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, March 8, 2014 to Friday, March 14, 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!
- There was an incident at Friday night's WWE live event in Winnipeg involving Batista and a local radio host. The host was Cam Carson of Power 97 out of Winnipeg.
According to a fan that was with Carson, he was ejected from the show and was actually punched by the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The following is from Twitter:
One of my Twitter followers was in attendance and sent the following:
A Tweet made prior to the show indicates they were going to do their best to heckle Batista:
- Big Show was in the ring when the fan incident involving Batista occurred at Friday night's WWE live event in Winnipeg. One of my Twitter followers, Alyssa Dmyterko, captured his reaction:
- Eva Marie and Natalya talk about their win on this week's episode of Smackdown in the latest episode of Smackdown Fallout at this link.
- John Cena has been working through a strained left groin and fluid in his right ankle, according to Tweet that he sent out on Saturday.
The following is from Twitter:
- We're continuing to monitor the status of Rey Mysterio. He was absent from this week's TV tapings and is currently not advertised for next week's either. Mysterio wasn't on Friday night's live event in Winnipeg and isn't advertised for any live events this weekend. His last match took place at the February 18, 2014 Smackdown taping in Colorado Springs, Colorado. However, he was backstage at WWE Elimination Chamber on February 23, 2014 in Minneapolis.
- The Arkansas Times has a new article online to promote next week's Smackdown taping in Little Rock. I thought the following question and response was interesting.
Were you a violent kid?
I never got in fights, I was a model student, got good grades. I wasn’t much of an extracurricular participant, I didn't play sports or anything like that. I was too busy playing around with my friends and wrestling in my back yard. But I was a good kid, I didn’t drink or smoke. Model citizen.
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- Dolph Ziggler discussed traveling with Zack Ryder, The Miz and Christian and how they throw ideas off each other to make things better. You can read his comments to the Poinsett County Democrat Tribune at this link.
- WWE sent John Cena, Michael Cole, Perkins Miller and Stephanie McMahon to SXSW on Sunday for a presentation on the WWE App (See also - Crushing Second Screen: The Ultimate TV Companion).
They were there to discuss how the company has used their social media landscape of more than 260 million followers to launch the WWE Network. The hashtag #WWESXSW actually trended Twitter during the discussion.
Below are photos:
- It was stated on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw that Daniel Bryan and Batista had never faced each other on the show. That is inaccurate as Wrestling News World reader Horace Tidwell pointed out. Bryan vs. Batista took place on the May 3, 2010 episode of Monday Night Raw in Jacksonville, Florida. Batista went over in a "Beat the Clock" bout.
- WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E vs. Jack Swagger was taped for last week's Smackdown but didn't make the broadcast.
- Chris Hardwick announced on Sunday night's episode of Talking Dead that CM Punk will appear on the show next week. The show labeled him as Phil Brooks a/k/a CM Punk. Punk hasn't been seen on WWE television since Royal Rumble but was seated cageside at UFC 170 in Las Vegas last month. Talking Dead airs Sundays at 10/9c following The Walking Dead on AMC. Click here for more information on the show.
- WWE posted a new investor presentation for March 2014 here on their corporate website. In it, there is some interesting data in regards to the WWE Network.
The presentation highlights three scenarios of WWE Network subscribers, net revenue and incremental OIBDA in the United States. Here's a look:
1 Million Subscribers - $115,000,000 - Break-even
2 Million Subscribers - $225,000,000 - $50,000,000
3 Million Subscribers - $350,000,000 - $150,000,000
The same scenarios are broken down for phase 1 of the Network's international launch in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordic countries:
250,000 Subscribers - $25,000,000 - Break-even
750,000 Subscribers - $75,000,000 - $70,000,000
1,500,000 Subscribers - $140,000,000 - $85,000,000
- WWE posted a new investor presentation for March 2014 here on their corporate website. In it, the company outlined key milestones over the course of the next 12 months. Some of the milestones have been accomplished, so we'll start with the ones that haven't been accomplished followed by the ones that have.
Remaining key milestones over the next 12 months include:
Launch WWE Network internationally (Phase 1 countries)
Renegotiate U.S. television rights
Renegotiate India television rights renewals
Monetize digital and social media presence
Accomplished key milestones over the next 12 months are as follows:
Launch WWE Network domestically
Renegotiate U.K. television rights
Improve film portfolio performance
- The Ultimate Warrior announced Monday on Twitter that Linda McMahon has accepted his request to induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame. The following is from Twitter:
Warrior will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before Wrestlemania XXX on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from the New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. We'll have exclusive live coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Chris Jericho Tweeted that he'll reveal the cover of his new book and the title this week. The following is from Twitter:
Jericho released his first book, A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex, in 2007 and it became a New York Times bestseller. In 2011, he released his second autobiography, titled Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps.
The next book, which Jericho will reveal the title of this week, will be released this fall through Penguin Publishing.
- WWE and TELE 5 announced a multi-year deal to bring Monday Night Raw back to free television in Germany. According to the press release, "starting April 10th, WWE fans will be able to see the two-hour version of Monday Night Raw every Thursday at 10.15pm on TELE 5." Click here to read the release in its entirety.
- Fandango spoke about the serious concussion he suffered last year while doing media over in the United Kingdom. He said that WWE took great care of him during his recovery and put over the work of Chris Nowinski and the Sports Legacy Institute. Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- Zack Ryder debuted a new YouTube show called Zack Ryder's Last ReZort. You can watch the first episode at this link.
- With the creation of the WWE Network and subsequent subscriber targets, I found it appropriate to breakdown pay-per-view revenue. WWE's average revenue per pay-per-view buy was $20.60 in 2012 and $19.94 in 2011. Net revenues in the pay-per-view segment of their business were $83.6 million in 2012, $78.3 million in 2011 and $70.2 million in 2010. These accounted for 17%, 16% and 15& of total net revenues respectively.
- In a document filed with the SEC, WWE revealed their success depends on their "ability to recruit, train and retain athletic performers who have the physical presence, acting ability and charisma to portray characters in our live events and televised programming." They also noted they were unable to guarantee their ability to do so.
- While WWE performers are listed as independent contractors and are responsible for their own health, disability and life insurance, WWE does indeed self-insure medical costs for performers that sustain injuries while performing.
- The departure of CM Punk is seen as a risk factor as stipulated by the company. Check out the following line from an official WWE document filed with the SEC:
Our failure to retain or continue to recruit key performers could lead to a decline in the appeal of our storylines and the popularity of our brand of entertainment, which could adversely affect our operating results.
Speaking of Punk, he actually stated he would be interested in inducting The Ultimate Warrior into the WWE Hall of Fame if called upon. Punk drew similarities to Warrior and had formed a friendship with him. This was before he walked out on the company after January's Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Warrior announced Monday on Twitter that Linda McMahon will induct him.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 3,142,000 viewers on SyFy with a 2.16 cable rating. Smackdown Viewership & Ratings Archive
- Raw guest star Aaron Paul and Dolph Ziggler were quoted in a new article by the Chicago Tribune. Click here to read it.
- Hulk Hogan announced in the opening segment of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw there will be a 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania XXX. The winner will receive a trophy of the big man. Wrestlemania XXX will take place Sunday, April 6, 2014 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- The announced attendance for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee was 14,841. The show was a legitimate sellout.
- Daniel Bryan will face Triple H in a singles match at Wrestlemania XXX, however, if Bryan wins, he'll be inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Randy Orton and Batista.
We first reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com on March 3, 2014 that WWE was considering having Bryan pull double duty at Wrestlemania by inserting him into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match later in the night.
WWE plugged Bryan's reaction in this week's episode of Backstage Pass following Raw live on the WWE Network.
Richard Reacts:This is why I refused to give up hope. I'm EXTREMELY glad to see WWE save their title match at Wrestlemania. Rest assure this was something they didn't want to do but were forced to do. I expect Bryan to beat Hunter and get inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. I just hope it's enough to get Bryan the payoff he's rightfully earned and the payoff the WWE fan base demands.
- Following the airing of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, below is the updated lineup for Wrestlemania XXX:
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
If Daniel Bryan beats Triple H, he'll be inserted and this will become a triple-threat match.
- Randy Orton © vs. Batista
- The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
If Daniel Bryan wins, he gets a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship later in the night.
- Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan
- John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
30-Man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Winner gets a trophy.
- Announced participants include WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E and Ryback.
- Hulk Hogan
Wrestlemania XXX will take place Sunday, April 6, 2014 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Wrestlemania 30 will have a special start time of 7 PM EDT and will be a four-hour pay-per-view on the WWE Network.
- Daniel Bryan was interviewed by Renee Young on Backstage Pass after Monday Night Raw on the WWE Network.
Bryan credited the fans for the opportunity and said everyone can make change. He continued by saying that's not just here in the WWE but anywhere and that's the power people have. Bryan said there are a bunch of billionaires in this country that think they have the power, they want to pollute our environment and it's the same stuff holding him down in WWE. He said it's the people that have the power.
He walked off, fully pumped up at the opportunity.
- This week’s Raw Fallout, which features Dolph Ziggler, Titus O'Neil & Zavier Woods responding to Occupy Raw, is online at this link. You can also watch in the video embedded below:
- Chris Jericho & Mick Foley responded to the latest chapter in Daniel Bryan's road to WrestleMania with the following tweets:
- Remember the cut Sheamus suffered last week on Raw? Check out the following photo after his Memphis Street Fight with Christian:
- WWE will return to the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee for the September 22, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. The presale password to obtain tickets is MEMPHIS.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Memphis…
- We're told Road Dogg is nursing a sore back following his match with Billy Gunn against Cody Rhodes and Goldust.
- The 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is WWE's way of filling out the Wrestlemania XXX undercard and getting deserving talent on the show. There's been a lot of discussion about what to do with talent such as The Shield, Cesaro and Jack Swagger. At this rate it wouldn't be a surprise if all five were thrown in as participants, however, they've also talked about individual matches to blowoff programs.
- Inserting Daniel Bryan into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania XXX if he beats Triple H earlier in the night is plan B. As we've talked about, Vince McMahon made a hail mary pitch to CM Punk about it but the Bryan talk was there as well. When Punk didn't budge, the Bryan plan was executed. Before anyone thinks this was the plan all along, it wasn't. Vince tried all the way up to Elimination Chamber with Batista but when the strong effort to get him over as a babyface didn't work, he ordered the heel turn. The hope is Batista's return can be salvaged as a heel with more optimism coming from producers at last weekend's live events.
- Jerry Lawler was ordered to correct a mistake he made on commentary from Vince McMahon regarding Roman Reigns jobbing to Mark Henry.
- Sheamus was seen "walking gingerly" backstage after his match with Christian. I didn't hear a significant injury took place, however, Sheamus has been beaten up pretty good the last two weeks.
- Alberto Del Rio is once again in the company doghouse, hence his string of jobs on Raw lately and relegation to WWE Superstars this week. I do not have further details at this time.
- WWE's decision to go "all in" on Daniel Bryan pleased Mick Foley and he's penned a letter thanking them.
If you knew from the begginning what a super hot heel a win at the Royal Rumble would make Dave Batista, then you were smarter than all of us.
If you didn't know, and were then forced to adap to a unique set of cirumstances that the backlash from the Rumble provided, then you adapted very well.
With one outstanding Raw, you've got me, and millions of fans around the world excited about the biggest showcase in our business, and I'm thrilled to be going.
When I expressed concern after the Rumble, you told me not to judge a book by its cover. I came darn close to just putting that book back on the shelf, but it now looks like the final few chapters are going to turn into a captivating page-turner.
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- Jim Ross posted his Raw thoughts, where he put over WWE for their booking of Daniel Bryan but in a different manner.
Daniel Bryan had another terrific night and WWE is booking DB expertly even though some critics will micro analyze the storyline and find fault with it because that's simply what they do.
As I have said for many weeks, I fully expect Daniel Bryan to have a significant "WrestleMania Moment" in NOLA on April 6.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,369,667 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the numbers broke down by hour:
Hour one - 4,165,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,676,000 viewers
Hour three - 4,165,000 viewers
The show was Monday's top cable program with a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating, according to TVBytheNumbers.
Raw posted a 3.09 cable rating.
- Carlos Colon will join The Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, Lita & Paul Bearer in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014. The announcement was made during this week's Smackdown taping.
Additionally, Dolph Ziggler entered himself into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, joining Big E, Ryback & Curtis Axel.
- Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins beat Erick Rowan & Luke Harper in a dark match main event following the taping of this week's episode of WWE Smackdown. The finish saw Reigns spear Harper before pinning him.
- WWE has signed Steven Walters to a developmental contract. He'll finish up his independent commitments before reporting to the WWE Performance Center in May. Walters is known for his work in Anarchy Wrestling.
- After the success WWE has had with the return of The New Age Outlaws, we're told Triple H has been talking about bringing back a couple acts from the past to have them work as NXT regulars. He was pleased with Too Cool's performance at NXT ArRIVAL and is looking for more acts from the past that can be sprinkled in with the NXT newcomers. One observer notes it will be interesting to see how things in NXT develop. WWE views the show differently now that there are so many more people watching. NXT's primary focus will always be to develop future stars for television, however, it's not the sole focus now that it's essentially turned into its own brand.
- Stephanie McMahon is shooting a fitness DVD with Joe DeFranco on Wednesday at the WWE Performance Center. She Tweeted the following photos:
- Zack Ryder did a Q&A on Twitter where he answered questions about his new YouTube show called "Zack Ryder's Last ReZort" (See also -WWE’s Treatment Of Fandango’s Serious Concussion, Ryder’s Last ReZort).
In it, a follower asked if he was as hungry as he was when he started Z! True Long Island Story. He responded by saying he's "starving."
Another follower asked what made him start the show, Ryder said he has "nothing to lose."
He also noted the show is scheduled to air weekly. You can check out the Tweets below:
- For those that missed the highlights over on DivaKnockout.com, dot com has a great piece on Sara Del Rey that profiles her work as a developmental trainer. Dave Prazak is quoted in the piece, calling her the best American female professional wrestler he's ever seen.
The compliment is a big deal as Prazak is the founder of the all female wrestling promotion Shimmer Women Athletes and has certainly seen his fair share of female talent. Also, I concur, Del Rey is awesome.
Click here for coverage by DivaKnockout.com.
- WWE Chief Financial Officer George Barrios was a participate in the 26th Annual Roth Conference in Newport Beach, California on Monday. In it, he was clear to point out the USA Network has been #1 for 29 straight quarters and that's because of Monday Night Raw. He said the company would announce initial WWE Network subscribers on April 7, 2014. You can check out his presentation at this link.
- Fandango hopes for a Wrestlemania XXX program with Santino Marella, be it a singles match or a mixed tag with Summer Rae and Emma involved. You can read a Q&A he did with Digital Spy at this link.
- The Austin Chronicle has a new piece featuring quotes from Alberto Del Rio at this link.
- This week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole didn't happen as Hunter "couldn't make it" due to an "emergency meeting." You can watch Cole roll solo at this link.
Below is a recap:
Cole sets the stage by catching everyone up on the Occupy Raw movement with Daniel Bryan on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. They rolled footage from Raw where Bryan made his Wrestlemania request.
After the footage, Cole explained that if Bryan beats Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX, he'll be added to Batista vs. Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Cole reminded that it was in last week's kayfabe interview that Hunter said he would never give Daniel Bryan a Wrestlemania match against him. He questioned if it was Occupy Raw or if Triple H wanted to end the Yes Movement himself?
Cole is then informed, "Hunter's not coming" and is handed an email on a phone. Cole said it reads, "Dear Brian (their producer), I regret I will not be able to attend your interview. I got called into an emergency meeting about the WWE Network - but please let my fans know I will be a part of Friday Night Smackdown this week where I will address the situation with Daniel Bryan. Regretfully, Triple H"
Michael said that he can't say he's surprised and hopefully Triple H will join us next week.
You can watch embedded in the video below:
- Cesaro has been added to the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30. We first reported Cesaro was likely to be added here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
Below is the updated list:
- Kane (real name Glenn Jacobs) has a plan when he retires from the ring and it's not politics. Kane and his wife own an insurance agency in Knoxville, Tennessee called The Jacobs Agency. The following screen capture is from their official website:
Click here to visit the agency's official website.
- CM Punk's friend UFC fighter Chael Sonnen was recently on Off the Record with Michael Landsberg on TSN. At the end of the interview, Landsberg asked him if Punk is going to fight at Wrestlemania.
During his response, Sonnen actually held up a card with Stephanie McMahon's cell phone number on it. The show blurred out the number but below is an excerpt of Sonnen's answer to the question.
"I don't know if Punk's going to wrestle at Wrestlemania but I know who does. You want to know who does? Stephanie McMahon and if you want the answer to that question viewers, call her on her personal and private cell phone number (holds up card). There's no 555 here. This is her personal cell phone number and have her tell Triple H I just played the game."
Landsberg explained after the interview was over the number was real because they called it after the interview was taped.
You can watch the appearance at this link.
- Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella are getting married on Friday, April 11, 2014. According to Brie, Bryan was put in charge of the wedding invitations that are made out of wood. EOnline.com has more at this link.
- The Bella Twins talked about appearing in the Trey Songz "NaNa" music video at this link.
- WWE detailed their new multiyear rights deal with ProSiebenSat.1 in a press release on Thursday. The deal is to bring their content to German and Austrian markets through free TV, pay TV and SVOD. The specifics are available at this link.
- Steve Austin has a new video blog online at this link. You can also watch in the video embedded below:
- A ridiculous rumor was started on Thursday about WWE being in merger/acquisition talks with AMC Networks. There was absolutely no substance to it. I'm not trying to sound self-righteous here but if anyone saw where that "rumor" originated from, they would have been able to immediately dismiss it.
- Jake Roberts is scheduled to wrestle Friday night for Jersey Championship Wrestling. The bout is a six man tag match where he'll team with Damien Darling and a mystery partner to oppose The Playas Club. Show information is available at this link.
Roberts underwent surgery on February 25, 2014 to remove a cancerous growth from behind his knee. He'll be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next month in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Also, do not worry about the surgery slowing Roberts down:
- Sting is scheduled to appear on behalf of Revolution Pro Wrestling in London, England on Friday night. He's also scheduled to appear at their High Stakes 2014 show on Saturday.
Click here for details on the Friday night event.
Click here for details on the Saturday night show.
Sting is actually replacing Ric Flair, as was announced by the independent promotion on February 24, 2014. Flair was pulled due to "an unavoidable situation."
We're also able to confirm Sting arrived in the United Kingdom on Thursday.
- WWE is very happy with how NXT is being received by fans and the numbers are encouraging in terms of the percentage of WWE Network subscribers that are checking it out.
Some of the concepts that had been pitched in the past for a potential show developed around cruiserweights on the WWE Network may now instead be incorporated into NXT. Although NXT is not new, it's new to a lot of fans and Triple H feels it could be confusing to try and launch two new brands with relatively unknown guys and they would rather put as much focus on NXT as possible.
One shift in philosophy that could result from this though is the fact that the cruiserweight show would have been a home for some talent WWE would normally not be interested in using on the main roster. Based on the past concept, the company would have brought in talent specifically for the high flying show with no intention of ever using them on Raw or Smackdown.
As NXT evolves with a larger audience, the plan is to scrap the cruiserweight show entirety and there is much debate internally as to whether NXT should end up as a home for some of the guys that had been on WWE's radar for the other show.
As one observer put it, the company has an interesting philosophical decision they have to make. Is NXT exclusively a place to develop new talent, with the ultimate goal of being called up to the main roster, or, now that so many more fans will be watching the show through the WWE Network, should it also be treated as its own brand? Especially if it features talent that would be a good fit in NXT, even if that talent would never fit in on Raw or Smackdown?
Nothing has been finalized, however, we're told not to be surprised if WWE signs a couple of the guys as an experiment to be utilized specifically on NXT with no intention of calling them up later on. As we noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, NXT’s primary focus will always be to develop future stars for television, however, it’s not the sole focus with the evolution of the WWE Network.
- Chris Jericho's third autobiography is titled "The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea" and is due out on October 13, 2014.
- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show is subtitled "We the People's Court" Pt. 1 and features none other than Zeb Colter. Watch it at this link.
- Ahead of the premiere of WWE Legends House, The Bella Twins, Dolph Ziggler and others talk about who they'd like to be locked in a house with. You can watch at this link.
- The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Kurt Angle has been cast in Sharknado 2: The Second One. He'll play the role of the FDNY fire chief.
Below is an excerpt from their coverage about the film:
Sharknado 2 centers on a freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a "sharknado" on the city's population and its most iconic sites, with Fin and April the only ones able to save the city.
Click here for coverage by The Hollywood Reporter.
- Brian Fritz interviewed Davey Richards to promote this weekend's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view. In it, Richards said he wanted to go to TNA Wrestling because of the schedule. He's a paramedic and in medical school and is not giving that up. He said it was Eddie Edwards that was adamant about finishing their commitment with WWE because he wanted to go to TNA all along. You can read the interview at this link.
- TNA has used Twitter to provide updates from their Fan InterAction event in Miami. You can check out their updates at this link. If you went, I'd love to hear about it. You can send a report directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- TNA Wrestling has posted the opening video for Lockdown on their official YouTube channel. You can watch it at this link.
- Bobby Lashley worked Sunday night's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view in Miami, Florida, answering the "open challenge" of Ethan Carter III. An actual match never got started as Mike Tenay and Taz wondered if that meant Lashley is back with TNA.
Click here for complete TNA Lockdown results.
- Bobby Lashley said "it's great to be back" in a new #Impact365 video posted at this link.
For those that missed it, he answered Ethan Carter III's "open challenge" at TNA Lockdown on Sunday night. A match never took place as EC3 retreated. In the video included below, Lashley discusses taking time away to fight and work the independent circuit:
TNA Lockdown PPV news and notes…
- Madison Rayne retained the TNA Knockouts Championship in a match against Gail Kim. We covered it here at DivaKnockout.com.
- Magnus retained the TNA Championship against Samoa Joe when Abyss reached up from under the ring and grabbed Joe. The crowd turned on the match as the distraction allowed for Magnus to make Joe pass out in a rear-naked choke after Abyss hit the Black Hole Slam.
- Jeff Hardy debuted the Willow character at Sunday's TNA Lockdown pay-per-view during the show's Lethal Lockdown main event of Team MVP vs. Team Dixie Carter. It was Willow and not Hardy that was a member of Team MVP.
- Attendance at Lockdown wasn't good as the cameras were tight throughout the event. There are some troubling photos making rounds on social media.
- Below is an #Impact365 video of what happened at Lockdown when the pay-per-view went off the air:
You can also watch at this link.
- TNA Wrestling has released official details on next month's Sacrifice pay-per-view live from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The show will take place at Soundstage 20 on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Click here for more.
- Tommy Dreamer worked as an agent backstage at TNA Lockdown this past Sunday night. He Tweeted the following:
- Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney spoke with MMASucka.com on a variety of topics, including some of the crossover fighters that will be competing in TNA Wrestling.
In it, Rebney said King Mo and Rampage Jackson "really do hate each other." He said they've hated each other for 2 years but he asked them to squash it, at least publicly, as a favor to TNA and Dixie Carter.
Rebney said he talks to Dixie regularly and now that Rampage's fight is over and he didn't get injured, they're going to "really rev up the wrestling training." They have wrestling coaches in Southern California to help him get through to process of "becoming a well-rounded professional wrestler."
Asked if Rebney was worried about Mo or Rampage getting injured in a TNA ring, he explained they are world class athletes and it's a risk they are willing to assume.
Click here to read the interview in its entirety.
- Chris Sabin is featured in a new Impact Podcast where he talks The Great Muta at Lockdown, single life, video games and more. Listen now at this link.
- A new commercial for TNA Sacrifice 2014 is online at this link.
- We're told TNA Wrestling was happy with Sunday's Lockdown pay-per-view and have been planning for a while to use the upcoming Impact tapings this week to debut some new talent. The company was happy Bobby Lashley's return did not leak and very few people knew he was coming in. However, like MVP, Lashley worked without a contract. They put him on without one because they really wanted a surprise at Lockdown but hope to have a deal done shortly.
- Santana Garrett will debut with TNA Wrestling on this week's episode of Impact under the name Brittany. The company officially announced her signing in a new Q&A posted here on their official website.
Garrett agreed to a contract with the company in November, however, her signing was leaked on social media by Dragon Gate USA promoter Sal Hamaoui.
- As announced on Wednesday, Santana Garrett will debut this week with TNA Wrestling as Brittany. We're told the company remains focused on bringing in new names at a cheaper rate to help offset recent losses. One name they've been in continuous pursuit of is Chris Hero (formerly known as Kassius Ohno in WWE NXT).
The issue from Hero's side is he's afraid if he signs with TNA it will hurt his chances of ever returning to WWE. He was hopeful when he was released from WWE last year that he'd be back some day and even hopes to return to the company as soon as sometime this year. However, we're told there is no interest in WWE about bringing him back at this time.
TNA hasn't given up but aren't offering big money. One source says they'd love to have him but they're not going to spend the kind of money they're willing to spend on Bobby Lashley.
- TNA Wrestling posted a "breaking news alert" to their official Impact preview for this week, noting a former Knockout Champion is expected to return on the broadcast. Below is the update in its entirety:
BREAKING NEWS FROM ORLANDO!
Former Knockout Champion expected to return to TNA tonight during Impact Wrestling tonight on Spike TV 9/8c.
More details as we receive them.
Click here to read the update in its original format.
I haven't heard who they plan to bring back, however, we posted an update here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com where we revealed a former WWE name that TNA has been pursuing.
- The Spanish Announce Table interviewed Bobby Lashley about his TNA return at last Sunday's Lockdown pay-per-view at this link.
- Puroresu Spiritnoted on Facebook that Sanada will defend the TNA X Division Championship at Wrestle-1's show on March 22, 2014 from Korakuen Hall. His challenger will be determined in a battle royal at their “Extreme Royal” on 3/15 at the Kyoto KBS Hall. Click here for more.
- As we noted earlier here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, TNA Wrestling is promoting a former Knockout Champion for this week's episode of Impact. We're being told that Knockout is Angelina Love. I will caution she has not been seen backstage and my source could only give me 95% certainty, however, we can confirm there has been contact between to the parties. I know Taylor Wilde said recently she would entertain a return to TNA but as I said, I'm told by a source it's Angelina Love.
- TNA Wrestling has confirmed that Angelina Love will return to the company on this week's episode of Impact from Orlando, Florida. You can check out their reveal below:
We broke the news on Thursday afternoon that Angelina Love would be returning here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
Impact Wrestling TV News & Notes…
- Santana Garrett debuted as Brittany going over Gail Kim via disqualification. We have more here at DivaKnockout.com.
- Jeff Hardy's Willow character debuted this week's on Impact in a bout against Rockstar Spud. Watch a video highlight at this link or embedded in the video below:
- Bully Ray "explained his actions" from Lockdown in a segment on this week's Impact. Watch a video highlight at this link or embedded in the video below:
- Bobby Lashley will make his in-ring return to Impact Wrestling on next week's episode in an announced bout against Ethan Carter III. The bout will be taped on Friday night from SoundStage 20 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. We'll have complete taping results here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
While Lashley worked Lockdown without a contract, the word is the company was preparing a significant contract for him.
Lashley Tweeted the following:
- Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, known collectively as Bad Influence, could be on their way out of TNA Wrestling. The word going around at Thursday night's Impact taping in Orlando, Florida was that both of their deals are coming up and that's the reason why they weren't there. They are not scheduled for either of the remaining tapings on Friday or Saturday. The duo last worked for TNA at last Sunday's Lockdown pay-per-view, teaming with Chris Sabin to go under to Sanada, The Great Muta & Yasu.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,209,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show ended up with a 0.99 cable rating. You can see how the show stacked up on cable at this link.
What match do you think should main event Wrestlemania 30 this year? I think it should be Brock Lesnar and Undertaker as I see it as the saving grace of Wrestlemania as opposed to Randy Orton vs. Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with both men possibly being booed out of the building?
Every year we debate what match should close Wrestlemania and every year The Undertaker makes a case why it should be him. He last closed Wrestlemania 26 against Shawn Michaels in 2010 and you would find no argument what-so-ever from me about Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar closing the show this year. WWE has a major problem with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and without a change from Orton vs. Batista, it's going to be a disaster. I'm not giving up hope because I know there have been internal discussions about adding a third participant. If I was booking, Daniel Bryan would be inserted in the title match at Wrestlemania, he would be put over and finally get the payoff that he's earned. Could you imagine the pop he'd get if he finally "overcame the odds," especially if he has to "beat Triple H" earlier in the night. However, this is nothing more than a fantasy at this juncture and in the lineup's current form, I say close with Lesnar vs. Undertaker.
When will we see Brodus Clay back on television and why has he been gone since his heel turn?
Brodus Clay was slated for a decent push as a heel on WWE television, even being awarded the "Jerk of the Month" in the latest issue of WWE Magazine. However, since then, he's been relegated to NXT and has been working out at the WWE Performance Center. He was back on the road with the main roster over the weekend, however, he put over The Great Khali. I do not know what happened but his "365-day Road to Redemption" campaign to get on the Wrestlemania card doesn't look good less than a month out.
Everyone wants to see Daniel Bryan in the WWE World Heavyweight title match at Wrestlemania but do you see WWE just adding John Cena to that match instead?
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt is the plan for Wrestlemania XXX and I do not see that changing. It's my hope WWE adds a third participant to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and it will be interesting to see how Cena vs. Wyatt is booked. Wyatt is a rising star, however, will this be the peak of his character or is it the launching of his career as a main eventer? Only time will tell as the "stay ability" of the Wyatt character will be put to the test over the next year.
After watching the WWE Network's library of ECW and considering his recent body of work, is it safe to say that Paul Heyman is the best promo artist there ever was?
I don't like to award the title "best ever" in this business because it's a never-ending debate that never resolves. However, it is safe to say that Paul Heyman is someone that understands the wrestling business like few people do. He really answered the call on last week's episode of Monday Night Raw and turned a disaster into an entertaining segment. I don't think there is anyone, not even Daniel Bryan at his current level, that could have handled the opening segment better than he did. Vince McMahon and Triple H are very lucky Heyman is employed and was able to assist them there.
From the Ask WNW vault...
June 2012: Is WWE risking burnout with John Cena with him continuing to work in the midst of lingering injuries and significant personal issues? - WWE has a history of riding top stars too hard, leading to severe burnout. There is concern they are riding John Cena too hard at a time where he is hurting both physically and personally. One person close to John told me he’s dealing with the drama in his personal life by working as much as possible but others are afraid it’s all going to catch up with him.
With it looking like WWE is finally doing the right thing with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania XXX and Bryan facing Triple H, where does that leave CM Punk if he chooses to come back?
With WWE announcing Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H for Wrestlemania 30 and the fact Bryan will be inserted in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match if he goes over, CM Punk is officially out of the plans. As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Vince McMahon pitched the title match to CM Punk as a last ditch effort to get him back for Raw in Chicago. The plan to add Daniel Bryan was brought up if Punk didn't agree, as we first reported there was serious discussion about Bryan pulling double duty here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com on March 3, 2014. The new plan for CM Punk following Vince McMahon's hail marry, is to give him some time and see if he gets the itch to return on his own. If not, Punk's career could be over.
I couldn't help but think some of the lines that JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler had during the main event of Raw were little jabs at the TV negotiations. Saying things like, "USA should be ecstatic for the excitement Daniel Bryan is bringing to Raw" or "Raw has been on USA for years, and Occupy Raw was just another great moment". The way I saw it, it seemed like Vince was trying to sell it as USA should be thankful for having Raw. Is that the case?
I noticed the USA Network references as well and my first thought was it sounded odd to hear them say USA Network after so many WWE Network mentions. This is a good point and could very well be the case, however, I cannot confirm as of this writing. Vince McMahon talks to the commentators in their headsets so he can steer the comments and conversations. As I mentioned on social media over the weekend, I do not believe WWE's domestic television negotiations have gone according to plan. WWE thought there were going to be a lot of suitors lined up but I heard it was basically a two-horse race between Viacom and NBCUniversal. Viacom was then considering pulling out, in favor of re-signing TNA Impact and bringing along other pro wrestling content. WWE wants more money than what NBCUniversal is offering, so perhaps those were little shots to indicate their content's value. The main goal of WWE's domestic TV negotiations is to drastically raise the amount they make annually in television licensing fees.
With the Undertaker's career nearing an end, do you see WWE creating a new streak with a new wrestler, or something similar?
What WWE has done with The Undertaker will likely never be duplicated. In Paul Heyman's promo on Monday Night Raw, he really put the streak in perspective by highlighting just how few workers have won consecutive Wrestlemania matches, let alone 21-0. I realize the outcomes are contrived but you have to realize, WWE can't just pick a worker and say "we're going to put this worker over 20+ times." Undertaker's lengthy shelf life as a top WWE star along with his phenomenal ability to continue to work at a high level is something very few people can do. There will never be another Undertaker and all wrestling fans should realize just how historic his run as been.
Why does WWE not use their App as much as they used too? Is it because of the WWE Network?
WWE very much still uses their App and actually have a complete staff backstage dedicated to it at TVs each week. The reason why they haven't been plugging it like crazy in recent weeks is because they've been plugging the WWE Network. It's one thing at a time for the company. One time it was Twitter they went crazy on, then the App, now the Network. They all build off one another but right now the company is focused on getting as many people as possible signed up for WWE Network.
From the Ask WNW vault…
May 2013: Was there any reason why Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and Steve Austin left WWE after Wrestlemania XX? - All three had different circumstances. Brock Lesnar hated the WWE travel schedule and wanted to pursue a career in the NFL. He requested his release to do this. WWE granted his release on the condition he would sign a non-compete agreement that would prevent him from working for a competing organization before June 2010. Lesnar signed it and was granted his release after his match at Wrestlemania XX against Goldberg. When the NFL didn’t pan out, Lesnar went to Japan to wrestle for New Japan Pro Wrestling. This resulted in a legal battle with WWE due to the non-compete but it was later dismissed after a settlement. Goldberg wasn’t happy in WWE either and wanted out. He fulfilled his contractual obligations and was “fed up” with backstage politics and the way the company operated. Goldberg didn’t get along with Vince McMahon and stated publicly both he and Lesnar were in a hurry to get out of dodge. Steve Austin’s contract with WWE was coming up and they were negotiating behind-the-scenes. I don’t have specifics as to what went wrong but they broke down a month after Wrestlemania XX and he let the company. Goldberg accused WWE of not putting the focus on the Wrestlemania XX bout (with Austin as the special referee) given their impending departures. The New York City crowd was “smartened up” to the fact that Goldberg and Lesnar were leaving and crapped on the match.
Why have workers like Kofi Kingston, Titus O'Neil, R-Truth and Xavier Woods been off Raw and Smackdown the last few weeks?
It's Wrestlemania season and that means the focus is on building to the pay-per-view of the year, which means less opportunities for the midcard. I am more curious about the whereabouts of Rey Mysterio, as no one know seems to have an update on his status. I requested comment from a WWE's spokesman but was not given one. Given the documented problems with Rey's knee, I'm wondering why we haven't seen him on television in the last few weeks.
Am I the only one who thinks it'd be stupid to break up The Shield?
There seems to be a large degree of uncertainty about what to do with The Shield. I heard they would be together at least until Wrestlemania and reported as such a couple of months ago. I've heard Wrestlemania XXX scenarios for them that included everything from a tag match against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to a triple threat between the three of them. As we noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, they could even end up getting thrown in the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. So you're not the only one that would be against a Shield breakup, however, they do have a shelf life and the feeling in WWE is that all three will do well on their own.
Who were all those fans that got to be in the ring for the "Occupy Raw" segment?
I recognized Rick Achberger, a/k/a Sign Guy, but there were also backstage staffers involved in the segment. I want to take this opportunity to say the Occupy Raw segment was one of the better segments they've done in quite some time and helped an otherwise bland episode of Monday Night Raw (excluding the old school Undertaker promo). You can check out a photo Brooklyn Brawler Tweeted below:
WWE was in complete control of the segment and obviously pre-selected the people involved earlier in the day.
When Hulk Hogan announced the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal on Raw, the first thing that came to my mind is - With Andre being “the king of battle royals” wouldn’t it make the most sense to have Big Show go over in the battle royal at Wrestlemania?
Whoever goes over in the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will get a good payoff, however, I'll admit I'm somewhat disappointed in the match. I appreciate WWE paying tribute to Andre at the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania but why not do a Money in the Bank ladder match instead? Perhaps I'm still salty over the disappointment of this year's Royal Rumble but I'm just not sure fans will care about this match. The winner gets a trophy, that's what they announced. I'd rather see five or six workers battle for a future title shot as the Money in the Bank ladder match creates more intrigue.
Do you think Bray Wyatt's gimmick can be relevant and entertaining for years to come? How would you tweak the character to achieve that?
This is the million-dollar question that will depend on how far Bray Wyatt will be able to take the gimmick. He has everything he needs to be successful but will this gimmick be timeless like that of The Undertaker or will it fade out as most do? I can't give you a yes or no answer or even suggestions for tweaks at this juncture. Bray Wyatt is working right now so I say ride it for all it's worth. Inevitable progression will need to happen to keep fans interested but only time will tell the ultimate story.
From the Ask WNW vault…
January 2012: Is it possible Batista will return to WWE and is there any hope of him being in Miami this year for Wrestlemania XXVIII? - I have maintained Batista will one day return to WWE to wrap up his career as a professional wrestler. He left the company to pursue other opportunities because his contract was up and he was unhappy with the product. Batista has been a vocal critic of WWE’s PG initiative, has gone on record saying John Cena killed hardcore, edgy wrestling and he is no hurry to come back and work with The Miz. Batista has also said the current WWE product is “brutal.” Despite all the negativity and brutally-honest comments, WWE would welcome him back. I believe it will come down to Dave’s desire to return and the right opportunity being available. As for Wrestlemania this year, anything is possible, but any other return is going to take a backseat to The Rock. I can’t imagine Batista wanting to do that, especially given his feelings for John Cena.
Has WWE backed themselves in a corner with the Daniel Bryan stipulation at Wrestlemania? If he doesn't go over Triple H, the crowd is going to turn. If he does, isn't the outcome obvious?
I would be surprised if Daniel Bryan didn't go over Triple H at Wrestlemania 30 because as you mentioned, the crowd would turn hard if he didn't. Could you imagine the negative reaction Batista vs. Randy Orton would garner after Bryan did a job to Triple H? The only way to get out of that would be some type of elaborate swerve. The obvious outcome has Bryan going over Hunter and being inserted into the title match later in the night. After that, all bets are off. If I was booking, I'd put Daniel Bryan over for the title and give him his payoff and Wrestlemania moment, however, that's far from a guarantee. WWE booked themselves in a corner the moment they denied Bryan entry in the Royal Rumble match and remained intent on giving Batista a spot in the Wrestlemania main event. I feel a lot better about Wrestlemania now that Bryan is getting his opportunity. This has been right in front of WWE for over a year now, so it's nice to see the company finally listen to their fan base.
One of the biggest problems the WWE Network had trouble with at launch was streaming issues related to an overwhelming amount of traffic. Do you fear that with Wrestlemania being not only the biggest event of the year, but also the first PPV to air on the network that these issues could reemerge and cause problems for subscribers trying to stream the event?
Throughout all of the early issues with the WWE Network, there haven't been widespread issues with the live stream. There were login issues and issues streaming the video-on-demand library but we actually heard very little about problems with the actual live stream. WWE has been preparing for Wrestlemania by testing as much live programming as possible. In fact, NXT ArRIVAL was actually the first *live pay-per-view* and a show that gave WWE the opportunity to test their capabilities. That show was not without error as my stream went out for just under five minutes. My biggest concern with WWE Network is issues regarding buffering/streaming so it would be a major problem if they had issues during Wrestlemania. However, WWE has to be aware their Network will be at max capacity [for Wrestlemania] and will need to make preparations for such. I know here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com we make special arrangements for Wrestlemania because we know our servers are going to be at max capacity during the show. I would expect WWE to do the same and am not overly worried about it.
I believe a lot of Sting's legacy in pro wrestling is rooted in the fact that he is one of the few wrestling greats to have never worked for the WWE. Do you see Sting's legacy being significantly tarnished if he does sign a deal with WWE?
I do not see how Sting working for the largest and most successful professional wrestling promotion in the world could be a bad thing. I guess there could be concerns about the way WWE books him but TNA booked Jay Lethal over Ric Flair after he came out of retirement and I don't think his legacy has been tarnished. Sting could be completely finished with pro wrestling and retire as one of the all-time greats, however, I don't see anything hurting that legacy either. His place in history is etched in stone regardless of what happens next. Everyone wants an update on his status but we do not have one as of this writing.
With WWE putting so much effort into the WWE Network and the network pushing Main Event as live programming, do you see Main Event eventually eclipsing Smackdown as WWE's second biggest show?
No, Smackdown is still and will continue to be WWE's "second" show. Ion Television does not have exclusive rights to carry the first run airing of WWE Main Event, thus the company is able to show it first to WWE Network subscribers. It didn't hurt last week's viewership as the numbers actually went up. WWE wants to have as much live programming as possible, if anything else to use to test their service before Wrestlemania XXX in April.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: With WWE bringing Ric Flair back to Raw do you think it’s a message to TNA they will do what they want when they want? - I don’t think Ric Flair appearing on Raw was as much a shot at TNA as it was Triple H getting his buddy back where he wants to be. Flair and Hunter are very close and Flair made it clear he wanted to return to WWE. The reason he went to TNA in the first place was there was no interest in using him in WWE and Hulk Hogan talked Ric into doing it. With that being said one very important fact that we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com is that Flair is not under WWE contract. The hiring freeze in regards to former TNA talent remains intact and because Flair hasn’t signed a new WWE contract, TNA cannot allege that WWE used information divulged by Brian Wittenstein to sign their talent. Flair hasn’t kept it a secret that he has enough pull in WWE to get them to “creatively” pay him without putting him under contract which is exactly what we saw on this week’s Raw.
How in the world did rumors get started that AMC Networks was interested in purchasing WWE?
I'm going to show everyone exactly how this got started and how I knew the moment I saw it that it was ridiculous. An American stock market analysis website posted the following at 2:14 PM EDT on Thursday at this link:
Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE +0.6%) spiked higher in mid-day trading on a rumor that AMC Networks is interested in buying the company.
The 7% rally in WWE to all-time highs has been quickly deflated.
So you're probably wondering, where did they get information there was a rumor about AMC Networks being interested in buying the company? Enter this blog post. I don't know much about this "Betaville" blog, however, I can tell you it's a subdomain hosted by the blogging service known as Blog Spot.
This resulted in headlines across the IWC that AMC Networks was interested in buying WWE. As I stated here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, I'm not trying to sound self-righteous. However, it's imperative that the source be considered before just running with a rumor. Had that rumor been posted on a site such as The Wall Street Journal, it would have been a different situation, however, it was on a subdomain from a writer putting credence to another ridiculous rumor that Vince McMahon is interested in buying Newcastle United.
The source must be considered before any rumor is taken seriously, especially one of this level. If you believed it, wrote about it or commented on it, that's where and how it all got started.
Could the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal become the new "King of the Ring," a major career boost for mid carder?
It could be and as I stated, the winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania 30 will get a payoff, however, I'm not that optimistic about it. The bout seems more like WWE scrambling to get 30 guys on the card with no build. I hope they prove me wrong with a match that's interesting and intriguing but again, I'm not overly optimistic. Maybe I'm just sour over how this year's Royal Rumble match went but I don't see how they'll be able to effectively book a match with this many participants at the biggest show of the year without it coming off as a watered down version of the Royal Rumble. I'm on record as to writing I would rather see a Money in the Bank ladder match, as it would have more interest and intrigue. Sure, less guys would get on the card but that's a tradeoff I'd be willing to accept.
What's the background on the new TNA Knockout Brittany?
Brittany's real name is Santana Garrett and her father is known on the United States independent scene. She was trained by Chasyn Rance and saw her stock rise for her work in SHINE and SHIMMER. She was actually signed in November but promoter Sal Hamaoui leaked the news in January.
What does Sting's independent bookings this weekend say about his status with WWE?
We can't read too much into Sting's appearances in London this weekend. He could still be WWE bound, however, I've heard from the beginning he wasn't in the plans for Wrestlemania 30. I'm not sure how much I believe that but perhaps we'll learn more about his status after the dates this weekend. The last I heard he was rumored to be headed to WWE but had not signed a contract.
From the Ask WNW vault…
June 2010: Did Batista really quit WWE? - Batista's WWE contract was up and he is taking time away from the business. I've heard he'll be back for one last retirement tour but do not have any more details at this time.