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 26, 2012 to Friday, June 1, 2012 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- The Miami Herald has posted the second part of an extensive interview with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. In this section, he discusses his controversial first run in WWE, his feelings on Jim Ross, working with Sensational Sherri, his return to the company, and more.
In the following excerpt, Shawn discusses why he acted the way he did during his first run in WWE:
“If I’m putting on my psychiatrist’s hat and you dig all the way down to the root of it has nothing to do with wrestling or anything else,” Michaels said. “It just has to do with a young man’s insecurities with himself.
“Having said that, that can manifest itself in any form and how that’s interpreted obviously depends on the time and depends on the spin. Let’s face it. The ability it takes to be difficult really is to disagree with somebody. Nine times out of 10 mine were usually more creative issues than anything else. The company felt one thing. I felt another. We both feel opposite things, so therefore it’s going to be difficult.
“Nowadays, the same thing can happen and depending on how our media spins it, that can be cool. There are guys who have done the exact same things that I did, and it’s sort of pretty nifty, because they’re fighting against Vince McMahon and the way the company wants to go. I think one guy’s unprofessionalism is like another’s guy’s Attitude Era throwback. One is perceived as cool, and the other is not.
Shawn went on to discuss his latest run, in the excerpt below:
“To me, the last run I had, 10 years from 2002, I had fun,” he said. “I enjoyed darn near everything that I did. My programs with Randy [Orton], with Jericho, the angle with DiBiase [Jr.] and [Cody] Rhodes, a number of young guys, Mr. Kennedy at the time. I just thoroughly enjoyed being out there. I mostly just wanted to do a good job, tried to make sure that I pulled my weight when I was supposed to. I enjoyed it.
“That’s one of the things when I came back, Vince said to me, ‘Look, in 1996 I told you to enjoy it, and you didn’t. So this time I’m again going to tell you to enjoy it, and I hope that you do,’ and I did, and that’s what made a huge difference in where I am now.
“That’s why I don’t have this insatiable itch. When I come back, I feel like I do a good job, and I contribute well. When I’m away from it, I’m OK with being away. I’d like to think that’s the reason why because when I came back, all the things I wanted to do and all the things maybe I left undone, I got to finish from 2002 on. So I’m thrilled with it, and I’m thrilled with where I am now.”
Click here to read the full article.
- The Rock was asked by one of his Twitter followers when he would be back in WWE. He told them he would be returning at the beginning of next year. Below is the Tweet:
- In a post that's more trivia than news, WWE's No Way Out will be called No Escape in Germany. The company still calls Elimination Chamber No Way Out because they cannot use the Chamber name due to the events of World War II. WWE No Way Out 2012 will take place Sunday, June 17, 2012 from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- WWE has signed Steve Evans to a developmental contract with the company. Evans is currently working for an independent promotion in Wales and is from Gowerton. He met with company officials when they were in England last month. Evans' signing is contingent on passing a physical that he will undergo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Once the physical has been passed, the contract will be agreed upon and Evans will report to Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa. Click here for more information.
- Brock Lesnar was in attendance at last night's UFC 146 pay-per-view and was shown before the Frank Mir vs. Junior do Santos main event. UFC President Dana White was asked in the post-show press conference if there was anything more to Lesnar appearing on the telecast and he answered by saying, "yeah." White later admitted that Lesnar could be returning to the UFC. Brock is currently under a 1-year contract with WWE that he signed over Wrestlemania XXVIII weekend in Miami. In the contract, Lesnar will make upwards of $5 million for select appearances throughout the year leading into and including Wrestlemania XXIX. I have already heard from one of my sources regarding Lesnar's status and am working on a story that will be up shortly.
- I'm told Vince McMahon was aware that Brock Lesnar would be at UFC 146 in Las Vegas last night. Otherwise, the feeling is there would have already been a lawsuit against them in place for using his likeness on pay-per-view. While one source commented about how well this would have looked had this been done on purpose to sell Lesnar "quitting" WWE, it's believed it just worked out where it looked that way as I'm told "no one" thinks that far ahead in booking and it just worked out that well. As for Lesnar appearing and Dana White talking about him wanting to fight again, I'm told it's a possibility that McMahon could OK a fight between Brock and Frank Mir at the end of the summer. This way, if Brock were injured in the bout he would still be able to compete at Wrestlemania next year. There is also a possibility this is just a ploy to draw buzz. One observer in the know feels like Vince wouldn't OK Brock fighting again because if he lost, he would no longer look dominate. Remember, Vince wouldn't allow Kurt Angle to tryout for the Olympics because he felt the silver medal didn't matter and ultimately made him look worse. All and all Lesnar's appearance last night appears to be nothing more than him generating a buzz for himself, UFC and WWE. Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of it is WWE Champion CM Punk now feels like he should be allowed to appear with Chael Sonnen. It will be very interesting to see if what happened last night makes that a reality or if Punk goes out on his own and does it anyways.
- Both Triple H and Arn Anderson are advertised locally for the June 5th Smackdown taping from The Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina. Anderson, who works as a producer backstage, is listed as the special enforcer for World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kane triple-threat steel cage match. It's likely this will be a dark match main event.
- WWE will hold WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs from the new Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday, December 16, 2012. The Barclay Center is the new home of the Brooklyn Nets.
- Chris Jericho is in the news this morning after the following Tweet posted on his account:
Jericho has been in rare form, heeling Twitter followers that have inquired about his status and entertaining like only he can. The former WWE Undisputed Champion was suspended for 30 days after desecrating the Brazilian flag at last Thursday's WWE Raw live event in Sao Paolo, Brazil. For more from Jericho, go to his Twitter account at this link.
- While morale is down amongst WWE writers and producers, things are looking up amongst developmental talent in the company. Even with the fate of Florida Championship Wrestling up in the air, many workers under developmental deals are excited about the WWE NXT revamp that is being taped on the campus of Full Sail University. The workers that have not been called up to the main roster are not making very good money and automatically get bumped up to a low level WWE deal type downside if they appear on NXT. With NXT a part of the WWE empire (while FCW is only an affiliate), WWE has to pay the talent used on the shows as WWE wrestlers, which is a significant bump up from their developmental contracts.
- As I reported yesterday, WWE and Vince McMahon were 100% aware of Brock Lesnar attending UFC 146 in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Not only that, it's believed the entire thing was orchestrated as an angle to sell Lesnar "quitting" the company. Here's how it all went down. WWE Champion CM Punk brought an idea to company management that if they really wanted to sell the angle that Brock "quit" to send him to the UFC show and have him text Dana White and request a meeting. Remember, Vince McMahon was so determined to get it out there that Brock had quit, it's believed he orchestrated Lesnar's "backstage meltdown" after Extreme Rules to get reports out there he was leaving. A little less than two weeks ago Lesnar sent Dana a text and requested and meeting and told him to keep it "on the DL." Not only did White not keep his mouth shut, he made sure that Lesnar was shown on the pay-per-view broadcast. Lesnar told White he wanted to meet face-to-face after the show. Lesnar wasn't sure he was going to be shown on television but wanted people to know he was backstage to meet with White. He wanted the word spreading that he legitimately wanted to return to the octagon and had actually quit WWE. Given the fact Brock was shown on the pay-per-view broadcast and White talked about it in the post-show press conference, the entire thing got more exposure than anyone thought (or in WWE's case, had hoped for). Once White realized he had been worked, he put the word out that his meeting with Lesnar didn't go well. There was a plan in place for Brock to tell Dana he wanted another fight against Frank Mir but McMahon would have to OK it, which is where a quote surfaced where White said Lesnar can work for both companies. In conclusion, Dana White is trying to not look like he got egg on his face but everything worked better than planned from WWE's standpoint. It's believed Paul Heyman was the mastermind behind the angle where he used Punk, who he is close friends with and who has considerable backstage stroke, to get it all in motion.
- Triple H is officially advertised for the go-home to SummerSlam edition of Raw Supershow.
- WWE has several job openings posted at this link.
- WWE developmental standout Richie Steamboat is on the booking sheets for this weekend's Smackdown live events. Steamboat is penciled in to face Drew McIntyre at the June 2nd show in Augusta, Georgia.
- It was announced on tonight's WWE Raw Supershow that WWE '13 is set to be released on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. There was some confusion about the game being released on Thursday of that week but new DVD and video game releases are usually on done on Tuesdays. WWE Champion CM Punk is featured on the cover of WWE '13.
- It was announced on tonight's Raw Supershow that John Cena vs. Big Show at WWE No Way Out next month will be a Steel Cage Match.
- It was announced to the live crowd at tonight's Raw Supershow taping from the New Orleans Arena that WWE Elimination Chamber 2013 will be held from the venue in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, February 17, 2013.
- WWE had Brodus Clay stretchered out of the arena after tonight's Raw Supershow to sell Big Show's knockout punch. John Cena came out to face Tensai, Big Show and John Laurinaitis in the dark match main event. Cena went over and gave Laurinaitis the Attitude Adjustment.
- In order to sell the beatings from Big Show on last night's Raw Supershow, WWEposted the following "injury updates" on Brodus Clay, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth:
NEW ORLEANS - Following a remorseless beating at the massive fists of Big Show, Brodus Clay suffered a concussion and several bruised ribs according to WWE Physician Chris Amann. Defying Dr. Amann’s advice to be taken to a medical facility for further evaluation, Clay refused and was able to leave New Orleans Arena with Naomi & Cameron shortly after 11:45 p.m. Central time.
WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth were also victims of Big Show’s wrath, both suffering multiple contusions to various areas of their bodies as a result of being thrown into the ringside barrier and steel ring steps, respectively.
WWE.com will provide further information as it is made available to us.
- I'm told Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman actually presented Dana White with a list of guys Brock was willing to fight for a possible UFC return last Saturday night in Las Vegas but they were all nobodies. Once Dana looked a list, he got upset and felt like the meeting was bogus. Heyman assured Vince McMahon that Dana would never go for any of the fights they were proposing because, as I reported yesterday, Vince just wanted a meeting to take place so reports would surface that Brock was returning to UFC to sell the angle that he "quit" WWE. Vince was concerned about Brock taking a fight and losing, thus killing his value. Therefore Heyman came up with a list of guys UFC would never agree too or even if they did, Brock would easily handle. So the meeting was not completely bogus in the sense that Brock would have taken a fight with WWE's blessing if it was against a no-hoper but WWE and Heyman knew Dana would never go for it and just wanted word of the meeting to leak. Dana was under the impression WWE was willing to let Brock do one fight to sell the angle of him quitting WWE. However, it's believe Dana knows he got worked. Brock didn't want to totally burn bridges with UFC so WWE was OK with the very small chance of him taking a fight just in case Dana bit.
- WWE is now advertising John Cena vs. Big Show & John Laurinaitis for their shows in Australia in late-August/early-September, with Show replacing Tensai. (Thanks to WNW reader Kirsty for sending this in.)
- IGN.com has a huge section now online dedicated to unveiling WWE '13 that you can check out at this link. (Thanks to WNW reader Alex for sending this in.)
- Wrestling News World reader Logan Walker sent word that WWE Champion CM Punk was asked today on Twitter about retirement. The following is from his official Twitter account:
- WWE Raw Supershow will begin airing on tape delay in Canada once it goes three hours on July 23, 2012. Below are the air times for the show on The Score:
- Mondays - 9 PM to Midnight (ET)
- Tuesdays - 1 AM to 4 AM (ET)
- Tuesdays - 4 PM to 7 PM (ET)
- It was announced on this week’s Smackdown tapings (click here for this week’s results) that CM Punk will defend the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan & Kane in a Triple Threat match at WWE No Way Out.
- Evan Bourne posted the following update on his injured foot on his Twitter account:
- WWE and THQ issued the following press release today on the release of WWE '13:
AGOURA HILLS, Calif., May 30, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Last summer, one man revolutionized the current WWE landscape. In a legendary moment at the end of Monday Night Raw, WWE Superstar CM Punk -- as the voice of the voiceless -- changed everything the world knew about WWE. Through his words and actions, a new leader emerged to set a higher standard, convey a new brand of attitude and ultimately ignite a revolution among the WWE Universe.
It's not the first time WWE has seen such rebellion. Nearly 15 years ago, the legendary Stone Cold Steve Austin(R) also revolutionized the WWE realm, sparking a new generation of supporters through his relentless, antihero behavior in one of WWE's most celebrated time periods ever: the "Attitude Era." Why did it happen? In his words, "'Cause Stone Cold said so."
Today, a new crusade is on the horizon, and it doesn't start with an iconic WWE Superstar on television, online or at a live event. THQ Inc. today announced development of WWE '13, the revolutionary next installment in the WWE flagship videogame franchise. Positioned to offer the most authentic, extensive and fervent experience to date, including the debut of a brand new WWE Live audio and presentation system, as well as a single-player campaign based on the highly influential "Attitude Era," WWE '13 is currently in development for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation3 computer entertainment system and the Wii(TM) system from Nintendo, with a scheduled release date of October 30, 2012 in North America.
"WWE '13 is certain to ignite our enthusiastic, worldwide fan base and encourage them to live a revolution that simply cannot be ignored," said Sean Ratcliffe, Vice President, Global Brand Management, THQ. "WWE Live will bring the impassioned WWE live event experience into the living rooms of consumers, while critical core gameplay improvements and a serious dose of attitude will enable them to experience WWE action like never before."
About WWE '13
WWE '13 will transform gameplay through WWE Live, a brand-new audio and presentation system designed to produce the most authentic and vibrant commentary, sound effects and crowd participation levels ever heard in a WWE videogame. In addition, players will experience the atmosphere, spectacle and fervor of a WWE live event through attention-grabbing Spectacular Moments, including ring breaks and barricade crashes.
WWE '13 will also debut a franchise-first single player campaign based on an unparalleled and groundbreaking period in WWE history: the "Attitude Era." Set during a time of pure raucousness, grandiose personalities and colossal revolution, players will focus on eight purveyors of attitude during the famed television "Monday Night Wars," including WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Predator Technology 2.0, driven by new animations, transitions and modified controls, will return to deliver intelligent, fluid and engaging WWE action, resulting in a smoother gameplay experience than its predecessors. As well, the popular career-style mode, WWE Universe, will dynamically introduce matches, alliances, rivalries and unpredictable moments based on player decisions along the path toward becoming a WWE champion.
WWE '13 will feature the franchise's industry-defining Creation Suite, enabling players to develop and customize Superstars, entrances, arenas, finishing moves, storylines, highlight reels and more, as well as share and download creations with others from around the world. Furthermore, they will compete with a vast array of WWE Superstars and "Attitude Era" luminaries from the largest roster in franchise history, including cover Superstar C.M. Punk, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sheamus, Undertaker, Mankind, Chris Jericho, Big Show, and Mark Henry. Along with to-be-announced features, a comprehensive roster reveal, downloadable content and big surprises, WWE '13 is poised to live a revolution all its own.
- TheVerge.com has an article online revealing Blue Tongue Entertainment's development of the WWE video game title called "Brawl." The game was in development for a year and a half and the company was attempting to create something unique with the WWE license. Plans for the game were nixed when THQ, the parent company of Blue Tongue, closed its operations in August 2011. Click here for more information.
- Randy Orton has been suspended for 60-days following his second violation of the WWE Wellness Policy. Below is the official statement posted by WWE:
STAMFORD, Conn., May 30, 2012 – In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE (NYSE:WWE) has suspended Randy Orton for 60 days effective today for his second violation of the company’s policy
- Dr. Tom Prichard has been released from his position as the top trainer in Florida Championship Wrestling. Ironically enough, Bill DeMott, who Prichard replaced in 2007 as lead trainer in Deep South Wrestling, is slated to take over the spot.
- WWE has added a Smackdown live event from the Linco Stadium in Taipei, Taiwan to their schedule for Sunday, August 12, 2012.
- The following is from the official Twitter account of Joey Styles:
- The word coming out of this week's WWE television tapings is that there was a round of Wellness testing a few weeks back. Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and a third name I have been unable to confirm had positive tests. As I reported earlier here on Richard's Backstage Blog, I'm told Orton's test revealed a form of Dianabol and traces of marijuana thus resulting in his suspension. This marks Orton's fifth suspension from WWE but only his second under the company Wellness Policy. In regards to Cody Rhodes, he thought that he was going to be suspended for a dietary supplement. Rhodes hinted at the forthcoming suspension with a post on Twitter last week that simply read "Time off." As it turns out, his positive test was cleared by doctors and he was not given a Wellness strike nor did he face a suspension. Due to the fact that I cannot offer 100% confirmation on the third name, I am withholding it. I'm told there's a good chance this worker will either be suspended or terminated, however, there are still issues preventing WWE from making a move. There is a very emotional story developing around the suspension of Randy Orton. I'm told he has a lot of backstage heat with many people lobbying for the company to fire him. One source directly connected to the situation told me the backstage segment on Monday's Raw Supershow where Dolph Ziggler was watching Orton on the monitor was WWE ribbing The Viper. The feeling from many WWE officials is that if Orton continues to get away with it and he continues to be pushed, he will do it again. There are obvious concerns from the writing team how they will be able to book him, especially in a role as the company's 1b, given the fact he now has "two Wellness strikes." Triple H, who has never seen eye-to-eye with Orton, is scheduled to meet with him along with Vince McMahon and other company officials later in the week. I'm told McMahon is livid and thought Orton had "grown up" and understood the ramifications this could have. It's believed Orton felt like he was "above" being tested and his cockiness isn't setting well with management or co-workers, I reported on Monday here on Richard's Backstage Blog that CM Punk had surpassed Orton as second in WWE, behind only John Cena. I'm told with Orton's latest suspension, that fate has been cemented. Some of the workers were hoping WWE would really take hard stand with Orton, with some wanting a longer suspension than the Wellness Policy would indicate given all his past problems. Keep in mind, in addition to the aforementioned suspension issues, Orton has defecated in Divas luggage, put food coloring in shampoo, trashed a hotel room and recently drew the company bad publicity when they had to pull him from The Marine 3. The heat is so hot right now I'm told Orton's future still remains very uncertain. However, there are a number of things keeping the company from releasing him, including the fact that he could literally end up "signed, sealed and delivered" to TNA during a time when I'm sure they would immediately act. The reason Orton was not written off television at Tuesday's Smackdown taping is the company flat out didn't want him there. Emotions are so high that when WWE Champion CM Punk, who doesn't get along with Orton, made a joke about the company writing him off, it wasn't met with laughter.
- WWE issued the following press release today:
WWE(R) Names Patrick Talty SVP of Live Events
STAMFORD, Conn., May 31, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE today announced the appointment of Patrick Talty as Senior Vice President, Live Events. Talty, previously a general manager at Global Spectrum, a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectator, will report to WWE Executive Vice President of Talent and Live Events, Paul Levesque. Talty will be responsible for managing more than 300 live global events per year.
Prior to joining WWE, Talty oversaw Global Spectrum's multi-venue sporting complexes and booking of events at the University of Phoenix Stadium and for Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Before joining Global Spectrum, Talty held the role of interim president and CEO at Lansing Entertainment & Public Facilities Authority in Michigan. Talty started his career at the Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome.
Talty graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and did post graduate work at Ball State University specializing in sports administration.
- Remember Darien Times writer Joshua Fisher that claimed in an editorial that WWE was barely above pornography? The story has taken another turn this week following another defensive response by WWE in which Chris Powell of the Darien Times responded with an editorial entitled, "Deposing McMahon: If not porn, what is it?" In WWE's response, they put over their TV-PG content and say they are a company that "refuses to be bullied and will not allow" their content to be inaccurately categorized. In his editorial, Powell mentions a storyline the company did where Vince McMahon "ordered" Trish Stratus to undress and get down on her hands and knees and bark like a dog. You can read the piece at this link. For those that doubt the angle ever happened, you can watch a clip available on YouTube at this link.
- WWE has announced a Smackdown live event from the Jose Maria Martin Carpena Sports Palace in Malaga, Spain on November 9, 2012.
- The profile of Paul Bearer has been added to the Alumni section of the official WWE website. Click here to view it.
- Jillian Hall commented on her very unflattering mug shot following her arrest on charges of domestic violence last month. The following is from her official Twitter account:
- Linda McMahon was asked about WWE'songoing battle with writers who have voiced pointed criticism about the history of their product. She said she's not allowing for it to be a distraction to her campaign and is focused on the issues.
“It’s not a distraction for me because I’m really focussed on what I’m doing. That’s all the WWE. I’m focussed on, like today, this jobs tour. We’re going to tour 20 jobs before the end of the week,” she was quoted on CTNewsJunkie.com.
Click here for more.
- John Cena continues to delay time off from the road as WWE is trying to book him in situations that won't be physically taxing. This is the reason for his program with John Laurinaitis. With Cena's divorce and other issues, he doesn't want to come off the road to give his body some rest to heal up because work is how is choosing to deal with the problems in his personal life. WWE has a long history of top guys getting burned out or breaking down mentally and the company is doing everything they can to keep Cena in a good frame of mind and make sure he's given a bit of a break physically, even while he refuses to actually take a break. I'm told even by toning things down, as bad as Cena's hip is, he could still be making things worse. However, Cena is obviously well-liked by the office with considerable influence, so when he said he wanted to stick around as long as possible while he dealt with his divorce, no one wanted to tell him no.
- The Associated Press has picked up on TNA'slawsuit against WWE, so expect it to be popping up in the mainstream. Below is their article in its entirety:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Two giants in the wrestling world are getting ready to rumble - in a courtroom.
Nashville-based Total Nonstop Action Wrestling has sued World Wrestling Entertainment, accusing WWE of obtaining secret contract information in an attempt to poach TNA's wrestlers.
TNA's top wrestling talent includes veteran wrestler and actor Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. The company says in the lawsuit that WWE appears to have already tried to lure Flair and is pursuing TNA's other wrestlers.
An attorney for WWE denied the allegations. A message left for TNA's corporate counsel on Friday was not immediately returned.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Nashville this week, claims that a former TNA employee leaked secret information to WWE, which included the terms of the contracts TNA has with its wrestlers.
Armed with the secret contract information, TNA says its Connecticut-based competitor is now in a position to steal its wrestlers by offering better deals.
"The disclosure exposes TNA to potential liability with respect to its contract - WWE knows the details of TNA's contractual relationships with its wrestling talent, which could allow WWE to place itself in the right place, at the right time, with an offer to TNA's talent at just the right place," the lawsuit says.
Jerry McDevitt, WWE's longtime attorney, said WWE has not tried to lure Flair or any other wrestlers under contract with TNA.
The lawsuit claims that former TNA employee Brian Wittenstein went to work for WWE and then leaked the information.
A message left at a phone number listed for Wittenstein in Nashville was not immediately returned Friday.
He signed a contract with TNA saying he would not disclose any of the company's confidential information after his employment ended.
McDevitt said that WWE never asked Wittenstein to disclose the information and that the company fired him when he did. Furthermore, WWE told TNA officials about the breach and sent back the information Wittenstein leaked.
"To us, it's no good deed goes unpunished kind of thing," McDevitt said. "They sued us for doing the right thing."
Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle has signed a restraining order barring WWE from using the information to solicit wrestlers from TNA and from interfering with any of its contracts. The order also bars WWE from destroying any of the information.
A hearing on the matter is set for June 11.
- Wrestling News World reader Jonathan Watson sent in the following:
Vince Russo gave a rare interview to Inside The Ropes this past Thursday (www.facebook.com/theinsidenetwork) where he talked about HBK costing Foley his main event at Mania in 99, The wrestling business today being vanilla, why he feels title belts are props, why he left TNA and why the only time he was successful was in the WWF. Here are the highlights....
How he got his start in WWF
- I was doing a wrestling radio show in Long Island, New York which I was Funding with my own money. I started running out of money. I wrote a letter to Linda McMahon, knowing if I wrote to Vince he probably wouldn’t answer it. I wrote a letter to Linda McMahon introducing myself, telling her what I was doing and saying I’d love an opportunity in the World Wrestling Federation at that time.
WWF being stuck in same rut as 1995
- Here we are, twenty years later almost and in my opinion the wrestling business is at the same exact spot. In my opinion at that time WWE was about ten years behind with what was going on in society at that time. I feel here we are in 2012, and I feel that the wrestling industry is at the same exact place, I think time has passed them by. They’ve become irrelevant. There’s nobody willing to make the changes that need to be made to bring the product up to speed.
What led to Vince going with the Attitude idea and pushing the envelope
- I remember it was a RAW where it was being simulcasted they were shooting in the States and overseas. The rating came in the next day and it was rock bottom, it was maybe a 2.1, I mean it was really really bad. I went into work the next day and literally as soon as I sat down at my desk, Vince’s assistant called me that he wanted to see me. I went up to Vince’s office, he had all his key people in the room. He had the RAW magazine in his hand. I was worried, I was ready to be fired. He took that RAW magazine and slammed it down on the desk and said “this is what the show need to be” I was absolutely shocked. I thought it was going the other way. I had no dream that it was going to go that way.
Was the original plan for WrestleMania XV to be triple threat Austin/Rock/Foley
- Absolutely. That’s the way it was booked but someone who wasn’t involved had a very different opinion about it and they kinda got in Vince’s ear and Austin’s ear and next thing I know Mick was out the picture, I wasn’t happy about it, I thought Mick deserved it, but you do what the boss tells you so we made the change. Just to clarify, was it Shawn Michaels that was in Austin and Vince’s ear - Could have been...
Did Ferrara’s Oklahoma gimmick go too far?
- Absolutely. There’s no question about it. But that’s where it was at the time. I look at that now and I think ‘how could you do that?’ Thankfully I’ve had probably 3 or 4 conversations with JR since, I was able to apologise and get it all off my chest. Being 51, looking back at that now, yeah it was wrong.
Seeing title belts as props
- The first time I saw wrestling, it was clear to me it was entertainment. I knew it wasn’t real. The characters were great, over the top. The storylines were straight out of soap opera digest. To me, it was entertainment and that’s why it always was. You have this title belt, it’s not real, these matches aren’t real, nobody is winning this belt. We’re writing it that way. So you use that belt as part of the entertainment. I feel that way to this day. When I saw Capt Lou Albano and the Valiants, I got it, I understood what it was. That was always my philosophy.
Why have TNA struggles to create their own brand name stars?
- Because I think there’s a lack of patience. Ratings don’t happen overnight. Ratings happen when you commit to something and you stay the course. That’s why the attitude era worked. Vince stuck with it, we didn’t let the rating affect us on a weekly basis, we rode it out. Unfortunately, that was never the mindset at TNA. There was a lot of emphasis on the rating week to week, then creative is being directed to jump all over the place. It might take a year, but if you stay with it and believe in it, it’s going to work. It’s not going to work if every 6 weeks or 2 months you’re changing course and going in a different direction. I feel TNA have been guilty of that for a very long time.
Russo, Bischoff and Hogan in TNA together – Why didn’t it work?
-It’s simple, you can’t have these three strong personalities in opinions working together, you can’t. I worked very peacefully with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. In working together like that, everyone really trying hard to get along and wanting to get along, what each person is doing, is compromising your ideas and beliefs so everyone gets along. In my opinion its not a good was to business. There needs to be one boss, laying out the direction. If it’s working great, if it’s not, get rid of him and bring the next guy in. I’m a firm believer in that. In my opinion all these cooks in the kitchen, trying to get along, you end up with a product that’s very vanilla.
Was it the “too many cooks in the kitchen” that led you to leave TNA?
- Yeah it was. It was kinda like, OK it was, me, Eric and Hulk, that’s cool. Then you’re gonna bring in Bruce Pritchard. It gets to a point where it’s too much. It gets to a point where I feel like I’m wasting your time and I’m wasting my time because I can’t be the real Vince Russo. You’re not getting what you paid for. Once another chef was added to that kitchen, I just took a step back, and for the good of the company somebody had to bow out and I decided it would be me.
Anything he wanted to do in TNA that he couldn’t?
- To be me. Not compromise myself. The only time in my career that I was successful was in the WWF. Vince McMahon gave me the ball and he let me run with it. There were no committees. There was no 6 other peoples opinions. He trusted me, he gave me the ball. That was the only time in my career that I was allowed to work that way. I know what kind of environment I need to be put in to be successful. Committees in the wrestling business, do not work. Someone need to show me a committee in the last 15 years that worked. You need to have a head writer, let him bring in his crew, if they run with it and it’s a pass great, if they fail, get rid of them. Anything else is going to be vanilla and is going to be a so-so product which is what you’re seeing now in the wrestling business and not just in TNA.
Is bad relationship with Jim Cornette due to different philosophies?
It definitely is. The relationship isn’t bad on both parts. I don’t have a problem in the world with him. I don’t bad mouth him, I never have. It lies with him, not with me. All it is, is different philosophies. I think for some reason Jim has taken it to the extreme. That’s his deal, that’s not mine.
Quick Fire thoughts:
Hulk Hogan – Legend. He is the guy.
Ric Flair – I think of wrestling
Sting – Out of those, I had the closest relationship with him, I
think of gentleman.
Dixie Carter – Confused
Jim Cornette – Great wrestling mind
Vince McMahon – The creator
- Don West has informed TNA Wrestling that he plans to leave the company. West has been with TNA since the company's inception in 2002 and worked as a color commentator alongside Mike Tenay until August 2009 when he was moved his new work in merchandise. He has a website located at WildWestDeals.com which he will continue to maintain.
- Matt Morgan, who is reportedly through his TNA contract, posted the following on Twitter when asked if he would be at Thursday's live Impact Wrestling:
- Wrestling News World reader Fernando sent word that TNA has removed Alex Shelley's profile from their official website. As we previously reported, Shelley's contract came up and he chose not to re-sign.
- TNA issued the following press release today:
THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF PRO WRESTLING ON TV STARTS THURSDAY MAY 31st ON TNA IMPACT WRESTLING LIVE ON SPIKE TV
TUNE IN AT NEW TIME SLOT OF 8:00p.m./ET FOR LIVE ACTION AND MUCH MORE
NASHVILLE, TN (May 30, 2012)– TNA IMPACT WRESTLING announced today that the highly-rated weekly series will be making changes to its programming to include a hybrid of reality and explosive action each Thursday, live on SPIKE TV at 8:00pm/ ET. The reality elements and production technique represent the most significant evolution in this genre in more than 15 years.
“We took a step back to look at our product with fresh eyes,” says TNA IMPACT WRESTLING President Dixie Carter. “People watch TV differently today than before, and the wrestling format itself has become stale. What happens backstage, in the office and on the road is so entertaining that we decided it was time to pull the curtain way back and give viewers a peek at that world as well. Over the next few weeks and months, viewers will continue to see our show evolve as we expose more real aspects of our business that have always been sacred,” she continued.
This announcement is a key component in the continued growth of the TNA IMPACT WRESTLING brand that is bringing game-changing programming to the world of professional wrestling. Cameras will be everywhere. Meetings will be shot in real time and unscripted as we capture moments; not produced segments. Access to conversations and vantage points that have never been seen before, such as production meetings, talent evaluations and post match critiques, will be revealed. Combined with an emphasis on story structure, long term character and story development, these changes will help IMPACT WRESTLING pioneer the next generation of wrestling entertainment programming.
Going live allows IMPACT WRESTLING a deeper connection with our audience via social media. Starting with the May 31st broadcast, IMPACT WRESTLING will be the most socially interactive television program in the history of professional wrestling. Viewers will have a variety of unique opportunities to participate and influence certain elements of the program through various social media platforms. Also, backstage will take center stage, as fans will have access to live interviews being conducted featured on www.impactwrestling.com.
About IMPACT WRESTLING IMPACT WRESTLING is the world’s most innovative experience in professional wrestling, airing in over 120 countries worldwide. Join Hulk Hogan, Rob Van Dam, “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, Sting, Bobby Roode, Velvet Sky, Brooke Hogan, the lovely and lethal TNA Knockouts and the no-limits X-Division for “IMPACT WRESTLING” every Thursday night LIVE at 8:00 pm ET on SPIKE. For more information on IMPACT WRESTLING, visit www.IMPACTWRESTLING.com. TNA Entertainment, LLC is a privately held company headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.
- TNA Champion Bobby Roode posted the following on Twitter:
- Dixie Carter was on a conference call today to promote Impact Wrestling airing live in the 8 PM timeslot on Spike TV tomorrow night. Below are the highlights:
- Dixie said Brooke Hogan will be not wrestling but is there to help get some attention on the product.
- She doesn't feel the company needs to do 12 pay-per-views a year and TNA is currently negotiating their pay-per-view contracts. When asked about the ideal number of pay-per-views, she said six to eight is a possibility.
- Dixie said it was her that approached Spike TV about the idea of going live every week during the summer.
- She said the workers prefer the four sided ring and as MMA gets more popular, there's some confusion between the two. There is still a possibility they bring back the 6-sided ring for special events.
- Jimmy Jay will replace the departing Don West.
- A "major announcement" for tomorrow's Impact was hyped.
- Dixie said TNA would be making an announcement regarding the location of Bound for Glory 2012 within the next few weeks.
- Dixie said they are concerned about making all 12 weeks this summer special and they haven't talked to Spike TV about going live beyond those dates.
- Kurt Angle wrote to one of his Twitter followers last night that he will not wrestle past 46-years-old. The following is from his official Twitter account:
Angle, who is currently 43-years-old, signed a three-year contract with TNA Wrestling on September 8, 2011.
- Universal Studios has updated the Impact Wrestling taping schedule to reflect the show going live for twelve weeks this summer. There are no dates scheduled after August 23, 2012 as the company will reevaluate whether or not to go back to taping earlier in the week or if they will come to an agreement with Spike TV to go live on a more permanent basis. Click here to view the full schedule.
- Former WWE star Cliff Compton, formerly known as Domino, is backstage at tonight's Impact Wrestling taping from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- TNA will stream their Impact Wrestling Post Show live tonight on YouTube at the conclusion of tonight's show. The stream will begin at 10 PM EDT at this link.
- TNA Champion Bobby Roode will face Sting for the title in the main event at TNA Slammiversary.
- TNA President Dixie Carter announced on tonight's live Impact Wrestling that TNA will introduce their own Hall of Fame. The first inductee will be inducted at Slammiversary.
- A planned segment with Brooke Hogan and the TNA Knockouts was cut from last night's live Impact Wrestling. Mickie James, who had teased the segment on Twitter, later offered an apology for not appearing:
- Neither Jeff Jarrett nor his wife Karen were backstage at last night's live Impact Wrestling taping from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Is there any heat on Zack Ryder? It seems his run on television has been significantly scaled back.
Have you ever heard the popular excuse that "creative has nothing for you"? That's the situation Zack Ryder finds himself in, as do many of the mid-carders in the company. It's a situation where Ryder had an opportunity but struggled to gain grounding. This is nothing more than the life of a mid-card talent and I'm unaware of any particular backstage heat on him.
What did you think of the commentary at WWE Over the Limit?
I haven't commented on the commentary at WWE Over the Limit but I felt it was the best Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T have worked together. They were fun and entertaining and not over-the-top and annoying. They had a very difficult job with John Cena vs. John Laurinaitis as the show's main event and passed with flying colors. Cole gets a lot of heat from the IWC but one thing that's always worth noting is he stepped in a position that was "no win" in trying to replace the best play-by-play man of all-time in Jim Ross.
Is there any update regarding The Undertaker?
The Undertaker is semi-retired and I haven't heard his name connected with anything that doesn't have to do with Wrestlemania. Given the fact that WWE wants to keep selling "the streak" and Undertaker only has a select number of matches left, I would be surprised if he's used before Wrestlemania XXIX next year.
Why did WWE bring back Skip Sheffield as Ryback?
Ryback was Skip Sheffield's old gimmick as he was a WWE developmental standout along with Sheamus as Sheamus O'Shaunessy and Ryback were a tag team prior to Sheamus being called up to the main roster. While The Nexus provided Sheffield a good opportunity, he was nothing more than an extra to people like Wade Barrett and Daniel Bryan. The revamp as Ryback gives him a chance to become a much "bigger deal" in WWE.
After all the hype with the cryptic videos, why was there no 'revolution' as promised on Raw?
The "A Revolution is Coming" viral video campaign was done to reveal the release date of WWE '13. Last night on Raw Supershow the company revealed the cover featuring WWE Champion CM Punk and the release date of Tuesday, October 30, 2012. While the video wasn't mentioned or shown, this was the purpose behind the campaign.
What are the specifications to the "iron clad" contract the Big Show mentioned on Raw?
Big Show was putting over the "new contract" he signed after helping John Laurinaitis beat John Cena at this month's Over the Limit pay-per-view - it was all a work. I did want to take this opportunity to put over the booking of Big Show. While it's clear he took the spot originally slated for Tensai, he's much better being booked as a massive heel rather than a corny babyface.
What is WWE doing with Brock Lesnar and Triple H storyline? Did they drop it?
WWE is selling the angle that Brock Lesnar "quit" and Triple H is "injured." Hunter is advertised for upcoming tapings leading into SummerSlam and Brock is expected back as well where it's rumored the two will face one another in the show's main event. Lesnar grabbed headlines over the weekend after meeting with UFC officials. We have full details on that meeting available here and will be uncovering more later this afternoon.
There was talk that Michelle McCool was coming back when the Undertaker returned. Anything regarding her status?
WWE has been interested in bringing Michelle McCool back but she said in January she has no interest in returning to WWE anytime soon. For all things Michelle McCool, check out here news page here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
What's the reason behind Big Show replacing Tensai and why the name change?
Producers and writers in WWE started to become concerned after Tensai failed to get over after multiple opportunities. The company had high hopes for him but it hasn't worked to this point. The name change is part of an effort to makeover the character, perhaps as a mid-carder rather than an upper level superstar. I have more on his downgrade at this link
What's next for Dolph Ziggler?
I've heard a lot of rumors about Dolph Ziggler being moved to Smackdown to be pushed in singles competition. Earlier this month, Ziggler met with Triple H and John Laurinaitis in regards to his character and while he was initially blown off, things are changing.
Whatever happened to Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine?
Andy Leavine had heat right out of the gate when he no-sold Steve Austin's Stunner on the episode of Raw to announce him as Tough Enough winner. He never recovered as he was sent to Florida Championship Wrestling for seasoning but the feeling was he just required too much work to ever be ready for a main roster call-up. Subsequently he was released from his contract last month.
Will Sting be finished with TNA at the end of the year?
Sting's TNA contract is up at the end of the year. He has worked year-to-year for several years so he can reevaluate his status as to whether or not he wants to keep going or hang it up. A lot of people wonder if he has a WWE run left in him and while anything is possible, Sting's best opportunity was a couple years ago when he was offered a WWE contract to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVII.
What effect does Randy Orton's suspension have on top talents such as John Cena given the fact ratings are slipping and they may need more out of their top guys?
The ramifications of Randy Orton's suspension are massive which is why there is nuclear backstage heat on him. WWE is in desperate need of top names and the fact that one of their top guys screwed up this bad at this stage in his career has everyone upset. The trickle down effect is significant as it's going to be up to guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Big Show, etc. to step up and fill the gap because given Orton's history of problems, there isn't going to be a lot of confidence in booking him going forward.
I feel like being called the face of the WWE is a huge honor and it's a title that doesn't necessarily go to the current champion. That being said, can you name some guys of the past that were considered the faces of the WWE?
The "face of the company" can be defined as "the biggest draw" or who sells the most merchandise. Generally I don't like making lists such as this because they can be debated and I don't have the sales figures in front of me. However, I'm willing to take a look at top names since Cena. Coming out of the Attitude Era, Triple H was "the guy" and prior to him that title was held by Steve Austin and The Rock. It was Austin and The Rock, along with DeGeneration X, that carried the product to a new level and ultimately put WCW out of business. Prior to them, Bret Hart was the guy and then of course we have Hulk Hogan who really took the entire business to a new level.
What type of backstage influence to guys like Kane and Christian have?
Veterans always have more backstage influence than the younger guys. Not only is the respect level higher amongst their co-workers but their opinions also carry more weight with company officials. How big a star a worker is gauges how much influence that particular worker has. As you can imagine someone like John Cena or CM Punk has considerable stroke over someone like Tyler Reks or Curt Hawkins.
Once Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger's alliance breaks up, what do you think will be next for the All-American American? Will WWE try to turn him into the next American hero or the next Kurt Angle?
WWE is high up on the in-ring work of Jack Swagger which fueled his reign as World Heavyweight Champion a couple years ago. However, there were problems with Swagger's attitude which ultimately led to his push getting killed and him enduring a "humbling" experience. Swagger, at 30-years-old, is starting to enter his prime years so it will be up to him where he is able to go from here. Swagger has got to take advantage of the opportunities he gets, getting over with the audience then convincing management he's not going to have any more behavioral issues. I feel like with Orton's spot being vacated, it's an opportunity for anyone working below him.
Seeing as how WWE is short on top tier talent, do you think they should call some older guys to come back for a couple of months? Like Shawn Michaels, possibly the Undertaker? Or maybe reach out to Batista and see if they can get back under contract?
WWE has already done what you are asking, hence The Rock and Brock Lesnar coming back on part-time deals. Shawn Michaels is under WWE contract but is retired from the ring and only desires to do things that do not involve him wrestling. The Undertaker is also under WWE contract but is semi-retired and used for Wrestlemania. Batista is a guy the company has interest in but no deal has been put together as of this writing. Now is the time of year where competition is light and can be used to develop new main event stars. Rather than WWE relying on the older and more established names, it's a good time to create more stars to mix with the aforementioned talent when competition gets stiffer and Wrestlemania season draws closer.
When a WWE star is injured, how is he/she paid? Is it their normal pay or do they take a cut since they are missing shows, PPVs, etc.?
WWE contracts are structured with downside guarantees and bonuses. The downside guarantee is based off a yearly percentage that is paid out to workers regardless if they are working or not. The only time WWE workers do not collect their downside is when they are suspended. This is how a WWE star is able to make a living while out with an injury or any other ailment that would prevent them from working.
Was Kane included in the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan feud because of the WWE's lack of faith in them or was it to add a big name to help get them over?
As I reported here on Richard's Backstage Blog, Kane was inserted as a "smack at smarks" for thinking Punk and Bryan could carry the top program on their own. Immature, I know.
What will WWE do with Randy Orton in two months?
A lot of readers have wondered my thoughts on what the future holds for Randy Orton given his latest WWE suspension. While I obviously cannot predict the future, things don't look good for Randy right now. He has a considerable amount of backstage heat and there is concern for how they will book him going forward. Orton is going to have to convince WWE officials this isn't going to happen again but given his history, that's going to be a very difficult thing to do.