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, February 23, 2013 to Friday, March 1, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW
- In response to the controversy involving political commentator Glenn Beck, the official WWE YouTube channel has uploaded a video in which Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter break kayfabe in order to address Beck directly. Swagger and Colter introduce themselves by their real names: Jake Hager and Wayne Keown, and explain the nature of kayfabe. The breaking of character is being promoted on the official WWE Twitter page as well. The video is embedded below:
Richard Reacts: Excellent, outstanding and awesome. Get em Dutch!
- Following WWEextending an invitation to appear on Raw and Zeb Colteroffering 5 minutes of time to give an unedited rebuttal, political commentator Glenn Beck responded on Twitter:
- WWE has announced the following May live events:
- 5/10 from the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, LA
- 5/11 from the the Ford Arena in Beaumont, TX
- 5/17 from the EA Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY
- This week's episode of WWE Vintage Collection featured the following:
* Jeff Hardy & Christian vs. Matt Hardy & Edge (WWF Raw - 12/20/1999)
* Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude (WWF House Show - 7/15/1988 - Los Angeles)
* Chris Jericho vs. Mini Goldberg (WCW Fall Brawl 1998)
* Chris Jericho vs. Bill Goldberg (WWE Raw - 9/22/2003)
* Shawn Michaels vs. Davey Boy Smith (WWF Saturday Night's Main Event - 11/14/1992)
The above information was transcribed by Devin Cutting.
- In addition to a new blog on The Huffington Post, Linda McMahon sat down for an interview to reflect on spending $100 million on her two failed Senate campaigns.
"I thoroughly enjoyed campaigning, because I got to meet the people all across Connecticut and hear what their issues were," McMahon told HuffPost Live host Abby Huntsman.
She also discussed accusations of campaign workers alleging non-payment.
"We had a couple of instances where things were put through that just fell through the cracks, but all that was cleared up," she said. "It was just a question of timing and, quite frankly, some folks say they didn't get a check. They did! We had some of those issues, but they were very, very small."
Check out the full video interview at this link.
- The Undertaker returned to WWE at Saturday night's Smackdown live event in Waco, Texas. He teamed with Sheamus to face Damien Sandow & Wade Barrett.
Information is coming in very quickly and we have not confirmed if Undertaker has agreed to work Wrestlemania 29. He lives just over an hour and a half away from Waco in Austin, Texas. My gut tells me he didn't make this big of a surprise to work one non-televised bout.
Below are some photos:
- Undertaker has been in negotiations with WWE about working Wrestlemania 29 this year. While his health is obviously a factor, the main reason he was holding out was over money. We can confirm Undertaker met with Vince McMahon and Triple H about Wrestlemania two weeks ago in Nashville, TN. We reported on February 14th he was still a possibility for the show. As of this writing we are unable to confirm Undertaker for Raw on Monday or that he is officially in the plans for Wrestlemania 29. He lives just over an hour and half from Waco, Texas (the site of Saturday night's live event) and it's doubtful he returned for one non-televised bout. A source that has been following the negotiations said Undertaker wanted to test his body before a match and given the fact he worked a tag bout [at Saturday's Smackdown live event], it makes sense.
- In a sad "where are they now?" update, Virgil is panhandling memorabilia in Grand Central Subway Station. You can view coverage at this link by DeadSpin.com.
- Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski says his favorite wrestler is currently CM Punk. Click here for more.
- Randy Orton wrote the following on Twitter:
- "Snitch" starring WWE Champion The Rock opened second at the box office this weekend. The film did an estimated $13,000,000 according to this chart.
- For those that missed our live results, Jack Swagger beat Sin Cara at Saturday's WWE live event in Waco, Texas. This is his first match since being arrested late Tuesday night.
- If you missed the link in WWE's press release where they invited Glenn Beck to Raw, below is video of Beck trashing WWE:
I can't stomach to listen to Beck so I'll admit I didn't watch but this is what happens when marks get worked. It's a storyline, not a political agenda. WWE released this video where Swagger and Colter broke kayfabe to try and explain the difference to Beck. I wonder if he got it?
- Eurosport Turkey interviewed Daniel Bryan. While the interview was done in Turkish, you can view the highlights in English below:
About being trained by Shawn Michaels and William Regal:
"Being trained by Shawn Michaels and William Regal was a great opportunity. Not everyone gets this opportunity. Imagine what someone like Kaval would be if he was trained by HBK& Regal"
About comparing the indys and the WWE:
"I miss the intimacy of the fans in independent scene. They have their pluses and minuses but I can say I miss the fans there."
"NXT was disrespectful to wrestling in general. The entire show. When Undertaker debuted, he didn't have to climb ladders or carry kegs. I trained to be a wrestler for a long time, so let me go out and wrestle. If you have me go out and do these stupid contests, you make me look stupid and it's very difficult to make stars when you already made them look stupid on television"
About his "the future is bright for Bryan Danielson" promo on NXT:
"One of the things people don't know about NXT is that we were never told what to say, and we never knew the questions people were asking us. When the interviewer asked me "You were a big fish in a small pond and now you seemingly drowned in the sea that is the WWE", my response was "No, this character that you created for me, he's failed, because you created him to fail. But me, as a person, I'm better than this. I can go out and do, I can do what I'm doing right now, which is capturing the imagination of the crowd."
About the Justin Roberts incident:
"I did what I felt was natural, but I am not used to wrestle in a confined environment. WWE has to be very carful about being PG. I wasn't used to that at the time. I was an independent wrestler, Sometimes I would do things because it just felt right, and when it felt right, it wasn't right for the company."
About being a world champion:
"Being a world champion is cool, but you don't just wanna be the champion, you want to be the man, you wanna be the guy they rely on for everything. Even though I was the world champion, I never was the man. John Cena, even though he isn't the champion, he's the man, and that's what you aspire to be. At the and of the day, you wanna be the man"
About being in a tag team with Kane:
"I was able to do lots of comedy stuff on Pro Wrestling Guerilla and shows like that, it's been fun to do that to a wider audience. But now, I'm starting to feel like aching for the more serious stuff, being able to go out there and just wrestle. "
Click here to read the interview in its entirety.
- CNN ran a segment on the Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter storyline and covered Glenn Beck's "stupid wrestling people" remark on Newsroom with Carol Costello. They also showed the end of the out-of-character video that WWE posted. The debate goes on at Costello's Facebook page at this link. Please note she refers to WWE as "Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment."
- Both Mason Ryan and Derrick Bateman worked Sunday's WWE NXT live event in Melbourne, Florida.
- Devin Cutting is circulating the following WWE live event announcements:
- 5/3 from the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, OH (tickets on sale 3/1)
- 5/6 WWE Raw from the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, VA (tickets on sale 3/9)
- 5/7 Smackdown from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC (tickets on sale 3/2)
- 6/23 from the MLK Jr. Arena at the Savannah Civic Center in Savannah, GA
- We're told Ryback is still upset he won't be challenging for or winning (one of the original plans) the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 29 and is pushing for a heel turn. One observer described it similar to the situation CM Punk was in last year where he realized the only way he was going to move further up the card was to go heel. Punk grew frustrated and eventually accepted the fact he'd never be pushed in front of John Cena as the top babyface but could maybe solidify himself as the top heel. When evaluating the "lay of the land," were told Ryback has also realized he's not going to take Cena's spot as the top babyface but feels he has a chance of taking Punk's spot as the top heel if he turns. As for what the office thinks, they're not hot on the idea of turning Ryback. They haven't outright told him no but we're told it would be surprising if they caved in the immediate future.
- John Layfield will be off television this week as he begins his climb of Mount Aconcagua. The following is from his Twitter:
- Fighting Spirit Magazine has another excerpt of their interview with Hulk Hogan online. It it, he discusses negotiating a 25-year contract with Vince McMahon and WWE and the proposed match against John Cena that never happened. Below is the excerpt:
“It was part of a 25-year deal (with WWE)”, Hogan said. I was filming Hogan Knows Best, and Vince McMahon and I started negotiating. It was at a time when I was coming back for the one-off shows with Shawn (Michaels) and Randy (Orton).” “But it's wrong about Cena – that was just part of the whole thing where I would show up once in a while and wrestle. It was one of those times where Vince and I were in love one day, and fighting the next. We were negotiating a 25-year deal, and part of it was me wrestling Cena in Orlando at Wrestlemania. I called Vince and said, 'I'm good to go'. I'd just had my first back surgery, and everything was supposed to be perfect, but just before I was due on TV, my back went. I was scared to call Vince, but when I did, I was like, 'Dude, my back has gone out again'. After more surgeries, instead of a morphine pump to ease the pain, they inserted a battery (into my back) that was made by NASA for the space shuttle, and lasts forever”.
Click here for more.
- WWE just announced on dot com that Donald Trump will be inducted into the Hall of Fame class of 2013. The article from WWE can be seen below:
“Donald is a global icon whose status brought an unmatched level of publicity and grandeur to WWE,” WWE Chairman and CEO Mr. McMahon said. The star and co-producer of the hit NBC series, "The Apprentice" — which premieres its 13th season on Sunday, March 3 — Trump has been a key figure in WWE since 1988 when his Trump Plaza hosted WrestleMania IV. The following year, WrestleMania V emanated from the same building, making it the first venue to present consecutive Show of Shows. The Donald’s most lasting impact on WWE occurred at WrestleMania 23 when he put his famous head of hair on the line against Mr. McMahon’s mane in a “Battle of the Billionaires.” A record number of viewers tuned in to see Trump back Bobby Lashley to victory over Mr. McMahon’s Umaga and then shave The Chairman’s head in front of more than 80,000 WWE fans. “It was literally the thrill of a lifetime performing in front of 80,000 enthusiastic fans during the ‘Battle of the Billionaires’ match at WrestleMania 23,” Donald Trump said. Trump wasn’t done with Mr. McMahon just yet as he returned in 2009 to purchase Monday Night Raw from his rival. The following week, The Donald presented the show commercial-free and gave every fan in attendance a full refund. Mr. McMahon was so incensed with Trump’s actions that he was cornered into buying his program back for twice the price. (PHOTOS OF TRUMP) “I’ve always enjoyed and respected WWE’s brand of entertainment and look forward to the ceremony in my hometown at Madison Square Garden,” the Chairman and President of The Trump Organization said.
Donald Trump has been in many WWE shows where he always made his impression. He gave away money and, most famously, shaved the head of Vince McMahon. The WWE Hall of Fame will be on April 6, 2013 and Mr. Trump will join the likes of Mick Foley and Bruno Sammartino.
- It was announced on tonight's WWE Raw that Fandango, formerly known as Johnny Curtis, is scheduled to make his debut on this week's Smackdown. This week's Smackdown will take place at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We will have full results tomorrow night on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
-It was announced during this week's WWE Raw broadcast that next week's episode will have an "Old School" theme. The last Old School Raw took place on November 15, 2010. Next week's episode will take place at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, and we will have full results during the show. -Triple H is the latest WWE name to join Twitter. Click here to view his profile.
- Last week's Smackdown did a 2.03 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 2,890,000 viewers on SyFy. - WWE issued the following press release on Monday prior to this week's Raw:
GLENN BECK SAYS NO TO RAW®, WWE® GOES TO BECK Glenn Beck has declined WWE’s invitation to address our fans live tonight on Raw, in response to a segment that aired on TheBlaze last week where Beck referenced WWE as “stupid wrestling people.” Instead, WWE is sending a video crew to Beck’s studios to get comment from the talk show host and political commentator. Tune-in to Monday Night Raw tonight at 8/7C on USA Network to see if Beck responds.
- This week's WWE Raw is a legitimate sellout from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The crowd was announced at 17,131.
- Earlier today, Michael Cole took a camera crew to Glenn Beck's studio in order to attempt to get an interview with Beck, after he declined the invitation to appear on Raw. The video is embedded below: - Brock Lesnar required 18 staples to close the cut to his head during the opening segment of WWE Raw with Triple H. WWE posted the following photo on their WWE Active App:
Lesnar was busted open hardway.
- WWE issued the following press release:
GLENN BECK HIDES FROM WWE® STAMFORD, Conn., February 25, 2013 – Glenn Beck declined WWE’s invitation to address our fans live on Raw® tonight and then hid from WWE reporters when approached this evening at his studios in Dallas. WWE attempted to get comment from Beck but was unable to gain building access after Beck’s representatives said he was “not in the building,” which clearly couldn’t be the case just prior to his show airing live from the same studio. Beck referenced WWE as “stupid wrestling people” in a segment that aired on TheBlaze TV last week, criticizing a recent WWE storyline involving WWE characters World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio™, Jack Swagger™ and Zeb Colter™. Similar to other television shows and feature films, WWE is in the entertainment business, creating fictional characters that serve as protagonists or antagonists. To create compelling and relevant content for our audience, it is important to incorporate current events into our storylines. WWE is creating a rivalry centered on a topical subject that has varying points of view. This storyline was developed to build the Mexican American character Del Rio into a hero given WWE’s large Latino base, which represents 20 percent of our audience.
What do you think? Weigh in on Glenn Beckhere on our Facebook page.
- John Cena beat CM Punk in a #1 contender match on this week's WWE Raw and will challenge The Rock for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29. Rock Tweeted the following:
Wrestlemania 29 will take place Sunday, April 6, 2013 from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Richard Reacts: A #1 contender match rendered the 30-man Royal Rumble match pointless but that was awesome work by John Cena and CM Punk. Anyone that says Cena can't work needs to check that one out. He's worked several others, but this is fresh.
- Brock Lesnar was cut in the opening segment of this week's WWE Raw when the back of his head hit underneath the turnbuckle where there is a spring and screw hook. Lesnar was thrown into the ring post by Triple H where he covered it with his hands for the bump, however, his head got caught on the exposed hook.
- The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship is titled "Greatness vs. Redemption." The match was "Once in a Lifetime" last year.
For those that missed this week's Monday Night Raw, WWE is moving forward "full steam ahead" with the Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter storyline. Swagger, who went over Sin Cara in two bouts at live events over the weekend, went over The Miz on Raw. With John Cena beating CM Punk and Triple H returning to oppose Brock Lesnar, below is the first look at the Wrestlemania 29 lineup:
WWE Championship Match
- The Rock © vs. John Cena
World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez © vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter
SummerSlam '12 Rematch
- Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H
Lesnar vs. Hunter hasn't been officially announced but is certainly the direction WWE is taking. Wrestlemania 29 will take place Sunday, April 7, 2013 from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
- MVP wrote the following on Twitter on Tuesday:
I would like to thank @njpw1972 for allowing me to realize a dream! I LOVE Japan & will forever be grateful! I left on good terms as always. I'm currently working on a TV project with Lionsgate TV. I'll release more details soon. But right now I'm not affiliated with ANY company. I WILL return to wrestling eventually. The door is open for a return to WWE, NJPW & even TNA. However my focus now is developing my TV show. And for the record my show has NOTHING to do with wrestling. I'm excited about it. The people at Lionsgate TV have been awesome!
You can read all of MVP's Tweets at this link.
- Vince McMahon wasn't bothered by the color in the opening segment of this week's WWE Raw, especially because it was the hard way. He was concerned that Brock Lensar might have suffered a concussion but he checked out OK.
- There was continued disappointment about the in-ring work of Ryback. Spots mentioned to us - the work with Big E Langston on the apron and a "careless power bomb" on Dolph Ziggler.
- As noted, it's "full steam ahead" for Jack Swagger as WWE has decided to let things play out in court before rushing to disciplinary measures. Vince was livid over Swagger's arrest but appears to be consoled for the moment.
- While the Raw main event was very well received, there was a spot that caused Vince McMahon to throw his drink and start screaming at a producer. We're told Vince was livid over the piledriver spot and despite both John Cena and CM Punk protecting themselves, the move is on Vince's banned list. We're told Vince lit into Cena and Punk backstage about it but obviously their spots will not be impacted.
- Other than that, the word backstage was that Punk vs. Cena was a "Match of the Year" candidate. Some were saying they just gave away what should have been the Wrestlemania main event on free TV. We also heard Punk was put over for bringing out the best in Cena.
- Speaking of Punk, one producer approached Vince and asked him if he was aware that Punk has now lost to The Rock back-to-back, Cena and potentially Undertaker at Wrestlemania? We're told Vince looked puzzled.
- Dot com has photos of Brock Lesnar getting the laceration in his head closed after getting cut on this week's episode of WWE Raw. Click here to view them.
- WWE has announced the 5/21 Smackdown taping will take place from the Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Tickets go on sale 3/9. - Bo Dallas beat Curt Hawkins in a dark match prior to this week's Smackdown taping.
- Randy Orton, Sheamus & Kane faced The Shield in a dark match main event following this week's Smackdown taping. When Shield got in trouble after Orton hit Dean Ambrose with an RKO, Shemaus Brogue Kicked Seth Rollins and Kane chokeslammed Roman Reigns, they ended up retreating through the crowd.
- WWE sent Alicia Fox and Natlaya to Rwanda as part of their partnership with the Nothing But Nets campaign. It's setup to fight Malaria and you can find out more at this link. The following is from Natalya's Twitter:
- We broke here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium on February 19, 2013 that WWE was targeting a major name to induct Bruno Sammartino into their Hall of Fame. That name is Arnold Schwarzenegger and as of this writing, negotiations remain ongoing. As for the other inductors, here's the latest:
- Mick Foley said he would like either Terry Funk or Jim Ross to induct him. We heard WWE contacted Funk about appearing for them over Wrestlemania weekend and reported it here.
- Bob Backlund will either be inducted by Sgt. Slaughter or "Extra" host Maria Menounos
- Trish Stratus will either select Amy "Lita" Dumas or Finlay
- It's believed Donald Trump will be inducted by his daughter Ivanka.
- Stephanie McMahon is officially on Twitter. Triple H, her husband, sent out the following and she responded:
If you are unable to view the Tweets embedded, below is a transcription:
Triple H: Hey, I badgered my wife into doing this nerdfest as well. Follow her at @StephMcMahon! Stephanie McMahon: @TripleH Thanks Honey, I needed another responsibility!
You can follow us on Twitter @wnwnews.
- We're told Triple H is targeting a May opening for the new WWE training center in Orlando, Florida. Construction for the facility is already underway and WWE officials are pleased with the progress. Hunter has been very "hands on" with the project as the current debate is how many rings the facility will feature. While the original plan was for five, Hunter now wants seven. Some feel more rings will mean more ring time, while others push back as they feel there will be too much noise and confusion. Regardless, the new WWE developmental training center in a pet project of Triple H and he's been very active with all of the details.
- Jim Ross discusses making an appearance on this week's Smackdown in a new blog entry posted here on his official website. JR was obviously at the show hanging out backstage as they were in Oklahoma City.
- CM Punk worked this week's WWE Raw fighting an illness. Many put him over not only for the stellar main event against John Cena but the fact he did it while sick.
- Rey Mysterio continues to deal with personal issues and has been removed from upcoming live events. He was backstage at this week's Smackdown taping in Oklahoma City.
- Dot com takes a look at the "Evolution of Trish Stratus" in a new feature at this link. - Below is a look at all three covers for the March 2013 issue of WWE Magazine. I got the one with Brock Lesnar on the front a couple weeks ago:
- Roddy Piper Tweeted the following about appearing on "Celebrity Wife Swap" with Ric Flair:
- CM Punk was asked at the Ohio Comic-Con in September last year if he would like to challenge Undertaker for "the streak" at Wrestlemania. The following quotes are directly from Punk:
"That Doesn't interest me… I like being in situations where you don't know who is going to win… Whoever wrestles in that I feel it's a foregone conclusion… There needs to be some drama and stuff."
This of course is relevant as it's believed he will indeed be the worker to challenge Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 this year. - The Rock noted on Twitter he's departing Panama as they've finished shooting his new TV series "The Hero."
- Lilian Garcia is in Nashville working with songwriters to pen four songs for her new album. - WWE will report their 2012 fourth quarter earnings prior to market open on Thursday. At 11 AM Vince McMahon will host a conference call with investors. A big announcement regarding the WWE Network is expected as we'll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- WWE is hosting a Diva Search in Los Angeles where they are seeking out new female talent. Ten candidates from modeling agencies are being paid to train, those deemed impressive will be offered developmental contracts. Head NXT trainer Bill DeMott is presiding over the tryouts.
- IGN interviewed WWE Champion The Rock in Panama while he was filming the upcoming reality series, The Hero, which will premiere this summer on TNT. Below are the highlights:
Returning to face John Cena:
"He was my pick, yes," The Rock confirmed. "Definitely. You have to understand that my return back into the WWE was years in the making. And since I've been back, it's been a three year-long journey that started at WrestleMania 27 in Atlanta. So John has always been my first choice. Here's the thing. The question was that if I was going to go back in the WWE, how could I go back and make the most impact? With who can I headline WrestleMania in that company and make the most impact? And the bottom line is that it continues to be John Cena. Just in terms of, and we'll use a Hollywood term here, box office appeal. Universal appeal. Athletic pairing. So there are a lot of reasons."
Match at Wrestlemania 29:
"I think we're going to have a great match and my hope is that it's going to be a classic," The Rock continued. "With some great drama, some great emotion. This scenario for me is one that I've honestly dreamed of. A dream match. And what I'm talking about is being able to go back to the WWE and give back to the business, which is in my blood and has allowed me a platform to perform which then, twelve years ago, allowed me to make he transition to Hollywood. So the scenario I've dreamed of is that I'm able to go back, become WWE Champion, go into the what is considered the biggest marketplace in the world, which is the New York City area, at MetLife Stadium and headline WrestleMania as champion and give back to the business, the fans, the company and their number one hero. So I couldn't have asked for a better scenario and we're going to have a blast."
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- WWE announced on Thursday they plan to replace their corporate jet this year as the current aircraft is nearly 20 years old. Here's the quote from the company's new business plan:
Free Cash Flow is also expected to decline in 2013 due to capital expenditures of $50 million to $60 million, of which approximately 65% is an estimated one-time expenditure to replace our aging corporate jet, which is nearly 20 years old. We expect the acquisition of the aircraft will be financed at attractive rates, and that the sale of our current aircraft will offset a significant portion of the down payment.
Additionally, WWE revealed more on the WWE Network. They officially state one of their plans is to include all pay-per-views except Wrestlemania on the network and price it between $12.99 and $14.99 per month. Here's an excerpt:
Regarding a potential WWE network, we are evaluating multiple approaches. We believe that a premium subscription model is the best approach in the U.S. to capitalize on our fans’ commitment to our brands and their desire for more WWE content. Based on our market research, we estimate that a fully distributed domestic pay network could ultimately attract between 2 million and 4 million subscribers at a “steady state.” These subscriber estimates derive from a projected base of approximately 47 million WWE digital TV households in the US (including lapsed fans), and the proportion of which have an affinity for WWE content, although there is no guarantee that this affinity will translate into actual subscribers. 5 These take-rates are based on a value proposition for the network that reflects inclusion of our pay-per-view events, except WrestleMania, as well as compelling original content. Under our preferred subscription model, while our pay-per-view events would still be offered on an á la carte basis as currently available, the research indicates that a WWE network offering would drive significant consumer interest (including households that currently do not purchase pay-per-view events). At a proposed price per month between $12.99 and $14.99, this would represent incremental revenue to WWE of between $125 million and $250 million and incremental EBITDA between $50 million and $150 million. Actual results are contingent on several factors, including the necessity of entering into distribution agreements, 6 and such results could vary materially from the expected range based on the rate of subscriber adoption and churn rates, as well as changes in pricing, promotion levels and distribution terms. Until a base of approximately 1 million subscribers is achieved, we estimate the network would represent a net investment for WWE. Ultimately, we believe a network and other distribution and monetization options would represent a sizable economic opportunity in the U.S. and internationally.
- Wade Barrett was at the premiere of "Dead Man Down" on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Barrett has a supporting role in the WWE Studios film which stars Colin Farrell and Terrence Howard. Check out a photo Barrett on the red carpet in the Tweet below:
- Big Show was in attendance at the Virginia Tech at Miami Hurricanes college basketball game on Wednesday night. St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese was also there and they posed for a photo you can view below:
- Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement where he acknowledged Thursday's earnings report and Business Plan & Potential Path To Significant Earnings Growth release.
Vince McMahon got on the call and put over social media growth and the numbers of the quarter. He mentioned their action figures doing very well and said this was a particularly good quarter. Vince brought up the Rolling Stones pay-per-view and charity work with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. He said their new deal with Take-Two Interactive was "very, very exciting."
Vince then ran down current television deals. He said to expect 2013 to remain relatively flat due to increased production capacity and increased creative writing staff. WWE CFO George Barrios took over to crunch the numbers.
Barrios put over the increased number of domestic television hours the company has monetized with the third hour of Raw and new WWE programs. He cited a 12% TV audience increase in the US and said the company doubled their Twitter and Facebook followers.
George said there was an increase in High Definition buys for pay-per-views in the quarter, providing WWE with more revenue per buy.
Regarding the WWE Network, Barrios noted that under one million subscribers they would see the network as an investment but at three to four million subscribers, it could provide transformative growth. Costs reached $8.2 million in 2012.
The call then went to the question and answer session.
- Barrios reiterated there are not plans to bring Raw and Smackdown to the WWE Network and they are comfortable about having broad distribution in the US. Vince McMahon highlighted they use these deals to promote other revenue streams.
- A caller asked the likelihood of the WWE Network launching this year. Barrios said they feel good and are optimistic about a launch this year but said they were going to get out of predicting dates.
- George Barrios indicated that Wrestlemania accounts for more than half of their pay-per-view earnings which is why they're willing to move the other pay-per-views to the WWE Network. Vince says they also assume that people who cannot afford the huge monthly pay-per-view bill will be able to subscribe to the WWE Network.
- Barrios said vision and focus on brand were the two aspects that really impressed WWE regarding Take-Two Interactive. The bankruptcy of THQ cost WWE $4-$5 million.
- Vince McMahon said they do have the ability to push past their PG initiative on the WWE Network depending on the time it airs. He put over the network's ability to repurpose Attitude Era material as well as provide new material.
- Box office estimates won't be released for new WWE Studios films "Dead Man Down" and "The Call" but they are very important to see how their new strategy will work out. The films are partner distributed which means they'll get paid down the line and not the initial revenue at the box office.
- The $40 million TV rights fees should be nominal fees going forward.
- The target is 1 million subscribers to at least break even with the WWE Network. George Barrios reiterated from earlier in the call they believe at full distribution they can be at three to four million subscribers. Everything depends on carriage agreements and how quickly they can reach subscribers. The company feels within 6-12 months after launch they should have a good idea with how things are working.
Michael Weitz ended the call with investor contact information.
- The Orlando Business Journal, citing information from the Central Florida Sports Commission newsletter, reported on Thursday that Orlando is in the running to host Wrestlemania 31 or 32. Below is an excerpt from the Sports Commission newsletter:
“The Sports Commission recently received a request for a proposal from WWE for the opportunity to host WrestleMania. The event would take place in late March or early April in either 2015 or 2016,” said the commission in its most recent newsletter.
You can read their coverage at this link.
- Edge was asked on Twitter if he'd be at next week's "Old School" episode of WWE Raw and he responded by saying no.
- WWE wasn't allowed to feature Divas at their recent live events in Qatar. They were told beforehand that scantily dressed females were unacceptable in the Islamic country.
- David Otunga, Aksana, Mark Henry and Kaitlyn are scheduled from the Arnold Fitness Expo this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. They'll be at the Muscle & Fitness Booth on Friday from 2-4 PM then on Sunday from 3-5 PM.
- WWE announced in a kayfabe article here on dot com that starting Saturday, March 2, the company will begin their search for a General Manager of WWE Saturday Morning Slam. The search will take place over the next three Saturdays - 3/2, 3/9 and 3/16.
- Chris Jericho discusses his return to WWE in a new video interview here on dot com. It's a great piece, with Jericho out of character. He comments on Vince McMahon asking him how he was in such good ring shape after taking so much time off. Jericho said he doesn't know and it was more natural instincts taking over.
- The Film Yap has an article featuring quotes from The Miz to promote The Marine 3. A photo of Miz in the film is included. You can read at this link.
- The Ruidoso News out of New Mexico has an editorial looking at Jack Swagger and his latest gimmick with Zeb Colter. I bring it to your attention as I'm quoted and you can read at this link.
- Ryback continues to express frustration backstage over his push. He wants a bigger role and feels he's over enough to get it.
- With the top matches for Wrestlemania 29 beginning to take shape, the undercard has become a focus. The direction things were going in this week was for Kane and Daniel Bryan to drop the WWE Tag Team Championship and feud against one another. As we noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, a popular plan as of late was to put the tag straps on The Shield and rotate who defends them.
- An official announcement for Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar for Wrestlemania 29 is considered imminent. WWE announced here on dot com that Hunter will appear live.
- Triple H is advertised to appear live on next week's "Old School" episode of WWE Raw from Buffalo, New York. You can read coverage by dot com at this link.
- Stephanie McMahon posted the following photo of Wrestlemania 29 merch on Twitter:
- Is Linda McMahon planting more political seeds? This is a question CTPost.com as at this link.
- Steve Austin continues to recover from surgery he had on his ACL and PCL seven months ago. This summer he will film his next action flick which is in collaboration with Anchor Bay Entertainment. The deal, which is for two films, gives Austin complete creative control. Austin also has plans for more reality television projects due out this spring.
- Zack Ryder was recently a guest on Busted Open with Dave Lagreca, Doug Mortman and Mike Riker. His frustration remains very evident in his public comments. Below are some excerpts from the interview:
Excluded from Wrestlemania 29:
It's cool that it's in New York/New Jersey, basically in my backyard, but I'm not on it. It kind of sucks. I got all my friends and family who are going to be there and they are expecting to see Zack Ryder on the show and as of now he is not on it. So that part of it is heartbreaking. It's still going to be a great show with Rock and Cena. It's going to be one of the best WrestleManias of all time.
2013 can't be worse than 2012:
2011 was the rise of Zack Ryder. I started my YouTube show out of just frustration. The beginning of the year I was a nobody, not even on TV. Through the course of the year from doing the show and being active on Twitter and on Facebook, and then ending the year as U.S. champion. I really thought 2012 was going to be my year and as you saw, it really wasn't. Kane threw me off the stage and off loading docks. Eve kicked me in the bro-nuts at WrestleMania and from there I was just forgot about. I was losing all the time, barely doing anything on the shows. 2013 better be different. It can't be worse than 2012.
WWE killing Z! True Long Island Story:
Well when I started it, I knew something had to be done. I hated my stock in the WWE. I was a nobody. I wasn't on the shows. I didn't even have an action figure. I didn't have an 8x10 promotional photo. So as far the YouTube show, in February of 2011, my parents got me the flip camera for Christmas. I really didn't know what to do with it. Maybe I will just start a YouTube show and it kind of took off. I did it for a hundred weeks straight. It should have ended after 50. After I became the U.S. champion, WWE came to me and said "we want to move this to our YouTube channel." I was really hesitant to do it and I should have said no. That was the end of the Z! True Long Island Story in my opinion right there when I made that switch to the WWE YouTube channel at around episode 51. The fans just assumed I sold out, when I was still doing all the work and putting it on their channel and they instantly turned on it. Then WWE was editing it and taking things out., even though they said they weren't going to touch it. Then it just became a job and not fun. For the most part the last 50 were horrible, but the first 50 changed the business. Now Raw is all about social media and Tout, and Facebook, and Twitter. They weren't like that before Z! True Long Island Story.
-Alberto Del Rioannounced during this week's Smackdown that fans will vote to decide his opponent on next week's show. The choices, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, and Antonio Cesaro, can be voted for via Twitter with the hashtags #SMSZiggler, #SMSBarrett, and #SMSCesaro, respectively.
-Tom Dotterer, the 77-year-old shooting victim and CM Punk fan, has been offered ringside seats at this Sunday's WWE live event at the Oncenter War Memorial Arena in Syracuse, New York, as well as a chance to personally meet Punk. Channel 9 News out of Syracuse as more at this link.
- The Orlando Sentinel has more information about potential locations for WrestleMania 31 and WrestleMania 32. As previously reported, Orlando, Florida is in the running to host one of the events. The proposal process, as well as a few more potential host cities, are detailed in the excerpt below:
“[The WWE] has a rich history of returning to where they’ve had success,” Nelson said. Fifteen to 20 cities are expected to bid on hosting WrestleMania, along with the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony and the Monday Night Raw show. Those events would be held at Amway Center.
Tampa, Atlanta and Miami were among the other cities receiving letters from WWE requesting proposals, Nelson said.
Proposals are due by March 15. An unknown number of finalists is expected by mid-June, and then the WWE will interview representatives from those cities. Orlando would be notified if it is chosen of the WWE’s decision by Aug. 1, 2013.
That information will be released to the public next year.
The Citrus Bowl in Orlando hosted WrestleMania XXIV in 2008. Click here to read the full article.
- The Big WrestleShark Show interviewed Bully Ray and sent over the following highlights:
BWS: This year you’ve broken out on your own as a singles competitor, how does this tour differ from previous visits?
Bully: Being a singles competitor is definitely different, especially when you’re used to being in a team for 15 years: it’s a different world out there.
BWS: Are you enjoying being on your own?
Bully: I am enjoying it, I never thought I would. I never got into wrestling because I wanted to be a singles wrestler, I always wanted to be in a tag team, I always knew that I wanted to have the most successful tag team that ever existed. I would never be so pompous or egomaniacal as to say we were the greatest tag team ever because I don’t know what measures greatness. But I can tell you we’re the most successful. No other team has done what we did, no other team has had 23 major World Tag Team Titles. Name a territory with a major set of tag team titles and we’ve won them. That’s it. Bottom line.
BWS: Do you think you could ever match that success as a singles star?
Bully: I don’t know if I could ever match that success because I don’t know if I have another 15 years left in me to accomplish what I was able to do: I had time on my side then. For those 15 years, I was doing it 300 nights a year, I dunno if I can do that now.
BWS: So what are your goals now?
Bully: My only goal right now is to become the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. I mean, I know a lot of guys will sit here and say that, but I think it’s realistic. You’ll get a younger guy say “oh my goal is to win the World Championship” and I’ll be like “yeah, when? In ten years, gimme a break.” I’ve come so damn close in 2012, but I think that is a realistic goal that is right at my fingertips. And that’s a personal goal, for the company, I’d like the company to move forward, to continue to grow and become more of a household name in the wrestling world.
BWS: How do you get TNA a presence as more of a household name?
Bully: Product awareness. WWE has been around for 75 years, of course they are at the tip of everybody’s tongue. TNA has only been around 11 years, they still got a lot of growing to do. But there is a lot of light at the end of the tunnel for this company.
Click here for more.
- Hulk Hogan posted the following on Twitter:
- Hulk Hogan isn't happy that Jeff Hardy has been off Impact Wrestling the past month as the company has aired shows taped from the United Kingdom.
“Dixie runs the company, but if it was up to me and it had been my decision, Bobby Roode would have been a great champion to have right now,” Hogan told Fighting Spirit Magazine. “The (UK) tour plus a champion makes sense; a tour with no champion doesn't make sense. [But] I choose my battles; some people look at the picture differently to how I do.”
Click here for more.
- Former WWE Tough Enough contestant and developmental Diva Ivelisse Velez is scheduled for the TNA Gutcheck Challenge segment on this week's episode of Impact Wrestling.
Velez, who was released by WWE in August, wrote the following on Twitter:
- Kurt Angle did an interview with 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh where he said he has a year and a half left on his contract with TNA Wrestling but he'd like to wrestle for another 2-3 years before retiring. He said once he does retire, he wants to go back to amateur wrestling and coach at the high school or Olympic level. He also discussed Angle Foods and their pizza program. Click here to listen now.
- King Mo says he's a work in progress after getting knocked out by Emanuel Newton in the first round of his Bellator Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament semifinals finals fight last Thursday. Mo claimed in post-fight comments he didn't even see the fist coming and was caught in the act of punching. Mo is now 9-1 overall and 1-1 with Bellator.
- TNA Wrestling is sending talent to the 2013 Arnold Fitness Expo this weekend. The following is from the company's official website:
The TNA IMPACT WRESTLING Superstars will appear at the 2013 Arnold Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio! TNA is on the Main Expo Floor at Booth #116 - we invite all of our fans to visit!
2013 Arnold Fitness Expo
Greater Columbus Convention Center
400 North High Street Columbus, Ohio 43215
Friday, March 1, 2013
10:30AM-6:00PM Expo Open
11:30AM-1:30PM Autograph Signing at IMPACT BOOTH Miss Tessmacher
2:00PM-3:00PM Autograph Signing at IMPACT BOOTH Robbie E
Saturday, March 2, 2013
9:00AM-6:00PM Expo Open
10:30AM Promo on Main Expo Stage w/ Kurt Angle and Crimson
12:30PM Promo on Main Expo Stage w/ Kurt Angle and Rob Terry
11AM-12PM Autograph Signing at IMPACT BOOTH with Rob Terry
1:30-2:30PM Teen Challenge Awards Ceremony with Kurt Angle, Rob Terry and Crimson
4:00PM-5:00PM Autograph Signing at IMPACT BOOTH with Crimson
- Tara opened "The Squared Circle" pizza restaurant in Chicago. The official Impact Wrestling website posted the following:
BUSINESS OWNER BY DAY, PRO WRESTLER BY NIGHT… CHICAGO’S LISA MARIE VARON (TARA) OPENS THE SQUARED CIRCLE
A new pizzeria is taking shape in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and the owner is professional wrestler Lisa Marie Varon. The Squared Circle, which is a term often used by wrestling promoters to refer to the ring, is located at 2418 North Ashland and will feature house-ground burgers, brick oven style pizzas and a full bar.
Formerly Leon’s Ribs, The Squared Circle will accommodate approximately 48 patrons in addition to 15 seats in the bar area. Autographed wrestling memorabilia will adorn the walls and TV’s will showcase live sports including wrestling pay-per-views.
Varon’s husband Lee, will head up the kitchen which will include a custom-built brick oven.
"I could not be more excited about returning to chicago, and about bringing my concept to one of the greatest food cities in the world," explains Varon.
Varon is currently on board with TNA’s Impact Wrestling as “Tara” where she is one of their biggest stars and can be seen every Thursday night at Spike TV.
On Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 pm she will join wrestlers Hulk Hogan, The Icon Sting, Bully Ray, Austin Aries, Velvet Sky and many more to perform at Impact Wrestling at The Sears Centre at 7:00pm. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.
The Squared Circle will be open for business beginning Thursday, March 14th.
- Matt Morgan credited Sting for critiquing his character as well as his matches and promos. Morgan made the comments in a promotional interview on 101.7 KISS-FM in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Thursday. He also revealed it was Sting that suggested he grow the beard he has now.
- Chavo Guerrero beat Robbie E in a match taped for Xplosion prior to this week's Impact Wrestling taping in Orlando, Florida. Chavo picked up the win after connecting with the Frog Splash.
- Christopher Daniels is featured in an interview at this link.
- In case you missed this week's Impact Wrestling, results are at this link, below is the updated line-up for TNA Lockdown:
Steel Cage Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship
- Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Bully Ray
Steel Cage: Lethal Lockdown Match
- Aces & 8s (Devon, Mr. Anderson, D.O.C. Garett Bischoff, and Mike Knox) vs. Team TNA (Sting, Magnus, Samoa Joe, James Storm, and Eric Young)
Steel Cage Match
- Kurt Angle vs. Wes Brisco
Three Way Tag Match for the TNA Team Team Championships
- Austin Aries and Bobby Roode (c) vs. Hernandez and Chavo Guerrero vs. Bad Influence (Daniels and Kazarian)
Knockout Championship Match
- Velvet Sky (c) vs. Gail Kim
TNA Lockdown will be live in the Alamodome from San Antonio, Texas on March 10, 2013. We will have live coverage right here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- - Kenny King beat Rob Van Dam on this week's Impact Wrestling to win the TNA X Division Championship. The stipulation was if King lost, he would be forced to "leave" the X Division.
- Eric Young made his return to television as Alex Barie suspected in his editorial on TNANews.com.
- After the Impact taping ended, James Storm beat DOC via disqualification in a match taped for Xplosion. DOC was disqualified for using a hammer from under the ring. When DOC shoved the referee, Storm hit Last Call and celebrated with a beer bash.
- Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are hosting a Q&A session at The Beacon Theatre in New York over Wrestlemania 29 weekend on April 5, 2013. The event will be moderated by TNA ring announcer David Penzer. A presale to obtain tickets began on Friday at this link with the password HOGAN. Tickets range from $30 to $300. VIP tickets include a meet and greet with an autograph and photo opportunity. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling, the show's return to a live television audience, did a 1.14 cable rating with an average viewing audience of 1,493,000 viewers on Spike TV.
Why does WWE have to do Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H again? Can't the writers think outside the box like Sheamus or Randy Orton for Brock?
Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H isn't confirmed for Wrestlemania 29 but we should find out on tonight's episode of Raw which direction WWE plans to take. With Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman advertised to "fight" and Lesnar advertised to appear, it doesn't take much to connect the dots. Vince McMahon and Hunter were very pleased with how the bout drew at SummerSlam and felt it should be done again before blowing it off. Lesnar is under contract for two more years after Wrestlemania so perhaps at least one of your aforementioned programs are visited. I've gone on record in stating I would have rather have seen Brock vs. The Rock for the WWE title at Wrestlemania 29 this year. Apparently it's been brought up for SummerSlam.
With Undertaker returning to WWE over the weekend and WWE uploading footage, is it a guarantee he'll appear on Raw tonight?
Nothing in this business is a guarantee until it actually happens. Undertaker returned to WWE at the Smackdown live event in Waco, Texas last Saturday night. The word from one of my sources is he wanted some low profile matches to see how he felt before working Wrestlemania. I'm under the assumption he's leaning towards working but we can't confirm anything as of this writing. The holdup has been over money with reservations over his health. Him working on Saturday tells me he's content with the former and wanted to try out the latter.
Have you heard any reactions from readers about being frustrated over Mick Foley no longer being the WWE Hall of Fame headliner this year? I know Triple H doesn't like Foley and I understand Bruno Sammartino's accomplishments, but isn't upsetting that he had to be paid and courted to accept the nomination? Where as I'm sure it's the biggest thing in the world for Foley. It just feels wrong.
Mick Foley has always downplayed a beef with Triple H but the bottom line is Hunter has never been a big fan of Foley and never felt he had the look of a major star. This is why some people felt Hunter was willing to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of DeGeneration X this year if he couldn't get Bruno Sammartino to agree. Kind of like a way to take a way some of the luster from Foley's big moment. It seems petty but Bruno Sammartino was a priority before Foley or anyone else. WWE wanted to induct Bruno in Madison Square Garden and Foley was asked when it looked like a deal wasn't going to get done. I haven't heard much frustration as most readers seem really pleased with this year's very strong Hall of Fame class.
When are you all going to have an Android application?
I am thrilled to announce that we're launching a brand new Application called Dirt Sheet. The App will be available on all Apple devices (iPhone, iPod and iPad) as well as in the Google Play store for Android users. This will not be replacing our current iPhone Application as it will be in addition too. Dirt Sheet is basically a dream come true for members of the Internet Wrestling Community as you'll be able to get news from multiple sources and interact in ways never before possible. We are awaiting approval from both Apple and Android but you can preview the new App with screen shots here at DirtSheet.com.
You've gone on record several times saying that you are against blading and I completely agree. But how do you feel about WWE going out of their way to avoid blood when a performer is busted open the hard way like they did by showing only the left side of Brock's head when he was standing on the ramp last night?
I missed the opening segment of this week's WWE Raw and had to result to the black and white footage WWE posted on YouTube (link here). While away, my phone was blowing up about Lesnar bleeding like a stuck pig. After reviewing the footage and listening to my sources, it's clear Lesnar cut his head on an exposed hook underneath the turnbuckle pad. The reason WWE tried to keep the cameras off the blood and made the footage black and white on YouTube has to do with their PG initiative. Excessive amounts of blood will cause the TV parental guidelines to change the rating from PG to TV-14, something Vince McMahon refuses to do.
Is it inevitable that Jack Swagger will be suspended?
No, testing positive for marijuana carries a $2500 fine but no Wellness strike or suspension. The Wellness policy also does not stipulate a mandatory suspension or strike for a DUI charge. So even if he's convicted on the DUI charge, WWE is not forced to suspend him. However, section 14 of the Wellness policy gives WWE the right to immediately dismiss a talent that is arrested, convicted or admits to a violation of law relating to use, possession, purchase, sale or distribution of drugs. In short, WWE had the ability to terminate Swagger, however, he's safe for now.
Do you all have an Android App?
This has been one of the most popular questions for the past three and a half years and today I can proudly answer to you that yes, we do have an Android Application. The App is called Dirt Sheet and it is now available for free download here in Google Play. We already have a Wrestling News World iPhone App that is available here but I can also tell you that Dirt Sheet is coming to the iPhone and iPad. As of this writing we do not have a release date but are hoping to make an announcement within the next week. You can explore all of the App features here on DirtSheet.com.
Was Vince McMahon upset at CM Punk using the piledriver in the main event of this week's WWE Raw? I thought it was banned?
Yes, Vince McMahon was livid. Nothing about the spot was mentioned prior to the bout but Vince threw a fit (and his drink) backstage while giving a producer an earful. We have more details here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium.
Is CM Punk still relevant after losing the WWE Championship?
CM Punk is still perceived as the top heel in WWE but he's been victimized by hot shot booking. Under twice to The Rock, John Cena and with a potential Wrestlemania program with Undertaker looming, Punk is racking up the losses after a 434-day title reign. This was mentioned to Vince McMahon on Monday and we're told he looked "puzzled."
Whatever happened to CM Punk vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 29?
WWE wasn't able to come to terms with Steve Austin for him to return to the ring. Whether it was due to Austin's health or lack of desire to take a backseat to The Rock and Brock Lesnar, it just didn't get done. Austin has said he could work again if he wanted to so it looks like something that is going to come down to money. As for Punk, it looks as though he'll challenge Undertaker for "the streak" at Wrestlemania 29 and we should find out the direction on next week's Raw.
Why is there disappointment with Ryback considering the way he has been booked so far?
The disappointment in Ryback is due to his in-ring work. While improving, the feeling from many in WWE is he is still sloppy and somewhat reckless. The company is pleased with how he's gotten over but I continue to hear of negative marks regarding the work in his matches.
What are the Wrestlemania plans for Sheamus?
Sheamus is currently in two programs - one with Wade Barrett and another with The Shield. If I had to guess, I would say Sheamus will team with Randy Orton and maybe Ryback to continue feuding with The Shield [at Wrestlemania 29] but this is nearly identical to the match at Elimination Chamber. We'll see how it plays out as it seems WWE isn't sure on the direction which is why he also has a program with Barrett.
Does this "I am God" angle by CM Punk mean that talks with The Undertaker are improving? It seems this angle would lead to a program with Taker. Best in the World vs. Best of the Underworld.
The plan for CM Punk's "I am god" storyline is to lead to a Wrestlemania 29 program with Undertaker. You picked up on the hints this Monday, as they were planted to do just that. I expect Undertaker back on television on next Monday's "Old School" Raw to kickoff the month long build. Some are saying Undertaker is confirmed but I don't feel comfortable using that type of language giving the rate things change. We can pencil in Punk vs. Undertaker for Wrestlemania but let's also remember pencil can be erased. We pulled an interesting clip from September where Punk said challenging for "the streak" doesn't interest him. Some accused this was out of context and pointed to the fact that things change and while they do, this wasn't out of context. Punk was asked what was next for his career and whether or not challenging "the streak" was something he would like to add to his resume. He wasn't asked specifically about Wrestlemania 29 this year. Click here for more.
Now that it's been several months, have you warmed up to the idea of three-hour Raws? Personally, I feel there is still way too much filler. In order to see the great Punk/Cena match, viewers had to sit through that dreadful Sheamus/Wade Barrett segment and a bunch of matches that didn't really build storylines. Back when Raw was two hours, every segment in an episode leading up to Wrestlemania was compelling. Your thoughts?
Three hours of WWE Raw haven't grown on me and I can agree with you on the filler content. This week's Raw was a strong show but they could have scrapped a lot of the stuff in-between the stellar opening segment and amazing main event. All we have to do is look at the ratings to see viewer fatigue has set in and people are tuning out for the third and final hour. ]Vince McMahon will host a conference call this morning and I'm interested to hear his thoughts as he said the three-hour format was performing very well last time. On a personal note, there's just no way I can watch all three hours live each week. Most every week I miss the majority of first hour and have to watch it via DVR the next day (watching on tape delay isn't an option as we have to report news live).
What happened to Mason Ryan?
Mason Ryan is still in WWE under developmental contract. He actually worked the NXT live event last Sunday in Melbourne, Florida. While he has a great look, the feeling is he wasn't ready for the main roster and needed more seasoning.
Any news on a possible WWE return for John Morrison?
John Morrison was hoping to return to WWE this year as I heard he was seeking a short-term deal. Vince McMahon wanted a two-three year commitment from Morrison and wasn't bending to his demands. Morrison hoped to be available for the 30-man Royal Rumble match but it just didn't happen. I haven't heard anything since the deal was not completed for the Rumble.
Does Vince McMahon get personally involved in signing all of the talent to WWE contracts?
Vince McMahon has the final say on everything in WWE but lately Triple H has assumed some of the responsibilities. Chris Jericho recently revealed he talked completely with Hunter when negotiating his surprise return to WWE. While Vince is giving Triple H more and more responsibilities and power, I look for him to remain involved in some capacity for the rest of his life.
What's with all of the Bellator mentions on Impact Wrestling?
Spike TV executives issued a directive for Impact Wrestling to help promote Bellator in hopes of carrying the pro wrestling audience. The Bellator deal is important for Spike TV as they try and fill the void left by UFC going to FOX. One of the ways TNA is hoping to cross-over the audiences is with King Mo. The idea is to have him compete for both Bellator and Impact Wrestling. Given his loss last week [on Bellator], I wondered if he has still has the ability to draw. You can read that article at this link.
Leo Kruger has spent nearly three years in developmental without a call-up. Why so long?
It's not unusual for workers to spend several years in WWE's developmental system before getting called up. One name that comes to mind is Sheamus. He signed his developmental contract with WWE in 2006 and didn't debut on the main roster until 2009. The point of WWE developmental is to get talented workers under contract and then train and season them for future roles.
John Cena is #1, CM Punk is #2. Who is #3 and #4 right now?
If you're looking for the WWE pecking order right now, you've got to start with The Rock, however, if you are looking at just full-time talent it starts with John Cena. Cena is the "face of the company" followed by CM Punk. Randy Orton used to have the #2 or "1b" spot but is currently further down the card. Other full-time main eventers include Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Ryback and Big Show. It's an ever changing landscape that is currently blown up with the roster additions of the aforementioned Rock as well as Brock Lesnar, Triple H and the expected Undertaker.
CM Punk vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29. Who do you want going over?
We've talked about CM Punk vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 a lot this week. This is the direction WWE is looking to go and I heard Undertaker was against any outcome that ended "the streak." I've been strong and consistent over the years Undertaker has earned the right to retire undefeated at Wrestlemania. My point was there isn't anyone capable of ending "the streak" on the roster that would benefit from it. That is until now. CM Punk is the only candidate in which would benefit greatly by ending "the streak" and would be the one contracted talent with the potential to take the #1 spot from John Cena. Following a historic WWE title reign, Punk has racked up too many losses and another to Undertaker could be detrimental to his future in the company. Undertaker is 20-0 at Wrestlemania and one can take one look at him from last Saturday and see the end of his in-ring days are upon us. He's accomplished all there is to accomplish and putting over a guy proven to be a major draw could be a very significant accomplishment on his way into retirement. Many of you will disagree with me, I'm already well aware. However, putting Punk under gives no long-term payoff what so ever.