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, June 7, 2014 to Friday, June 13, 2014 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- The big story on Friday was that Tamina Snuka quietly underwent knee surgery on Wednesday to repair the ACL and meniscus in her left knee. Little is known about the surgery and the injury, however, it would be reasonable to assume a 6-9 month in-ring absence if the ligament was torn (which is likely the case due to surgery being performed). Tamina's last match took place against WWE Divas Champion Paige at the May 27, 2014 Smackdown taping in Atlanta, Georgia. Dot com covered the same story we did at this link.
- This week's episode of Smackdown Fallout features Lana talking about Rusev's win over Xavier Woods. Click here to watch it.
- We reported on Friday that WWE is teaming with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Family Assistance, the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, and the Ad Council to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) that encourage dads to recognize their critical role and give them the tools to help get more involved.
In that article, we included the advertisement featuring Alberto Del Rio. Other PSAs featuring Roman Reigns and Titus O'Neil are featured below:
- Adam Rose was busted open at the WWE Live event last night in Madison, Wisconsin. Rose posted a photo on Twitter of the stitches above his right eye.
- The Miz is back on the road with WWE after finishing up filming his starring role in The Marine 4. He worked Sheamus on Friday night, where he went under at a live event in Detroit, Michigan. Miz last worked in the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania XXX.]
- Jim Ross suffered "stroke-like symptoms" before being hospitalized on Thursday, according to a report by TMZ.com. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the WWE Hall of Fame announcer was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. Tests determined the symptoms were being caused by a medication he had been taking for an unrelated medical issue. However, tests did show that he had suffered a minor undiagnosed stroke in the past. JR is fine moving forward and his medication was changed before being discharged.
- John Cena was banged up at Saturday night's WWE live event in Madison, Wisconsin.
According to eyewitnesses, Cena took a stiff shot from Bray Wyatt to the face and went down to the mat. WWE medical personnel got in the ring to assist, while Bray backed off and the rest of the Wyatts watched from outside the ring.
Cena finished the No Holds Barred Match, clearly tending to his face the rest of the way through. He ended up going over after putting Wyatt through a table with the Attitude Adjustment.
- Adam Rose required five stitches above his right eye after getting busted open during a match against Heath Slater at Saturday night's WWE live event in Madison, Wisconsin. CJ Blaze posted a photo that Rose Tweeted at this link.
Below is video of his entrance at the show:
- John Cena suffered a right eye injury off a stiff shot from Bray Wyatt in a No Holds Barred Match on Saturday night in Madison, Wisconsin. Cena was examined for a concussion but was medically cleared to work on Sunday in Rochester, MN.
On Sunday, Cena tagged with WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos to face The Wyatt Family. He only worked a very brief part of the match but did hit all of his signature moves.
Below is a photo of the injury:
- WWE issued a casting call for an "Orchestra" to film a promo on June 16, 2014. The company is seeking people male or female, ages 18 to 70, of all ethnicities.
Below is the description of the call:
Looking for an orchestra of 14 musicians, all with own instruments - ideally a full orchestra who play together regularly. They will be "fake" playing in the promo, music will be dubbed in. All will be wearing the face paint that Sting is known for (see attached pic). Must be OK with heavy face makeup. Any leads on full orchestras who would love to make some money, would be awesome!! Open to all ages (over 18) and for the most part, people will be unrecognizable.
Below is a screen capture of the call:
While I do not know what this is for, we confirmed last week that WWE and Sting are working together for a DVD to be released on September 2014.
- Daniel Bryan has reportedly been downgraded and is out for WWE Money in the Bank later this month. This according to a new report by SEScoops.com.
If the report is true (and I believe it is), a new champion will be crowned in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
The storyline and legitimate plan were intertwined as the plan was for Bryan to defend the title in a Stretcher Match against Kane at the pay-per-view if he was medically cleared. If not, the title would be vacated and a new champion would be crowned in the show's main event.
A timetable wasn't put in place for Bryan's return because one does not exist.
WWE Money in the Bank 2014 will take place Sunday, June 29, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. We’ll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Steve Austin, The Undertaker and Michelle McCool were among the 100,000 people at George Straight's concert in Dallas, Texas over the weekend. Austin Tweeted the following:
- Dot com covered Adam Rose's injury that he suffered during a match against Heath Slater at Saturday night's WWE live event in Madison, Wisconsin. You can read their coverage at this link. We broke the news of Rose's injury here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. He required five stitches to close the laceration.
- John Cena Tweeted the following after suffering a right eye injury at Saturday night's WWE live event in Madison, Wisconsin during a No Holds Barred match against Bray Wyatt:
Cena worked Sunday with his eye swollen shut.
- The health of Jim Ross was a major topic for the latter part of last week and into the weekend. It turns out he was hospitalized on Thursday after suffering "stroke-like symptoms." The symptoms were a result of the prolonged usage of the sleep medication Ambien. Ross blogged about it at this link.
- It appears that a neck injury will cut Daniel Bryan's reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion short. A new report on Monday claims that Bryan has been downgraded and will be unable to compete at Money in the Bank later this month. Per the storyline/legitimate plan, if Bryan is not medically cleared to compete [in a Stretcher Match against Kane] at the pay-per-view, a new champion will be crowned in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
The news comes just two months after Bryan overcame the odds at Wrestlemania XXX, where in storyline, he beat Triple H and went over in a triple threat match with Randy Orton and Batista to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Shortly after going over at Wrestlemania and taking his rightful place as a top WWE superstar, Bryan married Brie Bella on April 11, 2014. Since then, it's been nothing but bad news for the creator of the Yes Movement.
On April 21, 2014 WWE announced that Daniel Bryan's father died unexpectedly and he was given time off. An injury angle was done to write him off television with the diagnosis of "a cervical cord neurapraxia" being more legitimate than anyone at the time realized.
Bryan went on to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a match against Kane at Extreme Rules. The company followed up with an angle on Raw where he and Brie Bella were "running scared" from Kane, an angle that WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley likened to the booking of Zack Ryder.
On May 12, 2014 it was learned that Bryan indeed had a legitimate neck injury and would need time off.
Daniel Bryan had successful surgery on May 15, 2014 where Dr. Joesph Maroon performed a cervical foraminotomy to decompress the nerve root. A surgery we provided more details on at this link. The future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been in question ever since, with Bryan being pulled from the post-Wrestlemania 30 European tour as a result of the injury.
WWE went stroyline-heavy in their explanation for Daniel Bryan's absence, continuing to bill Bryan as the proverbial underdog. The decision regarding the title was strung out with the aforementioned storyline/legitimate plan for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view put into motion.
Ultimately, the decision comes down what is best for Daniel Bryan's health. I heard Bryan was under a tremendous amount of pressure to come back, however, this latest report suggests it's simply not possible. The current WWE World Heavyweight Champion is in the process of regaining strength in his arm after the cervical foraminotomy was performed last month. No one knows how long it will take for his strength to come back, which is why WWE hadn't given out hope of leaving the title on him.
The best case scenario will be for a legitimate opponent for Bryan to arise out of the Money in the Bank ladder match, only to bill a "unification bout" between the interim champion (the winner at the pay-per-view) and Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam (Editor's note: If I'm booking, it's against Seth Rollins.). How that plays out will determine how Bryan's recovery goes and how WWE creatives plans to handle the situation.
Expect the company to address the situation on this week's episode of Raw as Bryan is advertised to appear live from Knoxville, TN. We'll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- WWE sent out a mobile alert on Monday, notifying fans that you no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership for the WWE Network. You can read their coverage here on dot com.
- Lionsgate and WWE announced on Monday that Leprechaun: Origins will be available on Digital HD, Video On Demand and pay-per-view on Tuesday, August 26, 2013. The film stars Hornswoggle. Click here for more on the film.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown -- featuring Seth Rollins and his explanation for turning on The Shield -- garnered an average viewing audience of 2,782,000 viewers on SyFy. TV by the Numbers has ratings data for the entire day on cable at this link.
- WWE hosted the wife of Ultimate Warrior, Dana, and their children at Sunday's live event in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Dana wrote the following about the experience on Facebook:
While there are many reasons to criticize Vince McMahon, he has taken very good care of Warrior's family in the days after his passing. That should be commended.
Below is a photo of the girls in the ring with WWE Divas Champion Paige and Natalya:
- I'm being told that WWE is preparing to be without Daniel Bryan until SummerSlam although a firm timetable regarding his return has not been established (or not one that I've heard).
There is a lot of concern for Bryan's health and it became obvious following a followup with Dr. Joseph Maroon in Pittsburgh, PA that a return later this month was just not possible. As noted earlier, there's been a lot of pressure on Bryan to get back as soon as possible, however, other top WWE stars have told him to put his health first.
The word backstage at Raw is that Brock Lesnar will be contacted to come back earlier than expected to help offset the loss.
- Below is a photo of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Bo Dallas arriving at Raw in Minneapolis:
- Daniel Bryan was officially stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the opening segment of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Because Bryan is not medically cleared to compete, a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion will be crowned in the Money in the Bank ladder match at the pay-per-view later this month.
Participants will qualify throughout the broadcast with Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton already qualifying.
This was expected as I detailed the happenings surrounding Daniel Bryan since winning the title at Wrestlemania XXX leading up to this week's Raw at this link.
As things currently stand, and as we reported here, WWE is preparing to be without Daniel Bryan until SummerSlam. There is no timetable available for his return at this time.
- As seen on this week's Monday Night Raw, United States Champion Sheamus beat Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett to qualify for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match at Money in the Bank.
In the second qualifying match on Raw, Cesaro beat Rob Van Dam to earn a spot in the ladder match.
As we noted before, Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton have also qualified for this match.
- Kevin Hart will be a special guest star on next week's Raw from Cleveland, Ohio.
- WWE has uploaded Michael Cole's Raw interview with Seth Rollins to YouTube, available at this link.
WWE Raw TV notes…
- Randy Orton was not at Raw with the storyline that The Authority let him go on vacation. He Tweeted the following photo by the pool:
- There was no dark match main event after Raw in Minneapolis. John Cena went to the back, while Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns celebrated. Ambrose ended up taking apart the announce table and threw a chair in the ring.
- WWE will return to the Target Center for the December 22nd episode of Monday Night Raw. The presale password to obtain tickets is WWEPRE.
- Attendance at this week's show was estimated in the 8,000-9,000 range, the show was not sold out.
- Below are the Most Watched Shows Last Week on WWE Network:
WWE Payback 2014
WWE Legends' House
WWE Main Event
Clash of the Champions
Raw Backstage Pass
- Joey Styles answered some interesting questions on Twitter. The following is from his verified Twitter account:
- Batista did a media interview with The Express-Times where he talked about being glad to be back with WWE. Below is an excerpt:
"Somewhere along the line I found my groove and it felt good," Bautista says. "I only stayed away so long because it took me longer than I thought it would to do the things ... I wanted to accomplish. But at the end of the day, I love being a professional wrestler. That live, automatic feedback is what I crave."
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- Natalya spoke with the CBS affiliate out of Minnesota to promote this week's Raw. In it, she spoke about her versatility. Below is an excerpt:
“They’ll say to me, ‘can you walk a red carpet?’ Sure. Want me to do a swimsuit shoot? Great. Want me to tear the house down on a main event in pay-per-view? No problem. I can do it. Want me to star on a reality show? You’ve got it. There’s nothing we really can’t do. It’s a very empowering feeling,” she said.
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- For those that missed the opening segment of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, Daniel Bryan was officially stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The news broke on Monday afternoon that Bryan had been downgraded and would be unable to compete at Money in the Bank later this month.
The announcement is not surprising as the feeling within WWE was that if Bryan worked Money in the Bank, he would have done so by rushing back. There remains no timetable for his return to the ring and the company is preparing to be without him until SummerSlam.
Bryan's recovery is a tricky situation and a situation that reminds too many of what ended Edge's career a few years ago.
You can watch The Authority's segment to strip Bryan of the title at this link.
- Chris Jericho is set to star in a new series produced by CC:Studios called Team Tiger Awesome. In the series, Jericho will play a loose cannon detective. Deadline.combroke the story and provided the following description:
Team Tiger Awesome – written by Nick Mundy, Michael Truly and Clint Gage, who will direct, the series follows a loose cannon detective, played by Chris Jericho, and his by-the-book partner, played by Mundy, who kill time on an endless stakeout by doing the one thing that ruins a good detective tream…sharing feelings with each other.
- Mick Foley discussed his own spine issues that ended his in-ring career in a new post on his Facebook page. You can read it embedded below:
- Shawn Michaels talked about being a building block for John Cena in their match at Wrestlemania 23. You can watch his comments at this link.
- The Miz confronts his Twitter critics at this link.
- Jimmy and Jey Uso did local media to promote this week's Smackdown taping in Green Bay, Wisconsin. You can check out their appearance on the local NBC affiliate at this link.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Minneapolis, MN…
- The major story backstage at this week's show was the condition of Daniel Bryan. He's not medically cleared and the fact a timetable for his return is not available has the company scrambling heading into the summer months. I have not heard anything positive about Bryan's health since he had surgery last month. Everyone knows this is a serious situation and the majority knew he wouldn't be ready to compete at Money in the Bank. WWE stalled a decision on the title because of the effort that was put into building Bryan, however, far too many people know the cautionary tale of Edge and the ramifications of him rushing back. As we've noted, numerous top WWE stars have told Bryan to focus on his health above all else.
- As we noted before the show, the company is preparing to be without Bryan until SummerSlam (essentially meaning the entire summer), with Brock Lesnar possibly being brought back early to help offset the loss.
- Making matters worse on the injury front, John Cena is clearly banged up and refuses to take any time off. While Cena is known for being a company workhorse that's literally addicted to the business, him being banged up on top of a serious injury to Bryan, certainly has the attention of the company brass.
- The undercard for Money in the Bank will be setup sooner than later as WWE doesn't want the show to be a "one match pony" with all the top names in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship ladder match.
- We do not have details as of press time as to why Randy Orton was not at Raw. In storyline, he was on vacation and his "career qualified him" for the title match at Money in the Bank.
- Dean Ambrose suffered a laceration on his chin during this week's Monday Night Raw main event. The gash required nine stitches to close. Dot com has more (with a photo) at this link.
- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,119,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:
Hour one - 3,893,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,217,000 viewers
Hour three - 4,247,000 viewers
While the show's audience was down from the week prior, there is a positive trend to note. The show actually gained viewers as it aired, a trend that has become unusual; especially when evaluating hour two to hour three.
TV by the Numbers has more data available at this link.
- Post-Crescent Media featured Hornswoggle in a new Q&A to promote this week's Smackdown taping in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In it, Hornswoggle discussed getting his job with WWE and fans starting to take him seriously after the WeeLC match at Extreme Rules.
Below are the highlights:
Ken Anderson getting him hired:
I should have never made it. I shouldn’t be working for WWE, but because of some stroke of luck, about eight years ago they were looking for a guy like me. They tested out eight or 10 guys of my stature and Ken (Anderson) put his name out there for me. He referred me and (WWE superstar) Dave Finlay loved me and saw something in me, and at 19 years old I got signed.
When fans started taking him seriously:
Man, I still don’t think they do. I get four, five tweets literally every day saying, “Why do you still have a job?” And I guess it’s staying under the radar more than anything (laughs). I really think this whole storyline and these matches with (El) Torito has really made people look at me like, wow, he can do this. …
Before this, I really didn’t have matches. I’d wrestle a little boogeyman or I’d juggle around or use squirt guns, but now I’m having legit wrestling matches. Our WeeLC match at “Extreme Rules” stole the show. I don’t care what anyone says. It was a pre-show to the pay-per-view and I will go to bat for that match against any match that was on that night. That match stole the show because people didn’t expect what we did and the crowd tore the roof off.
New Jersey fans are the most ruthless fans in the country for booing and hating on whatever’s in the ring if they don’t like it. We had them chanting, “This is awesome” and “Holy (expletive)” the whole match. That’s when I realized I can do this. It felt so good to finally have one of those moments after eight years. It was great and I really think people are starting to take me seriously and realize that I’m more than a circus act.
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- The first images of the WWE 2K15 promotional poster feature John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Bray Wyatt and Cesaro. You can view them below:
WWE 2K15 is set to be released in the United States on October 28, 2014 and in Europe on October 31, 2014.
- Donald Wood and the Ring Rust Radio crew interviewed Steve Austin. In it, Austin talked about a myriad of topics including WWE bringing back Tough Enough to the WWE Network. He said he would love to do it if asked but made no mention about an offer. You can listen to the entire interview at this link.
- Ric Flair has passed his physical and is set to return to WWE television soon, WrestlingNewsWorld.com can confirm.
This has been a deal a long-time in the making as Triple H has wanted to get Flair back for several months. One of the biggest reasons Flair wanted to re-establish a working relationship with WWE was so he could help to watch out for his daughter Charlotte, the current NXT Women's Champion. Charlotte's career is important to Ric and understanding the way the business works, he wants to be as close as possible without interfering.
While Flair's role remains undefined, it will be in a non-wrestling capacity. While he had to pass a WWE physical, it was solely to make sure he was healthy enough to return to the road. It's unlikely WWE would clear him to wrestle after what happened with Jerry Lawler a couple years ago.
Madison Square Garden in New York City has added Flair to the promotional listing for the July 12, 2014 "SummerSlam Heatwave Tour" live event.
As for Vince McMahon's opinion, he's none too thrilled about Flair returning. As we reported exclusively here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Vince doesn't trust Flair with a live mic or his ability to stay out of some sort of public scandal.
Vince stepped aside and let Triple H have his way and we'll see how it plays out.
- This week's kayfabe sit-down interview between Michael Cole and Triple H is now online. Below are the highlights:
Cole asked about Triple H and Stephanie McMahon gloating over Daniel Bryan not being ready to return in time to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Hunter said they were excited to announce to the world they would get what they deserve - a Money in the Bank ladder match to determine the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Asked how it was any different when Triple H tore his quadriceps and missed nearly a year, Hunter said he wasn't the WWE Champion when he tore his quadriceps. And if he was, he would have been man enough to hand over the championship belt and walk away. And when he came back it would have been on him to come back and claim what was on him. He said if you remember, that's exactly what he did. He won the Royal Rumble and won the Undisputed WWE Championship at Wrestlemania that year. If Daniel Bryan wants to do that, go ahead and try.
Hunter asked Cole what he would do if he were the COO of the company. Cole said under the rules, if the champion couldn't defend the championship within 30 days, he'd be forced to relinquish the belt. Hunter said if he refused, what would he do? Triple H answered for him, saying he would do what was right and that was strip Daniel Bryan of WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H said having a fighting champion that can actually defend the title is what is best for business.
Cole asked Triple H if he would give Daniel Bryan "a crack" to win back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship when he came back from injury. Hunter said it depends on the situation at the time. If Daniel Bryan can return, he would consider him for a title opportunity but it would depend on the circumstances.
Michael said he found it funny that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have been in such good moods lately after all that has happened. Losing their general manager on Monday Night Raw, Evolution got beaten by The Shield, The Shield dissolved, Batista "quit," Randy Orton is on "vacation" and now the WWE World Heavyweight Champion is a former champion because of a serious neck injury. Triple H said Michael is the type of person that worries too much about things he can't control.
Triple H said he can't control if Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero aren't doing their jobs right, if Batista decides to quit, if The Shield decides to go rouge. Hunter said he eradicates the cancer and when you're cancer-free, you celebrate.
Hunter said it's not often he can guarantee on a specific day he can promise history will be made but he can this time. At Money in the Bank, people will see history because they will see a brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion crowned. He guarantees it and this all about the evolution of the WWE.
Triple H said the WWE has never been in better hands.
Click here to watch this week's interview.
- For those that missed it in this week's Smackdown taping results, Bray Wyatt qualified for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Ladder Match at Money in the Bank by beating Dean Ambrose in a bout that will air on this week's broadcast. The match now includes Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Cesaro and Randy Orton. There are plans to add two more workers to the match. While the match obviously does not carry the coveted Money in the Bank briefcase containing a title shot, the talk coming out of this week's tapings was they might do a second Money in the Bank ladder match that includes the title shot.
- Randy Orton was not at TV this week with the storyline being that he was "on vacation." During the airing of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, Orton Tweeted a photo of himself poolside.
The word coming out of this week's tapings was that there is concern about Orton's clavicle. It's a bone Orton has broken multiple times before and has caused him to miss significant time. He apparently does not have a serious injury, however, he was given TVs off to rest. Orton did work last weekend's live event loop.
- Emma is currently in Australia doing media for WWE. She's been documenting the trip on her Twitter. Below is a photo:
- Below are the dark match results from this week's WWE Main Event/Smackdown taping:
Prior to the show, Natalya beat Rosa Mendes
In-between Main Event and Smackdown, Los Matadores beat RybAxel off interference from El Torito
After the Smackdown taping concluded, Bray Wyatt called Seth Rollins to the ring. They ended up attacking Dean Ambrose. Roman Reigns, Sheamus and The Usos made the save as the rest of The Wyatt Family helped. The babyfaces cleaned house to send the crowd home happy.
- WWE superstars and Divas wish their respective countries well for the upcoming World Cup in a video posted at this link.
Remember our story from March about Rey Mysterio's mask inspiring the 2014 World Cups of Mexico? Dot com takes a look in a feature that you can check out below:
- The latest video blog of Brandi Rhodes is online at this link.
- WWE used CM Punk's Facebook page to promote an article about superstars that sold out. Check out the latest dig embedded below:
- The "no fire" edict in WWE is no more. The company announced a round of releases on Thursday, they are as follows:
(See also - Air Bourne Grounded; Looking Back At The Rise & Fall Of Evan Bourne)
Of course, WWE wishes them the best in all their future endeavors.
- The releases in WWE continue as three more names have been added to the round of roster cuts announced on Thursday morning. The new names are as follows:
As reported earlier on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, these names join Teddy Long, Camacho, Brodus Clay, Evan Bourne and Yoshi Tatsu.
This is the first round of mass roster cuts in years as this is something Triple H has opposed doing. I do not know why the change but clearly, the company has reverted back to something that used to be an annual occurrence.
- WWE announced on Thursday morning they have released Drew McIntyre, making him the ninth release.
The company started announcing releases just after 11 AM ET Thursday on dot com. The first round of cuts featured Teddy Long, Brodus Clay, Camacho, Yoshi Tatsu and Evan Bourne. A later update included Aksana, Curt Hawkins and Jinder Mahal.
McIntyre marks the 9th main roster performer to be released from his WWE contract on Thursday, June 12, 2014.
- The WWE release count is now at 10 for Thursday, June 12, 2014 as the company announced that referee Marc Harris has been released.
Harris is an interesting case as his WWE run was mired in controversy. Harris blew the finish to Natalya & The Great Khali vs. AJ Lee & Big E Langston on the August 12, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw. Harris lashed out at critics over his mistake, even blocking yours truly on Twitter (the first and only time I've been blocked by a WWE referee on Twitter).
He made headlines again in December for blowing a call on December 30, 2013 during Damien Sandow vs. The Great Khali.
Oddly enough, Harris Tweeted his horoscope as his release was announced:
- Curt Hawkins issued his first public comments on Thursday afternoon following his release from WWE. Hawkins Tweeted:
- Brodus Clay Tweeted the following shortly after the news of his WWE release was announced:
Clay was among 10 workers released from their WWE contracts on Thursday.
- Evan Bourne's tumultuous run in WWE officially came to a close on Thursday as the company announced his release and wished him the best in his future endeavors.
The release comes as no surprise as we were told over a year ago Bourne was on the chopping block and he simply hadn't been cut due to Triple H's reluctance to publicly acknowledge main roster releases (something that went out the window on Thursday).
Bourne rose to WWE prominence with the use of the Shooting Star Press, a superb finishing maneuver Vince McMahon had been reluctant to let WWE talent use. Bourne made a name for himself in Ring of Honor as Matt Sydal before showcasing his high-flying move set in Dragon Gate and the short-lived Wrestling Society X. He was signed to a WWE developmental contract in 2007 and called up to the main roster on the company's ECW brand on June 3, 2008, an anniversary he recently celebrated:
Things began to unravel for Bourne when he was suspended on November 1, 2011 in accordance with WWE's Wellness Policy. The violation, Bourne's first, carried a 30-day suspension without pay. It was learned that Bourne had tested positive for smoking Spice, a brand of synthetic marijuana.
Shortly after returning, Bourne, tested positive again and was suspended for 60-days on January 17, 2012. Evan was upset that he was suspended the first time nearly a month before R-Truth, who was smoking with him, when Truth was allowed to work Survivor Series 2011 and collect the show bonus before serving his suspension. The backstage heat that Bourne generated as a result of "ratting out" R-Truth was nuclear and resulted in private meetings with Triple H and Vince McMahon. R-Truth was suspended on November 22, 2011, after Survivor Series.
The consecutive Wellness policy violations soured WWE officials on Bourne and the incident with R-Truth got him labeled a locker room outcast. Former WWE and current ESPN personality Todd Grisham said there was a real problem with Bourne. Bourne later apologized and called himself his own worst enemy.
We detailed his second suspension and talked about how the feeling was that Bourne wasn't taking the WWE Wellness Policy seriously. At the time, it was believed Bourne was hoping to get fired to pursue other opportunities.
Things went from bad to worse as Bourne's second Wellness policy suspension expired. This time, he was in a car accident, and mangled his foot. The accident happened on Monday, March 19, 2012. It was later learned that Bourne suffered a Lisfranc mid-foot fracture and his career was in jeopardy.
A little over a year after the car accident, Bourne made good on his promise to fly again. He competed in a match at an NXT live event on March 28, 2013 against Sami Zayn (who was working at the time as Sammy Sane). The bout would end up being his last match with WWE.
Despite Bourne telling fans he was healthy in May 2013 and informing the WWE office he was ready for SummerSlam 2013, he was told he wasn't needed.
Bourne was released on June 12, 2014, after more than two years of inactivity on the main WWE roster.
- On a day when WWE announced the release of 10 workers, Mark Henry Tweeted the following:
Henry also provided an update on his health:
- One recently released WWE star is none too happy with Mark Henryboasting about his upcoming 18th year anniversary with the company on a day where 10 workers were released.
Curt Hawkins called Mark Henry an "idiot" for the Tweet. The following is from Twitter:
While Henry's Tweet is certainly ill-timed, Curt Hawkins is much braver than I am.
- Stephanie McMahon delivered the keynote speech at the 2014 Event & Arena Marketing Conference in NOLA on Thursday. Stephanie noted on Twitter that it was her first time in New Orleans since Wrestlemania 30. Below is a shot of her speech:
Stephanie posted this photo on Instagram:
Click here for more on the conference and Stephanie's speech.
Richard Reacts: None of today's releases were particularly surprising but I have to question the timing. Why would WWE publicly announce 10 releases when Stephanie McMahon was scheduled for a keynote speech at a major conference? Further, what does it do for talent morale to see one of the company's top executives smiling from ear to ear on a day where 10 people lost their jobs?
- One of the most exciting things about my career as a pro wrestling journalist is I literally have no idea what I'm going to write from one day to the next. I go as the news goes. My responsibility of providing the public with information is always there, however, often times, I'm unsure of what that information will be.
Sometimes, I get to cover fun pieces like John Cena doing something awesome for a child that idolizes him. Every day, I get to serve my inquisitive readers with Ask WNW. While these are some of the more fun things of my job, there's also a more somber side.
That side includes the unfortunate responsibility of passing along the news that someone has died or, as I was tasked with on Thursday morning, the responsibility to write that someone has lost their job. For as much as I love to focus on the good things, or the insider things, I equally hate the somber.
My first major story as a full-time pro wrestling journalist was the Chris Benoit family tragedy. For weeks, I stepped out of the cartoon fun-loving world of professional wrestling and into the dark world of double homicide and suicide. It was miserable and it wasn't what I signed up for.
Luckily for me, most days are good days and I would categorize my job as enjoyable. I get to do cool things like examine shows, answer questions and expose contrived storylines. However, sometimes there are bad days. Thursday was a bad day.
While I'll be the first to admit none of the 10 reported WWE releases were surprising -- we could even say the majority were expected -- it's never easy to talk about someone losing their ability to collect a paycheck. Losing one's job is a serious matter and one I never like to see happen. Even if there is a logical explanation for the person getting released and even if it could be the best thing for both parties, it's not a fun thing to write about.
WWE -- especially in a post-Benoit world under a PG setting -- is known for being a company that emphasizes good public relations above all else. They make very careful and calculated efforts to downplay negative publicity and overplay good publicity to set forth a good example to investors and to the world. In fact, it was this very strategy that had Triple H refusing to make mass cuts because he didn't like the way it made the company look.
On Thursday, everything changed. Almost as if we had stepped into another world, WWE began announcing main roster releases shortly after 11 AM ET. It started with 5, went to 8, grew to 9 and concluded at 10. 10 people in total fell victim to the company's largest round of public main roster cuts in several years.
Again, none were surprising and some were even expected. First the news, then the fallout.
One of the more respected names in the business (at least from the fans' perspective) -- Mark Henry -- oddly decides to celebrate his upcoming 18th anniversary with the company that just fired 10 of his co-workers. Henry Tweeted:
This didn't set well with Curt Hawkins, a victim of the releases, who lashed out at the World's Strongest Man.
I'll admit I was surprised at the Public Relations breakdown and questioned when Adam Hopkins and Joe Villa - WWE's in-house publicists - would be teaching the PR class.
As I tried to move to my next task of the work day (a story that will hopefully be online shortly after this goes online), I noticed another bizarre Public Relations blunder. I saw the aforementioned WWE PR general Joe Villa Tweet this:
Sure enough, Stephanie McMahongave a keynote speech at the 2014 Event & Arena Marketing Conference in NOLA on Thursday. A big event where Stephanie spoke about leading up WWE's efforts to further "brand reputation among key constituencies including advertisers, media, business partners and investors."
Stop right there. So at the same time WWE is announcing their largest round of main roster cuts in recent years, Stephanie is delivering a speech about enhancing the company's brand reputation?
She posted the following photo on Instagram:
At around the same time WWE was announcing mass roster cuts on their official website -- their Chief Brand Officer -- posted a smiling photo on Instagram.
Am I missing something here?
This is WWE, right?
These are the people that would rather be accused of misleading investors than saying anything negative. Remember, they refused to even discuss the disappointing TV distribution deal with NBCUniversal with investors before it was announced after nearly a year of essentially "guaranteeing" double or triple the amount of revenue in TV licensing fees.
As some of my faithful critics have mentioned, Stephanie's speech and appearance was planned far in advance so why would WWE announce roster cuts on the same day? Further, why would they allow for Stephanie -- of all people -- to post a smiling photo on Instagram when her company was announcing 10 releases?
Perhaps she wasn't aware the cuts were going to be announced today. Maybe the wires were crossed and the people at dot com weren't communicating with the people handling Stephanie's appearance.
Regardless of what happened -- the fact is it did happen -- and it doesn't look good.
We live in a society where perception is everything and the perception that is given is that Stephanie McMahon is apathetic to her company cutting 10 high-profile contracts. I say high profile because anyone featured on WWE TV has considerable brand awareness and that's more than evident by examining follower count on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Even a referee such as Marc Harris boasts more than 39,000 followers. That's high-profile.
All and all, today was a bad day. The news wasn't earth shattering or even surprising but as mentioned, it's never easy to see someone else lose their job. However, I am absolutely astonished at the Public Relations missteps from WWE.
From one of their most respected veterans boasting about his lengthy career to Stephanie McMahon giving a Keynote about brand reputation and posting a smiling photo on Instagram - all in the midst of a somber day where 10 people lost their jobs.
At the end of the day, people get fired. This is a business. And Stephanie McMahon is one of many tasked with high profile appearances. However, for a company as protective and paranoid about their reputation to allow for such missteps is bizarre. Especially a company that elevates their image to the public above all else. No, I don't expect this to hurt WWE or even rattle investor confidence but I don't like the message it sends and there's no way it doesn't hurt locker room morale.
Timing is everything and the timing of these releases, Mark Henry's celebratory Tweet, Stephanie's smiling Instagram photo and high-profile Keynote address made for a bad mix on a bad day.
- The one name everyone has been asking about -- JTG -- has been released from WWE.
On a day where the company has announced main roster releases, the total now stands at 11. Here's what JTG Tweeted about his release:
- We're told WWE is frantically shopping for more buildings in the Orlando area. According to our source, the company wants more space as close to the Performance Center as possible.
Triple H has been spending a lot of time scouting some of the training facilities of various NFL franchises and wants to incorporate some of those concepts into WWE's developmental system, but they're going to need a lot more space.
Also, with Tough Enough planned to return and to be filmed at the Performance Center, there has been talk of actually giving the Tough Enough cast their own building to train in. This way they'll have more room to themselves and won't interfere with the training of non-Tough Enough talent.
The plan right now is for WWE to set up 2-3 more buildings in the Orlando area, looking for spaces as close to the WWE Performance Center as possible.
According to a source, the company has been trying to keep it quiet, feeling it will only drive up the price if it's known they're shopping for more room. We're told WWE is trying to quell this by having "dummy corporations" acquire the additional space Triple H is looking for.
The additional property acquisitions could take some time and we're told not to be surprised if the next season of Tough Enough is filmed where they already are, with future seasons having their own building for training.
- Thursday has been all about WWE announcing the releases of 11 main roster performers -- including 9 wrestlers, 1 Diva and a referee. More released talent spoke out about WWE's decision to cut them on social media.
- WWE posted a new clip from the new Batista: The Animal Unleashed Blu-ray and DVD on YouTube. In it, he talked about Internet guys taking shots at him and admitted he wishes the crowd would have been a little more supportive of his return. Click here to watch the piece. Earlier this week, I wrote a detailed piece about Batista's problematic and controversial return to WWE. You can read it at this link.
- In this week's episode of WWE Inbox, talent talks about favorite nicknames. You can watch at this link.
- Scott Dawson, who is currently out with a torn ACL, vows to come back to WWE NXT better than ever in a new video blog. You can watch it at this link.
- TMZ has an update on Brodus Clay following his release from WWE on Thursday. The publication reports that Clay is going to Japan to protect dolphins from being captured and killed.
He's booked the trip to protest dolphin hunting, something he's been passionate about since seeing "The Cove."
While "bummed" about losing his job with WWE, Brodus plans to pursue a career in acting and wants to write a book.
You can read their coverage at this link.
Richard Reacts: I truly believe WWE missed the boat with Brodus Clay. There aren't many workers that could have gotten the Funkasaurus gimmick over and he took it further than I think anyone thought he could. It seemed like he was going to breakout under the heel role he should have had to begin with but was relegated back to NXT and ultimately released. He's a talented guy and has already had a good career (he was Snoop Dogg's bodyguard). I believe there will be opportunities for him in acting and getting released from WWE will probably open up other opportunities.
- Recently released WWE talent Curt Hawkins called Mark Henry an "idiot" after Henry posted a tweet celebrating his upcoming 18th year with WWE on the same day in which 11 workers were released from the company. Henry claimed he was asked to post about his birthday and asked for an apology in the following tweets:
- WWE made a last minute pitch to CM Punk before Payback earlier this month but obviously, negotiations went nowhere.
CM Punk continues to insist that he is retired and is drawing a lot of comparisons internally to Shawn Michaels, who left for several of his prime years before ultimately returning. Internally, a lot of people have been making the Punk/HBK comparison for quite a while, with both having the "take my ball and go home" mentality.
With John Cena banged up, Daniel Bryan out and Batista gone as well, Punk has more leverage than ever and WWE is willing to give him anything he wants. So far though, he's not budging.
What's interesting though is that even with all of the responsibilities that have been passed on to Triple H, Vince is not listening to him "at all" when it comes to Punk.
As one observer stated, Hunter has a good point. What kind of example does it set if WWE brings back Punk for more money than ever and reward him for deserting the company? Ultimately though, it's still Vince's call and we've seen throughout history that sometimes the guy Vince wants the most is the guy he can't have.
Punk will officially be a free agent next month when his WWE Performer's contract expires.
- TMZ has a story online about Pat Patterson being gay, highlighting his "coming out" on the season finale of WWE Legends' House. You can read their story [with video] at this link.
I do not know anyone - WWE fan, employee or wrestler - that doesn't know Patterson is gay. This has been known for years and is an absolute non-issue. Patterson is one of the most respected names in the business and still books the 30-man Royal Rumble match each year. In fact, Triple H has spent the last few years learning from Patterson about how to book one of WWE's biggest matches of the year.
The only controversy I can think of regarding Patterson's sexuality was a joke that Bret Hart made during Bret Hart Appreciation Night on the WWE App after Raw last year. Bret issued a sincere apology.
Either it's a slow news day for TMZ or WWE planted this to promote Legends' House. Based on how WWE has taken over what gets published on TMZ, I would assume the latter.
The season from the season finale of the first season of WWE Legends' House is online at this link .
- Dot com has a feature article on Alexa Bliss. She talks about the tournament to crown a new NXT Women's Champion, where she beat Alicia Fox but went under to Charlotte. Click here to read it.
- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show is now online at this link.
- Tommy Dreamer did a worked shoot angle on Dixie Carter at Friday night's House of Hardcore show in Poughkeepsie, New York. The segment centered on Bully Ray being pulled from the card by Carter for a Spike TV obligation.
Below is a recap of how it went down:
After the second match on the card (Lance Anoa'i vs. Ben Ortiz), Dreamer came to the ring with Abyss and Devon. He announced that a nationally syndicated television show is filming and for legal reasons, he can't say what it is. He said he got a call at 11:30 PM on Thursday night that Bully was being pulled to go to "some Spike show" per Dixie's orders. Dreamer said Dixie was a mark for Twitter so Tweet her and let her know how you feel about that.
Dreamer said that Bully Ray wanted the fans to know if they attend any upcoming TNA shows they could bring their House of Hardcore ticket and he would sign them. Not for TNA but for the Hardcore fans.
Playing to the crowd (that were chanting expletives directed at Dixie Carter and TNA), Dreamer promised to get Dixie back for this. The line resulted in Abyss laying out Dreamer and defending "his boss." Abyss cut a pro-TNA promo and Rhino came out.
Rhino ended up clotheslining Dreamer and announced the new main event is him and Abyss vs. Dreamer & Devon.
Dreamer recovered and announced that refunds were available due to Bully's absence. He thanked the fans for attending and the show continued.
- Taryn Terrell and Velvet Sky were at The Spike Guys' Choice Awards on Saturday in Culver City, CA. Wrestling News World reader Jorge Romero Tweeted us the following photo:
- The major topic coming out of Friday night's TNA Basebrawl live event was the meager crowd it drew in Bowie, Maryland. Wrestling News World reader Jorge Romero Tweeted us the following photos:
We have quick results from the show available at this link.
- Bully Ray Tweeted the following:
Before anyone gets "up in arms" about TNA's top babyface trashing Dixie Carter, this is kayfabe. Tommy Dreamer ran an angle surrounding Bully Ray being pulled from House of Hardcore's show on Friday night that we covered at this link.
- We noted earlier that Taryn Terrell and Velvet Sky were at the Spike Guys’ Choice Awards on Saturday in Culver City, CA. Joining them from TNA was Jessie Godderz and Bully Ray.
Below are photos:
To answer any questions, this is the Spike TV obligation that kept Bully Ray off Friday's House of Hardcore show.
This also happened…
- Tommy Dreamer ran a TNA angle at Friday night's House of Hardcore show in Poughkeepsie, New York surrounding Bully Ray's absence. We covered the worked shoot angle in its entirety at this link.
In our report, it was noted that a nationally syndicated television show was filming. That show was TruTV's Impractical Jokers. Per the show, one of the contestants had to take chops from Dreamer and some wrestling school students.
If you missed it on Sunday, Bully Ray was pulled from the show to attend the Spike Guys’ Choice Awards in Culver City, CA.
- Dixie Carter Tweeted the following to Tommy Dreamer regarding the worked shoot angle at last Friday's House of Hardcore show in Poughkeepsie, New York:
We recapped the angle here and while Dreamer called Carter a "bitch," the crowd's language was much more explicit.
I absolutely expect a followup on TNA TV when the company comes to New York City as this is a kayfabe affair.
- Tommy Dreamer issued the following statement about the worked shoot TNA angle at last Friday's House of Hardcore show in Poughkeepsie, New York:
- We broke the story on May 8th that Kurt Angle would be undergoing knee surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament. Kurt exclusively told us that he would be out of action for 4 1/2 months.
Since his surgery, Kurt has started a #MyComebackseries on YouTube to walk the fans through his recovery process in time for his return.
TNA Wrestling just announced that Kurt Angle will be attending Slammiversary this coming Sunday to announce the next inductee into TNA's Hall of Fame. Below is the official release (or at this link):
Exactly 2 years ago today, June 10th, “The Icon” Sting was announced as the first inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame. The announcement was made at Slammiversary in Dallas, TX.
This Sunday marks TNA’s first trip back to Dallas since then – for Slammiversary XII – and we have just learned that Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle, will announce the next inductee to the TNA Hall of Fame! Slammiversary has become the annual event where a new inductee is announced and, just last year, Kurt Angle became the second man in history to be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame.
Kurt Angle is one of the most impressive athletes in the history of wrestling, both professional and amateur. In TNA alone, Kurt is a record five-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, two-time TNA World Tag Team Champion, one-time X-Division Champion and a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Still today, Kurt Angle is the ONLY Olympic Gold Medalist to compete inside a professional wrestling ring.
“When you get to the level of being a Hall of Famer, it is the greatest feeling of honor. You’ll go down in history as one of the all-time best,” said Angle. “In TNA, only one inductee is selected each year and so that is even more prestigious in my mind. Last year, I became the second inductee and I followed one of the greatest wrestlers to ever step inside a ring – Sting. Getting to this level takes a lot: being a great athlete, being an exciting character, telling a great story – and, above all else, being persistent and having real passion for this sport. You must love this business and put your heart and soul into it. If you do, great things will happen. So, I lift my hat to the next Hall of Famer to join our ranks because you are truly one of the greats."
Kurt Angle was actually contacted earlier today about appearing this weekend and didn't even know he would be traveling to the event a day ago. He will also be part of the meet and greet session before the pay-per-view.
Slammiversary will be held in the College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington on Sunday, June 15. We will have exclusive coverage of the event right here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- MVP appeared on Chris Jericho's "Talk is Jericho" podcast and gave an update on his knee injury. He said he's currently in discussions with TNA's creative team about whether or not he can work Eric Young at Slammiversary on Sunday.
He said he's going to do whatever he can to make sure he can go. MVP said his doctor pushed back an MRI and that any surgery could be delayed until after he tested it in tthe ring.
MVP believes the injury is a torn meniscus but said he was able to put weight on his knee this week
You can listen to the interview at this link.
MVP was injured last Friday night at a Preston City Wrestling show in the United Kingdom. He underwent x-rays there but they proved inconclusive and it was learned an MRI would be needed to evaluate the extent of the injury.
Richard Reacts: This doesn't sound promising and I have to wonder why they're putting off the MRI. When a professional athlete suffers a serious knee injury they get an MRI almost immediately. If there is a tear in one of the ligaments or in the meniscus, surgery is scheduled and performed as soon as possible so the athlete can begin rehabilitation. If MVP has a torn meniscus, it will be very difficult -- if not impossible -- to work a main event match at a pay-per-view. I would also question any medical team that would clear him to compete without doing an MRI on the knee, knowing he could do serious long-term damage.
Eric Young stated in a conference call earlier on Wednesday that he was planning to work MVP at Slammiversary.
- We have a new update on TNA Wrestling's television negotiations with Spike TV.
We're being told that things between TNA and Spike have not been going well. Spike is looking for certain assurances of the level of talent that will be featured on Impact going forward. They are concerned about how many big stars that have departed, not to mention the rumors of more to come.
Spike is looking for TNA to commit to spending more money on talent if they're going to extend the deal. Right now, according to sources, the Carter family is refusing to put more money into the company.
TNA's deal is up in October - which is less than 4 months away - and it could be an interesting standoff. The Carters do not want to put any more money into the company, but from Spike's perspective, they do not want to re-up Impact for a few years, only for TNA to continue to get rid of guys with star power as a cost cutting measure.
One of our sources isn't sure if the impasse will be solved in time but noted it will be very interesting to watch.
- Below is the updated lineup for TNA Slammiversary following the airing of this week's episode of Impact Wrestling:
TNA Championship Match
- Eric Young © vs. MVP
Texas Death Match
- Ethan Carter III vs. Bully Ray
- Bobby Lashley vs. Samoa Joe
- Magnus vs. Willow
- Mr. Anderson vs. James Storm
- Kenny King vs. Austin Aries
TNA Knockouts Championship Match
- Gail Kim vs. Angelina Love
Tag Team Match
- Marshall & Ross Von Erich w/Kevin vs. TBA
Ladder Match for the TNA X-Division Championship
- Sanada © vs. Manik vs. Tigre Uno vs. Crazzy Steve vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards
TNA's Third Hall of Famer
- Kurt Angle will announce who will join him and Sting in the company's Hall of Fame.
TNA Slammiversary 2014 will take place Sunday from College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. We'll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- TNA Wrestling announced that Dallas Cowboys defensive end George Selvie will be sitting ringside at Slammiversary on Sunday. The company notes Selvie will be accompanied by teammates but didn't list any other names. Click here for coverage by ImpactWrestling.com.
- TNA Wrestling officially announced on Friday that MVP will be unable to compete at Slammiversary on Sunday due to a torn meniscus in his knee.
MVP also Tweeted about the news:
As a result of the injury, the winners of Samoa Joe vs. Bobby Lashley and Austin Aries vs. Kenny King will challenge Eric Young for the TNA Championship in a triple threat steel cage match later in the night.
Click here for coverage on ImpactWrestling.com.
MVP was injured while working in the United Kingdom on Friday, May 30, 2014. We knew days later TNA faced a major problem with the main event at Slammiversary. MVP gave an update on Chris Jericho's "Talk is Jericho" podcast where he said he believed he had a torn meniscus but hadn't had an MRI to confirm that diagnosis. He admitted to being into talks with the TNA creative team about a contingency plan for the pay-per-view on Sunday.
TNA Slammiversary 2014 will take place Sunday from College Park Center in Arlington, Texas. We’ll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling, the go-home to Slammiversary, did an average viewing audience of 1,005,000 viewers on Spike TV.
- Before the Bell: Slammiversary -- a 30-minute preview to Sunday's pay-per-view -- is online at this link.
What are your thoughts on adding to The Shield?
Several readers have inquired about WWE replacing Seth Rollins in The Shield by adding another member. WWE is aware of the speculation, which is why they played into it with an article on dot com over the weekend where they listed 6 Seth Rollins replacements. For those that missed it, dot com listed Adrian Neville, Big E, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, John Morrison and Daniel Bryan. I don't know where WWE plans to go from a creative standpoint but I don't like the idea of "adding another member" to The Shield. After everything the trio accomplished, anything else is going to come off as watered down. WWE should play out the defection of Seth Rollins before pushing all three in singles competition. Take a look at past successful factions, very few have endured the same level of success in a later version.
Is Bobby Roode going to return to TNA any time soon?
Bobby Roode's "suspension" from TNA is fictitious and was done to write him off television, while showcasing the on-air authority of MVP. I expect Roode back at Slammiversary on Sunday.
Do you believe that Dixie Carter and company are hoping to gain enough exposure and credibility that Vince McMahon would step in and deliver a big payday to the Carter family and TNA investors?
Dixie Carter and her family had the opportunity to sell TNA Wrestling to a group involving Toby Keith and Jeff Jarrett last year and they would not sell. To put it quite simply, they wanted too much money and wouldn't take a penny less. While the Carters vehemently denied trying to unload the company, I know there were internal talks about doing just that if the price was right. Obviously if TNA's problems continue and they are not renewed by Spike TV, people will point to Vince McMahon as a viable suitor to purchase the tape library. Why wouldn't he be interested?
TNA is currently in trouble, regardless of what some of their loyalists will tell you. Recently, I expressed my concern on social media about Jeff Jarrett, as part TNA owner, starting a competing promotion. Loyalists pushed back hard, arguing it wasn't a big deal and TNA is just in transition. That's just not the case.
Jeff Jarrett owns as much as 29% of TNA and is starting a competing promotion. Jarrett's new promotion, Global Force Wrestling, is financially backed by Toby Keith. This is the same group that was trying to purchase TNA last year. They're not only going for TNA's share of the marketplace but their talent roster as well. I fully expect strong plays to be made for top TNA names such as Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and possibly even AJ Styles.
Last week's Impact garnered a viewing audience under 1 million viewers. While we can easily point to stiff competition up against the 2014 NBA Finals, drawing such a low number at a time when their deal with Spike TV is coming up is nothing short of dangerous.
Finally, photos surfaced over the weekend of the company's Basebrawl live event in Bowie, MD where the show just didn't draw. Let's not even mention the company is facing a major issue with the Slammiversary main event as MVP has a knee injury.
I want TNA to succeed as much (if not more) than the next person but to act as if they're just in transition and are guaranteed their spot as the "number 2 promotion next to WWE" would be to flat out deny the facts. This isn't a company in transition, this is a company in trouble. It's a very important week for TNA as they need to reset strong with Slammiversary and their television tapings in New York City. However, I would be lying to you if I said I was optimistic.
From the Ask WNW vault…
February 2013: Does having pay-per-views like Elimination Chamber, Hell in a Cell and TLC hurt the prestige of the gimmick matches and cause them to lose luster? - No, I like the way WWE has handled their B-level pay-per-views with the gimmicks. I’m not a big fan of gimmick matches but when used correctly, they work. WWE has been able to integrate the gimmicks into their B-level shows, making them more meaningful and giving viewers a reason to order, without killing the gimmick matches themselves. They’ve done this by putting the gimmicks on one or two “main event” matches of the show but not making every bout on the card a gimmick. I do not feel the gimmicks should be completely exclusive to their respective pay-per-views as I would have no problem with a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania. That was talked about for this year’s show but upon last check, they’ve decided against it.
What are your thoughts on the possibility of there being No Money in the Bank contract for the next twelve months?
As things currently stand, one Money in the Bank ladder match is scheduled for the pay-per-view with it being for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Even if the title wasn't on the line, there was only expected to be one of the gimmick matches because of the unified titles. As for there being no "contract holder," that will be disappointing and only furthers my point they should bring the match back to the Wrestlemania undercard. However, contract winners haven't fared well recently. Here's a look at the contract winners over the past few years - Damien Sandow (2013), Randy Orton (2013), Dolph Ziggler (2012), John Cena (2012), Daniel Bryan (2011) and Alberto Del Rio (2011). Would it be a fair point to make the contract doesn't mean as much as it once did? After all, both Sandow and Cena were unsuccessful in cashing in, Bryan was buried (although resurrected under difference circumstances), Ziggler jobbed out and Del Rio isn't at the level he once was.
Do you think Brock Lesnar could come back and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion?
With Daniel Bryan still out, the talk at Raw was that we could see Brock Lesnar sooner than later. He could really help the company right now and a run as WWE World Heavyweight Champion would help offset the loss of Daniel Bryan. So not only could I see him coming back and winning the title, I believe it would be a smart move.
Do you think WWE will use Money in the Bank to split the WWE and World Heavyweight titles?
Several readers have inquired about WWE using the Money in the Bank ladder match to split the titles again and as long as there are two belts, that speculation will persist. There are two immediate solutions to WWE's Daniel Bryan problem. One, they could use the Money in the Bank ladder match to elevate Seth Rollins and give him the rub as the "face of the WWE." They could also use the match as an opportunity to bring Brock Lesnar back and have him destroy everyone. Either would setup a unification bout against Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam in August. Splitting the titles would not solve the problem and would not be the correct move at this time.
Do you see The Usos as the new Hardy Boyz?
This is a great comparison and I could absolutely see this being the case. The Usos are grouped in with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and others as the next generation of stars in WWE. They both have a very high ceiling and the comparison to Matt and Jeff Hardy is not far off.
From the Ask WNW vault…
September 2012: What does being a “mark” mean? - A “mark” is someone that believes a wrestling storyline is real. Generally, marks get legitimately upset at the heels and have a genuine love for the babyfaces. While we’re at it let’s take a look at some commonly used wrestling terms:
Shoot – off-script or legitimate
Work – scripted, contrived, preplanned
Mark – uninformed wrestling fan that legitimately believes storylines
Smark – informed wrestling fan that understands storylines are contrived
It seems for the first time in a long time there is a lack of creative direction for John Cena. After an extended program with Bray Wyatt, where does creative go with him from here?
We reported on May 23, 2014 here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com that a John Cena vs. Sheamus (with Sheamus turning) program was discussed for some time this summer. However, that was before it was learned that Daniel Bryan would be unable to return at Money in the Bank. I expect Cena back into the title picture and would be surprised if he didn't qualify for the title match at the upcoming pay-per-view.
You've mentioned several times that Mexican wrestlers sometimes have trouble adapting to WWE's wrestling style because they approach wrestlers from the other side. Can you expound on this?
Lucha libres are trained to work from the right side of the body, which is opposite from the preferred left side the rest of the world uses. Chris Jericho explained the transition in detail in his first book "A Lion's Tale." While I'm not a pro wrestler, I would compare it to playing golf left handed after being trained to play right handed. It's backwards and causes an adjustment period. As we saw with Sin Cara, one of the top workers in Mexico, a transition to WWE's style was anything but easy. It also shows just how great Rey Mysterio is and how valuable he is as a top in ring worker.
What would you think of a scenario at Money in the Bank where two superstars are at the top of the ladder and each grabs a different title, thus breaking up the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?
This would be a swerve finish and as I talked about earlier in the week, I don't think it solves WWE's Daniel Bryan problem. I wasn't for the unification of the WWE and World Heavyweight titles to begin with but now that we're here, a new "champion of champions" needs to be crowned to offset the current loss. I laid out two feasible options, one with Seth Rollins going over, another with Brock Lesnar going over. Either way, WWE needs to a new name to receive top billing to promote in a SummerSlam program with Daniel Bryan.
It's quite possible the Money in the Bank winner will drop the belt to Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. So with this in mind, who do you think they'll put the belt on at the PPV?
It is possible but it's also possible that Brock Lesnar comes back early due to the injury to Daniel Bryan. Out of the current participants in the title match at Money in the Bank, there is only one I would like to see go over. That one was determined in a qualifying match on this week's Smackdown. I don't want to spoil it but you can read about it here. Now, I've given three possible directions for the title match at Money in the Bank.
While I am sure there are still some in the crowd that are anti-Cena, do you feel the "let's go Cena/Cena sucks" chants are becoming more like when fans chanted "you suck" at Kurt Angle?
It's possible the Cena sucks/let's go Cena chants have become more of normalized crowd behavior, however, I believe there is still a large anti-Cena segment in WWE's fan base. Many are tired of Cena's character and unfairly judge his in-ring work based on the lack of progression. It's kind of how Batista gets blamed for Daniel Bryan getting buried and CM Punk quitting, when he's responsible for neither. I would like to see more progression to the Cena character but he's had far too many good matches to claim that he cannot wrestle.
The Kliq was known in the 1990s for having tremendous power and backstage influence. Who do you see as the modern day Kliq?
The Kliq still exists today! In fact, we can make the argument it's stronger than ever. Triple H is next in line to Vince McMahon, Batista is back, Ric Flair is coming back, The New Age Outlaws are producers, Scott Hall is in the Hall of Fame, Kevin Nash has a Legends deal and Shawn Michaels has a big-money contract that doesn't require him to wrestle. Hunter's power and influence is unrivaled and the fact of the matter is, if he sees something in a talent, they get pushed. If he doesn't, it's up to Vince McMahon to see something in that performer. If a worker doesn't have the support of Vince or Hunter, their chances of success are very slim.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2013: What’s the status of Evan Borne? - Evan Bourne’s status in WWE is similar to the status of Luis Ignascio Urive Alvirde, or the original Sin Cara. He’s under WWE contract but he’s not being used. I was told prior to SummerSlam that Bourne let the company know he was cleared to compete but there wasn’t interest in using him. At this point I’m unsure when he’ll be brought back if at all. Triple H has this new thing where they do not release main roster stars unless what they do is something so blatant there is no other choice. Instead, the company is opting to let deals come up and not re-signing them. I’ve termed this the “don’t fire anybody” edict.
With all the recent cuts WWE has made and TNA's need to bolster their roster, is here any chance that superstars like Evan Bourne or Brodus Clay get signed by TNA?
There is absolutely a chance, however, we have to remember that TNA is being very economical in their signings. If any of the released workers were willing to work at the rate TNA wanted to pay them, they could obviously choose to sign a contract. However, AJ Styles has shown there is still a very active independent scene to work on and there is the option of going to Japan as well. Jeff Jarrett, boss of Global Force Wrestling, teased interest in the released talent on Twitter.
Why did WWE announce the releases of Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre, Aksana and Marc Harris prior to Smackdown airing?
Nothing WWE did on Thursday made sense. The timing of the releases, the fact Stephanie McMahon was scheduled for a major appearance and keynote speech at the same time or Mark Henry's ill-timed "birthday" Tweet, where he's now threatened Curt Hawkins if he doesn't apologize. I have no idea why WWE was so careless in the announcements and will tell you it was very un-WWE like. Perhaps they feel after the disappointing TV licensing agreement, they aren't as worried about negative publicity. Maybe they wanted to get the announcements over and done with before the end of the week but I can't explain it. As someone that follows WWE very closely, I was much more surprised with how WWE handled the releases than any of the actual cuts.
What are the plans for Heath Slater, do you see a push in his future since 3MB is no more?
Health Slater is fortunate to be employed by WWE after his fellow 3MB members received pink slips this week. His release would have looked really bad considering the company just announced his daughter was born last week. Slater is a talented guy but currently used as an enhancement talent. I can't say I see a push coming because WWE has shown nothing to indicate one.
I thought Triple H was against publicized releases and preferred to let contracts expire. What's with Thursday's series of releases on behalf of WWE?
As stated, nothing WWE did on Thursday made sense. Many of the names that were released were considered to be on the company chopping block and the names that were on TV, such as the 3MB members, Marc Harris or Aksana - none of them were being prominently featured. Triple H had a policy in place for well over a year (if not longer) to downplay releases, allowing for contracts to expire and refused to make mass cuts public. Maybe Vince McMahon decided it was time to send a message they were cutting dead weight. I chronicled the bizarre day in an in-depth piece at this link. After 7 years of working to downplay and eliminate negative publicity, WWE saw a swift reversal on Thursday. Things haven't died down either. On Thursday night, Mark Henry, who Curt Hawkins called an idiot, threatened Hawkins. Henry, who has an active WWE contract, was certainly not very Be-A-Star like in his response to Hawkins name calling.
From the Ask WNW vault…
June 2012: Why does Vince McMahon hate Jim Ross so much and ridicule him? - I am assuming you are talking about Vince McMahon’s impersonation of Jim Ross in the segment with Hornswoggle on Raw Supershow. Vince does not hate Jim Ross, Vince likes to bully him. It’s like Vince gets some type of sick pleasure by picking on JR. One thing to keep in mind is WWE is ran under the high school jock mentality with some people getting bullied for the sake of a cheap laugh. It��s very disrespectful, especially to a legend such as Jim Ross who is the best play-by-play man in the history of the wrestling business.