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 28, 2015 to Friday, March 6, 2015 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- The 2/26 episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewing audience of 2,624,000 viewers on SyFy. That is up +221,000 viewers from the week prior. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 18-49 for all of Thursday at this link.
- We’ve received some questions about The Undertaker and his status for Wrestlemania 31. The plan is indeed for him to work the show in a match against Bray Wyatt, if anyone was still doubting.
For what it’s worth, Michelle McCool has posted some recent photos of Undertaker, her real life husband, training on her Instagram Account. You can view them below:
- Actor Hugh Jackman and football great David Beckham were recently on a talk show together in the United Kingdom. Jackman spoke on punching Dolph Ziggler in the jaw during a guest appearance on Monday Night Raw in 2011. While Jackman didn’t actually break Ziggler’s jaw (as the storyline suggested), he did hit him and according to Jackman, he bought Ziggler a case of beer the next day. Thanks to WNW reader Mike Brailsford for sending that in.
- Rey Mysterio is accepting independent bookings now that he is free from his WWE Performer’s Contract. I know some are reporting Mysterio is charging $20,000 per appearance but I saw where one promoter was quoted $15,000. Regardless, it doesn’t look like Mysterio’s services will come cheap. Mysterio's last match was on April 7, 2014 against Wade Barrett.
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar is at UFC 184 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Saturday night. A photo of Lesnar talking with UFC President Dana White was taken and immediately began circulating.
You can view it below:
Not only is Brock the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion set to defend against Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31 in a month, he's getting ready to become a free agent. Making matters worse, he was scheduled to appear on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Nashville, TN but stormed off mad without working.
Brock is not scheduled for next week's Raw in Newark, NJ but is scheduled the following week in Pittsburgh, PA.
- TMZ.com reported on Sunday that WWE United States Champion Rusev and Lana have bought a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom home together in Nashville, Tennessee. The home includes 11.56 acres with a pond, hot tub, basketball court and more for $644,000. The publication notes Rusev and Lana have been dating for less than two years but are not married or engaged. CLICK HERE for coverage by TMZ.com.
- Ariel Helwani asked UFC President Dana White about WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar attending UFC 184 Saturday night in Los Angeles, California.
See also - Photo: Brock Lesnar Talking To Dana White At UFC 184
White said Brock was in town to talk to some people. White said Brock wanted to watch the Ronda Rousey fight, is a fan of the UFC and just wanted to watch the fights. When Helwani asked if he's returning to UFC, White stated Brock is under contract with the WWE but when his contract is out, he’s sure he’ll call him.
White admitted that Brock asked him if Frank Mir really said he wants to fight him (we covered those comments at this link).
You can watch the Helwani interview with White at this link.
- The relationship between WWE and their current World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar appears to be on the verge of collapse if not beyond repair less than a month from his main event match at Wrestlemania 31 against Roman Reigns.
There are issues although the specific reason why he left last week’s Monday Night Raw in Nashville, TN without appearing is not completely known. Brock doesn’t want to sign a contract extension [with WWE], he wants to become a free agent and field offers. He’s unhappy with how WWE has merchandised him. And he doesn’t want to talk about something someone else said.
Brock sent a powerful message to WWE over the weekend when he showed up at UFC 184 in Los Angeles, CA, where he was photographed talking to UFC President Dana White.
Long-time fans of WWE are not surprised as Brock was known for being a prima donna in his first stint, which culminated with him choosing to leave and do anything else. He went out in rather unspectacular fashion with one of the biggest Wrestlemania flops of all-time against Bill Goldberg in 2004. His post-UFC return to WWE that began in 2012 has been different as Brock has largely remained disconnected and just done what he’s been told to do.
Now WWE is in the all-too-familiar position of one of their top Superstars being disgruntled and apparently even refusing to appear. While everyone we’ve spoken to suggests the Wrestlemania 31 main event is still in tact, does it even matter?
Brock Lesnar has drawn for WWE since returning a few years ago, the numbers prove it. But the luster is wearing off and his appearances have become so infrequent, more and more fans have grown tired (if not downright annoyed) of him barely showing up. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been as anonymous as the former Raw General Manager and is arguably becoming as forgettable as the company’s undercard belts.
Aside from Brock rarely appearing on TV — which Vince McMahon feels makes him a must-see attraction — he’s only had two title defenses (Night of Champions ’14 and Royal Rumble ’15). Out of those title defenses, only one has been successful, with him “losing” to John Cena via disqualification last September.
Win, lose or no-show at Wrestlemania 31, the only thing people will remember about Brock Lesnar’s other 10 matches since 2012 is that one included him going over The Undertaker. Let’s also not forget that match suffered because Undertaker was injured early on and Brock was left to do most of the work on his own.
Lesnar’s best match to date — at Royal Rumble ’15 — was immediately overshadowed by the disastrous booking of the 30-man Royal Rumble match for the second year in a row.
Cena buried Brock out of the gate at Extreme Rules 2012 and Triple H got his Wrestlemania moment against him by going over in 2013. Other than that, Brock has been paid a whole lot of money to simply be a “Superstar presence” or Vince McMahon’s must-see attraction. Could it be more of an ego thing for Vince, who was determined that Brock’s first post-UFC shows would be in his ring?
I could be in the minority as I was texting with friend on Sunday night that talked about how screwed WWE would be if Brock didn’t work Wrestlemania 31. While I refuse to believe Brock wouldn’t just work the match to collect on his contract, WWE could replace him if they wanted too.
Announce the title has been vacated and put Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan in a Fatal 4-Way match at Wrestlemania 31. Have Reigns pin Orton and then let Rollins “cash in” the Money in the Bank briefcase. Now, there are storylines for the rest of the year with Reigns not getting a fair shake, Orton vying for revenge to prove he still “has it” and Daniel Bryan still not ever losing the title he won at Wrestlemania 30 last year.
I seriously doubt the above would even be considered but my point is, Brock Lesnar has done enough in WWE. There is nothing left and it’s time to get the title back on TV every week and on the road at live events. All of us are ready to see “up and coming” talent get their chance and Brock being disgruntled just provides another opportunity to do it.
- Sources close to Vince McMahon report he’s very down on himself right now and is losing confidence. This comes after the argument with Brock Lesnar at Monday Night Raw last week. We’ll see how Vince’s mindset impacts his ability to get a deal done with Lesnar as Vince has remained optimistic.
.- WWE brought Scott Hall in as a guest trainer at the WWE Performance Center a couple weeks ago. Hall attended the monthly private NXT show the company does with wrestlers that aren’t on the main shows. WWE calls in guests to help evaluate the new talent on the shows, just to get an extra set of eyeballs on them.
We’re told Triple H has been pushing to get Scott Hall more involved but has been taking things slow due to his track record. Scott received rave reviews for his work and we’re told everyone at NXT was impressed with how healthy he seemed. The other trainers were also impressed and gave Scott high marks when reporting back to Triple H.
You can watch video footage from Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night at WWE’s live event from Madison Square Garden in New York City from last Saturday night at this link.
There is some mystery to report as a “30 Years of Hulkamania” banner was raised to rafters as part of the festivities, however, the banner was nowhere to be seen at subsequent events from the venue. You an view the banner when it was hung in the image below:
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We covered the show at this link.
- This week’s episode of After Total Divas is online at this link.
Below are video highlights from this week’s episode of Total Divas:
Natalya watches Tyson Kidd’s modeling photoshoot: Total Divas: March 1, 2015
Cameron’s dad makes a shocking statement: Total Divas: March 1, 2015
Paige talks to her dad about getting a tattoo: Total Divas: March 1, 2015
Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan test out a new home security system: Total Divas: March 1, 2015
- Rapper Wiz Khalifia will perform and guest star on next week’s episode of Monday Night Raw in Pittsburgh, PA, WWE has confirmed:
WWE noted Khalifia will perform a medley of his hits,including a cut from the official soundtrack to “Furious 7,” which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham.
Khalifa Tweeted this:
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CLICK HERE for coverage by WWE.com.
- AJ Lee is at Raw in Newark, New Jersey. We reported last week in our Backstage Raw News that Divas tag team match was being discussed for Wrestlemania 31. AJ was one of the names mentioned for the match, however, her status was put into doubt after her Tweets to Stephanie McMahon. If AJ really does return at Raw it will be interesting to see how she is handled going forward. Stephanie McMahon wasn’t happy about getting called out but Vince McMahon wanted to use it to promote the #GiveDivasAChance movement they’re now embracing.
- Sheamus is another name we’re expecting back soon for a match at Wrestlemania 31. We reported last week his return is imminent and could happen as soon as this week’s #RawNewark.
- Actress Lana Parilla from ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” hosted a Twitter Q&A during the show’s airing on Sunday night with the hashtag #AskLana. WWE’sLana intercepted by answering questions of her own. Dot com covered it at this link.
- WWE issued the following statement to BusinessInsider.com about the Hulk Hogan banner being removed from the rafters at Madison Square Garden in New York City:
The banner was part of our show and was never intended to stay at MSG.
We reported here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com the banner had already been removed after being hung on Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night at WWE's live event from the venue on Friday night.
I guess they forgot to smarten up their social media director, as the verified WWE Twitter account Tweeted this on Sunday:
In other words Hulkamaniacs, it was a work.
- Eva Marie noted on Instagram on Monday afternoon she was in Newark, the host city of this week’s WWE Raw, for a photoshoot. Below is a teaser:
- Below are Total Divas bonus clips:
- Sheamus was at the Ireland vs. England, Six Nations 2015 rugby match in Dublin, Ireland on Sunday:
While flight time from Dublin to Newark (the host city of Monday Night Raw) is just under 7 hours, we can’t confirm him at the venue at press time. He is expected back on WWE television imminently to setup his program for Wrestlemania 31.
Sheamus was across the pond doing media for WWE’s post-Wrestlemania tour in April.
- WWE has updated their Hall of Fame induction coverage on dot com to indicate that former WWE Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze (a/k/a Madusa) will be announced as an inductee for this year’s class. They included the following Tweet from Madusa’s Twitter account:
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Madusa will join “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rikishi and The Bushwhackers in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2015 the night before Wrestlemania 31.
The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. We’ll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- AJ Lee returned on this week's Raw, making the save for Paige when The Bella Twins attacked. Paige beat Divas Champion Nikki Bella by disqualification after Brie interfered. AJ and Paige cleared the ring together to end the segment.
- R-Truth announced that he will be in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at WrestleMania 31. Bad News Barrett and R-Truth are the only confirmed participants. While not confirmed, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, and now Luke Harper are considered likely for the match.
- Jack Swagger and Zack Ryder are now confirmed for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The Miz, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Fandango, and Adam Rose have previously been announced.
- 14,781 was the announced attendance from this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The show was sold out.
- Alundra Blayze’s (a/k/a Madusa) WWE Hall of Fame video is online at this link.
- Video footage of Jon Stewart’s appearance on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw is online at this link.
- John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns b. Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Kane & Big Show in a dark match main event after Raw went off the air.
- The Brie Bellas have assured AJ Lee they’re going to make her want to go back on vacation in a new Raw Fallout video posted at this link.
Despite not officially holding the WWE Intercontinental Championship, Dolph Ziggler challenges anybody to try and take the title away from him on Raw Fallout. You can watch at this link.
- WWE NXT trainer Bill DeMott is back under fire following an email leak that former developmental talent Judas Devlin sent company officials about him in March 2013.
The email details damning allegations against DeMott that Devlin wrote about during his time under contract. As a result, the hashtag #FireBillDemott trended Twitter for a large period of time on Monday night.
You can read the leaked memo in its entirety below:
Memo To: Canyon Ceman, Dorothy Brill, Jane Geddes
Memo From Austin Matelson
Subject: Coach Demott
I am composing this memo today because I have had a number of serious concerns about the actions and words of head coach Bill Demott during my employment as talent for WWE developmental. Many of these actions I have tried to ignore or hope that they would cease but because they have now put me in a dangerous situation not only for my career but for my personal health and safety I feel the need to speak out to someone of a higher authority. In this memo I will provide details on a series of incidents which underlie my concerns.
I would like to request that this remain in strict confidence as I am afraid that if Coach Demott were to know I spoke out he would find ways to punish me for it. In fact the entire process of writing a letter to human resources has been called a “faggots” way of dealing with problems by Coach Demott.
Physical Injury Due to Imprudent Coaching: The action that has led me to finally speak out happened Thursday February, 28th following our house show. I had taken an awkward hit to my knee in a match and was being examined by Brian Duncan. This hit aggravated a previous injury, one that should never have happened, that I had sustained during a practice drill orchestrated by Coach Demott after practice had already been completed. An MRI revealed a partial tear of my PCL and a strain on a ligament in the back of my knee. I have been told that I can work through it but it may aggravate here and there. This injury can be enduring as many of the superstars on the main roster wrestle their whole careers with it.
I should never have had any issues with this knee but on that particular practice day, after a 3 hour morning session had ‘ended’ at 11 AM, Demott put 280lbs Gary Jackson back in the ring at 11:30 and forced 8 of us to give him 10 takedowns each. After Gary had bumped 60 times in a matter of minutes, I entered the ring and was asked to give him 10 fireman takedowns. On the first one he collapsed from exhaustion while on my back, driving my knees into the mat where I sustained this injury.
The hit I took aggravated it and Coach Demott pulled trainer Brian Duncan and I into the training room and said without any knowledge of my actual injury, “This injury can’t keep flaring up. It doesn’t look good perception wise to us (the office) or for your career going forward.” This injury was treated after the match and I was cleared by Duncan at the time.
Based on Coach Demott’s statement I feel that I am in a position where I have to cover up any injuries I may have otherwise I will be punished or fired. The following week I was in severe discomfort but fearing repercussions I attempted to work through it. Coach Demott has not only instilled this fear in me but I have spoken to several other members of the roster who have been made to feel by Coach Demott that their current injuries are signs of weakness as men, and could potentially lead Coach Demott to advocate for their firing.
On two separate occasions Coach Demott forced me to perform dangerous moves without properly warming up. One incident followed my first evaluation where Canyon Ceman asked me to start working on my parkour and gymnastics moves. It was 7:30 am before practice and he saw me standing in the ring with Enzo Amore and said, “Do a takedown let go of him and do a back flip then go back to him.” The idea made no sense, I was not properly warmed up, and I nearly landed on my head on one attempt. The second incident was before a live event he wanted Oliver Gray to test out his finisher on someone so he grabbed me and forced me to take a high bump on my neck without warming up. I had missed a week of practice because of a neck strain prior to this and Coach Demott was well aware of that.
I have also watched and participated in drills that were hazardous to our safety. He has made us do squats on the top rope including some students who had never been up that high in their careers. He made the beginners group perform monkey flips without a crash pad and the first six who participated landed on their heads and necks and were lucky not to have been seriously injured. The aforementioned drill in which Gary Jackson injured my knee also saw Memo Montenegro injury his neck and shoulder. He was on his 40th bump in 5 minutes and got dizzy before his 7th consecutive hip toss and landed on his head.
Unprofessional Work Environment: The issue of physical well-being is not my only concern. I am an educated individual who worked at Cal State Northridge with Professors and students. I know how one is suppose to conduct one's self in a professional sense. I also understand that this is a unique business and the lines on proper behavior may be a bit blurred. Yet there is no question that Coach Demott, on a daily basis,not only makes unprofessional choices in words and actions, choices that go against many policies of this company, but choices that have created a culture of fear and negativity in this system. Showing up each day for training is mentally agonizing because of the comments we are all forced to hear. He routinely makes fun of anyone sitting out because of injury and also makes rude comments about people’s names and personal lives and has established a hostile work environment through verbal assaults. To wit:
• Demott constantly refers to Oliver Gray as Joel Pedophile which personally enrages me because I used to help a Psychology Professor in Los Angeles do lectures for sexually abused children.
• When Dante Dash referred to his finishing move as the Davey boy, as it was utilized by the late Davey Smith who died tragically, Coach Demott makes the following comment, “The Davey Boy? What turning blue and dropping dead on the lawn?”
• Coach Demott told student Enzo Amore that he hopes he dies.
• Demott also told our entire morning class and Ricky Steamboat's class to kill themselves just days after we tolled the ring bell 10 times for the late Mike Graham a former star FCW wrestler, who committed suicide.
• Coach Demott routinely bullies Enzo verbally as well as physically. I have seen Enzo on several occasions be slapped in the face by Bill. During one practice he decided to show Enzo how doing a slam wrong could hurt someone, so he picked Enzo up and dropped him without warning directly on his head and neck. He then decided that each time a student slammed his 100lbs heavy bag with bad form that student had to slam one of his peers the same way. Demott found this drill amusing yet each student was put at serious injury risk.
• Demott has grabbed an injured David Harwood by his neck pulled him to the office door and verbally chastised him for standing by the ring during practice when he wasn't cleared, even though he was simply listening to a lecture by Ricky Steamboat.
• Demott has kicked Memo Montenegro in the groin and laughed as he crumbled into a heap. Memo being a Mexican immigrant to the United States has a heavy accent, which Coach Demott constantly criticizes and makes fun of.
• He routinely will attempt to bust students lip on the bottom rope when they stand to close to the ring. On several occasions he has punished students for mistakes in practice by making them bend forward putting their face near the ropes so that Coach Demott can bounce the rope off the bridge of their nose.
• He routinely calls Gary Jackson a fat tub of goo, tells Osmund Cherry who is of African descent, to go back to Africa and most recently has made derogatory remarks about sexual preferences to Brandon Traven.
• Coach Demott insinuated that Traven is gay and used the derogatory term "half a sissy" to make fun of him simply because he sat out practice and has had several injuries in the last couple months. This is not the first time he targeted Brandon either. In December I witnessed Coach Demott question Traven about a head injury in the trainer’s room. After Traven explained that a blow to the head in practice had made him dizzy Demott slapped him in the head and left the room.
• I witnessed a similar incident a few months ago when Alexander Russev was recovering from neck surgery. Coach Demott saw Russev wearing a NY Jets shirt at practice and not liking that sports team proceeded to physically grab Russev by the collar and rip the shirt off him. Russev was not cleared for any contact at that point and clearly showed physical pain after the incident. Following this incident a group of students were discussing how this sort of thing happened before with an injured Briley Pierce. Briley had a broken leg and Coach Demott kicked him in his medical boot. This happened before I was under contract but it nonetheless seems to fit a pattern of negligent and abusive behavior that I have observed with Coach Demott and is worth investigating further.
• According to Oliver Gray, he was once told that if he sat out practice to rest a very bad low back injury that Coach Demott would pull him from the NXT tapings and from attending the Royal Rumble, even though the trainer had requested that Oliver sit out just one practice.
I have been in this system under Coach Demott for 8 months now and was recently told that I am not improving at a rate that is acceptable. I have made concerted efforts in the past to practice more often and work on the parkour moves requested by Canyon Ceman. However Bill has routinely kicked me out of the building after practice including a day when WWE superstar Alex Riley asked me to work on some parkour moves with him. This along with his constant interrupting of practices just to put people down and make negative comments has all but killed any motivation I have to spend extra time around him.
It should be stated that I am not a vindictive person. I am open-minded and do not have a problem with off-color jokes or difficult practice drills. I was signed to this company after Steve Regal told me he saw tremendous improvement in my ring work between tryouts. I told Mr. Regal that I could only imagine how good I could become working 24/7 for this company. I have always been intrinsically motivated and will practice something until I perfect it. Yet I personally feel that coach Demott creates an environment that hinders my opportunities to improve. Coach Demott restricts our practices, instead opting for dangerous and unproductive drills, while constantly verbally assaulting our appearances, personalities, sexual preferences, injuries, and character it seems impossible for me to maximize my time in the ring. In fact even as recently as training on March 4th, guest trainer Lance Storm went out of his way to demonstrate moves to me that Coach Demott had kicked me out of the building for not doing correctly. When I asked him how to do them Coach Demott said, "That was shit Judas, get out of the building."
Is this the type of work environment that the WWE desires? When can we set up a time to discuss this matter?
In closing I would be remiss if I did not clarify to you that this is solely a problem with Bill Demott and not a problem with the fine coaching staff that has been assembled around him. For example, Ricky Steamboat has been a terrific help to me and always provides me with positive reinforcement and quality examples to learn from. Terry Taylor has gone out of his way to pull me aside and give me helpful advice. Billy Gunn has been an amazingly refreshing force bringing knowledge and enthusiasm that has been extremely beneficial to the system. The changes that have recently occurred in the WWE have been excellent and I am excited for the future plans of WWE Developmental. It is because of these positive attributes that I am expressing my concerns to you. I want to be a part of a solution to the problems that I have listed, one that will lead to future success for the developmental system.
Thank you for your time,
Devlin apparently didn't condone the memo leaking as he Tweeted this:
We’re working on the fallout to this memo hitting the Internet and will have another story online later this week.
DeMott is no stranger to controversy and has been a lightning rod for criticism during his tenure with WWE. The last report we had on him was this WNW Premium report on January 5, 2015 where we explained complaints coming from female WWE developmental talent about him. In that report, we're told DeMott had been so hard on the female performers lately that Sara Del Rey, who also works a trainer, went to Triple H about it.
As for Vince McMahon's reaction, he likes DeMott because he's fond of a drill sergeant type training up and coming talent.
- This week’s episode of Total Divas did an average viewing audience of 1,405,000 viewers on E. That is up +337,000 viewers from the week prior that had stiff competition and us the second-most watch first run episode of Season 3. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 25-54 for all of Sunday at this link.
- WWE and the USA Network have announced a one-hour special highlight the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony that will air on Monday, March 30, 2015 immediately following Raw at 11/10c.
Below is the official press release:
WWE® HALL OF FAME SPECIAL TO AIR ON USA NETWORK STAMFORD, Conn. and New York, NY – March 3, 2015 – USA Network will broadcast a one-hour special highlighting the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Monday, March 30 at 11/10C, immediately following Monday Night Raw®. WWE Legends, including "Macho Man" Randy Savage, The Bushwhackers, Alundra Blayze and Rikishi, as well as pop-culture icon Arnold Schwarzenegger will be immortalized as members of this year's WWE Hall of Fame class for their accomplishments and contributions in sports entertainment. WWE's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, airing for the ninth consecutive year on USA, dates back to 1993, when Andre the Giant was the first person inducted. To date, 190 Superstars, Divas and celebrities have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame including Gorgeous George, Bruno Sammartino, Mae Young, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Junkyard Dog, "Stone Cold®" Steve Austin, Trish Stratus, Donald Trump and Mike Tyson. The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place on Saturday, March 28 at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Monday Night Raw, WWE's flag-ship program, is the longest-running, weekly episodic program in U.S. primetime TV history. It has been a cable mainstay for more than 20 years and is consistently a top ten show on television.
- The Hartford Courantreported on Tuesday that Vince McMahon dropped off the annual Forbes list of "The World's Billionaires.” The number of billionaires living in Connecticut actually increased from 13 last year to 16 this year, however, McMahon missed the list due to shares of WWE declining. The decline was largely attributed to the company's underwhelming TV distribution deal with NBCUniversal, however, that was not mentioned in the piece.
- WWE issued the following statement to Wrestling News World regarding the March 2013 memo that former NXT talent Judas Devlin sent company officials that leaked online on Monday:
“WWE took the accusations made two years ago by Austin Matelson very seriously, conducted a full investigation and was unable to validate the claims. Regardless, WWE continues to reinforce policies and procedures to ensure a positive training environment.”
Austin Matelson is Devlin's real name.
- Reports are starting to hit the Internet claiming that Samoa Joe is WWE bound after his return to Ring of Honor.
I spoke with a source close to the situation early Tuesday morning and was told that Joe has informed ROH officials about an upcoming tryout with WWE. According to the source, WWE will give Joe a look in April.
I’m warned this isn’t one of those situations where Joe going to WWE is a foregone conclusion. WWE is clearly interested but they want to get an up close look before they offer a contract.
Ring of Honor doesn’t expect to have him long. Joe will be making 60% of what Alberto Del Rio has been getting and Del Rio is now scheduled to finish up on April 4, 2015. The March dates featuring Samoa Joe are costing them less than recent shows with Del Rio.
ROH wanted to get Joe announced immediately and push him in the top of the card, given his uncertain status past his confirmed dates.
- This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw garnered an average viewing audience of 3,825,000 viewers on the USA Network. Viewership was down (-297,333 viewers) from the week prior. In terms of ratings, Raw did a 1.3, down from last week's 1.5 adults 18-49 rating.
Below is how the show did each hour:
Hour one - 3,545,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,066,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,864,000 viewers
TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows in adults 25-54 for all of Monday at this link.
- The Prime Time Players have been added to the 2nd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Yes, the 2nd Annual, as the plan is for it to be a staple of the Wrestlemania undercard.
Below is an updated list of updated participants:
- The WWE Divas react to Alundra Blayze’s Hall of Fame announcement in a new Raw Fallout video at this link.
- Jon Stewart got over on Raw. Not only did his cameo draw a positive reaction from the fans, mainstream media press, but the locker room was impressed as well. Randy Orton Tweeted this:
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- Edge and Lana will star in the next WWE Studios production called “Interrogation.” They made the announcement on their respective Twitter accounts:
CLICK HERE for coverage by WWE.com.
- Rey Mysterio appeared at a press event with AAA on Tuesday to announce his signing with the promotion.
For those that missed it in Ask WNW, he’s scheduled to work AAA’s March 15, 2015 Rey de Reyes event in Guadalajara. He’ll also team with the original Sin Cara, Myzteziz and Alberto Del Rio at a show on May 23, 2015.
Below is a photo:
Considering Rey told AAA fans he would see them soon at Triplemanía XXII last August — while he was under WWE contract — this is of no surprise.
We're also expecting Mysterio to land a role on the Lucha Underground series at some point.
- Chris Jericho used Twitter to defend WWE NXT trainer Bill DeMott. He Tweeted the following from his verified account:
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DeMott is back under fire after a memo that former developmental talent Judas Devlin sent WWE officials in March 2013 leaked online. The memo details alleged incidents such as physical injury due to imprudent coaching and an unprofessional work environment. Specifics of alleged incidents are detailed.
We contacted WWE regarding the allegations and received an official statement where they said a full investigation was conducted two years ago and they were unable to validate the claims.
- Another memo sent to WWE officials detailing allegations against Bill DeMott from March 2013 has leaked online. This time it’s from former NXT worker and Harley Race student Brandon Traven (whose real name is Ryan Collins). The letter was posted in its entirety by The Sports Courieron Facebook.
You can read it in its entirety below:
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:29:05 -0400
Mr. Canyon Ceman,
I'm writing this letter today due to concerns I've had with the training. I've contemplated writing this for some time now. After seeing Harley Race this past week, and talking with him about my concerns for not only my training but my physical well being, he himself encouraged me to write a letter and not only that. He informed me to have anyone in the office to call him if they have any questions about any of the information I will be writing about.
My overall biggest concern is about my safety. Before we took off for Holiday break I suffered a minor head injury. The thing about head injuries is you can't really tell how bad they are until you have proper time to rest. During the course of a practice, I got hit in the head during a drill. I felt very dizzy right away and stepped out of the ring. Practice was almost over that day and I told a few guys near me that I was dizzy. One suggested I might have just been dehydrated or in need of some food. I drank some water and ate a protein bar and I did feel a lot better as the day went. I decided to play the next day of training by ear and see how I felt. I stretched out and did a few rolls in the ring. After just a couple of rolls I felt very dizzy again and saw the trainer.
That day our usual trainer Brian Duncan was on the road. And a substitute trainer attended to me. As I was setting on the table, she examined my eyes and reaction time. Eventually Coach DeMott came in asking what happened. I told him the story of how everything happened, he then accused me of making things worse. Which is not uncommon as Coach DeMott gets angry and standoffish at any sign of injury. The main part of this story that angers me is that as he was leaving the trainers room, Coach DeMott slapped me on top of the head. This really angered me as I don't believe he has right to put hands on anyone especially like that. I was lucky that my head injury wasn't too serious. His negligence in this situation could have worsened my injury.
I have also grown very tired of how Coach DeMott has constantly bullied us. Whether by physically hitting us, or by calling us gay. He has on numerous occasions alluded to me being gay. His favorite phrase is "half a sissy" not to mention him calling me and others "faggots" Coach DeMott has also on several occasions grabbed the bottom rope while we are watching practice and pull it back to hit everyone in the face while they are paying attention to instruction. I personally don't understand his destructive and bullying nature.
While talking with Harley this week about countless unproductive or straight up dangerous drills he encouraged this letter and told me to include that all parties who read it should call him to talk further. Harley agreed that we should not be subjective to physical, or verbal abuse. He was very angry about hearing the information I shared and more than anything didn't understand why he has us doing unproductive drills to begin with, as opposed to having practice matches which we have only done on a few occasions.
In fact upon Harley hearing the story of Coach DeMott hitting me on the head after a head injury, Harley was very angered by this. In five years of training with Harley I never felt unsafe or in danger of suffering a career threatening injury much like I have here.
I have also witnessed Coach DeMott try to rip a t-shirt off Alexander Rusev, shortly after he had neck surgery.
He has on numerous occasions called Oliver Grey (Joel Pettyfer) Pedophile, smacked Enzo Amore (Eric Arndt) in the mouth. He has also told Enzo to kill himself on at least one occassion that I heard with my own ears. Morale amongst us, is constantly low and is only getting worse. However on the flip side Steve Keirn, Ricky Steamboat, Terry Taylor and Billy Gunn have all been positive influences since joining this company.
The reason I haven't said anything until now, is fear of either losing my job or how Coach DeMott will treat me moving forward. As he already treats me and some others very badly. I decided to go ahead and write as I feel now, nothing will change if I don't speak up. And I hope I can count on your discretion on this matter.
Many of the claims mentioned in the above were included in Judas Devlin’s memo also sent in March 2013 that we published at this link.
WWE told us directly they conducted an independent investigation and could not validate the claims.
Several other former WWE NXT talents, including the brother of Dolph Ziggler, Ryan Nemeth, Joey Ryan, MVP, Trent Barreta and Ethan Carter III have all weighed in, backing allegations against DeMott.
Regarding WWE's investigation, Nemeth says he still has not been questioned about claims made in Devlin’s letter.
The following is from Twitter:
Former WWE talent Trent Barreta Tweeted this:
Former WWE talent Joey Ryan Tweeted this:
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He also addressed Chris Jerichodefending DeMott:
Former WWE talent MVP Tweeted this:
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Former WWE talent Ethan Carter III (known in WWE as Derrick Bateman) — apparently also alluding to Jericho defending DeMott Tweeted this:
- We’re told WWE expected the memo sent by former NXT talent Judas Devlin to company officials, detailing damning allegations against Bill DeMott to leak online.
See also - Damning Allegations Against Bill DeMott Leak Online
Given this, along with numerous other issues there have been with DeMott, Triple H feels that DeMott as a coach is a liability. According to a source, Hunter has wanted to reassign DeMott since he took over developmental but DeMott has had the support of Vince McMahon.
However, we’re told Vince has accepted DeMott is a liability and is leaving it up to Triple H to handle it. Triple H’s decision regarding DeMott has not been announced but he’s been under a tremendous amount of pressure to remove him from the developmental coaching staff.
Having written that, the corporate stance is reassurance claims against DeMott have not been validated. That statement only drew out more responses from more talent, so the fire is definitely getting hotter.
- Natalya beat WWE NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and The Lucha Dragons beat Bo Dallas & Tyler Breeze in dark matches at Tuesday’s WWE Main Event/Smackdown tapings.
- The Usos appeared in-studio with Mike Jones (who?) to promote this week’s Smackdown. The interview is available at this link.
- Former WWE talent and current Bullet Club member Luke Gallows Tweeted this about the Bill DeMott controversy:
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- Michael Cole’s latest kayfabe sit-down interview with Triple H is now online. Hunter pushes his match against Sting at Wrestlemania 31, continuing the Sting was WCW rhetoric. He compared the “problems within The Authority” to parents letting their kids work it out on their own. You can watch it at this link.
- WWE has officially added Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose to the Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 31. They’ll join the current champion Bad News Barrett and R-Truth, who have already been announced. We’re all expecting Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan to be added but they have not been officially confirmed as of press time.
There are now nine announced participants that will compete in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The updated list is as follows - The Miz, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Fandango, Adam Rose, Zack Ryder, Jack Swagger, Titus O’Neil and Darren Young.
- WWE has announced that SummerSlam 2015 will emanate from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday, August 23, 2015.
Tickets are scheduled to go on sale on Saturday, March 14 at 10 AM EST.
Below is the official press release:
STAMFORD, CONN. AND BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Barclays Center and WWE announced today that WWE’s biggest event of the summer, SummerSlam, will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday, August 23, 2015.
Tickets will go on sale Saturday, March 14, at 10 a.m. and will be available online at www.barclayscenter.com, www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center beginning Monday, March 16, at noon (pending availability).
SummerSlam, featuring the biggest stars of WWE in action, will be broadcast around the world on WWE Network and pay-per-view. SummerSlam weekend will also include fan events, autograph signings, Be a STAR anti-bullying rallies, hospital visits and other community outreach programs designed to leave a lasting impact throughout the region.
“We are thrilled to be back in New York for WWE’s second largest destination event of the year,” said John P. Saboor, WWE Executive Vice President, Special Events. “We look forward to continuing our wonderful relationships with both Barclays Center and NYC & Company in what will surely be a memorable weekend in Brooklyn.”
“We are happy to have WWE’s SummerSlam back in New York City. There’s no better place for WWE’s biggest event of the summer,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company. “Events like SummerSlam bring people from around the world to New York City, giving them yet another reason to visit and explore the five boroughs. Thanks to WWE, there’s another fantastic reason to visit us this summer.”
“Brooklyn is an international brand and is the perfect stage for a major global event like WWE SummerSlam,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of Barclays Center. “Our strong relationship with WWE has enabled us to host many successful events together at Barclays Center. We are excited to build on our partnership by bringing SummerSlam to Brooklyn.”
This marks the first time that SummerSlam will be held at Barclays Center. The event has previously been held in New York in 1988, 1991, 1998 and 2002. The Staples Center in Los Angeles hosted the sold-out event the past six years, and other major venues such as Wembley Stadium in London, Target Center in Minneapolis, SAP Center in San Jose, Air Canada Centre in Toronto and TD Garden in Boston have also played host to the historic event throughout its 27-year history.
SummerSlam was originally slated to take place from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey but had to be moved due to the venue’s closure.
Local officials were trying to get SummerSlam moved to the Prudential Center in Newark, the location of this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
- Jane Geddes no longer works for WWE, Wrestling News World can independently confirm. While specifics surrounding her departure are not completely known, she officially left in February 2015. Geddes is known by fans for her cameos on Total Divas but was a prominent name on the LPGA for 20 years. After her golfing career, she worked in an executive role for the LPGA before being hired by WWE in 2011. In 2013, Geddes was promoted to Senior Vice President of Operations for Talent and Live Events. This is a position she held until February.
- WWE announcer Renee Young was a guest co-host on VH1’s “Big Morning Buzz Live” with Nick Lachey and Michelle Buteau on Wednesday. Dot com posted video of the appearance that you can watch at this link. It’s hard to remember the last time someone fit right in with WWE as well as Renee Young has. She exemplifies what a WWE announcer should be and they're fortunate to have her.
- Scott Stanford noted on his Twitter account on Wednesday that he ran into talk show host Jerry Springer at WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT. The following is from Twitter:
- The Rock and martial artist Jason Statham have a fight scene in the upcoming blockbuster “Furious 7.” A teaser of the scene was released on Instagram that you can watch below:
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Furious 7 will hit theaters on April 3, 2015.
- WWE has updated their Key Performance Indicators. In the figures, they graph and plot the traditional pay-per-view buys for Royal Rumble ’15 (no data for WWE Fastlane was released).
In the data, it’s noted Royal Rumble — featuring Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the 30-man Royal Rumble match — did 141,000 buys (49,000 in North America/92,000 international).
You can view a screenshot of the data below:
It’s important to note the above is an estimate and the official number will not be known until WWE reports their 2015 quarter 1 financial results.
Given the evolution of the WWE Network, traditional buys no longer hold the same importance as they once did. However, we continued to track the numbers for all of 2014 and have those for you in the table below:
2014 WWE Traditional Pay-Per-View Buys
Royal Rumble - 467,000 buys*
Elimination Chamber - 183,000 buys*
Wrestlemania XXX - 690,000 buys
Extreme Rules – 108,000 buys
WWE Payback – 67,000 buys
Money in the Bank – 122,000 buys
WWE Battleground – 99,000 buys
SummerSlam – 147,000 buys
WWE Night of Champions – 48,000 buys
WWE Hell in a Cell – 83,000 buys
Survivor Series – 100,000 buys
WWE TLC – 39,000 buys
* = the WWE Network did not exist during these PPV events, so all buys were traditional
CLICK HERE for WWE’s updated Key Performance Indicators.
- Travel packages to WWE SummerSlam will go on sale on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at Noon EST. As we reported here at Wrestling News World, SummerSlam 2015 will take place Sunday, August 23, 2015 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
- WWE talent discuss their worst jobs they’ve ever had in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch at this link.
- Below are Total Divas preview videos for next week’s episode:
- The state of New Jersey will miss out on revenue brought in from SummerSlam 2015 as the show will take place from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. WWE officially made the announcement on Thursday morning, as we reported here on Wrestling News World. The plan was for WWE to promote SummerSlam’s return to the East Coast being from NY/NJ with the actual show emanating from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. You can see the logo that was set to be used below: The event had to be moved due to the closure of the IZOD Center and local officials were hoping to move it to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The location of this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. SummerSlam returns to the East Coast following six years in Los Angles. New York has previously played host to SummerSlam in 1988, 1991, 1998 and 2002.
- Former WWE developmental talent Ryan Collins, a/k/a Brandon Traven in NXT or Brian Beaker, Tweeted the following about his memo sent to company officials about Bill DeMott leaking online:
We also want to clarify, these letters — from Judas Devlin and Brandon Traven — were sent from talent with developmental contracts with WWE at the time. While they no longer work there, they had active contracts when the complaints were made.
Numerous other people have spoken out about the allegations. There has been no formal response from WWE other than the statement we ran at this link.
As for DeMott, he’s with the NXT crew in Columbus, Ohio as they have a live event set to begin at 7:30 PM EST.
- Daniel Bryan is expected to be added to the Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 31. Some had assumed WWE was leaving their options open in case things couldn’t be worked out with Brock Lesnar but the latest word is that Lesnar will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns. We should get a clear update on Brock’s relationship with WWE after next week’s Raw in Pittsburgh as he’s booked to appear. WWE wanted to make it clear Brock was still a go for Wrestlemania [at this week's Raw], which was the reason for some of the verbiage used in Paul Heyman’s promo on Monday. Heyman received rave reviews for it.
- Just so we're clear regarding Lesnar, this isn't a situation over creative differences. Brock is indifferent. Brock is upset because he's unhappy with the way he's been merchandised. We first wrote about it on February 24, 2015 but he's not happy with what he's made in merchandise royalties. While Brock receives a higher rate, he feels he's been under merchandised and the way the company has offset his higher percentage is to simply not feature it at shows.
- Sheamus will not face Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 31 and it looks like he could be added to Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Speaking of which, there is a possibility of including NXT talent in that match and Bo Dallas is another name likely to participate. Sheamus is healthy and booked for WWE’s overseas tour after Wrestlemania as he was in Ireland doing media for the company over the weekend.
- Mark Henry is expected back soon and is on the booking sheets for upcoming TV tapings.
- AJ Lee was always in the plans to return to WWE and compete in a feature match at Wrestlemania 31. The only reason her status came into question was due to the Tweets to Stephanie McMahon. While it was sure to be complicated after Dr. Chris Amannfiled the defamation lawsuit against CM Punk and WWE backed it, I still heard they wanted to do AJ and Paige vs. The Bella Twins. In fact, I knew it last week when I made mention of a Divas tag match, I was just scared to mention AJ’s name in it due to all that was going on.
- Dolph Ziggler is official for the WWE Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 31. Also, Kane and Big Show have been added to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Below is the updated Wrestlemania 31 lineup:
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns
- Triple H vs. Sting
Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
- Bad News Barrett (c) vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
- Announced participants: The Miz, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Fandango, Adam Rose, Zack Ryder, Jack Swagger, Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, Kane & Big Show
We have an update on the plans for Daniel Bryan, the latest on the situation with Brock Lesnar and more regarding AJ Lee online at this link. That article is available exclusively to WNW Premium Members, you can signup now at this link.
- The New Day talked about their win against The Miz & Damien Mizdow in the latest episode of Smackdown Fallout that you can watch at this link.
We have complete results from this week’s episode of Smackdown online at this link.
Additions were made to the Wrestlemania 31 card that you can read about at this link.
- Bill DeMott has stepped down from his position as the head trainer for WWE. He issued the following statement on social media:
I deny the recent allegations made about me, however, to avoid any embarrassment or damage to the WWE, I've decided to step down from my role effective immediately.
You can view the message from Twitter below:
As we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, Vince McMahon had finally accepted that Bill DeMott [as Head WWE NXT trainer] was a liability and was leaving it up to Triple H to handle it. Hunter was under a tremendous amount of pressure to remove him from the developmental coaching staff and was expected to meet with DeMott at Thursday night's show in Columbus, Ohio. DeMott worked that event as a producer.
What's interesting is that DeMott is clear in his statement that he stepped down from his role, he did not write he is leaving WWE. When the story first broke on Monday, we were told he would likely be reassigned. Given the fact that DeMott is still denying the allegations, I would not be surprised if his employment with WWE continued in another capacity.
In fact, WWE told us they were unable to validate the claims through an independent investigation when the original memo from Judas Devlin was sent two years ago. DeMott also received support from Chris Jericho and Luke Gallows.
The allegations brought against DeMott include everything from reckless handling of injured talent to bullying and using racial and homophobic slurs.
- We are being told that Bill DeMott is gone from WWE completely and that he did not just step down from the NXT coaching staff. We've reached out to the company's Public Relations department to confirm that but have not heard back at press time.
See also - Bill DeMott Steps Down As Head WWE Trainer
DeMott's removal from the NXT coaching staff has been brewing for weeks, even before we posted the first leaked memo that alleged him of wrongdoing. However, at the time, the talk was DeMott would be removed from his coaching duties to focus on other areas of the company.
Triple H met with DeMott at the Arnold Sports Expo this week and DeMott's statement followed that meeting. What exactly DeMott was told is unknown but we're told there is a possibility he is brought back in the future, although I highly doubt it would be as a member of the developmental coaching staff.
To recap, Bill DeMott announced on Friday he was stepping down from his role in WWE but denied the allegations against him. We are being told he is indeed gone from WWE but the company has yet to respond to a request for comment to confirm that.
- John Cena will be inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 18, 2015, the college announced on Friday. Dot com posted the official press release that can be read at this link
- Triple H announced to the crowd at Thursday’s WWE NXT show in Columbus, Ohio this was the brand’s first step as a global touring brand. You can watch the announcement at this link.
- WWE posted a Wiz Khalifa hype video for next week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. You can watch it at this link.
- This week’s episode of WWE Smackdown garnered an average viewing audience of 2,694,000 viewers on SyFy. That number is up +70,000 viewers from the week prior. The broadcast did a 0.8 adults 18-49 rating, which was up from the week prior and good enough for the second highest rated cable original for Thursday night. TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows among adults 18-49 for the whole day a this link.
- We have confirmed through WWE's Public Relations department that Bill DeMott is no longer employed by WWE. This is nothing more than a formality as we were informed late Friday afternoon that Bill DeMott emerged from a meeting with Triple H in Ohio officially finished from the company. To prevent any confusion, please follow the below links to see how this story developed.
- There is a rumor that has been making rounds over the last week or so that morale in TNA Wrestling is low due to the departure of Samoa Joe. While I’m sure there is a lot of legitimate disappointment regarding the departure of Joe, Austin Aries actually completely tore apart any such claim in an interview he did last week with Philly.com.
We ran the quotes last Sunday but will repeat them here:
Regarding Joe’s departure:
That’s part of the business, man. People come, people go and at the end of the day, everybody has to do what’s right for them and their family and their situation. I’ve known Joe a long time and the guy is supremely intelligent, supremely talented so I’m sure the decision he made will work out because guys like that always seem to land on their feet. Hey, man. It could possibly happen with any of us at any time. As far as guys contracts and their deals, I don’t try to stick my nose in too much. Obviously, we all kind of have an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes, but I always feel those things are best kept behind the scenes and not out there for general consumption unless that person decides to put it out there. Talent is talent. Anytime you lose a talented wrestler it just creates a situation where other guys have to step up and fill the void. Guys like Samoa Joe are unique in their own right and you don’t just pluck guys like that off the tree and insert them. In any situation, any locker room, any sport, you take a talented player out I’m sure it’s going to hurt, but it presents an opportunity for other guys to step up and try to fill that void.
The atmosphere in TNA:
Things are good. I think there’s a lot of excitement with our switch over to Destination America. The feeling is that we’re with a station now that is behind us 100 percent. They know that as the TNA brand grows so does their station. They’re relatively new as far as networks go. I think there’s just a lot of excitement and optimism and we’re going to take things as they come, put ourselves in a position to be successful and know that things don’t happen overnight. As long as we’re continuing to make those incremental movements forward, things should be good.
While Aries certainly doesn't speak for the entire roster, I just thought it was funny there were reports about morale being low because Joe was gone when a talent was on record saying the exact opposite.
CLICK HERE to read the Aries interview in its entirety.
- The 2/27 episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 366,000 viewers on Destination America. That is down (-87,000 viewers) from the week prior. The repeat at 11 PM did 136,000 viewers.
- CM Punk fought Craig Eckelberg in an MMA fight scrimmage on Monday at the Roufusport MMA Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
You can view a photo below:
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Punk’s in the octagon and AJ Leereturned to WWE on Monday night.
What would be the worst case if WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar decided not to work Wrestlemania 31?
If Brock Lesnar decided not to work Wrestlemania 31 it would be the worst business decision of his life. Not only would it prevent him from collecting on his massive contract, WWE could (and probably would) sue him for breach of contract. As I stated earlier on Monday, Brock would be totally incompetent not to work Wrestlemania.
As a fan, the worst case scenario is Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns turning out like Goldberg vs. Lesnar back in 2004. A “lame duck” match where no one cares and it harms the plan of trying to get Reigns over on the guy that ended the streak.
WWE is not without options and could take Brock Lesnar out of the Wrestlemania main event if they wanted too. I provided a fairly simple solution in a piece that I wrote here on Wrestling News World, however, that is extremely unlikely to happen.
The best I believe we can hope for is that cooler heads prevail and Brock appears at Raw next week in Pittsburgh as scheduled. This isn’t at all surprising as Brock has a reputation of being hard to deal with and it’s fairly clear his relationship with WWE has run its course.
Why does WWE keep spoiling their own news? Especially with the Hall of Fame inductees. Is it because they want to beat everyone to the punch or are they just getting a little arrogant? I honestly find it a little annoying and distasteful. I get kayfabe is seemingly dead, but I still think WWE needs some surprise elements. If not, then we lose something precious. Thoughts?
The way WWE has revealed their Hall of Fame inductees - by posting “rumors on dot com” - only to later make an official announcement is a promotional tactic. They’re trying to generate a buzz online to get it trending on social media before it airs on television. The vision of WWE.com changes from time to time but a lot of the material they post is either done to promote something or enhance a storyline. Sometimes they’ll “break kayfabe” but any attempt is usually calculated to increase page views. I wouldn’t read too much into it.
With Rey Mysterio no longer under a WWE Performer’s Contract, do you see him being introduced into the Hall of Fame in the next couple of years?
Rey Mysterio’s relationship with WWE didn’t end on good terms. He wanted out and they wouldn’t let him out. He even appeared on AAA’s Triplemania XXII pay-per-view last year. I certainly feel Mysterio is worthy of a Hall in Fame induction but given how things ended, it could be a while before any such honor comes his way.
Can you explain the reason why Rey Mysterio final years in WWE were a disappointment and the reason for his departure?
Rey Mysterio’s relationship with WWE started to deteriorate around the time of his second violation of their Wellness Policy in April 2012.
For those that do not remember, WWE knew of Mysterio’s failure well before he was suspended in April 2012 as he was tested two months earlier. However, the company was hoping he would be able to return from injury to work Wrestlemania 28 that year. The feeling amongst some of the workers is that Mysterio got heat when he told the office he wouldn’t be ready to return in time for the pay-per-view. Most felt that had Mysterio been able to work Wrestlemania that year, the failure would have “swept under the rug.” Mysterio failed the test due to a nasal spray.
Additionally, he was one of many workers upset about the decrease in pay-per-view bonuses that are the result of the WWE Network. Mysterio is fine financially and wanted to return to Mexico. WWE fought him every step of the way and kept him tied up under contract for as long as they could without using him.
We also must consider that Mysterio has been bothered by issues with his left knee, as he’s torn his ACL in it multiple times. Just last year the knee was a problem.
So in conclusion, Rey wasn’t happy with the way he was treated in WWE, didn’t like the decline in pay-per-view bonuses and wanted to return to Mexico. WWE did everything they could to block him from his wishes and now he has finally been freed.
Mysterio is scheduled to break his silence over Wrestlemania 31 weekend in a live podcast interview.
From the Ask WNW vault…
October 2013: How much control do wrestlers in WWE and TNA have over the direction of their respective gimmicks? - It depends on the worker. The higher up one is on the card, the more creative control that they have. When you’re Hulk Hogan in TNA Wrestling, you can script a segment where the owner of the company is grabbing you by the leg, begging you to stay, when you are involved in a real-life contract dispute (watch here). If you’re someone that just got the call-up from developmental, you’re going to be given a script and will be expected to follow it.
What are your thoughts on the development of both Seth Rollins and Rusev?
I am thrilled someone asked this question because my main takeaway from this week’s Monday Night Raw (other than the fact that Jon Stewart has a job if he wants it) was the development of Seth Rollins and Rusev as top heels in WWE. Let’s just think about where they are working on the roster at the peak of Wrestlemania season. While WWE has made some huge blunders over the last year, they’ve really gotten it right with these two. I will happily admit I was wrong about the “stay-ability” of Rusev’s Russian/not-Russian gimmick and while my opinion of him changed in October, I’m “all in” now. I hope when Rusev emerges from this program with John Cena that he’ll go to another top program.
Seth Rollins, what else is there to say? We all saw the potential but I think he’s surprised everyone. Rollins is just on another level and has passed his other Shield members as the top guy from that faction. Considering the other two guys are Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns (who by the way, is headlining Wrestlemania), that’s pretty significant.
Now that Rey Mysterio is going to be interviewed during Wrestlemania weekend in a podcast, do you expect his interview to be similar to CM Punk's "tell-all" podcast back in November 2014?
Rey Mysterio has a lot to say and is going to have a great place to say it on March 26, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. CM Punk had Colt Cabana, Mysterio will have Konnan. I think what makes it even better is there will be a live Q&A that will take part as part podcast. I don’t know if it will be “tell-all” but given the fact Mysterio will be in a position where he can trust the interviewer, I am very interested.
Mysterio was officially introduced by AAA on Tuesday for their March 15, 2015 Rey de Reyes event in Guadalajara. He’ll also team with the original Sin Cara, Myzteziz and Alberto Del Rio at a show on May 23, 2015. Below is a photo:
I loved Paul Heyman’s promo on this week’s Raw. Do you think it was a little bit over the top for him to mention Andre the Giant being dead?
I didn’t have a problem with Paul Heyman stating that Andre the Giant is dead. It wasn’t disrespectful or in poor taste, it was just the truth. Paul Heyman’s promos are outstanding and he hit one out of the park again on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. He’s a genius on the stick and one of the best talkers we have ever seen. I have no idea how WWE would be able to book Brock Lesnar if it weren’t for Heyman. That was another great promo but no, I didn’t think it was over-the-top. I haven’t heard but I would be surprised if he got heat for stating a fact in the middle of a heel promo.
Three weeks until Wrestlemania 31 and no Brock Lesnar, no Sting or no Undertaker on Raw. While I’m all for giving up and comers more screen time, shouldn’t these guys at least be on TV when they have major matches on the books for the pay-per-view?
Brock Lesnar was scheduled for Raw last week and got mad and left, he was never scheduled for this week in Newark. He is scheduled for next week’s show in Pittsburgh and we can only hope he shows up. I’ve written a lot about how problematic the infrequent appearances of the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion have been and my opinion has not changed. I understand the idea — wanting Brock to come off as a big deal by limiting his appearances - but I don’t think it’s worked.
The same idea is behind limiting Sting’s exposure and not even bringing The Undertaker back (maybe not even until Wrestlemania itself). WWE still has three episodes of Raw before Wrestlemania 31 but I’ll agree with you. The names scheduled for top matches at Wrestlemania should at the very least be on Raw in the final weeks leading up to the show. I understand the thought process and rationale behind limiting them but there is too much content in 2015 to not have them participating in storylines.
For years, I’ve defended WWE talent on part-time contracts but Brock Lesnar has ruined it for me. He was given the biggest rub of all time by ending The Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania yet I can make a solid argument that it doesn’t even matter if he works Wrestlemania 31 this year. I’m not blaming Brock either, I’m blaming Vince McMahon and the way they’ve booked him.
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.
With all the Bray Wyatt/Undertaker promos going on, can we say that it's 100% certain The Deadman will be at Wrestlemania 31?
In addition to never saying never in pro wrestling, nothing is 100% certain until it happens. Literally, I could have the final run sheet for a show in my hands and still wouldn’t tell you something is 100% certain until it happens. However, the plan is for The Undertaker to face Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 31. That’s the reason for the promos and Undertaker is working to get into ring shape.
First it was CM Punk who walked out, now it's Brock Lesnar. It's starting to become a trend. Why do WWE officials just let their big stars do this to them? Can’t they take legal action to ensure this doesn’t keep happening?
Steve Austin walked out on WWE before CM Punk did when he refused to go under to Brock Lesnar. Austin later said it was stupid and he should have owned up to his responsibility and showed some accountability. He said he didn’t handle it well and should have shown up and handled it like a man.
Anyway, this type of thing happens in WWE. There are a lot of things to consider — including the classification of WWE performers as independent contractors and not employees. Obviously WWE can claim if a worker walks out or fails to show up they are breaching their contract but it’s a weird situation because of the independent contractor classification.
So this type of thing happens and it’s a complicated legal situation because of how talent is classified. WWE can try to pursue a performer through litigation but that still doesn’t get them to work. It’s not like they can force a performer to compete if they have decided they’re not going to do it. It’s just not possible.
When strong personalities and egos collide as is the case with CM Punk and Vince McMahon or Brock Lesnar and Vince, there are bound to be blowups. The best way the blowups can be resolved is meeting face-to-face to resolve the differences. The current situation with Lesnar is expected to be resolved for him to work Wrestlemania 31, however, it’s unknown how this will impact his status after that.
Do you think that by limiting the defenses of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship while held by Brock Lesnar is an attempt to make it as important as the UFC World Heavyweight Championship?
That’s exactly what WWE is trying to do by limiting the defenses of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the appearances of Brock Lesnar. The thinking is it will boost the prestige of the title and make Brock Lesnar more of a must-see attraction. I’m just not sure it’s worked. To me, it feels like the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been forgotten and the infrequent appearances of Brock Lesnar have turned into more of an annoyance.
The UFC comparison sounds good in theory but it’s not a viable one. UFC fighters can’t fight at the rate that WWE performers can compete in the ring for obvious reasons. UFC has a list of championships across their weight classes that are all as equally as prestigious. And finally, WWE has much more weekly/monthly/yearly programming than UFC does, which is the biggest reason why I feel Brock Lesnar as champion has failed so badly.
There is simply too much content and too many hours of programming to limit the appearances of the reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion to just a couple of times a month. That’s why this type of thing used to work in pro wrestling but is not sustainable in 2015.
Do you believe Curtis Axel has finally found something with Axelmania?
Forgive me for this spoiler but Curtis Axel went under to Fandango in a match taped for this week’s episode of WWE Main Event. Did you hear how John Cena dismissed Fandango in his promo on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw?
I urged readers to be patient with Curtis Axel but finally admitted that it just didn’t work. He had a chance as Michael McGillicutty and a monster push as Curtis Axel. It looks like he’ll be a career mid-card/enhancement talent in WWE. It’s unfortunate given his family lineage and potential but family lineage and potential does not create stars.
So unfortunately, I only see Axelmania as a comedic enhancement gimmick.
From the Ask WNW vault…
July 2012: I don’t see the Tensai gimmick going anywhere. Do you see WWE possibly bringing him back as Albert or A-Train? - I agree, I do not see the Tensai gimmick going anywhere. WWE had big expectations for the gimmick but Matt Bloom hasn’t been able to get over. The gimmick has been scaled back to what it was originally slated to be but it’s still stuck in monotony.
What are your thoughts on the harsh allegations against Bill DeMott?
The allegations made against Bill DeMott are deplorable. From being reckless with injured talent to allegedly using homophobic and racial slurs. Behavior like that is just not acceptable. Not in WWE, not anywhere. However, we also need to be very clear. WWE is on record as to saying they have been unable to validate the claims. You can read the statement that was sent directly to me at this link.
Bill DeMott is no stranger to controversy. In fact, it was just last month, according to a source that spoke directly to Wrestling News World, that a lot of the female talent down at NXT was complaining about DeMott being too hard on them.
This type of thing seems to follow DeMott and let’s not forget the allegations former developmental talent Kevin Matthews made against him in 2012. Remember the photo of a naked wrestler giving a stink face to another worker in the corner of the ring while DeMott laughed from ringside at the old Deep South Wrestling training center?
WWE even had cameras hard-wired into the WWE Performance Center, where Vince McMahon can randomly check in on the facility from his office in Stamford, Connecticut.
Some people have come out in support of DeMott, so opinions are definitely split. There is a difference between being hard on talent and preparing them for life in the ring and doing things that could result in permanent injury or any form of discrimination (be it racism, homophobia, etc.). If the allegations brought against DeMott are true, he’s definitely in some trouble. However, WWE has told us they have not been able to validate the claims. I know some want to say they’re covering it up and while that is a fair accusation, I’m not going there.
It’s my job to report both sides of the story. The allegations are deplorable and if they’re true, DeMott is in trouble and should be held accountable. So far, WWE is saying they are unable to validate the claims but allegations continue to be made.
I heard Dolph Ziggler dropped the WWE Intercontinental Championship due to backstage heat over his standup comedy appearances. Is that true? If so, why would he pursue it?
I was told Dolph Ziggler dropped the WWE Intercontinental Championship [earlier this year] due to creative purposes and not because of backstage heat. This seems to make sense given the fact Ziggler, while not officially added to the Ladder match at Wrestlemania 31, is heavily rumored to challenge for the title at the show in a few weeks. Further, WWE approved Ziggler doing standup comedy and even featured his new venture in a dot com piece at this link.
Many WWE performers have careers outside of wrestling that they pursue simultaneously. As long as the office signs off, they’re in the clear. I’m not going to sit here and tell you they’re always accepted with open arms — because that’s certainly not always the case — but talent is in the clear if WWE signs off.
Can we expect Bully Ray to finish up his career in WWE? Any word about Samoa Joe? Velvet Sky?
I heard WWE is waiting until after Wrestlemania 31 to start signing talent they have lined up for Performer’s Contracts. I am unable to confirm if Bubba Dudley/Bully Ray will be offered a deal and can tell you that he worked the Royal Rumble on a per shot basis.
There were erroneous reports earlier this week suggesting that Samoa Joe would be signing with WWE after his commitments with Ring of Honor. That is not true. WWE is interested in Joe but it is not a foregone conclusion that he’ll get a contract. We have full details on that story at this link.
WWE officials are high up on the look of Velvet Sky but as is the case with her boyfriend, Bubba Dudley/Bully Ray, I cannot confirm she will be offered a contract.
Look for WWE to make some cuts after Wrestlemania 31 and sign some new talent as well.
Why did The Brian Kendrick only work one NXT match, while Rhyno returned for several?
Brian Kendrick worked a dark match against Solomon Crowe at the WWE NXT tapings in December and one taped for TV against Finn Balor at the tapings in February. Rhyno worked matches at both sets of NXT tapings in February, for a total of four. There is no specific reason why Rhyno worked more than Kendrick. The idea of bringing back past talent to work developmental talent is two-fold. One, it helps WWE NXT as a separate brand by providing names the mainstream WWE audience is already familiar with. Two, it helps the developing talent work someone that’s more polished workers to help aid their develop. Rhyno and Kendrick are well-respected veterans and I would expect more former names to return at future tapings.
From the Ask WNW vault…
May 2013: Do you see the pairing of Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel being bigger and better than the pairing of Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect? - It’s far too early to make any comparisons like that. While it’s important to give a new worker (and gimmick) a chance before tearing it apart, it’s also important to put the anointing oil away. Curtis Axel has a lot of potential and an extraordinary opportunity as a “Paul Heyman client,” however, we don’t want to put him in the Hall of Fame right out the gate just like we don’t want to dismiss the character. One of the reasons why it would be extremely risky to put Axel over Hunter is what if the gimmick flops? Patience is very important in this business.
Can you name five Wrestlemania moments that really stand out to you and changed the landscape of WWE?
I am not a huge fan of lists, most of you know that but this is an easy one for me. My “top 5 Wrestlemania moments” are as follows:
- Hulk Hogan bodyslamming Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3
- A bloodied Steve Austin losing to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13
- Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24
- Shawn Michaels’ retirement match against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26
- Brock Lesnar beating The Undertaker and ending the streak at Wrestlemania 30
As you can see, this list is chronological. I’ll make some notes on each:
Say what you want about the quality of Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3 but the finish is one of the most iconic Wrestlemania moments. I know this was also the show that featured Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage, but the impact of Hogan’s slam is part of what made Wrestlemania the event it is today.
A bloodied Steve Austin going under to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 13 a decade after the “bodyslam heard around the world” played a major role in the evolution of one of the top superstars in WWE history. This is a reminder that a talent can be elevated in a loss and just like Andre passed the torch to Hogan, Bret Hart did that to Steve Austin on this night. In fact, I can see the blood running down Austin’s face in the Sharpshooter and see the Attitude Era being born.
Leave the memories alone, Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels was one of the most emotional bouts in professional wrestling history. I loved it and thought it was well worked and sent out one of the greats. I know Flair ended up wrestling again but that doesn’t take away from this match. I will remember it forever and am actually jealous my wife was in attendance.
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker had one of the best matches in WWE history the year before at Wrestlemania 25 and they topped it in Michaels’ retirement match at Wrestlemania 26. Whenever Wrestlemania 26 airs on the WWE Network and this match comes on, it immediately sucks me in. It doesn’t matter what else is going on, if you see this match, you’re going to stop what you are doing and watch it. The story that was told still gives me chills to this day. HBK went out with a five star match that is one of the best worked matches ever. In fact, the best worked match ever.
Brock Lesnar ending the streak at Wrestlemania 30 was the biggest Wrestlemania surprise of all time. In a day when everything leaks out, we heard nothing. No one thought there was even a chance Lesnar ended the streak and he ended it. Due to The Undertaker suffering a serious injury (severe concussion) early in the match, the bout was disappointing but it didn’t change the outcome from altering the course of WWE history. Undertaker had to be rushed to the hospital afterwards and Vince McMahon went with him via ambulance. Brock re-wrote history by having his name beside the biggest rub of all time.
Seeing Rhyno and Brian Kendrick return in NXT has been awesome and has created some buzz. I personally would love to see more former talent return but do you see it hurting the development of up and coming talent?
Moderation is key when it comes to bringing back past veterans to work the developmental talent. In moderation, bringing back former talent helps everyone. It helps the NXT brand and it helps the workers that are trying to learn and flourish on their own. I also like how WWE brought back Rhyno and Brian Kendrick. Two well-respected veterans that are great in the ring. While people know who they are and know they can work, they aren’t completely overshadowing the up and coming talent. WWE usually struggles with moderation, so hopefully they don’t ruin a good thing.
Do you think WWE NXT would be damaged if it went to a two hour show weekly?
Moderation, moderation, moderation. WWE NXT is flourishing in its current format. A weekly one-hour TV series, intimate live events, occasional specials on the WWE Network - WWE doesn’t need to try and fix what isn’t broken. I’m not going to sit here and say two hours of NXT each week would be a bad thing, I’m saying WWE has to be careful. When something works, there is a reason for that. Too much of a good thing can turn it into just another show.
I have preached for three years that three hours of Monday Night Raw each week is too much. It’s too much for the talent, the writers and most importantly, the fans. WWE’s product has struggled as a result but the higher ups enjoy the extra hour of TV revenue they get for it.
Of these two scenarios, which would you rather see, and which do you think is more likely? 1. Roman Reigns beats Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31, then Seth Rollins cashes in, wins the title and aligns with Paul Heyman. 2. Heyman turns on Brock, costs him the title, and aligns with (now heel) Reigns?
I would prefer scenario #1 for a few reasons. Under that scenario, Roman Reigns would get the rub for beating the guy that ended the streak, Seth Rollins would make good on his briefcase and a Rollins vs. Reigns program is ready to go for Extreme Rules. That’s not even mentioning that a Paul Heyman/Seth Rollins alliance would be the most natural thing since Heyman’s alliance with CM Punk.
However, let me be clear. I’m fine with any scenario that sees an up and coming talent win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31. Anything to end the atrocity that has been Brock Lesnar’s reign as champion will be just fine with me. I want the belt back on TV, I want the belt to be routinely defended and I reject any argument that Brock winning the title at SummerSlam has been good for it. There is absolutely no argument to support that other than, it’s been off TV so WWE couldn’t screw it up. Of course they couldn’t screw it up if they didn’t have a title to screw up in the first place!
Just because WWE hasn’t had to strategically book a title for 7 months doesn’t mean it’s any more prestigious. Someone commented the other day the title is more prestigious because not just anyone can come in and win it. That’s completely true but only half true. Not only can not just anyone can come in and win it, no one can win it! When the title isn’t being defended, there is no one vying for it. Brock has had one program since winning the title, one against John Cena (the guy he won it from!). WWE inserted Rollins into the match at Royal Rumble and while it was a great match and gave Brock someone else to pin, it still doesn’t change the fact it was his one and only successful defense.
If you can’t tell, I’m over part-time talent holding WWE’s top belt. Good idea on paper, horrible when executed.