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Plans For SummerSlam, Upcoming Programs For Daniel Bryan & John Cena, What Triple H Wants More Of On Raw & Smackdown This Summer, CM Punk Discusses Retirement, Flair's In-Ring Return; New WWE Deal

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Welcome to the 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 24, 2014 to Friday, May 30, 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

- Speaking of Jim Ross, he has a new blog up on his official website in which he discusses Owen Hart, Impact Wrestling, unscripted promos and more. In the following excerpt, JR talks CM Punk's legacy:

I was asked today by the Chicago Tribune if @CMPunk deserved to be in the top 25 of the all time great wrestlers. I said that all these "All Time Top" whatever lists are overly subjective but my list would be the talents who I would want in my company if I owned a wrestling organization. By the way, that will never, EVER, happen. Nonetheless, I'd absolutely want Punk on my team so therefore under my criteria he's a top 25 guy. He's too versatile, too skilled, an excellent hero or villain, can talk, has a great work ethic and is one of the smarter minds I've been around.

I was also asked if CM Punk abruptly leaving WWE would adversely affect his legacy. My answer, a simple "Hell, no."

Click here to read the full article.

- Mason Ryan recently took part in an extensive interview in which he discussed working with CM Punk, a potential return to WWE in the future, potentially working for other companies and more. The interview is available at this link.

- After debuting on this week's Smackdown, Bo Dallas spoke with Renee Young about his debut for this week's Smackdown Fallout. The clip is available at this link. If you missed his debut promo or match against Sin Cara, they are available at this link.

- Bray Wyatt received a shout out on SportsCenter as anchor Robert Flores was recapping the mascots race of Teddy Roosevelt and Potato Pete during Friday night's Nationals/Pirates game. The shout out of "looking like Bray Wyatt" was given when one of the mascots speared the other.

- WWE posted a behind-the-scenes video o The Bella Twins doing a photo shoot for the June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine. You can watch it at this link.

- Vince and Linda McMahon have considerably increased their financial contributions to the Republican party, The Washington Post reports, citing Politico. According to the publication, the McMahons gave approximately $1 million to "Republican candidates, party committees and super PACs, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts’ group Ending Spending." This is up significantly from the $30,000 in contributes in 2006 and 2008. You can read more at this link.

- Chris Jericho posted a photo of his latest tattoo to his Instagram account. Click here to check it out.

- The latest WWE Top 10 video features the top 10 heel turns. The video is available at this link.

- Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was backstage at WWE's Smackdown taping in London earlier this week. Dot com has backstage photos at this link.

- Diamond Dallas Page recently appeared on The Wrestling Podcast Network to discuss the upcoming documentary on Jake "The Snake" Roberts, his time in WCW, and more. Click here to listen.

- Wrestling News World reader Marvin Weyer of sent word that William Regal visited Alex Wright's Hall of NEW training facility while on tour with WWE. The publication has an interview online with Wright, who also recently visited the WWE Performance Center, at this link.

- Ricky Steamboat visited Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on behalf of WWE. You can view photos at this link.

- I was on The Mark Moses Show with Mark Moses last Thursday to discuss WWE's new television deal with NBCUniversal, Wall Street's negative reaction, Vince McMahon losing nearly $350 million in one day, the WWE Network, cable and satellite providers dropping WWE pay-per-views and more. You can listen to the interview at this link. Listen to The Mark Moses Show weekday afternoons from 3-6pm on Sports Radio 95.9 The Fan. Click here for more information.

- WWE at least wants fans to believe there is a possibility that Chris Jericho works their Money in the Bank pay-per-view next month. In a sub-article titled "They're Due!" in the June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine, Jericho is listed along with Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Christian as stars with multiple Money in the Bank ladder match appearances but no wins.

Below is what the blurb says about Jericho:

Chris Jericho
4 Appearances; 0 Wins

Already with a Hall of Fame-worthy career, Jericho could still use a win at this event to make us forget about some lackluster recent returns to the ring. A contract cash-in would be just the thing he needs to net him a seventh World Title also.

I Tweeted a capture of the article taken at my desk:

Jericho left WWE after working a short-term deal to pursue outside interests last year. There were discussions to get him back for a run up to Wrestlemania XXX this year, however, a deal wasn't reached. I heard bringing back Jericho became more of a priority with CM Punk gone but so far, I am not aware of a a new deal being worked out. Jericho has gone on record as to saying he'll come back if there is an opportunity and storyline for him. He won't, however, come back just to come back and would be completely fine with his in-ring career being over. WWE Money in the Bank 2014 will take place Sunday, June 29, 2014 at the TD Garden in Boston, MA. We'll have complete coverage here at - The Rock announced on Twitter that he's putting the final touches on his next book, slated for a November 2014 release. The following is from Twitter:

- This week's episode of After Total Divas is now online at this link.

- We've been able to uncover some preliminary discussions for this year's SummerSlam pay-per-view. However, these plans were thrown around before Daniel Bryan's neck surgery, something we should get more clarification on at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw.

Initial estimates have Bryan back in time for SummerSlam, if not Battleground, so his injury should not alter plans. But as with anything on the creative end, plans are subject to change. The purpose of this report is to gain insight into the current mindset behind-the scenes.

The discussions we heard (before news of Bryan's surgery), were as follows:

Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
Brock Lesnar vs. Cesaro

While we didn't hear of a plan for John Cena, we heard rumblings of a possible program with Sheamus after his blowoff with the Wyatts.

Once again, these are all preliminary ideas, but Reigns is the guy Triple H wants at SummerSlam and Lesnar vs. Cesaro is something the company wants to do at some point. SummerSlam may end up being too soon, however, this was the direction a couple of weeks ago.

- Jim Ross is scheduled to make his announcing debut on FOX Sports 1 on Monday night, working Golden Boy Live! boxing on the network at 9 PM ET. We have more at this link.

- Ric Flair was in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday to film a commercial for a local real estate company. A local news station, WHNT 19, has a feature article on Flair at this link.

- For those that missed it on Friday, Triple H invited Scott Hall to this week's Smackdown taping in Atlanta, GA. While there, Hall will film an interview for inclusion on the WWE Network.

- The main promotional point for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw is The Authority "demanding" that Daniel Bryan "personally surrender" the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. While WWE is going storyline-heavy with Daniel Bryan after he was forced to undergo neck surgery, the direction they plan to go with the title is currently unknown. Multiple scenarios have been pitched but nothing was finalized heading into the weekend. The belief within WWE is that Bryan will be cleared to return by Battleground on July 20, 2014 and even if he's not, his availability shouldn't be in question for SummerSlam in August. It does not appear that he'll be able to work the next two pay-per-views (Payback and Money in the Bank respectively) because of the injury. We have preliminary details for SummerSlam available at this link.

- WWE posted some Total Divas bonus clips following the airing of this week's broadcast. You can watch them below:

Big Show gives the Divas advice about WrestleMania

Naomi tells Jimmy Uso about her talk with Stephanie McMahon

- The Season 2 finale of Total Divas will air next Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 9PM/8CT. Below is a synopsis:

Wedding Mania
Brie and Bryan get married; Nikki's secret marriage is finally exposed; WrestleMania.

It's interesting to note that next week's Season 2 finale will have to compete head-to-head with WWE Payback, which will certainly hurt viewership.

- WWE Tag Team Champions Jimmy & Jey Uso are featured in a Q&A on page 22 of the June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine. In it, Jey talks about how family life keeps things in perspective.

"We're lucky to be The Usos. WWE lets us be us. We're fortunate to have our characters in our hands. For people who don't know us outside the ring, we just like to have a good time. We're that way. If something goes wrong, we hate holding grudges. It's how we were raised. Life is too short. So we just like to always keep it positive. If you think negative, negative stuff comes around. If you're negative, you'll attract negative people."

The June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine is on newsstands everywhere. Subscription information is available at this link.

- Goldust talked about his ring gear in the June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine in a feature called "The Hurt Locker." In it, he said he purchases paint once a month and goes through several three-ounce canisters during the month. Goldust said it gets "very pricey very fast."

He said he wears regular batting gloves and wears Stage Coach boots. Goldust said he had a pair with a matching "Brotherhood" symbol for him and Cody Rhodes at Wrestlemania XXX but they arrived 5 minutes too late.

Goldust noted he's been sober for six years and counting and is in the best shape of his life.

The June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine is on newsstands everywhere. Subscription information is available at this link.

- WWE did an angle on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw where The Authority "fired" Brad Maddox as the General Manager of the show. Maddox has played an on-air authority figure since early last year. Footage of the segment is online at this link.

- WWE has decided to continue calling their pay-per-view events "pay-per-views." There had been some talk the company was moving forward calling them "special events," but that's not the case. WWE wants to continue to push the promotional fact that "all pay-per-views" are available with a WWE Network subscription.

- Bo Dallas, who re-debuted on Smackdown last week from London, England, made his re-debut on this week's Raw in a match against Sin Cara. A video preview is available at this link.

- WWE cameras shot a close-up of the "contract" for the No Holds Barred Elimination Match at Payback between The Shield and Evolution during the closing segment of this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. Below the match listing, the contract reads as follows:

1. World Wrestling Entertainment is a creative genius. The whole creation of the universe was fashioned by his ever-tolling hands. All living mortals should praise his name and image.

I Tweeted a screen capture that you can view below:

- Below are the most watched shows last week on the WWE Network: Legends' House WWE Main Event Raw Pre-Show WWE NXT WWE Countdown WWE Extreme Rules 2014 Raw Backstage Pass Wrestlemania 30 Slam City Smackdown Pre-Show - After this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, John Cena beat Bray Wyatt in a dark match main event. The match saw both Luke Harper and Erick Rowan run interference but Cena hit Wyatt with the Attitude Adjustment. Once the bout ended, Cena led the crowd in a rendition of "Rocky Top" to send the crowd home happy. The show was not sold out. - Sheamus discussed his recovery from a torn labrum in the latest issue of WWE Magazine. The injury, suffered at last year's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, caused Sheamus to undergo the first surgery of his career and sit out the latter part of 2013.

"When you go through a surgery like that, it definitely makes you think about a lot of things. It puts you through a tedious process of getting back in the ring," "I felt powerless after my surgery because I wasn't able to move my arm, but after only two weeks I had more power over my recovery than anything else. It was in my hands. I did extra rehab. I was there for as long as I possibly could be. I was in the gym before I was supposed to be, so ultimately I had a lot of power. I was never truly powerless after my surgery. Everything was in my hands and I proved I could be back fitter, stronger and better than I was before I left. And I proved that, right?" "I'm in better shape - fitter, faster and strong - so people who have known me over the last couple of years know they're going to see a more improved, sharper Sheamus and a hungrier Sheamus, too!"

The June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine is on newsstands everywhere. Subscription information is available at this link. Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Knoxville, TN… - There was a meeting prior to this week's show with Triple H expressing his desire for Raw and Smackdown to have more of a flow from top to bottom. There are concerns within the company that people aren't subscribing to the WWE Network because the product on TV isn't compelling, in large part due to a lack of flow, angles being forgotten or outright aborted. One observer pointed to Hunter and Vince McMahon having "different visions" and the ideas of the two clashing. Going into the summer, Triple H really wants more focus placed on undercard programs to help build the mid card. - WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan will follow-up with Dr. Joseph Maroon this week and should get a true timeline for his return. As noted, the word is that he's not going to be cleared for Payback or Money in the Bank. The company could still use one of the Money in the Bank ladder matches to crown an interim champion but a lot of stalling has been done until a firmer timeline for Bryan's return is established. - Drew McIntyre appeared to have suffered a leg injury after a blown spot during in his match. Apparently it was nothing serious but he appeared to be in pain backstage. - Vince McMahon is said to be "fully on board" with the push of Rusev. - Jim Ross made his return to announce on Fox Sports 1's coverage of Golden Boy Live! boxing on Monday night. After returning, JR joined FOX Sports Live to recap his night at the fights. You can watch his interview at this link. - WWE senior ringside physician Chris Amann and Kane participated in a Concussion Awareness Workshop at Halls Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee on Monday. The free workshop was for coaches, parents and student athletes to raise awareness about the dangers of concussions. In an interview with WATE out of Knoxville, Kane said he doesn't believe society has taken concussions as seriously as it should because we are hyper competitive society when it comes to sports. Amann listed the symptoms of concussion, specifically stating head aches, dizziness, slowness of thought and changes of personality. It's stated there are many symptoms of a concussion from fatigue and confusion to nervousness. Dr. Amann talked about changes in WWE over the last 6 years, including the elimination of chair shots to the head due to the potential risk of concussions and injuries to the brain. You can watch a full local news report embedded below:

- Last week's episode of Smackdown featuring Hulk Hogan did an average viewing audience of 2,580,000 viewers on SyFy. The show led Friday's original cable programming with a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating. TV by the Numbers has more data for cable programming from last Friday at this link. - WWE announced that George Barrios will talk Over the Top content distribution at the 42nd Annual Cowen Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in New York City on Wednesday. Click here for more. - Wrestling News World reader Donald Wood sent word that he, along with Bleacher Report Featured Columnists Mike Chiari and Brandon Galvin, interviewed Bill Goldberg. Regarding a potential return to the ring, Goldberg said it would have to be a favorable condition for everybody involved and that didn't necessarily mean the money and the opponent but the working condition. You can listen to the interview at this link. WWE Main Event/Smackdown taping notes from Atlanta… - Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Cody Hall and Jake Roberts were in attendance. Hall stated over the weekend he received an invite from Triple H and was slated to tape an interview for use on the WWE Network - Dolph Ziggler beat Sami Zayn in a dark match that took place after WWE Main Event went off the air but before the company started Smackdown. - The Shield beat The Wyatt Family in a dark match main event following the tapings. The finish saw Roman Reigns Superman punch Wyatt before spearing Luke Harper for the win. - Family members of the USA Network reality series "Chrisley Knows Best" were in attendance in support of the network, sitting behind the announcers. - Chandler Riggs from The Walking Dead was in attendance and Tweeted these photos. - Rusev vs. Big E was added to the WWE Payback lineup at Tuesday night's Smackdown taping in Atlanta. Below is the updated card coming out of the taping: WWE World Heavyweight Championship Segment - Daniel Bryan, with Brie Brella, will be "forced" to surrender the title to Stephanie McMahon or Brie will be "fired" No Holds Barred Elimination Match - The Shield vs. Evolution Last Man Standing Match - John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt WWE Intercontinental Championship Match - Bad News Barrett © vs. Rob Van Dam WWE United States Championship Match - Sheamus © vs. Cesaro WWE Divas Championship Match - Paige © vs. Alicia Fox Singles Match - Rusev vs. Big E Mask vs. Hair Kickoff Match - El Torito vs. Hornswoggle WWE Payback will take place Sunday, June 1, 2014 from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at - To answer those that have emailed in about Batista, he is advertised for Raw next Monday in Indianapolis, IN. He will be taking time off at some point to do media for "Guardians of the Galaxy," however, no word on when that will be. The film premieres in theaters on August 1, 2014. - As the storyline goes, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan "must surrender" the title to Stephanie McMahon at Payback on Sunday or Brie Bella will be "fired." I haven't heard the plans on the storyline-heavy situation with the title but WWE has been intentionally stalling until a firm timeline on how long Bryan will be out is established. He is scheduled to followup with Dr. Joseph Maroon, the doctor that performed his neck surgery, this week. - This week's episode of Total Divas garnered an average viewing audience of 1,041,000 viewers on E. The show, airing on a holiday weekend, faced stiff competition from the NBA Playoffs on TNT. TV by the Numbers has data for the entire day at this link. - Dot com has a new feature interview online with Tyson Kidd to promote his match against Adrian Neville at Takeover for the WWE NXT Championship. While the piece is kayfabe, Kidd talked that NXT was not to be overlooked and the match is a great way to springboard him back into the main roster spotlight. Click here to read the article in its entirety. - According to eyewitness accounts at Tuesday night's Smackdown taping from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, a female fan jumped the barricade in attempt to get to Roman Reigns. Apparently she was dealt with quickly so it did not serve as a major disruption to the show.

At least one fan claimed responsibility for the incident on Twitter, however, we cannot confirm anything.

If you attended the taping and witnessed the incident, please feel free to send us more information. We have complete taping results online at this link.

- Triple H participated in a media conference call to promote NXT Takeover on Wednesday. Below are the highlights:

Hunter talked about NXT becoming its own brand with the WWE Network but stressed the primary focus is to prepare talent for the main roster.

Triple H talked about nervousness experienced by stars that get called up, specifically mentioning the work of Cesaro. He said Cesaro wasn't doing things on the main roster that he was doing in developmental and he pulled him aside and told him to do those things on Raw and Smackdown.

Hunter believes that while Bray Wyatt has been "knocking it out of the park" for a while now, he's only scratched the surface of what he's capable of doing. He said Wyatt is just now becoming comfortable on the main roster.

WWE is scouting international talent with Hunter specifically mentioning recent scouting of talent in Europe, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

Specifics were not given on the health of Christian or Rey Mysterio, however, Triple H said they are both recovering.

Triple H wouldn't confirm that Tough Enough is returning but said they've discussed filming it at the WWE Performance Center.

No comment was offered when asked about Prince Devitt and KENTA.

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman has been in talks with WWE.

NXT Takeover will take place Thursday from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. We'll have complete live coverage here at

- It's a good thing pay-per-view buy rates no longer matter in WWE because it was the perfect storm for this week's go-home to Payback episode of Monday Night Raw. Airing on Memorial Day, this week's show garnered an average viewing audience of 3,602,333 viewers on the USA Network. This was the lowest average viewing audience for a live Raw broadcast this year.

Below is how viewership broke down by hour:

Hour one - 3,538,000 viewers
Hour two - 3,858,000 viewers
Hour three - 3,411,000 viewers

- While we do not normally cover daily stock quotes, I felt it was worth mentioning that WWE's stock price has stabilized following the sharp decline we saw a couple of weeks ago in response to the company's new domestic TV agreement. The stock traded on a range of $11.30-$11.60 on Wednesday.

- Big E, Zack Ryder, Hornswoggle and others share their favorite WWE moments of Payback and retribution in the latest episode of WWE Inbox. You can watch at this link.

- Prince Devitt, who is rumored to be WWE bound, credited Sheamus for putting Irish wrestling on the map in a new interview with "Low Blows." You can listen at this link.

- CM Punk will be a featured artist for the 50 custom-made chairs painted in honor of Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary. Redeye Chicago caught up with Punk to talk to him about it. In the piece, Punk discussed retiring from WWE earlier this year at the young age of 35. These are his first public comments about retirement.

Below is an excerpt:

It [retirement] feels good. It's a lot easier when you hook up with organizations like the Cubs and being friends with some of the team members. It isn't hard to support their charities. Plus I get to do fun stuff like bowl and paint chairs and play whiffle ball with Bill Murray.

It was super fun and for a great cause. You've got athletes and actresses and musicians and all kinds of people painting chairs. I'm super happy to be a part of it.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

- Dolph Ziggler and WWE Hall of Famer Jake Roberts shared a cool moment backstage at this week's Smackdown taping in Atlanta, Georgia. On social media, Ziggler thanked Roberts for giving him a "pep talk." The following is from Twitter:

- Big Show Tweeted a photo with Lenny Kravitz on Thursday, noting they were "training hard." We've included the photo below:

- Here are some cool photos that were Tweeted out by Wrestling News World reader Jorge Romero:

- has a new article online featuring quotes from Brie Bella to promote Sunday's Season 2 finale of Total Divas. In it, Brie talks about being the only one who knew about Nikki's first marriage and eventual retirement from the ring to have children. Below is an excerpt:

"I'm fighting my baby fever so bad," she admitted. "My boots aren't ready to be hung up quite yet in the wrestling ring but they're getting pretty close. All my friends and cousins are having babies and it's hard not to want to join in on that."

Click here to read the article in its entirety. - Triple H answered questioned from fans on Twitter on Thursday in anticipation for Thursday night's NXT Takeover show. We've included most of the questions and responses below:

- The State Journal-Register has a new Q&A online with Jey Uso to promote Saturday's WWE live event in Springfield, IL. You can read it at this link. Thanks to WNW writer CJ Blaze for sending this in. - Paul Heyman says he's going to reveal when he decided that Cesaro was a Paul Heyman Guy on the NXT Takeover Pre-Show. The following is from Twitter:

- Speaking of Heyman, he and Renee Young will host NXT Takeover Fallout online at this link.

- Donald Wood and the Ring Rust Radio crew interviewed Santino Marella to promote Sunday's WWE Payback pay-per-view. You can listen at this link.

- Tyler Breeze beat Sami Zayn at NXT Takeover to become the #1 Contender to the NXT Championship. These two put on a great match and it's definitely worth going out of your way to watch.

- Charlotte pinned Natalya to become the new NXT Women's Champion. The match went nearly seventeen minutes long. Natalya and Charlotte hugged afterwards while Ric Flair and Bret Hart shook hands.

WWE NXT Takeover news and notes...

- Rave reviews are pouring in for NXT Takeover as a top to bottom outstanding show. All of the bouts delivered, especially Tyler Breeze vs. Sami Zayn, Charlotte vs. Natalya and Adrian Neville vs. Tyson Kidd. And I don't care what anyone says, the Red Arrow is the coolest finisher in pro wrestling.

- For those that missed the show, Charlotte is the second ever WWE NXT Women's Champion, with the title previously held by Paige. Remember she didn't actually drop the title either but was stripped by NXT General Manager JBL in storyline because of her WWE Divas Championship win.

- Adrian Neville retained the NXT Championship against Tyson Kidd and Tyler Breeze became the new number one contender by beating Sami Zayn. CJnoted these earlier.

- Bayley beat Sasha Banks in a dark match prior to the show.

- Actor Kris Kristofferson and WWE legend Haku were among the guests in attendance. Haku is the father of Camacho, while Kristofferson's son, Jody, is Garrett Dylan.

- Here's a cool photo of Ric Flair and Bret Hart at the show:

- If you missed NXT Takeover Fallout, you can watch it now at this link. - Morale in WWE developmental received a big boost with NXT Takeover. The wrestlers watched the show from a nearby auditorium and were just as high up on what they saw as everyone else. The show was outstanding and the company knows it was. - Michael Hayes, Joey Mercury and Dean Malenko were in town for the show and spent time with developmental talent. Hayes charged the roster with a speech prior to Takeover going live. - The plan is to do another NXT special event at the end of the summer or beginning of the fall. The eventual goal is to do four of them a year. - WWE will hold a set of NXT tapings on Friday night from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Rob Van Dam and Summer Rae are the advertised main roster guests. Wrestling News World'sScott Brooks will be on the ground and will file a report upon the show's conclusion. - WWE and Full Sail University celebrated their second anniversary on May 17, 2014. On Friday, Full Sail issued a press release that touted the success of the partnership, which started with the campus serving as the home of NXT's television tapings. The release includes a video that you can watch at this link. Click here to read Full Sail's press release, touting collaboration highlights. Triple H noted in Thursday's Twitter Q&A that WWE is thrilled with the partnership and hopes to remain partners with Full Sail in the "years to come." - Referee Dan Engler's comments on the "controversial ending" from the Tyler Breeze vs. Sami Zayn match at NXT Takeover are online in this video. Engler is the former Rudy Charles from TNA Wrestling. - New WWE NXT Women's Champion Charlotte and Ric Flair shared their emotions of her victory with Matt Striker in this video. - Adrian Neville talked about retaining the NXT Championship against Tyson Kidd at this link. - The party continued after Adam Rose's win, in this video. - E! issued a press release on Friday, touting year-over-year primetime growth across key demos in May. The network listed Total Divas as a "key driver" of growth, noting that Season 2 has out-delivered year-ago programming across all key demos by triple digits. The series is the network's second-most original program after Keeping Up with the Kardashians. You can read the complete press release at this link. - Jim Ross did an interview with to promote his one man show at the House of Blues in the Windy City on Saturday night. In it, Ross said he's not looking to do anymore pro wrestling broadcasting but if the right opportunity arises then he will listen. JR said he's also willing to try Mixed Martial Arts or football and that he can be selective right now. Click here to read the article in its entirety. Richard Reacts: Michael Cole is much improved and I am admittedly a fan of the WWE announce trio with Jerry Lawler and JBL, however, can anyone make an argument as to why Jim Ross is still not WWE's play-by-play man? Sometimes the foolish backstage politics of the pro wrestling business baffle me and how Vince McMahon and Triple H do not see the value of a legend like Jim Ross is beyond on my comprehension. I don't even like boxing and hearing his voice on Monday made me want to watch. - The weekend is almost here because The JBL & Cole Show is now online. This week's episode is the most random episode ever! Watch at this link. - The Express-Times has a new article online featuring quotes from Amy "Lita" Dumas. Click here to read it. - SLAM! Wrestling spoke to Dolph Ziggler at this link. - Wade Barrett did an interview with Chuck Carroll of the CBS affiliate out of Washington, D.C. In it, he talked about Tyson Kidd being known more for his role on Total Divas than his in-ring work. Below is an excerpt:

“He’s a great pro wrestler. He’s technically very astute and a great performer,” said Barrett. “But for whatever reason he gets more people coming up to him saying hello because they’ve seen him on the Divas show then they have seen him wrestling in the ring, which I thought that was pretty amazing.”

Click here to read the piece in its entirety. - Mike Mooneyham of The Post and Courier has a fantastic Ric Flair article online. The piece is so well-written and in-depth, a recap won't do it justice so make sure to read it at this link. I have picked out some of the highlights and included them below: Flair has been out of the ring since August 2012, his longest stretch since becoming a pro wrestler in 1972. He's scheduled to work in Japan in September 2014. Ric said he doesn't believe WWE would clear him to wrestle after what happened with Jerry Lawler's heart attack a couple of years ago, however, he would like to manage someone like Dolph Ziggler.

"I think he's awesome. He'd be a great guy to manage. He looks like a million bucks. He just can't find his gimmick. He needs to work on his entrance. I could help him with that."

Flair is close to signing a new deal with WWE and is only awaiting a physical. Click here to read the outstanding piece. Again, it's a must-read!

TNA News

- TNA Wrestling asked their followers on social media over the weekend which ring they preferred, six-sides or four-sides. Below is the Tweet:

The six-sided ring was a staple of TNA before Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff debuted with the company in 2010. One of their first changes was to eliminate the structure in favor of a traditional four-sided ring.

- TNA Wrestling revealed on their official website that they will be taping three more Impact Wrestling shows in the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom in New York City. They will be taping shows on August 5th, 6th, and 7th. These dates are added to the already previous announced dates of June 25th, 26th, and 27th. For information about their August set of tapings, click here.

- Adam Rose made his Raw in-ring debut against Damien Sandow on this week's show. WWE posted video highlights at this link. Rose, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, has been in WWE's developmental system since 2010. The company began running hype vignettes for him the night after Wrestlemania 30 on the April 7 episode of Raw and he made his main roster debut on the May 5 episode.

- TNA Wrestling announced on Tuesday that The Great Muta will work their June 25, 2014 Impact taping from the Manhattan Center in New York City. Muta last worked for TNA at Lockdown where he teamed with Sanda and Yasu. You can watch his match at the pay-per-view at this link. Click here for coverage on

- Kurt Angle continues to keep fans updated with his progress back from surgery to repair a torn ACL in a video series titled #MyComeback. Angle made his first public appearance since undergoing surgery at The Ultimate Teen Challenge in his hometown of Pittsburgh over the weekend. Click here for the latest. Angle underwent knee surgery earlier this month and is expected out 4 1/2 months.

- TNA Champion Eric Youngappeared on the Today show on Thursday to promote the season premiere of "No Limits" on Animal Planet. He did an interview with The Sports Courier's Fred Richani at this link.

- TNA Wrestling announced on Thursday that Kevin Von Erich will accompany his sons, Marshall and Ross, to the ring for their first globally televised match at next month's Slammiversary pay-per-view. Click here for coverage by Slammiversary 2014 will take place Sunday, June 15, 2014 from College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.

- TNA posted a new photo gallery of Rebel from The Menagerie at this link. As we reported here at Rebel is former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Tanea Brooks.

- The new Animal Planet series called "No Limits" featuring TNA Champion Eric Young premieres on the network on Friday night at 8 PM ET/PT. The series, ordered for 10 episodes, offers the continuation of his adventure fishing series Off the Hook: Extreme Catches." No Limits follows Young as he "showcases adrenaline-fueled adventures that take him to the edge of his comfort zone." Click here for more information with photos.

- Jeff Jarrett talked about starting Global Force Wrestling to John Pollock of Live Audio Wrestling. Below are a few highlights:

Jarrett described his vision for GFW as "2014 professional wrestling" and it's something he believes in.

He said GFW hasn't signed their first wrestler yet, however, they are close to making some talent announcements.

Jarrett confirmed he's still a part-owner of TNA Wrestling but it doesn't prevent him whatsoever from starting his own promotion (Editor's note: someone's lawyer wasn't thinking when they drafted Jarrett's TNA ownership agreement).

You can listen to the interview at this link.

- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,079,000 viewers on Spike TV. TV By the Numbers provided more insight, noting the show did 418,000 viewers in the adults 18-49 demographic.


What are your thoughts on WWE bringing back The Nation of Domination with R-Truth, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E?

There has been some speculation about WWE re-forming The Nation of Domination faction but I cannot confirm that such plans will ever make it to television. While I do think it would help bring some attention to Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston, two very talented workers capable of more, and give Big E a storyline, I'm not high up on multiple factions. I hate to pick on TNA here but they provide a good example of "faction overkill." Factions are great when done in moderation with a limited shelf life. However, constant factions forming/breaking up becomes confusing for the average fan and given the historic over-saturation of factions like the new World order, they can also become rather exhausting. WWE already has The Shield, Evolution, The Wyatt Family, 3MB, The Authority, is there really a need for another?

Speaking of Evolution, I thought some would enjoy the following posting in the June 2014 issue of WWE Magazine:

I know this would never happen but what would be your thoughts on Raw being TV-14 and Smackdown being a TV-PG show? I wouldn't mind WWE producing shows geared towards separate audiences. In fact, I wouldn't be opposed to the first two hours of Raw being TV-PG and the final hour being TV-14. In the company's attempt to create programming suitable for the whole family, they've also somewhat alienated their older fans. The chances of WWE backing off their TV-PG commitment are slim, as you noted, but "edgier" programming for older/more mature viewers wouldn't be a bad thing. However, I will also note that TV-PG can be entertaining as long as WWE doesn't go too far with it. This is something even Vince McMahon himself admitted when the change was first made. I love Paige. I think she's one of the few Diva of her generation to have the entire package and I see a bright future for her. But I can't shake the feeling that this title run has been misused since arriving to the main WWE roster. Do you think people can lose interest in her if she, as a champion, doesn't come up strong enough? I too am very high up on Paige. She has the look, the in-ring ability and the character to have a great career in WWE. Like Natalya, she grew up around the wrestling business, so that tells me she has the passion to be successful. However, her rocket pack push to the main roster as WWE Divas Champion has not worked well. I've heard and reported that the company has been disappointed with Paige's push, citing a lack of reaction at live events. Rather than company officials souring on her, many feel it's a case of her being nervous and that in time she will work out fine. As I mentioned in Ask WNW last week, I believe it's a situation of too much too fast. Rarely do title runs right out of the gate work out and while some may point to Sheamus getting a title run out of the gate, I even felt that was underwhelming. There is a chance of fans losing interest and company officials souring on Paige but she's talented enough where I believe she'll come out of this funk. Is Vince McMahon becoming Jerry Jones? As a Dallas Cowboys fan (I know, save the jokes), I can unequivocally tell you that Vince McMahon and Jerry Jones are cut from the same cloth. Vince McMahon isn't becoming Jerry Jones, he is Jerry Jones (and vice versa). They're master promoters and that's why they run two of the most successful organizations in the entire world. Now, if you're talking about some of the questionable personnel decisions that Jones has made, alleging he's "out of touch," that's a fair criticism. Vince has done some things that make people feel like he's out of touch. I believe that Vince McMahon understands the pro wrestling business more than anyone else. He "gets it" and has the personality where he's not going to let anyone or anything dictate what he does. The same can be said for Jerry Jones in terms of promotion and running a successful business (not so much about winning). Vince got in trouble with the new domestic TV deal by "being Vince McMahon." He was doing what he always does, creating hype. No one means as much to WWE as Vince McMahon and even at the current stage, where Triple H is being groomed as his successor, the company needs him to be successful. From the Ask WNW vault…July 2012: When workers do media appearances are they supposed to be in-character or out of character? - It really depends on the worker and the appearance. Sometimes workers are 100% in-character, sometimes they are 100% out of character and other times, it’s a combination of the two. In the interviews I’ve done, I’ve experienced a little bit of everything and found it all depends on the worker’s objective. There are some workers, such as Sheamus, that are usually always in-character which is definitely the “old school” mentality. However, there isn’t one universal way to behave and it depends on the aforementioned factors.With TNA making mention of the six-sided ring, is there a chance they bring it back? TNA asked fans over the weekend how they liked their ring, with four sides or with six. I think they did it to get attention on social media as most of their rings have been converted to traditional four-sided rings. However, there is a chance they could bring it back but I'm not sure how much it would matter at this point. I'm not trying to be the "doom and gloom" guy but the company is in dire need of a boost. The Sting to WWE talk has all but died down. Has he signed? As far as I know, Sting is still a free agent. WWE filmed new interviews with him after the passing of The Ultimate Warrior and preliminary information suggests they will release a DVD centered around him in September. He's booked to appear for Pro Championship Wrestling on Saturday, June 21, 2014 but that's all the information available at this time. With Hulk Hogan stating on Smackdown that the WWE Network will be available in the United Kingdom very soon, do you have a timetable? The internal timetable for the international launch of WWE Network in phase one countries (which includes the United Kingdom) remains unchanged. That timetable is officially stated as "by the end of 2014/early 2015." How Hulk Hogan was used last week at Smackdown was one of the main reasons WWE re-signed him. They want Hogan to entice people to signup for the WWE Network, not only because of his recognition but to encourage lapsed fans that have stopped watching Raw and Smackdown. What's going on with Rey Mysterio? Where is he? Rey Mysterio was listed on WWE's internal injury report in April and also went on vacation in Hawaii. His WWE contract is coming up and he generated buzz on social media on April 30th when he announced he was at WWE headquarters negotiating his contract.

We reported exclusively here on a day prior to the Tweet that WWE re-signing Mysterio had become a priority after the company had come to realization that he could actually depart. I believe the days of Mysterio being a full-time talent are over as he continues to have issues with his left knee, however, he is still of value and WWE knows that.

Should WWE go back to being a private company?

There would be advantages for WWE choosing to go private, with Vince McMahon and other top executives receiving a large financial gain without having to maintain the stringent reporting requirements of being traded on the New York Stock Exchange. I don't see it happening and as a member of the media, I wouldn't like it because I wouldn't get to comb through WWE's financial records each quarter. WWE's stock price seems to have stabilized after declining sharply on the announcement of the new domestic TV licensing deal with NBCUniversal. As I've stated before, I believe the storm is over as long as WWE maintains their dividend. You can read an article on a public company choosing to go private at this link.

From the Ask WNW vault…

May 2012: Do you consider a “dirt sheet”? - I was asked in this week’s Premium Mailbag if being labeled a “dirt sheet” offended me. I feel that this website exists to break kayfabe and explain to interested wrestling fans what is going on behind-the-scenes. It’s also our job to report about backstage happenings that relate to the product. If that makes us a “dirt sheet,” I take no offense to the term what-so-ever. However, we are not a slimy gossip rag that will post anything as long as it looks “juicy.” I make a judgment call on every story I run and when I do post something in relation to a worker’s personal life, I try to be as respectful as possible.

I think that WWE has some really good Divas that look the part and can perform in the ring (Emma, Natalya, Paige, etc) but they just don't get enough time to matter. Does the company care about the Divas division?

I agree WWE is loaded with female talent, especially when considering the ceilings of newcomers such as Emma and Paige. The company cares about their Divas, especially with the success of Total Divas; they're just used in a different capacity. WWE is currently using the Divas to attract the female demographic (through the reality series on E) in addition to acting as ambassadors. Unfortunately, actual in-ring talent is secondary, even though there are more than a few Divas that can more than hold their own. I'm not sure this will ever change under the current structure, however, the NXT Divas get far more opportunities to showcase their in-ring talent.

What's the general feeling on Dolph Ziggler within WWE? A lot of former names have come out in support of him recently, but ever since his concussion last year (the first one) it seems WWE sees him as a failure.

We've spent a lot of time over the past couple of years talking about Dolph Ziggler, pointing out the fact he is one of the most under utilized guys on the WWE roster. However, his "bad booking" goes back even further than the injury last year as he was jobbed out after winning the Money in the Bank briefcase in 2012. Just when it looked like he was about to break through, the injury happened and it's been nothing but downhill since. The only reason I can give is that Vince McMahon doesn't see him as a top guy. While his win/loss record isn't bad over his last 10 televised matches at 6-4, I don't think anyone sees him as more than a mid-card talent. I heard he had a fantastic dark match on Tuesday night against Sami Zayn.

I was wondering what your thoughts were on Stephanie McMahon as an on-screen character?

My problem with both the on-air characters of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon is they are too powerful. It seems no matter what happens, they always come out on top. This is what happened during the extended Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton program last year and we can see the momentum of the Yes Movement lessoning each week. I get there is a lot of money in Daniel Bryan as the proverbial underdog but most will agree the "B+ player" bit is beyond stale.

Is there any more news on the Undertaker's condition after his Wrestlemania match?

The last I heard on Undertaker was he was banged up pretty bad in his Wrestlemania 30 match against Brock Lesnar, suffering a severe concussion. While most would assume that was it for Undertaker, I'm told there is still a possibility of him working the show next year. Obviously if that happens, he will not have near the same amount of pressure or expectations associated with his match.

Prince Devitt has been a free agent for a while now and linked with a move to the WWE for just as long. Are the WWE interested in him and is there any chance of him appearing soon?

I heard WWE and Prince Devitt were close to deal with him even being given certain assurances as to how long he would have to spend at the WWE Performance Center before getting called up to the main roster. That was one issue that had kept him from signing. Triple H was asked about him in Wednesday's conference call but offered no comment.

From the Ask WNW vault…

January 2012: Does WWE provide talent with health insurance and benefits such as paid vacations and paid time off? - Performers in WWE are classified as independent contractors, not employees, so options such as health insurance are not available. This has been controversial throughout the years; however, little to no progress has been made when challenged. As for paid vacations and paid time off, a worker will collect their downside guarantee as long as they are not suspended. Therefore if they request time off, and it’s granted, it is paid time off as they are collecting all but show bonuses.

Why do workers such as R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler and others remain loyal to WWE when the company continues to misuse them?

We can sit here all day and make a case for misused talent, however, that doesn't change that not everyone can work in the top of the card. If a worker is unhappy with the way they are being used in WWE, what other choice do they have? Back in the 90s, WCW was an option and TNA was an option at one point but that's no longer the case. The workers you mentioned are at least actively booked on live events and TV tapings, meaning not only do they collect their downside but they also receive show bonuses. Think about the workers sporadically used that do not have that luxury. The pro wrestling business is unlike any other in that it's not objective, meaning the best workers aren't always the ones in the best spots. However, I'll also remind you there can only be a handful of people working in the top of the card at one time.

Why is the WWE Network not available outside of the United States? It doesn't seem to make any kind of sense, as technically speaking, there should be no reason why they can't just make it available. They aren't dealing with programming rights or carriage like a regular network, so what gives?

I do not have a definitive answer to explain the delayed launch of the WWE Network in international markets. Even Canada has to wait and it likely has to do with current television distribution agreements along with WWE wanting to stabilize the domestic side first. The plan is still for WWE Network to launch in phase one countries (United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics) by the end of 2014/early 2015.

With WWE's new domestic television agreement, do you know if the online window has changed regarding Raw and Smackdown replays appearing on the WWE Network any earlier?

Encore showings of Raw and Smackdown are still available 30 days after their initial airing on the WWE Network. I know there were details still being worked out before the new domestic TV deal with NBCUniversal was signed, however, I do not anticipate a change. Should a change happen, we'll be sure and note it.

Who would you put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on?

If WWE decides to strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and crown an interim champion, it has to be a heel. I do not think it's a foregone conclusion that Bryan has to be stripped of the belt, however, if he's going to be out for an extended period of time, it would be the right thing to do. The company has stalled a decision until a firm timeline for Bryan's return is established. Some have speculated a swerve at Payback where Bryan proves he is able to work. I cannot confirm such plans and quite frankly, do not think Bryan should rush back. Whatever direction WWE decides to go in at the pay-per-view on Sunday, it will be storyline-heavy by the "too powerful" Authority.

With Roman Reigns set to breakout as a singles star, do you see another big man been added to The Shield with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins?

When WWE decides to breakup The Shield, they should break them up. The idea of prolonging a faction by creating version 2.0 (like WWE did with The Nexus, among others) rarely works out. All three members of The Shield are capable of having success in singles competition. Will they all three work in the top of the card immediately? That's a question that only time will tell, however, as we've already talked about, there are a very limited number of spots in the top of the card. While I do not like how the indecision over what to do with The Shield has trickled over onto television, it was the right move to turn them and will only help when they split.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2011: What are the chances AJ Styles ever leaves TNA Impact Wrestling for WWE? - This is a common question I see readers asking from time to time and while it’s certainly possible AJ Styles could leave TNA for WWE, how much success do you think he would have? While I know Vince McMahon and Triple H will point to workers such as Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, Christian, etc. and say they push workers of all different sizes, it’s a fact they don’t push talent based on in-ring skills. Daniel Bryan, who I consider the second best in-ring worker in the world (Kurt Angle at number one), has struggled to find a main event role. Watching Daniel Bryan on WWE TV is like playing with a yo-yo, he’s up then he’s down. There has been very little consistency. I have a hard time believing things for AJ Styles would be much different.

I don't know about you but I feel that the Women's Championship match at NXT Takeover was one of the best Diva matches in the history of the division, what are your thoughts on it?

Charlotte and Natalya had a fantastic match at NXT Takeover. To be honest, I was actually a bit surprised. We all know what Natalya is capable of as the best female in-ring worker in WWE but how about Charlotte? I knew she had been getting high marks but she raised her stock more than anyone else on the show. Of course this is a candidate for one of the best bouts in the history of the Divas division. When was the last time a Divas match went 17 minutes on the main roster? Nattie and Charlotte proved, like Emma and Paige proved at ArRIVAL, give these women a chance and they will shine.

Without a championship match, and with the two main events being rematches, the card for Payback looks weaker than the average WWE "pay-per-view". Do you think the choice not to rush to a decision over the WWE Championship (opting for a dialogue segment instead of, say, a match for the vacant title) was made easier by the existence of the WWE Network? In other words, with the focus having shifted from buy-rates to long-term subscriptions, is there less pressure than before for each individual event to be "must see?"

WWE's entire business model is changing with the WWE Network and I do believe there is no longer a sense of urgency that a show must-sell. The company punted their pay-per-view model (which accounted for 17% of their net revenue in 2012) in favor of the WWE Network and it's still very much in a state of transition. However, WWE was dealt a stiff blow when Daniel Bryan was in need of neck surgery after investing heavily in him coming out of Wrestlemania. I mentioned in Thursday's Premium Mailbag how this was yet another drawback of unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight titles. Two world titles forced WWE to have two main events at every pay-per-view, now we're seeing just what I feared in a shrinking main event scene. All and all the Payback card is weak. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt should have been blown off by now and Evolution vs. The Shield doesn't need a followup (the younger team already won in a gimmick match). The rest of the bouts are TV bouts that wouldn't sell a show on their own. Nonetheless I expect most WWE Network subscribers will be watching, so I guess we could argue WWE doesn't have to put quality cards on their pay-per-views anymore to attract an audience.

Why has Damien Sandow been relegated to this awful "regional heroes" gimmick?

It's safe to say the WWE creative doesn't have anything for Damien Sandow so they're going with comedy. I hoped the worked shoot promo he did earlier this month was a sign of bigger things to come but that hasn't been the case. As is the case with Dolph Ziggler, who we talked about on Wednesday, it ultimately comes down to who Vince McMahon sees as a viable headliner. All Sandow can do at this point is continue to take advantage of every opportunity that he's given.

What do you think of the idea of WWE using the current financial loss in a storyline?

WWE has shown they are more than capable of turning real life situations into storylines (example: The Yes Movement), however, I don't expect them to go anywhere near the issues regarding investor confidence. I was actually surprised Vince McMahon even admitted they were "disappointed" with the new domestic TV agreement with NBCUniversal. Investor confidence and a positive public image are essentials for the company and they're doing everything they can to stabilize following a rough month.

From the Ask WNW vault…

November 2011: How will the WWE Network change WWE broadcasting and will it be available outside the United States? - The WWE Network is going to alter the business in that it’s going to be the first network of its kind. The current WWE television deals for Raw Supershow and Smackdown will remain in place throughout their duration. Vince McMahon feels it’s important these deals remain intact because they are great to create awareness for the forthcoming WWE Network. If Wrestlemania XXVIII is broadcast on the WWE Network, it’s going to alter the pay-per-view model which I feel is outdated. A lot of readers want to know of the international plans for the WWE Network and so little has been confirmed about how the network will gain clearance in the US, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens internationally. WWE is committed to international expansion and they aren’t going to leave out these valuable markets.

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