiations have in fact taken place but it doesn't look like a deal will get done. The issues started over creative and are back to money.
- There is plenty of WWE interest in Sting but there was no deal in place as of the end of this week.
- TNA Wrestling's contract with Spike TV is up in October 2014. There are a couple things of note here. First, the new WWE TV deal will go into effect in October 2014, meaning Spike TV (or Viacom to be more specific) could theoretically be a suitor for the WWE deal if they do not agree to a new deal with NBC Universal by February 14, 2014. In fact, the belief in TV circles is WWE has already reached out to or met with representatives from Viacom. There is a lot of nervousness within TNA about their deal. The feeling from many is they don't have a lot of leverage in negotiations and the loss of Eric Bischoff is seen as problematic, given his good relationship with the network. There's also a feeling the promotion being started by Jeff Jarrett and Toby Keith is interested in the contract.
- MVP says he's very much a free agent and dismisses any reports that he's signed with TNA as part of the new investor angle. We reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on January 6, 2014 that TNA and MVP were believed to be getting close to a deal. TNA simultaneously pursued MVP while they were negotiating with Styles. The feeling was if they re-signed Styles, they wouldn't be able to sign MVP.
- In addition to signing Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, we can confirm there's been legitimate interest in The Young Bucks, Roderick Strong and Chris Hero. The deal they were offering Strong in December included zero guaranteed dates but would feature a $1300/month downside whether he worked or not.
- TNA's immediate problem about having nowhere to tape TVs has been solved for the short-term. Fresh off the news that Universal Studios has reportedly become a part of WWE's negotiations for a new domestic TV deal with NBC Universal, they announced late Friday they're returning to the theme park for several new dates. The return is scheduled for an "Impact Live" event on March 13th followed by Impact tapings on March 14th and March 15th. They'll return in April for an "Impact Live" event on April 10th followed by Impact tapings on April 11th and April 12th. On April 26th, TNA will hold a One Night Only taping followed by a "Pay-Per-View" event on April 27th and Impact tapings on April 28th and April 29th. They'll return in May for Impact tapings on May 7th, May 8th and May 9th.
- The Carter family is believed to still have interest in selling TNA Wrestling but there is nothing to report as of press time.
Can Randy Orton really be trusted to headline Wrestlemania? If not, does this mean John Cena goes over for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble?
Randy Orton has fully regained his spot as the "1b" behind John Cena and in the process has also regained the trust of Vince McMahon and Triple H. Orton was humbled for a year after another Wellness violation but the past is the past. With that being said, I'm picking John Cena over Orton at Royal Rumble but that's my own prediction and not based on anything I've heard.
What's the latest on MVP? Is he TNA bound?
MVP Tweeted on Monday he's still very much a free agent amid rumors that he's going to TNA Wrestling. While we didn't report he was headed to TNA, the rumors are not baseless. TNA has been pursuing MVP and I was told earlier this month they were getting close to a deal. However, according to the man himself, he's still a free agent as of Monday.
Personally I would love to see Roman Reigns win the 30-man Royal Rumble match but is it safe to say that Batista goes over unless he somehow gets screwed?
I've considered Batista to be the favorite to win the 30-man Royal Rumble match from the second he was announced as an entrant. This isn't based on anything I've heard but common sense given the fact WWE is pushing him as a main event talent after a four-year absence. Many are hoping Daniel Bryan is healthy enough to enter the match and win it, however, the plan prior to his concussion was to put him in a singles match against Bray Wyatt.
I read the Bella Twins stated in the February 2014 issue of WWE Magazine they wanted Divas Tag Team Championship. I thought at this point they would benefit more than a singles championship. What are your thoughts?
WWE actually tinkered with introducing Divas Tag Team titles before they introduced the Divas Championship in July 2008. Those of you that are long-time WNW Premium Members probably remember reading my exclusive report. As for my thoughts on more titles, I'm against adding any title and would actually prefer the unification of the Intercontinental and United States titles. There are too many titles useless belts why add more? I was against unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight titles because two world titles created more opportunities at the top.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2011: When a worker is suspended under the WWE Wellness Policy, are they paid during their suspension? - When a worker is suspended under the WWE Wellness Policy their downside guarantee is suspended as well. This is how an injured worker can serve a suspension despite the fact they are already off shows.
It's my understanding that one of the main reasons why WWE would be against having Wrestlemania in the UK is because it would be at an unsociable hour in the US that would damage pay-per-view berates. Now with all the PPVs being on the WWE Network, meaning that buyrates won't be as important as they used to be, do you see this making the chances of Wrestlemania being held in the UK a better possibility?
This is an interesting perspective and one I haven't even considered until I was sent this question, however, I'm afraid I'm going to have to shoot you down. Wrestlemania is more important with the launch of the WWE Network. WWE is looking towards their biggest show of the year to entice people to subscribe to the WWE Network without thinking about it. This is why they made sure to launch with Wrestlemania XXX being the first pay-per-view on the Network, a fact we've reported for years. The thinking is, if Wrestlemania can cause over a million people to pay $50+, how many more would pay for it at $9.99/month and get all the extras that come with the WWE Network. Wrestlemania going live in prime time on the east coast of the United States is pretty much essential for the show to succeed. Tinkering with the "grand daddy of them all" outside of prime time in the United States could prove disastrous and would not be something I believe the company would consider. The WWE Network does give the company more flexibility and make it possible for such a move, however, I don't see Wrestlemania being the pay-per-view they test it with.
You have mentioned that Batista is the favorite to win the Royal Rumble. If he did he would join Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and John Cena as the only multiple Rumble winners. While Batista is one of the great superstars of his era, nobody could claim he belongs in a class with the above names. Do you get the sense Vince McMahon cares about things like that (history, a wrestler's legacy, statistics, etc.) when booking the Rumble winner or is it all about who is the best fit for that particular year?
Multiple things are considered when the 30-man Royal Rumble match is laid out, none more important than the plans for Wrestlemania. The Rumble match itself is booked by Pat Patterson and Triple H with Vince McMahon giving it final approval. All things are considered before Vince gives his final approval but again, much is contingent on the direction they plan on going at Wrestlemania. As for Batista being the favorite, after looking at the announced entrants, I'm not sure how he can't be considered the favorite. Those going into the pay-per-view expecting some kind of miraculous swerve are setting themselves up for disappointment. That's not to say a swerve isn't possible, because anything is possible, but I fully expect Batista to be protected in this match. If he doesn't win, it's going to be because of something that sets up a main event singles program.
When is Sheamus coming back to WWE?
Sheamus is expected back soon, however, an official return date has not been made available. As I reported exclusively here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, the injury to Sheamus is a complicated one. Some days he feels great and other days he feels awful. Compound this with the fact that the style of Sheamus increases his chance of re-injury and the company is being cautious. There's a chance of him being a surprise Rumble entrant but as I stated above, don't go into the show expecting that. If it happens, it'll be a surprise. If not, I would expect him back for the build to Wrestlemania XXX.
What do you think of the two EXACT same finishes of Genesis? To me it seemed very poor thought out and SO UNORIGINAL! POOR JOB by Dixie Carter and TNA!
The finish was terrible overbooking to setup the reveal of the new investor on next week's episode of Impact Wrestling. They want to increase the heat on Magnus and Dixie Carter although they're not garnering the right kind of heat. For more on this week's show, check out the new TNA Live feature here on TNANews.com.
From the Ask WNW vault…
March 2012: How likely is it that Kurt Angle would end up back in WWE? He has been loyal to TNA and Dixie Carter but last year I heard a rumor that his contract was about to expire and he was thinking of going back to WWE, but with all that said would it be likely he could end up in WWE over the next few years or still remain in TNA? - Kurt Angle signed a new three-year contract with TNA Impact Wrestling in September 2011. Apparently he considered another WWE run but I don’t know how much interest there was in him and if any actual negotiating ever took place. Angle is happy with his spot in TNA and enjoys his salary while he pursues outside interests.