Strong Efforts Not Enough To Bring CM Punk Back; Details On The Plan Going Forward, Latest On WWE TV Negotiations, Changes To Title Match At WM30, Lesnar Throws Monitor Into The Crowd, New Tag Team Champions, Kurt Angle Off Lockdown, Vince McMahon Back On

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Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, March 1, 2014 to Friday, March 7, 2014 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:

Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!

Table Of Contents
- WWE News
- TNA News
- Ask WNW

WWE News

- This week's episode of Smackdown Fallout is subtitled Sheamus' Big Problem and is online now at this link.

- Wrestling News World's Scott Brooks was in attendance at Friday night's WWE NXT tapings in Winter Park, Florida. He noted the show was once again "super sold out," as it was the night prior for NXT ArRIVAL.

- Speaking of NXT ArRIVAL, I'm told the taping was unorganized due to the large crowd. WWE made everyone stay outside until the Pre-Show was over and actually tried to line fans up in numerical order to their corresponding wrist bands. It didn't work out well.

- As for the two "fans" that Paul Heyman interviewed during the NXT ArRIVAL Pre-Show, they were indeed plants.

- John Cena got in the ring after Adrian Neville won the NXT Championship on Thursday night. He was limping and Neville helped him around the ring. While he did in fact tweak his knee on Raw, much of what was seen was scripted. He could have been selling.

- WWE has posted Batista's heel turn promo on their official YouTube channel following this airing of this week's episode of Smackdown. You can watch it at this link. The decision to turn Batista finally came after Elimination Chamber when Vince McMahon was described as "past upset." As we reported in our backstage PPV notes, the attempt to get Batista over as a babyface in Minneapolis could have been Vince's breaking point.

- If anyone had any questions about John Cena's health following the injury angle on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, they can be put to rest. Cena faced Randy Orton in a steel cage match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Friday night's WWE live event in North Charleston, South Carolina. He sold the knee "injury" throughout the match, in which he went under.

- WWE Tweeted a photo of Triple H addressing the NXT roster. You can check it out below:

- Wrestling News World reader Chris Rowlands sent this in… As a point of interest, Friday night's Smackdown in the United Kingdom opened with The Real Americans vs. Mark Henry and Big E with Michael Cole announcing Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler for later. The "Batista Unleashed" segment then aired after the commercial break.

- Dolph Ziggler Tweeted that WWE edited out "We want Ziggler" chants off this week's episode of Smackdown.

I wouldn't read too much into this as it's likely to play into the pro-Batista/anti-Daniel Bryan storyline.

Below is the Tweet:

- Dot com posted a new exclusive interview with Hulk Hogan on Saturday morning. In it, Hogan talked about being nervous leading up to his return on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw and how he was received by talent in the locker room. He spoke about how his return came about:

Over the last couple years, there’ll be texts between Vince and I. “Happy birthday brother!” on August 24th, his birthday. Christmas, Thanksgiving. We’ll touch base like that. And then I guess the word got out that I was jobless. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was thinking of going back to playing music or something. On a Tuesday, I was officially out of work. And Friday morning I was drinking my coffee and I hear my cell phone. And it was Triple H. “Hey brother, just checking on you.” I’m like, “Hey, dude, I’m just contemplating my navel here. I’m officially out of work, I’m unemployed.” And that started us talking. In my heart, I was hoping to come back here. I was hoping to put the period on the end of the sentence and it was the logical extension. It just made so much sense to come back.

Hogan said when he moved to Stamford, he, Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson were "inseparable." He talked about riding motorcycles together, lifting weights and of course the 18-hour days. Hogan said sometimes he gets confused and the lines get blurred but "Vince has always been there."

He said on Monday before he went out to open Raw that Vince gave him a hug and told him to go out and have fun.

Click here to read the interview in its entirety.

- Vince McMahon has been working around the clock trying to get CM Punk to agree to come back and appear on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Chicago, Illinois. While a large segment believes Punk won't cave, he's being offered new plans for Wrestlemania XXX.

According to a source with knowledge of McMahon's efforts, a plan is being pitched to insert Punk in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Batista and Randy Orton, making it a triple threat bout.

Others in the company have tried to reach out to Punk but he refuses to respond. Even friends of his [in WWE] are having all calls and texts ignored. This has caused a sizable portion of the locker room to feel like the whole thing is an angle and that rather than lie to the boys, Punk is simply refusing to have any communication with them what-so-ever.

However, we're assured the the situation with Punk is not an angle. If Punk ends up appearing on Raw, it'll be because Vince McMahon pulled a miracle and not because the whole thing was a work. As we've noted several times, the original plan for Punk at Wrestlemania was a match against Triple H and everything has had to be rearranged because Punk walked out.

- The Internet is blowing up with rumblings regarding the status of CM Punk with this week's episode of Monday Night Raw emanating from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. There is already plenty of speculation out leading to misinformation, however, I'll recap everything I know so you can tie this story together.

On Saturday evening I communicated with one of my sources who was led to believe that Punk would be returning to WWE on this week's episode of Raw. We talked about it at length, however, I decided against running a story until I gathered more information. Early Sunday morning I spoke with another source that confirmed that Vince McMahon has been working around the clock to get Punk back for Wrestlemania XXX. This source had no knowledge of my conversation on Saturday evening, thus I was able to double source that Punk working for WWE again is something that is relatively widespread. This is a change from last week, when I classified a Punk return at Raw as doubtful.

That's where the story stops. The rumors started heating up on Saturday evening that Punk could be returning and on Sunday morning we confirmed there were extraordinary efforts being made to bring him back for Raw in Chicago, leading to a spot on the Wrestlemania card.

With that being said, there is no confirmation that Punk is returning to WWE on Monday night. If you heard that, or believe that, please realize that is based on an assumption and not a fact. The first I was made aware of the rumblings was on Saturday evening just after 7:00 PM EST.

We have more online, including the word from the rest of the WWE roster and the new Wrestlemania XXX match that is being pitched to CM Punk available to WNW Premium Members at this link. If you are not yet a Premium member, this is a great time to get on board and you can take an additional 10% off all plans (excluding the Day Pass) by using the coupon code VIDEO10. Click here to signup now for instant access.

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Brock Lesnar

was at Sunday's NASCAR Spring Cup race at the Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona. Below are photos of him that were Tweeted out:

Chael Sonnen, Brock Lesnar & Kevin Harvick:

Josh Reddick & Brock Lesnar:

- The widow of Big Daddy V Nelson Frazier Jr, Cassandra Frazier, apologized on Sunday after unloading on WWE and Vince McMahon on social media last week. She posted the following on Facebook:

If there is ever a time to give someone a pass, this is certainly it. Cassandra's husband, known by WWE fans as Big Daddy V, Viscera and King Mabel, died on February 19, 2014 after suffering a heart attack.

His funeral is Tuesday in East Memphis, Tennessee.

- RedEye Chicago interviewed Seth Rollins to promote this week's episode of Monday Night Raw from this city. In addition to saying he saw himself as world champion in five years, Rollins really put over his time in developmental.

I think the couple of years in developmental was really starting to get me impatient. It's not a bad thing that you get that mindset because you want to be on the main roster and working with the top guys. I spent a lot of time on the independent scene honing my craft, so I thought I was ready from day one. But the time I spent in NXT was the best things that could happen in my career. It gave me the mindset that I could succeed at the highest level. When it was time to get called up and The Shield was ready to make an impact, I was nervous, excited, but most importantly prepared for [it]. I think that preparation and confidence came across well in front of the WWE universe.

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

- Vince McMahon is back on the Forbes Billionaires list, being named a "notable newcomer" with a net worth of $1.2 billion. The following screen capture is from my Twitter account:

- Tickets for WWE SummerSlam 2014 go on sale on Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 1:00 PM ET. They're priced from $25-$475 and official details are available at this link. WWE SummerSlam 2014 will take place on Sunday, Aug 17, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- TMZ.com caught with Jim Ross in New York City. He said his cowboy hat cost about $1000. You can watch the video at this link.

- General Mills posted a video of Sheamus visiting their headquarters last week where he represented WWE as part of their partnership with Totino's. You can watch the video at this link.

- WWE confirmed Monday on dot com that this week's episode of WWE Main Event will air live on WWE Network on Tuesday night at 7 PM EST. This will be one night before the show airs on Ion Television from tape. We suspected this to be the case after discovering this listing on the WWE Network schedule. We'll have complete WWE Main Event coverage on Tuesday night at 7 PM EST here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- The plan at one time was for WWE to select their domestic television partner(s) by Tuesday, March 4, 2014, according to Variety's coverage last December. However, that timeline does not look as likely today. Vince McMahon said in last month's conference call with investors that he expects negotiations to be completed by the end of April, maybe a little later. Any move, should a move happen, would not go into effect until October 2014.

- In addition to sitting down with the great Sam Roberts while in New York City, Jim Ross noted that he was interviewed for the upcoming E:60 feature that ESPN will be doing on the WWE Performance Center. According to Ross, the special is slated to air sometime in April. You can read JR's latest at this link but only after you buy some BBQ sauce.

- Last week's episode of Smackdown - featuring Batista turning heel and going on the face Dolph Ziggler - did an average viewing audience of 2,796,000 viewers on SyFy. The show tied Game of Stones for the number two original on cable with a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating. You can see how the competition for the night fared at this link. The show ended up with a 2.05 cable rating.

- WWE opened this week's episode of Monday Night Raw from the Allstate State Arena in Chicago, Illinois by playing the "Cult of Personality" theme music of CM Punk. Paul Heyman came out to the music and cut a worked shoot promo where he tied it into Brock Lesnar'sWrestlemania XXX with The Undertaker. I live Tweeted the opening segment and will include it below:

Brock Lesnar came out and cut a promo on Undertaker. Mark Henry, who Lesnar wrote off television a couple months ago, came out and Lesnar destroyed him.

- Wrestling News World reader Gesus Oliver is in attendance at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw and sent word that when Brock Lesnar threw the monitor in the ring that it bounced out and into the crowd. Gesus noted that it hit some fans sitting ringside, however, there did not appear to be any injuries.

- Jimmy and Jey Uso beat Road Dogg & Billy Gunn to win the WWE Tag Team Championship on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The match went home when Jimmy jumped at Jey for the hot tag, going over the top rope and taking out Road Dogg on the outside. Meanwhile in the ring, Jey hit the Diving splash off the top rope to pin Billy Gunn to go over with the pinfall victory. This is the first WWE Tag Team Championship reign of The Usos.

- WWE announced Paul Bearer as a posthumous inductee into the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Bearer joins The Ultimate Warrior, Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Lita as members of the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class. They'll be inducted the night before Wrestlemania XXX on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the New Orleans Arena. The ceremony will air live on WWE Network and we'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Sheamus suffered a cut on his left arm during a backstage segment with Christian on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. For those that missed it, after Sheamus went over Christian in a match earlier on the broadcast, Christian "attacked" Sheamus when he was doing a backstage interview with Renee Young. You can check out a photo Sheamus Tweeted out below:

Christian had one of the better lines of the night before the kayfabe beatdown as he grabbed a spotlight, shined it on Sheamus and asked him if he wanted to steal his spotlight.

- WWE announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that Hulk Hogan will appear on next week's broadcast from Memphis, Tennessee. They also promoted that he would be making a Wrestlemania XXX announcement. Next week's episode of Monday Night Raw will take place from the FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Make plans to join our Raw "Open Thread" starting at 7:30 PM EST featuring streaming live results and your discussion right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- After this week's episode of Monday Night Raw went off the air, the beat down on Daniel Bryan continued but Big Show came out followed by John Cena (selling the knee "injury"). Both entrances aired on Backstage Pass as Big Show joined Bryan in the Yes chant to send the crowd home happy. Stephanie McMahon told Renee Young in a backstage interview that Triple H made it very clear that Daniel Bryan will never be a Wrestlemania main eventer and he's a B+ player. Byron Saxton interviewed Curtis Axel and Axel questioned what he cared about Daniel Bryan. He said he'd be happy to take care of The Authority's "light work." Titus O'Neil asked Byron to spell hungry. He said he just saw what Bryan just got.

- - Aaron Paul admitted in a backstage interview with Renee Young that he was nervous on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw but put over the experience with Dolph Ziggler. Here's what he Tweeted prior to going out:

- One of the focal points of this week's episode of Smackdown is the return of Big Show. WWE will tape this week's Smackdown on Tuesday night from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

- Paul Bearer'sWWE Hall of Fame video is now online at this link.

Speaking of Bearer, his son Daniel Moody, wrote the following of the induction on Facebook:

Very proud that Dad is going into the Hall of Fame this year. What a emotional year it has been. Paul Bearer/Percy Pringle III Class of 2014 WWE Hall of Fame. We love and miss you!

- We recapped the Divas action from this week's Monday Night Rawhere at DivaKnockout.com.

- WWE will return to the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois for their Payback pay-per-view on June 1, 2014. The presale password to obtain tickets is WWEPAYBACK.

- This week's Raw Fallout is subtitled Need for Aaron Paul and it's online at this link.

- The new Scooby-Doo: Wrestlemania Mystery DVD trailer is online at this link.

- For those that missed how WWE handled the situation with CM Punk on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Chicago, you can watch video at this link. You can read our written report at this link. I've already stated it multiple times but only Paul Heyman could have came out, dealt with the rabid Chicago crowd, turn back heel and promote Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX.

- Another Raw Fallout video questions if there is a crack in The Shield. You can watch it at this link.

- WWE has signed Drake Younger to a developmental contract. He will finish independent commitments before reporting to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

- Notable names absent from this week's Monday Night Raw included Rey Mysterio and The Undertaker. I don't have an update on either as of this writing but Undertaker was officially advertised. Mysterio is not advertised for this week's Smackdown taping in Detroit, Michigan either.

- I received the following statement from WWE Network via email:

The WWE Network login issue for Xbox 360 users has been resolved, and we apologize for any inconvenience. Click here to learn more about setting up your Xbox 360 to view all WWE Network has to offer.

- WWE posted a video on their official YouTube channel of LeBron James giving his teammates WWE title belts. You can watch it at this link.

- Steve Austin has a new podcast with William Regal online at this link. He Tweeted the following about it:

Austin conducted the interview backstage at Monday Night Raw in Los Angeles last month.

- Chris Jericho was a guest on Comedy Central's @midnight on Monday. You can watch the episode at this link. Jericho Tweeted the following after trending Twitter:

- In the midst of being informed about Vince McMahon'shail marry attempt to get CM Punk on this week's Monday Night Raw and back for Wrestlemania XXX, I was told a lot of the WWE roster is turning on him. Punk has never been known for his likability but he's even been ignoring close friends and word is getting around about that.

I was told if Vince couldn't get Punk back for Wrestlemania, the plan is to "leave him be for a couple months" and see if he gets the itch to return on his own. His WWE contract isn't up until July, which leaves him time to recharge and have a change of heart. I was told if Vince couldn't get Punk back for Raw (which he wasn't able to do), to expect him to do a 180. The effort to get Punk back on Raw was seen as a last ditch effort and after that, Vince feels he's better off waiting until Punk's deal is coming up and trying to get him to re-sign at that point.

Meanwhile, Triple H doesn't want Punk brought back and feels the company shouldn't risk putting him in a prominent position again, only for him to potentially walk out. Vince has yielded a lot of power to Hunter but with Punk, it's been Vince that has taken full control and asked Hunter to stay out of it. According to a source, it was Vince's mindset that he had the best shot at changing Punk's mind by dealing with him directly.

With Punk reportedly unhappy with a proposed match against Hunter at Wrestlemania, one source notes they doubt Punk is going to be one of Triple H's favorite anytime soon. This is another issue, as longterm, Punk knows Triple H will be pulling the strings and just doesn't see a future for himself at the top of a card for a company that's going to be run by someone he knows just doesn't see him at that level.

He could obviously change his mind, but in Punk's head, he's done. Not just in WWE, but in wrestling period. He has no desire to go to TNA, the indies or Japan.

Punk has a ton of leverage right now but once Vince moves on, a lot of that leverage goes out the window. He could still ultimately agree to come back and work Wrestlemania but that chance goes down with each passing week, especially now that Vince plans to give Punk some space.

- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,576,667 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:

Hour one - 4,672,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,620,000 viewers
Hour three - 4,438,000 viewers

The show was Monday's top cable program with a 1.6 adults 18-49 rating, according to TV By The Numbers.

Raw ended up with a 3.26 cable rating.

- The WWE Network is currently down. I loaded the live feed page and the feed is not working. It looks like the issue has been ongoing since the 5 AM EST hour as the "Up Next" programming is for the 6 AM ET and 7 AM ET hour. So far, there has been no acknowledgement from WWE about the outage. March 5, 2014 9:12 AM EST Update: I just reloaded the page and it's back online. We still do not have confirmation as to how long the service was out. End update.

- Jake Mann of The Motley Fool penned an article titled "3 Reasons the WWE Network Will Fail" that was published on Tuesday. I completely disagree with the article and will do my best to unpack why below:

* Mann asserts a "version" of the WWE Network "has flopped before" and breaks down the fact WWE 24/7 only had 115,000 subscribers and makes a sweeping assumption that this is all that is interested in the company's archived footage. I'll argue WWE 24/7 was poorly promoted and had limited distribution and accessibility. Pro wrestling is how I make a living and even I didn't have interest in WWE 24/7.

* The author wrote the numbers don't add up, writing "most sources cite" the WWE Network break even point is 1 million subscribers. We can stop there for a second as there is no need for "sources." WWE has emphatically stated 1,000,000 subscribers is the break even point and anything under that, they'll view as an investment. WWE hopes to reach 1 million subscribers by the end of 2014 to consider the launch successful.

* Mann goes on to take Wrestlemania buys from last year and WWE 24/7 subscribers as a basis for a claim to assert 1,000,000 subscribers is not possible, considering the company will have to have more subscribers than Wrestlemania buyers last year. Wrestlemania carries a hefty price tag that even the most hardcore fan can have trouble financing. The WWE audience is much larger than that and while Mann points to the company's social media followers, I'll point to the weekly audience that watches Raw. WWE has an audience of more than 4 million that watches Raw in the United States each week, which is proof alone there are more than enough people engaged that will have at least *some* interest in WWE Network.

* The final point the author makes is one I somewhat agree with. Mann mentions technical issues having the potential to derail WWE Network and that's absolutely true. In fact, most people that will agree with this guy will point to the issues they've had in week one. However, the issues I've experienced have been very limited. Some have had a harder time than others and while I've clearly been one of the lucky ones, issues with the live feed have been even more limited. WWE cannot afford to have issues during Wrestlemania but I expect them to be resolved.

You can read the article in its entirety at this link.

To read the counterpoint article titled "The WWE Network Will Succeed," click here

You all know where I stand but I will admit it is a 180 from my initial position. My change has to do with distribution and price. When Vince McMahon was pushing to launch WWE Network as a traditional cable/satellite network and the providers didn't want to touch it, I didn't think there was any way it would work. It's hard enough to get people to watch and if you can't get on the systems in the first place, it's going to be an uphill battle. However, by launching over the top, that's not the case. Anyone has the ability to subscribe. That wouldn't be the case if it were limited to traditional distribution.

The former also helps the latter. Because distribution is over the top and not controlled by the cable and satellite providers, the price is lower. In fact, $9.99/month still seems too good to be true, however, even if they had a 100% price increase, it'd still be half of what they were charging for pay-per-views. I'll argue that a larger percentage of WWE's fan base will be interested in WWE Network because it's easier to access and more affordable.

- While WWE Main Event will continue to air live on the WWE Network on Tuesday nights, it will also continue to air in its normal 8 PM/7 CT timeslot on Ion Television. The episode that aired Tuesday night on WWE Network featuring Daniel Bryan vs. Kane is scheduled to air on Wednesday night.

Furthermore, we can confirm the March 12th and March 19th episodes of WWE Main Event are already on Ion Television's schedule.

For those that missed it, WWE Main Event will air at 8 PM EST on WWE Network moving forward. This is a change from this Tuesday night, as the show aired at 7 PM EST.

Richard Reacts: This move shows us a couple of things. One, Ion Television doesn't have exclusive rights to distribute the show domestically like the USA Network has for Raw or SyFy has for Smackdown. It also shows the great flexibility the WWE Network gives the company. Should they lose domestic clearance they now have their own where they can alter the timeslot as they see fit. This is exactly why Vince McMahon wanted the WWE Network to be his legacy. It's a well known fact if WWE would lose their domestic TV deals in their current form they would be in grave danger, however, that risk is increasingly minimized with the evolution of the WWE Network.

- The Usos dedicated their WWE Tag Team Championship win to their late uncle Umaga. The following is from Twitter:

- I found the following to be rather humorous:

Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Chicago…

- Luke Harper was nursing his shoulder backstage after the 6-man tag team match on this week's show. No serious injury occurred and he's believed to be fine going forward.

- Paul Heyman did in fact go off-script in his show-opening/crisis management promo to open the live broadcast. He received very high marks for the promo backstage.

- There continues to be a lot of discussion about what to do with Christian, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus at Wrestlemania XXX. Out of all these names, Sheamus will definitely have a spot but they don't know what as of this writing. Remember the original plan had him working Daniel Bryan.

- Speaking of Wrestlemania XXX, a change is seen as an inevitability in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and Batista but that's not to say it's a definite either. The plan was for a babyface Batista to face Orton for the title at Wrestlemania and for all to be well, however, the inability to get Batista over as a babyface threw a wrench into everything. We noted possibilities here but CM Punk is back to doubtful. Daniel Bryan is an *obvious* choice but that also hinges on him pulling double duty to properly explain it. It's amazing how "up in the air" this year's show has been to begin with and now with more changes being discussed at this juncture at the biggest show of the year is just incredible.

- There's nothing more to note on CM Punk aside from what we detailed here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Vince McMahon is giving him space with the hope he'll recharge his batteries on his own. Triple H is ready to cut bait and move on and with Vince backing off, that's where it looks to be headed anyways. I will reiterate there were a lot of people that expected Punk back on Monday but it was never a definite or a certainty.

- This week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole is now online. Below are the highlights:

Hunter talked about being busy last week in Orlando, putting on a successful NXT ArRIVAL show. Cole talked about a Tweet he made that it was convenient that Hunter wasn't there the week when Daniel Bryan first challenged him to a match at Wrestlemania XXX.

Cole said Hunter laid out a lot of different reasons on Raw why he wouldn't give Daniel Bryan a match at Wrestlemania. He asked for the true reason. Triple H asked if he wanted him to run the whole list or just to start at the top? How about the fact he's COO? He's very busy. He doesn't have the time. Cole reminds him he's had very high profile matches in the past being COO. Triple H said so you're going to compare The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, A+ players, to a challenge by Daniel Bryan? He said it's a world of difference and he's a B+ player and it's going to take a whole helluva lot more than Daniel Bryan for him to take his time, life and dedication to the WWE Universe to get him to lace up his boots at Wrestlemania.

Cole asked him how long he was going to deny that the WWE Universe wants Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. Hunter said there's no denying they want it, there's no denying Daniel Bryan thinks he wants it. He said, careful what you wish for. Triple H said imagine the thunderous reaction on Raw being turned into silence and embarrassment on the grandest stage of them all and he's trying to protect them from themselves.

Michael said then why not end it at Wrestlemania and face him? Triple H questioned why even bother for a good B+ player, the t-shirt sales, the movement. He said what's good for business is for Daniel Bryan to do his little B+ schtick over there and do his own thing. Let the immortals be the showcase of the immortal. Hunter asked Cole if he thought Bryan was the first guy that tried to ride his coattails to Wrestlemania.

Cole questioned what if Bryan beat Triple H in front of 80,000 in the Superdome, all doing the Yes chant. Hunter said in your version of the world, in the fly-by earlier in the day by the military, are they flying monkeys or pigs? Let's live in the real word. Triple H said he's 185 pound sawed-off midget. And he's going to get in the ring with him? Triple H said if wanted rid of him, he'd just fire him. He's not going to embarrass and humiliate him in front of the world. Hunter said he has value and the people love the little guy but they have no idea what they're asking for.

Michael Cole asked Triple H if he was scared of Daniel Bryan. Hunter answered, 'honestly?' Cole said everyone he has spoken with believes Triple H is afraid of Daniel Bryan. Triple H said the answer to your question is the exact same answer to Daniel Bryan's question - 'no.'

You can watch this week' s interview at this link.

- Hulk Hogan Tweeted the following about being on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Memphis, Tennessee:

- Fandango was in the Sky Sports News studio on Wednesday and talked about becoming a huge Everton fan when they agreed to play his theme music at one of their games. The appearance was done to promote Wrestlemania XXX as you can check out coverage at this link.

- Jim Ross has a new blog entry online at this link. Speaking of JR, how about some BBQ sauce?

- Jim Ross was interviewed over the weekend by ESPN. In one of the pieces recorded for "Highly Questionable," he talked about Vince McMahon being very demanding on the headset and how they've had announcers leave the company because they couldn't handle it. JR also said Vince is a clean freak, he won't eat anything with his hands and he was very clean when he joined the "kiss my ass" club. Ross ended the appearance by talking about Jerry Lawler defecating on himself during a match. You can watch at this link. There's excerpts from another interview here on ESPNFrontRow.com.

- Travel packages for this year's WWE SummerSlam pay-per-view will go on sale today at 12:00 p.m. ET. Packages for the show, which will emanate from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, are available for as low as $540. Click here for more information.

- Steve Austin opens up the phone lines in the latest edition of The Steve Austin Show to speak with fans about current events within WWE. In addition, he says that it is too early for CM Punk to return due to burnout, but he speculates that Punk could back within two weeks of WrestleMania XXX. Click here to listen.

- Wrestling News World reader Clayton Fitch sent in the following:

Hulk Hogan was featured on Wednesday night's episode of Toy Hunter centered on the host trying to find 80's wrestling toys for the singer Taboo from Black Eyed Peas. As part of the show, the host went to Hogan's Beach in Florida and he looked through some boxes of memorabilia in the back of the store. Hogan made an appearance and sold one of his old figures to the host for $850, who then sold it to Taboo for $1,000.

The Travel Channel has a clip of the appearance online at this link.

- Royal Rumble 2014 is now available in the on-demand-video library on the WWE Network. The reason it's now available and wasn't available on launch is because all shows that do not originate on WWE Network have a 30-day window before they are added. The same will hold true with Elimination Chamber. Thanks to WNW reader Ricky Johnson for sending this in.

- Daniel Bryan Tweeted the following about his Ring of Honor brothers, Cesaro and Sami Zayn, stealing the show at last week's NXT ArRIVAL show on WWE Network:

- Can Summer Rae beat Stacy Keibler? Check out her first installment of WWE Inbox at this link.

- The Rock has been filming the first season of his new TNT reality show titled "Wake Up Call" over the last month. We're told he actually wanted one of the episodes to be about a former professional wrestler and a few different names were brought under consideration. It's unknown if they went forward with plans to shoot such an episode but one guy Rock was interested in was former TNA worker Jesse Neal. The show is about The Rock motivating people that are down on their luck and Rock was intrigued by Neal's past, surviving a terrorist attack while in the military. Neal left TNA Wrestling in 2011.

- Vince McMahon Tweeted the following:

As we reported here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, McMahon is once again a billionaire with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

- The cast of Total Divas (minus Naomi/Trinity) were guests on The Arsenio Hall Show on Thursday. Some of the key storylines for Season 2 were teased, including beef between Summer Rae and Natalya as well as John Cena not wanting to get married or have children.

We covered the appearance extensively with highlights and video at this link.

It's also worth noting that former WWE creative head Eric Pankowski is executive producer of The Arsenio Hall Show.

Also, if you haven't checked out DivaKnockout.com, I would like to encourage you to do so. We currently have a feature story on two Divas blackballed by WWE.

- Daniel Bryan, running on two hours of sleep, did a lot of media for WWE in Detroit on Tuesday. In one of the appearances, he was asked about CM Punk and said he hadn't spoken to him since he left. As we've noted numerous times, Punk isn't talking, even to friends. This is why rumors began swirling Punk's departure was a work, which it is not. It has also caused for many in the WWE locker room to "turn on him."

- WWE announced that Chief Financial Officer George Barrios will participate in the 26th Annual Roth Conference in Newport Beach, California on Monday, March 10, 2014. You can read the official press release at this link.

- Conan O'Brien "reviews" WWE2K14 at this link.

- We normally do not track ratings and viewership for WWE Main Event, however, with the show airing live on WWE Network the night before it aired this week on Ion Television, I thought there would be more interest. This week's show actually scored higher in terms of an average viewing audience than it did the previous two weeks. Below is a look at the numbers:

March 5th - 1,487,000 viewers
February 26th - 1,289,000 viewers
February 19th - 1,316,000 viewers

This week's episode featured Daniel Bryan vs. Kane and The Usos defending the WWE Tag Team Championship against The New Age Outlaws. WWE Network will continue to air WWE Main Event on Tuesday nights before it airs on Wednesday on Ion Television.

- Sean "X-Pac" Waltman debuted a video blog on dot com on Friday. You can watch the first installment at this link.

- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show features Bad News Barrett handing out subpoenas. I'm afraid I've got some bad news! Watch at this link.

TNA News

- The promotional poster for TNA Sacrifice 2014 features Jeff Hardy in his Willow gimmick. You can check it out below:

TNA Sacrifice 2014

TNA Sacrifice 2014 will take place Sunday, April 27, 2014. You can read the inDEMAND listing at this link.

- Anthony Byrge attended last weekend's TNA live event in Beckley, West Virginia and spent a good amount of time backstage talking to the talent. You can read his blog at this link.

- Lionheart suffered a broken neck after taking the Styles Clash from AJ Styles in a match for Preston City Wrestling on Saturday night. The word is Styles was unaware an injury had occurred until after the match. PCW has confirmed Lionheart has movement in his arms and legs. His prognosis is good and he will not require surgery and is sitting up in bed without a neck brace.

- Robbie E & Jessie Godderz, known collectively as The BroMans, beat Team 246 (Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo) and The Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards to win the TNA Tag Team Championship on Sunday. The match took place at the Wrestle-1 vs. TNA Wrestling show in Japan. It will air as an upcoming TNA "One Night Only" pay-per-view called Outbreak later in the United States. The Wolves beat BroMans for the TNA Championship last Sunday in Morgantown, West Virginia.

- Seiya Sanada beat Austin Aries to win the TNA X-Division Championship on Sunday in Japan. The match took place at the Wrestle-1 vs. TNA Wrestling show in Japan. It will air as an upcoming TNA "One Night Only" pay-per-view called Outbreak later in the United States. It was announced on Friday that Sanada will team with Tigre Uno and The Great Muta to oppose Bad Influence & Chris Sabin in a six-man match at next weekend's Lockdown pay-per-view.

- Puroresu Spirit is reporting that Seiya Sanada from Wrestle-1 is headed to TNA Wrestling indefinitely. Sanada, who won the TNA X Division Championship against Austin Aries on Sunday, will debut with the company at next weekend's Lockdown pay-per-view. Keiji Mutoh announced the next TNA Wrestling vs. Wrestle-1 show will take place on July 6, 2014 from Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan. One bout he hopes to book is Kurt Angle vs. Masakatsu Funaki. Sanada will team with Tigre Uno and The Great Muta to oppose Bad Influence & Chris Sabin in a six-man match at Lockdown.

- MVP appeared on The Roman Show and talked about wanting to help TNA Wrestling and how they've always had a tremendous talent roster. You can listen to the appearance at this link.

- Rockstar Spud appeared on Stevie Knight's podcast. Click here to listen now.

- DJ Mag Canada interviewed Zema Ion at this link.

- Bully Ray Tweeted the following:

- Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from Taz. In it, he credits Jeff Jarrett for laying the foundation of homegrown TNA wrestlers and of course promotes this Sunday's Lockdown pay-per-view. Click here to read it.

- We've received a lot of email regarding Kurt Angle's status with TNA Wrestling and his contract situation. Angle's contract is up in September and he's not been shy about making it known he plans to test the market. While I believe a WWE return would be ideal for Angle, I haven't heard how much interest they have in him as an active pro wrestler at the age of 45.

- Scott Fishman has a new blog on the Miami New Times featuring quotes from MVP to promote Sunday's Lockdown pay-per-view. The piece details MVP overcoming his troubled past to have a successful career as a professional wrestler. Click here to read it.

- Has Brooke Tessmacher departed TNA Wrestling? There's new evidence to suggest that she's made a change. Click here for coverage by DivaKnockout.com.

- Austin Aries was a guest on The Shining Wizards Podcast. You can listen at this link.

- Dixie Carter and TNA Wrestling announced on Thursday that Slammiversary XI will take place from Dallas Fort Worth on Sunday, June 15 from the College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Travel packages will be available on March 21st and tickets go on sale on March 28, 2014 at 11 AM EST.

Click here for official details.

The following is from the verified Twitter account of Dixie Carter:

- ImpactWrestling.com posted an "update" on Kurt Angle following the airing of this week's episode of Impact Wrestling.

The kayfabe article notes Angle heard his knee pop when Ethan Carter III was "attacking" him and he was "taken to a local hospital" with the fear he could have torn some ligaments.

TNA notes as a result of the beat down, their match announced for Lockdown is in jeopardy. They plan to update further on Friday.

What actually happened is Angle underwent arthroscopic knee surgery when he returned from the company's European tour. The surgery carries a recovery of 6-8 weeks and he never planned to work Lockdown. This begs to question why TNA promoted the match this close to the pay-per-view in the first place, as it's done nothing but cause confusion.

Click here for kayfabe coverage by ImpactWrestling.com.

- Following the airing of this week's episode of Impact Wrestling, below is the updated lineup for Sunday's Lockdown pay-per-view:

Steel Cage Match for the TNA Championship
Winner can only be determined by knockout or submission.
- Magnus © vs. Samoa Joe

Lethal Lockdown Match
The team that wins receives complete control of TNA. If Team Dixie wins, Bobby Roode becomes a 10% owner.
- Team MVP (MVP, Jeff Hardy and The Wolves) vs. Team Dixie (Bobby Roode, Austin Aries & The BroMans)

Steel Cage Match for the TNA Knockouts Championship
- Madison Rayne © vs. Gail Kim (w/Lei'D Tapa)

Steel Cage Match
- Kurt Angle vs. Ethan Carter III*

Steel Cage Last Man Standing Match
- James Storm vs. Gunner

6-man Interpromotional Tag Team Steel Cage Match
- The Great Muta, Sanada & Nakanoue vs. Bad Influence & Chris Sabin

Steel Match Match
- Manik vs. Tigre Uno

Steel Cat Match
- Mr. Anderson vs. Samuel Shaw

* I fully do not expect Kurt Angle vs. Ethan Carter III to take place, I never did. TNA updated on Friday the bout was "in jeopardy" but didn't outright call it off. I guess it could still take place but certainly a questionable way to promote the pay-per-view.

TNA Lockdown 2014 will take place Sunday at BankUnited Center in Miami, Florida. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.

- Austin Aries talked about TNA Wrestling keeping their product fresh by signing MVP and The Wolves in a new interview with The Rack. You can listen to the interview at this link.

- Frankie Kazarian said The Great Muta's involvement at this weekend's Lockdown pay-per-view is a thrill. He also spoke with The Rack as you can listen at this link.

- The latest vignette for Jeff Hardy'sWillow gimmick is online at this link.

TNA Wrestling is also returning vignettes for the return of Kenny King. You can watch the first one at this link.

King was on the road with the TNA crew last weekend.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling, the go-home to TNA Lockdown, did an average viewing audience of 1,164,000 viewers on Spike TV. The number is up from the past two weeks, however, is still rather mundane. The final cable rating was a 0.93.

Ask WNW

As far as I remember, RVD was 'taking a break' back in the summer, are there any current plans for him to return?

Rob Van Dam was believed to be close to returning to WWE just in time for Wrestlemania XXX when he was backstage at Raw in Los Angeles last month. We detailed here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com how the departure of CM Punk played a role in WWE's interest in RVD and Chris Jericho going up. As of this writing I cannot confirm if RVD has signed a deal to return as the talk has cooled since last month's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. RVD continues to toy with followers on Twitter that ask about his return, Tweeting the following just a couple of days ago:

What's the next step in the heel turn of Batista?

The efforts at Elimination Chamber to get Batista over as a babyface were the final efforts. When they failed, a tweak was seen as inevitable and that tweak happened on last week's episode of Smackdown. The next step should unfold on this week's Raw from Chicago, where the crowd will likely be very anti-Batista. I got a kick out of dot com's Raw Five-Point Preview, where they titled the point on Batista, "Keyboard warrior" and followed up with "Guess what? Batista doesn’t like you very much, either." This is absolutely the right move and a much better direction for Batista's character. His most successful run in the company was as a heel so I'm not sure the logic in bringing him back as a babyface in the first place unless they thought he would be able to help fill The Rock's absence on the Wrestlemania lineup.

What are the future plans for Sheamus?

Sheamus is currently an upper midcard talent in WWE and this is about the lowest you'll see him on the card. Vince McMahon and Triple H were glad to get Sheamus back as a surprise Royal Rumble entrant in January and will look to utilize him as a staple for their upper tier midcarders during Wrestlemania season. After Wrestlemania, I expect Sheamus to function more as a main event talent with holes being left from the Wrestlemania part-timers.

With Batista turning heel does that mean Daniel Bryan will finally get his spot in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania XXX?

With Batista turning heel everyone wants to know if that means Daniel Bryan has a spot in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania. However, the last I heard, WWE still plans to do Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at the show in April. I'm on record as to saying the only way they can save the title match at Wrestlemania is if Bryan gets in it. If not, WWE is going to have an extremely hard time appeasing the crowd. The next question people want to ask is - what about CM Punk? The Punk rumors that started on Saturday and made their way onto the site on Sunday have the world abuzz. We can confirm a new Wrestlemania match was pitched to Punk and you can read about what that match was at this link.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2011: Is CM Punk the biggest star in WWE besides The Rock? - CM Punk is finally established as a main event name but he's still viewed behind John Cena and Randy Orton. I realize a lot of people are sick and tired of the Cena character but that's still the way it is. The Rock is more popular than he's ever been; the problem is he's not back full-time.

I know you always say anything is possible in WWE (Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels hugging in the middle of the ring) but with CM Punk not returning on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Chicago, do you think his return seems a little impossible?

Vince McMahon went to great lengths to bring CM Punk back to WWE for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Chicago. We explained here that a new Wrestlemania XXX match was pitched and Vince had been working extremely hard to get Punk on the show. I also cautioned there was no confirmation and that any claim that Punk returning was a "done deal" was simply not accurate. The rumors heated up last Saturday night, however, they were never more than that. WWE handled the situation brilliantly with Paul Heyman opening the show to Punk's music with his "bait and switch" promo that only he could have pulled off. As I mentioned in my Raw notes, only Heyman could come out and cut a babyface promo to the rabid Chicago audience, turn and promote Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker for Wrestlemania 30.

Do you think the fans would have received Batista differently if his return wouldn't have leaked and he would have came back as a surprise Rumble entrant and went over?

Batista's return leaked in advance advertising material for WWE live events, however, the plan was always to air vignettes before bringing him back. If WWE would have foregone those plans and made Batista a surprise Rumble entrant and put him over, I still think they would have had trouble selling him as a babyface. Daniel Bryan has been over like rover since last summer and the majority of the WWE audience demands he gets a proper payoff. When the decision was made not to put Bryan in the Rumble, that's when the problems started and it was an error WWE is now trying to correct by incorporating the reactions into storyline. Batista's new direction is the right direction and has me more optimistic, however, WWE will not be able to get Batista vs. Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania over. Bryan must be inserted if there is any hope for it. I have more about possible tweaks to the match at this link.

Why is the Money in the Bank ladder match no longer a staple of the Wrestlemania undercard?

WWE eliminated the Money in the Bank ladder match from Wrestlemania with WrestleMania XXVII in 2011 after creating the Money in the Bank pay-per-view the year prior. The idea was the gimmick had enough interest to do a pay-per-view around it and they didn't want to overdo it with the match at Wrestlemania each year. I disagree, however, as there was a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania XXVI in 2010 followed by the pay-per-view and it wasn't overdone. I'm not a huge gimmick match guy, however, having the Money in the Bank ladder match at the biggest show of the year actually adds to the Wrestlemania card. With that being said, I haven't heard of any plans to bring the match back at Wrestlemania XXX, however, the pay-per-view will take place in June.

What are the current plans for Cesaro at Wrestlemania XXX? WWE will should surely be utilizing him on the card after his recent performances.

Based on the current direction, it looks like Cesaro will face Jack Swagger on the Wrestlemania card unless WWE plans to blow it off before April. This is exactly why the Money in the Bank ladder match would be so beneficial on the Wrestlemania undercard. WWE could reward Cesaro by putting him in the match and also blowoff the program with Swagger, however, as I just wrote, there are no plans for the Money in the Bank ladder match to take place prior to the pay-per-view under the same name in June.

From the Ask WNW vault…

December 2009: My question is with Hogan coming to TNA next month do you see TNA staying just in Orlando or doing Impacts from different arenas like WWE does with there shows? - The company is obviously going to want to get out of Orlando but it depends on how they are able to draw. Right now TNA cannot even sell out half of an arena for their flagship Bound For Glory pay-per-view. They are going to have to do much better than that to start holding TVs in different venues across the country. It's a tremendous expense with all the production equipment to move across the country so they have to sell out arenas to make it work.

Will Big Show be returning in time to be part of the Wrestlemania build and show?

Big Show will make his return to WWE television on this week's episode of Smackdown and is a focal point of the advertising, so I'm not spoiling anything. Show appeared at this week's Monday Night Raw taping after the live broadcast went off the air in Chicago, Illinois. To read about Big Show's involvement on this week's Smackdown, read our taping results at this link.

Is there a Wellness Test Policy in TNA like WWE has? I can't remember a worker getting in trouble for failing a Wellness test there.

TNA does not have a formal Wellness Policy like WWE, however, they do drug test. I do not have details on the last time they tested, as I don't even have that information for WWE. There is not a set disciplinary procedure in TNA like there is in WWE when a worker has a positive test. I would like to use this opportunity to comment on the fact the locker rooms today are much cleaner than they were a decade ago. We can all poke holes in the problems with WWE's Wellness testing, however, it would be inaccurate to state the business hasn't cleaned up as a result of it. I'm not saying everyone is "squeaky clean" but I will say it's nowhere near it was in the 80s and 90s (in WCW there were performers that injected in front of everyone). Daniel Bryan said recently this generation of wrestlers is the lamest of all time when it comes to ribs. The same can be said for wild partying behavior. Don't get me wrong, there are guys that like to go out and drink but again, it's no where near at the level it once was.

Ever since WWE unified the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship at TLC, the only question going through my mind was "What are they going to do about MITB?" I expected for there to be a ladder match for the briefcase at Wrestlemania 30 but there still hasn't been any news about it. Why would they have a PPV focused only on ONE ladder match?

I'm not sure why you would expect a Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania 30 considering there hasn't been one on a Wrestlemania lineup since WrestleMania XXVI in 2010, like we detailed on Tuesday. However, I expect the Money in the Bank pay-per-view to feature one of the matches as the show's main event, just like the Royal Rumble featured one Rumble and Elimination Chamber featured one Chamber match. I was against unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships because I knew it would cut down the opportunities in the top of the card and just as I predicted, that's exactly what has happened. Guys that were staples in the World Heavyweight Championship scene like Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus have now been relegated to more mid-card roles. However, that's not a completely fair statement considering it is Wrestlemania season and the second-tier main eventers have to take a backseat because of the influx of part-time talent (Undertaker and Brock Lesnar specifically).

When the WWE started promoting the Network, it was advertised that people with Samsung Smart TV's would be able to stream directly to the TV. Now, the WWE app has completely vanished from my TV! What happened? Did an issue develop between WWE and Samsung?

According to WWE, select Smart TVs will begin carrying the WWE Network this summer. I wasn't aware the App was ever available on Smart TVs, however, that's been the plan since the initial announcement. You can easily hook-up WWE Network to your television from a desktop, laptop or iPad by using an adapter and HDMI cable. I work from an iMac Pro and I bought an adapter and HDMI cable and plugin to the television in my office for live shows. It works great and is very simple. The only issue I have is I got paranoid about not having a long enough HDMI cable so I bought a 20' one and it's entirely too long.

From the Ask WNW vault…

June 2012: I just don’t get it. WWE workers know they are subject to random Wellness Tests yet they take the chance and use banned substances. - If it were really just this cut and dry, it would be very simple. Don’t take this or a suspension will happen. The thing is it is much more complicated than this as workers can clear positive tests by producing valid prescriptions. There are substances that are banned outright but there are many others that can be cleared. Given the way WWE handled Rey Mysterio’s suspension – knowing he failed a Wellness test in February but still trying to get him back for Wrestlemania only to suspend him when they knew he couldn’t go because of injury – I have a lot of questions about the validity of the WWE Wellness Policy. While it’s clear things are cleaner than they were before the Wellness Policy, it’s more of a public relations thing than a legitimate testing system.
The next installment of Ask WNW is scheduled to run on Thursday, March 6, 2014.

In the wrestling business there are a lot of things wrestlers do they're probably not comfortable with. The risk is obvious as spots are limited enough and if they refuse to do something, they risk losing the opportunity. What do you think about people agreeing to go forward with stuff like Vince McMahon's "kiss my ass" club?

For those that missed it, Jim Ross was on ESPN's "Highly Questionable" (video & recap) and discussed being a charter member of Vince McMahon's "kiss my ass" club, joining in his home state of Oklahoma in front of friends and family. JR said the play was called and he didn't audible but Vince is a "clean freak" and everything was clean when he joined. That's good to know and the predicaments that performers are in when asked to do things they aren't comfortable with are well documented. Just look at what happened the night Owen Hart died. By all accounts, he didn't want to do the stunt and wasn't comfortable but he got talked into it anyway. Thankfully I've never been in a situation where my job asked me to do something I wasn't comfortable with doing. There are multiple ways to look at it, including asking the rhetorical question of, how bad do you want it? I would like to think I'd never kiss a grown man's ass on live television, however, would I feel differently if I felt my career was on the line? I'd like to say no but I'm careful not to judge people in seemingly impossible situations.

How will Wade Barrett recover from the Bad News Barrett gimmick?

What do you mean? I'm afraid I've got some bad news! The Bad News Barrett gimmick is one of the more entertaining over the top heel characters they've had in a long time. He'll eventually return to the ring but in the meantime, Barrett is getting on television. I don't know how far the gimmick can go, it's not exactly meant to be main event material, however, it has the capability of engaging the viewer. I implore everyone to realize there are very few spots for television and when a worker gets one of them, that's a lot better than the alternative. When Barrett was the leader of The Nexus it looked like a matter of time before he was a solidified main event talent but he needed to work on his in-ring. It's documented that he's been frustrated but hopefully he's turned the corner.

Is there any confirmation when the WWE Network will be offered outside of the United States?

The following is from the official WWE Network FAQ document:

Beginning Monday, February 24, WWE Network will only be available in the United States. WWE Network is scheduled to launch in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015.

I just can't understand what they are doing with Dolph Ziggler. This past Monday it looked like they were giving him a rub by pairing him with Aaron Paul, but usually all he does his job... Do you think he will ever get a push again?

From what I'm told, I'm not sure WWE knows what they want to do with Dolph Ziggler. Dolph has had some rough luck as it looked like the push was on and then the concussion and has been in a free fall since. There have been rumors about backstage heat and Vince McMahon not seeing money in him but his position on Raw did create some optimism. You can find out how he was booked on Smackdown at this link. As with Barrett, I'll comment on the fact that he's at least getting on television. I feel Dolph is capable of much more but it's just going to come down to the right opportunity. I hope they restart on him in a big way but there's no way I can guarantee anything.

What if WWE put Daniel Bryan and Triple H in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania XXX, making it a Fatal 4-Way?

That's an interesting thought but not one I'm aware that's been discussed. I've outlined potential audibles that have come up, however, I’m on record as to saying the only way WWE will be able to have a successful title match at Wrestlemania is by inserting Daniel Bryan. If they do not do that, it's going to be an uphill battle. The company is going into overdrive by pushing Triple H/Daniel Bryan, as you can check out this week's kayfabe Triple H interview with Michael Cole at this link.

From the Ask WNW vault…

September 2012: What is the policy for signs in the crowd at televised WWE events? - What signs get in and what signs do not start with the live event staff at each venue. Some venues have a reputation for being strict while others are more lenient. WWE has their producers and cameramen monitor the signs that are getting on television and will remove any that are even questionable. Signs that are certain to get taken are those that advertise something, include profanity or reference a worker in which WWE has recently fired or wants nothing to do with.

Am I the only person seeing the whole CM Punk departure as storyline? I can see Triple H & Kane vs. Daniel Bryan as an advertised two on one handicap match but Punk comes from the crowd to make it an epic tag match. How far off base could I be?

You aren't the only one, as the feeling amongst many of the workers has been very skeptical of the legitimacy over CM Punk's WWE departure. The skepticism comes from Punk refusing to respond to text messages and phone calls and not having any contact with people in WWE. However, I can tell you with a high degree of certainly this is not part of a storyline. CM Punk was upset and went home. Vince McMahon went to extraordinary efforts to get Punk back for Raw this week but it didn't happen. There's always a chance he comes back and works Wrestlemania, however, that chance continues to diminish the closer to April we get. If WWE is somehow able to get Punk back it will be because of the efforts of Vince McMahon and not because the entire ordeal was a work. I realize there are going to be some readers that believe otherwise, however, that's just not the case.

Is WWE going to change their company logo eventually? I have seen the WWE Network logo featured in the WrestleMania 31 logo and also the new company jet had it.

I spoke about this in the latest Premium Mailbag, noting it was a good possibility the WWE Network logo becomes the company's new logo. One reader pointed to the fact that the side plates to the NXT Championship belt have been changed from the current WWE logo to the WWE Network logo. You are also correct in that it is the WWE logo on next year's Wrestlemania 31 logo and it's the one on the new corporate jet.

What's the latest on the original Sin Cara, a/k/a Mistico, fighting for the Sin Cara character?

Luis Ignascio is fighting WWE for the gimmick and is wrestling under it in Mexico. Apparently he worked a recent AAA taping under a different character because the promotion didn't want trouble from WWE legal. Ignascio claims by May he'll have full control of the gimmick. I find it humorous that he recently trolled Hunico on Twitter by Re-Tweeting a follower that said Hunico moves like a duck. You can check it out below:

Is there any update on Sting?

There is no update on Sting at this time. I haven't heard his name in weeks although the last I heard, TNA was telling ticket holders to upcoming shows he no longer works there. The overwhelming belief is he is headed to WWE but we still cannot confirm a contract has been signed. Attached to the rumors that Sting is WWE bound is he is not in the Wrestlemania XXX plans.

From the Ask WNW vault…

February 2012: Now that he is on the same level as guys like John Cena & Randy Orton, how much stroke does CM Punk have backstage? - CM Punk has accumulated a large amount of stroke backstage in WWE after his run last summer. Not only was Punk able to negotiate a new WWE contract but he was able to convince WWE to buy the rights to “Cult of Personality” by Living Color to use as his theme song. While that may seem minimal to a lot of people, getting to pick your own entrance music in WWE is no small thing. Randy Orton did an interview several years ago complaining about workers not being able to pick their own entrance music.

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