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, November 9, 2013 to Friday, November 15, 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!
- WWE has released Kassius Ohno from his developmental contract. Ohno, who is best known as Chris Hero for his work on the US indies, was considered to be one of the company's brightest prospects. One issue that we heard with Ohno was the trainers felt he needed to spend more time in the weight room. The comment didn't sit well with him and we were told at the time he took great offense to it. Ohno was pulled from NXT television over the summer but returned in September. Ohno is already accepting independent bookings as Chris Hero, as he was informed of his WWE release on Friday.
- Wrestling News World reader Guillermo Ureña sent word that WWE has added Savio Vega to the Alumni section over on dot com.
- We haven't seen many rookie moments from Roman Reigns but he had one in Dublin on Thursday. You can watch him botch his entrance into the ring at this link.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Smackdown is subtitled Watch out Wyatt! and is online now at this link.
- Kane worked his first WWE show as "Director of Operations" Friday in Brussels. The following is from Twitter:
- Hulk Hogan did an autograph signing in Philadelphia on Friday and he continues to make teases about a WWE return. The following is from Twitter:
Hogan also commented on Scott Hall:
- OK! Magazine has a new Q&A online with Brie Bella. Click here to read it.
- Ricardo Rodriguez was in attendance at Sunday's Arsenal vs. Manchester United match at Old Trafford. My friend Darren heard a "Rob Van Persieeeeeeeeeeeee!" chant and here's what he found.
- I heard from the WWE crew in Europe on Sunday and was told that World Heavyweight Champion John Cena really put Antonio Cesaro over after Saturday's show in Munich, Germany. Cena called him a future champion and handed him the title belt before letting Cesaro take the mic and cut a promo. One of the people I spoke with said they needed video proof and found it at this link.
- The ABC affiliate out of Philadelphia interviewed Hulk Hogan at this link. He said he quit TNA and needs a job. Hogan would love to be at Wrestlemania XXX and have a ringside seat.
- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show is the 50th episode spectacular. You can watch it at this link.
- Jim Ross checks in with a new blog entry at this link.
- Kassius Ohno was quietly released from his WWE developmental contract last Friday. While some might consider his release a surprise, that really isn't the case. I was told in July that Ohno was very frustrated with his spot in WWE about not getting called up. He was on the short list to get called up to the main roster several times but every time he was tested with his "attitude and commitment," he failed the test. Weight training has never been Ohno's strong suit but his frustration was believed to be part of the reason why he wasn't receptive to increasing his workouts. I'm not sure what eventually led to Ohno's release but Triple H was at the WWE Performance Center a couple weeks ago. Hunter was never a supporter and it was Vince McMahon that wanted to call him up. You can read my article about the frustration of Kassius Ohno in WWE from the summer at this link.
- From the "it could be nothing, it could be something" department, Big Show appeared to be visibly limping during his WWE title match against Randy Orton at Sunday's WWE live event in Cardiff, Wales. You can read a detailed live report from the show at this link.
- The latest episode of "After Total Divas" is now online at this link.
- You might notice Michael Cole sporting a shiner on this week's episode of Monday Night Raw. The following photo is from Twitter:
- According to live reports, WWE producer Billy Kidman appeared at Sunday's WWE live event in Glasgow, Scotland as Paul Heyman's "doctor." Kidman reportedly worked under the name Dr. Weisenburg and was involved in a confrontation with Heyman and CM Punk.
- The guests for the November 21st WWE NXT tapings will be Kane, Kofi Kingston, Antonio Cesaro and Natalya.
- Here's a fan photo of CM Punk, AJ Lee, Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel at Sunday's show in Glasgow, Scotland:
- Enzo Amore and Scott Dawson are two WWE developmental workers out with injuries. Amore has a broken leg and Dawson has a torn ACL.
- There has been an interesting shift in philosophy ongoing in WWE thanks to the ascension of Triple H. We're told Hunter feels it makes the company look bad when they have "mass releases" at a time, which is why WWE hasn't had tremendous post-Wrestlemania roster cuts like we've seen in years past. Triple H's rationale is that if WWE is a successful company, why would they fire talent in droves every year?
Therefore the edict is essentially this - Don't fire anybody!
Some may ask, well they just cut Kassius Ohno on Friday? We're told the philosophy doesn't extend to developmental talent as they are not yet "WWE Superstars." However, once a worker makes it to the main roster, that worker must do something that is "so terrible that it's unavoidable" to actually lose their job. We're told Hunter would rather allow for contracts to run out and not re-sign them, as opposed to making a publicized cut.
Two examples that were given to us were Evan Bourne and Ezekiel Jackson. Both are ready to return but WWE has struggled to find plans for either one. We're told they're being kept on payroll until their deals run out rather than cut them loose early if it's decided to not bring them back.
- World Heavyweight Champion John Cena discussed the time he lost control of "bodily functions" during a match on this week's episode of Total Divas. This is by no means a new revelation as Cena has gone on record about it numerous times including in this interview with Men's Fitness. You can watch a clip of the segment from the show at this link.
- Wade Barrett took part in a training session with his beloved Preston North End on WWE's current tour of Europe. You can watch video at this link.
- James Tee of WrestlingNews.net was in attendance at Sunday's WWE live event in Cardiff, Wales and he didn't notice that Big Show was hurting at all. Tee pointed to Randy Orton focusing on his ankle [in their WWE title match] and suggested Show could have been selling but didn't make note of a particular injury. I haven't spoken with anyone on the tour since early Sunday morning and haven't been given an update as of this writing.
- This week's episode of Total Divas did an average viewing audience of 1,300,000 viewers on E. The network issued a press release, indicating the show's viewership numbers were up across all key demographics - Adults 18-49 (+10%), Women 18-49 (+16%), Adults 18-34 (+26%), Women 18-34 (+27%), Total Viewers (+21%) and Households (+20%).Click here for the complete press release.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown did a strong average viewing audience of 2,946,000 viewers on SyFy. You can see how the competition stacked up on cable at this link. The show ended up with a 2.08 cable rating.
- Mickie James is at the WWE Performance Center this week in Orlando, Florida working with developmental talent.
- WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee will defend the title against Natalya on this week's episode of WWE Main Event. WWE will tape the show Tuesday from the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England.
- Kassius Ohno, a/k/a Chris Hero, addressed his WWE release in a lengthy blog here on Facebook. He encourages fans to be happy and support him with positive energy.
- Jim Ross has a new blog entry available on his official website at this link.
- Wrestling News World reader Röbb Cartin attended William Regal's one man "My Life as a Wrestling Super Villain Part 2" show at the Fog and Bucket Pub after this week's Monday Night Raw taping in Manchester, England. Cartin said the surprise of the night came when Daniel Bryan turned up in the audience.
- Wrestling News World reader Jonathan Davies sent the following off-camera notes from this week's Raw taping:
A lot of the 'You Sold Out' chants during last night's Raw were for a guy in the crowd dressed as Kane who kept popping up in various parts of the crowd.
There was one particular incident of note during the Ryback/R-Truth match when the fan dressed as Kane and another fan dressed as Goldust decided to put on an impromptu 'match' in the crowd until security went to intervene and they both ran off in different directions. This is why you can see a lot of the fans looking over behind announce during that match. Security also appeared to have an increased presence from that point on as they looked for the two fans.
- Next week's episode of Monday Night Raw will be a country music themed episode subtitled "Raw Country." Next week's show will emanate from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Join us for our "Open Thread" Raw Watch Party here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com. You can check out a commercial for the show at this link.
- A commercial for ABC Family's "Christmas Bounty" starring The Miz is online at this link.
- Drew McIntyre bruised his arm, presumably at Monday's WWE Raw taping in Manchester, England. He posted a photo that you can view below:
- Preview next week's episode of Total Divas at this link.
- Kassius Ohno left WWE on good terms after being under contract for 21 months. In a blog entry we plugged on Monday, Ohno likened his release to that of Claudio Castagnoli (now working as Antonio Cesaro), Colt Cabana (the former Scotty Goldman) and the two WWE releases of Daniel Bryan. Ohno said if it's meant to be, he's sure he'll be back. Ohno was released from WWE last Friday. I spoke with sources close to Ohno and sources at the WWE Performance Center and have more behind-the-scenes information regarding his release at this link. If you are not yet a WNW Premium Member, you can signup now at this link.
- WWE announced on Tuesday afternoon that CM Punk & Daniel Bryan will face Erick Rowan & Luke Harper at Survivor Series.
- This week's episode of Backstage Fallout Raw is subtitled "Raw Power Struggle" and is online now at this link.
- Brad Maddox beat El Local (Ricardo Rodriguez's masked Lucha Libre gimmick) in dark match prior to Tuesday's WWE Main Event/Smackdown tapings in Manchester, England.
- WWE has hired Dan Devone as a new backstage interviewer and on-air personality. Devone is a sports anchor out of Seattle.
- Billy Gunn is scheduled to work Thursday's WWE NXT show in Tampa, teaming with Bo Dallas to oppose Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn.
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 3,768,000 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:
Hour 1 - 3,867,000 viewers
Hour 2 - 3,834,000 viewers
Hour 3 - 3,603,000 viewers
The show ended up with a 2.73 cable rating.
- World Heavyweight Champion John Cena beat Alberto Del Rio in a dark match main event after Tuesday's Smackdown taping in Manchester, England. William Regal was the special guest referee. Regal attacked Cena after the match but ate an Attitude Adjustment.
- Check out a new photo of Steve Austin with a beard here at WrestlingNews.net.
- We've heard from multiple readers that Aksana has been struggling with her in-ring work on WWE's current European tour. On Tuesday, she worked Alicia Fox in Newcastle where she went under.
- Cody Rhodes appeared to get knocked loopy in a WWE Tag Team Championship match with Goldust against Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. The bad bump occurred on a turnbuckle spot but it's unknown if any legitimate injury took place.
- For what it's worth, this week's episode of Total Divas actually did an average viewing audience of 1,255,000 viewers on E. The network issued a press release on Monday, rounding the numbers up to 1.3 million.
- WWE has announced the following dates for their 2014 European Tour next spring:
May 14 - Glasgow, Scotland
May 18 - Cardiff, Wales
May 20 - Sheffield, England
May 21 - Belfast, Northern Ireland
May 22 - Dublin, Ireland
May 22 - Liege, Belgium
May 23 - Oberhausen, Germany
May 24 - Berlin, Germany
- Dot com has a new article online titled "The 5 lamest Survivor Series teams ever!" Click here to read it.
- Kane did this week's kayfabe Michael Cole interview because "The Authority" is on "vacation. You can watch now at this link.
- WWE posted unseen footage of The Shield and The Wyatt Family brawling at Monday Night Raw at this link.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has signed on to star in a film called "Not Without Hope." The film is based on the true story of Nick Schuyler, who was rescued by the Coast Guard after the boat he went fishing on with friends overturned at sea. Schuyler's three friends all died in the accident. The flick will be an adaptation of a book penned by Schuyler that carries the same title.
- Antonio Cesaro's stock is once again on the rise. I know some are probably thinking, 'we've been here before' but it's happening again. John Cena in particular is a supporter of Cesaro and is believed to be one of the reasons why he's gaining support from WWE officials. Cesaro is seen as one of the strongest guys on the roster and turned some heads last month with his giant swings on The Great Khali.
- From the "it could be something, it could be nothing" department, WWE Champion Randy Orton worked Wednesday in Switzerland with a bandage on his arm.
- Speaking of talent on the rise, Damien Sandow has also seen a significant bump in his stock backstage. The plan all along was to elevate him after unsuccessfully "cashing in" the Money in the Bank briefcase against John Cena on Raw but the turning point actually started at the beginning of October. After winning the Money in the Bank briefcase in July, Sandow went just 4-13 in televised singles matches through September. Since then, he's been booked over in 8 of 12 of his last televised singles matches.
- The Miz has worked has a heel on WWE's European tour but it's unknown if that character turn is actually going to make it to television. Miz is due decent exposure for the rest of the month as WWE will look to co-promote the WWE Studios feature film "A Christmas Bounty" on ABC Family.
- Big E Langston is featured in this week's episode of WWE Inbox. Click here to watch now.
- A big shout out goes to the talented Brandon Kirkpatrick of The Full Nelson Press who featured WNW in his weekly comic based around the head-scratching WWE release of Kassius Ohno. Check it out at this link.
- Jimmy Hart told Arda Ocal that Hulk Hogan will be at Wrestlemania XXX if he has to buy a ringside ticket himself. Hart said that Hogan still has "a couple of good matches left in him" and he's got his fingers crossed we'll see something at the show. Click here to read Arda's article on The Baltimore Sun website.
- There's a weird story making rounds on Thursday that notes that the younger brother of Andy Kaufman, Michael, suggested his brother could have faked his 1984 death. While it's seemingly been debunked, CNN contacted Jerry Lawler for comment. Lawler told the network he didn't know any more than what's currently out there but said it could really be legit. Click here for coverage by CNN.
- Major League Baseball Tweeted a photo of a belt that was based on the new WWE title belt awarded to American League Cy Young Award Winner Max Scherzer. You can view it below:
- David Otunga is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine. You can view it below:
- Jim Ross remembered Eddie Guerrero in a new blog entry on his official website. Click here to read it.
- R-Truth is releasing a rap album inspired by Eminem and Tupac Shakur. World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, who has released his own album, is also featured on the project. BANG Showbiz has the story at this link.
- UFC'sChael Sonnen appeared on Lavar and Dukes on 106.7 The Fan DC on Thursday afternoon to promote his fight against Rasad Evans at UFC 167. Sonnen, who is friends with CM Punk, said the former 434-day WWE Champion has given MMA serious consideration. Sonnen followed up by saying that he doesn't think Punk will do it but he's been the reverse of Brock Lesnar. Lesnar knew how to wrestle before he came to UFC, while Punk is learning how to fight and had visions of making the transition. Click here to listen to the interview in its entirety.
- Wrestling News World reader Asim attended Thursday's WWE live event in Leeds, England and noted that World Heavyweight Champion John Cena might have legitimately tweaked his ankle in his match against Alberto Del Rio. The reader that sent the live report posted here didn't mention it. The same reader, Asim, reported that CM Punk might have been knocked loopy in his match with Daniel Bryan against Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. However, according to the report, Punk walked to the back on his own after being checked out by the referee at ringside. He finished the match with his GTS finisher to get the win. I am unable to confirm the severity of either injury as of press time as the time difference makes communication difficult. We'll see whether or not either are held on Friday as both are scheduled to work in London.
- We're told plans for a potential Dean Ambrose/Tyson Kidd feud recently came up. This bodes well for Kidd, working with a rising star, but not for Evan Bourne. Bourne has been cleared for months and as we reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium, there are no creative plans for him. At one point plans had Bourne forming a tag team with Kidd, which is a plan that has fallen by the wayside in recent months.
- The plan all along was for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to feud with The Wyatt Family as we reported in last week's Raw notes. The brawl to end this week's show was "just a tease" although there was also talk about making it an 8-man match at one point.
- People have been joking backstage that Vince McMahon is already in "full Wrestlemania mode" and isn't happy that he doesn't have one definitive match at this point. One observer noted that if it was up to Vince and there was no limits on money, possibility of injury or leaks, he would have the top 5 matches cemented for the show by Survivor Series.
- There was talk at one point they might have to replace Big Show in the WWE title match at Survivor Series because of injury concerns. That doesn't appear to be the case now but we're told he's been hurting.
- The open-ended Paul Heyman segment from this week's Monday Night Raw where they might have blown off the feud with CM Punk or started with Heyman getting new guys was exactly that. WWE keeping their options open if it will be Heyman or Vince McMahon revealed as "the devil," if they continue that angle.
- Dolph Ziggler was reportedly scheduled to beat Curtis Axel for the WWE Intercontinental Championship on this week's show, however, plans changed. My source isn't sure if there were actually plans to put the belt on Zigger or if he was was just led to believe that as a rib.
- We noted through Wrestling News World reader Asim that John Cena appeared to be legitimately injured in his World Heavyweight Championship match against Alberto Del Rio at Thursday's WWE live event in Leeds, England. Asim uploaded footage of the match that you can view at this link.
- CM Punk is scheduled to appear at Wizard World Portland Comic Con on January 24, 2014. Punk is scheduled to be there from 3:30-7:30 PM.
- E! posted a deleted scene from Total Divas that you can watch at this link.
- Chris Jericho was a guest on Larry King Now on Thursday. Click here to watch it.
- Vince McMahon Tweeted that WWE will send the Major League Baseball Cy Young winners real title belts. The following is from Twitter:
- The WWE Studios production, "Christmas Bounty," starring The MIz will air in Canada on ABC Spark. Scheduled air times include 12/1 at 8 PM, 12/13 at 8 PM and 12/23 at 3 PM. All times eastern.
- Dot com fueled Mickie James rumors on Friday with a new Q&A with the former Diva. Mickie, who has been at the WWE Performance Center this week, was asked point blank if the fact she was at the company's developmental complex meant she was returning. Mickie said she would love to come back but is just trying to take advantage of the current opportunity. She said she received a call from Talent Relations, asking if she would be interested in working with some of the developmental Divas. You can read the article in its entirety at this link.
- Renee Young takes viewers through The JBL & Cole Show vault and shows never before seen bloopers in this week's episode. You can watch it at this link.
- WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee briefly fainted during Friday's WWE live event from The O2 in London, England. According to Wrestling News World reader Lee McAndrew, AJ was working a tag match with Tamina Snuka against The Bell Twins. She tagged out of the match and they went home when it was noticed that Lee had fainted.
She was tended to by WWE medical staff for several minutes. AJ was eventually able to get to her feet and walk to the backstage area.
WWE issued the following statement to WrestlingNewsWorld.com:
Tonight in London, WWE Diva AJ Lee briefly fainted during a match with Brie Bella due to dehydration. She is currently being evaluated by WWE medical staff.
The company has been on their grueling Fall 2013 tour of Europe that has seen the company run 20 shows in two weeks.
- World Heavyweight Champion John Cena defended his title against Alberto Del Rio at the WWE live event in London, England on Friday. If he did suffer an injury at Thursday's show in Leeds, it obviously wasn't serious. We're told Cena really played to the crowd in London and even got a chant to bring Wrestlemania to the city.
- Bully Ray appeared at the 'House of Hardcore 3' indy show on Saturday night at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York to challenge Tommy Dreamer to a Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight at the upcoming TNA "One Night Only: Old School" pay-per-view taping on December 30, 2013. The taping will take place at the same venue. You can watch footage at this link. The indy show was promoted by Dreamer and a deal was worked out with TNA to promote the angle at the show. This is part of TNA's #Impact365 campaign to help create excitement around their live events.
- TNA Wrestling has announced a Last Man Standing Match between Bobby Roode and James Storm for the upcoming "One Night Only - Old School" pay-per-view taping on December 30, 2013. The taping will take place from Poughkeepsie, New York. Already announced is Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer in a Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight. Click here here for information on the show and how to obtain tickets.
- TNA Wrestling sent out a media advisory on Tuesday with details on their upcoming One Night Only - Old School pay-per-view taping from the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York. The taping will take place on Monday, December 30, 2013 and is scheduled to feature Jeff Hardy, Kurt Angle, Bully Ray, Magnus, Bobby Roode and Mr. Anderson. The following matches have already been announced:
James Storm vs. Bobby Roode in a Last Man Standing Match
Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
Tickets go on sale on Friday and are available at Ticketmaster.com.
- TNA is running a #Impact365 angle that Dixie Carter "stormed out" of a meeting with Spike TV executives over AJ Styles commercials. You can watch the all-kayfabe piece at this link.
- TNA Wrestling announced new Impact Wrestling tapings on their official website. The company will be taping Impact Wrestling in Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida on the following days:
Tuesday, December 3rd
Wednesday, December 4th
Thursday, December 5th
For times and ticket information, check out the full press release here.
- The company also released their new Impact Podcast featuring Jeremy Borash, ChristyHemme, Taz, and MikeTenay. Check out the podcast at this link.
- Kurt Angle cut a promo in a new #Impact365 video at this link.
- Continuing off with the angle where Dixie Carter "stormed out" of a meeting with Spike TV executives, she wrote the following on Twitter:
- TNA Wrestling has announced that Kazarian & Christopher Daniels will face Abyss & Eric Young in a Full Metal Mayhem Match at the December 29th "One Night Only: Hardcore Justice" taping in Lowell, Massachusetts.
- TNA Wrestling announced Jeff Hardy vs. Abyss in a Monster's Ball Match at their December 30, 2013 "One Night Only: Old School" taping in Poughkeepsie, New York. Already announced is Bully Ray vs. Tommy Dreamer in a Falls County Anywhere Street Fight and Bobby Roode vs. James Storm in a Last Man Standing Match. Click here for the latest show information.
- Given all the recent budget cuts in TNA Wrestling and the company trying to get expenditures under control, we're often asked how much TNA is paying their current workers. In speaking with a source, I'm told the standard offer in TNA right now is a monthly downside guarantee of $1300 with a $500 per appearance bonus. However, there's no guaranteed dates on the deal so the downside is essentially $15,600 a year. We're told this is the deal they offered DOC and why a lot of the midcard guys are opting to leave rather than be a "TV star" on a decently rated wrestling show.
- Hulk Hogan will appear on OWN Sunday night at 10 PM/9 CT on "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" where he will talk about how he pulled through the darkest time and what life is like today with his new wife.
- TNA Wrestling announced that Jessie Godderz will co-host the NYC Brand Production’s new co-ed College Arm Wrestling League Championship. Below is the official press release:
“IMPACT WRESTLING” Superstar MR. PEC-Tacular Set to Co-Host College Arm Wrestling Championship
NEW YORK CITY, Nov. 13, 2013 - “IMPACT WRESTLING” Superstar and five-time CBS “Big Brother” star, Jessie Godderz, known to his fans as Mr. PEC-Tacular, has been tapped to co-host NYC Brand Production’s new co-ed College Arm Wrestling League Championship, “CAWL to Arms” which pits teams of students from rival colleges in exciting and grueling matches to determine the most powerful male and female college arm wrestlers in America. “CAWL to Arms” will air on ESPNU and ESPN2 beginning in 2014.
According to “CAWL to Arms” creator and executive producer Rob “Bucky” Buchalter, “Mr. PEC-Tacular is the perfect choice to co-host our new College Arm Wrestling League Championship. He is the youngest two-sport professional athlete in history, and just a year after his ‘IMPACT WRESTLING’ debut, Mr. PEC-Tacular and his wrestling partner Robbie E. recently won the ‘IMPACT WRESTLING World Tag Team Titles at Bound For Glory, one of wrestling’s biggest Pay-Per-View events of the year. Jessie’s a real rising star, and we are thrilled to have him join us as a co-host.”
The first “CAWL to Arms” match-ups include students from Penn State versus students from Rutgers and students from University of Connecticut versus students from Syracuse University. The winning teams from those match-ups will face each other in a final Sudden Death round to determine the 2014 “CAWL To Arms” Grand Champions. The winning team members will share a $10,000 cash prize.
Filming for the competition takes place Nov. 17-18, 2013 at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. Admission to the event is free. To obtain the event schedule or register to attend, visit http://cawltoarms.com/home/invitation-to-cawl-to-arms/.
- TNA Wrestling has announced Austin Aries vs. Chris Sabin vs. Samoa Joe in an X-Division Xscape Match for their 12/29 "One Night Only: Hardcore Justice" pay-per-view taping in Lowell, Massachusetts.
- Wrestling News World reader Wrestling Fan 23 recapped a new interview that Zema Ion did at this link. The interview was done to promote his upcoming appearance for Primal Conflict Wrestling on November 30th.
- Ion confirms that he's still under contract to TNA for "quite a while" but is free to take whatever outside dates he wants to right now. He admits he hasn't had much communication with TNA in recent months.
- Says thankfully he doesn't have cancer
- Addresses the controversy over his fundraiser for his medical bills, says he never expected TNA to pay his medical bills because he's an "independent contractor" and he knows how that works.
- Admits someone at the TNA office got mad at him for making them look bush league with the fundraiser, but he told them flat out he needed the money and that was the reality of the situation.
- Says his girlfriend actually started the GoFundMe account and, since she doesn't know much about wrestling, she didn't realize the political problems that would potentially arise because of it.
- Says that even though he didn't get anything close to the $30,000 needed, he was still overwhelmed by the fan support.
- Says he would like to go to WWE one day, but is happy with where he is now.
- The Star-Ledger has a feature piece on Robbie E that you can read at this link.
- Bully Ray told the Queens Tribune that he never expected to be a singles wrestler. He said that he always wanted to be a tag team wrestler. Ray would also enjoy a long-term program with Kurt Angle. Click here to read the article in its entirety.
- Alex Barie has added some new interactive features to TNANews.com, make sure to head over and check them out. Speaking of which, you should have the website bookmarked for all your TNA news and opinion.
- TNA Wrestling has announced the following matches for next week's Turning Point themed episode of Impact
Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson. If Bully wins, Anderson must "leave" the company for good. If Anderson wins, Aces and Eights must "disband" for good.
Samoa Joe vs. Magnus in a Falls Count Anywhere Match in the TNA Championship Tournament
James Storm vs. Bobby Roode in a Bullrope Match in the TNA Championship Tournament
TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim vs. A mystery opponent.
The company is also promoting a confrontation between Joseph Park and Abyss.
- TNA Champion AJ Styles is in Japan as he'll defend the title on the November 16, 201 WRESTLE-1 show against Seiya Sanada. Rob Terry and Jay Bradley will also be on the show from TNA Wrestling as part of their agreement with the promotion.
You can view a photo of Styles in Japan below:
This is all being done to give the illusion that Styles "left TNA" with the title and is defending it without the blessing of Dixie Carter. We broke the news of TNA's plans here on WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium before Styles won the title at Bound for Glory.
- TNA Wrestling issued a press release on Friday with full details on their return to Universal Studios later this month. The company formally announced they'll tape six episodes of Impact - including next week's Turning Point themed episode - from Soundstage 19 in Orlando, Florida. Below are the dates:
Dixie Carter is quoted in the release, saying the company is "excited to be back."
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,139,000 viewers on Spike TV. The show ended up with a 0.96 cable rating.
With the brand extension over, why does WWE still have two world titles? Are there plans to unify them anytime soon?
I'm a supporter of two world title belts and feel it presents more opportunities in the top of the card. People send me names all the time about workers they feel should be working in the top of the card then in the same breath, call for title unification. One thing I want everyone to realize is that if WWE unifies the world titles, they'll cut the top of the card by 50%. So if you're tired of John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, etc. dominating the top of the card, that's not going to change with title unification. I enjoy the two world titles because it presents more opportunities.
I'm not an American football guy at all, so I don't seem to understand why TNA was criticized for bringing in Adam "Pacman" Jones last Thursday. Even JR had a negative comment. WWE brings in football players a lot and they don't get as much criticism for it. So why was it so bad to bring in Adam Jones?
I had no problem with TNA Wrestling bringing Adam "Pacman" Jones back to television; my problem was with how they did it. Playing her new delusional authoritative heel character, Dixie Carter teased they were bringing back a "former World Champion." Regardless of a gimmick/storyline, that made TNA look pretty pathetic. Now is not the time for Dixie Carter to "troll the fans," even if it does help build a character they're determined to get over. TNA is in a bad place right now and all of their efforts should be on stabilization and delivering the best product possible. It's time to rally the fan base, not troll them in a publicity stunt. Making matters worse, creative decided to have Jones take out Bad Influence. It's never a good idea to have non-wrestlers take out homegrown talent. I also want to take this chance to push back on some accusations in your question. First, WWE gets a lot of criticism for the use of non-wrestlers. The "guest star/host" gimmick WWE did for Monday Night Raw was not well-received and fans are just as hard on WWE when a WWE guy goes under to someone without a wrestling background. I'll also call into question your claim WWE "brings in football players a lot" as the last time they brought one to television was Kurt Warner (an NFL legend) and his role was minimal. Wrestling fans want pro wrestlers, not celebrities for cheap publicity.
With Ryback borrowing from Goldberg's move set, mentioning him at live events and other subtle teases - is there a chance we see Goldberg at Wrestlemania?
I've heard subtle whispers that WWE would like to bring Bill Goldberg in for Wrestlemania but I'm not buying them. Goldberg doesn't get along with the WWE machine and they already have the services of Brock Lesnar secured. Sting is probably a more realistic option at this point, even though I don't even think that has much of a chance of happening either. Anything is possible but it's one of those things "I'll believe it, when I see it."
Who is your favorite worker and why?
Picking a favorite worker is not a desirable thing for me to do because readers will accuse me of having an unfair bias towards a particular individual. The truth is, I just want to be entertained. I don't care who it is or what they do, I want to watch matches and segments on television and pay-per-view that are entertaining. My favorite style of wrestling is workers that can tell a story with their work and don't have to rely on 100% high-risk insane spots. Some interpret this as me backing a slow and methodical style of wrestling, which isn't true either. I love watching smaller guys go all out and really "wowing" with their high spots, however, the business is more than that. There's something to be said about John Cena, who can move the needle on his own, despite the fact that 9 out 10 of you will claim to hate him. I know it sounds cliche but I want what's best for business and that is anyone that makes me want to watch.
From the Ask WNW vault…
May 2010: The word on Randy Orton is that he is much more mature since getting married and becoming a father. Orton used to have a reputation as being arrogant, disrespectful (especially to females) and even erratic. Orton has grown up and the WWE office has full confidence in him, which is why they recently signed him to a 10-year contract. There were concerns that Orton's behavior would derail his career despite his talent but that changed once he got married.
With Mickie James being at the WWE Performance Center helping out with talent, would that indicate at least some interest to bring her back for a short term deal that veterans are getting these days? A feud with AJ Lee would be entertaining.
The fact that Mickie James is at the WWE Performance Center this week working with developmental talent is telling only in that she has a good relationship with her former employer. I asked some people when she left TNA what the interest was in her services within WWE and was told that it was minimal. WWE isn't the best fit for Mickie right now because of her ongoing pursuit of a country music career. I doubt she would be able to get a deal like that of Chris Jericho with so much flexibility but anything is possible. Mickie is extremely talented and would certainly be an asset to the Divas division.
I know you always say to give a new character time and not to judge too quickly. But I was surprised and disappointed to see how corporate Kane interacted with Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero. He was basically put on the same level as those two, comedy characters not to be taken seriously. Your thoughts?
Kane is a very diverse talent and can get over in multiple roles and that's what has made him so valuable over the years. If you're expecting a monster that contends for the world title, I'm just not sure you're going to get that. A return to the former is likely but that gimmick also has a limited shelf life. As for Kane competing for either World title in a serious main event role, he's 46 and seems to have had that run 4 years ago. Kane fans should embrace the fact this role has him working in the top storyline on television and expect him to still receive prominent booking. I wouldn't overreact to the suit as it'll be a matter of time before he "snaps" back into the uncontrollable "big red machine."
I think we can all agree that WWE shows in the UK are always fun and entertaining, mainly due to the crowd. The IWC is very adamant about WWE ultimately hosting a "B level PPV" in the UK. I'm not completely against the idea, but feel there would be so many drawbacks and that WWE would lose money due to spoilers, etc. What is your take on it & do you think we'll ever see it happen?
WWE has held pay-per-views across the pond in the past. There was One Night Only on September 20, 1997 in Birmingham, Mayhem in Manchester on April 4, 1998, Capital Carnage on December 6, 1998 in London, No Mercy in Manchester on May 16, 1999, the Rebellion shows from 1999-2002 and the Insurrextion pay-per-views from 2000-2003. Let's also not forget to mention SummerSlam 1992 in London. So they've done it, they just haven't had a pay-per-view in Europe since 2003. I can't tell you WWE's exact reason why not but we can assume it's due to the evolution of the Internet and the time difference, two components likely to have negative effects on the buy rate.
Do you see a potential match of the year with the Wyatts, Shield, Rhodes brothers, Usos, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan? What do you think about a tag team title match at TLC between the teams to really bring prestige back to the tag team division?
Following the ending to this week's episode of Monday Night Raw, the assumption is it'll be The Shield & The Wyatt Family vs. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Goldust & The Usos at Survivor Series later this month. The match will be a spectacle and something I'll look forward to seeing. Will it be a match of the year type bout? That's anyone's guess but it will feature the workers that have been stealing the shows as of late so it'll have high expectations.
From the Ask WNW vault…
November 2007: Promoters such as Vince McMahon have always hated the idea of a wrestling union, even firing wrestlers for even thinking of organizing one. A union would allow wrestlers to have group insurance, benefits, and grievance options, however, this would also mean wrestling companies would have to document their salary structure (something that would be very hard to do). I’m not an expert on the formation of unions or know what exactly all of the pros and cons of one are, so I am not going to make a judgment either way. I understand arguments from both sides. It would be hard for an organization such as WWE to document their salary structure as a developmental talent or jobber is obviously going to be paid much lower than a main event wrestler and it would be an impossible formula to compute. WWE argues that they pay talent enough in their downside guarantee to buy health insurance but could you imagine what the premium would be? Go to an insurance agent and say, I jump off of ladders, get hit in the head with chairs, cut myself in the forehead, and do extremely high risk wrestling maneuvers for a living. Can I get some health insurance? WWE is not completely heartless as they do try to help out their performers past and present, as they will pay for a past performer’s drug rehab or front money for surgeries for current talent. Hopefully I answered your question, although I didn’t give much regarding my opinion of a pro wrestling union.
I know others have asked over and over, so here goes the same questions mixed in together: When will Christian, Evan Bourne, and Sheamus coming back to the ring? Do you have a definitive timetable for their returns?
I have no timetable for Christian's return. He's not on the European tour and he said at last month's WWE NXT tapings that he was not yet medically cleared to compete following a concussion suffered in August. Evan Bourne has been cleared for months but there are not creative plans for him as of press time. Sheamus is still slated to return between December and February from the torn labrum he suffered at WWE Money in the Bank.
Why not a tag team of Big E. Langston and Ryback? Who could beat them? Paul Heyman as their mouthpiece? Now that would be money… your thoughts?
I wouldn't be opposed to putting Ryback in a tag team to help him progress but I'd like to see Big E Langston continue on his current path. Vince McMahon and John Cena are both high up on Langston and he's starting to get his push in singles. WWE is currently in the process of breaking Paul Heyman away from Ryback.
Which of the current NXT workers do you see as potential big names in WWE? Personally I think Corey Graves is an extremely talented wrestler as is Xavier Woods. What are your thoughts?
I am also high up on Corey Graves and Xavier Woods. Other names on my radar include Adrian Neville as well as both members of The Ascension. Let's not forget Bo Dallas, who has been a highly touted prospect for years. Kassius Ohno, who was released last week, was someone I thought was one of the company's most talented prospects.
WWE was upset with the SummerSlam buys and that show had Brock Lesnar. What do you anticipate from Survivor Series?
This is a good question. If Vince McMahon didn't think fans bought the attraction of Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan, what does he expect from Survivor Series? The first three bouts announced for the show are not particularly strong - just take a look - Randy Orton vs. Big Show, Cena vs. Del Rio again and CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. Is that enough to sell a "big four" pay-per-view? The show is a week from Sunday and there is only one episode of Monday Night Raw left. I think the show is going to have a hard time garnering a desirable buy rate.
From the Ask WNW vault…
November 2011: In yesterday's Ask WNW you mentioned that Vince McMahon is not high up on the Survivor Series gimmick. Why? - Survivor Series 2009 did 235,000 buys which was sharply down from 319,000 buys from the year prior. While I loudly maintained it was because UFC had a show the night before, Vince McMahon said in an investor conference call the concept was no longer over. I don't know what or who changed his mind but he was ready to nix the pay-per-view because of the decline in buys. Last year's Survivor Series buys were up but only slightly at 244,000 buys.
What is the point of WWE even having Survivor Series? I remember the days when the card consisted of 4-5 “Survivor Series” matches. Now it consists of more “regular” matches than anything with a sprinkle of one SS match if we are lucky.
Yesterday you mentioned that the card for Survivor Series doesn't look great and took a quote from your archive where Vince McMahon said the Survivor Series concept was dead. While some concepts are probably more intriguing, like Hell In A Cell and TLC matches, don't you think traditional Survivor Series matches are at least more intriguing than standard matches? For example, wouldn't the CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. the Wyatt Family angle be much more interesting as a 5-5 survivor match?
This is the first time I've ever done this but I'm combing two questions because I believe the first leads to the second. Survivor Series is one of the "big four" WWE shows and has been a staple in the company since 1987. Vince McMahon in particular is not a fan of the Traditional Survivor Series concept and feel it's something that is outdated. However, the company has been hesitant about scrapping the show because it's etched in history.
I would prefer more traditional Survivor Series bouts in favor of the vanilla lineup WWE has rolled out for the show so far. As I mentioned Wednesday, I don't think this show is going to sell. WWE had a perfect opportunity for a traditional Survivor Series bout after Raw then unbeknownst to everyone, announced a tag match with CM Punk & Daniel Bryan opposing Luke Harper & Erick Rowan. Let's hope something is either changed or added because the three matches announced so far would be underwhelming for a B-level show, much less a "big four" event.
Why is WWE breaking up Ryback and Paul Heyman so quickly after pushing it heavily out of the gate? Heyman is the perfect mouthpiece for Ryback and a great way to generate more heat.
There has been a lot of back and forth in regards to creative plans for Paul Heyman. One plan called for him to be off television for an extended period of time following his program with CM Punk, however, he popped right back up on Monday. I'll argue the Heyman/Ryback alliance did little to nothing to help elevate Ryback. Everyone thought Heyman would be a great catalyst in the elevation of Curtis Axel but that hasn't exactly worked out either.
Have you noticed lately that Roman Reigns seems to have a look of disdain on his face toward Dean Ambrose when The Shield does a promo? Also, the announce team seems to be praising Roman Reigns a lot recently, separating him from the group. Is WWE creative setting the stage for a Shield breakup, with Roman Reigns going solo?
We talked about this in depth in this week's installment of the WNW Premium Mailbag. The not-so-subtle teases of a Shield breakup have been made and the company is clearly tinkering with the idea. All I can really say in this regard is we'll have to wait and see but I will use this opportunity to put over Roman Reigns. At one time considered the guy Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins would have to hide, his work on the main roster has been better than pretty much anyone expected. Dot com posted a photo of Roman Reigns with the WWE title (view here) and he certainly looks the part.
Do you see Sami Zayn being a big name in WWE when he gets called up?
Sami Zayn, the former El Generico, is an extremely talented worker. He has all of the tools to have a credible run and is yet another well-seasoned name lurking in WWE developmental. I'm optimistic but there will be no way of knowing for sure until it happens.
From the Ask WNW vault…
August 2010:What are your initial thoughts on Alberto Del Rio? What's in store for him? - Alberto Del Rio looks to have a very bright future in WWE. Putting him over clean against Rey Mysterio was a huge nod of confidence and there are clear plans for him to be pushed straight to the main event. I've heard very good things about Del Rio as he was very impressive prior to his TV debut.
As we approach Survivor Series I'm sure I'm not the only one recalling the Montreal Screwjob at the show in 1997. How legitimate was the reunion in 2010, was that really the first time they've been face-to-face since?
The reunion between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels on Monday Night Raw on January 4, 2010 was by all accounts a genuine reconciliation between the two and not part of a WWE storyline. Ironically enough, at the same time Hart and Michaels were in a WWE ring together for the first time in 12 years, Hulk Hogan was making his debut in TNA Wrestling. I was extremely happy for both Bret and Shawn as they were able to put Montreal behind them and create a truly historic moment on Raw. I will criticize WWE's use of Hart thereafter as I feel they overexposed him, which is something they have a bad habit of doing with talent that is unable to wrestle.
Why is Alex Riley commentating and not wrestling? What happened?
WWE officials were really high up on Alex Riley's look, personality and ability to get over but the knock on him was his in-ring work left a lot of be desired. I was surprised at how much the fans got behind him in storylines but let's be honest, he was very sloppy in the ring. WWE made the decision to transition him to announce. I don't know the exact reason why, however, I'm not opposed to the move. A lot of people that work commentary are wrestlers doing commentary. Jerry Lawler still maintains he's a wrestler that does commentary, not a commentator that occasionally wrestles. Matt Striker was a guy that made the transition. Byron Saxton is a guy in developmental that's made the transition. This is something that happens and it's a desirable position.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the direction that they've gone with the Kane character, as it truly took me by surprise. Looking at the big picture, I think that they have bypassed obvious logical storytelling and jumped straight to surprising logical storytelling recently. I wonder, though, if the new character was requested by Kane so he wouldn't be dressed as a monster when he finally runs for office as a Libertarian candidate. Your thoughts?
The decision to take the mask off Kane had to do with the upcoming sequel to "See No Evil," where Kane reprises the role of Jacob Goodnight, a character that does not wear a mask. I'm not aware of the move having anything to do with Kane's political aspirations and feel "the monster still lurks within." Kane's new character puts him right in the middle of WWE's top storyline so it's a good thing for his position in the company.
I don't get WWE's logic. They have the best wrestler in the world in Daniel Bryan, yet they think it was his fault that the PPV buy rates were down. How about not having Bryan-Orton several times in a row on PPV's. That is the real problem. To me Randy can't carry the WWE. There is no personality in him. I rather watch wet paint dry then watch an Orton match. Yet with Byran he has shown improvement with his mic work and his wrestling work in the ring elevates his opponents to make them look great.
It's funny that question three puts WWE over for their logic and question four blasts them for the lack of it. It's fair to say that both sides are getting represented in Ask WNW. Reports of Daniel Bryan's demise are greatly exaggerated. I don't know who writes this stuff or why they write this stuff but Daniel Bryan isn't being blamed for the SummerSlam debacle. Vince McMahon never mentioned Bryan in talking about the pay-per-view underperforming and instead blamed the fact fans didn't buy the attraction, which is a true statement (and one I heard directly from Vince's mouth). Sometimes people want to create a controversy that just isn't there. Bryan is as over as any babyface in WWE and is in a main event program with CM Punk to oppose The Wyatt Family. As long as Bryan is working in main event level programs, there's no reason to assume anything else. Everything I've heard about Vince's opinion of Bryan is he realizes he was wrong and is high up on him. I do not share your sentiment on Randy Orton as I feel he's a top guy and I'm glad to see him regain the trust of top management. It was time for Bryan to move on from the WWE title because it was creative that booked the program horribly as it never looked like Bryan had a legitimate chance to walk away champion. Let's hope the program with Big Show is different.
From the Ask WNW vault…
November 2011: Is CM Punk the biggest star in WWE besides The Rock? - CM Punk is finally established as a main event name but he’s still viewed behind John Cena and Randy Orton. I realize a lot of people are sick and tired of the Cena character but that’s still the way it is. The Rock is more popular than he’s ever been; the problem is he’s not back full-time.