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, April 27, 2013 to Friday, May 3, 2013 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- Booker T is having a procedure done on his elbow. The new WWE Hall of Famer Tweeted the following from the hospital:
- Jim Ross posted a new blog on his official website Friday afternoon ahead of this week's Smackdown. Below is an excerpt:
Looking forward to watching Friday Night Smackdown tonight as the Undertaker takes on the Shield's Dean Ambrose. I don't expect to see Taker on TV that much at all in the future but what an opportunity for Ambrose and his teammates to shine with a future Hall of Famer.
I was asked recently on Twitter who I thought was one of the most underrated athletes in the WWE locker room I mentioned that an argument could be made for more than one but off the top of my head I'd go with @WWEMcGillicutty. The son of the late Curt Hennig is the complete package and is only getting better. Some of his bouts in NXT have been excellent. I like the kid a great deal and hope that he sticks with the goal of achieving his dream to follow in his dad's footsteps and to create his own legacy.
Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety.
- WWE held their annual shareholders meeting at Titan Towers in Stamford, Connecticut on Friday. There weren't any major developments coming out of it as Vince McMahon answered questions as did WWE CFO George Barrios. McMahon laughed off a question when asked if The Rock was finished wrestling and everyone was confident about the launch of the WWE Network. No major network developments were announced.
- If you missed this week's episode of Smackdown, you can watch video footage of Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose at this link.
- WWE Champion John Cena suffered a right Achilles tendon injury on the current WWE European tour while working against Ryback. According to dot com, his status for next month's Extreme Rules pay-per-view is in question.
Dot com teased an update [on Cena's status] for this week's Raw and said there are no details on his expected recovery time.
I haven't heard specially when the injury occurred but Cena teamed with Team Hell No Saturday to face Ryback, Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston at the WWE Raw live event in Lodz, Poland.
Cena is scheduled to defend the WWE title against Ryback at WWE Extreme Rules on Sunday, May 19, 2013. This is his first title defense on pay-per-view since beating The Rock for the title earlier this month at Wrestlemania 29.
- Jim Ross posted a new blog entry on his official website. Below are the highlights:
@TheRock says that he 'might' have wrestled his last match. I say its not the season for 'mights' and that a performer/athlete like Dwayne Johnson goes out on his terms and not because of a fixable injury.
I see @RealJackSwagger stepping up his game, especially lately, and @WWEZeb deserves much of the credit. Even a pet coon goofy blind man can see that Swagger is a great athlete but there is more to becoming a star in ring performer than just athleticism of which many of us covet. It's the intangibles such as in ring psychology that must also be in place. The veteran Zeb looks to be an excellent tutor for the former Sooner wrestling all American.
Click here to read JR's latest in its entirety.
- We're gathering information as quickly as possible on John Cena's right Achilles injury, but it is a legitimate injury and not part of a storyline. The injury occurred prior to Saturday's WWE Raw live event in Lodz, Poland as he worked on Saturday with his right Achilles wrapped.
Cena was said to be in a lot of pain and didn't do much work in the match although he did pin Dolph Ziggler to get his team the win. Below is how one eyewitness put it:
Below are some photos of Cena at the show, notice the higher sock on his right leg which appears to be covering some type of wrapping:
WWE first broke the story here on dot com with a vague update. They didn't report any timetable for expected recovery but did report Cena's status for next month's Extreme Rules pay-per-view was in question.
- John Cena just posted his first Tweet in over a week but didn't give more details on his right Achilles injury. The WWE Champion Tweeted:
WWE first broke the story here on dot com Sunday morning that Cena suffered a right Achilles injury while working with Ryback on the European tour. They promoted an update for this week's Raw but were unable to provide a timetable for recovery.
While it still remains unclear when Cena was injured, we've learned he was limited on Saturday in Lodz, Poland with wrapping on his right ankle.
- The Rock's latest film, Pain & Gain, also starring Mark Wahlberg, raked in $20 million at the box office over the weekend, according to studio estimates. Despite getting what the USA Todaydescribed as "roughed up" by critics, the film directed by Michael Bay, came within $5 million of its $25 million budget in its opening weekend. Rotten Tomatoes has the film with a 47% on their "tomatometer" but 65% of audience members polled liked it. Click here for their coverage. The film is based on a true story of bodybuilders caught in an extortion ring. Click here for the full chart by BoxOfficeMojo.com.
- Jim Ross updated his blog on Sunday and gave his thoughts on John Cena's right Achilles injury. Below is an excerpt:
WWE.com reporting that WWE Champion John Cena has sustained an injury while on the European Tour. The report states that Cena has issues with his right, Achilles tendon which can be a dicey matter. Achilles injuries can be puzzling especially if they aren't torn and don't require surgery. In other words these types of injuries can linger if one doesn't get the proper rest and allow the tendon to heal. The injury is legit as Cena has been suffering through this matter for several days even though he hasn't missed any bookings. Always said the man has the work ethic and toughness of an offensive lineman which is a good thing.
You can read JR's latest at this link.
I don't want to get into playing doctor but from what I've heard regarding Cena's injury, it doesn't sound like a tear. A tear of the Achilles tendon requires almost immediate surgery and 6-9 months of rehabilitation. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angles Lakers recently suffered an Achilles tear and working through it was not an option.
Cena has tried to work through the injury, albeit in pain, and the fact WWE is putting a question mark on his Extreme Rules status (still three weeks away) seems to indicate that time off is going to be warranted.
- The Rock thanked fans for making Pain & Gain #1 in America on Twitter. See also -“Pain & Gain” Starring The Rock Gains Big As No. 1 At Box Office
You can view his comments below:
- John Cena is as busy as ever and seemingly in good spirits following is right Achilles injury. See also -John Cena Says He’s Banged Up But Won’t Miss Raw
Cena is in New York City on Monday morning before heading to Columbus, Ohio for this week's WWE Raw. The following is from Cena's Twitter:
Cena also used his injury to poke fun at those clamoring for him to make a heel turn. The WWE Champion Tweeted:
- The top story coming out of the weekend is WWEannouncing that WWE Champion John Cena suffered a right Achilles injury while working against Ryback on the most recent overseas tour. While the initial report didn't give specifics, Cena's status for next month's Extreme Rules pay-per-view was put into question. Cena is currently scheduled to defend the WWE title at the show on May 19, 2013 against Ryback.
It was later learned that Cena was limited on Saturday (his most recent match) with some type of covering on his right leg. Once he returned home to the United States, Cena admitted to being banged up but confirmed he would appear on this week's Monday Night Raw as scheduled.
Jim Ross wrote the injury is legitimate and something the WWE Champion has been suffering through for several days.
The key promotional point for this week's Raw has shifted to Cena's injury although he hasn't slowed down. John was in New York City Monday morning ahead of the Raw broadcast from Columbus, Ohio.
After further investigation, and the more information we've received, we've noticed WWE switched the main event of Raw live events overseas. While the initial main event was WWE Champion John Cena defending against Ryback in a Tables Match, he later joined Team Hell No to face Ryback, Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston in a match that headlined shows.
Below is a look at the shows that featured the original Cena vs. Ryback Tables Match for the WWE title:
April 17, 2013 Rotterdam, Netherlands (results)
April 18, 2013 Belfast, Ireland (results)
April 19, 2013 Dublin, Ireland (results)
April 20, 2013 Paris, France (resutls)
April 21, 2013 Geneva, Switzerland
April 23, 2013 Nottingham, England (results)
Cena didn't wrestle on last week's Raw (on April 22, 2013) but worked one final Tables match against Ryback before shifting to the new main event beginning with the show in Liege, Belgium (results) on April 24, 2013.
- Stephanie McMahon confirmed on her verified Twitter account that she's featured in an upcoming interview with RXMuscle.com. Check out the following photo with Steph's reply:
Prime Time Players at The Ohio State University
Darren Young and Titus O'Neil, known collectively as The Prime Time Players, Touted a video where they were working out at The Ohio State University ahead of this week's WWE Raw in Columbus. Check out the media in the Tweet embedded below:
- WWE Hall of Famer Edge knows far too well about an Achilles injury as he suffered one that sidelined him for six months. Edge commented on the injury to John Cena by saying Cena is stubborn but he will get through it. The following is from Edge's verified Twitter account:
- John Cena was in New York City Monday morning (See also -The Rock Comments On Box Office Success, John Cena Busy As Ever) to appear on Today's Kathie Lee & Hoda to grant eight-year-old Nick Santillo, who was born with just half a heart, his wish of meeting the WWE Champion. Monday is the Make-a-Wish Foundation's World Wish Day.
- Edge was with Bret Hart at Sunday night's Edmonton Oil Kings at Calgary Hitmen minor league hockey game. He Tweeted about the experience on his verified Twitter account:
- Monday's top story in sports is Washington Wizards center Jason Collins telling Sports Illustrated that he's gay. The Rock weighed in on Collins' decision to come out on Twitter:
Pro wrestling is not unaffected by homophobia and I hope that people in the business see this step forward and aren't afraid to follow suit. It's time to tear down the lies and end discriminatory behavior for good.
- WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts is currently battling the flu with a fever. We obviously don't consider this "ground-breaking news" but it does give us the opportunity to tell Justin we hope he feels better.
- Mick Foley delivered an elbow drop on Chris Jericho at the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony this year in New York City because he promised his family he would the year prior. According to Foley at one of his comedy shows in Manchester, England, he told his family in the parking lot at the ceremony last year, if he was inducted this year, he would drop an elbow on Jericho. Foley held true to his word.
- "Superstar" Billy Graham has been released from the hospital and is headed back to Phoenix, Arizona. Graham posted the following on his Facebook page:
"I want to thank all of mine Facebook fans for their thoughts and prayers for my recovery. I am working my way back to Phoenix where I will immediately report to the Mayo Clinic Hospital for follow up with my liver transplant team. By God’s grace I shall continue to overcome. As always thank you my Facebook fans...no looking back! Superstar"
- Jim Ross has a new blog now online on his official website. In it, JR believes the three-man both of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Layfield is now a permanent staple on WWE Raw.
Below is an excerpt from JR's latest:
Looks as if the trio of @MichaelCole @JerryLawler @JCLayfield will be the permanent, Monday Night Raw broadcast team or so it seems. I think that's a good idea with the flagship broadcast now being three hours long. Guest color commentators also don't hurt the presentation as it provides talents the opportunity to expose their personalities in a different forum.
Click here to read the blog in its entirety.
The trio, who have been doing pay-per-views together, have been together on Raw in their current form since April 1, 2013.
The Smackdown commentary team is made up of Michael Cole, JBL and Josh Mathews.
While were at it, below are the commentary teams for the other WWE shows:
WWE Main Event:
Michael Cole & JBL (since April 3, 2013)WWE Saturday Morning Slam:
Josh Mathews & a WWE wrestler (since August 25, 2012)WWE NXT:
Jim Ross, William Regal, Tony Dawson & Tom Phillips
- There are inaccurate reports making rounds online in regards to the upcoming schedule of CM Punk. As of this writing, Punk, as we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com last week, is advertised by WWE for the following upcoming episodes of Monday Night Raw:
Monday, May 27, 2013
Official event informationMonday, June 3, 2013
Official event information
Punk is advertised for the WWE Live tour of Japan and Taiwan in July. The shows are as follows:
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Official event informationFriday, July 5, 2013
Official event informationSaturday, July 6, 2013
Official event information
The former 434-day WWE Champion is then advertised for the following shows in Australia:
Friday, July 26, 2013
Rod Laver Arena
Official event informationSaturday, July 27, 2013
Official event informationSunday, July 28, 2013
Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Official event informationMonday, July 29, 2013 (live event, not Raw)
Adelaide Entertainment Centre
Official event informationTuesday, July 30, 2013
Official event information
Punk is not listed for any WWE pay-per-views through SummerSlam. While it's worth noting the official WWE events page isn't always accurate, the company usually keeps it updated. CM Punk was advertised for this week's WWE Raw at one point.
- WWE has a new teaser video for the upcoming "Total Divas" reality series set to air on E! this summer. You can watch the video here on dot com.
- WWE has announced an upcoming live event from the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland on July 6th, 2013. Tickets go on sale on May 10, 2013. (Thanks to Devin Cutting)
- WWE Hall of Famer Edge is set to receive the prestigious Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award. Click here for more information.
- The official WWE website has announced that, despite his injury, John Cena will still compete tonight, teaming with Ryback against The Shield.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did an average viewership of 2,751,000 viewers on SyFy. The show ended up with a 1.96 cable rating. Smackdown, which was taped from London, England, featured Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose.
- WWE is teaming up with Yahoo to offer a 30-minute pre-show for Monday Night Raw.
According to a report by Variety, Yahoo will have exclusive access to WWE’s archives of historical full matches, shows, highlights and other events. Their Internet portal will air live pre-show content for every pay-per-view event. Additionally, short clips from WWE TV will be available on Yahoo. Yahoo is being touted as the “premiere global video distribution partner” for WWE. The new WWE hub is set to launch this summer. WWE has yet to issue a press release, we'll bring it to you when they make an announcement.
- The announced attendance for this week's WWE Raw was 14,282. The show was a legitimate sellout from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
- Footage of Daniel Bryan and John Cena celebrating Kane's birthday at the April 26th WWE Raw live event in Moscow, Russia has surfaced on YouTube at this link.
- It was announced on this week's WWE Raw that Kofi Kingston's child was recently born. No other details were made available but congratulations are in order.
- Ricardo Rodriguez defeated Zeb Colter & Big E Langston in a Triple Threat match on this week's WWE Raw, allowing Alberto Del Rio to choose the stipulation for the World Heavyweight Championship match at WWE Extreme Rules. Del Rio went on to choose a ladder match as the match's stipulation.
- Dolph Ziggler will defend the World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat Ladder Match against Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger at Extreme Rules in three weeks. Del Rio "picked the stipulation" after Ricardo Rodriguez won a triple threat match on this week's WWE Raw also involving Big E Langston and Zeb Colter. WWE Extreme Rules 2013 will take place Sunday, May 19, 2013 from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Click here for full WWE Raw results.
- Wrestling News World reader Justin O'Riley sent word that WWE will tape Smackdown from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. The presale password to obtain tickets is SMACKDOWNTV.
- Stephanie McMahon and Big Show represented WWE at the Yahoo! Digital Content NewFront event in New York City on Monday. Stephanie posted the following photo on Twitter:
- Speaking of WWE and Yahoo!, dot com posted a new article with more on their deal that will make Yahoo their video distribution partner. Below is an excerpt:
* Monday Night Raw pre-show: A 30-minute, pre-show to each new Monday Night Raw will be exclusive to Yahoo!.
* Original programming: Two, weekly series of 50 episodes per year will be produced exclusively for distribution on Yahoo!.
* Premium archive: Yahoo! will have exclusive access to WWE archives of historical full matches, shows, highlights and other events.
* Additional live events: Yahoo! will air live, pre-show content for every pay-per-view event.
* Clips from current TV programming: Clips from all WWE television programs will now be available on Yahoo!.
Click here for coverage by dot com.
- Rey Mysterio and Sgt. Slaughter are representing WWE at Tuesday's Hulu Upfront event. You can view a photo of them together below:
Backstage news from this week's WWE Raw…
- We're told Vince McMahon remains high up on Big E Langston and it's been Triple H that has recommended they take things slow, letting him work off Dolph Ziggler for as long as possible.
- The matches on this week's WWE Raw were longer than normal because of the lack of workers and "promo guys." This is also one of the reasons why they had the tug-of-war, dance off and match involving Zeb Colter and Ricardo Rodriguez. In other words, it was filler content with nothing more than throwaway value.
-When the original plans for Ryback & John Cena vs. The Shield were blown up, there was talk about having Team Hell No drop the WWE Tag Team Championship to The Shield. While this obviously didn't happen, it's still expected in future plans.
-This week's Smackdown in Detroit, Michigan has huge implications for the city. We're told WWE will be evaluating every aspect of the show, including how it draws to give them an idea about holding major pay-per-views there. We know the city is in the running for Wrestlemania 33 and there has been talk about other "big four" pay-per-view events as well. However, there are concerns with this week's taping going up against a sold out Detroit Tigers home game (featuring star pitcher Justin Verlander and the Red Wings playing a 2013 NHL Playoff game in Anaheim. As if that's not enough competition, we're told there is a sold out concert at a downtown venue.
- The Miz has been off WWE TV filming the new ABC Family movie "Christmas Bounty" in Vancouver, British Columbia, as we reported earlier this month here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. The former WWE Champion is officially advertised for next week's WWE Raw in Roanoke, Virginia. Click here for official show information.
- This week's episode of "Backstage Fallout" Raw is now online at this link.
- As noted earlier here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Rey Mysterio did ambassador work for WWE at Hulu Upfront on Tuesday. The former WWE Champion is currently out with a left knee injury after dealing with undisclosed personal issues.
Mysterio has racked up the injuries over the past couple years, suffering a badly torn ACL in 2011 that kept him off television for nearly a year. Once he did return, after his second Wellness policy suspension, he suffered a concussion at SummerSlam 2012.
In March, Mysterio was examined by Dr. James Andrews in fear that he suffered yet another ACL tear. It turns out his knee didn't require surgery and he's been trying to rehab the injury wearing a Dynamic Knee Splint. WWE had their doctors examine him backstage at WWE Raw earlier this month and Mysterio is hoping to return to the ring some time this summer.
- John Cena's injury is legitimate despite the company intertwining it with storylines on this week's WWE Raw. The injury is nothing severe, such as an Achilles tear, and the latest word is that he will defend the WWE Championship against Ryback at Extreme Rules next month. I would expect him to continue to be limited in matches as the company will not want to jeopardize losing him for an extended period of time.
- Zeb Colter claimed on his official Twitter account that he worked this week's WWE Raw while under the weather.
While Colter used his Tweets to further his antagonistic character, it is worth noting that Justin Roberts documented his own bout with the flu and fever at the end of the 2013 overseas tour.
Zeb's old school mentality of working all the time is great to see. He's certainly one of the company's top mouth pieces right now.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,285,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is the by hour breakdown:
Hour one - 4,287,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,311,000 viewers
Hour three - 4,257,000 viewers
The show ended up doing a 3.1 cable rating.
- WWE put together a video package from the company's announcement at the Yahoo! Digital Content NewFront event in New York City on Monday and posted it on YouTube. You can watch it at this link. Under the agreement, Yahoo becomes the new “premiere global video distribution partner” for WWE (See also -Steph McMahon & Big Show Represent WWE, More On Deal With Yahoo). The biggest part of the partnership is a 30-minute pre-show to Monday Night Raw that will air on the platform each week. Additionally, WWE will provide Yahoo with original programming, a premium archive, additional live events and clips from current TV programming. The partnership is set to launch this summer.
- During Tuesday's Smackdown tapings in Detroit, it was announced that the pre-sale password for this year's WWE Night of Champions pay-per-view, which will take place on September 15 at Joe Louis Arena, is CHAMPION.
- Prior to the tapings, Bo Dallas defeated Curt Hawkins in a dark match. Randy Orton & Sheamus defeated Mark Henry & The Big Show in the dark match main event.
- TMZ has more photos of Stephanie McMahon looking ripped from RSMuscle.com. You can view them at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Dustyn sent word that WWE Monday Night Raw will air live in Canada beginning next Monday, May 6, 2013 on The Score. The show has been airing on 15-minute tape delay in the country.
- Perry Saturn was at WWE NXT last week working with developmental talent in Tampa, Florida. Bill DeMott thanked him on Twitter:
CM Punk at Blackhawks Game
CM Punk was in attendance at Tuesday night's Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks NHL playoff game. He Tweeted this photo:
- The official promotional poster for the first WWE Payback is now online at this link.
- Paul Bearer is already considered to be a lock for the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame, according to numerous online reports. The inductor seems obvious in The Undertaker although nothing has been confirmed.
Paul's son, Daniel Moody, remembered his father on Facebook:
Sitting here thinking..... Sunday will be two months, Dad has been gone. Seems like yesterday. My dad was my best friend. It sucks he went so soon. We love and miss you so f*cking much! — with Michael Moody.
Paul addressed a possible WWE Hall of Fame induction with Chris Yanek in an interview in January. He said all he needed to know was an induction was coming - whether to was next year or the next five years.
Bearer, one of the best pro wrestling managers of all-time, tragically died on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at the young age of 58.
- WWE filed the word mark "Crush Couture" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 20, 2013 for merchandising purposes.
- The latest episode of WWE Inbox is now online. In it, WWE Superstars and Divas answer your questions, including who they would pick as their manager. You can watch it at this link.
- Below is the updated lineup for WWE Extreme Rules 2013:
WWE Championship Match
- John Cena © vs. Ryback
Triple Threat Ladder Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
- Dolph Ziggler © w/AJ Lee & Big E Langston vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter
Steel Cage Match
- Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Triple H
I held off on posting this due to the uncertainly of John Cena, however, as we reported here, Cena is likely still on for the title defense. The initial fear was Cena's injury was more severe than it actually was.
- WWE is altering the way they promote their live events.
In addition to now acknowledging WWE NXT (developmental) live events on their official Live Events page, the company is eliminating separate Raw and Smackdown shows in favor of the broader WWE Live Tour label.
This is something that has been in the works since a fan survey was issued in January (See also -WWE Eliminating Final Element Of Brand Extension?) and was confirmed last month (See also -Final Element Of WWE Brand Extension To End On May 31st).
The change goes into effect with the May 31st WWE Live event in Glens Falls, New York. However, WWE is promoting a "Raw World Tour" for Australia in July. It's unknown as of this writing if this will change as it's the final "separate" slate of live events listed.
Once these changes do go into effect, the brand extension will officially be over. The company has promoted shows under the brand extension concept since 2002.
- Dave Batista recently addressed his status on Twitter.
This goes along with everything we've reported, that Dave was open to a WWE return although we can confirm he spoke with Triple H about a deal while in Florida at the WWE NXT tapings in March.
Great Seats for WWE Raw Still Available
WWE sent out an email blast on Wednesday pushing tickets for next week's WWE Raw in Roanoke, Virginia. The company noted it was Monday Night Raw's return to Roanoke in 16 years and great seats are still available. Click here to purchase tickets now.
- Summer Rae, who is now working regularly as Fandango's dancer, is featured by Sports Illustrated as their "Lovely Lady of the Day." You can check it out at this link.
- WWE issued their 2013 first quarter results on Thursday morning (See also -Full WWE 2013 First Quarter Results – Vince McMahon Comments). In them, the official buyrate numbers for all of the pay-per-views in the quarter were reported. They were as follows:
Royal Rumble - 512,000 buys (compared to 443,000 in 2012)
Elimination Chamber - 213,000 buys (compared to 178,000 in 2012)
Both of the above shows were headlined by The Rock vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Punk was the incumbent at Rumble and the challenger at Elimination Chamber.
- For those that missed the airing of this week's WWE Main Event, another injury update on John Cena was teased for next week's Monday Night Raw from the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, Virginia. Cena is advertised to appear live and is expected to work Extreme Rules later this month. His injury to his right Achilles was not as serious as first thought.
- John Cena will appear Thursday night at the WWE NXT tapings from the campus of Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. Cena promised an "ass-whipping" for the NXT Superstars at this link.
- Kofi Kingston's defense of the WWE United States Championship against Antonio Cesaro on this week's episode of WWE Main Event is being raved about. You can watch highlights of the match at this link.
- RXMuscle.com has published their feature on Stephanie McMahon and her fitness. The article is very interesting, detailing her diet and workouts. The article makes note of Joe DeFranco training her twice a week at her house.
“I’ve done all kinds of training in my life. I started working out when I was 12 years old learning from my dad and brother. I’ve done the typical bodybuilding split with Chest/Shoulders/Triceps on day 1, Back and Biceps on Day 2, and Legs on Day 3. But I was just doing too much and found myself overtraining. I’ve been working with Joe for about 18 months. He comes out to the house and puts me through a fast paced functional workout. He likes to have me train in positions with different kinds of weight loads that keep me off balance, forcing me to really use my core.” McMahon said.
Click here to read the feature in its entirety.
- WWE held a conference call with investors to discuss their 2013 First Quarter Earnings on Thursday morning. Michael Weitz opened the call by reading a prepared statement. He handed over the call to Vince McMahon.
Vince said they had mixed results this quarter and went over the results. Rather than recapping the numbers, everything is available in the release and I've found it's much clearer to check them out for yourself.
Vince put over the fact TV ratings are up for both Raw and Smackdown. He said while not in this quarter, Wrestlemania 29 was very successful and they will reap the rewards for months and years to come. He put over new deals with Yahoo and pay-per-view on Xbox. He shifted to WWE Studios where he mentioned "Dead Man Down" and the success of "The Call." He said Facebook and Twitter followers are up 73%.
McMahon put over seven new names appearing on Wrestlemania in attempt build new stars to add to their roster. He said they're making progress with the WWE Network and put over the new WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Vince handed the call over to Chief Financial Officer George Barrios.
Barrios went through the numbers like only he can.
Live events in Turkey and Qatar drew poorly, bringing down the first quarter international live attendance and sales. Shows in The U.A.E. did much better.
It was noted that WWE lost money this quarter from the WWE Studios production "Dead Man Down," which received a 4.7 million impairment. The total loss for the studios division was $5 million but this was expected as they were changing the model. "Dead Man Down" did not perform as strong as they had hoped. "The Call" did well and WWE will profit $6 million from it, however, they have not yet received those earnings as their model benefits from profit-sharing that will come in at a later date.
Higher PPV revenue was "more than offset" due to increased production costs, including guest talent, which is detailed on page eight of the presentation.
The call went to a question and answer session.
A caller was concerned about international decline and Barrios told them not to focus too much on Turkey and Qatar. While the shows did do less than expected, they understand the international concern. Barrios pointed to new staff additions and the restructuring of the company's efforts overseas with new partners. They will not be backing off international tours while they restructure as international tours are always profitable. Barrios mentioned WWE is returning to The U.A.E. in the third quarter.
George Barrios reiterated what was said in February to a caller they are going to get out of prognosticating a timeline for the WWE Network. He said by the end of 2015, the Network could be a major driver for the company.
Barrios refused to comment on the "commercial terms" of the deal with Yahoo. It won't be reflected until the third quarter.
Vince McMahon said the new "Total Divas" show on E! is directed to the company's female demographic. He said it was easy for them to distribute their content on a network geared towards women. Vince put over the company's flexibility with their content while broadening their footprint back to the WWE Network.
Barrios said "WWE Legend's House" is still part of their WWE Network programming grid. There are not plans as of right now to distribute it elsewhere.
Michael Weitz closed the call as there were no further questions.
- We noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium earlier in the week that Vince McMahon is very high up on Big E Langston and Triple H has reminded him to take things slow with him. Another source, speaking with me under the condition of anonymity, says that Vince is not the only strong supporter Langston has in the locker room.
We're told John Cena has been looking out for Langston since he got called up to the main roster and has been grooming him "every step of the way." The two of them train together on the road and our source says Cena has made it a bit of a personal project to make sure Big E is a "future headliner."
With The Rock and CM Punk not around, Cena has more stroke than ever before and is once against "the apple of Vince's eye." With Cena feeling "neglected" over the last year or so, we're told the company has been doing everything possible the last couple of weeks to keep him happy.
Between Vince and Cena, Big E Langston has more support than any new guy on the roster.
- Mike Jones (who?) interviewed Cody Rhodes on DC101 in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to promote Sunday's WWE Smackdown live event from the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. In the interview, Rhodes discussed his match on Raw against Randy Orton, plans for next year leading up to Wrestlemania XXX and why he has to keep his mustache now. You can listen to the interview at this link.
- While wishing The Rock a happy birthday on Twitter, Vince McMahon said The People's Champ went out at Wrestlemania a hero. The following is from McMahon's Twitter:
- WWE is running a Raw live event this Sunday from the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia. Since the show is in my home state, I just received a local promotional email for it. The company is advertising WWE Champion John Cena & Sheamus vs. Mark Henry & Ryback as the main event. Tickets are still available at this link.
- WWE added MVP's profile to the Alumni section here on dot com.
- CFO$'s single, "Charm & Beauty," is the soundtrack for the new reality show featuring the WWE Divas called "Total Divas." You can watch a teaser video with the music at this link. Total Divas is set to premiere this summer on E!
- HBO ordered the pilot for a new half-hour dramedy starring The Rock. Rock is also executive producing the project with Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson. Peter Berg will be directing and will executive produce with Rock's manager, Dany Garcia. The project chronicles the lives of athletes living in Miami - some retired and some still active. Filming is believed to begin this fall. Deadline.com has the story at this link.
- As reported earlier here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, MVP is now featured in the Alumni section of the official WWE website. This has once again sparked rumors that the former WWE United States Champion is heading back to the company. MVP Tweeted:
The rumors are nothing new as MVP attended the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony and wouldn't rule out WWE or TNA when he left New Japan Pro Wrestling.
We posted details here on WNW Premium about the precedent Triple H is trying to set with former talent trying to return to the company. Check out that article for more details.
- Alicia Fox was featured on a new episode of WWE Hangout on Thursday. You can watch it at this link.
- John Cena and Damien Sandow capped Thursday night's WWE NXT tapings in Winter Park, Florida with "The Damien Sandow Show." Below is a recap from our taping results:
Damien Sandow came out and said he would like to present the next step to cleasing the unwashed masses: The Damien Sandow Show! The cage lowering music plays and a table is lowered and a chair is placed for Sandow along with a red phone on the table. He said his first guest is the WWE Champion: John Cena. Sandow asked how he will deal with Ryback at Extreme Rules. The phone on the table rings. Sadie tells it says silence. It rings again. Cena answers. Sandow takes it and tells it silence. He throws it out of the ring again. Crowd chants “it’s your mom”. Sandow asks the crowd to not disgrace mother Sandow. He tells Cena he gets to hear him perform. Cena says that phone call was very important and that it was his cable company calling about his after hours PPVs. Sandow says it was documentary ppvs. It rings again and Cena made some comments until Sandow made him hang up.
You can view a photo below:
Jim Ross, who was at the taping, weighed in with his thoughts on the segment:
The next NXT taping is May 23, 2013. We'll have full coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- Triple H presented Full Sail University student Allison Iliev with a $10,000 scholarship from WWE prior to this week's NXT tapings. WWE posted a video of the ceremony at this link and there is a photo on Full Sail's Instagram page.
- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show, episode 23, is now online at this link.
- Brian Soscia interviewed World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler to promote Saturday's WWE Smackdown live event in Reading, PA. Ziggler put over Big E Langston and AJ Lee and they talked about Balls Mahoney being banned from amateur wrestling. Ziggler talked about the reaction backstage after he won the World Heavyweight Championship in East Rutherford, New Jersey. He said everyone was very receptive, looking at it if he can break through, they can too. Ziggler didn't get to celebrate the title win as he had to drive straight to Boston. He also said he didn't sleep with the title belt. Ziggler said he comes out with the World title belt on backwards because he wants to stand out and be different. You can listen to the interview in its entirety at this link.
- WWE is close to purchasing a new corporate jet (a 2006 Bombardier Bombardier Global 5000). We reported back in February the company was looking to replace their nearly 20-year-old aircraft (a 1998 Canadair Challenger). According to their 10-Q quarterly report filed Friday, WWE entered into a purchasing agreement for the new airplane valued at $27.5 million on April 30, 2013. If the deal closes, the final cost will go to $31-32 to cover additional improvements and taxes.
- Dixie Carter is doing promotional work this week in the United Kingdom to promote TNA Wrestling's 2014 Maximum Impact Tour. If you need refreshed, the shows for next January/February are as follows:
Thursday 30 January 2014
0844 811 0051
Friday 31 January 2014
0844 847 8000
Saturday 01 February 2014
London Wembley Arena
0844 815 0815
Sunday 02 February 2014
0844 338 8000
Click here for more information.
- TNA Wrestling debuted a new weekly column titled "Bracing For IMPACT" here on ImpactWrestling.com. The piece explores Kurt Angle yearning for redemption.
- Hulk Hogan talks about Sting's return and Aces and Eights in a new Inside Impact clip at this link.
- TNA Wrestling will premiere another "One Night Only" pay-per-view this week with their Joker's Wild Tag Team Tournament. The show features "random pairings" of wrestlers, ending in a 12 Man Gauntlet Match for a "chance at $100,000." The pay-per-view begins on cable and satellite systems on Friday, May 3, 2013.
Below is a snippet of promotional information from the show's listing on the iNDEMAND website:
Join TNA for an unforgettable night of Tag Team Action, where the winning teams advance to a 12 Man Gauntlet Match for a chance at $100,000. TNA WRESTLING presents ONE NIGHT ONLY: JOKER'S WILD premiering Friday, May 3rd on PPV.
TNA taped the show on January 12, 2013 from Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- Mickie James reacts to losing to TNA Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky on last week's Impact Wrestling in a new "Inside Impact" clip. You can watch the all kayfabe piece at this link.
- The Sun Herald has a new article online featuring quotes from TNA Champion Bully Ray to promote Friday's TNA Wrestling live event in Biloxi, Mississippi. In true Ray fashion, he's completely in-character for the piece.
"I grew up watching Hogan and Sting," Ray said. "It's a sense of accomplishment when you step into the ring with them. Now, I get to manipulate and ruin their lives."
Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Dixie Carter and Jeremy Borash are across the pond promoting next year's TNA Maximum Impact Tour of the United Kingdom. Tickets went on sale in a Facebook pre-sale at this link.
- While answering questions from fans on Twitter, Dixie Carter said her first favorite wrestler was Hulk Hogan. She admitted to there being times when she has had to step in and veto storyline ideas.
Dixie said getting Impact Wrestling on the road has been her most defining moment with TNA so far.
Carter, who is in Glasgow on Thursday, posted the following on Twitter:
- Dixie Carter was on Hawksbee and Jacobs over in the United Kingdom to promote TNA Wrestling's 2014 Maximum Impact Tour.
Dixie was asked to name the company's top star and she specifically mentioned Hulk Hogan, Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray and AJ Styles. She put over their deep roster of talent.
Performance-enhancing drugs were brought up. Dixie condemned their usage, unapologetically stating her stance:
"If you can't look great naturally then you don't deserve to look great."
She said she voluntarily testified before Congress in the United States about this issue and that TNA "tests their guys regularly."
When asked about NBA player Jason Collins coming out as homosexual, Carter was asked about wrestling being a "macho" world. Dixie said they've had one openly-homosexual wrestler and it was part of his character (I'm assuming she was talking about Orlando Jordan unless there's someone I'm forgetting about). Dixie said she knows they've had others as well. She said it was fine and didn't change anyone's perception about that person.
"These are guys in little tights and you know, wrestling all around and everything else. You would think if it would bother anybody, it would be in wrestling versus, you know, on a football field kicking the ball."
Dixie Carter said her first job was to write the bid for Dallas to get the World Cup Games.
You can listen to the interview in its entirety at this link.
- STV Glasgow is reporting that TNA will broadcast Impact Wrestling from The Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland next year. The taping will take place on Thursday, January 30, 2014. While Impact Wrestling has been taped in the United Kingdom before, this would be the first time taping the Spike TV series in Scotland. You can read more at this link.
- Taryn Terrell says she's here to be Knockouts Champion in a new Inside Impact clip. You can watch it at this link.
- Speaking of Knockouts, Madison Rayne, who is currently out on maternity leave, posted a new blog on ImpactWrestling.com. Check it out at this link.
- This week's Impact Wrestling had a #1 Contender Match for the TNA World Title. Hulk Hogan made Sting vs. Matt Morgan. The winner will fight Bully Ray at TNA Slammiversary. You can check out the full results here. Sting was victorious and the following match has been set for the PPV:
TNA World Heavyweight Championship:
- Sting vs. Bully Ray (c)
TNA Slammiversary is taking place at Agganis Arena in Boston on June 2, 2013.
- King Mo, whose real name is Muhammed Lawal, made his pro wrestling debut Wednesday night in a dark match prior to the Ohio Valley Wrestling tapings in Louisville, Kentucky. Mo beat Austin Bradley via submission and incorporated an MMA style with his work.
Below is a Tweet from someone that was in attendance:
OVW Mania posted a report of the match with photos. Below is an excerpt:
Austin Bradley (w/"VIP" Joe Rosa & the VIP Club) vs. King Mo.
Austin tries to put Mo in an armbar, but Mo arm drags him. Mo tries to lock in an armbar submission, but Austin slips out and out of the ring. He tries to lock it in again, but Austin grabs the ropes. VIP gets on the apron to distract the ref, which allows Austin to deliver a low blow to Mo. He hits him and delivers 2 big clotheslines. He tries to pin for 2. He stomps on Mo's hand and punches him in the face. He goes for a 3rd clothesline, but Mo catches his arm in a submission and Austin immediately starts tapping.
WINNER: KING MO by submission.
MY TAKE: King Mo uses a combination of wrestling and MMA moves to claim a victory.
Click here for a photo and outstanding coverage by OVW Mania.
Mo is a cross-over star who is also under contract with Bellator MMA. The idea of pursuing both a pro wrestling and MMA career simultaneously is part of a deal that also involves Spike TV (the television home of both companies) to cross-promote the shows.
He's coming off a disappointing MMA loss when he was knocked out by Emanuel Newton (in round 1) of the semifinals of the Season 8 Light Heavyweight tournament on February 21, 2013 at Bellator 90. He first appeared on Impact Wrestling last October, where he went on the serve as a special guest enforcer for a street fight between Bobby Roode and James Storm at TNA Bound for Glory 2012.
- TNA has announced two matches for next week's episode of Impact Wrestling
Bad Influence vs. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode in a No. 1 Contenders Match for the TNA Tag Team Championship
Kurt Angle, Sting & a mystery partner vs. TNA Champion Bully Ray, TNA TV Champion Devon & Mr. Anderson
The company will broadcast next week's show live from the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Mississippi. Click here for local event information.
- TNA Wrestling's "Joker's Wild Tag Team Tournament" starts on pay-per-view on Friday. We posted a preview with the link to spoilers at this link.
- Mickie James has released a new music video with lyrics for "Best Damn Night" off her new album "Somebody's Gonna Pay." You can watch it at this link.
- To follow-up on TNA broadcasting Impact Wrestling live in Glasgow, Scotland in January 2014, the show will actually air live on Challenge TV (See also -TNA To Broadcast Impact Wrestling From Scotland Next Year). Apparently, the show will air on tape delay that night in the United States on Spike TV.
- A video preview of TNA Wrestling's "One Night Only: Joker's Wild" pay-per-view is now online at this link.
- Remember the contract issues with Bobby Roode that were the talk of Lockdown weekend in March?
While TNA Wrestling continues to try and spin it as an "oversight," the truth is they didn't want to exercise Roode's fifth year company option because they wanted to sign him to a new deal based on a weekly guarantee as opposed to per appearance guarantees.
We reported back in March that TNA was re-structuring all deals to include the weekly guarantee as opposed to per appearance guarantees. Below is an excerpt from our report filed on WNW Premium on March 11, 2013:
There has been a major change in a lot of the new contracts TNA has been offering. The new deals provide weekly guarantees opposed to talent being paid per appearance . The company has slowly worked to renegotiate existing deals with this as well. It’s good for rarely used or undercard talent because they’re still getting paid even if they don’t appear.
However, for workers that are routinely on shows and main event talent, the new structure ultimately puts less money in their pockets.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling only did an average viewing audience of 1,104,000 viewers on Spike TV. This is the new low for 2013 and the lowest since October 4, 2012.
Do you feel that a manager could help Ryback get more heat? Who would you pick to manage Ryback?
I haven't given a lot of thought to Ryback getting a manager but so far, I've been pleased with what I've seen with Ryback's heel turn. He's clearly far from perfect - his in-ring is lacking and he's not exactly "steady" on the stick but he has the look and it's enough for WWE to have confidence in pushing him as a main event talent. A lot of the other heels have mouthpieces right now so I'm not sure this would be the type of uniformity that WWE would welcome. If they did go in this direction, my picks are rather obvious. Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter are the two best heel mouthpieces in the company right now.
With the overwhelmingly positive reactions that Fandango has drawn do you see him completely turning babyface in the near future?
WWE has made it clear they want Fandango working as a heel, even putting him against William Regal on Raw in London to assure he drew heat. It's impossible to predict the future but it's clear Fandango has a great opportunity after catching fire the night after Wrestlemania. One of the things I talked about at length in the latest Premium Mailbag is how fans were disparaging the Fandango gimmick after his match at Wrestlemania against Chris Jericho (which was good) only to fall in love with it less than 24 hours later. Hot crowds make a difference and Fandango owes WWE music composer Jim Johnston at least a dinner.
Do you believe The Rock has worked his final match?
I agree with Jim Ross and his latest comments that The Rock will go out on his own terms. I know the three-year Wrestlemania plan is over but I also think there are reasons why Rock is questioning his own in-ring future. One, he suffered a very painful injury at Wrestlemania and that can be extremely frustrating. Two, he didn't want to get locked into a program [with Brock Lesnar] for next year's show. Another thing that hasn't been brought up is studios discouraging The Rock's wrestling career because they don't want him getting hurt and blowing up major movie plans. Ultimately, The Rock will be back but it's up to him whether or not he wrestles again.
You've stated in the past that you feel the Intercontinental and U.S. belts should be unified, and while I understand the reasoning, I like the idea of keeping both belts. What would you do (other than unifying) to make both belts more relevant?
You are correct in that I would favor a decision to unify the Intercontinental and US titles, leaving the IC strap as the sole mid-card strap. However, if WWE doesn't want to go in that direction, then the titles need to be built back up. Champions can't go under in non-title matches. This has always been a pet-peeve of mine and while I understand the argument that it makes it look as though "anything can happen," the title should change hands. To clarify, if a mid-card champion is booked under, the person going over should win the strap. This would make the titles more than props and would mean winning them was something more than an ordinary match.
Will WWE market NXT as an equal product to the main roster when/if they get a TV deal?
The plan as of Wrestlemania 29 weekend was to make NXT the company's third brand, much like ECW was when it aired on SyFy. The thinking is NXT will help WWE introduce developmental workers before calling them up to the main roster. Furthermore, it's all profit as WWE is already taping the series and a domestic TV deal would mean more money for the company with no additional expenses. This was the plan with the original WWE NXT (after ECW was revamped) but the company was unable to find a new domestic TV deal.
What is the status on Alex Shelley is he going to sign with TNA or WWE?
Alex Shelley is currently working overseas with New Japan Pro Wrestling. There was mutual interest between Shelley and WWE at one point but this was when TNA's litigation against WWE was ongoing. Shelley went to New Japan, where he is still working. The feeling has been Shelley didn't want to go to WWE without Chris Sabin. With Sabin back working in TNA, Shelley may opt for Sabin to work the remainder of dates in TNA Wrestling, or who knows, maybe he'll join him. Right now it's all speculation as Shelley is working for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Have we seen the last of CM Punk in a WWE ring?
No, not at all. CM Punk is currently away from WWE on granted time off to give his beaten down body a much-deserved break. Punk's knees were really bothering him after his match against Undertaker at Wrestlemania and while he's considered lucky he didn't require surgery; he needed time off before a more serious injury occurred.
It's incredible to me to see so many modern day legends being essentially fed to The Shield. I understand the point of this is to bolster them and make them an even more impressive force than what they already are, but does it surprise you that they continue to thrive against undisputed legends like the Undertaker?
While Undertaker was part of the losing team on last week's WWE Raw against The Shield, he forced Dean Ambrose to tap in a singles match on last week's Smackdown. He was not fed to them nor was he booked to look weak in the post-match attack. The idea was to write Undertaker off television as he agreed to stay on for the overseas tour to help out WWE. I need everyone to hear something. It's absolutely essential that WWE get some of their up and coming talent over while they have access to legendary names. It's essential. Undertaker is one of the greatest of all time but he's not going to be around forever. The Shield is comprised of three workers that have bright futures in this business. They need the rub so they are able to help the business going forward.
If Jeff Hardy is under TNA contract then why is he featured so heavily on WWE's website?
WWE features top TNA names on their website because it increases Web traffic. Yes, these workers are under contract with another organization but WWE owns a large chunk of their careers. However, it all comes down to what generates page views and clicks and featuring top TNA talent is a way of doing that.
While I know we're a long way out, could you see The Rock vs. Undertaker taking place at Wrestlemania XXX?
We heard one of the reasons why The Rock didn't want to commit to a program with Brock Lesnar [at Wrestlemania XXX] the night after Wrestlemania 29 is because he wasn't sold on it. It’s not that Rock doesn't like Brock; we're told Rock was hesitant about a program with two guys that lost this year and preferred a match against Undertaker, if he worked at all. We detailed Rock and WWE's relationship souring just days before Wrestlemania 29 and how it altered the Extreme Rules lineup before he was injured last month. You can read that report at this link.
Why has Michael McGillicutty not received a push on WWE television?
Michael McGillicutty is one of WWE's most underrated workers. The only explanation I can give you as to why he hasn't been pushed is WWE doesn't feel he is ready and are taking their time with the talented prospect. Michael, the real-life son of Curt Hennig, is liked by many and has a good reputation for his in-ring work.
Do you feel this week's Raw lacked in quality?
Yes, I felt this week's WWE Raw was particularly poor and believe we're feeling the post-Wrestlemania drop off. While it's usually inevitable every year, this year it's different because the company has three hours they have to write each week. With Extreme Rules still three weeks out and uncertainty over John Cena's health, this week's show was all over the place and featured aspects that could have been included in the latter days of WCW Monday Nitro. The silver lining is there were three good matches but the show was basically throwaway programming. I have more details on the reason for the longer matches and lame segments in a new report at this link.
What are your thoughts on Kofi Kingston? Do you think he should turn heel or maybe get a character change and stay a face?
Kofi Kingston is finally getting pushed after a complete burial due to backstage heat. Kofi is an extremely talented in-ring worker and someone that I feel is the company workhorse. I'm fine with his character as long as WWE doesn't stop on it again.
How much control does WWE or TNA have over talent on Twitter?
Both WWE and TNA discourage talent Tweeting when they could be intoxicated and we've seen staged "template" Tweets from time-to-time. Other than that, workers can post what they want. It doesn't always put them in the best of light but it is what it is. One of the worst on Twitter is Hulk Hogan, so if that's the example TNA talents have, there's not much of a standard. Other examples of Twitter shedding workers in a negative light include Matt Morgan's unexplainable freakout on us and Ryback bringing up John Cena's ex-wife. There are several other examples but I'm sure you get my point.
Do you see a push for 3MB in the near future?
I think what we currently see with 3MB is exactly what the group is intended to be. They're comedy and glorified enhancement guys, used to get other people over. Not every team or faction is created to "climb the ladder" like The Shield and there are some guys that are used to make other guys look good. This doesn't mean the trio is doomed. Dolph Ziggler was booked as a glorified enhancement talent with a male cheerleader gimmick (The Spirit Squad) and recovered to become World Heavyweight Champion. Ryback was basically an "extra" in The Nexus and is now a main eventer.
What is your opinion on WWE stock, is it a buy or a bust? Also if TNA was a publicly traded company whats your opinion on the same question: a buy or a bust for long-term growth.
I'm not a stock analyst and it would be irresponsible of me to provide my readers that trust me with stock advice. I will caution there is a lot of uncertainly surrounding the future of WWE Studios and the forthcoming WWE Network although the company has a lot of cash and no long-term debt. WWE pays a dividend so you'll make money just for holding the stock. I can't say either way but never invest more than you can afford to lose. As for TNA, I have no idea of their financials. While Jeff Jarrett told me two years ago they were turning a profit, I have a hard time believing that. There's a lot of expense in regards to talent and now with TV going on the road, I just don't see how they come out ahead. TNA is poised for growth with a talented roster, national TV deal and a committed financial backer, however, these aspects have been in place for several years now. However, as we saw with WCW, once things catch fire they can turnaround quickly.
Is JBL now a permanent fixture on the Raw commentary team? I believe it's a great addition.
Yes, as we noted here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com, John Layfield is now a fixture on the Raw announce team. Someone accused me of showing a bias towards JBL but I'm telling you the truth when I say he's a valuable addition to commentary. He's just one of those guys that "gets it" and makes Michael and Jerry better. It would also be remiss of me to not mention the improvement of Michael Cole. Cole stepped into impossible shoes to fill. He was expected to go out and replace the best play-by-play man this business has ever seen in Jim Ross. He stayed the course, even when it wasn't easy, and I feel has shown tremendous improvement. I am very high up on announce at the moment and we've listed the teams for all WWE programming at this link.
Who are the most underrated superstars in WWE and who do you see as the next breakout star?
Daniel Bryan and Antonio Cesaro are by far the two most underrated workers in WWE. Either one could single-handedly carry WWE as "the guy." They can work, they can talk and they have looks that make people notice them. Not only that but both are diverse enough to work in any role asked and actually make it believable. No one knows for sure why Cesaro is being buried but I'm hoping he recovers because he's a future star in this business. Bryan finally got a World Heavyweight Championship reign but ended up back in the mid-card. He could have easily gotten down and "mailed it in," but he embraced his new role and got a mid-card comedy gimmick over like rover. Guys like Bryan and Cesaro are extremely rare. They are real talent and WWE would be blowing an extraordinary opportunity if they don't use them to their full advantage.
Earlier this week Jason Collins (NBA player) came out as the first active player in any of the four major sports leagues in the United States as a homosexual. How do you think the wrestling world will handle a gay wrestler? Would you see any issues in the locker room or with the fans and do you know of any wrestlers that are gay?
We've already been there! Orlando Jordan is bisexual and has worked for both WWE and TNA Wrestling. The only other name I can think of off the top of my head is Chris Kanyon, an "out" homosexual, who died back in 2010. Kanyon worked for both WWE and WCW. These are two "out" workers but I'm sure there are others that don't want their personal business out for the world to know. While I'm not aware of how either were treated, I'm sure it's just like anywhere else. There were probably a few bad apples that poked fun but by large, I don't think it was a big deal. What Jason Collins did took courage and it would take courage for an active WWE or TNA star to come out, however, I feel too much is being made of it. There's no need to start a political or religious debate over the issue - some people are straight, others are gay. It's just the way things are. It makes no difference to me. Can someone work and are they entertaining? That's all that matters. The same goes with my favorite professional athletes, can they play? I could honestly care less about what happens in their bedrooms as it's none of my business.
In your opinion, who is the best non-American wrestler to ever set foot in a WWE ring (not counting Canadians)?
I don't like lists, because lists can be widely debated. However, William Regal, Fit Finlay and "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith all have to be mentioned. I'm sure there are others as well but WWE has had an abundant amount of talent from areas outside of North America. How about workers like Taka Michinoku? We could sit here all day and name names, however, those are some that come to mind immediately - I guarantee you I'm forgetting some.
Do you think Triple H is under a lot of pressure to prove himself not only to Vince McMahon but the rest of the locker room?
Triple H has a high-pressure position but he's doing just fine so far. Hunter is the entire reason Bruno Sammartino agreed to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, something Vince McMahon himself doubted. He's also got his hand on developmental, which is thriving. I'm not opposed to Hunter taking over for Vince and think it's a really smart move. Triple H eats, sleeps and breathes pro wrestling. He's worked his way up from the bottom and has a wrestling mentality, this is something that gets him respect and nullifies the argument that his marriage to Stephanie McMahon gave him his spot in the business. News flash haters, Hunter was a top guy when he was dating Chyna. I don't agree with everything Triple H has done but it's hard to say anything bad about him either.
This week on Raw we saw Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston for the 22nd time on TV/PPV combined. Do you agree there is a lack of meaningful midcard talent? And that TV could benefit from having the likes of John Morrison, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, etc... around?
If that "twenty-second" statistic is accurate, kudos for that - that's good research. Talent or the lack of it isn't WWE's problem. WWE has plenty of talent and a stocked developmental system to boot. What you saw on WWE Raw was a burnout writing team looking to fill three hours with uncertainty regarding John Cena, no CM Punk and the transition without part-timers like The Rock. I agree the company needs more talent at the top but this starts with the booking. Why is Antonio Cesaro being humbled? Hasn't Team Hell No run it's course? There are guys capable of carrying the company but this falls on bad writing, fueled by political agendas backstage and an overworked creative team.