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Brock Lesnar's Contract Status, Backstage Blowup Between WWE Brass Over Vince McMahon's Workload, CM Punk Not Happy, Why Daniel Bryan Joined The Wyatt Family, Wrestlemania 30 Plans, Undertaker Not Wrestlemania Ready; What Could Put Goldberg On The Card,

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Welcome to the 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, December 28, 2013 to Friday, January 3, 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

- Randy Orton sends a message to the WWE locker room on this week's "Backstage Fallout" Smackdown, available at this link.

- Dean Ambrose discusses his United States Championship on the latest edition of Behind The Match, available at this link.

- Wrestling News World reader Bob Cavicchiol was at Friday's WWE live event in Hartford, Connecticut and wrote about Booker T calling Antonio Cesaro out for a birthday Spinaroonie. The moment occurred after Big Show vs. Kane, in which Book refereed. He called out Cesaro and put him over in the ring to babyface reactions. The crowd chanted "We the People" and sung "Happy Birthday" before Booker T called Cesaro "the future." For those that have asked, Cesaro turned 33-years-old on Friday.

- This year's airing of WWE Tribute to the Troops did an impressive viewing audience of 2,300,000 viewers on NBC on Saturday night. The show did a 0.6 adults 18-49 rating, up 100% from the year prior. This number is also up slightly from what the show drew in 2011.

- We're being told Vince McMahon is currently dealing with a health issue, believed to be diverticulitis. While many think of Brock Lesnar when they hear the term diverticulitis (it ended his career with UFC), McMahon suffered from the condition nearly 10 years ago. He was hospitalized for several days in June 2004 and missed The Great American Bash pay-per-view that year and a set of television tapings. The company is trying to keep things quiet as they feel news of McMahon having a health issue won't set well with investors. Vince has been reluctant to take time off, despite being urged to do just that by Stephanie McMahon andTriple H. Details regarding the timeline of when exactly Vince had the flare up are unknown but he was well enough to travel overseas with Big Show, R-Truth, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie to visit members of the United States military just a couple of weeks ago.

- WWE has uploaded three matches that were taped for Tribute to the Troops 2013 but not used on the NBC television special. You can watch Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston, The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio & The Usos and a Divas Battle Royal at this link.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online where he gives his thoughts on Saturday night's UFC pay-per-view. Click here to read it.

- Long-time WWE technical director Doug Getz died suddenly on Saturday. Details regarding his passing are unknown as of press time as Jim Ross posted about it on his verified Twitter account shortly after this week's Smackdown taping concluded in Washington, D.C. Below is JR's Tweet:

Other reactions from former colleagues of Getz began to hit Twitter on Sunday night:

- Brodus Clay has been repackaged as a heel and debuted new theme music and a slightly different look at Sunday's Smackdown taping in Washington, D.C.

- Bad News Barrett beat Darren Young in a dark match prior to Sunday's Smackdown taping in Washington, D.C.

- An interesting conversation took place Sunday night between the best basketball player in the world and some WWE heavyweights. Miami Heat forward LeBron James Tweeted the following:

The Rock responded with the following:

John Cena responded with the following:

CM Punk responded with the following:

For those that don't understand Punk's Tweet, Luc Longley won three titles with the Chicago Bulls back in the 90s.

- Brock Lesnar agreed to a contract extension with WWE in January 2013 that was believed to be for another two years. His original contract was up after Wrestlemania 29 this year and had he not signed the extension, he would already be gone. While speculation about Lesnar returning to UFC is unfounded, even if he was able to resume fighting from a health standpoint he would have to get out of his WWE contract. Lesnar is believed to be contractually bound to WWE through the entire year of 2014, into the first quarter of 2015. Lesnar's new contract included a main event match at Wrestlemania XXX, which is currently believed to be against Undertaker. He is expected to appear on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Richmond, Virginia.

- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,852,000 viewers on SyFy. That number is on the high side of where it's been drawing lately.

- The New Age Outlaws, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, are scheduled to appear on next week's "Old School" episode of Monday Night Raw from Baltimore, Maryland.

- The big promotional post for this week's episode of Raw is The Authority making "blockbuster announcements."

- The Rock sent LeBron James a replica WWE title belt as promised Sunday night on Twitter. The following is from Twitter:

- Stephanie McMahon announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that Randy Orton will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena in the main event of Royal Rumble 2014 next month. Royal Rumble 2014 will take place Sunday, January 26, 2014 from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The only other announced match at this time is the 30-man Royal Rumble match. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at

- WWE began running commercials for next week's "Old School" themed episode of Monday Night Raw during this week's show. While they didn't officially announce any names for the broadcast, the following were featured in the commercial:

Diamond Dallas Page
Ric Flair
Bob Backlund
Booker T
Gene Okerlund
New Age Outlaws
Scotty Too Hotty
Roddy Piper
Ted DiBiase

- For those that missed it in our live results, Christian worked Monday's WWE live event in Toronto as the special guest referee to Big Show vs. Kane in a steel cage match.

- For those that have asked, Heath Slater is currently away from WWE on approved time off. While I do not have 100% confirmation, I believe it was due to his wife having another baby. Ricardo Rodriguez has been teaming with Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre on holiday WWE live events.

- WWE has announced Roman Reigns vs. CM Punk for next week's "Old School" Monday Night Raw in Baltimore, Maryland.

- Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman returned to WWE on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw from The Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia. The company spoiled the return and subsequent segment with Mark Henry at Sunday's Smackdown taping in Washington, D.C. We covered it here on Sunday night.

- There was a major problem with the USA Network feed for some DirecTV subscribers during the airing of this week's Raw. The feed began acting up just after 9:50 PM EST and is still messed up as I type this. I called customer support and was told it was a problem on the network's end. I've heard from other subscribers that experienced the issues but others did not.

- WWE is playing up that Mark Henry has "bruised ribs" following his segment with Brock Lesnar on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. You can read kayfabe coverage here on dot com.

- Daniel Bryan joined Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family in the final segment of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Bryan's new alliance was setup in the overrun segment following a gauntlet match against the entire Family. Bryan pinned Luke Harper, then Erick Rowan and beat Bray Wyatt via disqualification. Afterwards, Bryan told Bray he was always right and asked to join them. He was attacked and then helped to the back with them. Bryan stopped midway up the ramp but ended up leaving with The Wyatt Family to end the show.

- For those that missed it on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, referee Marc Harris counted to three when The Great Khali's shoulder was not on the mat against Damien Sandow. The spot was called out on announce and JBL ragged on Harris. Harris made headlines earlier this year for blowing the finish to Natalya & The Great Khali vs. AJ Lee & Big E Langston. He defended his mistake with a rant on social media that was subsequently deleted.

- Jim Ross posted his thoughts from this week's episode of Monday Night Raw at this link.

- The latest Batista return vignette is online at this link.

- After this week's Monday Night Raw went off the air, CM Punk beat The Shield in a 3-on-1 handicap match after hitting the GTS on Dean Ambrose.

- Michael Cole interviewed Paul Heyman shortly after his return to WWE [with Brock Lesnar] aired on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. You can watch it at this link.

- WWE Superstars react to Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatts in the latest episode of Backstage Fallout Raw that you can watch at this link.

- Matt Striker has been cast in the upcoming TV movie "Star Trek Equinox: The Night of Time." TMZ has the story at this link.

- Brock Lesnar is expected to be featured on next week's Old School Raw but isn't currently featured on the official advertised talent list for the taping.

- The Bravado Brothers were spotted in the crowd at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Richmond, Virginia. You can view a screen capture of them during the Mark Henry/Brock Lesnar segment at this link. The Bravado Brothers are the current holders of the DGUSA Open the United Gate Championship. Thanks to Wrestling News World reader Patrick Peralta for sending this in.

- WWE will return to Madison Square Garden in New York City for a Road to Wrestlemania live event on Saturday, March 8, 2014. The presale password to obtain tickets is WWEMSG as tickets can be purchased now at this link.

- We're being told The Ultimate Warrior is going after people on eBay and other websites that sell his merchandise. While selling merchandise that is licensed is legal, Warrior wants a cut of anything sold with his likeness or is threatening legal action. To avoid litigation, Warrior wants 30% of the total sale of any "Ultimate Warrior" item. He's also having items removed from eBay and sending threatening emails that do not give him a cut or comply with his request to pull the items.

- We reported earlier this week here on Premium that Vince McMahon was dealing with a health ailment, believed to be a flare up of diverticulitis. Whatever is going on with Vince, it's creating a rift within the family.

We're being told that Stephanie McMahon has been urging her father to take time off until he gets to feeling better. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Stephanie got into a bit of an argument with Vince over it and told him if he didn't step back and put his health first, she would quit the company. Triple H sided with her and made it clear he wouldn't stay without her.

Cooler heads eventually prevailed and there wasn't a blowup at WWE's highest level, however, there is a precedent for this. One of the reasons why Shane McMahon left WWE is he wanted his father to lessen his role and give him more control. When Vince rejected that notion, Shane ended up pursuing outside interests.

Those close to Vince say that with the ongoing television licensing negotiations as well as the upcoming launch of the WWE Network, he's refusing to be on the outside looking in during such a critical time in the company's history. However, Stephanie and Hunter are worried about the stress resulting in serious damage to his long-term health.

- The Rock was asked on Twitter when he would be returning to WWE in anticipation for Wrestlemania XXX next April. Rock admitted there were preliminary discussions about him returning to face Brock Lesnar but he isn't in the plans for the show next year. However, he left open the possibility of him coming back for Wrestlemania 31 in 2015. The following is from Twitter:

The current plan has Brock Lesnar challenging The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX next year. The Rock hasn't been in the plans for the show since he finished up with the company earlier this year.

- Mae Young is not doing well and has reportedly been placed under the care of hospice. She was hospitalized in the latter part of last month. Young is 90-years-old.

- Add Dusty Rhodes to the name of Legends scheduled to appear on next week's "Old School" episode of Monday Night Raw.

- Summer Rae was featured here by Sports Illustrated's "Extra Mustard."

- The Rock recently Tweeted the injury he suffered in his match at Wrestlemania 29 against John Cena was God's way of saying, "slow down son." Rock tore his quadriceps and adductor in the match and hasn't been on WWE television since.

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,128,333 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the numbers broke down by hour:

Hour 1 - 4,141,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 4,204,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 4,040,000 viewers

All hours were above the 4 million viewer benchmark without the NFL competing now that Monday Night Football has concluded for the season. Also take notice that viewership increased from hour one to hour two, however, pulled back for the third and final hour.

The show ended up with a 2.97 cable rating.

- The Ultimate Warrior issued a statement in response to our story about his rampage over merchandise. In the statement, Warrior claimed they are only targeting counterfeit and unlicensed merchandise.

- Jim Ross talked about his beloved Oklahoma Sooners playing in the 2014 Sugar Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide in a new interview at this link. In it, he equated Alabama to The Undertaker and Oklahoma to Shawn Michaels.

- WWE posted this week's kayfabe interview between Triple H and Michael Cole on New Year's Day. Below are the highlights:

Triple H wants 2014 to be WWE's biggest year ever, whether that is bringing back something from the past or lighting a bonfire under today's superstars or bringing in something for the future of the likes no one has ever seen before. Hunter said 2014 is going to be epic.

Hunter said that either John Cena or Randy Orton is going to leave Royal Rumble knowing for sure they are better than the other.

He said bringing Brock Lesnar back should prove what he's been saying all along and that is it's not about him but it's what is best for business. And Brock Lesnar is great for business.

Triple H said he's thrilled Dave Batista is coming back to WWE where he belongs. When Cole asked him about plans for Batista, he said you'd have to ask him that.

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

- Jim Ross wrote on Tuesday afternoon in the Q&A section of his official website that he has "no plans" to attend next week's "Old School" episode of Monday Night Raw in Baltimore, Maryland.

- WWE will make a major announcement one week from Wednesday from the Encore Theater at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. While we haven't heard what the announcement is, Vince McMahon, John Cena, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Triple H are scheduled to be on hand. Speculation suggests it has something to do with the WWE Network. You can view the official invitation to the event at this link.

- Titus O'Neil and WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston were in attendance at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida on New Year's Day.

- CM Punk continues to draw attention with some of his posts on Twitter. When a fan put him over for his match against Seth Rollins on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, Punk called it garbage. Earlier in the day, he Tweeted that he's sick of traveling. The following is from Twitter:

There are still plans for Punk to work in the top of card again this year.

- Dot com posted a new article on New Year's Day, listing 10 superstars to watch in 2014. They are as follows:

Big E Langston
Brie Bella
Titus O'Neil
The Usos
Xavier Woods
Summer Rae
Roman Reigns
Ryback & Curtis Axel
Damien Sandow
Bray Wyatt

You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

Backstage news and notes from Monday Night Raw in Richmond…

- If you're looking for the long-term plans for Daniel Bryan aligning with The Wyatt Family, you aren't going to find them. We're told it was a rushed program with no out so the decision was made to have Bryan join the Family. One observer pointed to the lack of logic in Bryan saying that he can't beat "the machine" no matter what he does because The Wyatt Family has nothing to do with "the machine" (with "the machine" being The Authority).

- Speaking of The Wyatt Family, Luke Harper was praised backstage for his match with Bryan.

- Vince McMahon was still hopeful in doing Daniel Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXX as of this week's television tapings.

- The original plan was for Brock Lesnar to return by taking out Big Show but it was changed to the angle that aired with Mark Henry. No idea why the change but it was done prior to Sunday's Smackdown taping as the Raw angle was revealed the night before it happened.

- We're being told the preliminary plan is for Brock Lesnar to work Royal Rumble.

- One of the top feuds for Wrestlemania XXX is currently scheduled to be between Vince McMahon and Triple H for "control of WWE." This should be starting soon as we near Wrestlemania season.

- "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase wrote the following on Twitter about appearing on next week's "Old School" episode of Monday Night Raw:

- Tommy Dreamer is issuing a challenge for any "new school" talent to top his match with Bully Ray at next week's "Old School" episode of Monday Night Raw:

Dreamer faced Ray in a Street Fight at TNA's #OldSchool "One Night Only" pay-per-view taping last Monday night. The bout will air on pay-per-view later this year.

- This week's episode of WWE Main Event didn't air in its timeslot on Ion Television due to holiday programming. Dot com posted the episode in its entirety at this link.

- Episode 101 of WWE Inbox is now online at this link.

- Dot com has uploaded New Year's Divas photos that you can view at this link.

- Speaking of which, you can also view photos of WWE's hottest bodies at this link.

- The Undertaker had surgery to put in another artificial hip last year. Due to the surgery and rehabilitation from it, he's nervous about working another match and hasn't signed off to work Wrestlemania XXX yet. We're told Vince McMahon is confident that he eventually will but Undertaker knows the proposed match against Brock Lesnar will be a physical one. If Undertaker is unable to go, there's a chance WWE finally pulls the trigger on Bill Goldberg.

- As for Daniel Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels, which as we noted, Vince McMahon was still hopeful for as of this week, he put an edict on short notice for creative to work on a backup plan for Bryan if Shawn decides against working again. This is the reason for the "awful angle" with Bryan joining The Wyatt Family on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The idea is the Bryan/Wyatt alliance buys them time if they have to stretch it out to Wrestlemania. Under this scenario, Bryan would reveal he "joined" the Wyatt Family as a ruse to destroy the faction from the inside, culminating in Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt one on one at WrestleMania.

- Wrestling News World reader Brandon van Reenen sent word that Total Divas will premiere in South Africa on Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 4:00pm CAT on HD. already airs Raw, Smackdown, NXT, Afterburn, Bottom Line and Superstars.

- Following up on a fun story over the holidays, Miami Heat forward LeBron James responded to The Rock for sending him a WWE title belt. The following is from Twitter:

- WWE posted a new video on Thursday with Bad News Barrett looking at bad news from the company's post. You can watch it at this link.

- Kurt Angle was recently interviewed by WEEI where he talked about his time in the Olympics as well as his personal problems throughout his life. At one points in the interview, he discussed the possibility of going back to the WWE. Below is what he stated:

“I can’t say I’€™ll never go back,” Angle said. “My contract is up in eight months, so we’€™ll see.”

You can check out the full interview at this link.

- Nielsen has a new feature where they give ratings to television shows based on how well they perform on Twitter. In last week's numbers, from December 23 to December 29, wrestling took 4 out of the 10 spots in their weekly top ten.

WWE Raw was ranked number one with an unique audience of 1,260,200.
WWE Tribute to the Troops was ranked number 7 with an unique audience of 477,500.
WWE Smackdown was ranked in 8th place with an unique audience of 473,100.
Impact Wrestling was ranked in 10th place with an unique audience of 216,700.

The full list can be seen at this link.

- "Guardians of the Galaxy," featuring Batista under the role of Drax the Destroyer, opens in theaters on August 1, 2014. The original edit of this post contained a typo on the date as Batista's April schedule will be filled by WWE commitments as he's in the plans for Wrestlemania XXX.

- Hulk Hogan is rooting for the New England Patriots as a video he posted on Facebook made headlines on ESPN.

- Jerry Lawler spent New Year's Eve with Hulk Hogan at "Hogan's Beach" in Tampa. Below is a photo of Lawler, Hogan and Jimmy Hart:

- WWE's stock price continues to soar as the company now boasts a market cap of 1.20B. Shares closed at $16.01 on Thursday and investors are hoping that will only go up as the new TV licensing deal is announced.

- The Rock has signed a contract to purchase a $4.5 million home in South Florida. The home is still under construction but is 13,700-square-feet and features five bedrooms and a six-car garage. You can read more at this link.

- Bobby Eaton had to cancel upcoming appearances in Union City, TN (on January 3rd) and in Paragould, AR (on January 25) due to ongoing health issues. He was released from the hospital last week but had to be readmitted due to complications stemming from diabetes.

- WWE issued a survey this week, asking fans their opinion of several past and a few current stars and the role they would like to see them in going forward.

Names on the survey included Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Steve Austin, The Rock, Ric Flair and The Undertaker as past or part-time stars and CM Punk, John Cena and Triple H as current talents.

After questions were asked about each name, the survey proved two randomly selected names and asked respondents what role they would like to see that person in. The scenarios ranged from wrestling regularly on Raw and Smackdown to being featured on commentary or in a WWE reality series or highlight show. Others, asked if respondents would like to see them wrestling at Wrestlemania or SummerSlam or involved in storylines. There was also an option for the respondent to say they did not want to see the name involved with WWE.

This most likely has to do with not only bringing in talent for events like Wrestlemania XXX later this year but the upcoming WWE Network.

- Batista thanked donors for giving to help the people of the Philippines during the AMC fund drive in a new video posted at this link.

- There is a rumor being attributed to Dave Meltzer's publication that WWE plans to include Chris Benoit footage on the forthcoming WWE Network but any footage where Benoit is included will air with an advisory. The stance on Benoit hasn't changed as the company is willing to acknowledge he was part of their history but they will not be promoting him. Yes, this means he won't be going into the WWE Hall of Fame.

- Ezekiel Jackson is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday to repair two hernias. This is his third procedure in four years, however, he's scheduled to begin training again two weeks post-surgery. Jackson, who remains under WWE contract, has worked sparingly over the past couple years due to injury.

- Jim Ross was on the Oklahoma sideline for the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA on Thursday night. JR was acknowledged on the ESPN broadcast as his Sooners beat Alabama 45-31.

- WWE NXT commentator Tom Phillips made his Main Event debut on this episode alongside The Miz. You can watch it at this link.

- JBL and Michael Cole tour the Jerry Lawler Museum in Mississippi with Renee Young in this week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show. You can watch at this link or embedded in the video below:

- Mick Foley penned a new blog about Daniel Bryan joining The Wyatt Family, explaining how Bryan could use the opportunity to help "make" Bray Wyatt. Click here to read it.

- Antonio Cesaro was interviewed by The Baltimore Sun ahead of next week's "Old School" Raw in the city. You can read it at this link.

- The Fairfax County News Online has a new article online featuring quotes from WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose at this link.

- For those that need a reminder (like I just did while planning my schedule ), below are the scheduled WWE pay-per-view dates for the entire year:

January 26, 2014 - Royal Rumble
February 23, 2014 - Elimination Chamber
April 6, 2014 - Wrestlemania XXX
May 4, 2014 - Extreme Rules
June 1, 2014 - WWE Payback
June 29, 2014 - WWE Money in the Bank
July 20, 2014 - WWE Battleground
August 17, 2014 - SummerSlam
September 21, 2014 - WWE Night of Champions
October 26, 2014 - WWE Hell in a Cell
November 23, 2014 - Survivor Series
December 14, 2014 - WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs

The dates were first reported here on Names of shows are subject to change.

- Mike Jones (who?) interviewed WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston where he spoke on several topics, including who will be in the Wrestlemania XXX main event. Langston said John Cena is at the top of the hill and when one thinks of opponents, they need to consider Brock Lesnar and Batista. As far as titles are concerned, Randy Orton is the guy but there are a lot of different players. You can listen to the interview at this link.

- Speaking of main event players, Triple H went out of his way in this week's kayfabe interview with Michael Cole to mention Batista, Randy Orton, CM Punk, John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar as the guys at the top in 2014.

TNA News

- Jessie Godderz suffered a knee injury at Saturday night's TNA live event in Westbury, New York. The injury happened during a suplex spot with Joseph Park as Godderz was in a tag team with Robbie E against Park and Eric Young. The severity of the injury is unknown as of press time.

- Speaking of Saturday night's show in Westbury, the show drew well in the venue. It wasn't sold out but presented a great atmosphere, according to those in attendance.

- Newsday has a new article online featuring quotes from James Storm. In it, Storm said that TNA needs Jeff Jarrett because he understands the wrestling aspect of the business. He said Jarrett is the one that built the company and needs to be there whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera. You can read the article at this link.

- Jessie Godderz worked both the Hardcore Justice and #OldSchool pay-per-view tapings on Sunday and Monday night respectively so the knee injury he suffered Saturday night was not serious.

- If you missed it over the holiday, AJ Styles has signed on to work Ring of Honor's show on January 4, 2014. Alex Barie posted the official release at this link. Styles is still a free agent working independent dates and is expected to work more dates for ROH Wrestling next year.

- Tommy Dreamer, who worked the latest "One Night Only" pay-per-view tapings, did so on a per shot basis and does not have a contract with TNA Wrestling.

- Jeff Jarrett resigning from his position behind-the-scenes in TNA Wrestling has been a hot topic since he Tweeted about it just before the holidays. His resignation was considered a surprise given the fact he had regained a considerable amount of stroke following the departure of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff being sent home.

TNA issued a statement, clarifying that Jarrett remained an investor in the company and they looked forward to his continued participation. We were told there was concern Jarrett could be looking to move on with the group financed by country music star Toby Keith to potentially start another promotion.

James Storm publicly came out in support of Jarrett, stressing that TNA needed him. There are also a number of people that think this could be impacting AJ Styles' negotiations for a new contract with TNA.

While Jarrett and Styles haven't always had the best relationship, that has changed considerably in recent years. Styles credits Jarrett for having a tremendous influence on his career and is very loyal to him because of it. He even told us in a media Q&A that he would not accept a TNA Hall of Fame nomination until Jarrett himself was inducted. Jarrett resigning from his position was seen as a sign that all is still not well in TNA and got the attention of a number of the boys that are Jarrett allies.

Jarrett is technically still employed by TNA Wrestling until January 6, 2014.

-Eric Young was in attendance at the NHL's Winter Classic at the Big House on New Year's Day. You can see a photo below:

- AJ Styles is indeed a free agent and is not under contract with TNA Wrestling. While there were initial doubts about his departure and rumors he had in fact re-signed, Styles is not under contract anywhere. Should that change, we'll update.

- Kurt Angle'scomments about his contract with TNA Wrestling expiring in September 2014 are nothing new. It's something he's mentioned many times and the fact he's leaving his options open is what he should be doing.

- Christopher Daniels was featured on "Up at Noon" at this link.

- Ring of Honor posted a video promo of AJ Styles commenting on his return to the promotion at this link.

- Sting got the attention of almost everyone with the following Tweet:

While Sting is likely referencing Jeff Hardy to keep up with storylines, this has another meaning given Jeff Jarrett's departure from TNA Wrestling.

- For those that missed this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, Chris Sabin beat Austin Aries to win the TNA X-Division Championship. The finish saw Velvet Sky distract the referee, allowing for Sabin to low blow Aries and roll him up in a small package to win. The bout was taped on December 5, 2013 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Alex Barie has full results at this link.

- AJ Styles returned to TNA Wrestling on this week's episode of Impact. I understand this could get confusing but remember this week's show was taped on December 4, 2013. The two TNA titles will be unified on next week's broadcast in a No Disqualification "winner take all" match. The bout was taped on December 5, 2013. You can read what happens at this link.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did not crack the top 100 cable shows ranked by adults 18-49. This doesn't necessarily mean the show's audience bombed but it's not exactly a good sign either. The number is delayed as a result but you can take a look at how the competition stacked up at this link.


What direction do you see WWE going in with Renee Young? Is the company grooming her for something more?

I am not aware of WWE grooming Renee Young for another other role than she has currently. Young came to WWE from The Score television network in Canada for the position as a backstage interviewer. The company utilizes her in segment for the WWE App as well as in the Social Media Lounge prior to pay-per-views. She also has a role on The JBL & Cole Show. I am high up on her work and feel she fits it well.

Having just watched the final Smackdown of 2013, it seems to me that The Shield may be THE ultimate tag team/faction of all time. They are all strong individually, immense as a team, and seem to have been very much in the right place, at the right time. I would suggest that, as a group, they would be worthy of a spot in the Hall of Fame despite their short tenure so far. What are your thoughts?

You will find fewer people that are as high up on The Shied as I am, however, I do not feel their body of work over the past year is enough for them to be Hall of Fame worthy. The group possess extraordinary talent collectively and individually, however, they've not drawn at a level that would be them in the same conversation as the original nWo or DeGeneration X.

What's the latest on rumors of John Cena facing Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania XXX next year?

The last I heard Triple H wanted to face John Cena himself at Wrestlemania XXX. I haven't heard the Bray Wyatt rumor and find that one hard to believe. WWE wants Wrestlemania XXX to be "all hands on deck" and Wyatt is not yet at a main event level.

Do you ever think Dolph Ziggler will sniff the main event scene again?

It's impossible for me to predict the future but it all comes down to opportunity. Dolph Ziggler has all the tools to work in the top of the card but his push has suffered due to injury, attitude and how Vince McMahon perceives him. Will his look and talent win out in the new year or will he continued to be plagued by the still existent glass ceiling in WWE? There's no way to answer that.

What is JoJo's status with WWE?

JoJo is still under WWE developmental contract but was phased out of Total Divas over the latter part of Season 1. Out of the entire case for the show, JoJo's stock is the lowest. There has been speculation she could be replaced but we haven't heard anything as of press time.

From the Ask WNW vault…

December 2011: What is Hulk Hogan’s relationship with Vince McMahon like? Is there a chance Hogan could ever end up back in WWE? - Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon have a very unique relationship to say the least. Both have huge egos, however, the success they’ve endured can be traced back to one another. I personally believe there is a mutual amount of respect between Hogan and McMahon but they are not by any means friends. The talk when Hogan first came to TNA was that he couldn’t agree to terms on a WWE deal so he decided to help out TNA. While initially unhappy that Hogan joined Dixie Carter and company, I’ve heard McMahon has grown apathetic to workers such as Hogan and Ric Flair working for his “competition.” There was probably some initial fear that Hogan could elevate TNA but that clearly has not happened.

Earlier in the week you partly attributed Dolph Ziggler's recent "demotion" to his injuries. With all that we now know about concussions and their long term affects, couldn't WWE get accused of fostering a culture where performers feel forced to return from head injuries too quickly or else face similar "punishments" to those received by Ziggler?

Remember when Fandango suffered a concussion last summer? While many were praising WWE for their quick and prompt response by removing workers from cards at the first sign of a concussion, one backstage source expressed concern. I was told WWE being quick to remove workers that experience concussion symptoms could mean fewer people coming forward if they were to suffer a head injury. Dolph Ziggler's concussion, the result of an errant Jack Swagger kick, came at a horrible time. Following a long wait to become World Heavyweight Champion, the reign was quick and largely forgettable. However, injuries are part of the business - they always have been and they always will be.

How does Daniel Bryan joining The Wyatt Family make any sense?

There are plenty of logic holes in Daniel Bryan joining The Wyatt Family to conclude this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. I posted everything I heard about the storyline in this week's Backstage Raw notes. A lot of readers are upset about Bryan joining The Wyatts because they see it as a demotion from his previous role in the top of the card. I'm willing to wait and see how it plays out and while it seemed random, there was a degree of intrigue.

What are your thoughts on Adrian Neville and his chances of success on the main roster?

Adrian Neville can work with anyone in the world and is extremely talented in the ring. His key to success on the main roster will be how he translates his gimmick to the masses. Neville is a smaller guy, so like many others, he'll have to work twice as hard to get fans to notice him. Guys like Ryback get multiple opportunities in WWE because of their look - regardless of what anyone says, in-ring work means the least in terms of how WWE pushes talent.

What's your opinion on Mason Ryan?

I haven't watched near as much of Mason Ryan's in-ring work as I have of Adrian Neville. He's a massive beast and while WWE wanted to give him a run on the main roster a few years ago, an injury derailed those plans. He'll need to prove he can stay healthy but because of his look, the opportunities should be there when/if he gets called up.

With Batista returning to WWE, will he be returning as a babyface or a heel?

WWE still has babyfaces and heels? I'm joking of course. Dot com ran a poll, asking fans which Batista they wanted to see return - the noble hero or the ruthless villain. The former won the majority and as with any returning star, it would be difficult to bring him back as a heel. Batista will be pushed right back to the top of the card immediately after his return on the January 20th episode of Monday Night Raw.

Is Heath Slater injured?

Heath Slater was off the road with WWE in the latter part of 2013 due to approved time off. I believe his wife had a new baby but he was back home in West Virginia visiting at one point. The latest update I posted on Slater is online at this link.

From the Ask WNW vault…

January 2013: Which member of The Shield do you see as the breakout star of the threesome, such in the manner Wade Barrett was with The Nexus? - It’s too early to tell. Roman Reigns is the greenest but even he tore the house down at WWE TLC. Looks can also be deceiving as Wade Barrett was the face of The Nexus yet Daniel Bryan has already had a World Heavyweight Championship reign and Ryback is in the main event. A lot of people praised Seth Rollins for his insane bump through the tables at the pay-per-view last month, however, a lot of people talked up the facial expressions and work of Dean Ambrose.

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