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Huge Names Confirmed For 1000th Raw, WWE Signs Well-Known Indy Talent, Proof Randy Orton's Stock Has Plummeted & What Vince McMahon Did To Send A Message On WWE TV, The Rock's WWE Return Revealed, Identity Of The Anonymous Raw GM, Mysterio's Return Set, K

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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, July 7, 2012 to Friday, July 13, 2012 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

WWE News

- Shawn Michaels has teamed with Deuce Brand to launch a "Show Stopper" watch as part of their "Signature Series." The watch is priced at $30 and is available for pre-order at this link.

- Lilian Garcia will sing the National Anthem prior to the September 30th San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets NFL game.

- WWE issued the following press release on David Otunga joining the cast in the upcoming thrilled, "The Hive," starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin:

STAMFORD, Conn. – As first reported by Deadline, WWE Studios and Troika Pictures announced they will co-produce and co-finance the upcoming thriller, “The Hive,” starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin. WWE Superstar David Otunga has also announced he’ll join the cast. Principal photography is scheduled to commence July 6 in and around Los Angeles.

“Finally! Excited to start on my first movie role alongside Halle Berry in “The Hive” Thank you @TroikaPictures / Sony @WWEStudios,” @DavidOtunga Tweeted Thursday.

The thriller, to be directed by Brad Anderson (“The Machinist,” “Transsiberian”), was written by Rich D’Ovidio (“Exit Wounds,” “Thir13en Ghosts”) and based on a story by Rich D’Ovidio, Nicole D’Ovidio and Jon Bokencamp.

In the film, Emergency Call Center Operator Jordan (Berry) takes a call from a teenage girl, Casey (Breslin), who has been abducted and carried away in the trunk of a car. The kidnapping plays out in real time as Jordan and Casey work together to track down the killer in this high stakes thriller. Otunga plays Officer Devans, a Los Angeles cop who works hand-in-hand with Jordan to find the kidnapper.

“The Hive” is being produced by Troika’s Michael Helfant, Robert Stein and Bradley Gallo, WWE Studios’ Michael Luisi and Jeff Graup. William Gallo, Philip M. Cohen and Chip Rosenbloom are executive producers.

“‘The Hive’ is an ideal addition to WWE Studios’ slate of films given its strong award-winning cast and exciting story,” said WWE Studios president Michael Luisi. “We are looking forward to working with Brad Anderson and Troika Pictures on this picture.”

“We are very excited to partner with WWE Studios on this production,” added Stein and Helfant. “WWE has a passionate fan base and incredible marketing muscle. We look forward to working with Michael and his entire team.”

WWE will utilize its extensive global reach through its television, digital media and print assets to market the release of the film. Sierra Affinity is handling foreign pre-sales. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) has U.S. rights.

Bradley Buchanan, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, negotiated on behalf of WWE Studios.

- WWE has signed Ben Satterly, better known as PAC, to a contract with the company. While I do not have 100% confirmation, I believe it is a developmental deal. PAC became known to fans in the United States while working for Dragon Gate USA and worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling in May.

- - Below is the updated promotional information for the 1000th episode of Raw which will take place on Monday, July 23, 2012 from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri:

The Historic 1,000th Episode of RAW!

For nearly two decades, Monday Night RAW has been the place to be. Now, here in St. Louis, comes an unprecedented event. The record breaking 1,000th episode of RAW celebration!

Be here at the Scottrade Center and celebrate with your favorite RAW & Smackdown Superstars. Don't miss your chance to be part of this monumental RAW.

See all of your favorite WWE Superstars from RAW & Smackdown under one roof for one ticket price on this historic night!

See the following in action:

2 on 1 Handicap Match
John Cena vs. The Big Show & General Manager John Laurinaitis
WWE Board of Directors John Laurinaitis must fulfill his obligations and compete in this advertised match

For one night only!!
The return of "DX" - Triple H & "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels

Brock Lesnar returns to St. Louis!
For the first time in over 9 years! What will happen when Brock Lesnar & Triple H are under one roof?

Bret “Hitman” Hart returns to St. Louis for the first time in over 15 years!

Also, see the following WWE Superstars
CM Punk
Daniel Bryan
Chris Jericho
Alberto Del Rio
The Divas
And Many More!!

Card is subject to change.

- The expected Legend for this week's Raw Supershow is Bob Backlund. My source was awaiting for confirmation that Backlund had arrived in Denver but he was the name that was going around in many circles over the weekend. As we've seen on Raw Supershow in recent weeks, WWE is bringing back past names to work brief matches as part of the build to the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23, 2012.

- WWE Champion CM Punk congratulated Austin Aries, Samoa Joe and Zema Ion for victories at TNA Destination X on Twitter. Below is the Tweet:

- Sara Del Rey is heading to WWE pending a physical. Sara is well-known from her work on the indy scene including spectacular matches in Ring of Honor, SHIMMER and CHIKARA. As long as she passes her physical, her contract will be signed and she is expected to report to Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa.

- There was some surprise in WWE about the company bringing back Diamond Dallas Page for a segment on last week's Raw Supershow. I'm told there have been several ideas pitched for him over the last few years but they had always been shot down. Vince McMahon headed up opposition for using DDP on television because he felt there was no need to remind the audience about him and more specifically the Diamond Cutter. The thinking was why promote the guy that uses the same finisher as of one of the most-protected top guys in the company in Randy Orton. With Orton still in the company doghouse because of his second official Wellness violation, he's no longer considered the priority he once was. My source tells me not only does Vince not care as much about protecting Orton, he insisted that Page use the Diamond Cutter to show Orton he's not bigger than the company.

- To update/correct my earlier report on WWE signing Sara Del Rey, I'm told her WWE contract is inked. Any physical and medical tests have already taken place and the deal has been finalized.

- In a much lesser-known signing, WWE has signed Matt Taven to a developmental contract.

- Bob Backlund is backstage at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. As we broke this morning here on Premium, the plan is for Backlund to be the Legend on Raw Supershow this week that returns to celebrate the build to the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23, 2012.

- The Rock just wrote the following on Twitter:

The 1000th episode of Raw will take place Monday, July 23, 2012 from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at beginning at 8 PM EDT.

- Mick Foley announced on Twitter Monday night that he'll be on the 1000th episode of Raw. The following is his official Tweet:

Foley joins The Rock, Bret Hart, D-Generation X and Brock Lesnar as stars have announced they'll be on the 1000th Raw on July 23, 2012.

- WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & R-Truth will face Hunico & Camacho in the Money in the Bank pre-show match at 7:30 PM EDT. We'll be streaming the live video feed of the match and the entire pre-show here at

- Sin Cara qualified for the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match on this week's Raw Supershow, beating Heath Slater. Cara joins Damien Sandow, Tyson Kidd, Christian, Santino Marella, Tensai, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler as participants.

- Bob Backlund returned to WWE on this week's Raw Supershow, making Heath Slater tap out in the Crossface chickenwing in an unofficial match (there was no referee). Backlund's appearance, first broken here on Premium this morning, was part of WWE bringing in past talent to celebrate the build to the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23, 2012.

- WWE announced on this week's Raw Supershow a new social media concept that will begin on the 1000th Raw on July 23, 2012. The concept is called #Rawactive and will utilize Twitter, Shazam and TOUT. Fans will be able to "help create Raw" by using the aforementioned applications. Stephanie McMahon was the first to mention these additions to the show in an interview back in May.

- WWE announced on this week's Raw Supershow the identity of the Anonymous Raw General Manager was Hornswoggle.

- Rey Mysterio is being advertised locally for next week's Smackdown taping from the Valley View Casino in San Diego, California. WWE is not advertising him as of this writing.

- To update from an earlier item, Rey Mysterio is being officially advertised for next week's Smackdown taping from the Valley View Casino in San Diego, California. Mysterio has been out all year due to a knee injury followed by a 60-day Wellness Policy suspension.

- has a detailed interview online with WWE United States Champion Santino Marella. You can read it at this link.

- Independent worker Barry Piotrowski talked about jobbing to Ryback at the June 26th Smackdown taping at this link.

- Jillian Hall is not a fan of Heath Slater's work on WWE programming. The former WWE Diva wrote the following on Twitter:

- Finlay is officially back with WWE as a producer. It's believed he was re-hired over Wrestlemania XXVIII weekend but was given the opportunity to finish independent dates. Finlay was fired from WWE in March 2011 after scripting The Miz to interrupt the National Anthem at a live event in which members of the National Guard were in attendance.

- Chris Jericho wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that his third autobiography will be out "late 2013." Below is the official Tweet:

- has a new Q&A online with Big Show to promote Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view in Phoenix. Below is an excerpt:

Question: Does being such a big guy make traveling difficult? Answer: I'm fortunate enough to have my own tour bus. I don't have to rent cars and stay in hotels. I travel on a bus that has a shower that fits and a bed that fits. It's a home away from home and gives me a little bit of privacy and a place to mellow out before the show. It's not like I can go in a Prius. Q: You've done some acting. Is that something you'll keep pursuing? A: I don't know. I enjoy it. It's a skill set I need to improve to be good at, but I know I'm not "The Rock" (Dwayne Johnson). I'm not blessed with extremely good looks and charms. I fit a particular niche, but we'll see what comes down the road. Right now, I'm still doing what I love. Q: You turned 40 this year, and this career can't be easy to age in. A: I've had an 18-year career, and physically and mentally, I feel fantastic. I have too much fun doing what I'm doing to stop. Barring injuries, I plan on doing this a while longer. Obviously, the sun sets on every athlete at some point, but I don't think that time is near.

Click here to read the Q&A in its entirety. - Chael Sonnen shot down rumors he was headed to WWE following his loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 148. The following is an excerpt from an article by the USA Today:

Sonnen also shot down rumors of a potential move to the WWE. He said he'd go to the WWE as a fan, "but I go back to my promoter Dana White at the end of the night," he said.

Click here for their coverage. - is reporting that WWE is an investor in the new social video application TOUT. This explains WWE's heavy promotion of the platform along with Twitter and Shazam. To read more about how WWE plans to incorporate the applications in their programming, click here. - CM Punk paid tribute to his friend Chael Sonnen during the mixed tag match on this week's Raw Supershow. Did you miss? Click here for coverage by Deadspin. - WWE sent out a company release on Wednesday to note they will report its second quarter earnings for 2012 on Thursday, August 2, 2012. Below is the official press release:

STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced that it will report its 2012 second quarter results on August 2, 2012, before the opening of the market. The Company’s Chairman and CEO, Vincent K. McMahon, and senior management will host a conference call beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss the results. All interested parties are welcome to listen to a live web cast that will be hosted through the Company’s web site at Participants can access the conference call by dialing 855-993-1400 (toll free) or 630-691-2763 from outside the U.S. (conference ID for both lines: WWE). Please reserve a line 15 minutes prior to the start time of the conference call. The earnings release and presentation to be referenced during the call will be available at A replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after the conference call concludes, and can be accessed on the Company’s web site.

- Digital Spy has a new Q&A online with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. Below is an excerpt:

How did it feel to beat Daniel Bryan in just 18 seconds? "It was phenomenal. It was my second WrestleMania, I had my whole family there. I opened the WrestleMania show, became the World Heavyweight Champion in 18 seconds so a record was made there and it was an incredible experience for me, one I will never forget." You had a bad neck injury at the start of your career - has that made you more careful? Can you be more careful? "I trained for about two and a half months and then I got hurt, I got into WWE properly in '05. You can't think about that. If you go in thinking that you might hurt yourself, then you're gonna hurt yourself. You're going to be more likely to cause something to strain or mess up. I think that you have to have a good mind about you. "But it also gives us a good message to give to fans - please don't try what we do - we're highly trained and still injuries can occur. If you want to imitate what we do, buy the action figures or play the video games. Don't actually physically try what we do." If you could wrestle anyone in history, who would it be? "I definitely think The Undertaker. The Undertaker is the one I want for WrestleMania XXIX or XXX. Obviously something like that would be - his streak - no-one has ever beaten him on his streak and I could be the first to ever do that."

Click here to read the article in its entirety. - peHUB has a new article online on WWE investing in TOUT. The piece features a quote from Stephanie McMahon who says investing in startups is something the company is exploring.

“Tout is really the first deal that we’ve done of this kind,” Stephanie said. “But we’re very opportunistic, so if the right opportunity came along, we’d definitely consider it.” Investing in startups is “something we’re exploring.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety. - VH1 is reporting that "Stone Cold" Steve Austin will appear in the feature film Grown Ups 2. Other cast members include Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Andy Samberg, Kevin James and many other big names. - A couple of weeks ago word leaked that Bruno Sammartino met with Triple H regarding a possible induction into the WWE Hall of Fame over Wrestlemania XXIX weekend next year in New York/New Jersey. The rumor was Bruno was unimpressed with Hunter which prompted the following statement by Sal Corrente (who claimed to be representing Sammartino):

"It has come to our attention that someone has claimed that Bruno was unimpressed with Triple H. That is an absolutely false statement Bruno had no issue what so ever with Triple H. He liked Triple H and enjoyed their conversation but for reasons personal to Bruno he has decided not to accept the induction in no way shape or form is the refusal a reflection on Triple H or his presentation or conversations with Bruno."

I'm told Sammartino had no idea that release was being sent out and did not authorize the statement. Corrente apparently took it upon himself to do some damage control even though sources close to Sammartino tell me under the condition of anonymity that he was "very unimpressed" with Triple H. Another factor in all of this is that Bruno is upset about WWE interfering in some of his business dealings that have cost him more money than he would make for appearing at their Hall of Fame ceremony. It's not that Bruno needs the money but rather is a "very principled man" and told Hunter that he means more to the WWE Hall of Fame than the WWE Hall of Fame means to him. I can confirm the plan is to hold next year's ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York City and WWE really wants to get Bruno in, however, he's still very sour over a business deal that went bad a few years back because WWE got in the way. - Kharma'sWWE status has been called into question after her Twitter profile was moved to the company's Alumni list. Her profile is also not featured in the Divas section over on dot com. Kharma responded to the change with the following Tweets:

- WWE did an angle Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con International where Alberto Del Rio interrupted Sheamus' Q&A session to promote their match for the World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank on Sunday. Del Rio and Sheamus had a kayfabe exchange that resulted in Sheamus vowing to Brouge Kick Del Rio's head off on Sunday.

- "Fred 3: Camp Fred" starring John Cena as Fred's imaginary dad is set to premiere on Nickelodeon on Saturday, July 28 at 8 PM EDT.

- "The Man With The Iron Fist" featuring former WWE star Dave Batista, Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu is slated to hit theaters on November 2, 2012.

- TMZ is reporting that Charlie Sheen is shutting down his Twitter account within days or possibly "mere hours." This could be a major problem for WWE as they are promoting Sheen as the Social Media Ambassador for the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23, 2012.The company sent out a press release in late-June, claiming that Sheen would Tweet during Raw, "providing up-to-the-minute commentary on the night’s action to his 7.5 million Twitter followers."

- Wrestling News World reader Swanson sent word that Dave Batista was on "Whats Trending" on YouTube Thursday night from Comic Con 2012. In it, Batista said he definitely wouldn't be returning to WWE this year but was open to returning in the future. He mentioned in the beginning of the interview that he has lost 30 pounds since leaving WWE a couple years ago.

- WWE has a new Q&A online with Vince McMahon talking about 1000 episodes of Raw. Below is an excerpt:

As we approach Raw's 1,000th episode we've got to ask — who came up with the name Raw?

I did. The name “Raw” came out of my head. I was trying to come up with a word that would embody everything we wanted the program to be. It had to be gritty. It had to be cutting edge. It had to be confrontational. Raw fit perfectly.

And Raw actually ran the competition out of business. Is that the show’s biggest accomplishment?

I don’t think we drove WCW out of business. That was certainly never our intent. That was the mindset of Ted Turner and WCW, but not WWE. See, if you spend all of your energy trying to kill the other guy, your product suffers. If you don’t kill the other guy, then he’s going to come back at you, and when he comes back, you won’t have done anything to make your house better. It’s no different than being in a fight and knowing that, if the other guy keeps on hitting you, that son of a bitch is going to wear himself out pretty fast.

Any recent train wrecks come to mind?

To be honest, I’ve never been completely satisfied with a show. And I don’t think I ever will be. I’m always of the mindset that “well, maybe I could’ve done this differently,” or, “maybe we could have added more of this, and taken away more of this.” And that’s purely based on the reaction of the live audience. But, the success of a show is an overall thing. It’s not just based on ratings. There are so many different ways to judge whether or not a series of shows is successful.

Who was the most important Superstar in the evolution of Raw?

There’s no question that guys like Triple H, The Rock, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker have all made enormous contributions to this company, but if there was one single personality that exemplified Raw in the truest sense of what I wanted it to be, it would be "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

So, 1,000 episodes down. What's the goal looking toward episode 2,000 of WWE Monday Night Raw?

The goal will be to remain flexible, and to adapt, so that WWE can give the audience what they want. Twenty years from now, who knows what that will end up being?

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

- It was revealed at the San Diego Comic-Con that another WWE star will be appearing on the USA Network original series "Psych" next season. While the name was not announced, it was said it will not be John Cena. Both he and The Miz have appeared on the series previously.

- WWE has quietly released Kharma, moving her profile to the Alumni section of dot com. You can view it at this link. While I have not been specifically told WWE has released her, everything indicates that her brief and limited stint in the company has ended.

TNA News

- Spike TV's schedule for next week features a program called "Impact Rewind" at 7 PM/6 CT prior to Impact Wrestling next Thursday. It appears as if the show is getting a trial run as the schedule is back to normal the following week.

- Kenny King issued the following statement on Twitter regarding his Ring of Honordeparture and TNA Wrestlingdebut:

My people's,

First and foremost to all of my friends, Family and everyone riding with me on this one thank you. The love and support has been unreal. It doesn't matter if your'e a new Kenny King fan or you've been with your boy since tough enough. My passion for this sport reflects yours, and I will continue to bust my ass to give back the love you have shown me.

Second I would like to thank @ringofhonor for the opportunity To master my craft against some of the best wrestlers in the world. The last 4 years have been invaluable to my career. I have nothing but love and respect for the company that allowed me to find myself and grow as a wrestler.

Next, since the content of my character has been called into question, just ask about me. My integrity and HONOR has always been above reproach. But since they wanna talk bad about your boy, consider this...

(spoiler alert)

I was offered a contract extension, I had reservations about the parameters of the extension and effective my "free agent" option would be.

I gave a handshake agreement that I wouldn't do anything "screwy" with the belts. A la medusa.

I gave ROH information about every move that I made regarding working for @impactwrestling. Realistically they could have just found out when they saw my black ass walking down to the ring.

I was given a physical contact extension by ROH, which I respectfully declined to sign due to the reasons I stated above.

If I declined to sign an actual contract extension, how could anyone think there was a verbal agreement?

I took the biggest gamble of my career this weekend. So going into destination X tomorrow night I am prepared to put it all on the line. I am especially grateful to @tnadixie and @impactwrestling for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills on a bigger stage. I was given an amazing opening and I took it. Ask Eminem how many chances you get to blow up. The world will watch tomorrow, and I got a bag full of fireworks. Tomorrow is coronation day.

Thank you.
Kenny King

- Scott Fishman of The Miami Herald posted a new article with quotes from Christopher Daniels to promote TNA Destination X. Below are the highlights:

Pressure on live TV:

“For me personally, the fact that we are live, and that they have put me in the final segment the last couple of times, it’s a lot of pressure,” Daniels said. “It’s good pressure. It’s something I look forward to and something I am trying to excel at. I feel like when they put that microphone in my hand at the last possible second, I believe I have delivered. I plan on continuing to deliver. I want to keep being that guy for TNA. If we continue to be live after the summer, I feel like the company has proven we can do it. It’s just another step forward for the company.”

Changes to backstage segments:

“Guys like Eric [Bischoff] and Jason Hervey have come to us with a more fresh and on-the-fly way of doing it, rather than just giving us a script,” Daniels said. “I feel like it has helped us sharpen our skills. I’ll be walking backstage, and all of a sudden, Jason will come up to me with a camera asking questions. You are answering right off the top of your head, and it’s a more realistic feeling. It’s a more honest answer that you are giving. It’s definitely different...There is a must-see sort of mentality to our television shows.

“The fact that we are going live and doing so much reality based or hidden camera based, there is an idea that the fans have to tune in. It’s not a matter of when we were taped where they could read spoilers on the Internet. They have to watch and see how it rolls. They are getting surprised and caught off guard with what we are doing. I think it’s awesome.”

Twitter & TNA meeting with workers about it:

“When I’m tweeting, me personally, I try to be entertaining,” Daniels said. “I try not to be offensive. I try to be controversial every once and a while. I understand a lot of my followers are younger kids and are impressionable. I feel like that is the burden of being in the public eye. You can’t just say exactly what you feel. You sort of have to temperate with a bit of maturity. That’s fine with me. I have no problem taking the burden of having some common sense about what I put on the Internet.

“We basically had a meeting saying, ‘Use your common sense everybody.’ We are not kids. We are adults, and I feel like a good amount of us have acted like adults on the Internet. Every once in a while somebody may get caught up in the moment and tweet something, but I think it’s very rare to see guys back peddle what they said. I know I’ve been very cautious about the things I’ve said. I try to be aware of things I know people are going to read. Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back. I’m very aware of the things I say, and I know the rest of the company has their mindset on that as well.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- TNA Wrestling announced Sunday that "Rewind" will precede Impact Wrestling on a weekly basis at 7/6c on Spike TV. Below is the official press release:

Don't miss three hours of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING every Thursday night on SpikeTV! Get your weekly TNA recap starting at 7/6c with the new "Rewind" broadcast immediately followed by IMPACT WRESTLING LIVE at 8/7c!

It's three hours of Total Nonstop Action featuring your favorite wrestling superstars - including "The Immortal" Hulk Hogan, "The Icon" Sting, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles, Mr. Anderson, Rob Van Dam, "Cowboy" James Storm, the lovely and lethal Knockouts, the high-flying X Division athletes and many more! TNA IMPACT WRESTLING takes place from the Impact Zone at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida! IMPACT WRESTLING is the world’s most innovative experience in professional wrestling, airing in over 120 countries worldwide!

Preview Thursday's block of TNA IMPACT WRESTLING on SpikeTV

(Remember - watch the new "Rewind" broadcast starting at 7/6c, then IMPACT at the new time of 8/7c)

- Witness the aftermath of the "Destination X" Pay-Per-View event! Who will be the World Heavyweight Champion on Thursday after Sunday's PPV main event - Bobby Roode or Austin Aries? Tune in and find out!

- Plus, the broadcast will feature the NEW X Division Champion that will be crowned at the Pay-Per-View! Who will survive the tournament and claim the title in The Ultimate X Match? Don't miss IMPACT!

- In a huge Bound For Glory Series match on Thursday's SpikeTV broadcast, Kurt Angle battles Mr. Anderson! Which superstar will pick up points in the ongoing competition for a shot at the World Title?

- The Knockouts Title will be on the line on Thursday as Miss Tessmacher defends the gold against former champion, Gail Kim

- Plus, Joseph Park goes to war with Bully Ray!

All this and much more on Thursday's IMPACT WRESTLING broadcast LIVE at 8/7c on SpikeTV

- Zema Ion won the X-Division Championship Tournament at TNA Destination X to become the new champion. Ion competed in an Ultimate X match also involving Kenny King, Mason Andrews and Sonjay Dutt, all who won qualifying matches earlier at the event.

- Sonjay Dutt dislocated his shoulder at TNA Destination during the Ultimate X Match for the TNA X-Division Championship. Dutt briefly left the match, sought treatment, where his shoulder was put back into socket, and returned. Samoa Joe witnessed how it went down and wrote the following on Twitter:

- Austin Aries beat Bobby Roode at TNA Destination X to win the TNA Championship.

- Dixie Carter wrote on Twitter that Sonjay Dutt will be out for several weeks following his separated shoulder injury he suffered in the Ultimate X Match on TNA Destination X.

Below is the Tweet:

- Viacom sent out the following today:

Viacom’s distribution agreement with DirecTV is set to expire at midnight on Tuesday, July 10. We’ve been negotiating for months and even offered DirecTV an extension past the agreement’s original June 30 expiration date. As recently as today, we made significant economic movement in direct conversations with DirecTV.

However, despite our best efforts, DirecTV has rejected all of our proposals to renew our agreement. This evening, DirecTV provided Viacom with a counter proposal that included a lower rate than Viacom receives from any other distributor in the industry. With this offer, our negotiations have reached an impasse.

This means that, as of tomorrow night, nearly 20 million DirecTV subscribers will be without entertainment from the programmer they watch most. A total of 26 Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, VH1, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and more won’t be available.

This is of particular note to wrestling fans because Spike TV broadcasts Impact Wrestling.

- Dixie Carter is very happy with the improvements that have been made in regards to the creative situation in TNA since Bruce Prichard has been given more responsibilities and influence. I'm told he is "playing things smart" right now where he controls a lot of the booking, especially the undercard, but tries to make sure that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are pleased with the main event picture. The backstory to Austin Aries winning the TNA Championship was a prime example of Prichard bending to keep Hogan happy. Prichard is not high up on the X-Division, feeling it's never drawn, too many wrestlers are in it, too much money and resources are spent on it, etc. This is why it's been getting thinner and thinner with some of the older (and more expensive) guys being replaced by newcomers that are "being paid peanuts." Even though Prichard isn't a fan of the X-Division, he's tried to keep Austin Aries strong because Hogan is a huge Aries fan. Not too long ago, Prichard and Hogan got into a "friendly argument" about the X-Division with Prichard expressing his negative views while Hogan "sang the praises" of Aries. Prichard then half-jokingly suggested that if Hogan was so high up on Aires, why have the X-Division dragging him down, why not put him over Bobby Roode for the TNA Championship? Hogan reacted positively to the idea and before long that became the plan, which of course was executed at Destination X.

- DirecTV has responded to complaints stemming from their ongoing negotiations with Viacom. To view their response, go to Obviously the reason this is noteworthy is due to Spike TV being a Viacom network with the possibility of DirecTV customers losing TNA programming.

- Viacom and DirecTV were unable to come to agreement on a new deal and as a result Spike TV, the home of TNA Wrestling, has been yanked from the satellite provider. For DirecTV's response, go to For coverage by, click here.

- The reason TNA did the angle with Aces of Eight "attacking" Hulk Hogan on this week's Impact Wrestling is because he is set to undergo yet another back surgery. No other details are available as of this writing.


Is the way AJ Lee is being used the new way of pushing Divas in WWE? Helping to expand story lines rather than wrestling.

It's funny because the last two Divas to get over, Eve Torres and AJ Lee, have done so assisting in main event angles and not by performing in the ring. I don't know if it's necessarily the "new way" as using female talent in top angles isn't really anything new. AJ's success certainly helps her standing in the company as I heard Vince McMahon was pushing for her to get a run with the Divas Championship down the road. AJ's work has been fantastic and it's great to see talented people get opportunities to shine on television.

What does WWE look for when signing female talent? It seems like all that matters is looks but is anything else important?

There are many factors that go into hiring talent but it would be foolish for me to try and tell you that looks are not a substantial factor in the hiring of Divas. Divas like Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox were brought in as models and trained to be wrestlers. There are other factors that can influence WWE, as we've seen with Divas like Beth Phoenix and Kharma, but looks certainly matter. However, this just isn't the case for females. WWE doesn't hire male talent based solely on looks or work as there are a myriad of factors that are evaluated before a contract is offered. The most important factor in hiring anyone is - will this person draw?

What are the plans for the WWE Network?

There isn't much new to report about the WWE Network. The reports currently circulating the Internet are things we wrote about months ago, so these other publications are either just finding out or are rehashing old material. Different models are being considered but the delay has to do with lack of clearance on cable and satellite systems. WWE has remained mum on the issue because they feel the more they talk about it, the more it hinders negotiations.

Why did WWE book Heath Slater over Doink on last week's Raw Supershow as he has just been getting battered by everyone a week before this?

If there is a Legend out there that's not going to be hurt by a loss, it's probably Doink the Clown. Diamond Dallas Page told some publications he was returning on Raw Supershow last week so perhaps the company booked Doink vs. Slater to try and swerve. Regardless, it doesn't really matter as the status of Heath Slater has not changed.

Could you ever see The Boogeyman returning to a WWE ring?

With The Boogeyman announcing his return to pro wrestling, many readers have emailed in with this question. I'm sure Marty Wright would welcome the opportunity to return to WWE but I don't see there being a lot of immediate interest due to his age. Wright will turn 48-years-old next week.

Are CM Punk and Beth Phoenix still together?

I can't believe I chose a question about CM Punk's love life but he's being hanging out with Lita again. Given the public nature of their relationship the first time around, if I had to guess, that is his current love interest. I've said too much already.

What are your thoughts on Hornswoggle being the General Manager of Raw this whole time?

To quote one of my favorite bloggers (who was writing on an entire different topic, on a completely different subject, here for those interested), the move was "unimaginative, lazy, cheap, and likely for the wrong reasons." I was appalled at the decision to reveal Hornswoggle as the Anonymous Raw General Manager and it is moves like this that give me a complete lack of confidence not only in the WWE creative team but in Vince McMahon in general. Obviously they tried to get some comedy out of a past angle but the Anonymous Raw General Manager gimmick was far too big to be lightly brushed off with Hornswoggle. The entire gimmick was horrifying from square one, completely defying logic at every turn, only for them to put the ultimate "crap stamp" on it on Raw Supershow. Rest assure, WWE will not have a lack of content for their "Are They Serious?" Web show any time soon.

Is it possible that Doink worked against Heath Slater because DDP cannot risk wrestling a match due to his injury that ended his career?

Diamond Dallas Page said that John Laurinaitis called him, told him about Heath Slater's match with Doink and asked if he would be interested in coming back to hit the Diamond Cutter. He was never asked to wrestle and Vince McMahon wanted to use it as a message to Randy Orton. Learn more about that at this link.

How about bringing Jillian Hall back to beat Heath Slater?

With Jillian Hall saying she's annoyed by Heath Slater's "ripoff," the stage is set. The "battle of the horrible gimmicks," perhaps at SummerSlam? This is a funny question but I wasn't a fan of Jillian's "singer" gimmick and am not a fan of Slater's gimmick. The good news for Heath is he is he is getting on television, the bad news is he's being booked in a gimmick that could be damaging to his future in the business.

Now that Hornswoggle has been revealed to be the Anonymous Raw General Manager does that technically make him a heel or will they just ignore it?

I do not see a follow-up to Hornswoggle being revealed as the Anonymous Raw General Manager as the company lightly brushed over it for a brief comedy segment on this week's Raw Supershow. If you're expecting a big push for Hornswoggle on WWE television, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. WWE officials like him for his appeal to their younger audience with comedy relief but nothing more.

Are there any surprise appearances scheduled for the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23, 2012?

We've received tons of questions from readers asking about everyone from The Undertaker to Goldberg but as of this writing I am unable to confirm anyone that has not already been officially announced and advertised for the 1000th episode of Raw. Do I expect a surprise or two? It's possible but the show is loaded with The Rock, D-Generation X, Brock Lesnar, Bret Hart and Mick Foley all confirmed to appear.

Why is it that we never hear about the Divas failing a Wellness Test? Are they tested, and if so, do they go through as much as the male WWE Superstars go through, when being tested?

All talent under performer's contracts, including referees, are subject to WWE Wellness Testing. Since the company began announcing violations on November 1, 2007, a Diva has never posted a violation. The females are monitored during testing as the males, however, given the way Rey Mysterio's latest failure was handled, I have serious questions regarding the validity of the policy. You can stay updated with all suspensions here on our WWE Suspensions page.

Do you believe TNA put the TNA Championship on Austin Aries as a show of confidence in him or to prevent him from leaving once his contract is up?

Austin Aries re-signed with TNA Wrestling in May despite interest from WWE and while one could assume his title reign was a reward based on loyalty, I'm under the impression it was a result of Hulk Hogan being high up on him. On Tuesday, I reported a backstage story about how a "friendly argument" between Hogan and Bruce Prichard ultimately ended with Aries as champion. You can read that story at this link. If you are not yet a Premium Member, you can sign-up now at this link.

If Ric Flair does return to WWE, I think he would be the ideal person to take Dolph Zigger to the next level with a major title run. What do you think?

I am high up on Dolph Ziggler and feel he's ready for a shot as a top talent, however, I'm not sure I understand your argument about Ric Flair. Do you think he could serve as a manager for Ziggler? At any rate, we're getting ahead of ourselves as any hope Flair had of quickly defecting from TNA to WWE was killed with TNA's lawsuit. I could see a strong argument being made for Ziggler going over in the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match at the pay-per-view on Sunday.

When do you think that The Undertaker will retire?

Many speculated this year's match against Triple H at Wrestlemania XXVIII with The Undertaker going 20-0 would be his last, however, Undertaker felt great after the match and reportedly has more left in the tank. I've even heard there has been talk of him working before Wrestlemania XXIX next year. We'll see what happens but it wouldn't be wise to begin projecting Undertaker's retirement.

What are your thoughts on the revamped WWE NXT? Wrestlers like Seth Rollins and Richie Steamboat definitely have what it takes to be big stars, but I'm not sure NXT provides the right platform for them to get over.

The revamped version of WWE NXT seems to be win-win and I wish there was wider television clearance for the series in the United States. Not only does it give WWE developmental talents the opportunity to participate on a platform featuring upgraded production, the international TV deals allow them to make more money. You weren't specific in your criticism so I can only guess why you feel it doesn't provide talent like Seth Rollins and Richie Steamboat the right platform to get over but I disagree and think it provides a perfect "step-up" to main WWE programming.

I was wondering about your thoughts on the WWE Network. Oprah's network is basically hemorrhaging money at this point. Isn't Vince McMahon and the rest of WWE upper management worried the same could occur with them?

Vince McMahon addressed the failure of the Oprah Network when talking about the WWE Network in a conference call with investors in November 2011. McMahon called the Oprah Network a "miserable failure" and said that it doesn't take a genius to figure out the Oprah Network didn't capitalize on what Oprah does best. Vince argued they tried to brand the Oprah name without featuring Oprah. He said WWE was going to do the opposite and would be "extraordinary successful." Despite Vince's calculated optimism, there are many in the company asking questions much like yours. As for my thoughts, the WWE Network is a huge risk and I'm not seeing a lot of upside. Sure, I'd like to see a network launched with all WWE programming and quite possibly carrying most of the pay-per-views, however, the fact they've struggled to gain clearance shows just how difficult it's going to be just to get it launched.

What's the latest with Batista?

Batista has been in the news today for a few reasons. First of all, he'll appear in "The Man With The Iron Fist" that is set to hit theaters on November 2, 2012 and he's been doing media to promote it. Brooks Oglesby reported that Batista will make his MMA debut on October 6, 2012 and I noted here that Batista says he will definitely not be returning to WWE this year.

When is Kharma returning to WWE?

Kharma's WWE status was called into question this week when her Twitter profile was moved to WWE's alumni list (story here). Reports have surfaced WWE was planning on releasing her, however, I am unable to confirm those reports as of this writing.

With Charlie Sheen reportedly shutting down his Twitter account what will happen with his role as the Social Media Ambassador for the 1000th episode of Raw?

WWE has a situation on their hands as they sent out a press release late last month that Charlie Sheen would be Tweeting about the 1000th Raw from his Twitter account on July 23rd. If Sheen shuts his account down, there is obviously going to be a gap that is going to need filled. I can't help but find it humorous that Charlie Sheen went all "Charlie Sheen" on WWE. No matter what, he's #winning.

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