Huge WWE Star Has Push Derailed; Threatening Retirement?, Big WWE Signing, The Rock's Injury A Blessing In Disguise?, CM Punk's Return, Crowd Fight At Raw, Kofi Out 4-8 Weeks, Why The Payback Main Event Was Changed, Big TNA Signing

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WNW Premium Newsletter

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, May 25, 2013 to Friday, May 31, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

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

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

WWE News

- WWE released the preliminary buy numbers for Wrestlemania 29 on their corporate website on Friday night. The early estimated number is 1,048,000 buys. While an estimate, this is short of the 1,217,000 buys that Wrestlemania XXVIII garnered last year, however, is the third year straight buys exceeded the 1 million threshold as Wrestlemania XXVII did 1,059,000 buys in 2011. The final number will be announced when the company reports second quarter earnings in August.

- The Medicine Hat News has a new article featuring quotes from Fandango to promote Sunday's WWE Smackdown live in the city. Below is an excerpt:

“I’m going to bring a little bit of personality, a little bit of colour and a little bit of charisma, because I know a lot of the Canadian people are kind of dull, right?” Fandango said a couple weeks ago. “They’re a little bit slower up there, like (Chris) Jericho. It’s a little monotone up there, right? Maybe I can bring a little bit of spark to their day.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- The Rock posted a health update on Saturday on Twitter. You can view it below:

Additionally, while Tweeting his cousin Romain Reigns a happy birthday, Rock posted this photo:

Rock is currently feeling the love with Fast & Furious 6 raking in $38,200,000 on Friday. Click here for more. - Jerry Lawler posted the following on Twitter after his return match on Saturday night in Ocala, Florida:

Brooks Oglesby was at the show and covered it with photos at this link. - Jim Ross commented on his meeting with the NFL Players Association in a new blog posted on his official website. Below is an excerpt:

I flew to Washington , D.C. Tuesday evening and met with the NFLPA on Wednesday morning. It was a productive meeting as the NFLPA group is in contact with literally hundreds of high level athletes who become detached from the NFL and are looking for their next career opportunity. Obviously, not every former football player will fit into WWE Developmental but some will and those that do have a chance to use their God given athleticism and their extroverted personalities to fit into the system and hopefully become WWE stars some day. Over the years, the wrestling business has been dotted with stars who have had a football background including Bronko Nagurski who was a former NWA Champion and is a member of the NFL's inaugural Hall of Fame class. Some critics say that WWE is making a mistake going this route to which I wholeheartedly disagree. We are looking for athletes who have outgoing personalities and who are fans of the genre of sports entertainment and who WANT to become WWE Superstars. Great athletes who don't have any emotional investment in the world of sports entertainment need not apply. The great thing about a former NFL player, no matter their level of league experience, is that we know that we are getting an athlete of a high level and their pedigree and background can be thoroughly checked to make sure that it's a good 'marriage.' There are literally scores of talented, educated young men who have lived their football dreams and are now ready to embark on another career course. If we are successful matching athleticism with the necessary aptitude of a given talent, then WWE and its fanbase wins. Time will tell how this potential arrangement works out for all involved but WWE will continue to look far and wide for potential WWE talents including other sports groups and organizations worldwide, the independent wrestling circuit, and beyond.

Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety. - While no decision was announced at the conclusion of Curtis Axel vs. Triple H on last week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw, dot com lists the match as "Curtis Axel def. Triple H" in their official results report. Below is an excerpt from their coverage:

There are wins, and there are wins, and Curtis Axel certainly got the latter in his first contest under Paul Heyman’s wing, and against Triple H no less. Not only did the revamped Superstar put up a strong fight against the 13-time World Champion, he did so in such a manner that The King of Kings had to stop competing altogether in his first Raw match in almost 3 years. The young competitor got off to a rocky start against The Game, but Axel got his wheels rolling fast and ended up going tit-for-tat with The King of Kings, targeting The Game's injured jaw (a lingering effect from Brock Lesnar's sledgehammer strike the night before) and driving Triple H out of the ring. The King of Kings attempted to rally again, but couldn’t bring himself to re-enter the fray, taking a seat at ringside before keeling over altogether as medical staff swarmed around him, giving Axel the win as a result. So, to recap: Curtis Axel hails from a wrestling lineage unlike almost any other, and he exploited an injury to leave Triple H physically unable to compete in a bout in his very first foray into the ring with the mad scientist at his side. That sounds about right for a Paul Heyman guy.

- The Bella Twins are featured in a new commercial for Celebrity Sweat. The ad promotes them as "Former 5-time WWE Divas Champions," which of course is inaccurate. Brie had one reign and Nikki had one that lasted six days. You can watch videos and check out a feature of the Bella's using the product at this link. Other celebrities in the commercial include Andrew Bynum, Nelly, Michael Vick, Deasean Jackson and Devin Hester. - JBL and Michael Cole used an off day on Sunday in Calgary to prepare for one of their upcoming mountain climbs. Below is a photo of Cole:

- The Edmonton Journal has a new article online featuring quotes from Roman Reigns to promote this week's Smackdown taping in the city. Reigns discusses transitioning from football to WWE and how much weight he's lost since being cut from the CFL's Edmonton Eskimios. Below is an excerpt:

"When I was a kid, that’s all we ever talked about, that’s all everyone around me did,” he said. “Once things slowed down with football and I finished up in Canada, I figured out that the passion to wrestle and be a WWE superstar was still there, so it kind of summed things up for me, really focused me on getting into the business and learning how to wrestle.” It took a year and a half to transform himself into a wrestler. “When I started out in the CFL, I was probably about 325 (pounds),” he said. “I had a totally different frame and I had a lot more weight on me. The initial transition was getting out of football shape and slimming down, tightening up and leaning up a lot to get a different look for a performer-type body frame for sports entertainment. “The initial goal was to get down to my earlier years of college, even a high school weight of 245, 250. Once I got to that point, I put a little more weight on to where I am now, to 265, 270.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety. - The behind-the-scenes drama between WWE and Mark Henry continues. Remember the fiasco regarding his latest medical clearance and unwillingness to return unless he was booked in a desirable spot? The World's Strongest Man even cursed at us over it. Henry was originally scheduled to go under to Ryback at Wrestlemania 29, which he would not have been happy about, but the finish ended up being switched. However, fast-forward a month later and it's Ryback in the main event at Extreme Rules and Henry back in an undercard program with Sheamus. After all the time spent waiting for creative plans he was satisfied with, just a short time later he is in a lower spot than he was even before he got hurt. We're told Henry and Sheamus actually get along good, but with Ryback in the main event and Henry feeling like an afterthought, he was not happy. During the chaos of Wrestlemania weekend and Raw the next night there were various scenarios considered, one of which was John Cena vs. Mark Henry at Extreme Rules and another of which was John Cena vs. Mark Henry vs. Ryback at Extreme Rules, so for Henry to end up as the odd man out is something he's very unhappy about. Even though it's a delicate situation, the office realizes at Henry's age (41), he has the right to pick and choose his spots and if he'd rather stay home if there is not a prominent spot for him, you can't really blame him. He was originally supposed to do a longer program with Sheamus, but asked to just put him over at Extreme Rules and be written out until they had something better for him. The company doesn't want Mark Henry to retire with the roster really thin right now but when the decision was made to go with Cena and Ryback without Henry confusing the situation, that left them scrambling to come up with something for Henry. - The Rock's latest film, Fast & Furious 6, destroyed the box office over the weekend. As of Monday, the show grossed an estimated $120,019,000 in the United States and $197,000,000o internationally. Obviously this topped the chart at number one. It was #6 on the chart of biggest weekends of all-time. BoxOfficeMojo.com has more coverage at this link. - ContactMusic.com has a new article online where The Rock is quoted about his hernial surgery. The former WWE Champion says the surgery was a blessing in disguise because it gave him an opportunity to slow down and spend some time at home.

"My little girl (11-year-old daughter Simone) was so happy that I was able to come home. I said, 'Well, you know daddy's still Superman, right?'... "It was a really nice blessing to slow down. It was almost God's way of saying, 'Well, now you're gonna take a break.'"

Click here to read the article in its entirety. - Dragon Gate USA has confirmed that Sami Callihan has officially signed a developmental contract with WWE. It's been widely reported that he has been going through the company's pre-screening process. - Justin Gabriel has a new promotional interview online promoting WWE's July/August tour of South Africa. Click here to read it. - Entertainment Tonight has a video feature online with The Rock discussing his hernial surgery that he had to have due to injuries sustained in the WWE title match at Wrestlemania 29. He doesn't say anything we haven't reported several times but you can check it out at this link. - Dot com posted some "never-before-seen" photos of Bret Hart at this link. The very first photo is an awesome shot of him and Owen in Calgary. - WWE updated their kayfabe coverage on Triple Hhere on dot com. The official website claims Hunter was "advised not to travel to tonight's Raw." - John Cena vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship at WWE Payback will now be a Three Stages of Hell Match. The match, which is a variation of a two out of three falls match, will include the following stages: Stage one - A lumberjack match Stage two - A tables match Stage three - An ambulance match WWE Payback will take place Sunday, June 16, 2013 from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. - Bret Hart appeared in a backstage segment on this week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. He really put over Team Hell No, calling them one of the best tag team partnerships he's ever seen. Hart also said Daniel Bryan was one of the toughest wrestlers he's ever seen and the toughness has nothing to do with size. Bryan returned the favor, calling Hart the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. The segment is online at this link. Hart will be honored when the show goes off the air with Bret Hart Appreciation Night. The special will be hosted by Jerry Lawler and we'll have live coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. - Shawn Michaels (beard and all) is at WWE Monday Night Raw for Bret Hart Appreciation Night and appeared in a backstage segment with John Cena. The segment is now online at this link. Speaking of Cena, you can watch the opening segment of this week's Raw, where the WWE Payback main event was changed, at this link. - Chris Jericho challenged CM Punk to a match at WWE Payback next month and Paul Heyman accepted, "on behalf of his client." The challenge was made during The Highlight Reel segment on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. We've been told WWE wants Punk back for the pay-per-view next month but he wanted to return later. Whether or not this match happens or WWE swerves remains to be seen. Regardless, WWE Payback will take place Sunday, June 16, 2013 from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. -WWE began airing vignettes for Bray Wyatt (pictured above), Eric Rowan and Luke Harper (formerly Brodie Lee) on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The trio is known collectively as The Wyatt Family and are developmental standouts in WWE NXT. Wyatt's real name is Windham Rotunda and he formerly had a stint on the main roster as Husky Harris. - WWE has made the bout between CM Punk & Chris Jericho official for WWE Payback. Rumors regarding Punk's return continue, and WWE continues its cryptic handling of Punk's absence with the following excerpt from the official WWE website:

As for Punk … who knows? Maybe he’ll show up at Payback. Maybe he’ll show up before then. And, of course, maybe he won’t. Maybe Jericho’s counting on that, of exposing the man who humbled him on the highest pedestal of their shared profession as a broken man; of being able to defeat him simply by way of his absence. Imagine that, if Chris Jericho could beat CM Punk without throwing a single punch. Now that would really be payback.

WWE Payback will take place Sunday, June 16, 2013 from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. - We've received numerous questions about what happened during John Cena vs. Curtis Axel in the crowd at this week's WWE Monday Night Raw. For those that missed it, the entire crowd took their eyes off the match and the cameras pulled in extremely tight, referee John Cena even seemed to be distracted. We're told an all-out brawl ensued in the crowd, involving four or five people with at least one of them being female. When the ambulance came out for the Ryback/Cena angle, the first belief in the crowd was that it was for what was happening. The fight was finally quelled as Cena hit the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and the cameras pulled back out. - Bret Hart's brother Smith Hart used Twitter to offer up his thoughts on Bret Hart Appreciation Night:

Off-Air WWE Raw Coverage – Bret Hart Appreciation Night. - The first vignette for Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family is now online at this link. As we reported on Monday night, the Wyatt Family is a stable of highly touted WWE NXT prospects and is comprised of Bray Wyatt, Eric Rowan and Luke Harper. - The following exchange took place on Twitter following WWE Champion John Cena vs. Curtis Axel on this week's Monday Night Raw:

- World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler is currently advertised for Saturday's WWE Live event from the Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA, Sunday's show in Poughkeepsie, NY and next week's TV tapings. At this point it's unknown if Ziggler will make the dates but he has to pass an iMPACT concussion test before being medically cleared to return to the ring. WWE is taking his injury serious and are being cautious with him. Ziggler has been out since the May 7th Smackdown taping after suffering a concussion due to a stiff kick to the head. - WWE posted the full 30 minutes of Bret Hart Appreciation Nighthere on dot com. There was a really funny moment with Pat Paterson and Vince McMahon said some things that surprised me. Vince admitted that Hart brought his own era to WWE and that he brought a certain level of legitimacy and in-ring skill to the promotion that it never had before. He said Hart brought an in-ring skill the promotion often overlooked and he became champion the old fashion way, by earning it. You can read my recap at this link. - This week's episode of "Backstage Fallout" Raw is now online at this link. - Jim Ross has a new blog entry available on his official website where he reflects on Bret Hart Appreciation Night. Below is an excerpt:

I know that much is being made of the WWE APP but I'm very pleased that I had it downloaded on my IPad so I could enjoy the Bret Hart Appreciation Day celebration after RAW went off the air Monday night. Thoroughly enjoyed the memorable in ring ceremony and the sincere appreciation and respect shown to one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time.

Click here to read JR"s latest in its entirety. - Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,465,000 viewers on SyFy. The numbers were delayed due to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States and the numbers for Monday Night Raw won't be available until Wednesday. - A cell phone video of the fight that broke out in the crowd during the main event of this week's WWE Raw (See also -What The Crowd Was Watching During John Cena vs. Curtis Axel) has made its way online at this link. - The Wrap has a new article now online on the upcoming WWE Studios project called "Leprechaun" starring Hornswoggle. The film, done in collaboration with Lionsgate, will be directed by Zach Lipovsky. It's a reboot of the successful horror franchise that launched the career of Jennifer Aniston. Click here for more. - Stephanie McMahon revealed Tuesday on Twitter that her favorite UFC fighter is Ronda Rousey. Below is the Tweet:

- The latest episode of "Behind the Match" will feature Kofi Kingston discussing Team Kingston vs. Team Orton from Survivor Series 2009. A preview trailer, with Kofi discussing his friendship with CM Punk, is online at this link. - Last week's post-Extreme Rules episode of WWE Smackdown did a 1.86 cable rating on SyFy. We reported on Tuesday the show drew an average viewing audience of 2,465,000 viewers. - Lance Storm attended the WWE TV tapings in Canada this week with some of his Storm Wrestling Academy students. Below is a photo with Paul Heyman that was posted on Twitter:

- Who is Bray Wyatt? WWE answers the question in a new feature here on dot com. - Chris Jericho posted the following on Twitter regarding The Highlight Reel segment with Paul Heyman on this week's WWE Monday Night Raw:

- Variety is reporting that WWE Studios will once again team with Warner Bros. to co-produce a “Flintstones” animated movie that will be released direct-to-homevideo platforms in early 2015. The film will feature Vince McMahon, John Cena and CM Punk and other WWE stars with a Flintstones twist (Vince McMagma, John Cenastone, CM Punkrock – as Fred, Barney and friends attend the first WWE main event.

Click here for coverage by Variety.

- We've had some questions about Jack Swagger and his whereabouts. Swagger is actually on vacation, which is why he wasn't used at this week's WWE TV tapings. One could speculate the feeling was the Tea Party Gimmick wouldn't get the kind of heat in Canada it gets in the United States so it was a good time for him to get time off.

Below are some photos courtesy of Twitter:

Zeb Colter was on the road with WWE this week.

- WWE claims that Kofi Kingston will undergo elbow surgery and will be out four to eight weeks for recovery.

In an article posted here on dot com, the company says Kofi had a pre-existing elbow injury but it was accelerated by Ryback's post-match beatdown at this week's Smackdown taping.

Kofi is scheduled for surgery on Thursday.

- We're told the idea of changing the main event of WWE Payback from an Ambulance Match to a Three Stages of Hell Match is so both John Cena and Ryback get a win. Basically a two out of three falls match with hardcore stipulations, it gives WWE the opportunity to give each a fall victory in hopes neither comes out looking weak. - Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family coming to the main WWE roster are Triple H's top three developmental stars moving up. One observer commented, "he's infected this roster in a good way with talent from developmental, some better than others." - All systems are go on the push of Big E Langston. With Dolph Ziggler on the shelf and ongoing issues with Mark Henry, Langston is getting an opportunity. As previously reported, Langston has overwhelming backstage support from Vince McMahon and John Cena. - WWE has announced the August 5, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw will emanate from the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Tickets go on sale June 8, 2013. - Randy Orton noted on Twitter that he'll be headed to New York City next Tuesday to do press for 12 Rounds 2 - Reloaded. The following is from his verified Twitter account:

- The Rock has arrived in Budapest to shoot Hercules and Tweeted the following photo:

- WWE's Chief Financial Officer George Barrios gave a presentation at the Citi Global Consumer Conference in New York City on Wednesday. After the presentation, Barrios was asked about programming for the forthcoming WWE Network. Barrios said the WWE Network will center around the company's monthly pay-per-views. They'll be creating retrospective content from their library such as a series they've already done called Monday Night War. The series takes a look back at WWE Monday Night Raw and WCW Nitro when Vince McMahon and Ted Turner were doing battle each week. The series is 15 episodes long. He also pointed to the upcoming "Total Divas" reality series on E! and highlighted how WWE has the ability to create their own original programming. The content of the WWE Network will be a different flavor than Raw and Smackdown, which both serve as anchors for the company's programming. The network will give the viewers more for less than what they are already paying with the $45 or $55 monthly pay-per-views. - Vince McMahon posted the following on Twitter:

- WWNLive.com sent out the following update on Samuray Del Sol:

May 29th: There are many rumors about Samuray Del Sol going to WWE. Del Sol, who has risen as today's hottest lucha star, will challenge Open The Freedom Gate Champion Johnny Gargano for the title this Sunday night on live iPPV at WWNLive.com from Ybor City, FL. He is also in a big match tomorrow night in Orlando against Anthony Nese and Saturday in Jacksonville vs. upcomer Shane Strickland. We have been assured that should Del Sol win the title, he will be back on the July 27th and July 28th events in New York City to defend the belt. Could we see The Summer Of Del Sol?

Del Sol is of course believed to have signed a WWE developmental contract. - This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw only did an average viewing audience of 3,945,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the by hour breakdown: Hour one - 3,993,000 viewers Hour two - 3,950,000 viewers Hour three - 3,891,000 viewers The show ended up with a yearly low 2.96 cable rating. Not only was WWE up against stiff competition against the NBA Playoffs but they typically see a strong pullback on Memorial Day. - "OMG! Moments" are featured in episode 69 of WWE Inbox that is now online at this link. - John Cena posted the following news bits on Twitter:

- WWE’s Chief Financial Officer George Barrios gave a presentation at the Citi Global Consumer Conference in New York City on Wednesday. After the presentation, Barrios was asked about the forthcoming WWE Network. In addition to discussing the type of programming, Barrios said WWE will announce a launch date for the Network when the first carriage agreement is signed. Once signed, Barrios feels the other cable and satellite providers will follow. The price point is currently listed at $13-$15 per month. - The Miz is headed to Berlin, Germany for Be-A-Star anti-bullying rallies. There is a major problem, however, as the former WWE Champion doesn't speak German. Miz Tweeted:

- Speaking of Miz, he is now joined by Josh Mathews and Ricardo Rodriguez as the new broadcast team of WWE Main Event. The trio's first week together was this week. Dot com has a new article online looking at the Main Event broadcast team at this link. - CM Punk was at Wednesday night's Game 7 between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. He Tweeted the following photo after Chicago's OT win:

Punk is at Wrigley Field on Thursday for White Sox at Cubs.

- Chris Jericho wrote on Twitter that he misses Eddie Guerrero andChris Benoitevery day. The following is from his verified Twitter account:

- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper appeared on A&E's "Storage Wars" on Wednesday. The episode has been archived online and is now available to watch at this link.

- WWE has announced a live event on August 6, 2013 from the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Illinois. Tickets go on sale on June 8, 2013.

- Cory Weston, a student of Dory Funk Jr., has reportedly signed a developmental contract with WWE.

- WWE will tape television four nights straight in July ahead of their tours of Australia and South Africa. The following dates are on the schedule:

Monday Night Raw(airing on 7/22) on 7/22 from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX
Monday Night Raw(airing on 7/29) on 7/23 from the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, TX
Smackdown(airing on 7/26) on 7/24 from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX
Smackdown(airing on 8/2) on 7/25 from the Toyota Center in Houston, TX

You can keep up with WWE's taping schedule here on dot com.

- Evan Bourne wrote on Twitter that he's healthy enough to return to the ring. The following is from his verified account:

Bourne's been out for over a year after suffering a mid-foot fracture following consecutive WWE Wellness Policy violations (a total of 90 days suspended). He worked a WWE NXT live event on 3/28 to test his foot. We still have coverage of that match online at this link.

- WWE Champion John Cena was at the Philadelphia Comic-Con on Thursday. He signed autographs and let fans hold the WWE Championship belt. According to people that attended the meet and greet, Cena was very personable and kind.

- Complex listed AJ Lee as #50 on their 100 Hottest Women Right Now feature. You can check it out at this link.

- WWE is currently looking to hire a head creative writer for Raw and Smackdown. You can check out the listing at this link. In another high profile position, they're looking to hire a Vice President for WWE Kids Entertainment. You can view that listing at this link.

- Mick Foley was on Breakfast Television on Wednesday to promote his comedy show in the city. You can watch the appearance at this link.

- Fandango did a Q&A with CT.com to promote Monday Night Raw in Hartford next week. In it, he says the initial plan for his gimmick was to be a male stripper gimmick under the name Johnny Curtis. After trying it out in dark matches, they realized it was a little risky and not quite PG.

Initially, Vince [McMahon] had an idea of a male stripper. We kind of did that in a few dark matches as simply Johnny Curtis. It was like a Dirty Dancing, kind of Swayze deal. I think they saw it and realized real quick that it's a little risky. It was Fandango a little more sexy, a little not quite PG. Vince had an idea to do the ballroom thing, and I embraced it, man. Thing is, if you can play a hard character, a real complicated character like this or the Undertaker — anything that's really far out there — I think you can make money with it if you really embrace it, you know what I'm saying? If you just go into it not really into it, people are going to see right through it and see just a guy playing a character [and] not really into it. I'm like, 'This is an opportunity I've been waiting for for 13, 14 years. I either gotta really embrace this thing or just go back to working for EWA in Maine making 50 bucks a night.'

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Dolph Ziggler is expected to appear at Saturday's WWE live event from the Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA. An email was sent to ticketholders, stating he would appear with Big E Langston in his match against Alberto Del Rio with Ricardo Rodriguez. Ziggler has been off the road since suffering a concussion at the May 7th Smackdown taping in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also advertised for Sunday's WWE live event in Poughkeepsie, NY and next week's television tapings.

- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show is now online at this link.

- WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose was on ESPN Radio in Hartford, CT to promote next week's Monday Night Raw. You can listen at this link.

- Jim Ross discusses his upcoming tour of the United Kingdom, CM Punk returning at WWE Payoff and more on a new blog entry on his official website. You can read it at this link.

TNA News

- Dixie Carter is currently being criticized for not helping Zema Ion with his medical bills. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Ion underwent emergency surgery last week after being diagnosed with appendicitis. It was discovered during the surgery that he has a tumor on his colon and it will need to be removed. Ion's girlfriend, Jessica Recco, started a fundraising campaign on GiveForward.com to help him pay his bills. Zema does not have health insurance and as of this writing, only $5,679 of $30,000 has been raised. Those interested in donating can do so now at this link. I would also encourage you to Tweet Dixie Carter (@TNADixie) and Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) and ask them to help.

- Hulk Hogan is currently in the emergency room at Tampa General Hospital after a radiator exploded in his hand. Hogan posted some graphic photos of the injury on Twitter that you can view below:

- MuscleAndFitness.com has a new piece online featuring quotes from Dixie Carter. Below is an excerpt:

So what kinds of things do you look for in a wrestler?

It’s not one thing in particular. Sometimes a great physique is very important and then sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s the athletic ability that matters. It has to be that great combination of character and personality. I think some of the biggest names in the history of our business have looked incredible and had great personalities. They may not have been the greatest wrestlers.

Then there are some truly talented wrestlers who couldn’t get to where they needed to be because of a lack of personality. So you have to have a combination of all those things.

Who would you say is the most legitimately tough wrestler?

I would say Hernandez is the strongest man on our roster. I’d probably have to say that Kurt Angle is the toughest. Just because of the crap I’ve seen him live through, and do. It’s not a made up moniker like where he’s a cyborg or he’s sub human, but it’s just that it’s him, and he’s unbelievably tough.

Click here to check out the feature in its entreat.

- Hulk Hogan posted photos on Twitter after he had the blisters on his hand treated after a radiator explosion (See also -Hulk Hogan At The Hospital Following Accident). The following is from the Hulkster's verified account:

- King Mo participated in an angle at FSW's "Day of Reckoning" show in Las Vegas this past Saturday night. Mo was sitting front row at the show to support his friend and fellow TNA star Kenny King. You can watch the angle at this link.

The angle continued on Twitter with Stu Stone, the man Mo choked out in the video above:

- Hulk Hogan wrote the following on Twitter:

He's speaking of photos like this:

- Following up on an item from Monday, Stu Stone says his issues with King Mo are settled. The following is from Twitter:

We felt like this was a work all along but it is worth noting that Mo did delete his Tweet where he plugged the video. Probably intentional but I don't know for sure.

French Commentary at Slammiversary

Célian Varini and Grégory Deas will be doing French commentary at TNA Slammiversary on Sunday. The following is from Twitter:

- Eric Young is having his 16th throat surgery on Tuesday. He wrote the following on Twitter:

- TNA Champion Bully Ray is in Boston doing media ahead of Sunday's TNA Slammiversary XI pay-per-view. Below is a photo of Ray with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz:

- Alfonso Castillo has a new interview with Kurt Angle now online on Newsday. Below is an excerpt:

"This is a nice little break, but I'm getting ready to step and get back in the front seat," Angle said. "By no means am I ready to retire. I'm doing this to help the company. But pretty soon, I'll be back in the main event mix."

"Since these guys wrestle part-time, obviously it's appealing. But that's what I do in Impact Wrestling now," said Angle, noting that his schedule is about 65 percent lighter than it was at its peak. "My loyalty is with Impact Wrestling right now. I can't think about it yet until my contract is up. But is there a possibility [that I'll return to WWE]? You can't throw anything off the table."

The interview was done to promote Angle's efforts to help save Olympic wrestling. You can read the full article at this link.

- TNA Champion Bully Ray did an interview with WBZ CBS Boston to promote Sunday's Slammiversary XI pay-per-view. You can listen to it at this link. The official TNA website posted more photos of Ray at Fenway Park at this link.

- The full version of Before the Bell: Slammiversary is now online at this link.

- TNA Wrestling will present a live "Slammin' Celebration" this Saturday night, June 1st at 9/8c from the "TNA Slammiversary Fan InterAction” VIP Event in Boston on their official website.

The event will feature a Q&A with TNA Champion Bully Ray, conducted through Twitter, using the hashtag #AskBully. The event will be hosted by Christy Hemme, Jeremy Borash and SoCal Val. More details are available at this link.

Dixie Carter posted the following on Twitter:

- Christopher Daniels was featured on the This Week in Marvel podcast at this link.

- Speaking of Marvel, check out the following picture posted on Twitter:

- Eric Young posted the following on Twitter after having his 16th throat surgery on Tuesday:

TNA Gut Check Challenge

The latest TNA Gut Check Challenge brackets are now available at this link.

- TNA Champion Bully Ray took part in a media conference call on Wednesday to promote his TNA Championship match against Sting at Slammiversary XI on Sunday. Below are the highlights:

Bully Ray said that the upcoming match against Sting is one the biggest bouts of his career.

He doesn't consider The Shield a copycat of Aces and Eights but he believes that TNA is the best wrestling promotion in the world. He said he is very proud with what they have accomplished with Aces and Eights.

Ray said he will never say that he and Devon are the best tag team of all-time but they are the most successful. They decided it was the time to transition into singles.

He credited the success of the Bull Ray credit to the freedom that TNA allows him to have. Ray explained he wanted to go back to his original character without doing the things he did in ECW. He explained it's not just the character but he's turned the volume up on who he really is.

Ray said that he was offended in an interview on Tuesday when he was called average. He said someone can be a fan of Jeff Hardy but to never call him average. He said TNA has the best roster of professional wrestlers anywhere.

He said Magnus and Rockstar Spud are two workers that stand out to him. Bully Ray put over Magnus for his look, in-ring work and mic skills. He said Spud has the "it" factor.

Ray doesn't have a negative thing to say about Paul Heyman or Vince McMahon. He said Dixie Carter runs the company from a more personal point of view. Because of this, he's learned things from her that he never would have learned from Paul or Vince.

He said tag team wrestling is almost extinct. The TNA Champion explained that as good as Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazrian are, there aren't enough teams. He said there has to be focus on trying to rebuild the tag team division in order to re-build it.

Bully said he's isn't sure if he could get the full emotional support that is needed to be a babyface again. He said being liked sucks and being hated is so much better.

He credited longevity in the wrestling business to his passion.

Bully said there were two words that helped him at the beginning of his career - get over. He put over TNA's move outside of Orlando.

From a personal point of view, Bully is most looking forward to Devon vs. Joseph Park from a wrestling point of view, he's look forward to AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle at the pay-per-view on Sunday.

He doesn't see why guys can't get busted open. Bully said as long as people are properly tested, adding color shouldn't be a problem and that guys have been bleeding in wrestling for over 100 years.

Ray said after he gets done with Sting he wants Hulk Hogan in the ring. He said people be be interested and they will want to see what happens.

He doesn't know who the second inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame will be but agrees that Jeff Jarrett would be a great induction.

TNA Slammiversary XI will take place Sunday from the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Dixie Carter announced Wednesday on Twitter that Jeff Hardy will return to TNA Wrestling at Slammiversary on Sunday. Th following is from her verified Twitter account:

Hardy has been off television since the April 11th episode of Impact Wrestling, where he was "attacked" by Aces and Eights with a hammer.

- Sam Shaw is featured on the latest episode of "The List" with Robbie E and So Cal Val. You can watch it at this link.

- Dixie Carter announced Wednesday that Jeff Hardy will make his return to TNA Wrestling at Slammiversary XI on Sunday. Hardy will be working the pay-per-view.

The following is from our Impact Wrestling taping results for this week's show:

Garett Bischoff w/DOC & Wes Brisco vs Samoa Joe w/Magnus was thrown out when all 3 Aces tried to gang up on Magnus. Joe hit a dive on all 3 of them. He takes a mic and calls them cowards. Sunday in Boston it will DOC, Wes, Garett vs Samoa Joe, Magnus and the returning Jeff Hardy.

*Spoilers* Go-Home To Slammiversary Impact Wrestling Taping Results (5/30/13)

- Dixie Carter is hyping the start of Impact Wrestling's summer series beginning with this week's episode in the new 9 PM/8 CT timeslot.

Carter Tweeted:

Dixie also says TNA has just signed a "big free agent" that will "rock Impact" this summer. The following is from her Twitter:

- Dixie Carter announced that TNA Bound for Glory 2013 will take place from the Viejas Arena at San Diego State University in San Diego, California on Sunday, October 20, 2013. The following is from her verified Twitter account:

- Below is the final advertised lineup for TNA Slammiversary XI. Make sure you join us here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com on Sunday for exclusive live play-by-play coverage:

No Holds Barred Match for the TNA Championship
If Sting loses, he will no longer be able to compete for the TNA title again
- Bully Ray © vs. Sting

Singles Match
- Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles

Six-Man Tag Team Match
- Aces & Eights (Wes Brisco, Garrett Bischoff and Mr. Anderson) vs. Magnus, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy

Four- Way Elimination Match For the TNA Tag Team Championship
- Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez © vs. Christopher Daniels & Kazarian vs. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode vs. James Storm & Gunner

TNA TV Championship Match
- Devon © vs. Joseph Park

Ultimate X match for the X-Division Championship
- Kenny King © vs. Suicide vs. Chris Sabin

Singles Match
- Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell

Singles Match
TNA Gutcheck Tournament Final for an entry into the 2013 Bound for Glory Series
- Jay Bradley vs. Sam Shaw

TNA Slammiversary XI will take place Sunday from the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. Remember, we'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Both MVP and Dave Batista have said they are not the "big free agent" signing that Dixie Carter hyped on Twitter. The following is from their verified Twitter accounts:

We haven't heard who Carter is referring too as of press time. Below is her Tweet that started the rampant speculation:

- The Boston Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Bully Ray and Sting ahead of Sunday's TNA Slammiversary XI pay-per-view in Boston.

“TNA is the best wrestling product out there,” said TNA champion Bully Ray. “We have some of the greatest veterans of pro wrestling and some of the greatest modern-day wrestlers. There’s great in-ring action, great talkers, great brawlers and hot girls. Anything that you want in pro wrestling, you can find in TNA.”

“This Sunday is going to be intense,” said Sting. “There is a large wrestling audience that doesn’t want to say goodbye to my generation — guys like myself and Hogan — and still appreciates us. It’s the same for me. It’s hard to walk away. I want to give Boston something to remember.”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling drew an average viewing audience of 1,016,000 viewers on Spike TV. TNA has to be disappointed, not only headed into Sunday's Slammiversary XI pay-per-view but their first week in the 9/8c timeslot. The company is hopeful the timeslot change will benefit them in the long run.

Ask WNW

Why does Randy Orton no longer use the punt anymore?

Randy Orton's punt to the head of his opponents has been phased out due to WWE's stance on concussions. As we saw at Extreme Rules, the company still allows him to use it in certain situations but it's not something that you can expect to return full-time to Orton's move set. Basically, it's a move that carries a risk that WWE feels outweighs the reward. Orton was able to use it at the pay-per-view due to the Extreme Rules stipulation and the fact they were in St. Louis (his hometown) didn't hurt things. Dolph Ziggler's concussion was another sobering reminder of the dangers of spots to the head and WWE is very serious in trying to cut down the number of concussions suffered by talent.

The Miz has really fallen down the card following his WWE title match at Wrestlemania 27. When do you expect him to return to the main event scene?

The Miz took a lot of heat from people such as Dave Batista and CM Punk about being in the main event of Wrestlemania 27. The criticism was that he's a guy that doesn't have a "main event feel" and Punk actually said it was one of the reasons why he wanted to quit the company. Batista joked that he was in no hurry to return to WWE to work a program against Miz. No matter how hard Miz works, he's never going to be able to shed the perception some people have of him as a reality television star and not a pro wrestler. I feel he's a good example of someone that has worked very hard to get to the top. There is no way I can accurately predict if or when he will return to the main event scene.

Do you think Daniel Bryan will end up using the chokeslam on TV after doing it on live events?

Daniel Bryan has been doing a bit with Kane at WWE live events where he performs a chokeslam and claims he has a better one than Kane. The spot has drawn a lot of interest and I'm sure many would love to see him do it on Kane on television. We'll have to wait and see if the spot makes it on TV but it certainly appears WWE is going to go with an inevitable Bryan vs. Kane program in breaking up Team Hell No. Last week's Smackdown, and the Backstage Fallout afterwards, looked to be the beginning of gimmick progression for Bryan.

With Paul Heyman seemingly getting another big push with Curtis Axel, what is the opinion of him backstage or more specifically Mr. McMahon's opinion of Heyman?

Actually, Curtis Axel is getting a big push with Paul Heyman. Heyman already has a solidified spot as a manager for main event talent. The idea is to put Heyman with Curtis Axel to skyrocket him up the card. As for Heyman's status in WWE, his role is all business. It was CM Punk, not Brock Lesnar, that brought him back to WWE and got him a top spot in the company. As far as I know things have gone fine with Vince McMahon and Stephanie but Paul isn't heavily involved in the creative process. I have been told that Heyman has pitched creative ideas so he's not completely alienated either.

Why did WWE change John Cena vs. Ryback at WWE Payback from an Ambulance Match to a Three Stages of Hell Match?

I haven't heard the reason why but I can speculate it was due to the company thinking an Ambulance Match wasn't a strong enough stipulation. When the match was announced last week, I wondered how it was any different than the Last Man Standing Match they had this month. Remember, the match that saw Ryback as the Last Man Standing but didn't receive the victory. Three Stages of Hell is a better stipulation but I'm not sure there is enough interest in it. Wins and losses mean very little these days but how is it WWE has pushed Curtis Axel for two weeks and he's already more credible than Ryback, who they've been pushing for over a year? Someone remarked on Twitter that Axel had "victories" and not victories but can someone please tell me Ryback's "victories"? Seriously, what has he accomplished, other than squashing enhancement talent, that makes him a viable WWE Championship contender?

Why is his name Curtis Axel if many fans still remember him as Michael McGillicutty?

First of all the Michael McGillicutty name was horrible. He hated it, fans hated it and no one had a good reason for it. Here they have a talented third generation guy and they stick a name on him that pays no significance to his family lineage or one that people can even spell. Curtis Axel is a much bigger deal than Michael McGillicutty, much like Ryback is a much bigger deal than Skip Sheffield. Axel's name pays homage to Larry The Axe and Mr. Perfect and is a great catalyst to take him right on up the card.

When will AJ Lee challenge for the WWE Divas Championship?

When AJ Lee won the number one contendership for the WWE Divas Championship there was talk about strapping both her and Big E Langston so the entire Dolph Ziggler trio would hold titles. Now with Ziggler out, dissension between AJ and Langston is teased. It certainly appears they're going in a different direction but we'll have to wait and see.

How key is patience in WWE in regards to the success of a worker. One can look at a worker like Kaval and see it didn't work while The Miz and Daniel Bryan, while not immediately successful, ended up getting over.

Patience is very important in this business. The problem with many critics is they want to see the full picture right now and I'm guilty of this myself. We all want something to be successful so when we see things considered to be problematic out of the gate, we get online and complain. However, I warn everyone that will listen that it's important to see how things play out. It's also important that I remember this myself. While Curtis Axel appears primed for a run at the top, Tensai pinned John Cena clean and we all know how that worked out. On the other hand, The Shield is a group that had nearly unattainable expectations and have exceeded them. However, there are times, when we can take one look at something and know it's not going to work. Some good examples would be the aforementioned Michael McGillicutty and Skip Sheffield.

What are your thoughts on Bray Wyatt?

I'm very high up on Bray Wyatt and as with Curtis Axel, it's a tremendous upgrade from Husky Harris. There are very few workers that you can't find a lot of bad stuff about and Bray is one of those guys. From John Cena on down the line, people have raved about Wyatt's work. A lot of readers complain about WWE changing gimmicks and blowing up factions from NXT to the main roster. This isn't happening with the Wyatt Family and I'm excited to see what they'll bring.

If the preliminary numbers are correct Wrestlemania 29, while still getting over a million buys, did far fewer than last year and even fewer than Wrestlemania 27 when The Rock was not an in-ring performer. Do you think this was due to lack of interest in the main two matches being rematches?

Before I answer this, let's take a look at Wrestlemania buys for the last three years:

Wrestlemania 29 - 1,048,000 (estimated)
Wrestlemania 28 - 1,217,000 (most in WWE history)
Wrestlemania 27 - 1,059,000

I absolutely think WWE saw a pull back in Wrestlemania buys this year from last due to the fact two of the show's three main events were re-matches. Also, one could argue The Rock has lost some luster after being back for his third straight year. I don't know what made Vince McMahon decide to do The Rock vs. John Cena again other than the fact it was a safe pick to top one million buys. With Rock and Brock I would have thought they could have toppled last year's number had they gave fans some fresh material. However, Vince came out of Wrestlemania 28 last year and said very early on he wanted to do the "Once in a Lifetime" match again. Maybe he just wanted to rib everyone.

What are the advantages of having Wrestlemania in the early spring as they do currently?

If WWE had an offseason, it would be after Wrestlemania. The way the calendar sets up, WWE's "season" is SummerSlam through Wrestlemania. The summer months are traditionally less watched and provide WWE an opportunity to bring new stars to TV. This is why things are set up as they are. WWE knows when the most people are watching and run their shows to reflect those viewing patterns.

When will Dolph Ziggler return?

As of this writing, WWE is advertising Dolph Ziggler for Saturday's live event in Bethlehem, PA. I haven't heard if he will return but he's still on the official listings for the entire loop and next week's TV tapings. He must pass an iMPACT concussion test before he will be cleared to return to the ring.

Do you think Dean Ambrose is the perfect wrestler to bring prestige back to the United States Championship? He has only had one loss so far and with that being to the Undertaker it's not going to harm his character. Ryback might be a more believable monster heel if he had been given a strong run as a secondary title holder.

Dean Ambrose is a great worker to help restore prestige to the United States Championship but it's up to WWE to credibly book the title for it to happen. This goes back to Adam Wacker's argument (See also - WWENews.net - Champions Defining Championships) that it's the champion that defines the title, not the title that defines the champion. With that being said, Ambrose still needs to defend the title successfully. Booking him in non-title matches is not effective. Thankfully, The Shield continues to be booked with confidence and hopefully that translates into the titles being booked with confidence.

Do you know of any future plans with Drew McIntyre? I feel like he's still such a good young in-ring talent at 27 but is wasting away jobbing with 3MB.

I do not know of any plans for Drew McIntyre beyond his work with 3MB. While 3MB is clearly a group of enhancement workers, at least they are getting on television. McIntyre has a very large fan base but as for now, it is what it is.

Do you see Curtis Axel being a candidate to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match given his hefty push?

Putting Curtis Axel over for one of the Money in the Bank briefcases would be effective although I'm not sure it's going to be needed. WWE has already booked him as the "winner" in matches against Triple H and John Cena, which already elevates him beyond several names currently working in the midcard. The Money in the Bank pay-per-view is in July so we should have a much better look at the new landscape of WWE by then.

Why is it that wrestlers (besides Brock Lesnar apparently) are not allowed to have sponsors?

A WWE performer's contract gives WWE complete control over their talent. It's ironic they are classified as independent contractors because WWE has the ability to control every aspect of their wrestlers. Brock Lesnar is a different case, working under a different kind of deal. His contract allows for him to keep sponsorships he acquired while working for UFC. Lesnar is the first WWE wrestler that has been allowed to have third-party independent sponsors.

Do you think the ratings for this week's Monday Night Raw would have been higher if they would have included Bret Hart Appreciation Night?

I haven't heard why WWE didn't want to include Bret Hart Appreciation Night on the live Raw broadcast but it was broadcast on The Score in Canada in addition to the WWE App in the United States. WWE wants more exclusive content for their App in order to encourage fans to download it and this was seen as a test for possible Raw post-shows. I haven't heard how the segment drew in Canada but I'm not sure it would have had a big impact on the ratings. Memorial Day is usually an off holiday for WWE in terms of Raw viewership.

I read your response to Brock Lesnar keeping sponsorships he previously had before entering WWE, do you think this could open the door for talent not signed to WWE to seek out sponsorship prior to signing with WWE, or does WWE force them to Cancel those sponsorships?

Brock Lesnar is a different case and receives special treatment due to his name value. In order for a name to come in like Lesnar with their own sponsors, they would have to be considered a major draw. Vince McMahon made it a priority that WWE would be the only place Lesnar would work following his UFC career. Vince was very aware of how well he drew for UFC and didn't want to miss out on "his guy."

If a fan subscribes to the WWE Network, what are they all entitled to as far as a viewer standpoint? Are PPV's included?

WWE's monthly pay-per-views will be the centerpiece of the forthcoming WWE Network. Every pay-per-view except Wrestlemania will be included at no extra charge. While this may change, I have been under the impression that non-subscribers will still be able to order the shows at their normal price tags. In addition to the pay-per-views, the WWE Network will provide content 24/7 365 days a year. From original programming such as reality shows to retrospective content from their tape library. All for a price ($13-$15 per month) that is lower than currently ordering one pay-per-view event. Internally, WWE is looking for one million subscribers to begin making a profit. Under that, the WWE Network will be seen as an investment.

What is the Powerslam Newsletter I see promoted here on the website?

The Powerslam Newsletter is the newest feature to WNW Premium (signup here). It features top stories and exclusive backstage news from WWE and TNA. We've ran a new issue every day since its debut on last Friday, May 24, 2013. We also send it to Premium Members via email if they choose to have it sent to them. Members are high up on it and I've had a blast doing it. Check it out.

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