Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, May 10, 2014 to Friday, May 16, 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!
- Former WWE worker Kazma Sakamoto was at Friday night's WWE NXT live event in Orlando, Florida. There are rumblings he's been re-hired in another capacity, however, we cannot confirm that as of this writing.
The following is from Twitter:
Sakamoto, the former manager of Tensai (now Jason Albert), was released from WWE last year.
CJ Blaze posted more notes from the show at this link.
- John Cena served as Grand Marshal for Saturday’s Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C.
The Washington Post published a feature on him, featuring quotes where he put over WWE and their charitable efforts, Wellness testing and more. Cena went as far as to say being a WWE superstar is a greater luxury than it's ever been.
Below is an excerpt:
"With the addition of impact testing, the addition of drug testing, the formulation of developmental territories where these younger WWE superstars are getting the best medical attention, the best financial advice, getting future advice — the company has literally leaps and bounds improved the work environment to the best it's ever been. Being a WWE superstar is now a greater achievement and a greater luxury than it's ever been."
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- For those that missed our Ring Of Honor vs. New Japan iPPV Report, Jim Ross was in attendance at the show on Saturday night. His BBQ products were sold at the show.
- Wrestling News World reader Jake sent this link, which looks at the rise and fall of Vince McMahon'sXFL. I'd forgotten entirely about the stunt of "cameras in the cheerleaders' locker room."
- Chris Jericho is very content with how he left his career in WWE and wouldn't be bothered if he never wrestled again. Jericho, who departed the company after another run last year, talked about coming in again this year but was unable to reach an agreement. Click here for his latest comments, where he said he won't be returning to WWE any time soon.
- This week's episode of After Total Divas is online at this link.
- Jim Ross, who has revamped his JRsBarBQ.com website, has a new blog entry online. In it, he discusses attending the Ring of Honor vs. New Japan Pro Wrestling show over the weekend and getting the opportunity to return to play-by-play for Memorial Day boxing.
He didn't mention Dixie Carter'sTwitter remark about him.
Below is an excerpt:
Very grateful to Fox Sports and Golden Boy Promotions for extending me the opportunity to jump back on some play by play for their Memorial Day night boxing from Ft. Bliss, Texas that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1. My old pal Mauro Ranallo will "coach me up" and I will be ready to rock the Monday night away.
I've been a lifelong boxing fan so this will be a big thrill for me to be able to stick my toe in new water. I hope that you will check it out and I will have more info on the special night in the next few days. My late father was a HUGE boxing fan and I know that he would be so proud of me which makes the whole process a win before I even fly to El Paso.
Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety.
- WWE has been in negotiations for a new domestic television deal, refusing to talk specifics during their quarter one conference call with investors earlier this month. Vince McMahon said at the time they would be announcing their new deal in the next several weeks. It's possible a new WWE domestic TV agreement could be announced as soon as this week at NBCUniversal Cable's upfront. The network will hold their upfront at 4 PM on Thursday from the Javits Center in New York City. While WWE had expected many suitors to bid on their programming, the overwhelming belief within the industry is that they will re-sign with NBCU barring something unseen. WWE's goal in their new domestic TV agreement will be to significantly increase what they make in TV licensing fees. Click here for the 2014-15 Upfront Week Schedule.
- Batista has signed on to star in the reboot of the 1989 film "Kickboxer" alongside UFC's Georges St. Pierre. Variety has more at this link.
- Wrestlemania 30 will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday.
- The Miz and Summer Rae will be returning to television shortly as filming for The Marine 4 is scheduled to conclude this week. Miz is on the booking sheets for the company's upcoming European tour.
- USA Today listed WWE as number three on a list of "America's most unusual public companies." You can read it at this link.
- For those wondering why Alexander Rusev's name has been changed to Rusev, that was Triple H's call. His thinking is that some of the names are too long, making it harder for fans to remember. He feels this is especially true with the foreign sounding names such as Rusev or Cesaro.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown garnered an average viewing audience of 2,276,000 viewers on SyFy. While the audience was up 5,000 viewers from the week prior, it was still a lower number up against night two of the 2014 NFL Draft.
- Daniel Bryan is in fact dealing with a neck injury, we can now confirm. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion is at Raw in Greenville, SC and the word is he will need time off. While specifics of the injury are unknown, the talk earlier in the day was that it will alter storylines, with a creative meeting taking place to address it. We've contacted WWE's public relations department and will update with a statement if we receive one.
- Damien Sandow interrupted this week's Monday Night Raw Pre-Show on WWE Network to cut a worked shoot promo. In it, he complained about wearing a ridiculous costume, not getting time on the mic and people backstage being afraid of what he was going to say. Sandow's mic was killed and he screamed the rest of it in the headset of Josh Mathews.
He later Tweeted the following:
You can watch the segment at this link.
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan announced on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw that he'll undergo neck surgery on Thursday.
Bryan built the announcement up by discussing that he knew it would be an "uphill battle" as WWE champion but the hill is steeper than he thought it would be. Bryan incorporated storyline aspects of the climb, by noting his issues with The Authority and Kane before making the announcement. He said in the promo there was a chance his career could be over, but "it won't be."
We are able to confirm Bryan has a legitimate neck injury and will undergo surgery later in the week. However, the word going around earlier in the day was the procedure will be minimally invasive.
WWE has yet to respond to our request for comment.
Below is some reaction from Twitter:
If you missed the segment, you can watch it at this link.
- The Shield vs. Evolution in a Six-Man Tag Team match
has been officially added to WWE Payback following this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.
WWE Payback will take place Sunday, June 1, 2014 from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
We first reported plans of the Extreme Rules rematch on May 7, 2014 here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- This week's Raw Fallout features "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Big E & Paige. The clips are available here.
- Jim Ross has posted his thoughts on this week's Raw to his official website. In the following excerpt, he puts over Alicia Fox's performance:
Really loved Alicia Fox' performance on RAW as her post match antics were eye opening and showed just how marketable the lovely young woman can be if she is cast properly and she raises her game as she did tonight. Minutes Maximized.
Click here to read the full article.
- For those that missed it on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, WWE has added Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena in a Last Man Standing Match to the Payback lineup.
Below is the updated card:
6-Man Tag Team Match
- The Shield vs. Evolution
Last Man Standing Match
- John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
- Below is the angle that was used to write WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan off television:
Bryan has a legitimate neck injury and will undergo surgery on Thursday. The status of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship remains in question, however, the word making rounds at Raw on Monday afternoon was that Bryan's procedure will be minimally invasive. While he is expected out, I was under the impression it would be a matter of "weeks" and not "months."
- For those that missed the graphic on Raw, below are the top 10 shows on WWE Network for last week:
WWE Extreme Rules 2014
Legends' House: Viva Las Vegas
WWE Countdown: Greatest Villains
Extreme Rules 2014 Fallout
WWE Main Event
ECW Hardcore TV
- Former WWE star Luke Gallows is marrying Amber O'Neal in Florida on Tuesday night. We're told CM Punk is on the guest list and is expected to attend. Speculation would suggest that AJ Lee will attend with him if he does indeed go, however, that's nothing we can confirm. Speaking of Punk, he's scheduled to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the May 17, 2014 Chicago Cubs game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
- WWE was surprised that nearly 400,000 households in the United States ordered Wrestlemania 30 on a traditional basis at a much steeper price, rather than paying $9.99/month for a WWE Network subscription. The question they are looking to answer is - why?
The company issued the following survey on Tuesday:
They also followed by asking respondents how likely they would be to purchase Wrestlemania on WWE Network if it was not available through cable and satellite systems.
Another area where WWE is looking for answers relates to SummerSlam. The following question was included in the same survey:
Why is Daniel Bryan not listed? I don't know.
- Dolph Ziggler Tweeted the following in the aftermath of Daniel Bryan's neck injury:
- Cassandra Frazier, the widow of Big Daddy V, wrote on Facebook that WWE has taken care of her following her husband's passing. Frazier initially lashed out against WWE and Vince McMahon but later apologized.
Below is her latest:
- WWE has announced the following upcoming SummerSlam Heatwave Tour dates:
July 18th in Pensacola, FL
July 19th in Tallahassee, FL
July 26th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (more info)
- Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart was backstage at Raw in Greensboro, North Carolina.
- This week's episode of Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,006,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the numbers broke down by hour:
Hour one - 3,810,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,251,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,957,000 viewers
This week's broadcast experienced growth from hour one to hour two, however, unlike last week, the audience dropped back off below 4,000,000 viewers for the third and final hour.
The show was up against the NBA Playoffs on TNT and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta 3 on VH1. TV by the Numbers has more viewership data with adult 18-49 ratings at this link.
- This week's episode of Total Divas only garnered an average viewing audience of 750,000 viewers on E, which was the lowest audience in series history. Apparently there was a guide issue that threw off many, as it listed a movie as to airing in the show's place in the 9/8c timeslot on E. The show did a 0.3 adult 18-49 rating, which was enough to take it outside of the top 100 cable shows for the day. TV by the Numbers has more data available at this link.
- WWE announced on this week's episode of Main Event that an announcement concerning the status of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be made on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in London, England. As I discussed in the latest WNW Premium Mailbag, the company is waiting until after Daniel Bryan, the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, has neck surgery before determining the future of the title. The belief is if Bryan isn't going to be out a considerable amount of time, he'll keep the title. If he's out an extended period of time, a plan will be put in place to crown a new champion. Obviously if that's the route WWE takes, the company could promote a unification bout when Bryan returns.
- The following dark matches took place at this week's WWE Main Event/Smackdown taping in Greensboro, North Carolina:
Adam Rose beat El Local (the Lucha Libre gimmick of Ricardo Rodriguez)
Tyson Kidd beat Sami Zayn
- It was announced at Tuesday night's Smackdown taping in Greensboro, North Carolina that Bo Dallas will re-debut on the main WWE roster on next week's episode. WWE will tape next week's Smackdown next Tuesday from The O2 London in London, England. Dallas made sporadic appearances on main roster WWE programming last year before the company restarted on him with vignettes on the Raw after Wrestlemania XXX on April 7, 2014. Dallas is a third generation talent and is the real life brother of Bray Wyatt.
- John Cena & The Usos beat The Wyatt Family in a dark match main event after this week's Smackdown taping in Greensboro, North Carolina. We have complete Smackdown taping results available at this link.
- Shawn Michaels is featured for Part 2 of his talk with Jim Ross in this week's episode of The Ross Report. In it, Michaels said despite possible internal talks, he's not entertained the notion of returning to the ring. You can listen to the interview at this link.
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan is featured on Chris Jericho's podcast that you can listen to at this link.
- Alex Wright was recently invited to the WWE Performance Center to act as a guest trainer. Wright now resides in Germany, where he runs the country's most well-known pro wrestling school. This is a venture he started after WCW was bought by the McMahons in 2001. You can watch a video piece on him here on dot com.
- Triple H is featured in a new kayfabe sit-down interview with Michael Cole. While the majority of the piece is kayfabe, Hunter gave a worked shoot update on Daniel Bryan and the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to open. I quoted the update then paraphrased the rest in a recap.
Triple H on the future of Daniel Bryan as WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
"I think that remains to be seen Cole. Right now there is nothing definite. We know what Daniel Bryan knows. He's having surgery on Thursday with Dr. Joe Maroon in Pittsburgh. We'll know more after that. I think that it's probably Monday night we'll have some type of definite decision on the matter once we know all the facts."
Hunter went full kayfabe, saying this is symptomatic of what he's been talking about for a year or maybe more. It's one thing to be an A+ player here and there and it's another thing to be A+ player day in and day out and to be able to understand the wear and tear of not only being a WWE superstar but of being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Triple H said Bryan has held the title for a little over a month and he's already going under the knife. He called Bryan a "little B+ player" and questioned if he could handle going up against the 300 lbs. monster that is Kane or handle the target of being champion.
Hunter said he found it ironic that the little engine that could was going to go get a doctor's note to say that he can't face the monster anymore.
Cole then asked Triple H if The Authority would question Kane, saying the demon has been out of control for more than a month.
Triple H said they let the demon out of the box and now the whole world pays the price and that Kane does what he does. He said this "ain't ballet" and everyone wants to be in WWE but bitch about it when they get hurt. Hunter said he's tired of that attitude. If you want to play the game, be prepared to pay the price for it.
Cole asked why Triple H and Evolution decided to accept a rematch against The Shield at WWE Payback. Triple H said they know they got lucky and they're tired of it. Batista, Orton and himself maybe made a mistake. He believes The Shield is the future of the WWE but questioned if they'll still be here following Payback.
Cole asked how many guys Evolution has on their payroll. Triple H said everyone is on his payroll, including Cole. Michael brought up the closing segment on Raw, where The Shield was attacked. He discussed guys getting retribution after what The Shield did running rampant for a year. Triple H said they were protected two years by him and now their protection goes away.
You can watch this week's kayfabe interview at this link.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Greenville…
- The main topic of conversation at this week's show was the injury situation with Daniel Bryan. Just about everything discussed has been noted, with no decision on the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship made until after he has surgery. The timeline is that Bryan will undergo surgery on Thursday under the care of Dr. Joseph Maroon and they should be able to make a determination as to how long he'll be out from there. Obviously, the longer Bryan is expected out, the more likely WWE is to strip him of the title. Regardless of the decision, expect the entire situation to be intertwined with The Authority storyline. I'm told the word put out at Raw on Monday was that no one was to say anything until the surgery took place.
- With Daniel Bryan's situation determinant on his neck surgery, WWE is holding on what to do with Kane. Bryan is off the European tour and will be replaced by Big Show.
- The concern regarding Adam Rose was almost immediate when WWE didn't get the reaction they wanted when he debuted a couple of weeks ago. So far, nothing has happened to change that opinion. We're reminded it's early but steam was already being lost based on the how the vignettes were being received.
- The Usos continue to get rave reviews for their work, with Vince McMahon in particular being high up on them. One discussion that took place at Raw was the possibility of programming them against a heel tag team.
- Cody and Brandi Rhodes spent Mother's Day at the dog park. Check out their day in Brandi's new video blog that's online at this link.
- A new report by Capsule Computers indicates that WWE 2K15 will not be released in October like usual but will be released in March 2015 instead. You can read their report at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Catarino Donias sent word that Chris Benoit's name was used in the description of ECW Hardcore TV episode #92 on the WWE Network. I'm not sure how prevalent the use of Benoit's name is, however, you can check it out in the screen capture below:
- The Bella Twins will appear at NBCUniversal Cable’s upfront in New York City on Thursday on behalf of Total Divas on E. The following is from Twitter:
As we reported earlier in the week, this could be the platform for WWE to announce a new domestic TV licensing deal with NBCU. The company has been shopping all of their programming out in the marketplace in attempt to significantly raise what they make in television licensing fees with their current domestic TV agreement expiring in the fall.
- Numerous financial websites noted that WWE's stock closed strong on Wednesday on speculation the company will announce a new domestic television agreement at the NBCUniversal Cable’s Upfront in New York City on Thursday.
We cannot confirm a new deal will be announced, however, there are things of note. First, The Bella Twins are confirmed to appear on behalf of Total Divas on E.
We reported earlier in the week that Thursday would be an opportunity for WWE to announce their new domestic TV agreement with NBCU.
Vince McMahon said in a conference call with investors earlier in the month they would be announcing their new domestic TV licensing deal in the next "several weeks." However, at the time, WWE refused to discuss specifics.
While WWE had expected many suitors to bid on their programming, the overwhelming belief within the industry is that they will re-sign with NBCU, barring something unseen. WWE’s goal in their new domestic TV agreement will be to significantly increase what they make in TV licensing fees.
Click here for the 2014-15 Upfront Week Schedule.
- Roman Reigns posted the following image of a nasty cut over his eye to Twitter last night:
- Tonight on NXT, Sami Zayn, Tyson Kidd & Tyler Breeze compete in a Triple Threat match to determine the No. 1 Contender for the NXT Championship, with the winner facing Adrian Neville for the belt at NXT Takeover. Tonight's episode was taped last month, and we have full spoilers for this episode at this link.
- WWE Superstars and Divas answer questions such as who are they most excited to see come up from NXT and who will win the NBA Championship in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. Click here to watch or check it out.
- Dot com ran a new exclusive interview with WWE Divas Champion Paige. Below are the highlights:
When she first got WWE's attention:
When I was 17, one of the talent scouts came to a show in England and said to me, “When do you turn 18?” It was in a couple of weeks, so he goes, “Okay, well, WWE is going to be here in November, would you like to come to the tryouts?” Of course I’d be there! An opportunity just to try out was amazing to me. I was freaking out.
Dream opponents not on the WWE roster:
Mickie James. I’m also a big fan of Kharma. I’d love to go face to face with her. Also, Stephanie McMahon. If Stephanie wants to go toe-to-toe, I’m ready.[Laughs]
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- There continues to be a lot of unhappiness in the WWE locker room regarding the change in pay-per-view bonuses. The issue is bonuses are much lower with the shift from traditional pay-per-view to the WWE Network. We're able to confirm this is the money issue Batista is "furious" over. It's a situation where he was expecting to get paid a lot more and the company shifted without ever formally addressing it. This is also one of the reasons why Chris Jericho has refused to return. Internally, WWE plans to stay the course. We're told the company believes there has never been a time in their history where a single guy means less than now that they have the WWE Network. The pay scale is going to undergo a major adjustment and if they lose talent over it, so be it. WWE is confident that most workers will just deal with it and adjust their expectations.
- WWE issued the following statement to The Daily Beast regarding the use of Vladimir Putin's name with Lana and Rusev:
“WWE programming, like Hollywood movies and television shows, is an exciting blend of action, characters and fictional storylines of good versus evil that are often inspired by pop culture and current events. Russian President Vladimir Putin has given us good material to work with to create strong characters in Rusev and Lana, who are perceived as either protagonists or antagonists depending on where in the world you are watching WWE programming.”
Click here for coverage by The Daily Beast.
- Roman Reigns wasn't the only WWE talent busted open at Wednesday's live event in Glasgow, Scotland. Rosa Mendes got a bloody nose in the 6-Diva tag team match. She Tweeted the following:
Click here for WWE live results from Glasgow.
- Variety is reporting that WWE is finalizing a new deal with NBCUniversal to keep Raw and Smackdown on the USA Network and SyFy respectively.
Financial details of the new agreement are not yet available, however, the belief is WWE was able to double the licensing fees for its programming. The company earned $160.9 million in TV licensing fees around the world in 2013 and $139.5 million in 2012.
An official announcement could come as soon as Thursday afternoon from NBCUniversal Cable’s Upfront in New York City.
WWE's current deal is set to expire at the end of September.
Click here for coverage by Variety.
Richard Reacts: It is absolutely no surprise that WWE's programming will not be leaving NBCUniversal in the United States. I was told early on in the negotiations that FOX, Turner and Viacom pulled out of negotiations relatively early. WWE had expected suitors to be "lined up" to bid on their programming, expecting a major deal like NASCAR's 10-year $820 million a year with NBC and Fox, however, that wasn't exactly the case. Fox showed little interest in getting into pro wrestling, Turner executives still see WCW as a reason to stay away from the business and Viacom felt they were getting played.
In February, WWE and NBCU were still "far apart on price" when the company hired Chris Bevilacqua, head of media advisory firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures, to negotiate the deal. According to Variety's report, it appears WWE was able to obtain satisfactory results.
- Nikki Bella talks to Natalya about relationships in this Total Divas preview video.
- Mojo Rawley is featured in a new video blog at this link.
The issue has to do with "windowing terms" of when episodes of Raw and Smackdown would be available on mobile platforms, which includes tablets and when they could be rebroadcast on WWE Network.
Click here for coverage by Variety.
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan underwent successful surgery on Thursday to repair a neck injury.
According to an update posted by WWE.com, Bryan underwent a procedure known as a cervical foraminotomy to decompress the nerve root. The surgery was performed by Dr. Joseph Maroon in Pittsburgh, PA.
A timetable for Bryan's return to the ring is currently unavailable, however, WWE reports he is out of surgery and doing well, with strength already returning to his hands.
Click here for coverage by dot com.
The company will make an announcement, intertwined with storylines, regarding the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in London, England.
- We reported earlier here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan underwent a procedure known as a cervical foraminotomy to decompress the nerve root on Thursday. We did a little more research so you could good an idea of what the procedure entails.
The following is information about a cervical foraminotomy courtesy of KnowYourBack.org:
Posterior cervical foraminotomy relieves spinal nerve root compression by creating more room for the nerve root to pass through the foramen. When disc material compresses the nerve root on one side (unilateral compression), the cervical foraminotomy can be used to remove the portion of the offending disk. When a bone spur narrows the foramen and compresses the nerve root, a posterior cervical foraminotomy can be used to chisel away the spur to widen the passageway. Some refer to this procedure as minimally invasive, in that the incision is relatively small and no fusion of the spine is required.
The procedure is performed in the back of the neck, which means that you will be lying face down on the operating table. You will be under general anesthesia so that you will feel nothing during the procedure. The spinal surgeon will make a small 1 to 2 inch skin incision and with the help of magnification, he/she will dissect away soft tissue on the side of the compression. Precision instruments are used to carefully remove a small amount of bone which serves as the outer wall of the foramen. Once the foramen is opened, the nerve root can be seen. In cases of compression due to disc material, the nerve root is gently lifted and the disc material is removed. The wound is then closed, and the surgeon may provide you with a soft collar. A variation of this technique is a truly minimally invasive procedure where the surgeon may use an even smaller skin incision and use a tubular retractor to access your spine. Regardless of which approach, standard skin incision or with minimally invasive tubes, posterior cervical foraminotomy provides relief of nerve root compression with minimal bone removal. Symptomatic relief is seen in 85- 90% of cases. Some patients may require a short course of post-operative physical therapy. Risks of this procedure are uncommon but they include: bleeding, infection, neck stiffness, repeat disc herniation, incomplete relief of symptoms, damage to nerve root or spinal cord, or problems with anesthesia.
To reiterate previous details, Bryan's surgery was performed by Dr. Joseph Maroon in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Many were speculating whether WWE and NBC Universal would agree to a new television deal, but the speculation can now come to a close the announcement was made that both sides reached an agreement of a new strategic multi-year television deal. Below is the press release:
NEW YORK AND STAMFORD — NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced a multi-year strategic partnership for WWE’s flagship programming and ratings juggernauts Monday Night Raw for a three-hour block on USA Network and the top-rated Friday Night SmackDown on Syfy. The two programs are the longest-running weekly episodic entertainment programs on cable TV with a combined reach of 10.8 million viewers each week. The announcement was made today by Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President Talent, Live Events & Creative, from the stage at the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment upfront presentation at the Javitz Center in New York.
“USA Network President Chris McCumber, Syfy President Dave Howe and I are incredibly pleased to renew this strategic partnership with WWE,” said NBCUniversal Cable Chairman Bonnie Hammer. “In today’s TV landscape, live event programming is an extraordinarily valuable asset, and WWE remains the only entertainment franchise that consistently delivers this on a 52-week a year basis. We look forward to bringing WWE’s action-packed and unique brand of drama to the wide audiences across our cable networks for many years to come.”
“We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with NBCUniversal given their premiere position in the marketplace and vast promotional platforms,” said WWE Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon. “We are excited about our future as we further the reach and popularity of our live, family-friendly entertainment programming 52 weeks a year.”
WWE weekly programming averages more viewers than the NBA, NASCAR, MLB, NHL and UFC. Both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown feature a star-studded cast of WWE Superstars and Divas, and deliver a shot of adrenaline to viewers with over-the-top action, feats of athleticism and high octane drama.
Monday Night Raw on USA is the most-watched, regularly scheduled, year-round program on cable, airing a live three-hour block every Monday night, 52 weeks a year. Raw has been a cable mainstay for more than 20 years and is consistently a top ten show on television. The three-hour block on USA averages 2.2 million viewers 18-49, 2.3 million viewers 25-54 and 5 million total viewers age two or over. The two-hour Friday Night SmackDown on Syfy averages 1.2 million viewers 18-49, 1.3 million viewers 25-54 and 3.2 million total viewers age two and up. The two programs have reached 37.5 million people in 2014 to date.
In addition, E! — in partnership with WWE and Bunim-Murray Productions — will continue to broadcast the reality series Total Divas, an unprecedented look inside the professional and personal lives of the WWE's leading ladies.
The press release can be seen here.
- WWE's stock price is in heavy decline following the announcement of their new domestic TV licensing deal with NBCUniversal on Thursday. As I type this, the stock is currently down 45.56%, trading at $10.85 per share. The reason is because WWE's new domestic TV deal is well below expectations.
Vince McMahon was confident WWE would at least double its TV licensing revenue with the new deal but details released on Thursday showed that not to be the case.
Below is an excerpt from a formal press release sent out on Thursday:
Renewal of Key Television Agreements
Over the past six months, the Company has negotiated television distribution agreements in the U.S., U.K. and Thailand, and is in the midst of discussions regarding the distribution of WWE content in India.3 The Company estimates that it will increase the average annual value of these key television agreements to approximately $200 million, representing an increase of more than $90 million, that is nearly three times (3x) the increase achieved in the previous round of negotiations.
Management believes that the new agreements more fully reflect the value of WWE content, including significant first-run hours, a passionate and loyal fan base, and 90% “live plus same day” viewership, in the U.S., which makes WWE content, like sports, “DVR-proof.” The Company plans to capitalize on the value of WWE content to drive further increases in value in other international markets.
While raising the annual value of these key television agreements to approximately $200 million will be up from previous agreements, it won't be double. The company earned $139.5 million in TV licensing fees around the world in 2012 and $160.9 million in 2013.
As I noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, WWE expected to have suitors lined up and would "reward the highest bidder." This isn't how negotiations went.
We're told FOX and Turner pulled out early on and it was between Viacom and NBCUniversal. Viacom dropped out when they learned what WWE wanted from NBCU. According to a source, Viacom felt WWE was “toying with them” to put pressure on NBCU.
It was learned in February that WWE and NBCU were still "far apart on price" when WWE retained Chris Bevilacqua, head of media advisory firm Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures, to negotiate the deal.
WWE's stock price closed strong on Wednesday, with investors hoping for a new domestic TV agreement that would boost the company's TV licensing fees around the world in excess of $300 million per year.
- One of the biggest proposed changes in WWE's new domestic TV licensing deal was the possibility of taking Smackdown live. That didn't end up happening as Raw and Smackdown will continue to air in their current form in the United States on the USA Network and SyFy respectively. The reason WWE was willing to incur increased production costs to air Smackdown live was they were hoping networks would view them as live sports programming, something that is at a premium in the marketplace. Examples of this are NASCAR and Major League Soccer both significantly increasing their TV licensing fees in new deals. NASCAR raised their TV licensing fees 46% and MLS's new deal saw the league roughly triple their TV licensing fees. WWE's new deal will increase their TV licensing fees to nearly $200 million annually, however, it's well below the "doubling" investors had expected. The fact of the matter is while WWE provides highly rated programming, it's still not considered to be on par with live sports programming.
- Roman Reigns worked Thursday's WWE live event in Newcastle, England, going over Randy Orton in a street fight. Reigns was injured at Wednesday's show in Glasgow, where he suffered a deep gash above his right eye. He was checked out for a concussion but was cleared. Click here for WWE live event results from Newcastle.
- Prince Devitt is rumored to have signed a developmental contract with WWE, however, he's anything but confirming the news on Twitter. The following is from Twitter:
It's no secret that WWE has been interested in Devitt for months. The speculation a deal was close to getting done increased when New Japan Pro Wrestling announced his departure last month. We're told the reason Devitt has been reluctant to sign with WWE is he didn't want to spend a lot of time seasoning at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
- WXW Wrestling has announced that WWE has signed Noah Kekoa to a developmental contract. Kekoa attended the Afa the Wild Samoan's Wild Samoan Pro-Wrestling Training Center on a scholarship and became a standout. He'll report to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
- While WWE has been less than pleased with the Divas division in the absence of AJ Lee, there has been a bright spot. Triple H is currently very high up on Alicia Fox. Fox, who has spent years of lingering in obscurity, is getting more TV time and attention as a result. We're told this all has to do with Hunter's reaction to Fox's match against Alexa Bliss at the April 24, 2014 WWE NXT taping. Triple H was said to be very impressed with her progress and put the word out that she needed to get pushed. Everyone was pleased with how she did on Raw this week and Triple H felt vindicated after pushing so hard for her based on the NXT match he loved.]
- Wrestling News World reader Patrick Peralta sent this link that goes to some depressing photos of the Pontiac Silverdome. The venue hosted a crowd of 93,173 on March 29, 1987 for Wrestlemania III.
- One day after announcing their new domestic TV licensing agreement with NBCUniversal and watching their stock price fall in excess of 40%, WWE is holding an investor conference call. Vince McMahon and George Barrios will address the Company's 2014 and 2015 Business Outlook in a conference call with investors on Monday at 11 AM EDT. I'll be on the call on behalf of WrestlingNewsWorld.com and will have complete coverage.
- The UK version of the Huffington Post has a new Q&A online with Jack Swagger. Click here to read it.
- Vince McMahon lost $340 million on Friday due to shares of WWE falling more than 40%. According to Forbes.com, McMahon's net worth is now estimated at $760 million, meaning he is no longer a billionaire. The drop comes in response to WWE announcing their new domestic TV licensing agreement with NBCUniversal. While investors were expecting a deal where WWE doubled or even tripled their last TV agreement, one benchmark analyst estimates that WWE got a 50% raise. Financial analysts now have additional questions about WWE's core business after initial concerns that McMahon was "too excited" about the WWE Network. WWE plans to address shareholders in a conference call on Monday morning at 11 AM EDT. Both Vince McMahon and WWE CFO George Barrios will be on the call. Click here for coverage by Forbes.com.
- Lemelson Capital Management, a private investment management firm, announced on Friday they have a stake in shares of WWE and are calling on the Board of Directors to replace the executive management team or explore the sale of the business.
The firm called on the changes following "a period of consistent losses, execution issues and material misstatements."
"WWE has affirmed that even with one million subscribers for its WWE network, the company stands to lose between $45 million and $52 million in FY 2014, which validates the original short thesis," said Emmanuel Lemelson, Chief Investment Officer of Lemelson Capital Management. "This follows what we believe to be material misrepresentations by the company about both the performance and operating profit model of its WWE network, which the company has wrongly labeled 'a homerun'," said Lemelson.
Below is the release in its entirety:
Lemelson Capital Announces Stake In World Wrestling Entertainment And Calls On Board To Pursue New Management Or Ownership
Marlborough, MA, May 16, 2014 -- Lemelson Capital, LLC, a private investment management firm, today announced that they had taken a stake in shares of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and called on the Board of Directors to replace the executive management team of the company following a period of consistent losses, execution issues and material misstatements.
Despite the stock's roughly 63% correction since Lemelson Capital's original short call less than two months ago (from $30.37 on March 17 to $11.33 as of publication of this release), the firm today also reiterated that fair value of WWE's common stock is between $8.25 and $11.88.
Lemelson Capital's original short thesis can be found here:
"WWE has affirmed that even with one million subscribers for its WWE network, the company stands to lose between $45 million and $52 million in FY 2014, which validates the original short thesis," said Emmanuel Lemelson, Chief Investment Officer of Lemelson Capital Management. "This follows what we believe to be material misrepresentations by the company about both the performance and operating profit model of its WWE network, which the company has wrongly labeled 'a homerun'," said Lemelson.
Lemelson Capital today also called on WWE's Board of Directors to promptly replace the company's executive management team, or explore the sale of the business, and said that such changes are a necessary component of any successful strategy going forward. "For example, promoting the WWE direct network's value to shareholders without a fair and accurate discussion of the implications to a traditional network revenue circumvented management's fiduciary responsibility as stewards of investor's capital, and is part of what has emerged as a pattern over recent years. Further, there are no pending operational developments in the pipeline to offset these significant losses," Lemelson added.
Lemelson Capital and its clients are long shares of WWE.
- Following a day of bad news for WWE, here's something a little more light-hearted. Is JBL a rosebud or a lemon? Find out in this week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show. You can watch at this link.
- TNA posted an "unaired footage" of Jeremy Borash interviewing Ethan Carter III in an #Impact365 video that you can watch at this link.
- TNA Wrestling will be releasing another mobile video game, which will be a sequel to the 2012 release of TNA iMPACT! Dixie Carter has also noted the company is working on releasing a new video game.
- We're told the Knockouts division is "pretty much" the only part of TNA Wrestling that Dixie Carter is happy with right now. Christy Hemme, who was given the daunting task of rebuilding the division, has received a lot of credit and continues to gain more power. We're told Dixie has been "really happy" with her work and the company is looking to bring in another new female talent. Speaking of which, TNA is talking about adding a third member to The Beautiful People later this year and it could end up being someone that isn't on the roster now.
- Hernandez has departed TNA Wrestling, and his profile has been moved to the Alumni section on the company's official website.
- Christopher Daniels did an interview with The Shoot over the weekend. In it, he talked about Dixie Carter and cheap finishes to TNA title matches. Below are some excerpts sent to us by Wrestling News World reader Gary Cantrell:
On Dixie Carter and if she's changed since becoming a bigger focus of the TV show as a heel:
"My opinion is that she's always been the same. I mean I feel like because she's taken on the responsibility of being a character on the show, she's a little more stressed out, maybe cause there's a little more responsibility rather than just her going out there and sort of being herself, like she's going out there and portraying a character. There's a lot of effort, a lot of stuff going around when she became this character and there's a lot of pressure for her to perform, so I think that effects you in certain ways. But she hasn't changed in a negative way in that respect. She's just got a lot of pressure on her now to perform and sort of hang with guys who have been doing this for a lot longer than her. It's a lot of pressure to put on yourself, to go in there and sort of get some story lines across with a lot of the big guys. I think she's got a good group of people working for her and she's working hard to get as much done for the company as she can."
On TNA using cheap finishes regularly in World title matches:
"I don't think it's an idea where "Oh, well here's a world title match, lets dilute it down with wacky finishes." I think whenever they use it, the mentality is that there's a reason. They're trying to get a specific response from the fan base at that point. They have their reasons for doing these things. Do they always translate to the viewers? Maybe not. But I mean like I said before they're making their decisions and they have a certain mindset, they have a certain goal that they're trying to reach and the message that they're trying to reach that goal with. Whether they reach it or not is I guess up to the fan base. If the fan base is turning off the television when they see these things going on, I mean that's the message to send. But that's up to the fans at that point to say, "Well, we're not going to put up with this, we want to see something different." Let your voices be heard."
Click here to listen to interview in its entirety.
- TNA ran a storyline on their official website on Tuesday where MVP "suspended" Bobby Roode indefinitely. The following is from Twitter:
Click here for kayfabe coverage on ImpactWrestling.com.
- As we noted earlier today, Hernandez has departed ways with TNA Wrestling. His profile has been removed from the active roster page. Hernandez sent a tweet out confirming his departure from his official Twitter account. Below is the tweet:
- As first broke here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Kurt Angle had to undergo surgery on Friday to repair his anterior cruciate ligament. He told us that he will be out for around 4 and half months. He has started a video series titled #MyComeback. The first video was released yesterday. In an interesting note, the video shows his return date is September 22nd and that is the day after his contract expires with TNA Wrestling. You can watch at this link.
- TNA Wrestling recently posted an interview with crossover star Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Click here to read it.
- TNA ran an angle with an #Impact365 video where Dixie Carter "attacked" Rockstar Spud in an elevator at the company headquarters in Nashville, TN. You can watch it at this link.
- The latest episode of TNA Spin Cycle is online at this link.
- Brittany vs. ODB, a match taped for Xplosion, is online now at this link. Brittany suffered a legitimate concussion in this bout.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,053,000 viewers on Spike TV. This was down an average of 2,000 viewers from last week's audience. TV by the Numbers has more data for the entire day available at this link.
- The latest Impact Podcast is now online at this link.
- TNA crossover stars Rampage Jackson and King Mo will face one another on Saturday night at Bellator 120. Tito Ortiz is also on the card against Alexander Shlemenko. Dixie Carter Tweeted the following:
- ImpactWrestling.com posted a Where Are They Now? piece on Aces & Eights. Click here to read it.
Bray Wyatt is in a league of his own on the mic and impresses in the ring. His character is the best I have seen in years and his promos, nothing short of captivating. I also think Luke Harper is a main eventer in the making. If Bray Wyatt is 1 then Luke Harper is 1a. I guess my question is, is everyone as excited as me for The Wyatts future?
Bray Wyatt is in a league of his own and has proved he has a very bright future in WWE. He's only 26-years-old and we're watching a legitimate main event talent in the making. It's hard to believe that Bray Wyatt and Husky Harris are the same person as Bray is everything Harris wasn't. While we talk a lot about the worker making the gimmick and not the gimmick making the worker, this serves as a reminder of how detrimental a bad gimmick can actually be. No one took Husky Harris seriously and there wasn't anything entertaining about it. People are comparing Bray Wyatt to The Undertaker; do I need to say anything else? As for your Luke Harper evaluation, he's a bit of different story. Harper, as Brodie Lee, was a very big deal on the domestic independent scene. He's a guy that I think has the potential of someone like Cesaro, if not more. He's 34 but still young enough to hit his prime at the right time. I agree he is second behind Wyatt, however, I wouldn't list him as "1a or 1b" but a clear second and that's not because he isn't great, because he is, but Bray truly is in a league all of his own.
I recently watched "Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling" documentary in which CNN tried their best to put Chris Benoit's double murder suicide and all the drug & steroid use within pro wrestling as WWE's fault. But there are many wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, who accepted that they used steroids, but didn't die or commit suicide and they are still living healthy. I go with Vince McMahon. I want to know what you think about it?
I can't remember if I've seen this documentary but there's a book along those lines called "Ring of Hell" by Matthew Randazzo V. Basically, he puts the blame of what Chris Benoit did completely on Vince McMahon and the pro wrestling business. I completely disagree. While I'll never paint McMahon as an innocent bystander that just wants what is best for his talent, it's not that easy to just blame him. The pro wrestling business is tough and wrestlers die far too young, both of those things are proven facts. However, there has to be a degree of personal accountability. What someone puts (or doesn't put) in their body is their own responsibility. I understand the problem with addiction, substance abuse, etc, however, I refuse to absolve Chris Benoit in the name of pro wrestling. He did it. I don't have the answers and will readily admit there is a problem. But to act like the problem can be solved by pointing to Vince or the hardships of living on the road, is grossly inaccurate. The mainstream media just loves to point their finger at the business but they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.
I've heard you mention it a couple times, but I'm still not sure. What exactly is "X-PAC heat"?
X-Pac heat is when a worker generates heat because the fans legitimately want them to go away, not because they're doing a good job as a heel. Batista has received a ton of it since returning to WWE in January. As to how it got the name X-Pac heat, there are different stories and opinions but I'll be the first to say Sean Waltman was a great in-ring worker. I believe it had more to do with problematic booking and trying to force X-Pac as a babyface when he was a much better heel.
Is it safe to say this is Batista's final run in WWE?
When Batista left WWE in 2010, I was always under the assumption that he would be back for a proper retirement tour and this is exactly what I see his latest run to be. It's no secret that his WWE comeback hasn't worked out well and WWE made a big mistake by forcing him babyface (e.g. see above), however, be careful what you read about him. I don't know who has it out for him but there are people that are doing whatever they can to absolutely bury the guy. From false accusations of him not wanting to go under to Daniel Bryan (he "did the honors" to Roman Reigns, how does the DB thing make any sense?) to him wanting to leave early over pay (there are concerns with Wrestlemania 30 bonuses, however, I'm not sure what he could be upset about that was structured into a multi-year contract that he signed). We'll continue to follow Batista's run with WWE from an objective standpoint because the bias against him is completely out of hand and shameful.
From the Ask WNW vault…
June 2013: In your honest opinion, after the Attitude Era ended, do you think the WWE would have survived to this day by running its promotion the same exact way it’s done all these years if there was any legitimate competition out there? - I never like to play the “what if” game because “what if” WCW won the war and it was the other way around? That was an actual possibility, however, the landscape is vastly different in 2013. The way your question is phrased it sounds like you believe WWE is just surviving because there is no other entity to challenge them. WWE is a massive multi-million dollar entertainment company. I know hardcore IWC fans are disgusted by that image but the fact of the matter is, they make a lot of money. WWE isn’t just surviving, they are thriving and they’ve driven any thought of competition back significantly. I only expect the company to continue to grow with international expansion and strong internal direction. I was just thinking this morning of the impact “Total Divas” could have on WWE. Look at what E! did to the Kardashians. I’m not saying the Divas are the next Kim Kardashian but WWE is taking what is basically an afterthought on their programming and putting them at the forefront of pop culture.
In any company or organization, I believe that an employee should be promoted from within based on longevity and good work ethic. It's called "seniority." How come former talent like Matt Hardy and John Morrison have never held the WWE or World Heavyweight titles? Especially Matt Hardy. Does WWE management abide by the rules of "seniority?"
Yes and no. The pro wrestling business is unlike any other in that there isn't an objective structure. For instance, in sports, the best players get paid the most money. In pro wrestling, some of the best wrestlers never get legitimate main event opportunities. I know there are exceptions on both sides, however, this business comes down to getting the right opportunity and who Vince McMahon ultimately sees money in. Sometimes, outstanding workers such as John Morrison or Kofi Kingston, are relegated to the midcard based on factors other than their in-ring work. WWE doesn't push talent based solely on in-ring. As for seniority, the very basic principle you described does apply in the locker room. Someone like Mark Henry or Kane has a lot of stroke and influence even though they are not at the level of someone like John Cena. However, title reigns and pushes ultimately come down to the vision of Vince McMahon and other company officials.
With the high number of veterans being released, the fact that TNA is making a big deal of signing young stars and smaller names to multi-year deals, the loss of use of Universal Studios, and the apparent back-stepping of the product, are we seeing the final throes of a dying company?
In what is perhaps the biggest understatement of the day, things are not good with TNA Wrestling. Money is tighter than ever, the fan base is shrinking, their main TV contract is coming up, there is no stability for tapings and the company is being forced to dump any talent that will not re-sign at a much lower rate. To make matters worse, their biggest non-Carter family investor, Jeff Jarrett, is starting his own competing promotion. The relationship between Dixie Carter and "Big" John Gaburick isn't on the best of terms and we're told she is frustrated with almost every aspect of the company. Many have been trying to predict the demise of TNA since its inception in 2002, however, it's unfortunately becoming more of a reality. No one outside of the Carter family can predict how much longer TNA has left but a number of things must turn around (and turn around quick) for the company to be salvageable. This isn't me caving to the TNA trolls but delivering a reality that I've reluctantly come to accept.
What is the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Daniel Bryan in need of neck surgery?
The status of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is unclear. I believe more will be known once Daniel Bryan has surgery on Thursday. Daniel Bryan's neck injury is currently a tense situation and the timing could not have been worse. I think I speak for everyone in that I hope the injury is minor and he is not out for an extended period of time. The word making rounds at Raw was not completely bleak, however, there is still a lot of unknown until he actually has surgery.
I'm not sure if you'll feel like tackling two Chris Benoit questions in a week but here goes. I watched part of the David Benoit interview that you posted last week. While I believe that every individual has the right to choose their own career path, surely David Benoit would never be signed by any major wrestling promotion even if ends up being the best technical wrestler of all time. Would you agree?
I believe there is a tremendous misconception when it comes to second generation talent. A lot of people believe that just because someone is a second or third generation talent, they will get an opportunity. Your point is along the same lines but the opposite. Because David Benoit is the son of Chris Benoit, he won't get an opportunity. I absolutely think who someone is factors in to how they are evaluated, however, that's only part of how it works. If David Benoit develops into a very talented prospect, who is to say an opportunity won't be there? All of this is premature as David has a long ways to go before he's even on WWE's radar.
From the Ask WNW vault…
July 2012: What has the reaction been like in WWE to the monster rating the 1000th Raw the show did? Do you think Vince McMahon looks at it as people having renewed interest or just a one time fluke? - WWE is thrilled with the rating of the 1000th episode of Raw and they should be. As we talked about here in Ask WNW, the company immediately issued a press release to tout the success of the large viewership. I have not heard from sources close to Vince McMahon what he thought and would be scared to speculate, however, I feel it shows the audience is still there. Whether or not that audience tunes in weekly or buys the monthly pay-per-views all has to do with the quality of the product. The company showed with Wrestlemania XXVIII they could get people to buy their product. WWE should strive to make every show “must-see programming,” treating them as a “big deal” to spark interest. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying pay-per-views are going to go be able to compete with Wrestlemania or weekly TVs can exceed the viewership of the biggest show to date but there is a large differential in the averages and these spikes. If WWE were to make their shows of more importance, I feel it could significantly boost ratings. This will, however, be very challenging by trying to come up with three hours of live TV each week.
I think Dolph Ziggler deserves a spot near the top or at least a viable main event opportunity, however, comments such as this probably didn't help his cause. How likely is it the company restarts on him?
Dolph Ziggler's main event push was derailed last year after suffering a concussion at the hands (or foot) of Jack Swagger. The concussion was so severe, Ziggler thought it could be career-ending and he ended up suffering another one in January to Ryback. Compound this with some controversial comments and Ziggler finds himself in the WWE midcard. There have been signs of life lately, however, I don't think anyone considers Ziggler at the level of Daniel Bryan or Bray Wyatt at this juncture. I actually believe Tweets and comments are overblown and it has more to do with Vince McMahon's vision of who he sees as a top guy. I'll argue that Ziggler does not have the support of top WWE officials as a viable main event talent, so he's treated more as a midcarder. I disagree with that assessment and feel Ziggler has a very high ceiling if given an opportunity, however, it's anyone's guess when or if management's position will change on him. Dolph is outspoken and he's known for not holding back but I don't consider that as detrimental as some might think. WWE buried him after putting him over at Money in the Bank last year, even before a lot of the stuff he said, which tells me there is a lack of confidence in him.
Do you believe that R-Truth and other misused talent in WWE would fare better in Global Force Wrestling?
I get this type of question a lot but it's usually along the lines of, "do you think so-and-so would do better in TNA?" However, due to budget cuts, TNA no longer provides the opportunity as a fallback option. I will continue to answer this question like I've answered it in the past and that is why would someone leave the biggest and most successful pro wrestling promotion on the planet to work somewhere else? Unless Global Force Wrestling could offer a talent significantly more than what they are making in WWE, I absolutely do not see the incentive. It's time that some people accept that not everyone can be a top star and that's just the way the business works. Sure there is a lot of untapped potential, however, that doesn't mean a change of scenery guarantees superstardom. Kurt Angle has been paid handsomely since leaving WWE for TNA but I truly believe he would jump at the opportunity to return to WWE. Hogan sure did. So unless it makes financial sense, I do not see talent leaving WWE for "better opportunities" elsewhere.
With all due respect, why do you only report on TNA and ROH when you aren't reporting on WWE? If you ask me, companies like CZW are way more talented than companies like TNA and ROH.
We've actually stopped covering Ring of Honor and all independent wrestling promotions here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. This was a decision I made over the course of the last couple of years as I found readers were more interested in what is going on in the mainstream promotions rather than what was happening on the independent scene. That's not to say the independent scene isn't important or there aren't stories we'll track, however, my time and resources are better spent on going after the news and information from the mainstream. Further, it becomes very difficult to track what independent promotions and appearances are legitimate and which are not. There are some questionable tactics used by promoters and I want to make sure I do not promote a show where my readers are going to get ripped off. One of the breaking points for me ceasing ROH coverage was their inability to broadcast iPPVs and refusing to refund customers that purchased them (they instead offered credits for another show). We also received threats from ROH over embedding YouTube videos (that weren't uploaded by us) so I just found it was better to move on.
How serious is Daniel Bryan's neck injury?
This is something I talked a lot about in Tuesday's WNW Premium Mailbag. There is no such thing as a neck injury that isn't serious. Head and neck injuries are always serious and carry extreme risks. While the vibe on Monday at Raw was Daniel Bryan would be back sooner than later, his procedure would be minimally invasive and everything would be just fine, I can tell you the company is very worried. The fact of the matter is no one knows exactly the extent of the injury until after surgery is done. This is why the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is being held in question. All we can do at this point is hope for the best and hope this is nothing more than a blip on the radar.
From the Ask WNW vault…
March 2013: How long does a Wellness strike last on someone’s record? Is it like MLB where you do it multiple times and you are out or if you are clean for 1-2 years and you get a clean slate? - WWE Wellness strikes do not go away. One strike and the worker is suspended for 30 days without pay, two strikes and the worker is suspended for 60 days without pay, three strikes and the worker is terminated. If the worker leaves WWE with one or two Wellness strikes, they’ll return with those strikes. If a worker is terminated for three strikes (which has never happened), they cannot come back for at least one year. When/if they return, they would be subject to more stringent testing and would carry two Wellness strikes. WWE has an FAQ attached with their Wellness Policy that you can read at this link.
Do you think it would be a good opportunity to split the titles up again if Daniel Bryan is expected to be out of action for an extended period of time?
I wasn't for the unification of the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship in the first place so I would favor most scenarios that saw the titles split. Two world titles forces WWE to have an expanded main event scene and most will agree it's shrunk since December's title unification. As for the future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the reality is the company doesn't know what they're going to do but they're going storyline heavy with whatever it will be. For those tired of Triple H "burying" Bryan as a B+ player, there's no end in sight for that and I would expect heavy such references in next Monday's announcement. The problem I already have with how WWE is treating this is Daniel Bryan finally "overcame the odds" against The Authority [at Wrestlemania 30] and now it's like we're back to last summer all over again. No matter how much Bryan improves his stock in the eyes of WWE officials, they're determined to push him as the proverbial underdog. I don't like it and would rather see the company pivot and treat Bryan more like a protected top guy.
With Batista potentially taking time off for movie related media, do you see this as an opportunity for WWE to bring in Curtis Axel, Ryback or another superstar to align themselves as members of Evolution and possibly head in the direction of stardom under the tutelage of Triple H & Randy Orton?
Batista will be taking time off this summer for media related to Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" film, in which he plays the part of Drax the Destroyer. Whether or not WWE adds another member to Evolution will depend on how long they plan to keep the reunited faction around. Is Evolution there to help prevent the post-Wrestlemania letdown or are there long-term plans leading into SummerSlam? This question will have to be answered before we can talk new members. If the latter proves true, I would prefer someone other than Ryback or Curtis Axel get the opportunity. Both have already been given main event opportunities and have squandered them.
What's Shane McMahon been up to? Any chance he'll be back to WWE in the future?
Shane McMahon left WWE in 2009 to "do it on his own" and has been very successful as the Chairman of YOU on Demand, which is often referred to as the "Netflix of China." BuzzFeed Sports ran a sensational piece on him last month that will answer most of your questions at this link. The only thing I will add is there is always a chance that Shane McMahon could return to WWE. No matter what people like Shane or Linda [McMahon] do, they will always been associated with WWE because of who they are and the prominent positions they used to fill. Shane leaving WWE was not something that was easy for Vince and according to observers, it was difficult on their relationship. I believe Shane realized the company would go to Stephanie and Triple H and wanted to see what he could do outside of his father's shadow.
Where is Hulk Hogan?
Hulk Hogan is still running wild and remains under WWE contract. The company plans to utilize him on their July tour of Japan. Hogan is an asset for WWE but given the fact he can no longer wrestle, his exposure must be limited. If it's not, his appearances go from a "big deal" to "ordinary." Once this happens, he loses all value. TNA overexposed Hogan to the point where he couldn't help them at all. Vince McMahon and WWE have done a great job in utilizing Hogan without overexposing him since he returned to the company earlier this year.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: Why is Daniel Bryan constantly the one being pinned and shown as the weak link of Team Hell No? - The justification seems to be Daniel Bryan’s current gimmick is comedy and he won’t be hurt by any losses under it. I would rather see Kane doing these jobs as he’s someone up there in age that has already peaked. Daniel Bryan hasn’t come close to his ceiling and I would prefer he didn’t go under although that seems to be the reason why he has been booked as such. From what I’ve been told, Vince McMahon sees Daniel Bryan as diverse and is high up on him heading into the new year.
There has been no mention by Bray Wyatt of wanting to attain a championship in WWE. Despite notable feuds with Kane, Daniel Bryan and now John Cena, do you think there is any storyline that is feasible in which he will want to challenge for a title?
Unless it's the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, holding a title means very little to an up and coming superstar. Just look at Big E and Dean Ambrose. Did either rise to prominence because they held a mid card title? If anything, feuding for a mid card belt would be beneath where Bray Wyatt has been working. There are several feasible storylines I could pitch for Bray Wyatt to get involved in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene following his program with John Cena, however, I'm not sure that's the direction WWE wants to go. Bray has all of the tools to be a successful WWE World Heavyweight Champion and I'll flat out admit he's becoming one of my favorite characters on WWE television.
What if, in the absence of Daniel Bryan, Triple H gave one title to Randy Orton and another title to Batista?
I do not like hypothetical questions because we could play this game all day but could you imagine the heat this would generate? WWE is already going storyline-heavy with Daniel Bryan's injury, noting he's out because he's a B+ player that can't handle the wear and tear of being WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I don't know the direction WWE plans to turn but it will be a direction that is decided from Thursday through Sunday as they plan to address it on Monday's Raw. While your idea would undoubtedly get a ton of heat, I'm tired of The Authority's "insurmountable power" and hate the idea of Bryan getting "screwed out of his title" yet again.
Jeff Hardy said after his steel cage match with CM Punk, if the time was right, the fans may see him in WWE again. With all the "big" names from TNA leaving and with the company possibly going under, is the time right?
Jeff Hardy is under contract with TNA Wrestling through February 2015 so the time wouldn't be right until then. WWE had interest in Hardy when his last TNA contract came up so I guess it's a possibility. Based on the names TNA has let walk, I would expect for Jeff to explore his options when his deal comes up.
Is WWE Legends' House scripted?
All reality television is scripted and yes, that includes WWE Legends' House and Total Divas. It's about perception of reality to generate interest. I am high up on WWE's reality TV programming and am anxiously awaiting the return of Tough Enough.
From the Ask WNW vault…
August 2012: Is it just me or is Kane’s character ridiculous? In the past few years he’s gone from putting The Undertaker in a vegetative state to playing trombone with Santino, back to being a disturbed monster… now he’s a face again? Do you find the frequent switches make it hard for fans to care about him one way or the other? - It’s interesting you mentioned Kane as I was just told this week by one of my sources how Kane is an example of the writers being “burned out,” floating the character with no direction. To his credit, Kane is a reliable veteran that can work as a babyface or a heel but he never got over to the point where he could carry things as “the guy.” As a result he’s worked in the mid-card and in the main event, having a decent amount of success in both but it does become confusing to keep up with.